What is the best infant car seat for a 2 door car?
What is the best infant car seat for a 2 door car?
Actually - car seat experts will tell you Consumer Reports is NOT the place to go for info on car
seats! CR is great for a lot of things, car seats is not one of them.
CPSTs (car seat techs) do not think highly of Consumer Reports, so they're not really the ones you
want to check. Also, All seats in the US must meet the same safety criteria to sell, so technically they
all are safe, however, if its hard to install, then it won't be used correctly and that makes it unsafe.
Also, they only must meet the guidelines, some seats barely pass, some exceed them. And Consumer
Reports doesn't disclose that info, or how they test. They're so hush hush about all their methods
that it makes their ratings very suspicious.
The NHTSA website has ease of use ratings, which is somewhat important b/c the easier a seat is to
use the more likely you are to use it correctly. However, these have to be taken with a grain of salt
to - looking at that list it is often very difficult to figure how they got their results. This is very
important, if a seat is used incorrectly, it will not protect your child. Over 80% of car seats are
installed or used improperly!
All that said - you might reconsider whether you really want an infant carrier using a 2 door car. I've
had a 2 door Civic Coupe since before my now 3 year old son was born. I found it a HUGE pain to
constantly try and fit the carrier in and out of the backseat, it was a tight squeeze to get it in
between the front and backseat, even with the front pushed all the way forward. Would've been
easier to do what I did once he got a rear facing convertible: his seat was on the back passenger
side, and I'd climb in the back driver's side, sit next to his seat and put him in. Was faster and easier
and didn't leave me standing out in bad weather fighting with getting his carrier back in the car.
Contrary to popular US notion, infant carrier car seats are NOT a required stage in car seats.
Newborns can go home from the hospital in a rear facing convertible seat, as long as the slots are
as a single parent on a seriously limited income, I now realize I should've completely skipped the
infant carrier stage. Its not a 'needed' stage in car seats, its just a convenience thing, and a recent -
as in the last 15 years or so - invention to have a stay in car base and separate carrier. Here's why I
think its a waste: doesn't last babies very long at all. You spend $60 and up on this carrier that is
only going to last 5-8 months! And then you have to purchase a convertible car seat, and somewhere
down the line a booster seat. If you skip the carrier phase, you just eliminated one seat. There is now
one carrier on the market that promises to fit 99% of babies up to at least their first birthday - Graco
SafeSeat1, goes to 30lbs. However, there are limitations to this awesome seat. It really will fit most
kids that long, but that's a catch-22. You really going to carry your 25lbs baby in a carrier?! And, the
recline can not be adjusted when its installed in the car. Newborns have to be rear facing and
reclined 45 degrees. Older babies who can hold their heads up well can be 30-45 degrees, and most
want to so they can see more. So your baby may come to hate the SafeSeat at some point b/c he
can't sit up any straighter, but then again, maybe not. You never know. Also - b/c it is a bigger seat
to last longer, it doesn't always fit well in smaller vehicles. Try before you buy. My son was a BIG
baby (still is a BIG kid!) and outgrew his carrier at 4 months. And, after baby gets above 10lbs or so,
they are a pain in the butt to carry - quite awkward. So its not as convenient as it may at first seem.
And some of the 'convenient' ways people use them aren't good.
Carriers should NEVER be placed on grocery carts. It makes the carts unstable and they can tip
over, seriously injuring the baby. Also, not all car seats fit all carts, and they don't lock on, they're
just sitting there, posing an obvious threat. And some of the carts are shaped or sized in a way that it
puts the carrier at an unsafe/uncomfortable angle for the baby. I've seen babies laying in carriers on
carts with their head lower than their feet - not a good idea for digestion or spit up.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says Parents and caregivers should never Place an infant
carrier on top of the shopping cart. "Many infant-only car safety seats lock into shopping carts, and
many stores have shopping carts with built-in infant seats. This may seem safe, but thousands of
children are hurt every year from falling out of shopping carts or from the carts tipping over. Instead
of placing your baby's car safety seat on the cart, consider using a stroller or front pack while
shopping with your baby. "
Also, we are seeing rampant developmental delays becuase babies are in these carriers (and swings,
and bouncy seats...) so much. Look around everywhere you go and instead of holding their babies,
people have them in these carriers. When on their back and harnessed (and any time a child is in a
carrier, he needs to be harnessed, even though its not in a car!) they can not work the muscles they
need to develop to crawl, sit up, and walk. In the manuals for these carriers, it even says specifically
'for use in cars and strollers only'! But we all seem to miss that part.
So I highly recommend skipping the carrier phase. I think they are more a pain than a blessing, and
a wasted of money if you don't have a lot to throw around. Instead, get a convertible car seat that
will fit a newborn (more on that later) and a sling, pouch, or wrap. Not one of those silly snugli or
infantino carriers, but something like a ringsling, moby, or maya wrap. Wearing your baby gives
everybody what they need. Babies get much needed closeness to mom (or dad, or anyone else for
that matter!) and you get your hands free to do what you need to do, as well as you can even
breastfeed in one! They offer many different positions to use them in, too, and go higher than carrier
car seat weights (20-22lbs). Most go to at least 35lbs, so you will get much more use out of it for
OK - so if you choose to skip the carrier phase, be careful about the convertible car seat you choose,
b/c not all will fit newborns well. You want it to have low bottom slots.
The Evenflo Triumph Advance (not the original Triumph, make sure it says Advance) is a great seat.
$150 version at Babies R Us has padding similar to Britax seats, top slots of 17", harnesses to 35lbs
rear facing, and 50lbs forward facing. $120 Walmart version just has little less plush padding. Wide
open belt path, easy to install, though it doesn't have built in lockoffs. The harness adjusts at the
front of the car seat, you don't have to take the car seat out of the car just to raise/lower the straps.
It's one of only 2 seats that does this (The Britax Boulevard is the other, I believE), and it has infinite
harness adjustment so the harness always fits perfectly until its outgrown. No more tugging straps
to tighten them either. You tighten and loosen the harness using knobs on the side of the seat. As a
major bonus, it can be used in a recline position even in forward facing mode. Awesome for kids who
still sleep in the car. I LOVE THIS SEAT! LOL My son, who is too big for every other car seat at
Walmart has the same amount of room in this as the Britax Marathon.
Cosco Scenera - $50 at
Walmart/Kmart/Target. Great seat for
the price. Goes up to 35lbs rear facing,
40lbs forward facing. Great rear facing
seat, but is outgrown very quickly
forward facing b/c of short top slots
and short shell. You'll still get you're
$50 worth out of it, though, as it will
last most kids to at least 2 years,
quadruple the amount of time of an
As you're shopping, remember these
rules about seats:
1)the BEST seat is the one that fits your child, fits your car, and will be used correctly 100% of the
time. (This is why convenience features DO make a difference and ARE worth the money! If its easy
to use, you're more likely to use it correctly.
2)Children should stay rear facing AS LNOG AS POSSIBLE!!!! The 20lbs/1 year rule is outdated and
provides a bare minimum for turning kids forward facing. The American Academy of Pediatrics and
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both recommend keeping kids rear facing as
long as possible, up to the limits of their seat, preferably until at least 2 years of age. For good
reason: A forward-facing child under 2 years old is 4 times more likely to be killed or seriously
injured in a crash than a rear-facing child of the same age. A child's vertabrae do not fully fuse until
3-6 years old, before then, she is at great risk for internal decapitation. The spinal column can
stretch up to 2 inches in a crash BUT the spinal cord can only stretch up to 1/4 inch before it snaps
and baby is gone. In other countries, rear facing 2 - 3 - 4 year olds is standard, they understand that
its safer. Here, we turn them as soon as we get to, seeing it as a right of passage thing or something.
Ridiculous. Most convertible seats have a 30lbs rear facing limit, Cosco/Dorel/Safety1st/Eddie Bauer
seats rear face to 35lbs, Britax rear faces to 33lbs.
3)Once you do turn them forward facing, they need to stay in a 5 point harness as long as possible. 4
years/40lbs is the minimum for riding in a booster, and most 4 year olds have no business using one
yet. If they can't sit upright for an entire trip, they need the harness of a car seat still. And, even if
they do sit properly, a 5 point harness is safer, so you want to keep them in one as long as possible.
This is important to consider b/c most car seats only forward face to 40lbs. My son just turned 3, and
is in the 95th% for height and w
Actually - car seat experts will tell you Consumer Reports is NOT the place to go for info on car se...