I constantly had a sea of questions rolling in and out of my mind. Should I get a separate infant car seat? Should I use the one that comes with the stroller I plan on buying? Should I just opt for the convertible car seat instead? Or was that only for older children? What was the difference between the $30 car seat I found at my local supermarket versus the $300 car seat I came across online?
If you are a new mom, I can only imagine how much you have on your plate in preparation for your bundle of joys' arrival. You are most likely setting up a nursery, taking Lamaze classes, reading books on breastfeeding, nesting, and the list goes on and on. I’m sure you see all of the different shapes, sizes and prices that each car seat comes in.
Which one will you choose?
I get a lot of women who ask me if it really is necessary to purchase the $300 car seat over the $30 car seat.
“It does the same job, doesn’t it?”
I recall a mother-to-be asking me one day during a conversation over lunch.
I say yes and no.
The first convertible car seat I bought cost me about $20, (I was able to get a discount coupon from the company), and it has lasted me for three years with no problems.
It was a very basic car seat but it did the job.
The second convertible car seat I purchased was a Britax, which was a hand me down gift from a friend. It was the fancy one out of all the car seats I have ever had. It was extra big and I knew my daughter would be super comfy in it.
I had one infant car seat that came with a stroller set I purchased online.
That was amazing.
The ease of disconnecting the infant car seat from the stroller and attaching it to the car seat base, which I had already secured in the back seat of the car, was a dream. The only thing is, after your child reaches a certain age you will have to consider purchasing a convertible car seat. That is where your child transitions from the infant car seat to the convertible car seat.
By the way, a convertible car seat is the taller, bigger car seat that you might picture older toddlers sitting in. They are called convertible car seats because you can place your infant in it rear facing and once your child reaches the age and weight requirements, you can take that same car seat and turn it front facing.
The convertible car seat differs from an infant car seat because the infant car seat is specifically tailored for infants and it solely designed to face the rear of the car. Some mothers prefer beginning with the infant car seat because of the ease of transporting the infant in and out of the car (there is no need to unbuckle and wake the sleeping baby). The infant car seat may also connect with ease to a stroller, which is super convenient for any mommy.
I had a family member who gifted me a second hand infant car seat that she purchased from a thrift store. She said she spent only $10 on it. While I kept the car seat in my garage specifically for emergencies, I never ended up using it.
The issue when buying car seats second hand is this:
You don’t know if it’s been a car accident before or the severity of the accident.
That is something you cannot overlook.
*The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommends “child safety seats and boosters be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers.”
When you purchase a car seat second hand not only do you not know how many accidents it has been in, but you also don’t know how old it is. Most child car seats expire after six years from the date of manufacture. The date of manufacture should be printed on the child safety seat or can also be found in the owner’s manual.
A few of my car seats did not come with the expiration date printed on it. If you cannot find this information then you can always check by calling the manufacturer directly and asking them.
This is why I have strayed away from using any second hand car seats. Now that my daughters are a tad older now, I look back and wish I had some sound, honest advice on the best infant and convertible car seats for my girls. I would have appreciated feedback from real reviews from people who did not care about how my purchase would benefit them. I would have saved up the money and made the best decision the first time rather than going through the trial, errors and replacements that I had to go through.
Luckily, the amazing people at Reviews.com have set up a team who reviews all things that require an honest opinion and provides truthful pros, cons, and recommendations.
This company seems to really care about its reader’s best interest. They understand the value in receiving the best quality for your hard earned money. I appreciate that since I have been a victim of purchasing a terrible product online just because it had 4/5 stars and tons of “rave” reviews.
If you want to know about this company’s ethics, check out their Advertisers Disclosure at the bottom of their webpage. It was the reason why I trust their word when it comes to their reviews.
If you are in search of the best convertible car seat, Reviews.com has an amazing review guide on their top pick and runner up here: https://www.reviews.com/convertible-car-seat/.
If you are considering purchasing an infant car seat, they also have a top pick and runner up for that type of child safety seat as well.
I encourage you to take the time out to read their synopsis for the best infant and convertible car seats before you make your choice.
In closing, I want you to keep this in mind when choosing the best car seat for your child.
I know for some people, the price of a car seat may be a stretch in your budget. But please keep in mind you are making an investment in the safety of your child.
You are making an investment that could possibly save your child’s life in the event of a car accident.
You are making an investment on how long the car seat lasts.
Will it grow with your child?
Can you use it again for subsequent children?
If so, then you will eventually get your money's worth. Does it fit your lifestyle?
Is it easy enough for you use, lightweight enough to transport manually, or able to be cleaned?
These are all things to consider.
So if you find a car seat that is out of your budget because you believe it is too expensive, I say:
SAVE FOR IT.
I know you will be dishing out a pretty penny on the baby crib and the stroller. My best advice is to add the car seat as another device you must invest in.
All the tiny fancy shoes will be outgrown in a week and all the extravagant toys just might be ignored because baby would rather teeth and toddle with the TV remote control. Spend your money on what matters most,
your child’s safety.
Are you currently looking for a child safety seat and came across this post about choosing the best car seat? If so, tell me what car seat you ended up getting and why. I’d love to know and I’m sure others would too!