Babble Best Picks:
There might not be a more important baby product that you'll buy than a car seat. You can skimp on hand-me-down clothes, used toys or even second-hand strollers, but experts agree that car seats should be brand new - especially if you don't know the history of the particular car seat.
There are two options for babies: First there's the standard infant car seat, which is fitted more securely for a baby and is also lighter and more maneuverable for parents. An infant car seat can easily transfer between multiple cars, as well as turn into a travel system by hooking onto a stroller or shopping cart. However, infant car seats only face backwards and have a relatively short weight and height capacity, meaning you'll need to buy a bigger car seat toward the end of your baby's first year.
The second option is to just go with a convertible car seat from the jump, saving you money on the infant car seat and multiple car seat bases. Every convertible car seat that we tested can be used rear facing starting with newborns, although they generally don't have the best fit and features for the littlest ones. Convertible car seats are naturally much bigger and heavier than an infant car seat, and aren't as simple to move in and out of cars. Plus, you'll need multiple car seats for multiple cars, rather than just buying an inexpensive base (as with infant car seats).
Yet once your baby hits around 30 lbs., a convertible car seat can last you until your child is 65-100 lbs., possibly making it the last car seat you'll buy. But with so many different features, manageability and price points, it can be hard to tell just which ones are the very best. So to give you a hand, we tested the most popular infant and convertible car seats to fit your lifestyle and budget.
After reviewing many different Britax products – from strollers to car seats – we’ve never been disappointed with the brand. You’ll notice that the Britax Advocate 70 differs from other Britax models because of the side-impact technology built around the frame, instead of protruding outwards like the Safety 1st model. Britax uses the standard energy-absorbing EPP foam cushions on either side of the car seat, making it a bit wider than other models. (You might need to install the seat toward the window rather than the middle in smaller cars.) But at the end of the day, the Britax Advocate is loaded with safety features like side impact protection, an energy-absorbing harness, extra EPP padding throughout the body and new technology that counteracts the force of a rear-end accident. You’ll have to sacrifice some space, but at the end of the day, is there anything more important than safety?
Price might be a factor, considering the car seat sells for over $350. You should also know it’s one of the larger convertible car seat models that we tested, so you’ll need extra room when reclining it in a rear-facing position. But if you have the room, the infant positioning insert ($14.99, which we didn’t test) might make it a great option for the littlest ones. Plus, we love how easy it is to adjust and install (the fit was phenomenal). Our toddler was all smiles in his plush throne.
Bottom line: If you can afford the price and the space, you won’t be disappointed.
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