Nurseries and Baby Gear

Disadvantages with convertible carseat?

We started looking at baby stuff this weekend, and I think I have most of it figured out except for the carseat. It seems like most people get both an infant seat and a convertible but I honestly haven't figured out why. If an infant can go in a convertible seat, why bother with an infant seat they will outgrow within 6 months-1 year? Is it significantly safer to have an infant seat? It seems like if Britax or whoever sells a convertible that works from 5-40 lbs rear facing and 40-70 front facing then that would be the best thing to get rather than two different seats. Insights? I just don't know if I can justify registering for 2 $200+ carseats unless it's really necessary.
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Re: Disadvantages with convertible carseat?

  • Setting the Scene:

    You: exhausted, frazzled, sleep-deprived, first time mom, taking LO home from a dr's appointment, grocery store etc

    LO: sleeping like an angel in car seat after ride

    You: now take LO out of convertible carseat to bring them inside and think "Oh I hope they stay sleeping so I can take a nap!"

    LO wakes up as you take them out and you are now in tears about that nap that ain't going to happen. Infant carrier could have snapped out and been put on bedroom floor or in crib while you both napped. 

    Also, most strollers need a carseat or bassinet insert to safely carry a newborn (DS is 3 months and 12lbs and I have just stopped using his carseat with his stroller).

    Do you plan on wearing LO in stores? How will you carry him/her at the mall or grocery store? I haven't found his seat getting heavy yet and will probably continue to carry him for another 2-3 months at least.

    Do you have 2 cars? Maybe you could keep the convertible in DH's car and use the infant seat yourself? Another nice thing with the infant seat is you can use it in any car without installing it- most can just be put in with a seatbelt. A convertible needs to be installed and is a pain to move between vehicles. 

    I plan on using mine (snugride35) until he outgrows it or becomes uncomfortable- I love it.


  • In my opinion, the convenience aspect alone is worth every penny. Especially when they are little and you need to run errands. Snapping that seat into a stroller makes everything a lot easier.
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  • People that posted previously probably have more experience than I do here (I'm not due until December).

    But I see it mainly there way. Upon the "convience" aspect I think it's kinda scary dangerous to have to manage getting a newborn baby out of his/her backwards car seat and out of the car. They are so fragile at that stage.

    I'm not sure when you're due but see you're from my neck of the woods. We registered/purchased a regular infant seat. And plan to deal with the convertible later when the time comes. I wasn't crazy about worrying about the extra $200 right away either. The aspects that you might want to think about before ditching the infant seat is the time frame when LO will be tiny. For me, like stated, LO will be here in the coldest part of the year. I can't imagine not having a warm covered car seat to carry him in. Also, we're getting the snap n go stroller so he doesn't ever have to have his breath taken away by colder air. Just grab the infant seat that's covered and snap it on the stroller frame or shopping cart when we're forced to go out.

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  • Ditto everyone.  I would much rather spend that money than risk waking a sleeping child especially if they're light sleepers to begin with!  Being able to snap the infant seat into the carseat base and the stroller seamlessly without waking up baby is a beautiful thing.
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  • Ditto pp's. The convenience is worth it. Your baby won't be able to sit up independently for at least 5-6 months...what will you do with him/her when you and your H want to get dinner out? Or when you have to go grocery shopping? There are times when wearing baby is a good alternative, but there are honestly SO MANY times when leaving her asleep in the infant carrier and snapping it into a stroller or plopping it on a sling or booth in a restaurant is the best thing ever.

    And as far as cost, it's very UNnecessary to register for two $200+ seats. Our Graco infant seat was $150 and our Evenflo convertible is $140. Britax is not the end-all in car seats; there are many, many other brands out there that are more affordable and just as safe. HTH.

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  • Yes, you can skip the infant seat. There are several seats on the market that fit small newborns well; Britax sells a positioning insert for infants that helps seat them so the harness straps sit correctly on them. There are a few others that work well, check or for recommendations (I think one was Graco MyRide 65). Although the Radian is a fantastic seat, it doesn't work well with small infants, it seems to fit better at the 12lb+ 22"+ stage. So unless your lo is as big as my lo, then I'd stick with your first choice. The harness height is the second highest on the market, so longer harnessing!

    It isn't any more or less safe to have a baby in either an infant only or convertible seat as long as baby is sitting in the seat correctly, the chest clip is level with the armpits, the straps are tightened correctly (shouldn't be able to pinch a fold, see instructions) and there is no additional padding interfering (such as bulky jackets or bunting style covers with padding that goes behind baby).

    Infant seats were scarce when I had ds, and they had tons of recalls from serious failures, so we used a convertible from the start. How did we eat out? How did we shop, get out? I wore him in a sling. I used a flat laying stroller (ie bassinet style) from the get go. I took him in and out of the car, and he got used to being handled. After he was 6 weeks old, I could take him out of the car and he wouldn't wake up. I did this for the next two as well, and although I did get an infant seat for the last two, it spent more time in the car than out.

    One thing that pp's haven't mentioned (probably because it's not mentioned at well baby checks in US) is that it is not recommended to use an infant only seat for long periods of time outside the car, or use as a sleep device. The stroller combo isn't great because the angle of the seat isn't what it is in the car and has a tendency to kink the airway of younger infants. Same with letting them nap in it when you get in the house, it's either a bad airway position or if you loosen the straps they become a strangulation hazard.

    Also keep in mind that young infants shouldn't spend a lot of time in anything, infant seats, swings, RnP's, bouncy seats, etc, that keep their head in one position for long periods of time. Flat surfaces and tummy time help in keeping down the risk of plagiocephaly. Good luck with figuring out what works for you!

  • I think an infant seat is worth it for all the reasons already listed. If you are that discouraged by the price, then can you borrow from a friend? I know my cousin just freaked out on me when I told her that her infant seat wasn't safe to loan out, because it is over the expiration date. She thinks that is ridiculous, because she only used the seat for 6 months max.

    Anyway, if you go with a Britax seat, then make sure you buy the infant position. Your baby will not fit without out. I put my DS in a Marathon at 2 week old (he was 8+lbs) and he was no where near fitting correctly. My DD barely fit correctly at 7 months. 

    ETA: If you decide to go the infant seat route, then I would advise not to register for the convertible seat. By the time you switch to it, you will have wasted quite a bit of time off the life of the seat.

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  • I used my infant seat as a carrier maybe ten times the whole time DD used it.  I actually don't find it that convenient because it's really heavy.  I never had an issue waking DD up if she was sleeping in the seat.  I'd just take her out and either slip her into a Moby or lay her down in her crib (if we were home).  If your infant is that sensitive to being moved, he or she will probably wake up anyway being bumped around in that heavy seat.

    So no, I don't think it's really necessary, as long as you take the appropriate steps to be sure that you get a good fit for your newborn in a convertible seat.

    The reason we got an infant seat is because it's much easier to move it from one car to another and we didn't want to  buy two seats right away (or another base).


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  • We (still) intend to only own a convertible carseat and I've been strongly desiring the Sunshine Radian XT but we will go and look at them in person today.

    We will borrow an infant seat for the day of bringing home baby - just for complete ease in terms of

    a) alberta winter weather

    b) hospital nurses

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  • imageCountingUp:

    We (still) intend to only own a convertible carseat and I've been strongly desiring the Sunshine Radian XT but we will go and look at them in person today.

    We will borrow an infant seat for the day of bringing home baby - just for complete ease in terms of

    a) alberta winter weather

    b) hospital nurses

    Hey, you know the nurses will come out with you, right? Just ask, it's part of the discharge checklist they have to do. I've had no issues with discharge from hospitals with a convertible seat. And I have a few cold weather convertible techniques for keeping baby warm if you're interested, just PM me. If you are in southern Alberta I can point you towards free car seat inspection/installation clinics, not the $40/seat that an outfit in Calgary is charging to look at the install, let alone teach you (that's extra). And they are certified by the same organization (::coughbullsh!tcough::). PM me, but shout out on Parenting over 35, I suck at checking PM's.

  • I did not know this. I will ask during the tour as I have heard that all newborns have to pass the carseat test in the hospital room before being allowed to leave.

    We purchased our seat yesterday as it was $66 off! Still a pricey piece of protection but I am very happy with it.

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  • Thanks for all your help! I'm still undecided but your perspectives help. I like the convenience aspect of the infant seat so maybe I will look at cheaper options. The stroller we picked out lays flat so that is why I was thinking of skipping the infant seat, although the one we chose does pop into the stroller if we want. We also have two dogs so I think our baby is going to be disturbed at some point anyway! I was thinking of registering for both and then seeing what happens...either we get one or the other or maybe both and then I won't have to worry about it!
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  • I went straight to convertible car seats with my newborn twins. They are now 16 months old and they're in the same car seats they came home from the hospital in at 5 lbs. Saved me a bunch of money and I don't regret skipping the infant seats at all.  

    I have noticed that people with infant carrier car seats leave their babies in them a LOT. Babies fall asleep in them in the car, and parents just leave them in the seat for the remainder of the nap (after bringing the seat inside of course). It seems like people snap them into their strollers too, which means the babies are in them in the car and every time they're in the stroller. Then they wonder why their babies have flat heads...

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