Infant Car Seat
Infant car seats are designed for children under one (1) year of age weighing less than twenty (20) pounds. Some convertible infant seats can support infants in the rear facing position for up to forty (40) pounds. Infant car seats are used in the rear facing position because a young baby is still developing support in the bones and ligaments in the neck.
During a frontal accident the child’s head would be thrown forward causing potential injuries to the spinal cord, neck or head. A rear facing infant seat will cradle the neck, head and back of the infant and reduce the risk of serious injury or death in the case of an accident. Like booster and convertible car seats an infant car seat should be secured in the back seat of the vehicle.
Never place a rear facing infant car seat in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger side airbag.
A rear facing position is recommended for children up to twenty-three (23) months of age as long as the car seat manufacturer’s recommendations support the child’s age, height or weight.
Always reference the car seat manufacturer’s instructions for installation and maintenance of your car seat.
Types of Infant Car Seats
Basic Infant Car Seat
Infant only car seats are designed for babies that weigh up to 22 pounds or more depending on the manufacturer of the seat.
The Chicco KeyFit infant seat shown to the left has a weight range from 4-22 pounds and a height range of 30 inches or less. It is also rated as a “Best Buy” by consumer reports.
The separate base and carrier make it easy to remove and replace back into the vehicle. The Chicco KeyFit also was also rated as one of the best fits for newborns.
Some infant car seats are made with a base so you can carry the baby from the car in the carrier and place the carrier back into the base when you return to the vehicle.
Basic Infant car seats must be replaced by another type of car seat when the child reaches the upper recommended age, height or weight limits provided in the manufacturer’s instructions.
Convertible Car Seat
Convertible Car Seats can be changed from a rear facing car seat to forward facing. The convertible car seat pictured to the left is the Cosco Scenera 40RF. This seat was rated a “Best Buy” by consumer reports for convertible car seats with a 40 pound harness capacity.
This seat may be used in the rear facing position for children weighing from 5-40 pounds and the forward facing position for children weighing from 22-40 pounds. The height range for the Cosco Scenera 40RF is from 19-43 inches.
This seat allows a child to remain in the rear facing position for a longer period of time. Safety advocates suggest leaving a child in a rear facing position for as long as possible up to the suggested height, age or weight requirements defined by the manufacturer of the car seat.