There are many choices when it comes to a baby car seat, but what is the best car seat for your baby? We reviewed several infant and convertible car seats, but it's up to you to decide which will fit your lifestyle better. There are several advantages to both styles of car seat, and parents have very different ideas about what is best for them. In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages to both infant and convertible car seats.
Infant car seats are the more traditional of the two styles. As a rear-facing seat, it usually has two pieces: a carrier and a base. It is recommended that you install the base with LATCH connectors in the car that you plan on using the most. Then, you only have to clip the carrier into the base. Most infant car seats include seatbelt instructions for base and carrier-only installation. Also, carriers are usually compatible with strollers. Infants have difficulty lifting their heads, and if you want to take your baby on walks with you, it's important to secure them in a carrier that will not put a strain on his neck.
Unfortunately, infant car seats rarely last very long. Your child will inevitably grow out of the seat within 12 to 18 months. Also, most carriers weigh close to 10 pounds, so they can get very heavy when you add the weight of a baby. Eventually, most parents keep the carrier in the car, so you lose the advantage of its detachable feature.
Convertible car seats give parents the advantage of both rear- and front-facing positions. These car seats are good for newborns and will keep your child in a rear-facing position for at least one year. Some will support a child in the rear-facing position for the American Academy of Pediatrics-recommended two years. Then, when you're ready, you can switch the seat to its front-facing position for another year or two. The biggest advantage to a convertible car seat is the fact that this one car seat could be the only one you buy.
It's important to note that convertible car seats always stay in your car, which means that if you have a newborn baby and want to use a stroller, you'll have to buy a separate travel system. Also, convertible car seats occupy much more space in your back seat. If it comes with a detachable cup holder, these tend to break under a little pressure. Finally, in its rear-facing position, a convertible car seat is difficult to use, since you have to tighten the straps in a confined space.
While our reviews tend to favor the convenience of infant car seats, there are excellent convertible car seats available. Many local retailers have several car seats on display, and you can feel the fabrics and cushions on each one to see which is the most comfortable. Also, many parents use both types of car seats, bringing their newborn home in an infant car seat and upgrading to a convertible when he grows out of his first seat. It's important to know which options are best for your young family.