Stretch Your Dollar: Purchasing the right car seat

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A car seat is one of the most important purchases a new parent will make. But, does more expensive mean better?

When it comes to child safety, parents will usually go the extra mile and spend the extra buck in the name of safety. But some experts say it’s not the price tag that makes the difference.

“The best car seat for a child is not always the one that costs the most. It’s the one you can install correctly, each and every time in your vehicle. So it depends on the vehicle locking system you have. If you have lower anchors to be able to install that safety seat,” said Marisol Feliciano.

Marisol Feliciano, with the St Francis Hospital Violence and Injury Prevention program, showed us how a car seat should fit and operate easily for a parent. Laws are changing to keep children rear-facing longer and manufacturers are keeping up.

“They’re extending the use of the harness system. Right now when the law says a child needs to be harnessed until 40 pounds. Some car seats that are like 3 in 1s, they go up to 50 pounds, 65 pounds, so a parent gets a lot more for their buck,” said Feliciano.

One thing you shouldn’t do is buy a used car seat from a tag sale or internet site. You may not get a clear picture of whether it was damaged in an accident or used past its prime.

“Car seats expire. The average age is 6 years old. But some of these 3 in 1, bigger seats, you can use them up to 10 years,” said Feliciano.

Before you make a purchase, she suggests checking with experts to help choose or install. Many fire departments can help you, or injury prevention experts like herself at St. Francis.

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