What to Consider When Buying a Car Seat

What to Consider When Buying a Car Seat

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Image Credit: @_daphnekbmt

When it comes to choosing the best gear for your baby, you think of safety first. Two other important factors are comfort for your tiny passenger and convenience for you. When you can have all three at an affordable price, it’s a win-win-win. The hard part is finding the time to check out all the options so you can make your pick. Well, leave your worries behind you, because we’ve narrowed down the choices with a quick comparison of seven car seats in two categories (infant seats and convertibles) that are designed to help transport your bundle of joy from newborn to little kid.  

First, let’s talk about what they have in common. As for the car seats featured here, rest assured that they meet or exceed federal safety standards, have a 5-point harness to keep your little one snug and secure when you’re on the go. They’ve also got removable and machine washable and dryer-safe padding so you can clean as needed, like when there’s a blowout (and we don’t mean your car tire). Take a cruise through the list below to get you on your way instead of spinning your wheels. 

  1. onBoard™35 LT Infant Car Seat
  2. onBoard™35 LT Comfort Cool Infant Car Seat
  3. Grow and Go™ All-in-One Extend ‘N Ride 
  4. Grow and Go™ All-in-One Convertible Car Seat   
  5. Grow and Go™ All-in-One Comfort Cool Car Seat  
  6. Jive 2-in-1 Car Seat 
  7. Grand 2-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Stick with the Infant Seat or Go for the Convertible?

You may be wondering, what’s the difference between infant car seats and convertible, all-in-one seats? Simply put, infant seats fit babies from 4-35 pounds and always remain rear-facing. These carriers are secured to a base in your car, then detach when it’s time to take your tiny traveler out of the “mommy van.” This is the best fit for those of you who are constantly on the move, needing to switch baby from car to car (like between parents and grandparents, or other caretaker’s cars), and in and out of a stroller, perhaps with other little ones in tow. The convenience of the infant seat may bring you the peace of mind you need, and be that step-saver at a time when you can’t fathom disturbing your happily contained passenger when you’ve reached your destination. 

Some seats, like the two onBoard™ models mentioned here, are compatible with strollers that feature QuickClick® technology, making it easy to use your car seat and stroller together as a travel system. They’re more lightweight than convertible car seats, and also have an adjustable carrying handle.  

Convertible and all-in-one car seats take your little one from birth to booster years. They can be used in forward-facing or in rear-facing positions, depending on the weight and height of your child, and sometimes, convert (hence, the name) to boosters too. This type of car seat is the go-to for parents who like the simplicity and convenience of one-and-done. You know you’re set for literally years, from bringing baby home from the hospital to grade school drop-offs. The trade-off is that during the early days, you won’t have the convenience of being able to keep baby in their seat as you transfer them in and out of the car, or to the stroller. 

Get the Deets on the onBoard™35 LT

The sweet onBoard™35 LT Infant Car Seat has everything baby needs and the features you enjoy including: 

  • Rear-facing from 4-35 pounds 
  • 4 harness heights spaced right for a better fit, from tiny to tall 
  • Built-in extra newborn support with head and body inserts 
  • One-pull harness adjustment gives baby a secure fit in your car 
  • Adjustable base for the right fit to your car 
  • Lightweight and easy to carry 
  • QuickClick® to attach car seat securely to stroller with one simple click 
  • LATCH equipped 
  • Airplane ready 
  • Side impact protection 

Cruisin’ with the Cool Kid

The onBoard™35 LT Comfort Cool infant car seat has all the same features listed above, plus the innovative Comfort Cool fabric technology on the inserts and covers. Reverse them to keep baby warm and cozy with the plush side, or cool and dry on the other. Wicking fabrics pull moisture away from little one’s skin for quicker evaporation, while the cooling aspect increases airflow and breathability.   

What’s the 411 on Grow and Go All-in-One Seats?

All three Grow and Go™ All-in-One car seats discussed here are built for extended use through 3 growth stages: Rear-facing 5-40 pounds, Forward-facing 22-65 pounds, and Belt-positioning booster 40-100 pounds.This means you only need one car seat as your infant becomes a toddler and sprouts into a big kid. It’s a relief to know that while your backseat driver is safe, they’re also comfortable through the transitions. Grow and Go™ combines its parent-friendly design with built-in comfort for kids in each seat. Key features include:

  • Removable pillows to keep baby snug when they’re a newbie, and come out to make way for your big kid
  • Headrests designed to protect little noggins and still let kids see their world passing by
  • One-hand headrest adjustment and the QuickFit™ harness to adjust headrest height and harness straps in one simple step
  • Adjustable crotch strap to transition through the growth spurts
  • Two position options in forward-facing mode to get the best fit in your car, while keeping your big kid more comfortable in their seat
  • Harness holders to prevent the straps from getting stuck under your child, making it easy to get in and out
  • Machine washable and dryer safe seat pad made to remove in a jiffy for convenient cleaning
  • Two removable, dishwasher safe cup holders

Great! Now, How Do They Differ?

The Grow and Go™ All-in-One Convertible Car Seat takes up less space in the back seat, for up to 7 inches of extra room for the really big kids and adults up front. Parents rave about the convenience. “I love the fact that it is a one-and-done car seat. I also love the fact that I can keep the car seats latched in the car while I wash the cover. It's so easy to take off and wash and easy to reinstall all while the car seat stays in the van!“ – Safety1st.com reviewer 

The Grow and Go™ All-in-One Comfort Cool Car Seat is packed with all of the features of the others in the lineup, plus it adds: 

  • Comfort Cool fabric 
  • Soft-touch armrests with integrated storage pockets 
  • Clearly visible red booster belt path for easier buckling 
  • Takes up less space in the back seat, for up to 7 inches of extra room for the really big kids and adults up front  

The newest model has a few extra perks: the Grow and Go™ Extend 'n Ride LX has: 

  • Our NEW ComfortPlus Footrest that can be used in all three positions. In the rear-facing mode, little ones have an extra 7 inches of legroom, allowing them to ride more comfortably up to the max rear-facing limit. For toddlers, sitting forward-facing, the ComfortPlus footrest helps kids sit more comfortably, and supports shorter, dangling legs. And for big kids, it lowers down to act as a comfortable footrest.    
  • Spring assist EZ out harness system keeps floppy straps propped up, making it easy to get baby in and out of the seat 
  • One of the two removable and machine washable cup holders conveniently accommodates a two-handle sippy cup as well as your favorite snacks. 

The Jive 2-in-1 Car Seat is rear-facing 5-40 pounds and Forward-facing 22-65 pounds. It’s great for growing families or carpools designed to fit three across in the back seat of most vehicles. 

The Grand 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat surpasses the maximum weight by allowing kids up to 120 lbs. Its stand out features include: 

  • Deluxe fabric that gives kids a comfy ride with its textured nylon, smooth knit jersey, and lamination that gives it a soft, plush feel. It’s designed to provide excellent ergonomic support in the headrest, shoulders, back, and seat of the pad—the key pressure points for where your child’s weight rests. 
  • Lightweight and easy to move from car to car 
  • Designed to fit 3 across in most vehicles  

Now you know, so ...

When you’re deciding on the right car seat for your little co-pilot, make sure it checks the most important boxes first. Is it:  

  • Safe 
  • Comfortable 
  • Convenient 
  • Budget-friendly

Then make your final choice by considering what additional features are “nice to have” or “gotta have.” 

We know buying a car seat is a big decision. Fortunately, safety standards and technology have come a long way since you were a kid. Meaning, if you choose any of the seven described here, you’ll be relieved to know your most precious cargo is safely and securely in place every time you hit the road. So, happy trails to you, and have fun doing your own carpool karaoke with your baby on board.