A New Mom’s Guide to Car Seats

In the famous words of Dr. Suess, “Oh, the places you’ll go! You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights,” … buckle up your car seat and make sure it fits right!

Choosing the right car seat doesn’t have to be stressful, even though there are so many options to consider. You need a car seat to be safe and durable yet not too heavy to carry in and out of the car. You also need to consider your baby’s comfort, the ease of cleaning clean, and the size of the seat.

As a first-time mom, I read the most reviews on car seats, only to be left confused about what I actually needed. Thankfully, I am blessed with many mom friends who poured their car seat knowledge into my life. After plenty of research, I still went to my nearest baby gear retailer to feel, lift and carry all the car seats and figure out which I loved most. I would recommend you do the same!

When choosing a car seat, it is important to know some car seat lingo that refers to the different sizes of car seats. Today, we’ll be focusing on infant and convertible car seats.

  • Infant: For the first stage of life, your baby will be in an infant car seat. This car seat has a carrying handle, can be easily taken in and out of the car, and be connected to your stroller. They are commonly used from birth until the baby reaches close to 30 pounds or one year.
  • Convertible: Once your child is big enough, you will want to upgrade them to a convertible car seat. A bonus feature of the convertible car seat is that you can also use it for infants; however, it can’t be removed from the car nor connected to a stroller. They can be rear or front facing and used for your child until they are close to one hundred pounds.
  • Booster: Lastly, once your child reaches a height or weight too big for the convertible, it’s time to promote them to a booster seat. This seat allows kids to be lifted so that the seat belt properly fits across the chest and pelvis to prevent serious damage in the event of a car accident. There are high-back and backless boosters.

Additionally, when choosing a car seat for your precious baby, you will want to keep a few questions in your mind while searching:

  1. Is the car seat compatible with your stroller?
  2. How heavy is the car seat with and without a baby?
  3. How safe is the car seat, and how long can you use it?
  4. Should you choose a convertible car seat over an infant car seat?
  5. How long can you use this car seat for multiple children?

Infant Car Seats-

Support infants from 4 to 35 lbs and up to 32 inches

Nuna infant car seat

Nuna Pipa Infant car seat

The Nuna has quickly been a favorite amongst moms. Its sleek design is not only good-looking but is extremely practical. Weighing less than eight pounds, it’s one of the lightest infant car seats out there. The Nuna car seat bases come with a fold-down stability leg as an extra safety precaution to absorb impact in the case of an accident. This car seat has an easy True lock™ install system and excellent safety ratings. My favorite feature is its extendable covering to shade your babe completely with a magnetic fastener. This car seat is also compatible with numerous strollers. Its price is $250.00

Graco SnugFit 35 Infant Car Seat

Graco SnugFit 35 Infant Car Seat

Graco is one of the most well-known brands for babies, and their good reputation precedes them because their car seats are safe, priced well, and easy to install. As a bonus, Graco has added an anti-rebound bar that provides an additional layer of safety for your rear-facing baby. This seat is compatible with many different brands of strollers and can fit into any of their many stroller options. This seat is priced at $169.97.

UPPA Mesa V2 Infant Car Seat

UPPA Mesa V2 Infant Car Seat

The Mesa infant car seat is best known for its easy installation process. It’s just a quick click of the latch connectors and a little push on the base. If you are considering purchasing the very popular UPPA stroller, then the Mesa clips right in without any adapters. Something to keep in mind is that it is on the heavier side of the infant car seats weighing just about ten pounds without a baby in it. However, the inserts are plush, and the seat is made of solid material to keep your little one snug and safe. It is priced at $329.99.

Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller

The Doona infant car seat and stroller combination is the first of its kind. This infant car seat transforms from a car seat to a stroller with the push of a button, making everyday errands or traveling by airplane a breeze with your small baby. The Doona is heavier, weighing 14 pounds without a baby in it. However, the only time you need to lift it is in and out of the car. It is priced at $550.00.

Convertible Car Seats

britax convertible car seat

Britax One4Life ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

Convertible car seats are so great for families that want to use one car seat from birth until they’ve reached the proper height and weight to sit without one. Britax’s One4Life is a family favorite for many reasons. This seat can convert from rear-facing to forward-facing and then lastly into a high-back booster seat that uses the seat belt. Britax is known for its high safety ratings. Highlights of its safety features include a steel frame, impact-absorbing base, and side-impact protection. It is priced at $399.

Graco Slimfit 3 LX Convertible Car Seat

Graco Slimfit 3 LX Convertible Car Seat

If you are planning on a big family or have a smaller car, Graco Slimfit3 LX is the car seat for you. Graco’s slimmest car seat is created to fit three car seats facing in any direction across the back row of your car. This car seat can also grow with your baby until they are well into elementary school. It also has great safety features, such as a steel frame and impact-absorbing foam. My favorite part is the ease of cleaning this seat – you can remove the seat cover without having to uninstall the seat. It is priced at $279.99

Evenflo Gold Revolve Convertible Car Seat

Evenflo Gold Revolve Convertible Car Seat

The Evenflo Gold Revolve is one of the first car seats in the US to be able to turn a complete 360 while your child is in it. The beauty of a rotating car seat is how much easier it is to take your child in and out of the seat- especially when it is rear facing. My poor baby has been the victim of bumping her head while I try to get her out of the rear-facing car seat. This car seat has great safety ratings because of its sure360 safety installation system with lock-strong and a quick connector latch for rear- and forward-facing modes. It is priced at $320.99.

Safety 1st Grow and Go Convertible Car Seat

Safety 1st Grow and Go Convertible Car Seat

If you’re looking for a great all-in-one convertible car seat at a great price point, then the Safety 1st Grow and Go is worth researching. Like our favorite convertible car seats listed above, it can convert from rear-facing to front-facing to a booster. And it is easy to clean as the seat pad removes easily and can be put right into the washing machine and dryer. It is priced at $159.99.

Car Seat Accessories

Nightlight mirror

Munchkin Night Light Adjustable Car Mirror

A car mirror is a must for your rear-facing baby. You can have peace of mind while you drive because you can take a quick peek in your rearview mirror and see your sweet baby’s face. A mirror also makes great entertainment for babies. The Munchkin wide-angle mirror is an excellent choice because of its full-coverage view and the night light feature. 

Milk Snob 5-in-1 Cover

Milk Snob 5-in-1 Cover

For creating a dark napping space for your baby while they are in their car seat, you’ll want this Milk Snob car seat cover. It is made of soft stretchy material and can fit over any car seat. As a bonus, it can be used as a cover for breastfeeding, shopping carts, swings, and high chairs. It can be easily folded up and stored in your diaper bag while not in use. The Milk Snob cover is made out of a buttery soft, lightweight fabric and comes in a variety of beautiful colors and patterns.

Infantino Spiral Car Seat Activity Toy

Infantino Spiral Car Seat Activity Toy

One of my favorite baby shower gifts to give is this spiral car seat activity toy. Neither of my babies has been a fan of car rides, but adding this colorful toy for them to look at and touch kept them occupied and calm, creating a much quieter and less hectic car drive.

Add it to Your Registry

Picking a car seat can be stressful, but hopefully, we have pointed you in the right direction in choosing the best fit for your family. Once you have selected your car seat, add it to your registry, and don’t forget to send your family and friends to RegistryFinder.com – one convenient location to find all your registry picks. If you are a first-time mom and want advice and additional information on baby necessities, check out our New Mom’s Guide series to assist you.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The ideas are ours, but we may be compensated if you make a purchase by clicking on one of the links. Thanks for your support!

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