After testing 13 of the very most popular infant child car seats that you can buy, we learned that not all child car seats are manufactured equal, despite their capability to pass basic Federal crash testing requirements. The purpose of this buying guide is to assist you sort through the many products available by giving guidance in what to consider prior to making an infant carseat purchase.

Make sure you read our complete overview of infant child car seats to find out about the models that won awards and just why.

Why Buy a child Car Seat?
You will need to acquire an infant carseat if you ever intend to put your child in a motorized vehicle. It could honestly be among the only must-have items on your own baby gear list (okay diapers too, nevertheless, you get the idea).

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The video below, by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, provides a fantastic summary of the role infant child car seats play in protecting your infant, and also safety tips about proper installation.

Size and Weight Limits
Most of the child car seats we reviewed are marketed as suited to babies up to at least 30 lbs weight and height of 32 inches. Plus, the marketing of higher-end seats frequently touts a more substantial weight capacity nearer to 35 lbs or 40 lbs, leaving many new parents wondering if indeed they need this extra capacity.

So, is an automobile seat capacity up to 30 lbs and 32 inches enough? Or, in the event you buy a seat with an increased weight capacity such as for example 35 or 40 lbs? And, how about the Chicco Fit2 that claims to work “for 24 months”?

The answer is that 30 lbs and 32 inches are plenty. It is very only the height limit that counts. The bigger weight limits are just about just marketing hype you can ignore.

Weight Capacity over 30 lbs is mainly Irrelevant
We recommend you switch your child to a rear-facing convertible carseat at around 9-11 months age. Within that age window, it’s the height limit of child car seats that your baby will probably exceed. Twelve-month-old baby boys at the 95% percentile are just 28 lbs, well within the upper limits of all car seats. Many carseat manufacturers use higher weight limits in the sales and marketing materials, implying a capacity of 35 or 40 lbs is preferable to 30 lbs. For almost all babies, any weight capacity over 30 lbs is merely marketing you can ignore.

The common baby boy will reach 30 inch length in about 12 months. Girls are certain to get there in about 14 months (source: CDC).

Why don’t we break it down for you personally. According the the CDC baby boy age vs weight growth charts (pdf), a good 95th percentile baby boy will weigh under 28 lbs and become just shy of 32 inches length on the 12 month birthday (95th percentile means they are growing faster than 94 kids from every 100). So, you can view from CDC data that your child will probably exceed the height limit a long time before they exceed the weight limit.

So, let’s give attention to length limits.

Most of the child car seats we reviewed are good up to maximum amount of 32 inches. The common baby boy will reach 32 inches and 26 lbs at 1 . 5 years age, and the common baby girl will reach 32 inches and 25 lbs around 19 months. But, take into account that your child will switch to a convertible carseat when age 9-12 months, so won’t need to pay extra or worry about weight capacity over 30 lbs.

A number of the seats only give a maximum of 30-inch length, like the award-winning Chicco Keyfit 30. Is 30 inches enough?

Yes, if a baby grows taller faster than most, a 30-inch length limit might mean upgrading to a convertible seat a lttle bit sooner. That’s not a problem, but it’s something to bear in mind. The CDC stats show that the common boy baby will reach 30 inches long in about 12 months, and girls are certain to get there about 14 months old. A fast-growing, 95th percentile boy will reach 30 inches in about nine months.

Most parents switch from a child seat to a convertible carseat sometime in the 9 to 12 month a long time. So, with seats rated for a amount of at least 30 inches, the newborn seat will serve its purpose in this range that a lot of matters, and you could simply progress to a convertible seat if it is the proper time for your child without stressing about any of it.

An exception to typical in infant child car seats may be the Chicco Fit2 that has a useable amount of “for 24 months” according with their marketing claims. This seat includes a height limit of 35 inches (3 a lot more than the common seat), and the carrier can switch positions to a far more upright posture once your child can crawl or walk. While we are able to see that seat is wonderful for a longer time compared to the average infant carseat, it really is unlikely to last for 24 months for some children as only babies at or below the 50th percentile will reach 24 months old but still be under 35 inches. So, however, you might like the notion of a 2-year solution, it is not more likely to last for 24 months and is not the very best reason to get this seat. The Fit2 can be an award winner and has plenty of reasons to include it to your shortlist of options, but you want to caution you to place the 2-year claim out of your mind and give attention to the growth of your son or daughter instead.

Overall, we advise that you largely ignore size and weight capacity as a crucial consideration in your vehicle seat decision. The limits don’t matter enough to stress about. The end result is that at some time, you will need to acquire a new carseat; whether that occurs at 9 months or 18 largely will depend on your baby’s growth rate, not the automobile seat limits. Once you switch, your baby will maintain their convertible carseat until they reach those limits, aswell. So, whether it’s 9 months within an infant seat and 24 months in the convertible or 1 . 5 years within an infant seat and 1 1/4 years in a convertible, you’ll be purchasing two seats before your son or daughter is ready for a booster.