Most states currently require car seats for children up to six years and sixty pounds, and rear-facing car seats for infants under 20 pounds. The importance of car seats is so well recognized that hospitals do not allow newborn babies to be brought home unless a car seat has been properly installed to safely transport this new little person home. A 2007 study showed that 62% of infant fatalities resulting from car accidents were due to parents not using a car seat (almost 15% of children involved in car accidents are found not to be in car seats), and the risk of fatality for children involved in car accidents was 0.7% for children in car seats vs. 7.2% for children who are not in car seats [this does not include the rate of non-fatal injuries].
Needless to say, the importance of properly installing and using a car seat has been firmly established, and while it is even more important for infants, using front-facing booster seats for older children (up to age six or so) has also shown a dramatic decrease in the risk of injuries and fatalities (by about 60%).
While car seat laws have improved the survival rates of babies and young children in serious accidents, there is still room for improvement. Side impact car crashes accounts for 1 in 3 child vehicular fatalities, nearly all caused by head trauma. It behooves parents to not only make sure they have an approved car seat properly installed for their little ones, but have a car seat that is well-tested for side impact crashes as well. This is why I love the Safety 1st Complete Air convertible car seat.
I received a Safety 1st Complete Air car seat with Air Protect from Dorel to try out. My husband and I have shopped for and tried out quite a few car seats in the last few months. We are happily recommending this car seat, and for quite a few reasons. First, my husband found it easy to install (took about ten minutes, which is average for a convertible carseat- placing it properly, adjusting it, etc). At first I felt it was too upright, until he pointed out that the recline can be altered in the back with a latch. After he lowered it, the car seat had a nice recline (about 45 degrees) for an infant or a napping child. Having this choice is fabulous and increases the longevity of the car seat, because an older child would be frustrated at not being able to sit upright and see what is going on around them, so you can simply adjust it to be fully upright in later years.
Secondly, it’s such an attractive seat. It comes in two color options, McKenna (a beautiful gray and black) and Harvest (a rich brown and orange). The fabric quality is impressive, and overall it is a very well-made, sturdy car seat.
Thirdly, this convertible car seat is sooo comfortable. It is thickly padded all over, especially around the head. We have reviewed other car seats, and none compare for both attractiveness and comfort. We don’t have older children, so we borrowed some to test with, and they were old enough (three and four) to express how comfortable they found riding around in this car seat.
Finally, the safety features- this may be the most important aspect of the Safety 1st Complete Air car seat for most parents, and that which made us feel this car seat is second to none. Dorel Juvenile Group has been testing and perfecting the Air Protect system for years, so that during a side impact crash your baby’s head is well shielded. Air Protect releases air from chambers as soon as a child’s head makes contact, allowing for a slower, softer impact by absorbing the force of the impact. There is a balance between gentle resistance, to slow down the speed of the impact, and comfortable give (by way of precise air release from the chambers inside the Air Protect System) to allow advancement, so there is no hard collision or head injury. In addition, the Complete Air car seat has all the standard safety features, including a QuickFit five point safety harness that allows you to adjust it without having to remove the car seat, as well as an adjustable headrest to accommodate a growing child. It can be used rear facing for infants from 5 to 40 pounds and front-facing for toddlers from 22 to 50 pounds.