Infant Car Seat or Straight to Convertible............

Updated on September 02, 2010
N.G. asks from Salt Lake City, UT
12 answers

So I am due to have my 2nd baby the end of Oct. & I can't decide whether I should use an infant carrier/car seat or a convertible car seat. I have a Britax convert. that my 4 yr. old uses & I was thinking of moving him to a Britax booster (w/5 pt. harness) & using the old seat for new baby. I am a SAHM so we won't be out too much & I was never the mom who had her baby in the carrier on top of the shopping cart. I'm not that coordinated :) , but I will have to take my son to school 3 days a week, where II'll have to walk him in & sign him into class. With my 1st, we lived in San Diego, so the weather wasn't an issue but in Salt Lake, I'm not sure what to do. I have a baby Bjorn I could put the baby in, but wonder if it'll be a hassle, or if he'll be too cold. I don't remember how long I used the infant carrier w/the 1st either. I do remember that he once he got bigger it became really heavy to carry around. Anyways, I'm just looking for some suggestions from other mama's who've had to shuttle their kids around in the rain and snow.

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So What Happened?

Thanks ladies for all the advice. However, I'm still undecided. There are good arguments for both. After reading your posts, I went back to the manual & searched their website & for our model, it says its for infants who weigh 5lbs. & 18 inches, which is the requirements for our old infant carrier. (Which we will not be using, its exp. & I never thought it was as safe as the Britax.) I like that it has a steel frame & when you use the tether when its rear-facing it reclines enough & is secure. I do have newborn inserts which could be helpful, & I suppose I would have to bundle him up in one of those snowsuit type things I've seen here, so he might fit in the convertible fine. It really comes down to safety, I think the Britax are the best brand, if he doesn't fit in the convertible, then we'll use an infant carrier.

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answers from Tulsa on

I know I am the odd one out...I hated carrying the carrier with the baby in it everywhere. The only place I actually found that helpful was at Wal-Mart where the car seat hooked onto the metal and locked into place so the baby was safe. I actually preferred popping the baby out and carrying him/her in with me. Those car seats are heavy and then adding a baby too...I would rather just hold the baby and do the quick errand. But again, if it was possible I would need to put the baby down to do something I would prefer to have the safety and cleanliness of their own carrier. It really comes down to personal choice and lifestyle.

I also decided early to keep the double stroller in the car and use it almost exclusively. I put my groceries in it in the front seat and on the top canopy and in the huge basket on the bottom. It maneuvered very well in the isles and I could get a few things that I needed without the baby even having to move from one place to another. This works well in "mall" type stores, both indoor and strip malls, where I could walk from store to store and the baby just slept through it all.

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answers from New York on

I find the infant carrier much easier for the first several months, especially in a cold weather climate.

I have a Britax Marathon convertible and I couldn't imagine putting a newborn in it! It really doesn't offer much support, I think you would have to do a lot of blankets on the sides to prop baby. It does say that it is safe for 5lbs babies, but to me, it is not for newborns.



answers from Eugene on

Untucking him/her from a warm car seat and putting in a baby bjorn, will be really cold or wake a sleeping baby. Walking into your son's school the time savings will be big if you can just to be able to pick up the car seat. I bought a Chico Key fit 30. So it goes to 30lbs vs 22lbs. My daughter was it until she was 1. It was heavy and bigger if you want that. That would of worked better in San Diego, winter in Utah are COLD!!! JJ Cole Bundle Me are great too.



answers from Colorado Springs on

I would use an infant carrier/car seat. Because they are made safer for the baby. Plus, in Salt Lake it can be chilly by my understanding. (I've not been there, but my friend has.) I would use the infant style until the baby is 6 months old and past the winter months. These car seat protect them and cradle them to be able to warm and comfortable too.

Plus as a new born the convertible carseats, even with a head prop, does sit naturally. I've been in a car accident with a infant carrier, the medic told me that it was good I didn't use a convertible seat because at that young and the force I was hit at it would have been dangerous to the baby. So even medics see that the infant carrier is safer.



answers from New York on

I would go with the infant seat if I were you - mostly because you have to get your other son in and out of school.

Buckling the baby & toddler into the seats, driving to school, unbuckling 2, walk into school for 30 seconds and then buckle baby AGAIN for the drive home just seems like so much. Especially in cold weater.

Moving around with the bucket seems so much easier to me (and you could get a snap and go stroller to hold the bucket which takes up no room at all).

Good luck!



answers from Cleveland on

When I have another I think I'll be skipping the infant bucket seat and just getting a convertible seat that is rated for newborns (they do exist!). I hate carrying around that bucket and would much prefer to just wear my child. Not only is it better for me (that bucket is HEAVY and was pulling my elbows out of joint carrying it around even just in and out of the car) but it's also better for the baby who really does prefer to be snuggled up to mommy especially in the cold and it keeps well meaning people that just want to get a glimpse of the baby from getting to close or touching him with their germy hands. I personally loved used rings slings or wraps for my children. There is extra material there to make sure the baby is nice and snuggled in (and I am still very comfortable wearing my 20lb 9month old and wore my DD until she was 2 1/2 and can still put her up on my back in a wrap at 4!!) and if you get a winter coat that is several sizes to big you'll even be able to put the carrier on under your coat and just zip it up around your baby (leaving their head/face uncovered of course!). They do make special baby wearing coats but they are so expensive and we did just fine with and over sized coat. My son was born in the middle of November in Ohio and though I am a stay at home mom I do go out quite often and my son was always super cozy and never once even got the sniffles.


answers from Provo on

I love the idea of going straight to the conv. Really there isn't a need for the infant carrier other than the "ease" of use. Which I usually found that it wasn't easy. I had to struggle with it and my bags, and whatever else comes around. Here in Utah it is freezing so the bjorn will share your heat and you'll be able to keep an eye on your baby a lot better. I actually stopped taking the infant seat into the store at around 1 month because it was to heavy. I did use a bjorn and loved it!! That and my son was a VERY clingy baby, so I was carrying him around anyway. Welcome to Utah!!



answers from Chicago on

You MUST use an infant carseat with a newborn! They are too small to go into a convertible carseat. It would be an extreme safety hazard. My 4 yr. old also uses a Britax convertible carseat. There is no way that would be safe for a newborn.



answers from Dallas on

you need an infant carrier - a newborn just doesn't fit as securely in a convertible and they don't recline quite as much.


answers from Minneapolis on

Newborns generally don't fit well in convertible car seats. In order to fit properly the harness has to be just at or below the childs shoulders, and infants just aren't tall enough to be above the bottom harness slot in most convertible car seats. Britax will not fit a newborn. Graco MyRide 65, Cosco Scenera are two that do fit newborns if they are average sized.

Starting out with an infant seat isn't necessary, however you do need to make sure if you start with a convertible that it fits your child properly. Look for one with bottom harness slots that are less than 9" high, and one that has an infant insert. You can also use rolled up swaddling blankets next to the baby, but NO AFTERMARKET head rests, and nothing that goes between the baby and the back of the seat and nothing that goes beteen that baby and the harness.

An infant bucket seat generally fits newborns the best, and while it seems like a waste to purchase a seat to only use for a few months, you do want to consider the safest option, which is a seat that fits your child the best, whether its an infant seat or a convertible that will fit a newborn correctly.



answers from San Francisco on

Britax convertibles typically don't fit newborns well (lowest harness slots are still too high for most newborns). Maybe as a compromise - purchase an infant seat but save the receipt, box, tags, etc., and if it turns out that your baby *is* big enough to fit the Britax, you can return the infant seat, but if baby is too small for the Britax, you have a seat ready. And FWIW since your baby will be out with you in the winter when you take your son to school, it could be *quite* helpful to be able to get the baby bundled up in the infant seat *before* you go out to the car (use one of the "shower-cap" style covers, which doesn't interfere with the harness - the "bundle-me" type buntings are NOT recommended for use with car seats because they compress under pressure of sudden stops/accidents, leaving too much slack for the harness to restrain your child properly )
The folks at are super helpful with car seat questions - many are certified child passenger safety techs (CPSTs) and CPST instructors - and they could give you great up-to-date recs for convertible seats that *do* fit most newborns well if you wish to skip the infant seat.



answers from Kansas City on

We have the same situation with my two boys, and we ended up using the infant carrier until he was around 4 months old probably. He was born in January, so it was awesome to be able to cover the car seat with one of those covers to keep the wind and snow off of him. Around 4 months we moved him into the Marathon and my older son into the Frontier. The carrier just got too heavy, and the weather warmed up enough to use the Bjorn. It was definitely easier with two kids to use the carrier at first. Like you said you have to run around so much more and are in and out of the car, it was easier to just take the seat in.

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