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Car Seats: What I Know Now That I Wish I Knew Then

My baby will be turning 3 in a little over a month. THREE!? How is this even possible. 

My life has tremendously changed in the last three year in a ton of ways, obviously. I’ve learned so much about being a parent and only have, well, a lifetime of stuff left to learn.

Car Seats

I am in no way an expert at anything when it comes to parenting, but I’ve definitely done more research than I did 3 years and 10 months ago and this post is about one of those subjects – Car Seats! 

Car Seats: What I Know Now That I Wish I Knew Then

Car Seats Safety Usage

Car Seat Safety

The above infographic should be posted everywhere – doctors offices, hospitals, car seat retailers.  t’s a great visual guide and reminder of how car seats fit our children.

I honestly didn’t know all about car seat safety when Sophia was first born. I just thought you strapped them in. There is so much to learn as a new parent and for some reason car seats just wasn’t a priority, even though it certainly should have been.

Car seat manufacturers seem to be taking this into account when they’re creating new seats. By placing picture and word reminders on the sides of the seat AND making the seats easier to install the correct way, they’re making it easy on first time {and second… and third} parents!

Car Seats Can Be Simple

They really can be. I love the seats that give instructions on the side of the seat. 

Seats that have a little reminder of exactly where the chest clip should be placed. 


Little details can save a child’s life and make the parent feel much more at ease knowing they understand how to use their seat safely, which is why the infographic should be shared with everyone!

Forward/Rear Facing, Full Harness, Booster…

Which one is the right choice? 

Until your child is at least 22 lbs, rear facing is always the best choice. Hands down. The AAP actually recommends Rear Facing until 2 years old now {or until they exceed the height/weight limit of their car seat} and most high quality car seats are made for extended rear facing {up to 40 and 45 lbs}.

Julie Prom, Car Seat Safety Advocate for Chicco, actually has a great tip on the Booster Seat subject.

Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until at least 5 or 6 years old.

She also recommends to always use the top tether to attach the seat to your car’s seat to achieve the tightest installation.

Don’t Be Cheap

Chicco Car SeatsWhen you’re a new parent, it can be easy to try to skimp and save on some baby equipment. I know I did it. We chose a relatively in expensive {and let me just say cheap} convertible car seat for Sophia. 

She didn’t use it until she outgrew her infant seat, but it was still cheap.

There’s a reason that some seats are more expensive than others. They’re well made. Now, of course, I can’t review a seat that I’ve never seen, but in my experience the seats that are higher quality do cost more. 

But remember, you get what you pay for.

I’m kind of in love with the new Chicco NextFit, just from the description {and the picture}.

home-securelyI am in love with no re-threading and the fact that I could put the NextFit in myself would be a-mazing! Just this weekend, I took Sophia’s seat apart to wash everything and had to have Rob put it back in the van. There’s just no physical way that I can get it tight enough in there for it to not wiggle.

Although I liked having an infant seat for those times we ate out and the girls could stay in the seat – they never really did. I would just skip the whole idea of an infant seat and go straight for a fabulous convertible like this one and utilize my babywearing skills when we are out of the car.

Car Seats Expire

I had no clue and some parents still don’t know! Car seats are said to expire 5-9 years after the manufacturing date, but each seat is different. Most will have a date on the actual seat.

Your child probably spends a lot of time in their car seat and will continue to do so until they’re at least 6 years old {if you’re using your seat correctly}. Be sure you have a seat that’s comfortable for your child and that you’re comfortable with on the safety issue!

What’s one thing about Car Seats that You Know Now that you wish you’d known when your baby was an infant?


Monday 14th of March 2022

This blog post is great, thank you!


Monday 7th of October 2013

It is amazing how much the carseat technology has evolved and how much people DON"T know about carseats. We had our first child 10 months ago. This past May, we visited my in laws and I trusted they knew the car seat laws and safety recommendations since they had several previous grandchildren living nearby. Well, they told us they had a carseat we could use so not to worry about flying with one. Well, turns out, it was a FF one (and probably expired) and I didn't realize this until we were standing in the parking garage. Not really sure what to do or what other options we had at that point I figured I would have to roll with it since she was a bigger baby anyway and pray that everything would turn out okay. Everything did, but I still feel sick when I realized what the true consequences could have been that day. I was unaware of the whole internal decapitation thing at the time, but knew RF was safer. Anyway, point is, I will always be traveling with my own car seat from now on as it was a harsh lesson that no one really has your child's best interest in mind, but you!! I hope other people can learn from this story, but secretly, I hope that I am not the only one that has made this mistake either! Thanks! And thanks for the great information, I sure hope that the people that need this information will stumble across it!!

"If you want it done right, do it yourself"!!


Wednesday 9th of October 2013

Thank you so much for sharing, Sally! You are EXACTLY right! So glad that your little one was safe and continues to be!


Wednesday 1st of May 2013

something i didn't know until recently was that the harness is actually supposed to be pushed up across their heart. i always thought it looked uncomfortable and kept it closer to his belly. so make sure that not only the carseat is positioned right but that you have the harness in the correct position!


Friday 3rd of May 2013

Yes, armpit level!  I see so many babies with their harnesses down too low.

Ashley T

Friday 26th of April 2013

Thanks so much for this post! I still get flack for having my 6 year old in a booster seat. I know he isn't tall enough for the regular seat but I don't think Ohio has a rule in place for that. I'd rather be safe then sorry! Thanks!


Thursday 18th of April 2013

Most of the people I know in real life don't know about the ERF. They think it's still 1 and 20 pounds. Even my parents were confused. But my son't grandmother is supportive of it and even bought him his own convertible car seat!

He's still in his bucket seat and will be til he outgrows it. He will then be rearfacing as long as he fits in the convertible car seats. He is a big boy now so maybe not as long I want him to be, but it's still better than turning at 1!