Deciphering Car Seat Styles
When our oldest was born, there was no such thing as a “convertible” car seat. It was an infant seat or a forward-facing car seat.
With our second, we had the “convertible” option thrown in and we were confused as all get out! So, with our third, we’re prepared. We know what we’re talking about and we know what we’re going to buy.
In case you’re feeling a little confused, I thought I’d break down what we learned in our travels.
Infant Seats: These are the seats you see parents carrying their babies around stores in. They’re nice for that type of thing because you can just unlatch them from the in-car base and put them right in your shopping cart.
You can also find these in a set with a stroller (referred to as a travel system), so you can easily clip them in to that if you want to go for a walk around the neighborhood with the baby. Infant seats can be used from birth to approximately 35 lbs (this varies by model, of course) and are rear-facing only.
Convertible Seats: More of what we considered a “front-facing” car seat more than a decade ago, the convertible seat is the one that was most confusing to us. For one, I wasn’t sure how it would really work as a rear-facing car seat. But then a few friends tried it and once I saw it in action, I totally got it.
These tend to be a bit bulkier (at least in my opinion) and can be used from birth to approximately 65 lbs (again, it varies by model). Now, the appeal of these is that, because kiddo are supposed to now be rear-facing until they’re two, this type of car seat should be the only one you need for years … I mean, L is going to be three in February and she’s just now tipping the scales at 28 lbs.
Booster Seats: These come in high-back or backless styles (or you can buy a high-back that converts to backless) and have the same five-point harness system as the other styles. Many now have the head rests that are both adjustable and curve slightly around the head for extra protection in the event of a crash. Good for kids weighing 30 lbs to over 100 lbs, these are very popular models because they, too, can be used for years and years.
Ultimately, we chose an infant seat and moved directly to a high-back booster. But with this new baby, we might go with a convertible seat, thinking that by the time the new baby grows out of it, he can use L’s high-back booster.
Did you use a convertible car seat? What model did you choose? We’re looking for something a little more slim in width because we’re not planning on purchasing a bigger car. Advice would be welcome!
photo credit: flickr/IrishMBO