For newborns, infant car seats are the best option. They provide the best fit, are convenient and they face backwards — the safest option for babies up to two years old.
But Consumer Reports says pay particular attention to the height limit of your infant seat because children are likely to grow too tall for the seat before they reach the weight limit.
When children are injured in motor vehicle crashes its most often is an injury to their head. And that happens when they contact something usually in the vehicle interior, like the front seat back. As they get taller, and are closer to the edge of the shell of the seat, that it becomes more of a risk.
Consumer Reports tested 33 convertible seats, which are ideal once your child outgrows an infant seat. The shells are longer. And they can be positioned rear-facing until the recommended age of two.
They all passed Consumer Reports' simulated 30-mile per hour crash test and were also assessed for how well they fit in vehicles and how easy they are to use.
Top ratings went to the Chicco NextFit for $280.
Consumer Reports also recommends all of the Britax convertible seats it tested: The Britax Advocate, $305, Britax Boulvard $255, Britax Pavilion $270, Britax Marathon $230 and Britax Roundabout $145.
Another great choice, the Evenflo SureRide for $100.
Consumer Reports says children should remain in a car seat or booster seat a safety belt fits properly. That won’t happen until they reach four feet nine inches.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.