A child should be restrained in a car seat from the moment you take your baby home from the hospital until she grows into adult seat belts, typically around the age of 7 or 8. Every state requires that kids up to 4 years old ride in car seats; most require booster seats for older children. If you're looking for information about car seats, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports' car seat reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our car seat buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased Ratings and car seat reviews to help you choose the best car seat for your needs.
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<h3>Convertible car seats</h3>
Convertible seats accommodate children rear facing (most up to 35 lbs.) and then can be turned forward facing to accommodate children into their toddler years and beyond (seats range from 40 to 80 lb. forward facing harness limits). As such they offer a good value as they can be used for a number of years with multiple modes of use. Convertible models are grouped based on their maximum harness capacity (forward facing).
Consider features that help you install the seat properly and fit your child securely. A few are called out in the <b>model pages</b> by clicking on a model name.
Recommended models include those that provide the best balance of crash protection, ease-of-use, and fit-to-vehicle; as well as some others that deserve consideration for some special applications. Though many attributes are weighed in the determination of a model's overall performance, those below may prove particularly importan
<h3>Infant car seats</h3>
The ratings rank infant car seats by overall performance.
<h3>Toddler booster seats</h3>
These forward-facing seats are used with an internal harness for toddlers weighing between 20-90 pounds depending on the seat and then transition to use as a booster seat. They're either LATCH-attached or secured using the vehicle's safety belt when used in harness mode. Though a child as small as 20 lbs. is allowed for these forward facing seats, research shows that children are safer when rear facing. We recommend they stay rear-facing in a higher weight <b>infant seat</b> or rear-facing <b>convertible seat</b> until they reach 23 months of age or the weight limits of those seats which are typically between 30 and 35 lbs.
Booster seats are generally for children weighing 40 to 120 lbs. Boosters should be used until a child is at least 57 inches tall, the minimum height at which a car's seat belts will fit him or her appropriately, typically between the ages of 8 and 12 years.
The booster models listed below include those that offer the best balance of crash protection, ease-of-use, and the best potential to fit your child and vehicle at a reasonable price within each of their respective seat types.
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