Road safety is of paramount importance, especially in light of statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) that 186,300 children under 18 years die from road traffic crashes annually, making it the number one cause of death for children aged 15-17. These shocking statistics require parents to take child safety into heavy consideration and do everything in their power to minimize injuries that might occur if a car crash happens. The best way to ensure child safety inside a vehicle is with a car seat.
Types of Car Seats
Before buying car seats for your baby, it is important to consider the type that you are going to buy. Each type of car seat has specific features that correspond to the needs of your child at every stage of their growth. Cleveland Clinic, on its website, lists four types of child car seats, other than specifically-made car seats for children with special needs.
Infant-only car seat
This type of car seat is also called a rear-facing seat and has been shown to have the best safety record for small children. Infant-only seats are recommended to be used by children aged up to 2 years. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this type of car seat should be positioned in the back seat of your vehicle and should recline at about a 45-degree angle. If you find rear-facing seats as the best type for your baby, you should remember that you should never place them in front of an airbag. The harness height should also be at the child’s shoulder or below. More importantly, you should note that this type of car seat has a maximum height and weight limit and it usually accommodates children who weigh up to 40 pounds. If your baby already exceeds that limit, you should move the child to a convertible seat.
Convertible car seat
This type of car seat can be used rear-facing and can be converted into forward-facing with a harness and tether when children exceed either the weight limit or the height limit for the use of rear-facing car seats. Because of these features, a convertible car seat is bulkier than an infant car seat. These also do not come with carrying handles or separate bases and are designed to stay in the car. Usually, a convertible car seat can seat a child up to 50 pounds, while some can also accommodate children 65 pounds or more. Therefore, a convertible car seat can be used by children of different sizes and allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
This type of car seat accommodates children who are at least 1 year old and weigh over 20 pounds. These car seats are forward-facing, with a harness system and tether, and can also convert into a belt-positioning booster seat when your child becomes at least 4 years old and weighs at least 40 pounds. These features of a combination seat require it to not be used in a rear-facing position.
Booster seats are for children whose weight or height already exceeds the forward-facing limits for their car safety seat. These seats have a belt-positioning harness system and are used by your child until your car seat belt fits them properly, normally when your child reaches 4’9″ inches in height and is 8 to 12 years old. If they already exceeded the height and weight limits, then they are ready to use a regular seat belt.
Now that you know the types of car seats, you can now start to decide which is the best car seat for your child.
What to Look for in a Car Seat
Other than the type of car seat, there are also a few factors you have to consider in choosing the car seat for your child. Different brands have different features, but there are certain key attributes to look out for.
Before any baby product goes out into the market, it must meet minimum government safety requirements. It must undergo different tests to assure parents of its quality. The JPMA Stamp is proof that baby products, especially the baby car seats, have met minimum government requirements. According to the JPMA website, in order to get certified, each product has to undergo tests at an independent laboratory to verify that it meets the highest standards for safety, performance, and functionality.
This harness, when properly-fitted, provides the best possible protection to your child. The 5-point harness has straps going over both shoulders and both hips, and buckles at the crotch area. To also check if the harness is snug enough on your child, you have to do the Pinch Test. To do this, fasten the harness and pinch it at the shoulder. If the harness is fitted snugly, your fingers will slide off the webbing and you won’t be able to pinch it. If it’s set too loose, you will be able to pinch the webbing between your fingers. If the harness is loose it doesn’t ensure your baby’s safety. Remember to check periodically whether your child has outgrown the weight and height range of the harness.
A study reported that for restrained children, the most serious and fatal injuries occur to the head and are caused by contact with the interior of a vehicle. There are also studies that reported that a side-impact crash causes greater fatalities and more serious injuries for children than with a frontal crash. Because of this alarming information, you should look for a car seat equipped with side-impact protection, which may be in the form of air pads or extra foam at each side of the child’s head, when looking for the ideal car seat.
The LATCH system stands for “lower anchors and tethers for children”. This system attaches the car seat to the vehicle. The lower anchors on the car seat can be used to install it instead of the vehicle seat belt and are normally used for rear-facing car seats. The top tether, on the other hand, should be used always with a forward-facing car seat, whether the seat belt or lower anchors is used for securing it.
These are bars generally made of padded steel that limits the amount of rebound movement in case a front-impact, rear-impact, or side-impact crash happens. They are only used for rear-facing car seats and not for forward-facing ones. It is located at the foot of the car seat and butts up against the seat to provide more stability.
The One Baby Product That Must Be New
Most baby gear can be passed down second-hand. However, if you need a car seat, make sure that you don’t buy a used or secondhand car seat. It might seem like a way to save money, but it’s not worth the risk.
The reason is that car seat safety regulations change often. There are also possibilities that secondhand car seats have been in a crash, or have missing parts, or are damaged in any way. It is impossible to determine the condition of the car seat or its storage conditions when buying used seats, and there is no guarantee that an older seat will ensure your baby’s safety.
Always remember that you have to read carefully the instructions from your car seat manufacturer. This way, you can make sure that the way you are properly installing and using your car seat. You can obtain user manuals from the manufacturer themselves or online.
Recaro and Recaro Kids
Recaro, founded in 1906, is a company based in Stuttgart, Germany that manufactures and distributes aircraft seats, gaming seats, automotive seats, and even child products such as strollers and baby car seats. The brand that produces car seats and prams, Recaro Kids, is a licensee between Recaro Holdings and Artsana Group.
Recaro baby car seats have retailers in many countries such as Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, the UK, and even Japan. Even though the brand is known in many European countries, it has stopped distributing its car seats in North America, mainly because of its involvement in a protracted fight with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) in late 2013 until 2015. The battle started when the NHTSA ordered a recall of some of Recaro’s car seats due to safety issues. According to the NHTSA, a part of the car seat that helps keep the top of the seat secure has a possibility of breaking during a crash, allowing the top of the car seat to fly forward. This is considered to be a serious problem and regulators said this is a violation of federal safety regulations.
Recaro argued that there were no safety problems with their car seats. According to them, the dummy used for the crash test already exceeded the limits and their owner’s manual specifically said that for children over 52 pounds, the tether should not be relied on, but parents should use the car seat belt itself. The argument was not able to persuade authorities and in the end, Recaro retracted their statements and made a “voluntary product recall” for over 170,000 units of its Recaro Performance Ride manufactured between January 15, 2013, and June 09, 2015, and Recaro ProRide manufactured between April 09, 2010, and June 09, 2015, in the United States. Recaro then sent owners who have registered Recaro car seats recall letters and also sent each owner a new kit with a new strap and installation instructions. Following this recall, Recaro withdrew from distributing its baby car seats in the US, and further in the whole of North America.
Are Recaro Baby Car Seats even Worth It? — The Recaro Car Seat Reviews
One thing to note with Recaro is that they make racing seats and airplane seats. This means that their seats keep you safe while still providing you the ultimate comfort. The seats made have support at specific impact points and have harnesses. Knowing this, you’ll be assured of the safety of your seat from Recaro.
Recaro Performance Sport
The Recaro Performance Sport is a high-back booster. It has a 5-point harness system and a LATCH installation system. Forward-facing, it has a weight limit of 20-65 pounds and has a height limit of 27″ to 50″, meaning your child has to be at least 1 year old. As for the booster, the weight limit would be 30 to 120 pounds and 37″ and 59″ in height.
The Recaro Performance Sport is an improved version of the previous ProSport model. It differs from the ProSport because of its quick-flip recline mechanism, a HERO harness system, memory foam, and temperature-balancing fabrics. These features, in addition to the side-impact protection, premium push-on LATCH connectors, no re-thread harness, and EPS foam makes it better.
One thing that’s unique with the Recaro Performance Sport is that when it’s installed with a seat belt, you can see the belt path from the front of the seat instead of from behind. This unique feature makes installation very easy. Also, the LATCH system makes installation easy and the connectors are hidden in pockets on either side of the belt path. You can also use the LATCH system to install the booster regardless of the child’s weight.
The Recaro Performance Sport also is easy to use. The harness adjusts easily and smoothly, that is, there is no fidgeting. The buckle is also easy to fasten and unfasten, like the harness, it buckles smoothly. Another feature of the Recaro Performance Sport is the HERO harness system. This feature keeps the harness from twisting. These are lightly padded shoulder covers attached and slipped in behind the headrest. This keeps the harness in an ideal position to protect your child in case a crash happens. This is very ideal for a car seat because it guarantees the safety of your child.
In short, the Recaro Performance Sport guarantees ease of use, comfort, and safety for your child. This is a quality car seat and we give the Recaro Performance Sport a thumbs up!
Recaro ProRide Convertible Car Seat
The Recaro ProRide is a convertible car seat that has a weight limit in the rear-facing position of 40 pounds and a height limit of below 57 cm and in the forward-facing position, its limits are 65 pounds and below 125 cm. Its features include its energy-absorbing (EPS) foam, 5-point harness, belt lock-off system, premium LATCH system, side-impact protection system, rear-facing recline lever, and CoolMesh air ventilation system.
The side-impact protection system is in the form of enhanced head wings which shield your baby’s head and face. It also has a headrest that limits neck movement in case of a car crash. In addition, the seat is reinforced at the sides, therefore stabilizing the torso and pelvis areas. The head restraint also has “PUR” automotive comfort foam that ensures maximum comfort for your child.
In addition to head restraints and the protection system, Recaro ProRide also has a 5-point harness system that makes sure that your child fits safely as he grows. Its harness also adjusts with the head restraint. Therefore, re-threading is not necessary for properly positioning the harness shoulder straps to your baby. For more easy use, its restraints adjust with just the turn of a knob. Recaro ProRide also has a belt lock-off for easy forward-facing belt lock installation. It locks the vehicle seat belt in the ProRide belt path for optimum safety. This makes sure that your child is safe in case a collision happens.
In short, the Recaro ProRide is not only safe, but it also gives comfort and extra support to your child. Its CoolMesh air ventilation system makes sure your child is comfortable by not trapping the heat. It’s simple and easy to use and can last your child for a long time as they grow. The Recaro ProRide provides comfort and guarantees your child’s safety and we also give it a thumbs up!
The Grand Verdict: Recaro Car Seats
Recaro car seats have many features that address the safety of your child without compromising on comfort. They pass international requirements and standards for quality, assuring you that the seats they manufacture are of the highest quality. Even though it withdrew from the North American market, it is still thriving in the international market, especially in the European market. It means that many parents still trust the brand’s car seats. Recaro’s infant car seats and child car seats all align with their ergonomic brand – that they are not only concerned with the safety of the seats, but they are also concerned about other aspects such as how the seats work, and how the seats look.
There are features that are unique to Recaro car seats only, while there are other features that can also be found in other brands. However, despite these, Recaro’s car seats are proven to be easy to use and comfortable for your child. They are providing maximum safety, high-end quality, and sleek designs. All in all, Recaro car seats are worth every penny you spend.