Your mission: to find the best infant car seat for baby. Finding the best infant car seat is like searching for the best car for your family. Some new parents may get overwhelmed with all the different models of infant car seats—convertible car seats, lightweight car seats, car seats for small cars—the list goes on and on. Aren’t all car seats created equally? The simple answer is no. And knowing the best from the rest will help you on your quest for the best infant car seat.
What is an infant car seat?
An infant car seat is used for babies who weigh up to 35 or 40 pounds and who are up to 32 or 35 inches tall. Infant car seats only face the rear of the car.
As you try to sift through all the car seats out there you may start asking yourself, why do I need an infant car seat in the first place? The answer is simple. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all infants and toddlers remain rear-facing until they are at least two-years-old, or until they reach the height and weight requirements for their specific car seat.
These days, though, you can choose to buy an infant car seat that’s only rear-facing, or buy a convertible car seat that allows extended rear-facing capacity and can grow with baby. Decisions, decisions!
Convertible Car Seat vs. Infant Car Seat
- Convertible Car Seats. In this corner, with an average weight limit of 50 pounds or more and the ability to be rear-facing or front-facing is, the convertible car seat. These all-in-one seats can be used rear-facing when baby is small, then front-facing when baby outgrows the rear-facing height and weight limits.
- Infant Car Seats. And in this corner, with an average weight limit of no more than 40 pounds, is the infant car seat. This newborn car seat can only be used rear-facing and often comes with a handle for easy carrying and transporting into and out of the car—perfect for when you’d rather not wake a sleeping baby.
Considerations When Buying Infant Car Seats
Whether you choose a convertible car seat or a straight-up infant car seat, there are several things you’ll want to consider. Remember, it’s like buying a car–you want to make sure you look at the whole picture when you’re shopping for the best infant car seat.
- How big is your car? Choose an infant car seat that fits properly in your car. If you have a smaller car, you need to take this into consideration, as baby always has to be in a car seat.
- Will you be moving the seat into and out of the car? As you’re shopping around for the best infant car seat, take into consideration whether you’re going to need to take the seat in and out of your car frequently. Portability could be an important issue if this is the case.
- What brands and models have been recalled? Safety comes first with baby. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a great resource for checking on recalls when you’re looking for the best infant car seat.
- Is the car seat easy to clean? Let’s face it, babies are messy. When you’re shopping for the best newborn car seat, check to see if the cover comes off so you can wash it easily.
- Is it comfy? A screaming infant + a long car ride = an extra-large headache for…