Congratulations! You and your partner have just had a baby and ready to take him or her to your house from the hospital. Did you know that without an infant car seat, you are not allowed to discharge from some hospitals in some states? Well, this is how serious not having a car seat for your baby can get.
However, there is no need to worry, because we have done our homework and already picked up the best products for you. A lot of questions come to parents’ minds when the safety of their children is concerned. What is the difference between a regular car seat and a convertible one? Is there a significant feature I should look for my newborn?
Our lists of the 10 Best Infant Car Seats in 2020, as well as the buying guide, have been created to answer all your possible questions before shopping. We hope with the information we provide, you can have a more enjoyable shopping day.
How To Choose The Best Infant Car Seat – Buying Guide
When we decided to come up with our recommendations for the Best Infant Car Seats in 2020, we wanted to make sure that each seat we recommended met a set of criteria. The criteria we looked for are as follows:
Ease of Use
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration maintains a five-star rating system for car seats. The more stars a seat has, the easier it is to use. The ratings from the NHTSA take into account the ease of installation, the content as well as the clarity of the instruction manual.
Most car seats for babies come with a plastic base these days that you can install into your car for the seat to sit in while going for a drive. To get the car seat out of the base, the seat should have a handle that you can squeeze to detach it from the base. A lot of bases also have a level guide to ensure your baby is level in your car.
As your child grows, their car seat will need to grow with them. Better quality car seats on the market let you easily adjust the straps and harness height from the front of the seat. Being able to easily change the straps and harness will always ensure a proper fit for your child.
LATCH, otherwise known as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children has been in effect since 2002, requiring that all car seats and vehicles have to be compatible with the LATCH system. The system allows you to attach the car seat directly to the vehicle instead of just using the vehicle’s seat belt to secure the car seat. While this can make installation easier, seat belt installation is just as safe when done correctly.
If you have a newborn, you know messes occur frequently. Having a car seat that’s easy to clean is pretty much a necessity. However, there are many out there that do not have a detachable machine-washable cover.
When your baby is in a car seat, whether you’re traveling five or fifty miles, you want to make sure that they are comfortable the entire time. Having a well-padded seat with plenty of support for their head will help your baby have a better ride.
Many new car seats offer special energy-absorbing foam as well as other features to help protect your little one’s head and chest if they happen to be in a side-impact accident.
Regular Car Seat vs. Convertible Car Seat
The biggest difference between the two is the way they are attached in your car. The regular car seat has a base and a carrier, the base is a permanent fixture in your car and the carrier is lifted in and out. This gives you the benefit to lift the baby out in the carrier.
If your child is sleeping the carrier is perfect so that the nap continues, as you don’t want to disturb them when you lift them out. Also, you can buy a stroller with a carrier added so you can just fix the carrier to the stroller as easily as you fix it to the base in the car.
A regular car seat is the best if you don’t have a car and use taxis, friend’s or relatives’ cars. The convertible car seat is a permanent fixture in the car. The main benefit of this kind of seat is that you can use it for longer. It starts off as a rear-facing car seat then when the baby gets older turns into a forward-facing one.
You can on average use this kind of car seat for 4 years, whereas the baby carrier is usually only used for a maximum of 9 months to 1 year.
There is also the option of the all in one car seat. These kinds of seats are the most expensive, but you would only need to buy one seat. All kinds are safe so it is down to personal choice.
A baby carrier is better for moving your child around especially if you use other people’s cars or taxis but the convertible seat will save you money, as it will be used for a longer time.
Q: What are the benefits of infant car seats?
A: Here are some of the benefits of infant car seats:
- You child is safely strapped and protected
– It will help you when discharged from hospital
- Eases the process of putting and taking the child from the car
- It can be used as baby carrier as well
- They last for years and grow with your child
- You will be protected in front of the law
Q: How long does a baby stay in an infant car seat?
A: An infant car seat is suitable from birth until a certain height or weight. Every car seat is different so you have to check the manufacturer’s instructions but in general, the maximum height is 28 to 35 inches (71cm to 88cm).
There is also a weight limit, 30 to 35 lbs. (13.5kgs- 15.5kgs.) Usually, infants reach the height limit before the weight limit. They don’t have to reach both. After reaching one of these limits the infant needs to move to a different car seat.
Be aware that baby carriers have a lower height and weight limit than that of convertible car seats. You must read the instructions carefully and if you are confused to ask at the shop where you purchased the seat.
Q: When should I upgrade my baby’s car seat?
A: Your baby’s car seat should be upgraded when the child reaches a certain height or weight according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Many seats have different limits but around 30 pounds or 30 inches are the common limits.
Please note that the age of the child doesn’t matter, the height or weight are the important factors. Once your baby has reached one of these limits then upgrade the seat immediately. The seat is only safe up to these limits. As children get taller and heavier, they need a different type of seat.
If you bought a convertible seat, then once your baby has reached the rear-facing limits then you need to convert the seat to the forward-facing position. Baby carriers the weight and height limit is much lower, you will need to purchase a different kind of car seat at around 9 months.
Q: Where should I put my infant car seat?
A: There is only one safe place to put your infant car seat and that is the back seat of the car.
Many parents are tempted to fix the seat in the front seat so they can keep an eye on their baby. Because most cars being fixed with airbags in the front, this becomes very dangerous. Also having your baby in the front seat can be distracting for you as the driver.
If your car has airbags, it is illegal in most countries to but a rear-facing car seat in the front. If you can turn the airbags off, then it is possible but not at all recommended. The back seat behind the passenger seat is usually the most favored option. This is because you will take the infant out pavement side, which is safer for you both. In fact, if your car has a middle seat belt that has a three-point belt (lap and diagonal) then this is in fact the safest place.
Q: What is the weight limit for an infant car seat?
A: Each car seat has different recommendations but for newborn babies, up until about 16 kilos the rear-facing car seat is the best option, after 16 kilos the infant can be moved to a forward-facing seat or if the car seat is convertible, then it should be changed to the forward-facing position.
If you have a carrier that is also a car seat you will find that these are recommended up to 22 pounds (nearly 10 kilos). After this you should purchase a convertible car seat because up to the ages of 2 or 16 kilos it is best that the infant stays in a rear-facing device. After this age or weight, front forwarding facing seats are advisable.
Q: When can babies face forward?
A: Infants should only have front-facing car seats after they have reached 16 kilos or 2 years old.
It is becoming law in many countries that before this age all children should be in a rear-facing seat. After the age of two, they are considered too tall or heavy for rear-facing seats and need to be put in a front-facing seat.
It is important to remember that most baby carriers don’t recommend that they are used after 9 months, so you would have to purchase a convertible car seat at this age. Rear-facing is the safest position for a child to be in up to the age of two. In some countries, this is the law.
Q: Can you use car seat without base?
A: Car seats without a base can be used with a feature called a ‘European belt path.’ This allows the seat to be strapped in two different places to give extra security and comfort for parents. A car seat without a baser or this feature is still possible to use but the extra security will give you extra peace of mind.
Parents without cars may use taxis to get around, also a lift from a friend or relative. Their car may not have a base to the baby carrier but don’t worry baby carriers can still be used as long as you make sure they are strapped in securely.
Q: Do you really need an infant car seat?
A: Of course, yes! Many tests have been done about what can happen in an accident if an infant is not in a car seat. Sitting on an adult’s lap is not safe; neither is lying down in the back seat of a car. You can, of course, buy a convertible car seat, which sits permanently in the car; this can be used in the rear-facing position first.
The only problem with this is that it is a permanent fixture in your car, so you will need a stroller or carrier for your child. If you are riding in a friend’s or relative’s car then you will need the infant car seat. Infant car seats also come built into some strollers so you could be in fact saving money that way as you have both a stroller and car seat together.
Q: What is the difference between infant and toddler car seat?
A: Infant car seats are also baby carriers, they can have a base that’s fixed into your car so you can slide it into the base, or you can attach the carrier into the car. The advantages of these are that you can lift the carrier straight from the car without disturbing the infant. They are rear-facing and very practical.
Toddler car seats are usually forward-facing, these are permanent fixtures in your car, and the child is in a more upright position. The toddler car seat is usually used for 3 or 4 years so you need to make sure that the seat will move as your child grows. Whenever you are buying a seat make sure that it has passed the latest safety guidelines and also that it is fitted probably.
My Babies Planet Overview
When it comes time to choose an infant car seat for your child, you have to realize that your choice goes beyond features, price, style or any other factor. Your child’s safety is the most important factor to consider when choosing a cart seat.
There are many infant car seats on the market that may offer very similar safety features and any one of them listed on our list of the 10 Best Infant Car Seats in 2020 can be an excellent choice for you and your little one to ride in wherever you may travel.
But, regardless of the products on our list, there is only one overall factor that determines what the best infant car seat is and that’s you. You will always know what is best for them and choosing the best baby car seat will ultimately come down to you and the one, which you feel is the best option to keep your little bundle of joy safe.
We really hope that our list of the 10 Best Infant Car Seats in 2020, if not helping you decide on a car seat, gave you some idea of what you’re looking for in one, then we’ve done our job.
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