Car Seat Lesson 101

Car Seat Lesson 101
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Car Seat Lesson 101

Depending on what you’re looking for: Is it an infant, convertible, rear-facing, or toddler car seat? There are a lot of popular car seats out there, but it’s your job to figure out which one would be best. It’s tempting to rely on word-of-mouth advice from family and friends, or online advertising when deciding on the right one for your baby. Once you are done looking into the specifications of the different types of car seat models, you can form your own opinion. It’s your baby!

Car Seat Types

  • Convertible: Most convertibles are designed to safely seat infants while others are designed to hold babies that have grown out of their infant car seat. Convertible car seats usually have rear-facing capabilities until around 35-40 pounds, depending on the child and car seat model. Once the child grows out of the rear-facing position, the seat can be flipped around and used through the toddler years. Some parents will even get some use out of convertible car seats way into their child’s preschool years.
  • Infant: This is the one type you’ll be taking your baby home in when it’s time to leave the hospital. Infant car seats are rear-facing and designed to keep your precious newborn safe. While some parents choose to start with the convertible car seat and use it in infant mode, there are others who choose to have an infant car seat first, and then switch to the convertible option when their baby grows out of it. One nice thing about an infant car seat is that you can easily take it out of your car with your sleeping newborn inside.  Tip: By the time your little one hits age 1, the safest thing to do is make the transition to a convertible car seat.
  • Rear-facing: Know the awareness about the safety of all babies traveling in the rear-facing position. While it’s known that infants are supposed to travel in this position, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children up to the age of 2 should ride in a rear-facing position.
  • Toddler: Holy moly! Your child is getting bigger. It’s time to get a forward-facing seat! A lot of 3-in-1 car seats are pretty popular. The idea is for the car seat to be safe for our babies and toddlers. One awesome thing I find about the 3 in 1 car seats, it can be transformed into a booster. There are 3-in-1 seats that are perfect for toddlers, but they might also include infant and rear-facing capabilities. However, rest assured, all the 3-in-1 car seats offer a booster option.

Depending on which one suits your needs, you’ll most likely be purchasing a car seat within one of those categories. When choosing a car seat, the first thing to consider is safety. Once you’ve narrowed it down to the safest options in each category, you can have some fun with other details like style, price, and find which ones are easiest to clean up.

In this next section, I will cover the “car seat cleanup” challenge.

How to Clean a Car Seat

Cleaning a car seat can be a challenge, but knowing how to do it makes it so much easier. It doesn’t matter what kind of car seat you have, these steps work like magic!

  • Clean and vacuum: Use a handheld vacuum (or go to the car wash) to remove dirt, crumbs, and anything else sticky icky from the car seat.
  • Spot clean: Use a carpet cleaning solution to spot clean any stains. For tougher spots, use a degreaser and spray it onto the stain and watch it magically disappear. Next, use a damp washcloth to dab up the before it dries.  
  • Freshen up. Dip a washcloth (preferably cotton) into a mixture of hot water and baby-safe laundry soap. Wash the car seat down and put it outside to let it air dry. Improvise on a rainy day.


Install Car Seat Correctly

  • Make sure the car seat harness is not too loose. You don’t want your little one to be uncomfortable during a long ride, but it’s important to make sure the harness is in the correct position and not too loose. If you can place two fingers between your little one and the harness, it needs to be tightened.
  • Is your baby under-age 2?  If so, your baby should be forward-facing. All babies must stay forward-facing until they are two or meets the top weight indicated by the instructions included with the car seat.
  • Make sure the car seat base is secure. Make sure when you install the car seat that you push down with firmly with your body weight to make sure the base is secure and snug in your backseat. Need a fix? Loosen up the seat belt to re-position the base into the backseat again and tighten the seat belt.
  • Does the seat belt look straight or twisted? Pay careful attention to the instructions for your car seat, and keep an eye out for stickers on the seat itself indicating exactly where the seat belt should be positioned. The main thing is to make sure the shoulder belt is secure around the base of the seat and the lap belt is the one positioned closer toward your baby.


Are you ready to shop for car seats now? I hope so! Let’s go and see my top choices!

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat

  • BUILT TO GROW: The 3-in-1 car seat built to GROW for extended use through 3 stages: Rear-facing 5-40 pounds, Forward-facing 22-65 pounds, and Belt-positioning booster 40-100 pounds
  • SIDE IMPACT PROTECTION: The Grow and Go’s side impact protection helps keep your child safe. 3-position recline makes it easy to get a good fit in your car
  • EASY IN, EASY OUT: Harness holders keep the harness in an open position so it’s easy to get your child in and out of the seat
  • QUICKFIT HARNESS: With the QuickFit Harness you can easily adjust both the harness and headrest in one simple step. 2 integrated cup holders
  • WASH AND DRY: Machine washable and dryer safe seat pad features snaps that make it simple to take off of the seat; no fuss for truly easy cleaning

You won’t be disappointed with this infant car seat that includes extra features for safety and ease of use. Lightweight yet durable, this car seat features breathable and washable fabric, so you can keep it clean. Plus, the model is designed for babies of all sizes, including capabilities from rear-facing to booster.

This dependable, safe car seat will grow with your infant, so you’ll get years of use out of it. Aside from exceptional safety standards, this pick features three layers of side-impact protection, and it can be used rear-facing for kids up to 40 pounds and forward-facing up to 65 pounds.


Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat

  • 100% Polyester
  • Made in the USA and Imported
  • Side impact tested, Meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards and Evenflo’s side impact test standard
  • Designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately 2X the Federal crash test standard. The rear-facing fit tip on top of child’s head is at least 1 inch below the top of the child restraint seat back
  • Multiple shoulder harness positions for better fit and longer use. Age at least two years of age
  • Upfront harness adjustment and buckle release allows easy and convenient adjusting
  • Integrated body cushion gives added comfort to baby and an easily removable head pillow for older children

This neat looking car seat is as easy to install as it is to clean. The compact car seat fits perfectly into smaller cars. This is the perfect model for babysitters to keep on hand. This seat is perfect for the little ones who weigh up to 40 pounds. Another plus about it is not only is it lightweight and ideal for traveling, but it’s also easy to move to different vehicles.


Diono Radian R100 All In One Car Seat

• Rear-facing 5-40 lbs, forward-facing 20-65 lbs, booster mode 50-100 lbs, seated height 9-18 in, overall maximum height up to 57 in
• Super slim and portable – fits 3-across for growing families, folds flat for storage or travel
• Full steel frame designed for strength and safety
• EPS energy absorbing foam
• 5-point harness with 5 shoulder harness and 3 buckle positions to grow with your child
• Memory foam cushioning and thick harness pads
• Simple SuperLATCH™ connection makes installation quick and easy
• Patented Safe Stop® harness helps absorb impact energy while cushioning your child
• Unique rear-facing tether capability gives more stability during impact for an extra layer of protection
• Machine washable
• 10 year product life from date of purchase
• FAA certified

It has a 10-year life from date of purchase, sleek design, versatile, extended rear-facing, best for multiples, and folds flat for traveling. Need to fit two car seats in your backseat? This car seat is the “pick”.  Also, if you’re traveling with children, this convertible seat folds flat and it is FAA-approved for airplane use. (A big plus, handy to know!) This is the perfect car seat for a toddler, too, because it will grow with your child.  The only bummer about is there is no cup holder.


Chicco Fit2 Rear Facing Infant & Toddler Car Seat

  • 2-Stage base converts from Infant Position to Toddler Position, making it easy to stay rear-facing for the first 2 years
  • Provides more upright, spacious seating with adjustability and extended leg room for toddlers 9-24 months – without taking up extra space in the vehicle
  • Built-in stage-position lever lifts easily to convert the base with one motion; ReclineSure
  • Easiest to install with Recline Sure leveling foot, Ride Right bubble levels, and Super Cinch LATCH tightened
  • From the makers of the #1-rated Key Fit Infant Car Seat

This car seat is designed for rear-facing until the age of 2 or whenever your baby reaches 35 pounds. This car seat is designed to save space in your car so your kid can enjoy upright, roomier seating with extended leg room. It’s easy to install even though it is heavier than most other car seats.

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat, Davis

  • Helps protect rear-facing infants from 4-50 lb and forward-facing toddlers from 22-65 lb
  • 4-position extension panel adjusts to provide 5″ additional legroom allowing your child to ride safely rear-facing longer; Up to 50 pounds rear-facing allowing your child to ride safely rear-facing for longer
  • 6-position recline helps keep your child comfy; 10-position headrest adjusts easily for your growing child
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the height of your harness and headrest in one motion
  • InRight LATCH system for an easy, one-second LATCH attachment; an easy-to-read level indicator for hassle-free installation
  • Engineered & rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed US Standard FMVSS 213; Extend2Fit convertible car seat has been side-impact tested for occupant retention solely with the built-in 5-point harness system


I hope you have enjoyed this page.  Please feel free to ask questions or make any suggestions in the comments section.  All comments are welcomed!  I would love to hear them.



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Yannis says:

Excellent article! I wish I knew about child car seats back in the years I actually needed one. Luckily, I had no bad experience but being aware of the type of seats and their use is essential for child safety. Thank you very much!

Hi Yannis! You’re most welcome. I know what you mean. I am lucky as well and it’s solely the reason for me starting up this site to give out the information we really do need!

Feel free to check back once in awhile. Thank you for stopping by.


Susan Reeves says:

I have heard about the placement of the chest clip on car seats and people saying if placed incorrectly it can injure the baby. Would you care to explain the proper placement of the chest clip on car seats? Thank you!!

Hi Susan,

You brought up a good question. A lot of people make mistakes with the harnessing or as you say the chest clip.

If the child is in a rear-facing car seat, the harness strap should be at or below the child’s shoulders or if the child is in a forward-facing car seat, the harness strap should be at or above the child’s shoulders.

Make sure the harness straps are both going through the car seat, (the shell and cover) at the same level and neither strap should have any twists in it. Make sure the straps are snug, too. Two finger width should be sufficient.

Thanks for stopping by,


Susan Reeves says:

This is a very important piece of info so that in the event of a crash babies are safe and sound. Thank you for what you do and I am bookmarking this site!!

Hi Susan,

Yes, it is and glad I was able to clarify it for you. You’re most welcome, I enjoy posting useful information. I’m happy you find my site worthy of a bookmark, thank you.

All the best,


Blake M says:

This is very well written and very informative!! A good read for any new parents out there!

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