Next to choosing a stroller, trying to decide on the car seat that's right for us has been one of the most difficult decisions in the baby gear department. Dh and I don't own a car. We live in a large metro area and rely on public transportation. Once or twice a year we rent a car and will drive up to visit family for a week, or maybe take a small trip upstate or something. We don't generally fly anywhere, and probably won't for a good while (a year after baby is born at best?).
I know that we will need a car seat to get home from the hospital (car service) and we plan on taking a trip to visit family in December. That's the only two trips we have planned right now, and since I'll be out of work for awhile, I don't imagine we'll be squeezing in more than one or two others before baby is 6mos. Should we skip the infant car seat and just get a convertible right away? I feel like using an infant seat maybe 4 times before the baby grows out of it would be a waste of money, but I also know that they're more convenient and sometimes a convertible seat is quite large and our rental cars are sometimes small. And obviously, baby safety takes precedence over saving money.
I know you can also rent child seats with a car rental, but I don't know if that's cost effective. I know it generally costs more to rent a GPS for a week than it does just to buy one so I don't know if child seats are the same.
So, what would our best option be? Buy the cheapest infant seat? Skip the infant and go straight to a convertible? Just rent one when we need it? We'll also have the issue of storing an infant seat after the child grows out of it. We don't know if we'll want another child or not, but we really don't have space to store a lot of baby gear for just maybe using it later. We'll probably just have to get rid of it as soon as baby is too big.