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Car Seat Safety For Baby: Infant Vs. Convertible

The perfect example of why I like an infant car seat. Henry, sleeping in his car seat at 4 months, while attending a gay pride parade.

You’ve got a lot on your mind when you’re headed to the hospital to give birth. Most moms focus on the birth plan and what they want/need while in labor yet one of the most important things you need to have at the hospital is a car seat or hey, guess what? You aren’t going anywhere.

That’s right. Did you know that every state requires parents to have one before leaving the hospital because it’s one of the best ways to protect your baby?

You have two options when it comes to picking out a car seat that will keep your baby safe. There are infant-only car seats and convertible seats.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants and toddlers ride in a rear-facing seat until they are 2 years old or until they have reached the maximum weight and height limits recommended by the manufacturer. Most new infant car seats have a weight limit of 30 lbs now, so you can plan on getting around two years of use out of your infant-only seat before you need to buy a bigger car seat. But if you get a convertible car seat you don’t need to buy a new one…

So what’s better? Infant seats or convertible seats?

Infant only seats tend to fit smaller babies better and often come as part of a travel system so you can pop baby from car to stroller very easily, but convertible seats can, as the name implies, convert as the baby grows, into sitting car seats. Additionally, those “travel systems” can be cumbersome and maybe you mostly want to sport your baby around in a carrier, so a convertible car seat might make more sense for you. However, if your newborn is tiny he may not fit properly in a convertible car seat.

For me it was a no-brainer. I wanted to be able to carry my daughter around without having to unstrap her from a car seat if she fell asleep. From the car to the stroller to the grocery cart to grandma’s house, I was all about the infant car seat. I bought a Graco SnugRider and popped the car seat right onto that whenever I needed a stroller and I was all set. She lasted almost 18 months in that thing and then we used it for her brother who also lasted around 18 months.

The bottom line is you need to pick what is safety for your baby and your car and what will work best for your family.

What about you? Did you opt for an infant car seat or a convertible car seat? Why?

Disclaimer: The content and viewpoints expressed here within are solely that of the originators. Graco’s sponsorship does not imply endorsement of any opinions or information provided and we do not assume responsibility for the accuracy of the content provided. Please always consult a professional for matters related to your child’s well-being. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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