There are two basic categories of infant car seats. The first is the traditional infant car seat, and the more recent innovation is the convertible car seat. These each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Infant car seats are the more commonly seen option. These are seats that are designed to be only rear-facing and designed for use for babies from the time they are born until they are about 30 pounds, although the exact weight limits vary slightly from brand to brand.
These seats install in cars using a base that is attached via the latch system that has been mandatory in new cars for several years. The car seat can be installed in older cars that lack the latch system, as well, but most commonly the car seat base is installed using the latch system and the car seat is placed into the base unit with an audible click that signals that the seat is settled properly in the car seat base.
Infant car seats are designed to move into and out of cars easily, with the baby still inside. Many of these car seats are compatible with strollers or stroller frames, so the baby can be moved from the car to the stroller without ever leaving their car seat. These car seats can also be carried around by their handle, allowing the parent to move the child from place to place inside the car seat.
The primary disadvantage to these car seats is that the child will outgrow the car seat around the time of their first birthday and the parents will have to then buy a new toddler car seat, at about the same cost as the infant car seat. For extra safety we also offer a range of baby car booster seats in Belfast
A convertible car seat is designed entirely differently. These seats are designed to suit children from the time they are born until they are old enough for a booster seat, around the time they turn three years old.
These seats are not designed to leave the car. They are meant to stay in the car more or less constantly, although of course they can be removed and put into another car if needed. Therefore there is no base that is required or recommended for use with these seats.
These seats are rear facing until the child is large enough to sit forward facing, again around 30 pounds, and then the car seat can be turned around to become a forward facing seat. The primary advantage to these seats is that parents only need a single car seat for the duration of their child’s infancy and toddlerhood.
The disadvantage is that the child must be removed each time they enter or leave the car, which can wake up the child if it was asleep. Additionally, the car seat cannot be placed into a stroller, meaning the parents will need a stroller that is rated for young infants as well as for older infants, or will need to purchase two strollers.