It’s been a while since we last updated our list of recommended child restraints. Some models have been updated, some discontinued and many new products have been introduced. A few weeks ago we started the process of revising and updating the entire list and after much thought and discussion we arrived at a consensus. Behold our Updated List of Recommended Carseats!
We acknowledge that many certified child passenger safety technicians have had it ingrained upon them that they are supposed to act completely neutral toward child restraints. All child safety seats pass the same tests, they are all safe, blah, blah, blah. In their class to become certified, most techs were told never to tell a parent that one child seat or brand is better than any other. Instead, technicians are instructed to tell parents that the best seat is the one that fits their child, their vehicle and is easiest for them to use correctly. Nothing wrong with that.
Problem is, once you’ve installed even a dozen different seats, you quickly learn that there are real differences. Some child restraints do tend to fit better in general, while some are really easier to use in general. Even so, back in the CPS dark ages, rogue technicians who discussed the reality of different child seats were routinely burned at the stake! This very topic about the best or safest car seats even gave our dearly departed Marvin his career as a blogger!
Thankfully, those days of CPS witch hunts are long gone. The ”no recommendations” concept came to an end a few years back when the mighty NHTSA started recommending seats themselves. They didn’t make these recommendations based upon crash testing. No, they were made upon a subjective determination of factors relating to ease-of-use. Ironically, these factors were no more likely to apply to someone’s own child and vehicle than the recommendations of an experienced technician! Enter another respected institution, the IIHS. A few years back they began rating boosters based on fit to a standardized dummy. Again, no crash testing whatsoever. Again, no guarantees that the results apply to any particular child in any specific vehicle.
So, who is CarseatBlog to go recommending specific child seats? Sure, Heather and Kecia are very experienced certified Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructors. And Darren has been a certified technician for more than a decade and has like a zillion websites on the topic. We’ve all been involved with local Safe Kids organizations, SafetyBeltSafe USA and other groups. And we like to think that we’ve developed a great reputation in the professional CPS community. Most importantly, though, we’re just parents who have used a lot of different car seats. Like many products we use daily, we know which ones we tend to like in general, which ones we’d use without reservation for our own kids and which ones we are comfortable recommending to CarseatBlog readers and visitors.
So, please take our carseat recommendations with a grain of salt. They are merely opinions, after all. And while we did thoughtfully consider the pros and cons of each seat and combine that with our personal experiences with the product – there’s no crash testing involved. Some seats were omitted because we opted to include a similar model from the same manufacturer. For others, we simply didn’t have enough experience with the product to make an opinion at all. There are a number of products that we don’t mention, if only because a list of every seat we like would be too inclusive, so products that we don’t include may still be worth your consideration! Conversely, some seats we do list may just not work well for you, your child or your vehicle. We’re not saying these are the best or safest choices in child car seats, we’re just saying they’re models we think you should consider. If nothing else, it’s a good place to start when you are carseat or booster shopping!
Please feel free to leave a comment if you think one of our recommendations is rubbish or if you know of a product that you feel deserves a mention! Unlike some other organizations that think their word is the final one, we know our readers have recommendations just as valid as our own!