January 2015 Moms

Carseats - convertible vs. infant

I've been researching carseats, and there's so much out there. I was initially thinking that DH and would buy a convertible carseat for sure so that we wouldn't have to buy multiple seats as our child grew. However, I'm reading about how bulky these seats can be, which could be a problem for us. So I'm curious as to what y'all's experiences have been. 

What have you used in the past? What have your preferences been? What do you think you'll get this time around? 
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Re: Carseats - convertible vs. infant

  • We still have his infant seat- so we will use that at first (it only lasted 5 months for us until he reached the 30" height limit). I did like being able to remove the infant seat from the car without waking him. When we switched to the convertible, he woke up every time we'd take him out of the seat. So, we'll be doing the same- infant until LO2 is too big, then convertible. 
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  • While it's a cost benefit to only use one seat (just getting the convertible), I will say it could be a pain in the butt convenience-wise because the good thing about the infant seat is you can easily pop it out of the base in your car and use it as a carrier when you go into stores/restaurants, etc... and also to carry them in the house....it can also be put on the stroller (you can get travel systems which are a combo of the car seat and stroller), or there's also what's called a snap-n-go stroller that's basically just a frame that fits the car seat (that one is much more compact)

    Trust me... if a baby falls asleep in the car, you do NOT want to wake it up.  

    Another option that could work if you really do want to get the convertible, is to babywear when you go into places like stores and restaurants, because then you could just take them out of the carseat and transfer right into the baby carrier and that might work... BUT, you run the risk of waking the baby when you might not want to, and there's also that possibility that your baby wont like being worn ... I think most do take to it very well, but my DS really didn't like being confined...he didn't like the swaddle either.  He may be a weirdo though.

    In conclusion... I was very happy to have the infant seat, it made many things much easier.



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  • jnedenjneden member
    I highly recommend an infant seat. When the baby is new they sleep a lot and its so much easier to just take out the infant seat and go. You can take it into restaurants, stores wherever. Its so convenient. Also, DD is 13 months old and is just now outgrowing her infant seat so you will get a lot of use out of it. 

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  • My son grew out of his infant seat earlier then I wanted so we got the alpha omega elite that goes from 5-100 lbs so he could be rear facing for a longer time. Now at almost 4 he is forward facing and will keep his seat which adjust as he grows. DH and grandpa have the same seat. Lo2 will be using a infant seat until s/he is a year... hopefully unless they grow out sooner like ds (a year is when our seat expires) and then will move into the same type of seat
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  • It's definitely worth it to get an infant carrier, imo.  The convenience of it is beyond comprehension. Yes, you will need to get a convertible seat eventually as well, but our convertible seat was good through 65# so DD could have been in it until she was 4 at the very least.  At 4, kids can be in a booster seat which are much cheaper.  Cosco brand seats are $40 for a convertible and although they don't have as much padding, they're just as safe, very light, very narrow, and easy to move from car to car.  They are sold at Walmart and Target.  We had one as a spare when we traveled or carpooled.   

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Cosco-Scenera-Convertible-Car-Seat/16932760
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  • My son didn't like the infant seat for very long and we switched to the convertible at 4 months. We will start off with the infant seat again with this one though and see how it goes. If they sleep in the seat it can be nice not to wake them. If you want to start off in the convertible the brand new graco 4ever is supposed to be amazing. That would be my choice for sure. That is the seat we will eventually get.

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  • @RobertJane33‌ you need to check the lower weight limit for the specific seat. I think an infant seat would be a ton easier to use. There is a FB group called "car seats for the Littles" and they can answer questions about your specific needs to recommend seats that would work.

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  • I went back and forth on this. My reasons for ultimately choosing an infant carrier is below.

    Convertible
    pros
    -lower cost over the life of its usage
    -easy to clean with zippered covers
    Cons
    - higher up front cost
    -can't use as a carrier, so forced to baby wear even if inconvenient
    -seat can get very hot or cold from being left in the car
    -baby has to be carried to the car somewhat exposed to weather/rain

    Baby bucket
    Pros
    -lower up front cost
    -seems to be easier/more comfy for reclining infant
    -since it stays in the house it won't get too hot or cold to put baby in comfortably
    -you can use as a carrier if baby wearing isn't convenient that second.
    -easy to transfer between cars safely with bases
    Cons
    -lower lifespan based on baby's size
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  • I can't imagine not using the infant car seat. It is so convenient and keeps baby warm and comfortable and undisturbed. Plus I thought they were safer for infants than convertible car seats? Maybe I'm wrong? We moved DS at 7 months to a convertible RF seat.
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  • mc0113mc0113 member
    We plan on baby wearing so we'll be going with a convertible from the beginning. We're getting the Graco MySize 65. 
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  • CbeanzCbeanz member
    I HATED that @#$#$%^& infant seat.  D@mn thing was so heavy it negated any supposed "convenience."  I nearly dislocated my spine pulling that f#cker out of the car multiple times every day.

    Convertible seat was a godsend.

    Some infant seats are not as heavy as ours was - we needed a special one to fit in the back of H's A5.
  • HamptonsMamaHamptonsMama member
    edited July 2014
    We used the infant seat with our first until she was 10 months. It was getting really heavy for me to get in and out if the car. We switched to convertible rear-facing in my car at that point and recently got a forward facing seat for DH's truck for when she turns two.
    Our infant seat will be used with #2 as long as we can and then we will get another convertible seat.

    Toys R Us/Babies R Us do trade in events of old seats. I found one on the side of the road near my house, stored it in my shed, then waited for the trade in deal. It was an easy 25% off!
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  • We found the infant seat to be very convenient, especially during the winter. You aren't supposed to put kids in car seats wearing puffy winter coats, so dressing the baby in light layers while using a warm car seat cover or blankets over the straps made life a lot easier. 

    Not to mention that it was great to be able to take the baby into the house without waking her up if she fell asleep in the car. Once we switched to the convertible seat, I spent a lot of time sitting in the car waiting for her nap to end rather than risk waking her up.

    I'd also recommend trying any seat you're thinking about buying. Some of the nicer boutique stores will let you do a trial install of the different models. Rear facing seats tend to steal legroom from the front row, so if you have a more compact car it's a good idea to find a seat with an adjustable angle.
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  • We used a britax b safe for our infant seat and just shy of his first birthday we switched him into a foonf. I did sooooo much research on the convertible seat that I had nightmares and anxiety about it. I was between the foonf and the radian.
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  • 3rd floor walk up....having a hard time thinking about carrying the infant seat up and down those stairs....seems unlikely that the baby would stay asleep up and down them anyway.
  • mmookimmooki member
    I have a baby trend infant seat from dd. She used it for about a year, then we switched to the bigger seat. It was so easy if she fell asleep to just bring in the seat. Also because it will be cold when lo arrives, I like the idea of bundling baby up in the house in the seat before going outside.
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  • 95139513 member
    emmyg65 said:

    In addition to the convenience factor, I read on Consumer Reports that infant seats are slightly safer for newborns because they fit better.

    I came on to post this exactly!

  • Even though I'm a fan of baby wearing I wouldn't want to have to do it all the time. I liked the convenience of the infant seat. My babies run on the large side so they don't last very long but I still recommend an infant seat. The good news is you can get a convertible seat that will last until the kid is 5. 
  • I highly recommend Car Seats For The Littles Facebook group. It is run by wonderful car seat technicians and very informative. Recommendations for rear facing are until at least 2 but as close to 4 as possible. There are quite a few options for convertibles that are compact and last a long time (based on child's height as most kids outgrow height limits before weight limits). It might be best to wait on a convertible though because you don't know how tall your child will be. Example. People love britax convertibles (they do a good job marketing them) but they have short shells and would not get my 90th% in height child anywhere close to 4 rear facing. Just remember all seats are equally safe and pass the same saggy standards. There is no way of knowing which seat on the market did better in crash tests than another seat. That information is not available to the public.
  • emmyg65 said:

    In addition to the convenience factor, I read on Consumer Reports that infant seats are slightly safer for newborns because they fit better.

    Completely and absolutely untrue. All seats are equally safe as long as they are installed and used correctly. As a matter of fact the graco snugride 22 is a horrible infant seat because the lowest harness slot position is too tall for most babies and does not allow the harness to rest below the shoulders of most newborns. (The other snugrides (30, 32, 35, & 40 have a lower bottom harness position and work for newborns). There are a couple other infant seats with this issue that I cannot think of off the top of my head. I would not go off what consumer reports says at all.
  • Definitely try and go for the infant seat first.  Especially for convenience.  If he/she is sleeping you can remove the infant seat from the car without waking the baby (which you would have to do if you had to unbuckle him/her from the convertible car seat).  Also, it's more convenient if you use a stroller with a a infant seat attachment or one of those snap-n-go's (which is what we did). 

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  • We are using an infant seat. A big factor this time around is the weather. It's a lot easier to keep baby warm going to and from the car in the middle of winter with the infant carrier vs convertible seat.
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  • However, I'm reading about how bulky these seats can be, which could be a problem for us. So I'm curious as to what y'all's experiences have been. 

    What are your concerns regarding the size of a convertible?  Weight of the seat, small car, travel etc.  Some seats are better suited for different needs.  For instance our convertible is a beast (the Foonf) but we don't need to move it from car to car or fly with it, so the weight doesn't concern me.  On the flip side, it has one of the narrowest footprints. 

    You will need a convertible seat at some point.  As others have said, you can skip the infant seat, personal preference.  I liked being able to take a sleeping baby into a restaurant, etc.   

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  • We did the infant seat as well with our first one. I agree with the others that the convenience of not having to wake baby and being able to keep them warm in the colder months was a benefit that far outweighed the cost for us. It was also nice if we were out at a friend's house because we could put baby down to sleep for the night and the whisk her out to the car. A few suggestions - if you have two cars, you'll probably want two bases, just so you don't have to hassle switching it from car to car. I'd also go to the store and test out the carriers. If you think it's too heavy without a baby, imagine adding ten to twenty pounds to it.

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  • mc0113mc0113 member
    edited July 2014
    For everyone who says that they use the infant seat to not have to wake their baby should really think twice about it. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to use car seats for only during car travel and to not allow babies to sleep in them for extended periods of time. Their study from last year shows decreased oxygen levels in babies who are left sleeping in car seats out of the car.



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  • ^^^That's more referencing extended periods of time/in place of a crib. I don't consider running into a store for an errand of having lunch an extended period of time. They are talking about letting your baby sleep for hours on end. If I shouldn't be taking my infant on a 2 hour car ride, that guideline would be well known. 

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  • However, I'm reading about how bulky these seats can be, which could be a problem for us. So I'm curious as to what y'all's experiences have been. 

    What are your concerns regarding the size of a convertible?  Weight of the seat, small car, travel etc.  Some seats are better suited for different needs.  For instance our convertible is a beast (the Foonf) but we don't need to move it from car to car or fly with it, so the weight doesn't concern me.  On the flip side, it has one of the narrowest footprints. 

    You will need a convertible seat at some point.  As others have said, you can skip the infant seat, personal preference.  I liked being able to take a sleeping baby into a restaurant, etc.   

    My concern is that we have two cars - one that's a pretty small sedan with not a lot of room in the backseat and a Rav4. I've read about a couple of convertible seats not fitting well in the Ravs. Then I'm also not sure about needing to switch between cars. 

    After everything that everyone has said, I'm leaning towards getting an infant seat. I do plan on babywearing a lot, but in the winter, it will definitely be nice to get the baby bundled up inside instead of in our freezing cars. 
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  • Pips09Pips09 member
    I think it is well worth the money to have the infant seat. You can bundle the baby up inside and just plop him/her in the car. Easy to transfer between cars, don't need to wake a sleeping baby or bend over the seat while you get them adjusted. We switched to a convertible around 10 months, when she got too heavy to carry in the infant seat. 
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  • We don't have a car, so the car seat question is shockingly difficult. You would think it would be easier since we don't have a car! I think we are going to do a convertible one to save costs in the long-term and then just buy a stroller with a bassinet feature (right now I am leaning towards the uppababy vista).
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  •  
    My concern is that we have two cars - one that's a pretty small sedan with not a lot of room in the backseat and a Rav4. I've read about a couple of convertible seats not fitting well in the Ravs. Then I'm also not sure about needing to switch between cars. 

    After everything that everyone has said, I'm leaning towards getting an infant seat. I do plan on babywearing a lot, but in the winter, it will definitely be nice to get the baby bundled up inside instead of in our freezing cars. 
    Definitely join the Car Seats for the Littles page.  You can post your exact situation, which cars you have and what you're looking for in a seat and get some great advice and recommendations on which seats will work best! 
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  • However, I'm reading about how bulky these seats can be, which could be a problem for us. So I'm curious as to what y'all's experiences have been. 

    What are your concerns regarding the size of a convertible?  Weight of the seat, small car, travel etc.  Some seats are better suited for different needs.  For instance our convertible is a beast (the Foonf) but we don't need to move it from car to car or fly with it, so the weight doesn't concern me.  On the flip side, it has one of the narrowest footprints. 

    You will need a convertible seat at some point.  As others have said, you can skip the infant seat, personal preference.  I liked being able to take a sleeping baby into a restaurant, etc.   

    My concern is that we have two cars - one that's a pretty small sedan with not a lot of room in the backseat and a Rav4. I've read about a couple of convertible seats not fitting well in the Ravs. Then I'm also not sure about needing to switch between cars. 

    After everything that everyone has said, I'm leaning towards getting an infant seat. I do plan on babywearing a lot, but in the winter, it will definitely be nice to get the baby bundled up inside instead of in our freezing cars. 

    we have the same issue. We have a civic coupe and a Mercedes SUV. We only have the car seat in the SUV. Whoever is driving by themselves takes the civic and whoever is taking our son drives the Mercedes. It works for us. Plus, I can't imagine putting a rear facing convertible seat in the backseat of the civic coupe.
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  • @RobertJane33, Lucie's List specifically recommends a car seat for parents without a car.  I don't remember which one it is, but it doesn't require a separate base to be safely installed.  That sounded ideal to me for cab rides, rides in other people's cars, etc.  

  • ^^The Cybex Aton is one that's really easy to install without a base. 
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  • I am a FTM and from experience with my nieces and nephew, I am going for the infant seat. I do like the fact you can buy the insulated infant seat covers like this: (https://www.target.com/p/jj-cole-car-seat-cover/-/A-15279847#prodSlot=_1_47) or you could do a car seat canopy to cover the infant. so the child isn't overly bundled in their clothes. I am going with the Chicco Keyfit 30, I am then getting a convertible carseat for the next size up for the rear facing and boosters.
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  • mom2casemom2case member
    edited July 2014
    However, I'm reading about how bulky these seats can be, which could be a problem for us. So I'm curious as to what y'all's experiences have been. 

    What are your concerns regarding the size of a convertible?  Weight of the seat, small car, travel etc.  Some seats are better suited for different needs.  For instance our convertible is a beast (the Foonf) but we don't need to move it from car to car or fly with it, so the weight doesn't concern me.  On the flip side, it has one of the narrowest footprints. 

    You will need a convertible seat at some point.  As others have said, you can skip the infant seat, personal preference.  I liked being able to take a sleeping baby into a restaurant, etc.   

    My concern is that we have two cars - one that's a pretty small sedan with not a lot of room in the backseat and a Rav4. I've read about a couple of convertible seats not fitting well in the Ravs. Then I'm also not sure about needing to switch between cars. 

    After everything that everyone has said, I'm leaning towards getting an infant seat. I do plan on babywearing a lot, but in the winter, it will definitely be nice to get the baby bundled up inside instead of in our freezing cars. 
    Our convertible seat fit better in our car than the infant seat did because of the recline.  We had no knee room with the infant seat and the seat was back two notches further with the convertible. 

    ETA:  DD rode in her infant seat until she was 15 months.  We just stopped taking it out of the car after a while.  It was the Graco SnugRide 35.
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  • These thread really helps me to decide on which I should purchase I'm making a baby list so thank you ladies! ;)
  • We used both. We had the infant seat until they were too heavy to carry in the seat or already walking. Then switched to the convertible seat until they were big enough to turn forward facing. The infant seat with my oldest only went up to 20lbs, so it was an early transition. With my son the seat went up to 30, but he wasn't going to be carried in the seat past 6m. 
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