Buying an infant car seat is easy and quick—in fact, you could walk to the baby store and eenie-meenie-miney-moe your way onto an amazing car seat. Choosing a convertible car seat, on the other hand, is dramatic, involving, and often a delicate process. This is because there are so many different makes in the market offering unique features, and you have to be specific about the type of foam, the shape, size, and security features among others to avoid making a wrong purchase.
Here are some of the most important factors you must consider when choosing a convertible car seat for an infant.
Which type of a convertible car seat are you looking for?
Most convertible baby car seats can be converted from rear-facing for toddlers and babies to a forward-facing seat. There is another type known as 3-in-1 (or all-in-one) that can be converted from rear-facing to forward-facing, and then to a booster seat. The most important factor when shopping for one, therefore, is the type of seat that best meets your needs and the comfort and safety of your baby.
Ease of installation and use
How easy is it to install the car seat on your car and to secure your infant in it? Unlike infant car seats, convertible car seats are heavy and less convenient because they have to be installed rather than just clicked to a base that is already installed in the car. You cannot simply unlatch and carry away a convertible to snap onto a stroller or carry your baby in it. This is why you must factor in the installation system and how it is designed to fit in your car.
Safety harness and adjustments
When choosing a convertible car seat for an infant, security is paramount. Most of these seats today come with an adjustable five-point safety harness system that straps each shoulder, each thigh, and between the baby’s legs. It is important to check how far the harness can adjust especially as the baby grows and avoid seats that complicate this. The best convertible seat is one that allows you to easily adjust the straps and the harnesses from the front and has quick-release buckles for unfastening.
Comfort and side-impact protection
A safety harness is not the only feature to look out for when choosing a convertible car seat for an infant—comfort and side padding are also very important. A well-padded seat that offers plenty of support for the baby’s head is more comfortable and gives the baby a better ride for longer. The padding on the side should be made from a good energy-absorbing foam material that protects the baby’s head and chest in case of an accident.
There are of course many other factors to consider when choosing a convertible car seat for an infant that we haven’t covered here including easy cleaning, size in relation to the size of your car, price, and bonus features. These are just the most important that you must have on top of your shopping checklist.