How long does your baby need to be in an infant car seat?

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Car seats can be terribly complicated things. Fortunately, we are here to help! This article will give you useful information on how long your baby should sit in their infant car seat, and when you should use a rear facing convertible car seat.

An infant car seat is specially made to carry your new born baby. These car seats are meant to be used in the rear facing position only.

Ideally, an infant car seat is recommended for taking your new born baby home from the hospital. Read all about infant car seats here.

The recommended age to transition your baby to a rear facing convertible car seat is largely dependent on the maximum height and weight limit of the infant car seat you have bought, that is if you have already bought one.

Another factor is how quickly your child grows. Some children will reach the height limit long before they reach the car seat’s weight limits. Read your infant car seat owner’s manual for information about the specific maximum weight/height limits.

Some babies outgrow their infant car seat faster than others. Some have outgrown their car seats as early as 6 months, while others are still in their infant car seats at 13 months.

A good infant car seat will house your baby until they are 2 years old. There are infant car seats on the market today that will only get to an upper weight limit 22 lbs and 29 inches in height. Your baby will outgrow these quite fast.

Some infant car seats have upper weight limits of 35 lbs, and a height limit of 32 to 35 inches. These car seat models can as a result be used for longer (about a year). We prefer car seats with greater weight and height limits.

For example the Graco Snugride ClickConnect will keep your baby rear facing from 4 – 35 pounds and up to 32″ tall, which makes it an excellent first car seat for your baby. This is because you will use this car seat for much longer than a different car seat with lower limits.

Car seats such as the Graco Snugride will keep your baby rear facing for longer (The general concensus however is that you should keep your baby rear facing for as long as is possible. This because because your baby is 5 times safer rear facing.) and keep you from buying yet another car seat after just a few months of use.

Keep in mind

  1. Replacing your car seat for one with higher weight limits does not mean that you should place them in a forward facing position. Keep your baby rear facing as long as you can(4 years is ideal) to guarantee their safety. Read all about rear facing car seats here.
  2. Always refer to your car seat manual. It has information about the maximum weight and height limits. Use the infant car seat until your baby either reaches the weight limit or up to the point their head reaches 1 inch below the car seat’s shell.
  3. Once your baby reaches this weight or height limit, it is time to switch to a rear facing convertible car seat.

Convertible car seat have weight limits that range between 50-70lbs. This is if you get a good one, and this kind of car seat will last your child to around 3 – 4 years of age before they convertible car seat can turn forward facing.

These seats may seem pricey, but in the long run, these turn out to be the most cost-efficient seat option.

To paint a better picture about car seats and their car height and weight limits, here are the car seats we recommend for you. These infant car seats will allow your baby to use them longest because their limits are higher than the regular car seat.

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio: 4-35 pounds, up to 32 inches tall

Britax B-Safe: 4-35 pounds, up to 32 inches tall

Chicco Keyfit 30: 4-30 pounds, up to 30 inches tall

Graco SnugRide Click Connect: 4-35 pounds, up to 32 inches tall

Safety 1st Onboard: 4-35 pounds, up to 32 inches tall

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