How to Find the Right Car Seat for Your Child

illustration of various types of child car seats
image supplied by client

By law, parents must place their children in car seats when they ride in cars with them. The right car seat accomplishes several feats.

First and foremost, the seats keep kids safe. Then, it allows them to enjoy riding with their parents. 

Keep in mind that modern seats have fun features that go beyond safety. For example, some have dedicated spaces for holding drinks and snacks. The seats also include storage spaces and convert to grow with children.

Parents will find seats in different colors, materials, and features at varying price points and convertible options.

The trick is to match the right seat to the child’s life stage. All babies must ride in back-facing seats to protect them against sudden vehicle stops. Then, parents can place their toddlers in forward-facing seats when they reach the required age, weight, and height.

What Is the Right Car Seat for Your Child?

The right seat for your child fits their weight, age, and height comfortably. Plus, it meets federal and state regulations.

Some states have stricter guidelines, such as California. In 2017, California raised the car seat age requirement to eight years old. 

Other states allow parents to make decisions for their children if they follow the car seat manufacturer’s recommendations. For example, children can grow out of car seats in states without explicit age requirements.

However, the child may not have the height to sit comfortably without a booster seat. Thus, parents can use safety belt adjusters to keep their kids safe and comfortable during car rides.

We outline how to find the right car seat for your child.

If a vehicle accident occurs with or without your child in the car, remember that legal guidance is available to you. Contact the professionals for assistance.

Acquaint Yourself with Government Regulations

This article has covered some government regulations parents must know for their children’s safety. Plus, it keeps them compliant, avoiding citations by local authorities.

Parents can find the right car seats for their children by becoming acquainted with government regulations.

Federal laws do not set mandates for the seats. However, states do. Therefore, the search for the right starts with following government regulations. 

Use the Car Seat Finder Tool from the NHTSA

Like several government agencies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration aims to help the population comply with regulations. The NHTSA has developed a car seat finder for parents to use.

The tool explains the process and why car seats offer several safety features. Parents can watch the video and learn more about finding the right car seat.

For parents with doubts, the website can ease their minds by providing several child car seat benefits.

In addition, the webpage offers information that educates parents and helps them make the best decisions about driving with their children in their cars.

Browse Recalls

The manufacturing process delivers many products that consumers use daily without any issues.

However, sometimes things do not go well, and engineers only spot problems after products have hit store shelves.

Parents benefit from browsing the recalls before purchasing new car seats for their kids. The perfect option might look, feel, and sit great, but underlying the exterior, it could have a glitch that places kids in danger.

Recalls range from choking hazards to faulty safety features. 

Know the Child’s Weight and Height

In many ways, the best time to purchase a new car seat for children is after a doctor’s appointment. 

As babies, children see doctors several times annually. The doctor’s appointments lessen when they become toddlers.

Before purchasing the correct car seat, know the child’s weight and height.

Since different seat stages suit specific weights and heights, you must nail the right one for the child.

Otherwise, parents risk receiving tickets from local authorities who spot discrepancies while driving. 

Test the Seat In-Store

Depending on the child’s age, parents might have the opportunity to test the seats in-store. It also depends on where you plan to make your purchase.

Retailers like Target, Walmart, and Buy Buy Baby have extensive children’s departments that include baby and toddler accessories. The retailers often have displays that allow customers to touch the products.

Take your child with you to the store. Then, size up the options against your child.


The good news is that child car seats have evolved in the last decade, and many grow with children. Once parents find the right one, it converts from back-facing to forward-facing. Then, a booster seat. Use the tools available to you, including store associates, to make the right decision.

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Brenda Coles
I'm an elementary school teacher who became a stay-at-home mother when my first child was born. I love to write about lifestyle, education, and news-related topics.