The rating system for convertible car seats is measured with the 5-star rating system that is provided by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). This system allows for easy evaluation how certain car seat features are to use before you were to buy a seat for your child.
The system gives each seat a rating value between 5 (best) and 1 (worst) stars, where the stars stand for:
- 5 stars: Excellent features on this product for this category
- 4 stars: Above average features on this product for this category
- 3 stars: Average features on this product for this category
- 2 stars: Below average features on this product for this category
- 1 star: Poor features on this product for this category
- N/A: Does not contain any features that require a rating
Features that are rated in this rating
Rates the adequate height and weight limits – these are the values that represent when you should switch from a car seat to a booster. To avoid prematurely switching to a booster seat, which could even be dangerous in certain situations, you should give attention to these values. Keep in mind that in case of accident these limits do not match with child’s height and weight, insurance coverage etc. will be at risk, not to mention child’s safety.
For easy installation, check for the presence of LATCH system. Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children offers easy installation with the push-button or rigid connectors. The seat should have the adjustable harness heights for maximum child safety and comfortable use. One other important feature are also the adjustable recline angles as this is the setup to insure the correct safety in case of an accident.
Do not overlook the following
Will you be using the seat from the very beginning when you receive your baby? In this case you have to be careful to check for minimum requirements of the seat you are looking for. Some seats have specified minimum weight limits, harness sizes etc.
Are planning to use the seat for everyday use or just occasional? For this make sure you give higher or lower priority to quick installation, resistant to heavy use etc. Be sure to put this on paper before you make a final decision.
Also do not forget to look for things like your space in vehicle. Be sure to not buy something that will be a problem to fit in a small car. One thing often overlooked is also if you plan to use this seat for one child only or will you use interchangeably. Sometimes it is not feasible to have one seat for two children, especially if they are too far apart. In this case be careful to not one child in a seat not appropriate for him.
This is a quick overview for convertible car seat safety ratings 2013.