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A Guide to Infant Car Seats

Updated on January 23, 2011

A Guide to Infant Car Seats

Every time you ride in a car, your infant must be in a car seat. An infant car seat is designed to protect the baby in case you get into an accident. Infant car seats are required by law. Many hospitals will not let you leave without demonstrating that you have one with you. Even if you primarily rely on public transportation, you should still purchase an infant car seat. If you are in car with the baby and you are not the driver you are still responsible for making sure the seat is in place. When buying infant car seats you should take several factors into account. These include the size of the car, ease of use and the ability of the car seat to go from one place to another.

Infant Only Car Seats

Infant only car seats can be purchased from many places. Some cities and towns offer them for a reduced price to expectant mothers. An infant only car seat distinguished from other kinds of child car seats in several ways. First such car seats are smaller than many other car seats. They typically have two handles that the user can grasp. The infant car seat can only be used for infant travel. You should not use one out of the car to hold the baby.

Baby Weight Restrictions

Another way in which an infant car seat differs from other types of car seats is because they can only be used for smaller babies. Most infant car seats are meant to be used only for babies up to a certain weight. This is typically roughly 36 pounds or under. You should read the car seat specifications carefully when choosing one. A store assistant can help you determine exactly how much weight the infant car seat will hold. Putting a larger baby in an infant car seat can compromise safety.

Infant Car Seat Base

Infant only car seats also come with a base. The base should be easy to use. Many infant car seats have a base that attaches and detaches to the car. You can slip the base into the car and secure it to the seat with seatbelt. The base is usually made of plastic. This makes it easier to clean. Look closely at the base in the store. You should know where to place each part of the base before you leave.

Additional Considerations

If you have a premature baby you will need to take special precautions. Many hospitals will work with you to test the baby’s ability to remain in an inclined position. Some premature infants cannot safety stay in this position without serious health risks. In that case many hospitals require you to purchase a car bed. A car bed can protect your child from serious injury. Many specialty shops make them. An infant car seat should not be modified in any way from the original unless specifically directed to do so by a doctor. Infant car seats are designed to support the baby in a very specific way. Tampering with this with the addition of other materials could easily pose health risks for your infant.

Infant Car Seat Safety


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    • Notrum profile image

      Notrum 6 years ago

      A car bed is used for premature infants and for infants who may have a serious medical condition such as spinal muscular atrophy.

      I think the most important aspect of any infant car seat it to make sure you understand how to secure it properly. Even the best one won't work unless it fits the right way.

    • Moon Willow Lake profile image

      Moon Willow Lake 6 years ago

      I was not familiar with infant car beds so thanks for that info. I know that the infant car seat we had was one in which it securely fit on to the base that remained in the car and then the car seat itself was easily removable. Once removed, it fit on the stroller. We bought it all as a set as one needs to ensure the baby car seat will fit correctly on to the stroller. It really is the best way to manage an infant when going places.