Infant Car Seat Recommendations for 4Th Baby

Updated on January 06, 2014
K.F. asks from Hillsboro, OR
8 answers

We are expecting our 4th baby this spring and need to get a new infant car seat. We previously used the Graco Snugride for our other kids, but it expired (and now they get horrible safety reviews on Consumer Reports). It's been a long time since we've looked at infant seats, so I need some help!

* Is it worth getting the seats with higher weight limits (i.e. 30 pounds rather than 22 or less) do you end up moving them to a convertible anyway?
* Our convertible seats have expired as well. Is there any infant seat that is removable (to carry into stores, dr., etc.) that will last until they can forward face at about age 2? Or should we just assume that we will be getting a new convertible seat anyway?
* Do you have a seat that you love? Or one that you tried and it just wasn't great?

Obviously safety is our first priority, but we would love to not spend $150-200 on a seat that will last for 9 months only to spend that much again on a convertible....

Thanks for your advice!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

It depends how big your babies are. My almost 4 year old is still less than 30 pounds. So, a removable infant seat with 30 lb weight limit that you can carry into stores would definitely have lasted until he was 2 and ready to turn around. My 1st child was similar. I did not need a convertible seat for either of them.

Like you, I haven't purchased in a while so I don't know the latest and greatest brands. I can only comment on the weight limits - and my opinion is that a 30 lb weight limit can definitely get a child past age 2.



answers from Washington DC on

I had not problem with my Graco that I got from Wal-Mart for $80. Even though you will be in and out of the car a lot, I would still go with a convertible car seat and use a baby carrier. They only time the infant car seat was useful was at the grocery store, which you can easily use a baby carrier, and restaurants. If you want a infant seat, my friend loves her Chicco. I found when I was looking for infant seats in 2011, Wal-Mart was the cheapest I could find. I don't know if Babies R Us is doing it again, but they usually have the Trade In event sometime in January. You can take your expired car seat and get a 25% off coupon for a new one. If you are going to spend the money on an infant seat, go ahead and get one that goes up to 30 lbs, even if you transfer your baby before the 30 lbs, at least you have the option. My babies out grew the 22 lb weight limit before they were one.



answers from Chicago on

Skip the infant. I bought a new one for my third, and guess what? I bought her regular convertible car seat at 6 months because she wouldn't sleep In that awful uncomfortable thing. It was also getting hard to carry. I just don't thing it's worth it, since it's only convenient when they are newborns.

Just buy a convertible. Save your money.


answers from San Diego on

I always hated infant seats and never used them. It bothered me greatly that the part you strap your child into was not directly attached to the car, the base was the only part that was. The largest recalls on infant seats was that the seat would detach from the base. Never seemed safe to me. I also never liked that it encourages you to never take your child out of that seat, just taking it out to plup into the stroller base or, worse yet, try to carry that insanely heavy thing. It weighted too much without a child in it when we lifted it at the store, can't imagine it with a child in it. Our kids also grew so fast that they would have outgrown it in only a few months, what a waste of money. We used convertible seats with all 3 children.
Our favorite by far is the Sunshine Kids/Diono Radian. My daughter is 4.5 and still using her 5 pt harness we got before she was born. It's a steal frame with side impact protection. You can use it from rear facing to a booster and seatbelt. It's rated for higher rates using the 5 pt harness so you can use that longer before having to switch to seatbelts. It's also less bulky. We could fit 3 of them in the middle row of the Toyota minivan when all 3 needed car seats or boosters. Now that my oldest doesn't need a booster there is still room for him to sit in the middle row with the other 2 seats still there.
We use the Alpha-Omega with our boys. They worked great as 5pt harnesses but they were terrible as boosters with the seatbelt. Thankfully by the time my boys needed to use them that way our third was on the way so we got everyone the Sunshine Kids.



answers from Chicago on

High weight limits on infant car seats are impractical as your baby feels much heavier in those things. I can't imagine anyone being able to carry a 30 lb child very far in it.

I have an infant car seat called Safety 1st onboard 35 Air that I could use until my son is 35 lbs or 32 inches. When he was under 20 lbs (can't quite remember exactly) I began removing him from it just as I would a convertible. As a 29 lb 31 in 20 month old, he still fits in it comfortably. I no longer use it daily, though. He is in a Radian as those are very narrow, and I need to fit three seats across the back of a minivan. The infant seat still comes in handy when we are going in someone else's car. I love not having to uninstall his convertible seat.

Even though the average child will easily get to two in the infant seat I have, it is much safer to keep your child rearfacing as long as possible. I love my Diono Radian for that purpose. My son rear faced in that until just before his 5th birthday. I think it is an awesome seat, and my boys seem comfortable in them.



answers from Detroit on

But wait, this is your 4th kid! When our 4th was born I'd go insane without the infant seat. You are probably in and out of the car 10 times a day or more! No joke at all. And you have no extra hands to deal with getting baby in and out and holding him/her. So use an infant seat and a Snap and Go stroller, etc.

No need to get higher weight limit. At least all our kids fit the infant seats until 1 year old, even the smaller ones. But if you have very heavy kids or they are very tall, you might not get to 1 year on those.

Any infant seat you like. They are all very similar.
Then get a good convertible that you find easy to use. But don't forward face the child at 2. You are getting a new seat and you can get one that's easily able to keep the child rear-facing until 3 or 4. At age 2, the neck can snap and break way too easily forward-facing. Just not worth it!
Key is a tall shell in back AND a high weight limit for rear-facing, at least 40 but ideally 45. Some even go to 50.



answers from Stationed Overseas on

Most kids outgrow infant seats by height not weight. So depending on how big your babies are and how fast they grow you should probably go with one that has a high height and higher weight. I would not go with one that only goes to 22pounds. Also are you going to babywear? If so you might consider going straight to a convertible. I like the infant seat because I could easily take the whole seat out if baby was sleeping but my second got so big so fast that I just left the seat in the car all the time and wore him instead. I had a Chicco KeyFit that I loved. My first didn't grow out of it until she was 18mo and that was because of height she was super tiny and barely 20pounds at that age. My second grew out of it at 16mo due to height. I moved him into a Diono Radian so he could rear face as long as possible. At 28mo he is still happily rear facing. You might check out the car seat board on the ladies there are super helpful and might also be able to help with the arrangement of your seats in your car.



answers from Chattanooga on

Honestly, I don't think I will even bother with an infant carrier with my next kid. Sure, it's convenient for those first few months when they sleep all the time... But they get outgrown so quickly. My DD completely outgrew the weight on hers by the time she was 6 months old. I'm planning in just using a convertible seat, and wearing baby where I would have otherwise hauled the seat around.

Though, I did keep my DD's infant seat, and plan to use it for the stroller (came as a travel system...) until baby is old enough to sit up and face out.

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