NHTSA Tool Makes It Easier for Parents to Find Right Car Seat

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Buying the correct child-safety seat for a child can be an overwhelming task for parents, especially if it's for their first child. For Child Passenger Safety Week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just launched its Car Seat Finder Tool that makes selecting the correct car-seat style a lot easier.

Related: Child Passenger Safety Week: Protect That Precious Cargo

Using the tool is easy. Parents enter their child's birthdate, weight and height into the Car Seat Finder, and it tells parents what kind of car seat is best for their child. It also offers a listing of compatible car seats with their height and weight recommendations as well as NHTSA's ease-of-use ratings.

I tested the tool by entering info about my 7-year-old, who still needs to ride in a booster seat. Remember, kids should stay in booster seats until they're 4 feet 9 inches tall and at least 80 pounds. The tool correctly told me that my son should be in a booster and gave me a list of boosters to consider.

Anything that demystifies car-seat shopping is a major win. If you already have a car seat for your child, but aren't sure it's installed correctly or is the right fit for your little one, visit a car-seat inspection station during National Car Seat Check Saturday where certified car-seat technicians will be happy to help.

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By Jennifer Newman | September 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Dodge Journey: Car Seat Check

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The Dodge Journey is a midsize crossover that can seat five passengers in two rows or seven with the addition of the optional third row. The Journey is one of a few cars that offer integrated booster seats. For 2014, the optional booster seats, which are in the second row's outboard seats, cost $225. Our test car didn't have the booster seats, which we tested in an earlier model year and liked, but it did have the optional third row.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

How many car seats fit in the third row? Two, but parents should only install booster seats back there.

More Car Seat Checks

By Jennifer Newman | September 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

National Seat Check Saturday Is This Weekend

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If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were to tell you that heart disease is the leading cause of death in men, you may or may not adopt the Mayo Clinic's recommended preventive measures such as quitting smoking, getting more exercise and eating a heart-healthy diet. But if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were to tell you that car crashes were the leading cause of death for children age 1 to 13, you'd almost certainly take every reasonable precaution to protect those who depend on you to keep them safe. Well, you'll have just such an opportunity this weekend during National Car Seat Check Saturday.

Related: Child Passenger Safety Week: Protect That Precious Cargo

The event, which wraps up Child Passenger Safety Week, invites parents, grandparents and caretakers to have their child-safety seats inspected by certified car-seat technicians. This weekend, schools, hospitals, fire and police stations, retail stores, banks, car dealerships, civic buildings and other locations will be offering car-seat inspections on National Car Seat Check Saturday. You can find a participating location by going to NHTSA's Child Car Seat Inspection Station Locator.

By Matt Schmitz | September 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

Diono Car Seats Allow Parents to Fit Three in the Backseat

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When baby makes three kids in the backseat, it's often time for parents to start looking for a larger car. However, there are some who instead look for a way to fit three child-safety seats across their current car's bench seat. Car-seat manufacturer Diono offers two lineups of convertible/booster seats that not only fit three across some cars, but these seats also fit kids who weigh as little as 5 pounds to as much as 120 pounds.

Related: Which Cars Fit Three Car Seats?

The Diono Radian lineup — the R100, R120 and RXT — is the company's flagship car-seat line. The well-known Radians are just 17 inches wide, which makes it easier for parents to fit three car seats across a backseat.

Introduced earlier this summer, the Diono Olympia, Rainier and Pacifica car seats improve on the Radian lineup's design, though at 18 inches, they're slightly wider than their predecessors.

By Jennifer Newman | September 17, 2014 | Comments (0)

Too Many Parents Skimp on Booster Seat Use

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After years of wrangling with heavy child-safety seats, Latch systems and five-point harnesses, booster seats seem so "easy." At their most basic, these car seats raise up a child so a seat belt is positioned correctly to protect them in a crash. However, even this easy car seat is being used incorrectly — or not used at all — by parents.

Related: 19 New Booster Seats Earn IIHS Best Bet Title

A new study from Safe Kids Worldwide found that 9 out of 10 parents move their child out of the booster seat too soon. Based on a national online survey of 1,000 parents of kids between ages 4 and 10, the study also found that 70 percent of parents didn't know when a child should be moved out of a booster seat.

The study, which was partially funded by a General Motors Foundation grant and released during Child Passenger Safety Week, also found that 1 in 5 parents with children in carpools "bend the rules" when they're the driver, allowing kids to ride in the car without their seat belts or without their car seats. One in 4 parent respondents said they don't make their child buckle up on every ride.

By Jennifer Newman | September 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

Child Passenger Safety Week: Protect That Precious Cargo

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Child-safety seats are an important part of keeping your child safe in your car. To be effective, however, they must be installed correctly. This is harder than it sounds; 3 out of 4 children aren't as safe in a car because their car seat is installed incorrectly, according to Safe Kids Oregon, a nonprofit agency dedicated to children's safety.

Related: Car Seat Checks

This week is Child Passenger Safety Week, a time to remind parents about proper car seat use and encourage them to check their children's car seats for correct installation and use.

At Cars.com, we have four editors who are certified child passenger safety technicians. We use our expertise to cover car-seat news and recalls as well as conduct Car Seat Checks with test cars that arrive at our Chicago headquarters.

For parents, here are a few stories and a video that will help ensure that they're using their child's car seat correctly:

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By Jennifer Newman | September 15, 2014 | Comments (0)

Video: Five Things Families Should Look for in SUVs

Need a vehicle that can accommodate your growing family, but recoil at the very notion of a minivan or station wagon? OK, by default you've selected an SUV, so Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says there are some factors you must now consider, including seats, step-in height, third-row access, cargo space and child-safety provisions. Watch the video for tips on making the best buy for your brood.

By Matt Schmitz | September 12, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Audi A3: Car Seat Check

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The 2015 Audi A3 ditches its hatchback design for the sleek lines of a sedan. With its redesign, the 2015 A3 has grown 7.5 inches in length. That extra room helped make it easy to install our child-safety seats in this compact sedan.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Jennifer Newman | September 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Hyundai Sonata: Car Seat Check

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The Hyundai Sonata has a new look — both inside and out — for 2015. This midsize family sedan leaves its curves behind in favor of sharper angles. For families with young kids, this redesigned Sonata made easy work of car-seat installation thanks to its exposed Latch anchors, and it managed to improve on its previous generation's scores. The 2015 Sonata nearly fit our three child-safety seats across its backseat. Narrow car seats might allow parents to fit three across.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Jennifer Newman | September 9, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Infiniti QX70S: Car Seat Check

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Last year, Infiniti's sporty two-row crossover dumped its FX prefix for a QX, and thus the FX37 became the QX70. Now, for the 2015 model year, the QX70 has dropped its low-selling 5.0-liter V-8 engine offering, opting instead just to go with the more popular 3.7-liter V-6.

We last tested the QX70 more than a year ago when it went by the different moniker, though some of our complaints about legroom, Latch anchors and tether anchors feel the same. Still, the luxury crossover's letter grades generally went unchanged, and in the case of the rear-facing convertible seat even improved from a C to an A. Find out how well it made the grade below.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Matt Schmitz | September 4, 2014 | Comments (0)

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