It’s critical that the infant or toddler car seat that your child goes into is safe for them. To ensure the safety of children, car seat manufacturer’s and safety regulators put car seats through a series of tests to see how they survive and protect children. By reading Safety 1st car seat reviews, parents can get help finding a safe seat for their babies.
When a company sells car seats for infants and children in the United States, each model must comply with federal car seat standards as set by FMVSS 213. This regulation aims explicitly to reduce the number of deaths among children by helping to make car seats safer. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among children under the age of 13.
Along with federal regulators like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, consumer organizations, and car seat manufacturers conduct crash tests to ensure car seats are safe for infants, toddlers, and younger children. Some of the crash tests are for rear-end, side-impact, and head on collisions.
They are meant to test things like the car seat abilities to stay in place during rear-end collisions instead of flying forward into the front seat of the vehicle, how well the safety features withstand testing, and whether the materials of the car seats absorb the impacts to reduce harm to the children in them.
They also test the restraints of the car seats and the LATCH, or Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, system to ensure they can withstand impacts from auto accidents. Those that fail the testing do not receive certification like those that pass the tests do. When car seats pass the certification tests, the information is on the box of the car seat for potential buyers to see.
Some of the criteria car seats must pass to meet the federal standards under FMVSS 213 include things like:
The regulation also speaks to labeling, including instructions with car seats, registration forms, and meeting flammability regulations.
If you’re old enough to remember the “Baby on Board” signs from the mid-1980s, then you’re familiar with the Safety 1st company. They created the signs to bring awareness to the presence of babies in cars to bring down the rate of motor vehicle accident deaths for children. From that beginning, the company then manufactured other baby safety products and came out with their first car seat in 2001.
The company is among the top-rated brands of car seats for infants and toddlers in the United States. They have a collection of good quality, safe car seats, for reasonable budgets. Their collection consists of infant and 3-in1 convertible car seats, as well as booster seats. Among the most notable model is the Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat.
The Guide 65 accommodates children from five to 40 pounds when it is rear-facing and 22 to 65 pounds as a forward-facing car seat. Its design is for smaller vehicles or backseats, so it fits in them better. If it is in a larger vehicle, it provides more room in the backseat for other passengers or additional car seats. In some backseats, three of these car seats can fit side by side.
The car seat measures 27.25 x 18.50 x 20.25-inches and weighs 14 pounds. Some of its safety features include:
Safety 1st offers a one-year warranty on this model.
Another convertible car seat model from this company is the Grow and Go Air 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat. The primary difference between this model and the Guide 65 is the maximum weight that the Grow and Go Air will hold, which is 100 pounds. Along with rear- and forward-facing positions, this model converts into a belt-positioning booster seat for slightly older kids.
It also comes with the Air Protect safety feature that provides air cushioning that better protects the child and makes them more comfortable in the seat. Its QuickFit harness allows parents to adjust the harness and headrest in one step. It uses a five-point harness with harness holders to make it easier to put in and take out the little ones.
The car seat reclines in three positions to better fit in a backseat. It also has a smaller design to take up less space, and it leaves about seven inches of space in the front. Unlike the Guide 65, the cover of the car seat, along with the seat pad, is machine washable and dryer safe.
The cover design makes it easy to take it off the car seat for cleaning and easy to put back on, which is a problem with the Guide 65. Many parents who bought the Guide 65 didn't like the fact the car seat cover didn't fit well after washing it. This car seat weighs 20 pounds, and its dimensions are 24 x 19 x 23.75-inches.
Although the car seats have some of the same features found on many other car seats, they have unique features on certain models. For instance, the Air Protect feature on the Grow and Go Air not only makes the little ones comfortable when they ride in the seat, but it provides an extra layer of protection in case of an auto accident.
It also has a QuickFit harness that allows for adjustment of the harness and headrest in one move. This feature makes it easier to fit a growing child or accommodate a child of a different size if the car seat is in a school shuttle bus or household with more than one toddler.
Another feature that is unique to most car seat brands is an expiration date of 10 years from the date of manufacture. Most car seat companies only provide a six-year expiration date for their models. The 10-year expiry date allows the car seat to stay in the family longer and using it for a sibling that comes along after the older child has outgrown the need for it.
Both the Grow and Go model, and Guide 65 have head wings that provide side-impact protection for babies and toddlers. They also have removable body pillows for extra protection and comfort, which most other car seat brands do not use.
The main competitor for the Guide 65 model is the Evenflo SureRide, which is also the Evenflo Titan 65. When viewing a side by side comparison, the models are almost the same as far as weight, budget, and the height of the children they hold. However, several differences exist between them when it comes to the size of fitting a child.
The Evenflo has a lower harness height to better fit a newborn into the seat. It can go as low as 6.5 inches and as high as 19 inches for older kids. The Guide 65 harness only drops to nine inches and is 17 inches at its highest point.
The Evenflo has a higher anchor weight limit, 55 pounds, on the LATCH system and it has SureSafe connectors for the lower anchors too. One site preferred the Evenflo because it adjusts better for newborns and they claim the Safety 1st model is best for children who are three to four months and older.
The main competitor for the Grow and Go Air is another Safety 1st product, the Grow and Go. Most comparison sites examined the two models’ side by side and found them to be similar, except for the Grow and Go Air’s Air Protect feature.
Air Protect provides more cushioning for the child in the seat, while at the same time it offers more protection during auto accidents. Air Protect gives the Grow and Go Air the edge when it comes to recommending a car seat to soon-to-be parents or those going from an infant car seat to a convertible model.
As most Safety 1st car seat reviews show, the company's lineup of car seats is good quality models with the necessary safety features to protect the children riding in them. If you want a good car seat for an affordable budget, we recommend the Safety 1st brand.
Featured image source: flickr