Many people might be surprised by the cost of an infant car seat when they go to purchase one. There is actually a wide range of prices, and while prices are not the only consideration as to whether a car seat is safe or not, it is likely that if you try to buy cheap car seats then you might get what you pay for.
It can seem like it is a good idea to save some money, but if an unfortunate accident causes severe injuries or even a fatality the money that would've been spent on a superior model would seem negligible. This is not always the case however, and some cheap baby car seats do perform well at amazingly affordable prices.
Infant car seats are intended for a small baby. These are the rear-facing models that are used for children at up to around 25 pounds in weight. This can differ depending on the model, and it is not necessarily true that best cheap car seats are ones that hold more weight. In most cases, the less expensive ones use materials that are not as good, have less extensive testing done on them, or require less parts and labor.
Convertible car seats are ones that can be used as a newborn car seat, but can be converted into a forward-facing seat when the child grows older. Cheap convertible car seats can be an even bigger mistake than buying an inferior infant seat; as the child would be using the seat for a few more years than they would for the smaller baby versions. Therefore they would be in jeopardy for a longer period of time.
If you're looking for an inexpensive convertible infant seat, look for instance at the Cosco Scenera. It retails for about $60, and by looking at the seat it is hard to tell how it will perform in a crash. If you look up the ratings for this model, it comes up with very poor results. The instructions are difficult, it is hard to put the baby in the seat and the child is not secured as well as they would be on another child car seats. It's not likely worth the costs savings to purchase a unit like this.
If you go up only a little bit in terms of price, you can get a Graco Comfort Sport convertible car seat. This unit retails for about $90, but if you look up the added safety and ease of use that you get from this unit it seems that spending an extra $30 is nothing compared to how much better this product is rated. This would still fall into the category of cheap car seats.
While the Graco Comfort Sport rates better in terms of ease of use, evaluation of instructions and labels, it still does not perform all that much better in terms of safety. It would seem that you have to move up to a more expensive model in order to get that extra safety. It doesn't always mean that it will be better, however.
If you are searching for cheap Britax car seats ( like many users do), then The Britax Boulevard for instance retails at over $300, and it comes up with almost the same safety ratings as many Graco units. However, in practice it had not proven to be any better. Consider instead the Graco MyRide 65; it retails for $150, and it is rated better in almost every category when compared to the Britax Boulevard. It is not necessarily price alone, so it is important to do some research in the market to truly find the best cheap convertible car seat your budget allows.
The line of booster seats can also be rated much differently, and it is not necessarily the price that will influence what is best. Take a look at the Evenflo Big Kid Amp car seat. This is a unit that retails for just about $25 at the outside. Given the price point you would expect an inferior product, but it rates very well in every category. It would seem that cheap booster car seats are not necessarily the ones that are unsafe. It is important to look around for the right one and you can still get a good price for considerably high quality children's seats.
Whether it comes to cheap convertible car seats or cheap booster car seats, the major difference is whether or not the baby is the right size to use it. If you try to put a child in a seat that is not the right fit, you are putting them in serious jeopardy.
The other, more obvious problem would be using them improperly. Studies show that many people do, and would benefit from taking a class seminar. If you get a seat that is the right size, learn how to use it and get one that has strong safety ratings then that is the best that you can do for your child. You may still be able to purchase a very good cheap car seat and keep your child safe on the road.