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Baby on Board: A Guide to Transportation Safety for New Parents
From baby-proofing your home, to choosing the right toys, the learning curve for new parents can be overwhelming. If you’re a new parent in the market for a car seat or new vehicle, you’re probably having trouble finding enough hours in the day to sleep, let alone time to research product reviews. Rather than going out and picking up an item based on price, consider the following factors.

Car Seat Guidelines at a Glance
Because rear-facing car seats are the safest option, it’s recommended that infants and toddlers ride this way as long as possible. While some parents are anxious to switch their children to front-facing seats, this should never be done until the child is, at minimum, over one year of age, and weighs at least 20 pounds. There are three types of rear-facing seats, each appropriate for different needs. Consider your baby’s size, frequency of travel, and vehicle size when choosing a seat type.

Rear-facing only seats may be used by babies weighing up to 22 to 35 pounds, depending on the seat, and have features, such as a carry handle, a base that can be left installed in the car for easier transport, or the ability to hook into a stroller system, which make them good for frequent transport. Top-rated models include:
·  Graco SnugRide 5pt Rear Adjust
·  Britax Chaperone

Convertible seats aren’t as easy to transport, but can be turned around when your child is old enough sit facing forward. As such, they have a higher weight limit than other seats, and often include a five-point harness system, or overhead shield, but aren’t recommended for newborns. Top-rated models include:
·  Britax Marathon 70
·  Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite

3-in-1 seats have the highest weight and height limits, and convert into a seatbelt positioning booster, giving them the longest use life. They don’t, however, offer the transportation convenience features ideal for babies. Top-rated models include:
·  Graco Nautilus 3-in-1
·  Recaro ProSPORT

Buying a Family Vehicle
Today’s family vehicles are a far cry from your folk’s old station wagon. Nowadays, safe can still be stylish, so there is sure to be a vehicle out there to fit every family size and budget. Before purchasing a vehicle, always check its Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rating. If you’re looking for a car, start with the following IIHS top-rated vehicles.
·  The Subaru Legacy features steering wheel audio controls, and can fit up to three car seats.
·  The Hyundai Sonata features steering wheel controls, fits three car seats, and comes standard with Bluetooth capability and a USB jack.
·  The Kia Sorento features all-wheel drive, USB jack, available backup camera, and fits up to five car seats.
·  The Toyota Sienna features all-wheel drive, tons of storage space, five car seat capacity, and an available backup camera and power life gate.

Car seats and a family vehicle are among the most important items you can purchase for your child. When you do go out to make a purchase, keep in mind that price doesn’t necessarily reflect quality, so focus on what best fits your family’s needs first, and your wallet second. You’ll be glad you did.

Michael Muhammad is a freelance writer and blogs for cheapestcarinsurance.org.uk where you can get a better deal by comparing car insurance rates! – learn more. They even offer car insurance for 1 day!

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to drive safely.