Infant Car Seat VS Convertible Car Seat

Newborns have the option of using an infant car seat or a convertible safety seat. The below car seat guide will explain the differences between infant safety seats and convertible safety seats so that you can decide what is appropriate for your newborn.

Difference Between Infant Car Seat And Convertible Car Seat

Infant car seats are all rear-facing whereas convertible car seats can be positioned rear-facing or forward-facing.

Infant safety seats fit babies snugly during the first year or so, depending on the seat and size of your baby. Infant car seats typically have a weight limit of 22 to 35 pounds and a height limit of 20 to 32 inches tall. On the other hand, many convertible car seats have a weight limit of 40-50 pounds in a rear-facing position, up to 85 pounds in a forward-facing position, and have a height limit of up to 50 inches tall. The weight and height limits for car seats vary for every model, so it is important to know the limits for your specific seat.

While it may be cheaper to purchase a convertible car seat, buying an infant car seat also has its advantages. A few of the benefits of having an infant car seat includes

1) Infant car seats are portable
Infant car seats have two pieces: a carrier and a base. The carrier can be easily clicked in and out from the car seat base, which is latched and remains in the vehicle. This allows you to transport your baby from one place to another without having to remove the baby from the car seat. This is especially helpful when your baby is sleeping and you don’t want to disturb him.

2) The carrier attaches to strollers
Newborns cannot sit up or lift up their heads. If you plan to use a stroller for your newborn to take him on walks, you can use secure him in a carrier so that he will not strain his neck. Depending on your car seat, there may be a selection of compatible strollers to choose from. You can purchase a car seat and stroller in a matching set, or buy them separately.

It’s important to note that convertible car seats stay in your car, meaning you will have to buy a separate travel system if you want to use a stroller.

3) One seat can be used in multiple cars
If you have more than one car, you can purchase a car seat base instead of buying two car seats. Buying a second car seat base will allow you to easily transfer your car seat from vehicle to vehicle.

4) Infant car seats are snug fit
Newborns fit best in an infant-only seat. Some parents found convertible car seats to be too big for their newborns and had to use head rests, towels, or other cushions to prop their newborn safely until he grows into the seat. Infant car seats are often smaller than convertible seats so your baby can fit more snugly.
One of the disadvantages of infant car seats is that it is quickly outgrown. In addition, many carriers weigh close to 10 pounds, so it can be heavy and difficult to carry when you add the weight of the baby.

Are Convertible Car Seats Safe For Newborns?

Yes, convertible child safety seats are safe for your newborns as long as the car seat fits your child correctly.

When to Switch To Convertible Car Seat

When to transition from an infant car seat to a convertible car seat depends on your child’s growth rate. Infant car seats typically have a weight limit of 22 to 35 pounds. When your baby reaches the weight or height limits set by the car seat’s manufacturer, he will need to switch to a rear-facing convertible car seat.

However, until your baby has reached the weight or height limits, keep him or her rear-facing for as long as possible. This is the best way to keep your baby safe.

Should You Buy an Infant Safety Seat or Convertible Safety Seat?

It’s cheaper to buy a convertible car seat for a newborn instead of buying both an infant car seat and then a convertible car seat when your baby gets older.

If you will be having your first child and predict that you will have more children, then investing an infant car seat might be a good idea. A dedicated infant car seat is the safest place for your newborn to be while in the car. Here is a list of things to look for when buying a car seat.

However, if money is tight and your baby will be riding in just one vehicle, you may consider buying a convertible safety seat. Another reason to purchase a convertible seat is if you have a second vehicle that your baby might ride in, but you do not use as often. In this case, buying a convertible seat may be a better idea than an infant car seat base because your baby will eventually have to use a convertible seat. It may not be worth it to buy a car seat base to use only a few times.

Here are tips on what to look for when buying a car seat.

For recommendations, check out the best car seats in 2020.