Buying the right car seat can be such a daunting task; you want to make sure you’re buying one that meets all the safety requirements, but you’re also concerned about it fitting in your car and/or being compatible with your stroller. There’s a lot that goes into picking the right car seat, but first, let’s take a look at the different types of car seats that are available.
Rear-Facing Infant Car Seat:
Rear-facing infant car seats have a 5-point harness system and are typically used for babies and children who weigh 5-40 lbs. They can only be used in the rear facing position and often come with a base that remains in the car. This is helpful if you want to keep your baby in the car seat and just remove the seat itself and attach it to your stroller. The downside to getting just the rear-facing car seat is that some babies outgrow it quickly and need to be upgraded to a more comfortable car seat, also known as forward facing car seat.
Rear-Facing and Forward-Facing Car Seat:
Often referred to as a “convertible car seat,” this is the most popular type of car seat. The convertible car seat is the very helpful if you only have the funds to purchase one car seat. In order to safety transport a newborn, you often need to purchase an infant insert for this type of seat, but they are generally very affordable inserts. Convertible car seats tend to be heavier and bulkier than infant car seats, which can be an issue for some smaller cars. Although the convertible car seat can be used in both the rear- and forward-facing position, it’s best to keep your child rear-facing until age 2, regardless of height.
After your child outgrows the forward facing car seat, which is usually when they hit around 40-60 lbs (depending on your car seat), you’ll need to transition your child into a booster seat. A booster seat is usually used until children are 8-12 years old and can properly fit in a vehicle seat with the seat belt. The purpose of the booster seat is to elevate your child, making the seat belt from the car fit better and in turn, keeps your child safe.
3-in-1 Car Seat:
3-in-1 car seats are meant to grow with your child throughout the 3 stages: rear-facing infant, forward-facing toddler, and booster. While it sounds great to only have to purchase one car seat from birth to age 12, the wear and tear on it can be worrisome.. And with technology and safety standards being updated almost every day, it’s a risk you might have to take. Do your research and decide what’s best for your family — and your wallet!