Updated at: 14-05-2022 - By: Helen Skeates

Newborn car seats last how long? As a general rule, babies should remain in rear-facing seats until they are at least two years old or weigh at least 20 pounds (which happened around nine months of age).

In most cases, infant carriers should be used as long as the child is able to fit properly and comfortably in the carrier with all of the straps in the correct position.

Babies’ neck muscles and bones are still developing in the first year of life, making it difficult for them to keep their heads up for more than four months in a carrier like this. If you wish to move your baby into a convertible car seat once they meet the aforementioned developmental milestones, you should do it immediately.

How do you put the straps back on a Cosco car seat after washing?

Soap and water are all you need to clean the straps. You can also use a baking soda paste or mild detergent to spot clean certain stains.

10 Car Seat Safety Facts Every Parent Should Know | Fatherly

Before putting them back in the vehicle seat, make sure they are totally dry. This will only take a few minutes if you line dry it outside in good weather, but overnight drying is ideal.

Make sure the car seat covers are totally dry before putting them back in the vehicle. If the weather is nice, you can line dry it outside for a few minutes, but letting it air dry for at least an entire night is preferable.

It’s critical to consult the owner’s manual for installation instructions on older models that are no longer available for purchase brand new from major retail chains.

When to Switch Car Seats

Car seats are more popular than ever, and child vehicle fatalities are on the decline (PDF). This is an excellent time to be a kid riding shotgun in a car. For a car seat to be effective, it needs to be tailored to the child’s age, weight, and height at the time of purchase. However, deciding on which car seat to buy and when to buy it can be confusing due to the large number of seats available and combinations that can be used. This guide will show you the different sorts of seats and if your child is ready for a new one because they’ve outgrown their present one.

Infant seat

When traveling with a baby under 2 years old, many parents prefer to utilize an infant seat, which is a rear-facing bucket seat. (Others may use a newborn-rated convertible car seat instead, but a car seat is essential for bringing a brand-new infant home from the hospital in any case.) There is just one sort of infant seat that may be used forward or backward facing: the one that attaches to a base with a click. You’ll likely just need to buy one seat and two bases if you have two vehicles.

Until the child weighs between 11 and 15 lbs., all infant seats have a five-point harness with a newborn insert that should be used (see the manual for exact recommendations, but in general, if your baby’s shoulders can’t reach those straps without the insert, you should use it). There are usually multiple positions for reclining an infant seat. The most reclined position is ideal for babies. According to Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) Lani Harrison, many parents report that their kid is continuously crying in the car due to the infant car seat being placed at an excessive angle.

When either of the following occurs, a child has outgrown their baby seat:

  • When they’re strapped in, the top of their heads won’t even touch the seat.
  • They’ve exceeded the weight restriction, which is normally 30 to 35 pounds.

The seat’s height limit is usually exceeded before the weight limit. At some point between 9 months and 2 years of age, parents who have been using an infant car seat transfer to a larger convertible seat that is rated safe for their child’s height and weight, but can do so sooner if the seat is rated safe for their child’s height and weight. As long as the child is within the 9-months to 2-years-old age range, there is no known difference in safety between a rear-facing infant seat and a rear-facing convertible car seat. To preserve the click-in-and-out convenience of a seat that separates from its base (or several bases) rather than transition to a one-piece convertible seat, some parents may choose to utilize an infant seat as long as possible.

A car bed may be necessary for preemies or babies with specific needs who are not yet able to sit in a reclined position.

Convertible seat

In a convertible car seat, which is also known as a toddler seat, the child can face forward or backward. Experts urge that a convertible seat be used in rear-facing mode for as long as possible, even if it can be used in forward-facing mode. The AAP’s amended suggestion is in agreement. As of right now, children under the age of two must ride in a rear-facing seat in eight states: California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. In 2019, New York, Nebraska, and Virginia will follow suit with the same rules.

Until they reach the weight/height restrictions, it is safer to keep a child in a five-point harness. Take your time before upgrading.

Experts are still debating the best time to switch a youngster from a rear-facing to a forward-facing seat. Even though one of the studies that supported the extended rear-facing guideline was retracted in 2017, the majority of experts still believe that rear-facing for a longer period of time is safe. Pediatricians and CPST instructors like Dr. Benjamin Hoffman advise parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats as long as possible until they outgrow the position, which is what we heard from those we spoke to for our car seat instructions.

In a convertible car seat, a kid has outgrown the rear-facing position if the following occurs:

  • For rear-facing, they exceeded the weight limit There are no weight limits on Wirecutter’s top two convertible seats (about the weight of an average 5-year-old, though many parents, including myself, make the switch before then).
  • Less than an inch separates the top of their skull from the top of their car seat shell or head restraint. Shorter children with long torsos may outgrow their seats earlier than those with shorter torsos.

Some parents choose to forward-face their children before they outgrow the requirements for rear-facing car seats, often because they find it easier to interact with their children or to hand them snacks in this way, or because they think the child is less likely to get car sick or simply prefers it more than rear-facing car seats. Additionally, Car Seats for the Little ones suggests a four-year-old cutoff. They should, however, first be seated in a forward-facing convertible seat

  • Minimum age: 2 years, preferably more.
  • at the very least, the forward-facing seat’s weight limit (typically over 20 pounds)

A five-point harness is used to restrain a child in a convertible seat, just like in an infant car seat. A five-point harness is more secure when worn by a child until they reach the weight/height restrictions. Take your time before upgrading.

As soon as a child can sit up on their own, they’ve outgrown their forward-facing convertible seat.

  • For Wirecutter’s choices, the weight restriction is 65 pounds.
  • When their ears are at or above the top of their head restraints, they are safe in a car
  • At or above their shoulders, they are not allowed to wear the harness straps

Booster seat

With the help of an adjustable booster seat, you can raise your child in the car seat so that the safety belt can contact the child’s shoulders and legs, rather than his or her stomach. In contrast to backless boosters, which offer no additional head or side impact protection, high-back models do. (We’ll have a guide to booster seats next month.)

A child should be in a high-back booster seat before they are moved to one.

  • Minimum weight for most state legislation is 40 pounds, but this can vary depending on the seat manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Four-year-olds (minimum)
  • being able to comprehend and accept the necessity of sitting stationary while driving
  • not leaning over when driving to sleep; if a child adjusts their seat belt position, they could be seriously wounded in an accident.

Once the child’s ears reach the top of the head restraint, he or she should switch to a backless booster seat.

Car Seat Safety Basics for Infants, Toddlers & Children

Adult safety belts can be used without a booster seat when:

  • If the vehicle suddenly comes to a halt, they will stay in place (or at the very least not slide through the seat belt).
  • With their backs against the seat and knees bent over the edge they are able to maintain a flat foot position.
  • As long as the seatbelt is placed over their collarbone and low on their hip bones, they are safe to ride in an automobile.
  • They can ride in this position for the duration of the journey.

Most youngsters, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are ready to stop using a booster seat and start wearing their seat belts on their own between the ages of 8 and 12 years.

How to choose an infant car seat? 9 important things to look for

When purchasing an infant car seat, here are the nine most crucial considerations to bear in mind. To begin, we’ll focus on the most critical aspects first.

Keeping one’s own safety in mind is the first and most crucial consideration. You purchase a car seat to ensure the safety of your child while you are driving, therefore you must have confidence in its ability to do so.

Most nations have national bodies that test and evaluate the safety of car seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for this in the United States. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard is set by the NHTSA to ensure the safety of all motor vehicles on the road (FMVSS). A safety score will be assigned to each baby car seat by the NHTSA before they can be sold in the United States.

New car seats in the United States now come with a safety rating and meet basic road safety requirements.

It’s one of the safest infant car seats that we’ve tested. Photographed by Nina Spears.

Car seat safety information can also be obtained from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). As long as feasible, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to keep their newborns and toddlers buckled up in a back-facing car seat.

Most children may ride rear-facing in a car seat until they weigh 40 pounds or more, thanks to advances in child safety seat design by automobile manufacturers. Rear-facing your child for as long as possible is the greatest option. Children should only use this mode of transportation because it is the safest.

This statement was written by Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, chair of the AAP council on injury, violence, and poison prevention and main author of the policy statement.

The NHTSA crash test results are always part of our overall assessment when evaluating car seats for Baby Gear Essentials. Chicco’s KeyFit 30 and UPPAbaby’s MESA were the safest car seats in our tests.

Helpful note

Infant car seats have an expiration date, in case you didn’t know. Most car seats are only good for five to seven years before they need to be replaced. Before purchasing a ticket, make sure to verify the expiration date.

2. Size: Is the car seat appropriate for your baby height and weight?

The height and weight restriction is the second most significant consideration when purchasing an infant car seat. If your kid was born prematurely or weighed less than 6.5 pounds at birth, this is very crucial. If you want to keep your kid safe and secure, ensure sure the seat comes with an infant insert.

Your baby’s safety depends on the proper fit of a car seat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children who are correctly restrained in a car seat have a 71% lower risk of dying in a car accident (source).

Infant car seat vs convertible seat, which is best?

Infant car seats and convertible baby seats are available when purchasing a car seat for a newborn. The benefits and drawbacks of these two models are vastly different.

Car seat for a baby

  • Specifically created with the safety and comfort of newborns and infants at the forefront of all design considerations.
  • Can be removed from your vehicle and taken with you on a trip.
  • However, its usefulness is limited to roughly one year.

A convertible car seat.

  • As your child grows, the seat may grow with them.
  • Only one ticket is required.
  • However, it is heavy and cumbersome.

In general, we prefer infant car seats over convertible car seats. Because you just have to buy one seat, the convertible seat is less convenient and less pleasant for you and your baby. When compared to a stroller, an infant car seat may be simply transferred from your car to your stroller and carried by hand.

To avoid having to remove your baby from his or her car seat and risk starting them up every time you move is a huge benefit in the first few months when you and your baby will need to see a pediatrician regularly.

Infant car seats, especially those for premature babies, are better suited for infants. With their needs in mind, they were built for them.

Isn’t the cost of convertible seats lower over time? The cost of an infant car seat plus the cost of a toddler car seat is likely to exceed the cost of a convertible car seat when added together. Despite this, the majority of parents only keep their convertible seats for a maximum of two years before having to buy a new one. Children’s car seats are easily stained and do not hold up over time. In addition, new models are always being released, which necessitates changes in safety rules.

Your car seat may be in need of an upgrade after 18 months of use. We’ve got your back. Over the course of two years, you’ll save money by purchasing two car seats rather than a single convertible seat.

3. Comfort: Is your baby comfortable enough to sleep in the seat?

Having a sobbing kid in the backseat of your car for a long ride is the worst. Your youngster will cry if their seat is uncomfortable!

Extra padding and materials that breathe are two of the most significant factors in a baby car seat’s comfort. UPPAbaby MESA’s natural Merino wool fabric makes it one among the top car seats in this category. It is soft, lightweight, and breathable.

4. Installation: How easy is it to install the seat?

You’ll have to often remove and reinstall your baby’s car seat, so ease of installation is an important consideration. First, make sure that the seat is compatible with your vehicle’s interior dimensions. It is possible that a large infant car seat may not fit in a compact vehicle. If you’re still hesitant, have a look at the dimensions of each seat in our rating of the finest infant car seats on the market today before making a decision.

The mounting base for most infant car seats is now standard. Once the base is in your vehicle, all you have to do is plug in and out the seat as needed. When installing a car seat base, it is possible to link it to the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children).

Helpful note

Child seats and boosters are mistakenly installed 46 percent of the time, according to the NHTSA. The risk of injury to a child increases when the car seat is improperly placed. Find out how to properly fasten your child in a car seat by reading our instructions.

Once the base is attached, the UPPABaby MESA folds up nicely.

5. Compatibility: Does it work with your stroller?

With a stroller, you’ll need to make sure that your car seat is compatible with it. Stroller compatibility makes it simple to remove the seat from the car and attach it to your stroller so you can get moving right away.

Finding the right combination of a stroller and car seat can be a challenge. When you’re a new parent, it’s one of the most time-consuming chores. A major consideration is that you’ll be utilizing your stroller and car seat a great deal.
With the appropriate adaptor, the Chicco KeyFit 30 may be used with a variety of stroller brands.

6. Maintenance: Is it easy to wash and maintain?

Car seats get dirty quickly and frequently, so there’s no doubt about it: So you want a seat that’s easy to wash and maintain. Especially the seat cover should be removable and machine washable. Parents frequently underestimate the ease of cleaning and maintaining an infant car seat, but once a stain does appear, it quickly becomes a hassle. That’s why we factor in ease of cleaning and maintenance in our evaluation of the finest infant car seats and devote an entire section to it in our reviews.

7. Portability: How portable is it?

The weight of a car seat isn’t a decisive factor, but it’s something to take in mind anyway. The weight of some car seats is much higher than the weight of others. Also, certain car seats feature a handlebar that blocks the seat canopy in some models.

The portability score in our reviews will show you how well your chosen model works if you anticipate to carry your seat a lot.

8. Features: Does it have the features that are most helpful to you?

Some of the functions included in infant car seats may come as a surprise to you. Features such as these are required. It’s wonderful to have other people around. Others, on the other hand, are nothing more than marketing gimmicks.

The following are some of the most critical attributes we look for in an excellent infant car seat:

  1. The 5-point harness is a feature found on the majority of new infant car seats. Three straps that meet in the center of the thighs: two shoulder straps (one on each side), two waist straps (one on each side), and one strap that goes between the legs.
  2. Cushioning for side-impact protection: This is for both safety and convenience. Foam or air pads on either side of your baby’s head are a good idea.
  3. Most infant car seats now come with a base that you may keep in your car. If you have more than one vehicle, you can also purchase additional bases. It simplifies and secures the process of installation and transportation.
  4. With the LATCH system compatibility, you won’t have to bother with hefty seatbelts when installing the seat or its base.
  5. The sole purpose of the anti-rebound bar is to keep you safe. Should an accident occur, an anti-rebound bar will keep the seat from bouncing.
  6. If you live in a hot climate or spend a lot of time in your automobile, breathable fabric is essential. In order to maintain your baby’s temperature just right while they are in their car seat, the fabric should be light and breathable.
  7. If you do need to adjust the straps, you won’t have to remove your child from the car seat to do so because of the non-rethreading feature. Adjusting the straps while your infant is in the car seat is easier with a non-rethreading strap.

9. Price: How much should you spend on a car seat?

You’re curious about the price of a newborn car seat. Entry-level devices typically cost $100, while higher-end variants can cost up to $300. Quality and features tend to get better with each additional dollar you put into a product.

It doesn’t matter how much you spend on a car seat because every one offered here in the US fulfills the bare minimal requirements for safety. As a result, why do certain models cost roughly three times as much as the least expensive car seat available? It all boils down to the features, materials, and finishing.

For instance, the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 is one of the most cost-effective models now on the market (check price). This car seat will keep your kid secure, but we don’t recommend it for long trips because it’s uncomfortable for the infant.

When it comes to the UPPAbaby MESA, you’ll have to pay a little more, but you’ll get a lot more comfort for your baby when they’re in the seat.

It’s important to consider about how you’ll be utilizing your seat before deciding how much money to invest. The more time your baby will spend in the car seat, the more money you should invest to make the ride enjoyable for everyone.

Infant Car Seat Guide: 9 Things You Need To Know Before Buying

Helpful note

Should you buy a used car seat to save money? The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using a used car seat unless you are certain of its provenance. If a car seat has been neglected or has been involved in an accident, it may have been weakened. In addition, a faulty car seat will not be able to protect your child. If you buy a used car seat, always check the expiration date to be sure it’s still safe for your child.

How to buy an infant car seat? Online versus In-store

Buying your car seat can be done either at a store or online, depending on your preference. While we prefer to view and touch new seats before making a purchase, we often discover that there are more selections and better prices available online.

If you live near a store that has a good range of options, go there and see the seats for yourself. Note down the prices for your preferred brands and compare them online.

If you live near a store that carries a wide variety of seats, take a look. Make a list of the prices for the brands you want to buy and do a price comparison on the internet.

Take a look at the chairs at the store where you reside to get a better idea of what you’ll be getting. Make a list of the costs associated with the brands you prefer, and then shop around for the best deal.

How long are Dorel car seats good for?

There are numerous variables that influence how long car seats can be used without causing harm to children. Because every situation is unique, there is no single answer to the question of how long Dorel car seats will last.

Most experts, on the other hand, advise replacing them six years after purchase, or as soon as deterioration to your seat becomes apparent.

Remember that just like with other baby gear purchases, these items should only be bought new and never second hand so you do not risk putting your child in danger by using one that has already been damaged!

What age are booster seats for?

Remember that just like with other baby gear purchases, these items should only be bought new and never second hand so you do not risk putting your child in danger by using one that has already been damaged!

These things should be purchased new and never used second-hand so that you do not put your child in harm’s way by utilizing one that has previously been tampered with!

How do you take the bottom off a car seat?

“How do you remove the bottom of a car seat?” is a popular inquiry from parents. The answer to that question is dependent on the type of car seat in question.

Once you have removed the shoulder straps from around the seat’s base (if they are removable) or lifted them through their slots until they meet at one central point in front of the child’s neck, you can reattach them to the seat for future use when you place it back in its original position.

How do I take my kids car seats out?

Put the car in park if you’re trying to remove your youngster from their car seat. Make sure your keys don’t get lost by putting them in the same place as your phone or wallet when you’re taking them out at the same time.

Using any section of the seat, lift it up and push down slightly on the other end to remove it from the resting place. Then, you may effortlessly transfer your child into a stroller (if there isn’t an infant carrier available).

If you’re worried about how to accomplish what’s detailed above, be sure to check out our advice on how to safely remove children’s seats.

How do you get a car seat out of the base?

Check to see if the car seat is securely fastened to the base. Then, with the handle on top of your car seat up and no longer locked, remove your child from the vehicle.

You can next use both hands or one on each side to press down firmly on the back of your child’s headrest while simultaneously tugging upward on it.

Once you’ve lifted it to a standing position, grab hold of either end and carefully draw it toward you, being cautious not to break any plastic tabs that may be fitted on the side.

The safety clip that secures the strap to the guard rail must be removed before disconnecting the straps from the vehicle fully!


Which side of the car is safest for a child seat?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) both agree that installing your baby’s car seat in the middle seat is the safest option. A good rule of thumb is to keep passengers younger than 13 years old in the back, if possible in the center.

What is the best car seat for a newborn?

It’s up to you and your needs and budget, but we think the Chicco KeyFit 30 is the best infant car seat of the year. I think it’s the finest value for money, with the simplest installation basis.

When should I change my baby’s car seat?

A new car seat should be used when your child reaches the maximum weight and/or height limit of the seat, as well as if the car seat is damaged or expired.

What is a convertible car seat?

A car seat that can be used for both newborns and toddlers is known as a “convertible car seat.” As your child develops, you can make adjustments to the seat. Here are Amazon’s most popular items.

Do all car seats fit in strollers?

No. Almost all strollers of the same manufacturer can accommodate car seats. An adapter can be used to fit infant car seats from some of the most popular brands into strollers from other manufacturers. To help you pick the finest car seat and stroller combination, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide.

What is the best time to buy a car seat?

Ideally, you should get a car seat at least one month before the due date of your child. Don’t wait until the last minute to go shopping for a car seat, because you’ll be distracted by other things. As soon as you leave the hospital you’ll need a seat, so make sure you buy one now!

Can I buy a used car seat?

It’s best to avoid purchasing an old car seat because it may be out of date or broken. Second-hand seats should be avoided if you don’t know how they were previously used or if you don’t trust the seller. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against purchasing old car seats if:

  • Its past is uncertain.
  • An accident has taken place with it
  • Expiration dates can be found on the seat’s plastic pieces, usually on the bottom of the seat. It’s too old. If the seat doesn’t have an expiration date, get in touch with the manufacturer to find out.
  • It’s has apparent blemishes.
  • Not having a label with the model number and date of production makes it impossible to check for any possible recalls for this particular model.
  • This product was recalled; to learn more, speak with the manufacturer or call the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.
  • There are no instructions on how to use the seat included with it (unless they are easily available online)
  • It’s lacking several essential components.