Our list of Recommended Carseats (technically Heather’s list with a little input from Kecia and me) was getting a bit obsolete. So were our Amazon lists that appear on the right hand column that show some of my favorite child safety seats and also Kecia’s list of models that offer extended harnessing. We are in the process of updating these lists to remove models that are no longer available or are just not as competitive since our last update.
We talked about why we recommend products in a previous blog. To summarize, it used to be that agencies and technicians were supposed to be impartial, even though we all knew that some models were clearly easier to use or install in a wider variety of situations. Even the NHTSA got in the game a few years back by publishing their own ratings system. So, we asked, why couldn’t we? And we did. Keep in mind that these are purely subjective opinions, though they are based on our experiences as technicians and instructors. We try not to be biased for or against specific brands. While we do tend to prefer premium models with additional safety and ease-of-use features, we also include a few more basic, budget choices. As such, our preferences may not be the same as yours. We can’t list every seat, so there are some very good models we don’t mention, some of which are probably your favorites (sorry!). Only you know what you will find easy to use and what will fit your child and vehicle well, so only you can determine if one of our suggestions is a good fit for you! When in doubt, always get a good return policy (Amazon now offers free returns on some models!) and please visit a child passenger safety technician if you have any problems!
Finally, please keep in mind that there is no way to compare the crash safety of child restraints in North America. There simply is not a rating system that allows you to compare the safety of carseats and correlates that to a risk of injury, such as the system we have from the NHTSA and IIHS to compare the crashworthiness of vehicles. You may find test results from the NHTSA or Transport Canada that are those used to determine if particular models pass or fail the required standards. Other tests are strictly for research and were not designed in a scientific manner that allows any kind of comparisons to be made. This lack of comparative information is a major shortcoming. Not only would a comprehensive crash testing system allow parents to determine if one model is safer than another, but it would also encourage manufacturers to improve their child seats as the vehicle manufacturers have done over the last decade or two. Until we have such a system, we basically have to trust the government and manufacturers that the current standards are enough.
In the mean time, you can always check out our recommendations!