Baby Safety Tips, Car Seat Safety Tips

Common Problems with Car Seats and How to Solve Them

Melanie Pierce

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Common Problems with Car Seats and How to Solve Them

When it comes to car seat usage, sometimes you may encounter some common problems or wonder how best to solve a particular issue.

In this guide, I seek to help you find the answers to tricky situations and help you find the right seat for your child and your vehicle.

Sometimes just knowing what to look for can go a long way to helping you feel prepared for a safe, happy ride!

Problem #1: I don’t know how I will fit 3 car seats across the backseat of my vehicle.

It’s true that most car seats have a pretty wide profile and take up a lot of room!

For this reason, some parents upgrade to a larger vehicle that has 3rd row seating so that car seats can be spread out if you need to install more than two. Sometimes that just isn’t an option, however, and you need to be able to place 3 car seats in a row.

In this case, you will want to buy slim or narrow car seats. If your child is the correct age and size for riding safely in a convertible car seat, there are several options on the market in this category.

One of our favorites is the Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Convertible Car Seat because it is known to fit 3 across in many vehicles due to the fact that it’s outside dimensions are only 19.88” across, plus it is very affordable.

Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Car Seat -Slim & Comfy Design Saves Space in Your Back Seat, Darcie, One Size

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One of our favorites is the Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Convertible Car Seat because it is known to fit 3 across in many vehicles due to the fact that it’s outside dimensions are only 19.88” across, plus it is very affordable.

Diono 2019 Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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If you need something even more slim than that, than you may want to consider the deluxe Diono Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat which is even more narrow at only 17” across. This a popular favorite for families who want this unique feature and are willing to pay extra for it.

Problem #2: I don’t want to unstrap my infant out of the carseat every time we get to town.

For smaller babies, sometimes it is really handy to keep them in their seats when going out to town for shopping or other errands, especially if they have fallen asleep during the car ride! For this situation, you will want to invest in an infant carrier car seat before transitioning to a convertible car seat.

The great thing about this category of seats is that they come with a carrying handle and can snap in/out of their base. If you use more than one car, you can even put a base in each car.

Plus many of the infant seats are compatible with a travel system which means that you can move the seat from the installed base to a stroller and back again with little effort.

Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip Infant Car Seat, Minerale

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Though there are many options on the market, one of our all-time favorite infant carriers is the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip Infant Car Seat because it is so plush, easy to install, and works with Chicco’s travel system.

Problem #3: I don’t want to have to keep buying a new car seat for every stage my child passes through!

Considering that there are so many different types of seats depending on a child’s age, height, weight, and maturity level, it is no wonder that many parents are frustrated with the idea of needing to purchase multiple different ones as their child grows.

Well, luckily, there’s a solution for that problem, too!

Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat | Infant to Toddler Car Seat, with 10 Years of Use, Fairmont

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In this case, you will want to get an All-in-One Carseat. It will take your child from babyhood to booster and may even last them as long as 10 years! Our top pick in this category of seat is the Graco 4Ever DLX All-in-One because it is so long-lasting! It will protect your child from an amazing range of 4-120 pounds!

Problem #4: I want to keep my child rear-facing as long as possible, but I’m afraid they will outgrow their rear-facing car seat!

As awareness has increased that rear-facing for as long as possible is safer and preferable to front-facing, there has been a surge of parents that are seeking out an answer to this problem. Many infant car seats max out when your child reaches 30 lbs and even most convertible car seats max out for rear-facing at the 40 pound mark.

But never fear, some manufacturers have heard your need and have answered!

We are so impressed with the fact that you can now buy a convertible car seat that will allow you to rear-face your child to a maximum of 50 pounds! For some children, that means that they can safely be rear-faced until the ages of 4-6!

Graco Extend2Fit Platinum Convertible Car Seat, Hayden

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One of these incredible seats that we are crazy about is the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat due to the amazing extension panel that gives kids extra leg-room as they grow taller, plus it has an InLine EZ Tight Latch System for a simple install. My granddaughter loves hers and will be in it for years to come!

Problem #5: Installing a car seat is so time-consuming and difficult!

As parents, we all know what a pain in the neck it is to get a proper install on a car seat. Trying to thread the seat belt through a small hole that our hand doesn’t fit through and dealing with a wobbly seat and loose seat belts that won’t tighten is enough to bring out the bear in most of us.

Thankfully some companies have listened to us whine and complain about this problem and have come up with some awesome solutions!

One of the things you will want to look for is the InLine or EZ Tight Latch systems which allow you to use the LATCH bars in your vehicle with ease, both for install and detachment. Traditional Latch hooks, which are common on most car seats, are cumbersome and difficult especially to unlatch. Don’t forget, however, that all LATCH systems have weight restrictions and you will have to use a seatbelt install after your child reaches 40 pounds (if your seat weighs about 25 lbs.). This is because LATCH bars can only hold a combined weight (both child and seat) of up to 65 pounds.

The alternative to using an EZ LATCH system, however, is to always install with the vehicle’s seat belt. (Never use both the LATCH system AND the vehicle seat belt!). As I have mentioned, most seats make a seat belt install cumbersome, but there is ONE wonderful exception to the rule! Read on!

Our all-time favorite convertible car seat to install has a unique feature that allows the seat of the car seat to lift up and back, revealing the seat belt path. It completely takes out the guesswork and aggravation for a perfectly easy and tight seat belt install every time since it literally locks the vehicle seat belt into place with a firm click.

Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat - 2 Layer Impact Protection - Rear & Forward Facing - 5 to 65 Pounds, Circa

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This seat is the amazing Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat and even will also allow you to rear-face up to 50 pounds!

Problem #6: Car seats are so difficult to clean and I dread needing to wash mine!

This is a problem that all parents wish would go away for good!

Thankfully, several manufacturers who have come to our rescue. You will want to find a seat with an Easy-to-Remove cover and there are several to choose from, including the Graco Extend2Fit and Britax Boulevard seats that we’ve already mentioned.

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat - Carbon

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Beyond those, we are also pretty crazy about the way that Chicco has designed their cover to literally “ZIp Off” in one smooth motion. Could you get it any easier than with the Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat?

Problem #7: My child is ready for a booster, but our vehicle doesn’t have proper head and neck support.

This can be a real problem with older vehicles or in certain types of passenger vans with low seat backs. Never let your child ride without proper support for their head and neck.

The solution to this problem is to make sure that your child is restrained in high-back booster, not a backless booster.

Britax Midpoint Belt-Positioning Booster Seat - 2 Layer Impact Protection - 40 to 120 pounds - DualComfort Moisture Wicking Fabric, Gray

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One of our favorite high-back boosters that can accommodate your growing child is the Britax Midpoint Belt-Positioning Booster Seat which can safely hold a child up to 120 lbs and 63” tall.

Problem #8: I am concerned with chemicals and fire retardants that car seats are manufactured with these days.

These is a real concern of many parents these days and thankfully, there are a few companies that have addressed it. The main manufacturers who are producing “non-toxic” car seats are Diono (previously mentioned), Maxi-Cosi, and Clek. These do tend to be quite pricey car seats, so be aware. But for those who are willing to pay for this special feature, we are glad these options are available.

Clek Fllo Convertible Car Seat

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One of our favorites is the Clek Fllo Convertible Baby and Toddler Car Seat which also solves other problems as well, such as the need to rear-face to 50 lbs and is super slim at under 17” wide.

Problem #9: I can’t afford a really expensive car seat, but I want my child to be safe.

It’s really important to remember that ALL car seats on the market are required to pass the same minimum safety standards. That means that ALL car seats are safe, even if they don’t have the extra bells and whistles.

More expensive seats may have extra features, be more comfortable, or be easier to use, but that doesn’t make them safer.

In fact, even though most manufacturers boast about their extra “security” features, these are merely their opinions as there is literally no way to compare them to other seats or prove empirically that they are safer. So, rest assured, that as long as you are using a properly installed car seat that truly fits your child, even if it is the cheapest one on the market, you are doing right by them!

Just remember that you should rear-face and use a 5-point harness to the max limits of the seat if you want to maximize your child’s safety. Don’t rush to use a booster seat!

Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat (Heather Onyx Gray)

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A budget-friendly option convertible car seat that we recommend is the Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat. Some families even prefer this seat because it is lightweight, simple to move from car-to-car, and easy to use for airline travel.

Problem #10: My child doesn’t want to sit in a car seat or booster because it makes them feel like they are a “baby.”

As your child gets older, this can be a really big problem. It is important to remember that no matter how they feel about being properly buckled, as their parent you need to enforce proper car seat and booster usage for their safety.

Use this opportunity to explain to your child why it is so important to be properly buckled.

Children who are teased by their peers or feel embarrassed about using safety seats will benefit if they are empowered to speak up about proper car seat usage to others.

Help them find their voice and remind them that they can be a part of the change that brings car seat and booster awareness to the forefront.

Try showing your child safety crash test videos (with dummies) that show what can happen when children are not restrained properly.

Teach them the importance of making sure that they take responsibility to always make sure their seat belt sits low on their hips, not on their bellies, with the shoulder strap making contact across the middle of their shoulder.

Children who are raised to know that moving from a 5-point harness to a booster to a vehicle seat belt are not milestones to be achieved will be less likely to want to rush from one to the other. Teach them that maxing out the limits of their seats is the best and safest method and that they can only move to a booster when they can use it properly 100% of the time.

I have found for my children that purchasing classy, neutral seats and boosters that look more mature and less baby-ish can also help a child make these transitions.

My daughter loved her high back 5-point harness/booster combo seat because we dubbed it her “princess throne.” Don’t be afraid to make your child proud of their seat!

Some of our favorite choices for combo seats and boosters that big kids find comfortable and easy to use are as follows:

So there you have 10 common problems that parents face when choosing or using car seats with their children!

Hopefully these 10 solutions will help you navigate these tricky areas and give you the answers you seek. What other issues or concerns do you have about car seats? Please feel free to drop your comments in the section below. We would love to help you figure out the best way to solve what you are up against!

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