Buy One Seat for All the Ages
- What: Car Seats That Last
- When: Birth to five years
- Why: Spend less on car seats, use them longer
- Where: Amazon
Tired of spending hundreds of dollars on car seats only to find your child needs a different type a few months later? Confused about all the car seat options out there? Once you know the terms, get the type of seat that fits your lifestyle best.
If you want to buy one and be done, several companies now offer car seats that go from birth to booster, like the Diono Radian 3R All-in-One Convertible Car Seat and Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat. The Diono even lets you get three across in most standard size back seats, and a ten year lifespan before expiration. But you’ll sacrifice a bit in other areas to get that extra convenience.
If you want to spend less without compromising standards, try starting with a convertible car seat. These car seats face backwards, and the included infant inserts make them a good fit for even some of the smallest babies. Once your child reaches the rear-facing weight limit, which varies depending on the seat, you turn the seat around. Then your child can ride in the same car seat for several more years until they exceed the height or weight limits.
Although I love to get lots of expensive baby items, like strollers, secondhand, I strongly recommend only buying car seats brand new. Once a car seat has been involved in an accident, no matter how minor, you have to replace it. So unless you know the entire history, you can’t use a secondhand seat. Car seats also expire, so even though some may have never been involved in an accident, over time the materials weaken and must be replaced.
My oldest child used his Britax Roundabout car seat for more than five years before switching to a booster seat. My petite daughter, at almost seven, still fits easily into her Britax Marathon. And all three of my kids rode rear-facing for a minimum of three years in their Britax convertible seats.
If you want to make sure your child can use their car seat for more than a year, look at convertible car seats from birth and beyond.