Keep baby safe with a car seat base

What is a car seat base?

A car seat base, usually made of plastic, is a base that is installed in your car to secure a Stage 1 infant car seat while traveling.

They are typically permanently fitted into the back seat, usually rear-facing, so you can easily click the car seat on and remove it as needed, to carry a sleeping baby in the seat, for example, or click the car seat onto a stroller base for walking about.

Car seat bases help ensure a safe and secure ride for your baby and must be properly installed. Follow the instructions carefully or visit a car seat installation clinic in your area for help.

Note that car seats and their bases expire, usually after 6-10 years. This is for safety reasons since, with the bases, the plastic material can degrade over time. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What types of car seat bases are available?

There are both universal car seat bases that can work with different model of baby car seats from different brands, as well as specific car bases that work with only one brand of car seat, or even one specific type or model. Check compatibility when purchasing a base.

Most infant car seats come with bases, but an extra car seat base can come in a handy if you have two family vehicles, or to install one in the grandparent’s car, for example. Check that it is compatible with each vehicle as well.

While usually basic black to match any type of vehicle and interior, you can get car seat bases in other colours, too, like white.

What should you look for in a car seat base?

First and foremost, look for compatibility, as noted, with both your car seat and your vehicle(s).

Check that the base is easy to install but also secure, using the vehicle’s Universal Anchorage System (UAS) or rear seat belt, as well as a tether strap on the back of the car seat once you switch to forward-facing. You want it to be easy to take the car seat in and put it back on as well, so look for click connect or latch systems, and try it out first if you can to ensure you are comfortable with how it works. Some car seat bases are also adjustable, up to five positions, so you can recline or position the seat optimally in your specific vehicle based on how the back seat is designed.

Check that the base meets safety standards and has been through crash tests for reliability and safety.

Also look for a car seat base with a relatively smooth underside that won’t scratch or indent your vehicle’s interior.