How Infant Car Seats Stack Up Against Convertible Options

As a parent, it’s top priority to keep your new little one safe from all the hazardous environmental dangers. Car safety is a major concern. Every year thousands of infants suffer injury and death from car crashes.

Having every intention to keep your infant safe with a proper car seat is not always enough when faced with all the varying choices available to buy. Consider the factors below to help narrow down your important search and purchase.

Car Seat Options for Infants

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, any child under the age of 2 should ride in a rear-facing seat. This is a general rule, but there are weight exceptions depending on the make of the car seat. Manufactured seat options by many brands include rear-facing only, and convertible rear-facing.

Pro’s and Cons to Different Infant Car Seats

All car seats are to be used for travel only, not as a bassinet for sleeping, feeding or any other purpose outside of your vehicle. Depending on the type of vehicle you drive as well as your child’s size and age consider:

Rear-facing Only Car Seats

Appropriate for infants anywhere from 22 to 45lbs varying with each specific model – always be sure to check manufacturer guidelines. If you’re in the car a lot, driving almost daily this could be the best seat for you.

Pros:

  • Compact lightweight easy carrying complete with handle
  • Often sold as part of a convenient complete stroller system
  • Most models come with adjustable base that can remain installed in the vehicle, allowing the car seat to clip in and out each use (more bases are available for purchase to install in more than one vehicle for ease)
  • Avoid relocating. Being able to keep them in their seat warm and sleeping undisturbed can be invaluable during the first few months. If you’re on the go a lot this seat can help you easily transition without disturbing the baby.

Cons:

  • Can only be used for infants 2 and under barring specific weight and height restrictions – does not adapt as child grows
  • Heavy to carry around

Convertible Rear-Facing Car Seats

This option allows a little more longevity, as it is adjustable for years to come. If you have a larger child, convertibles can be more accommodating.

Pros:

  • 5-point harness securing child at hips, between legs, and at the shoulders
  • Convertible as the child grows. Options for forward-facing adjustment suitable for older children after outgrowing the rear-facing length and/or weight limit.
  • Higher height/weight limits for rear-facing on most models +40-50lbs

Cons:

  • Heavier than rear-facing only
  • No carrying handle
  • No separate base

Many parents opt to skip the infant carrier and start out with a convertible car seat. Often times, infants quickly outgrow the size restrictions on a standalone infant carrier. Infants can grow too long for the infant car seat. Keeping in mind not all convertible car seats will fit newborns. Depending on the size of your baby, your schedule, and lifestyle, one will be best for you and ultimately both will keep your baby safe.