Bringing baby home is an exciting moment that new parents anticipate for months leading up to the big day. Choosing the right car seat to make that trip possible is a big and often stressful task. Compiled here is a brief overview of the various seat styles along with some highly-rated selections to make the decision a little bit easier.
The Infant Car Seat
An infant car seat is made for the family on the go! Not only does the seat detach from its base and double as a lightweight carrier, but additional bases can be purchased separately, making it convenient as well as safe (one-time installation) for multi-vehicle families.
Some infant car seats latch onto accompanying strollers. This allows mom or dad to move a sleeping or otherwise content baby from vehicle-to-stroller without disturbing them.
This particular style of seat is rear-facing only, therefore it will need to be replaced once baby has outgrown this stage.
Top Pick: Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Infant Car Seat | Baby Car Seat Featuring TrueShield Side Impact Technology
Top Budget-Friendly Pick: Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX Infant Car Seat , Hailey
The Convertible Car Seat
While convertible car seats do not have the convenience factor of doubling as a carrier, they are made to be used rear-facing and front-facing, which means they can be used a lot longer than infant car seats. If value outweighs convenience, the convertible car seat is an excellent choice. This option makes sense for parents who plan to use a swing over a carrier, anyway.
Top Pick: Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat | Infant to Toddler Car Seat, with 10 Years of Use, Fairmont
Top Budget-Friendly Pick: Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat, Harvest Moon
The 3-in-1 Car Seat
When it comes to choosing a seat for the last duration, the 3-in-1 is it. It extends past the rear-facing and front-facing stages to eventually become a big kid’s booster seat. The practicality of the style might seem like a no-brainer, but this is a bulkier, heavier seat. It’s also highly unlikely to remain in pristine shape after enduring the infant and toddler stages.
Top Budget-Friendly Pick: Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Car Seat | Slim & Comfy Design Saves Space in Your Back Seat, Darcie
For Big Kids
Some big kids (and parents) can’t wait to ditch the clunky old baby seat and get something that makes them feel a bit more grown-up. A standard booster seat takes up less room, is easy to install, and is fairly inexpensive. They’re also lightweight enough for kids to carry, giving mom and dad one less thing to worry about.
Bonus: For The (Very) Little Ones
Parents of preemies often spend a lot of time at the hospital, so going home with baby is an even bigger event. Going home can sometimes be postponed if baby isn’t big enough to safely ride in a standard car seat. Fortunately, some manufacturers have considered this and have designed seats to accommodate babies weighing as little as three pounds.