Infant Car Seat VS. Convertible Car Seat

I remember the very first time I stepped into a Babies R’ Us as a pregnant lady I was completely overwhelmed.  Buying for other people was a piece of cake, but for my baby?  Yikes!  We went before we registered for items just to look at car seats…oh me oh my.  The choices are endless and very confusing.  Sure, now that my son is almost 10 months you become an expert at it QUICKLY, but when the baby product choices start, it seems completely foreign.  The car set was the first obstacle to face…and boy is it a BIG one!

To catch up here are my previous posts in my Versus series:

  1. Series Index
  2. Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers
  3. Pacifier vs. Thumb Sucking
  4. Co-Sleeping vs. Crib Sleeping
  5. Homemade Baby Food vs. Store Bought
  6. Baby Led Weaning vs. Spoon Feeding
  7. Car Seat on Airplane vs. Lap Baby
  8. Swaddle vs. No Swaddle

Infant Car Seat VS. Convertible

infant car seat versus convertible car seat

So an infant car seat is the traditional bucket car seat that you see people carrying back and forth with the baby in it.  A convertible car seat is one that stays inside the car and is bigger and what you mostly see toddlers in.  You can purchase car seats one of two ways:

  • buy the infant car seat and use it for the first year or so and then buy the convertible seat
  • buy the convertible seat right from the get go and skip the infant seat

Pros and Cons

Infant Car Seats

Pros

  • Can be taken out of car easily
  • Allows baby to remain sleeping even if the car trip is done
  • Provides a good fit for a small newborn
  • Often attaches to a stroller (we loved our Britax Stroller!)
  • Can be gate checked as one piece when flying
Cons
  • Baby uses the car seat usually for only the first year
  • Is heavy to carry around with baby in it
  • Limits your choice of stroller if you want it to attach
Convertible Car Seats
Pros
  • Most fit children from 5 pounds to at least 40 pounds
  • No need to purchase infant car seat
  • Saves money if it is the only seat purchased
Cons
  • Small newborns may not fit as well (especially with shoulder strap level)
  • Would have wake up baby to get them out of the car
  • Would have to purchase a newborn appropriate stroller (because infant seat would not be used in stroller)
  • Does not recline as much as infant seat and is harder for young ones to sleep in

My Take on Infant Car Seats VS. Convertible

With most issues I can see it both ways, but for infant seat vs. convertible seat, I say GET THE INFANT SEAT!  Sure it does cost more money in the end because you will be buying two different seats within a year of each other.  But the convenience of the infant seat was well worth the extra money.  My plusses for not putting our newborn in the convertible are:

  1. You can take an infant car seat into the restaurant with baby in it when they are small.  Once they are big enough you can put them in a high chair.  Saves you from having to hold the infant while eating.
  2. There were many times that we were out and he fell asleep.  We could bring the car seat into the house and he would finish his nap in the seat.  Important for the tiny babies!
  3. We bought a stroller that fit the infant seat so he could stay in his car seat in the stroller.  The attachable big kid seat in the stroller would have been way to big for him as a newborn considering his neck support.
We switched him to a convertible at about 9 months.  He could have made it longer, but they were on sale and we thought he was ready for it.  Some of my friends babies used their infant seat until over a year old though.  He does not sleep as well in the convertible, but it isn’t as important now that he is older, as with when he was younger lack of sleep was a big issue!

Our strollers and car seats

Britax are the best of the best and have very high safety ratings.  They are a bit more expensive but are well worth it!!!

Helpful Websites

Helpful Products

What is your take?  Which car seat worked for you?

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