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How Much Should I Spend on a Car Seat?

Mom Shares the "1 Baby Item You Should Never Skimp on" After a Terrifying Experience


Although there is no "right" amount of money to spend on a car seat, after being in a terrifying car accident with her husband and 3-month-old daughter, one mom is praising her baby's $210 seat, which helped to ensure the experience didn't end up being a tragedy. In a post to Reddit, the mom, shook up from the crash, shared why she'll be repurchasing the same exact seat, a Chicco KeyFit 30 Magic Infant Car Seat.

On a trip to an indoor garage sale event that they never made it to, the mom, her husband, and their 3-month-old set out in their 2008 Nissan Altima, when they were T-boned in an intersection by an SUV, while going about 65 MPH.

"We essentially hit a brick wall at highway speed," she wrote. "I don't remember a lot of the specifics, but after telling my husband to call 911 and noting that I [was] in pain, I kept calling [my daughter's] name. A retired firefighter and off duty nurse both pulled over to assist before paramedics arrived. Because the car was smoking, the fireman pulled [my daughter] from her car seat before paramedics arrived. I couldn't see or hold her until we were in he ambulance, an eternity in that moment. The next few hours are blurry as we lied along the highway, were transported to the hospital, and looked over. Thankfully, we're all OK, but the most important thing . . . [my daughter] has zero injuries."


The mom says her daughter was saved by her car seat, and is encouraging parents preparing for a baby to splurge on the safety item. Technically, all car seats in the US pass the same safety testing standards, but what money can buy are those extra features that make ease of use, and in turn, installment, easier and more foolproof. Sarah Tilton, Britax's child passenger safety technician instructor and immediate Past Chair of the National Child Passenger Safety Board, notes that it's true that all car seats on the market have to meet the same safety standard to be sold, but there are a few ways that the total amount spent on the seat factors into safety.

"Often, seats with lower price points have lower capacities for weight and/or height of the child as well as fewer eases of use, comfort features (thick padding, or keeping the child cool), or added safety features. Ease-of-use features (premium push-on lower connectors, no rethread harnesses) are very important when it comes to proper installation of the car seat, harnessing the child into the car seat, and the day-to-day use of the car seat. If you cannot do all of these correctly each and every time you use the car seat – it doesn't matter how much you paid for it."

The mom has since updated her original post to Reddit to reflect these sentiments as well: "As several people have pointed out, good installation is critical, and my post is not meant to detract from that. Every car seat in the US should meet federal safety standards, but real-life testing is not identical across brands and we never expected to have a practical demonstration of the equipment."

The one baby item you should never skimp on.... worth every penny from r/BabyBumps

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