Which Car Seat Is Right For You?
Searching for the right car seat for you and your family? From crash testing to flame retardants to accessories, these are the things you need to consider.
24Choosing a car seat is one of those decisions that new parents take very seriously. There are so many options to choose from that it’s easy to be overwhelmed. It gets even more complicated when you consider what materials car seats are made of. ‘What is my baby sitting in?’ is the question that comes to mind for many parents. Once you start investigating further, it can be quite tricky to know what’s best. But first, it’s important to understand what’s required by law.
What to look for when choosing a car seat
Whether choosing a seat for an infant or a more mature baby or toddler, here are some simple starter guidelines:
- Crash Testing: It goes without saying that knowing a seat will survive a crash with flying colors is a must-have. All the car seat brands offered at The Tot are thoroughly crash-tested by the manufacturers to provide the best impact protection and not only meet the U.S. criteria but exceed them.
- Flame Retardants: In a perfect world, we wouldn’t be strapping our kids into car seats laden with chemicals but laws dictate that they must be flame-retardant. However, the brands we stock at The Tot have chosen to remove the most harmful flame-retardant chemicals from their car seat products or are naturally free of them. Many, like Nuna, have also found flame-retardant free materials by using options like wool.
- Rear-Facing Options: It is recommended that you rear-face your child for as long as possible and some infant car seats accommodate that longer than others. Whether you are buying an infant seat or a convertible, consider that you will want to have the option to continue to rear-face your child for a time. If your budget is limited, choosing a seat that will last you past infancy is a wise investment as it will allow you to safely rear-face your infant and you won’t need a new seat for a while.
- Extra Accessories: It might sound like a smart workaround to add an organic seat cover or barrier between your child and a car seat, but it’s a dangerous gamble to take. Car seats are not safety crash tested with extra covers or padding that are not provided with the seat. So altering a car seat is potentially putting your child at a risk.
Flame Retardants and US Car Seat Requirements
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires that all materials inside a vehicle in the US meet anti-inflammability standards in the event of a crash. This includes car seats. So regardless of what seat you choose, it will need to meet this regulation.
According to non-profit environmental organization The Ecology Center’s 2016 report on toxic chemicals in car seats, two classes of flame retardants – brominated and phosphorus-based – are still widely used in car seats in the U.S. But for the first time since they started testing car seats, chlorinated flame retardants weren’t present in any of the seats. Given that brominated and chlorinated flame retardants (also called halogenated) are the types that are most harmful to developing children, the lack of chlorinated flame retardants is an improvement – but there’s still a long way to go.
Since then, brands such as Nuna and Clek has developed seats that are free of flame retardant like the Nuna Pipa Lite LX and Clek Liing.
When it comes to selecting a seat, there are several other important things to consider, and of course there are variables such as car safety, car size, size of the child and budget. Despite the regulations, we do have options, but overall being safe in the event of a car crash is most important.
Scroll down to see which car seats we approve of and why!
Nuna PIPA Lite RX Car Seat and RELX Base
The Nuna PIPA Lite RX car seat gives you the freedom to go anywhere with — thanks to a belt path or base installation it can be moved from your vehicle to grandma’s car to a taxi easily. It’s also lightweight, has been screened for over 10,000 chemicals and memory foam inside the headrest fits to your child perfectly, and grows with them. It also connects to all NUNA strollers to create a complete travel system.
Nuna PIPA Lite LX Car Seat
The Nuna PIPA Lite LX seat is entirely free of flame retardants – hooray! How is this so? The smartly sourced elements are actually flame resistant so they contain no added retardant chemicals. And at 5.7 pounds, it’s one of the lightest car seats on the market. You’ll also love the slick new design, cushy micro-knit fabric and comfortable carry handle. But most importantly, the five-point safety harness, True Lock installation system and side impact protection ensure every car trip is a safe and secure one for your baby.
Nuna PIPA Infant Car Seat and Base
Style and safety should never have to be sacrificed. Thanks to the clever and fashionable PIPA infant car seat, both of these essentials are combined; providing ultimate comfort and protection for little lives. Its sleekly styled and revolutionary dream drape™ creates a shelter that harbors baby from the elements, making it a must have safe haven. Some of the fantastic features include flame retardant free fabric, a heavy duty shell is resilient yet ultra lightweight, a removable, full coverage two position & protective UPF 50+ canopy with flip out eyeshade and the crumple zone within the stability leg absorbs impact and minimizes force to baby.
Nuna Rava Convertible Car Seat
The Nuna Rava is a fantastic convertible car seat option because it’s suitable for use from 5 lb. It’s also been recently updated with flame-retardant free fabrics, can be used rear or forward facing and comes in a range of colors. Designed to provide up to two additional inches of legroom when rear facing and extra support for forward-facing riders, it’s a seat that will grow with your tot.
Nuna Aace 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat
The Nuna Aace Car Seat provides a safe car seat for your pre-schooler right up to your independent pre-teen. The customizable side impact protection pods and belt-path indicators make riding in the car super secure. Some of the great features include a removable & machine washable micro-knit fabric and 9 position adjustable headrest, and an extendible, expandable seat with eight recline positions.
CLEK Liing Infant Car Seat and Base
Looking for a car seat that’s comfortable, lightweight, travels easily and exceeds US and Canadian safety standards? Let us introduce you to the CLEK Liing Car Seat. Free from flame retardants and screened for over 10,000 chemicals, the Liing also uses Crypton C-Zero Plus performance fabric which protects against stains, moisture, and odor-causing bacteria (this is a game-changer with a baby). It has a 2-stage insert system that provides proper head support and a snug seating position and anti-rotation metal load leg that absorbs energy in a collision.