What to Look for in a Quality Car Seat

For most new parents finding a good car seat that provides excellent protection, but not costing a small fortune, can be a daunting task. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of options available, yet no real guide to determining which one is really the best.

Don’t worry, though, Consumer Essentials is here to help you out. Down below we’ve provided a guide that will walk you through the most important features you need to look for in car seats. This guide will help you figure out what’s best for your child and your budget. If you’re unsure of what you need to be looking out for, be sure to read through the guide to learn so you don’t make the mistakes a lot of new parents do and purchase a seat that isn’t satisfactory for the safety of your kids!

Safety Features

Obviously the very first thing you need to look at are the safety features of the seat. After all, that is the primary function of a car seat – to protect your little one from harm if and when an accident occurs or even from hard braking and swerving that can occur in everyday driving.

When you’re looking at car seats you’ll definitely want to find a model that fits tightly in the car, has great stability for dealing with bumps or impacts, and a strong, yet comfy harness to hold your child securely in place. You’d think that these features would be no-brainers when it comes to car seats, but you’d be surprised. Some models just aren’t up to par in terms of stability and harness construction.

We’d like to point out that every seat on our top 5 picks are all thoroughly tested and either pass or exceed all state and federal safety regulations for car seats. Our picks consist only of the most stable and safe products available.


While you definitely want your child to be safe at all times while riding in the car you’ll also want them to be comfortable. An uncomfortable kid means tons of whining, complaining, and general unhappiness. That’s not something any parent wants for their children. So, when shopping for the best car seats, you’ll want to check out what the seat offers in terms of comfort options.

Good things to look for include plenty of padding, adjustable headrests, multiple reclining options, and cup holders. Padding helps keep your child snug and feeling cozy while riding in the car, especially on long trips. Adjustable headrests, much like those on your adult-sized seat, are meant to properly support the head and neck. Reclining options are a big plus for both comfort and functionality. With more recline settings you can make a seat fit better in different cars. Finally, cup holders are great to have so your child doesn’t resort to just tossing their cup on the floor boards when they’re tired of holding it.

Different Types of Car Seats

Car seats come in a few different varieties. Different models are designed to accommodate children of various sizes, convert to fit kids of all ages, or even meet the needs for children with disabilities. Which one you pick will depend on your personal preferences, budget, and other variables.

The most popular models of today are traditional infant car seats, convertible seats, and booster seats. As the name suggests, infant car seats are mostly designed for babies. They are typically rear-facing models that are designed to protect the most vulnerable areas of the infant and keep them snugly and comfortably strapped in the car.

Convertible seats are one of the most useful types of car seats available. These models are designed to last several years and accommodate kids of nearly every size. They are often made to be used in a rear-facing mode for infants, a front-facing mode for tots, and can even be transformed into a booster seat for older kids.

Booster seats are mostly meant for older children that aren’t quite big enough to meet state law requirements for sitting in a normal car seat like an adult. These are generally used for kids 7 to 10 that are under 57 inches of height and 100 pounds in weight.


Another big thing to look at is price. Prices vary greatly on car seats depending on the brand, model, and type of seat. The most basic seats typically cost around $40 to $60 each. A more advanced model, such as a high-end convertible seat, can run as high as $600. There’s literally a model out there for anyone’s budget.

The best prices are most often found on Amazon.com. This website has a huge selection of seats, considerably lower prices than most retail stores, fast shipping, and excellent customer service. Amazon is easily the best place to shop for all of your child protection needs. All of the options we list above and below are available for purchase from Amazon.