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It goes without saying: you want the best infant car seat for your newborn. Car seats save lives and reduce injuries, which is why they’re required in all 50 states. Most hospitals won't let you take baby home without one.
Baby’s first car seat will be an infant car seat, also called a car seat carrier. (The seat detaches from the base and has a built-in handle, so it's a secure, easy way to carry newborns around.) This car seat is always positioned rear-facing, and always in the vehicle's backseat.
Why rear-facing? Because it's the safest position, hands down. The longer you can keep your baby rear-facing, the safer he will be. Rear-facing infant car seats generally support babies up to 22 lbs., although some support as much as 35 lbs. The more, the better!
All car seats must meet or exceed specificcar seat laws and federal standards. From the safety experts' viewpoint, the "best" infant car seat is one that
Beyond these safety basics, some infant car seats offer additional features that, we think, make them better choices. Some offer enhanced safety features or are easier to install correctly. Others provide greater comfort or convenience. Here are some of the things our buyers look for:
And after you buy, be sure to read your manual (even if you rarely read manuals) and follow the manufacturer's installations directions. Many manufacturers also provide installation how-to videos online. Register your car seat with the manufacturer, so you'll be notified of any news or recalls. And, since four out of five car seats are installed incorrectly, periodically take advantage of free car seat inspections held in your area. That way, you'll know your infant car seat is always doing its job to protect your baby.
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