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You know nothing is more important than keeping your baby safe. That’s our priority, too. That's why every car seat you'll find at Babies “R” Us meets all of Transport Canada’s strict safety standards. There’s more to picking the best car seat than a stylin’ design and a nod from the government, though. Here are some features to consider when comparing car seats.
Car seats were originally designed with a focus on head-on or rear collision—which is great until someone runs a red light and hits your door. Now manufacturers have turned their attention to improving the car seat’s ability to shield a baby’s body and head in a side-impact collision. Energy-absorbing foam is frequently used to “build in” the protection.
Newborns have heavy heads and weak necks, so when placed in a car seat at the correct 45-degree angle, they tend to droop over like a wilted daisy. Support cushions will keep them much more comfortable, and also aid in proper positioning.
Car seat straps need to fit just right, and that means frequent adjustments as your baby grows. This feature allows for easy, frontal adjustment of the harness system (no need to reach behind your baby or rethread the straps). The best versions have a knob or slide that allows you to move the harness up or down continuously, rather than into pre-set positions.
Some seats have just one recline setting, but since all back seats are not identical, that setting may not be right for your car. Multiple recline settings will allow you to get your rear-facing safety seat at the correct angle, and help make a forward-facing child more comfortable.
Your rear-facing car seat needs to be upright enough to provide solid back and neck protection, but reclined enough to prevent your baby’s head from falling forward while they sleep. The instruction manual will tell you the correct angle (usually 45 degrees), but how do you know if you’ve got it right? Some car seats have a level indicator to help figure it out for you.
An adjustable base (for a rear-facing seat) makes it easier to seat the base solidly and position the car seat correctly. All infant car seats are equipped with a height-adjustable base.
Babies are messy. They just are. Your car seat will get something gross on it eventually. Some car seats have covers that strip right off and go in the washer. Some covers cannot be removed so look for fabric that will stand up to vigorous hand scrubbing.