Car Seat Research Tools

See Also: Car Seat Installation Videos

[twitter]There are many resources for car seat research online, my friend Karen Hamilton (@tinybites) has been kind enough to pass along the tools she’s discovered as she preps for baby #1 in the new year (right around the same time we’ll be escorting Chuck in to the world).

Infant or Convertible

The first thing to choose is something we’ve tackled before in Car Seat 101: do you want a convertible car seat or an infant only to bring your bundle home from the hospital?

Karen is going with the latter.

“Definitely going with an infant carrier based on what practically every car seat rep has said about convertibles – they’re often too large at shoulder height to accommodate a newborn even if your baby meets the weight requirement,” she said.

The decision is tough for some since infant seats are used only for the first few months when your infant is unable to support their head.

“Still haven’t decided whether we’re buying or renting. If we buy, we’re buying new and buying an infant carrier with a higher upper weight limit, like the Peg Perego,” she says. “We have plans for a second child in a few years so for us it’s worth it to have something we can re-use. Peg Perego is on our shortlist because of its fit with the B.O.B. sports stroller that we have.”

When it comes to buying a used car seat, Karen echoes the warning I’ve heard from many professionals:

“The safety rating may have held back when it was purchased but what assurances would you have that nothing major happened to the car seat since it left the store?”

We were lucky that we were able to borrow an infant seat from a friend when Zacharie was born. Unfortunately the seat has since expired. (The plastic does have a shelf life. The expiry date of your car seat will be clearly printed on the seat bottom.)

The rental option is not something I was not familiar with, and Karen explained that some hospitals used to rent them back in the day, so it might be worth checking at the hospital you’re delivering with.

Karen added a PS:

“Also found an article about the Mico infant car seat, which is undergoing a safety review by Transport Canada. It’s sold under several brands so you may want to share this article with DadCAMP readers.”

What research resources have been helpful for you in picking a car seat and deciding between infant and convertible?

Flickr photo from Joe Shlabotnik

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