My Personal Vendetta Against Infant Car Seats
- What: Infant car seats
- Why: I Hate Them
- Where: Amazon
I am personally violently opposed to infant seats. I refused to even consider one with my first child. That being said, I used one with both my second and third child. The huge advantage to infant seats: you can move them from home to car to stroller without removing your child from the seat itself. It can sit on the floor (but is not safe to be on any elevated surface like a table or counter), click into the base installed in your vehicle, or attach to a stroller without a hitch.
The downside: You’ve taken your sweet eight pound newborn and added 10-15 pounds of weight to lug around. Instead of being able to carry your infant ergonomically in your arms, you now have a heavy weight hanging from one arm or the other. The one hand part is awesome. The extra weight? Not so much. Depending on your vehicle, it can be harder to maneuver the entire seat into and out of your car than it is to put the much narrower baby in and out. You can definitely carry an infant seat in front of you with two hands in what I call the basket carry, but that defeats the point of using only one hand to carry them around. The heavier weight can easily cause back problems, especially for women after pregnancy.
You can’t see the adult’s face in that photo because they aren’t smiling. I’d wager on a grimace if not an outright expression of pain. Try contorting to haul a heavy bucket around lopsided, while simultaneously trying to keep the seat from bumping and bruising your legs. You, too, might develop a love-hate relationship with your infant car seat.
Your child will also outgrow an infant seat sooner than a convertible one. A convertible car seat can take you from newborn to preschooler no problem, and my (tall) six year old only outgrew our largest convertible seat in the last couple of months. Infant seats are generally good until your child reaches 22-30 pounds, depending on the exact model you choose. In my experience, your child is much more likely to outgrow the infant seat in height first, but my kids also tend to be tall and skinny for their age. Your child can reach 22 pounds before their first birthday, as infants generally triple their birth weight in their first year. Some booster seats start at 22 lbs for that exact reasons, but convertible car seats provide more protection because they can be installed rear-facing.
Convertible seats last much longer, as they can accommodate a child up to 35-40 lbs rear-facing. If you also want to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible, check out convertible car seats. Since I knew I was going to end up buying a convertible car seat at some point, I started with that and skipped the infant car seat phase with my first child. With my second and third, I had a toddler I needed one hand to hold onto, and I had no real option except an infant seat. I borrowed a seat from a friend to use both times because I still couldn’t bring myself to spend money on an infant seat of my own. Since they get used for such a short period of time, my friends happily loaned them out between their own kids.
My final gripe about infant seats: If you’re tight on space inside your house, infant car seats are one more piece of baby equipment you have to find room for. You can’t really hang it up because it’s too bulky and the sole closet in my house has nowhere near enough room for an infant seat to sit on a shelf or even the floor. Perhaps having to maneuver around it every time I wanted to leave the house or reach my front door contributed to my hatred.