Convertible Baby Car Seats (5-40 lbs)

Before bringing your baby home from the hospital, you must have an infant car seat. Convertible car seats can face both backward and forward, so babies can keep using these car seats as they grow. Regardless of your baby's age and weight, there is a convertible car seat that will allow your infant to ride in comfort.

How do convertible car seats differ from other seats?

Convertible car seats can be used rear-facing for young babies and forward-facing for toddlers. Many seats have weight limits of five to 40 pounds, so they will last a young child through multiple stages of development.

Car seats that are not convertible can be used in only one direction. Bucket-style infant car seats are designed for small babies and are only for rear-facing use. Seats that only face forward should be used with older children; the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children not face forward until at least age two.

All of these seats have built-in harnesses. They are different from boosters, which use the car's seat belt to restrain the child. Boosters should be used after a child outgrows a harnessed car seat.

Can newborns use convertible car seats?

Most convertible car seats can be used for babies who weigh at least five pounds, including newborn babies. Convertible seats often have removable infant head supports to help position the head of a newborn baby. If your infant was premature, consult your pediatrician before using a standard convertible seat for your baby.

Do convertible car seats lift out of the vehicle?

Convertible car seats can be removed from the car or moved from one car to another. However, these seats are not designed for regularly lifting out of the car. Unlike bucket-style infant seats, convertible car seats are not inherently portable, and they do not have a built-in carrying handle. Convertible car seats are also not intended to hook onto a stroller frame.

How can you ensure that a car seat is safe?

Although you want a car seat for your baby to be comfortable and attractive, safety is the top priority for a seat. Therefore, all car seats sold in the United States must undergo crash tests to ensure that they meet federal safety standards. In addition, you should pay attention to the following tips to make sure that your seat will keep your baby as safe as possible.

  • Consult consumer guides and crash test reports. Crash tests simulate the conditions of an accident to evaluate whether a seat will keep a child safe.
  • Check your installation. If not installed properly, a car seat cannot do its job. Follow manufacturer directions for installation, and consider having your seat checked by a professional.
  • Pay attention to weight and height limits. Your seat-owner's manual will list the proper height and weight guidelines for rear-facing and forward-facing use.
  • Use car seats that are in good shape. Do not use a car seat that has been in an accident. Additionally, manufacturers set expiration dates for their infant car seats and boosters; do not use a seat after that date has passed.
  • Tighten the straps. Car seat straps must be snug. Do not use bulky clothes when your infant is in the seat.