Seeking a Preemie Size Car Seat

Updated on February 05, 2009
C.F. asks from New Holland, PA
14 answers

Hello, I am in need of a preemie size carseat for my 8 week early nephew. The car seat I bought for him is too big ( or he's too small ) Would anyone have a used one or know where I could look for a good used one?

Thank you!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Philadelphia on

They sell car seat inserts for premies--they include a foam roll which helps the baby keep his head upright.

More Answers



answers from Scranton on

My son was a preemie as well, but I never used a special car seat. You can buy an insert from Baby Depot or any other retailer that is like a moon shaped head rest that comes with a removable piece for preemies. Here's a pic of what I'm talking about:
It works REALLY well. I used my in the car seat, the swing and the little bouncer chair just to provide more comfort and support.
Hope this helps!



answers from Harrisburg on

Congrats Auntie....Tiny babies need extra care, including a special car seat. You can go to a target and they should have seats to fit your needs.

With a preemie, special considerations are necessary to ensure their safe transportation. Small infants in car safety seats need to be positioned in a way that can protect baby's respiratory system, while providing protection in the event of a crash or sudden stop.

Here are some specific guidelines for preemie car seat safety:

1. Choose an infant-only car safety seat with a three-point harness system, or a convertible car safety seat with a five-point harness. These systems provide optimum comfort, fit, and positioning for the premature or small infant. A preemie should not be placed in a car safety seat with a shield, abdominal pad, or arm rest that could come into direct contact with his face and neck during an impact. Similarly, car safety seats designed for use only by children who weigh more than 20 pounds should not be used for small infants.

2. Use a car safety seat with a distance of less than 5 1/2 inches from the crotch strap to the seat back. This reduces the potential for baby to slump forward. Try using a small rolled diaper or blanket between the crotch strap and the infant to reduce slouching.

3. Choose a car safety seat with a distance of less than 10 inches from the lower harness strap to the seat bottom. This reduces the potential for harness straps to cross the infant's ears.

4. Position the baby in the car safety seat with his back flat against the back of the seat. You can place rolled blankets on both sides of him to provide lateral support for his head and neck.

5. In rear-facing car safety seats for infants, set shoulder straps in the lowest slots until the infant's shoulders are above the slots. Make sure the harness is snug, and the car safety seat's retainer clip is positioned at the midpoint of the infant's chest -- not on the abdomen or in the neck area.

6. Recline the seat halfway back, at a 45-degree tilt. You can wedge a firm roll of cloth or newspaper under the car safety seat below the baby's feet to achieve this angle.

7. Don't place a rear-facing car safety seat in the front passenger seat of any car equipped with a passenger-side front air bag. All infants weighing less than 20 pounds and younger than 1 year of age must ride rear facing when secured in standard car safety seats.

8. Never leave an infant unattended in a car safety seat.



answers from Washington DC on

My son was 2 weeks early and only weighed 5 lbs 10 oz. Our Britax was sufficient for him. It was for 4-22 lbs baby. How much does your nephew weigh? If it's 4 lbs then the Britax rear facing infant carrier should work for you.



answers from York on

Have you checked with the hospital staff? Some hospital's rent carseats for a small fee. Either check with the nursing staff or the social worker assigned to him. Hope this helps and congrats on the new addition.



answers from State College on

A preemie mom friend of mine said the only one brand is approved to hold a child under 5 pounds. This is chicco. They are more expensive but they are approved for a 4 pound baby and they are wonderful. I brought my baby home at 4 lb 1.5 oz, so we had to get one of these seats. She is 8 months old and still using it, as she is currently 14 pounds.

Don't feel bad, my twin girls failed their car seat test three times.




answers from Harrisburg on

My triplets were born 7 weeks early. They were in the hospital for about 3 weeks, coming home on different days. We just did research on all infant seats to see how small in weight they went. This was in '04. We used the Graco SnugRide. The safety ratings were high and fit them fine. We used double head supports. One was the normal size and one was the preemie size that we put inside the regular one. This way they got much more support. As they grew we would take out the inner preemie head support and then later the regular one. Mine weighed 3.10, 3.11 and 4.10 at birth. I can't tell you what they weighed after 3 weeks in the hospital. That first year is a blur, lol.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
chat and events within 2 hour radius



answers from Williamsport on

It looks like you've gotten some really good advice so far. My soon to be 15 year old son was 8 weeks premature, so I know some of what you're going through. It was way harder back then to find anything for preemies, unless you went to the bigger cities to shop. The head support that the one lady wrote about, and gave you the link for info. is one of the things I used. The double one is really nice, as you can have more sizing options. I actually had used 2 together with my son. Removing the inner one when he had grown enough. I used an infant seat that had 3 different height adjustments for the harness, and was the "grow with me" kind that when rear-facing it was positoned like a carrier, and when he was big enough, could be turned around and front-facing, with what was like a "kick stand" that you put in the downward position to sit it upright for toddlers. It was pretty costly back then even, but I was really glad I had invested in it, as his sister, my third child, was also a preemie, coming 6 weeks early.

Good luck!!


answers from Pittsburgh on

Our son was 2mos early and we used a regular Graco seat. The NICU nurses told us to remove the flap that 'cradles' their head, and showed us how to use rolled up blankets on each side to snug him in. He weighed 4lbs when we brought him home, and used the rolled up blankets until about 4mos of age.

I would let the NICU folks direct you with this decision.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Congratulations! It's great to hear that your nephew gets to come home! There are a couple infant seats that fit smaller newborns/preemies better than others. The Safety 1st Onboard ( jsut came out a few months ago and is great for preemies since it has a lower weight limit (4 lbs versus the usual 5lb minimum). Another great seat for smaller babies is the Chicco Keyfit ( also has a lower weight limit and fits preemies really well. Both the Keyfit22 and the Keyfit30 are good fits - I linked to the 22, but both would be a good choice.

Adding extra padding will not help him pass his car seat challenge, and can be really, really dangerous for a preemie especially (as a general rule, you shouldn't add anything to a car seat that didn't come with the seat). A lot of the 'extra padding' sets go behind the baby and can make his oxygen saturation levels worse rather than better.

One other thing I wanted to mention because it's REALLY IMPORTANT - a previous post mentioned to look for a 3-point harness - I think this is a typo error - 3 point harnesses are generally not recommended for a number of reasons, one of them being that a 3 point harness don't distribute crash forces as well as a 5 point harness (this is why many car seat manufacturers no longer make 3 point infant seats at all). A 3 point harness is even worse for preemies especially because they aren't big enough to be positioned correctly.

Anyhow, good luck and congrats again!



answers from Columbus on

Our daughter who was 10 weeks early was too small for our car seat when it was time to come home too. The hospital gave us one that fit her better. It was a very basic Graco model, but it met all of their requirements for the straps fitting good enough. Maybe inquire to see if they have something like that?
Good luck and congrats!



answers from Allentown on

My sons were 8 weeks premature and when it was time to bring them home, we brought them home in Graco Snugrides with no problem. The NICU nurses did the carseat test in the NICU and fastened him in and used rolls to secure him in place properly. You don't need a 'special' seat, most will accomodate 4+ pounds - I doubt he'd be being released if he were less than that. The staff should give them suggestions on what to get, but no one should ever recommend a used car seat. You never know for sure if it has been in an accident or mishandled which defeats the purpose. The NICU should be able to direct them where they might be able to get a new one for free or very discounted. Try the state police and find some local car seat safety technicians.



answers from Allentown on

First of all, I'm glad to hear that your nephew is doing so well for being so early! yikes!

Second, I can't stress enough how if there is any way that you can avoid a used carseat that you should! It is incredibly unsafe--especially for a premie!!!! You just never know the history of it. It could be expired, recalled, or worse, have been in a wreck already.

The Chicco KeyFit is, I believe, approved for very small babies & will last up to 30 lbs & 30", so most babies will actually get at least a year of use out of it! Maybe even 18 mos or so!

Good luck to everyone!!!!



answers from Harrisburg on

I had a preemie and he failed his first car seat test. The nurses in the NICU asked if we had a travel system type of seat- the kind that lifts out of the car. We got one- Evenflo travel system-and he passed- mainly because you can adjust the curvature of it in the car:) Best of luck to you and your sister!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches