Car seats protect your kids when driving in vehicles, which is why they’re a mandatory accessory. Choosing the right car seat can be a bit more difficult than one might think, especially if it’s your first time buying one. That’s why Parents Magazine offers the following tips to new parents who might have questions about how to best protect their kids in the first place. 

When your baby is an infant, there are generally two car seats that are acceptable. Infant-only seats double as carriers, which makes them convenient for parents. Convertible car seats are another option. Unlike infant-only seats, these are not portable. However, they’re convenient in other ways. For instance, a convertible seat can be situated rear or forward-facing. Rear-facing seats are used for infants, while forward-facing seats are useful for older babies.

It’s recommended that toddlers are placed in forward-facing seats at all times. Conventional toddler seats are usually good until a child reaches about 65 pounds. At this point, most kids transition to a booster seat that is used in conjunction with the seatbelt. You can also opt for a combination seat. With this car seat, you have forward-facing capability combined with a booster seat ideal for kids larger than 65 pounds. The booster/belt combination is typically used until a child is about 3 or 4 years old. 

Along with choosing the right seat, you must also ensure that it’s properly installed in your vehicle. Be sure to follow instructions to the letter. It’s a good idea to practice putting in the car seat well before you plan on traveling in the event you encounter any issues. You should also strap in your baby before you plan on driving so you can work out how to properly secure the child in safely.