Safety is of utmost importance when considering the products and gear I use with my baby, and a car seat is no exception.
That’s why I was excited to try out the Via infant seat from The First Years. Not only has it passed all the requirements for safety certification, it has also received five stars in The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Ease of Use Ratings. This is a huge plus to me, since no matter how well a seat rates in safety tests, it only functions safely when it’s installed properly.
Here’s what makes the seat worthy of not three, not four, but five(!) stars, according to the NHTSA:
- the installation features to support how well the car seat (child restraint) fits into the automobile
- how well the child is secured by the car seat (child restraint)
- the quality and usefulness of the instructions
- the quality and helpfulness of the labels in assisting the caregiver to be able to use the car seat (child restraint) properly
Via comes equipped with a handy rolling ball indicator that helps ensure the base is level. The pull-out knob can be used to manually adjust the angle of the base until it’s within the safe “green” range. (Depending on your car, you can also use a bath towel to prop the base to a level position.)
I used my cars LATCH system to secure the base (it was super-easy to follow the steps provided in the Via’s instruction manual), but you can also use the lap belt to secure the base if your car is not outfitted with a LATCH bar. The car seat clicks into the base easily and is removed with one hand by releasing the red handle on the backside of the seat. The handlebar is adjusted by pressing in the red buttons on either side of it. The First Years recommends riding with the handlebar in the position shown in the image above for “rebound control” in the unlikely event of a crash.
The 5-point harness system is loosened using a yellow button between baby’s legs labeled “Push to Loosen.” (Easy enough, huh?) The shoulder height of the harness can be moved to one of two positions using a yellow knob on the rear of the seat—no rethreading necessary!
The water-resistant triple layer padding can be snapped on and off for washing. The First Years recommends hand washing in cold water and line drying.
The seat is relatively lightweight to carry (especially when a growing-by-the-minute babe isn’t inside!), and I like that the handlebar includes see-through slots to include important contact and health information. (I also like the idea of displaying a cute photo!) The seat has an adjustable canopy and removable infant insert as well.
A few more things about the Via that are good to know:
oIt must be used with a base.
oIt’s recommended for use for babies between 4 and 22 pounds and 30 inches or less and is certified for rear-facing use only.
oIt’s compatible with The First Years Indigo and Wave strollers.
To buy: learningcurve.com