Baby Car Seats Explained
As an expectant parent or new parent, finding the right car seat is crucial to keeping your little one safe and comfortable. There are many types of baby car seats on the market and it can quickly get confusing. Let's take a look at the differences between the types of baby car seats to help you make the right choice for your child.
Infant Car Seats
What is it? An infant car seat is designed to securely protect babies up to around a year old, depending on the size of the baby and the seat model. These seats are made to be rear-facing and typically snap in and out of a base installed in the car with most models also being compatible with strollers as well. The general sizing for infant seats is around 22-35 pounds and up to 39 inches tall, depending on the model. This category of seats is meant to offer a snug fit for small babies.
Examples of Infant Seats:
Nuna Pipa. Tough yet lightweight, this option features Aeroflex foam for added protection and comfort. It is one of the most portable models coming in at just 5.3 pounds for an option easy to carry.
Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30. Offering Air Protect design and incredible side impact protection, this option also comes with an anti-rotation stability leg for added peace of mind in the event of a collision.
Clek Liing. With the rigid-LATCH system providing secure and effortless installation, this model is easy to use for parents. The energy-absorbing EPP-lined shell delivers side-impact protection for extra safety for the little one.
Convertible Car Seats
What is it? Larger and heavier than infant car seats, convertible car seats are made to face the rear in the early stages of use before turning face-front later as the child grows. This type of seat starts out as infant friendly and then ages up with the child. The usual guidelines for this type of seat are anywhere between 40-80 pounds maximum weight and up to 50 inches in height, depending on the model chosen. This is a great way to avoid buying multiple seats as the child ages because this option converts from infant to toddler.
Examples of Convertible Car Seats:
Clek Foonf. This model focuses on safety by way of features such as energy-absorbing foam headrests connected to the frame using steel rods to afford maximum head protection, as well as featuring a reinforced steel and magnesium sub-structure.
Nuna Rava. Using energy-absorbing foam and SIP pods to ensure maximum side-impact security, this option takes safety to new heights for your child. It is also made with a focus on fuss-free installation and handling for the ease of the parent.
Maxi Cosi Pria 85 Max. From the ClipQuik auto-magnetic chest clip to the FlexTech system for multi-directional energy management, this model has thought of it all. This model offers safety, ease of use, and comfort for a reliable option meeting all the required standards.
What is it? When a child outgrows the use of a convertible seat, a booster is the next step in safety. A booster is less of an all-encompassing seat and more of an elevated seat platform belted in place with the seat belt of the vehicle. The guideline for boosters is for children to ride in a booster until they at least 8 years old or reach 4 feet 9 inches tall. They are designed for children who weigh more than 40 pounds so any child weighing less still needs a car seat over a booster. While boosters are safe when used as recommended, if your child still safely fits in their car seat, you should wait until they reach the height or weight guidelines rather than switching them to a booster based solely on age. It should also be noted that just like other car seats, each state has laws regarding the use of booster seats to ensure the safety of your child.
Examples of Booster Seats:
Peg Perego Viaggio HBB 120. Featuring Expanded Poly Styrene (EPS) in the headrest and seat cushion, this model offers total protection and comfort for your little one. It is also sleek and stylish while being easy to install for a great choice.
Cybex Solution Z-Fix. This model offers 12 height settings and automatic width adjustment so you can adjust it to the needs of your child for the best in safety and comfort. It comes in a range of colors as well while offering a stylish appearance.
Clek Oobr. Body-temperature regulating and naturally hypoallergenic, the materials used in this option have it all. This model also offers all of the elements you need to meet safety standards for your little one.
All in One Seats
What is it? An all-in-one seat or 3-in-1 seat changes from rear-facing to forward-facing and then can change into a booster seat for children up to 100 pounds. This is a great value over buying several different seats over the course of this stage of a child's growth. It is important to note that not all 3-in-1 seats are made for infants or rear-facing position so this is a crucial consideration when looking at an all-in-one seat. It is also important to make sure you know and adhere to all the guidelines regarding when to position rear or face-forward based on weight and height to ensure the safety of your child. While it may vary slightly from model to model, the general guidelines are children from 4-20 pounds should be rear-facing, children weighing 20-65 pounds should be in the harness facing forward, and the booster seat should be used up to 100-120 pounds. It is important to note that weight and height are more important than age as each child develops at a different rate as they age.
Examples of All in One Seats:
Nuna Exec. Since it fits three across in most mid-size vehicles, this option is great for growing families looking for ample seating in a safe manner. This option is also loaded with safety features with a focus on side-impact and anti-rotation for added peace of mind.
Chicco MyFit LE. With multiple height adjustments, as well as safety features like energy-absorbing foam, this is a seat that gives parents the confidence they need for the journey.
Maxi Cosi Magellan Max. Capable of being used up to 10 years of age, this model has adjustable torso side impact protection as well as PureCosi fire-resistant fabric for added appeal.