If you’re in an online moms group, heck, if you’re on Facebook, you’ve seen this question time and time again. “What is the best car seat?” The poster will receive dozens of conflicting responses and will be no better off than when she started. Been there!
Earlier this year when I was invited to visit the Britax headquarters, I joined in the song and dance and asked the good folks at Britax USA that same age-old question. Expecting to hear the model name and number of the latest Britax car seat, I was stunned to hear their actual response.
I know you’re itching to hear their best car seat advice, but first I have to tell you about this life-changing trip. Since all Britax car seats are made right here in the USA, we actually had the opportunity to hop onto the assembly line and create a few car seats ourselves! It was incredible to see the inner workings of a car seat and to witness the skill, precision and care that each team member takes to build each and every seat.
I was surprised and impressed to learn that just about every single aspect of the Britax company and their products are housed within their United States headquarters. From customer service and testing to engineering, marketing and fashion, every part of the company works together right in the same building. You can feel a warmth within their headquarters that comes from their shared dedication to safety and children.
Okay, so what’s the best car seat? Well, instead of wheeling a new ClickTight model into the room, Britax’s in-house director of consumer advocacy stressed this simple adage. The best car seat is the one that fits your child and fits your vehicle.
Wait, you mean there isn’t one clear answer? Nope! There’s not! As an active participant in the world of Facebook moms and mommy groups, this information is groundbreaking to me. While it may be interesting to hear what seat works for so-and-so’s child, Britax stresses that what is best is to make sure that your child fits comfortably and that you are able to install the seat correctly every time in your specific vehicle.
Here are some helpful tips to help you find the best fit for your child and your car:
Fits Your Child. Check and re-check your car seat’s instruction manual to ensure that it is still an appropriate choice and in the appropriate position for your child’s ever-changing weight, height and body development (set calendar reminders every couple of months).
Fits Your Vehicle. Consider where you will be placing the seat and who will typically sit in front of them (remember the back of the front seats should never touch the car seat in the back seat). Also, take into consideration how often you will need to install and uninstall the seat—it needs to be a good experience every single time to ensure you have accurately installed the seat 100% to the manufacturer’s regulations. Same goes for buckling your child into the seat, if you cannot comfortably and clearly place them in and buckle them tight and correctly every single time, you should reconsider your placement or seat choice.
Additionally, Britax points out there may be a difference between the law and best practices for car seat safety. The law is simply the legal minimum requirement while best practices introduce you to the top standards in protection and the most acceptable ways to transport children in cars based on their age, weight, height and body development. Speaking of body development, I found it most helpful to consult parents of children slightly older than mine with similar body types when we were researching convertible seats for our daughter. We also brought our little girl to multiple retailers so that she could “test drive” car seats in the store and in our car. This is incredibly helpful and most retailers totally allow it!
During our Britax USA headquarters tour, we were able to witness a car seat safety test. If you ever have the opportunity to do so, I urge you to take advantage. It is an eye-opening experience that completely rocked me to my core. I am not exaggerating when I say that I visualize that test every single time I buckle my child into her seat. Did you know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approximately 96% of parents believe their child seats are installed correctly, but that every day in America only 1 in 4 children actually ride in car seats that fit them and are installed correctly?
Take some time today or this weekend with your family to go over the safety standards for your child’s seat by reviewing the manual and this list of common misuses from Britax: •Installation in vehicle too loose •Harness too loose around child •Chest clip/retainer clip improperly positioned •Wrong size car seat for child size •Child facing the wrong direction in vehicle •No car seat at all •Infant carrier handle position in vehicle •Use of car seat beyond recommended life by manufacturer •Angle of car seat incorrect •Aftermarket products/heavy coats, clothing, blankets. Be sure to search out a child passenger safety technician in your area to double check your installation.
Car seat talk can cause some anxiety, but after my tour at Britax I think it should create a sense of security for yourself and your child. The team at Britax shows their dedication and care at every step of the process. Witnessing their genuine care for the responsibility they carry gave me a sense of peace and comfort in their expertly-designed and tested safety products. Thank you to Britax for hosting a life-changing event and welcoming me into your state-of-the-art headquarters. You can learn more about their products at Britax.com.
Britax covered travel costs for the visit. Thanks for your support
in our effort to bring you exciting content.