How to Choose a Car Seat

The Best Seat for You

Even with these innovations, the most important rules in choosing a car seat remain the same: Look for one that’s easy to use and is compatible with your car. Regardless of its safety features, a car seat won’t protect your baby if you don’t install and use it correctly every time, says Marilyn Bull, M.D., medical director of the Automotive Safety for Children Program at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

Do research and shop around, Fields says. Ask a mom friend with a similar car for a recommendation. Read message boards and consumer reviews on Web sites like and Study the car seat compatibility database on and crash-test results on consumer Before buying, hit the stores to check out some seats in person. If possible, take samples to your car to see if they fit, and fiddle with the harness to make sure it adjusts easily.