Toddler Car Seats (9 months - 4 years)
It seems like it was only yesterday when you brought your little one home from the hospital in a baby car seat. And in a blink of an eye, it’s time for your little bub to experience a new view of the world in their new toddler car seat.
The move from rear-facing to forward-facing car seats is a big milestone in your child’s life. However it’s recommended to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible, i.e at least till 2 years old or until he reaches the maximum height and weight limit allowed by the manufacturer. As your toddler gets older and reaches these limits of the rear-facing car seat, you can safely switch to a front-facing toddler seat for in the car.
Depending on your lifestyle and of course your car, you can choose from two main types of toddler car seats:
Convertible toddler car seats
Nowadays parents seem to be opting for convertible car seats as they can be used from the time your child is a newborn. These toddler car seats start out rear-facing, then convert to a forward-facing seat and very often into a booster seat. Convertible seats are however heavy and bulky. They don’t have a static base you can install like an infant seat, so switching from car to car means installing and uninstalling each time and also can’t be used as an infant carrier. But they can save you money in the long run since you won’t need to buy 3 or more seats as your child grows!
Forward-facing toddler car seats
These toddler car seats will keep your child in a 5-point harness but will allow her to interact with you easier as they are forward-facing. You can also see bub easier in the rear view mirror. Some forward-facing car seats for toddlers are simply one mode of a convertible seat, while others do double duty as forward-facing and booster modes. Very few car seats these days are only forward-facing.
Buying the right toddler car seat
Only buy a toddler car seat if it comes with the date of manufacture, product name, model number and original instructions. It’s recommended to put your child in the seat to try it out before you buying, as s/he must be within the weight and height range provided by the car seat manufacturer.
You must also check how the toddler car seat will be installed, either using the cars own seat belt or the LATCH or ISOFIX system with built-in anchors. Consider things like the material, cushioning, whether the harness is comfortable, the back and neck support and whether the car seats recline can be adjusted.