1. Safety 1st Grow and Go All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
o Adjustable recline position
o Side impact protection
o Easily removable seat pads
o Rear-facing until 40lbs
o Difficult to install
o Paper recline indicator; not bubble
A 3-in-one car seat with a lot of cushioning to keep your baby cozy until the teen ages. Easily adjustable harness and headrest for maximum safety.
2. Diono 2019 Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
o Side-impact protection
o FAA approved for aircraft travel
o Moveable cup holder
o Too tall for rear-facing in small cars
An American-made plush all-in-one car seat with an automotive-strength steel skeleton, split into a dual spine to evenly distribute shocks and keep your child safer.
3.Chicco Keyfit Infant Car Seat and Base with Car Seat
o Travel system
o Airline approved
o Comfortable cushioning
o Small weight limit
o Difficult to disassemble and clean
An infant car seat compatible with a stroller in a travel system. Designed to accurately secure your infant at the right angle without hassle.
4.Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat, 2-in-1
o Slim build
o Easily adjustable harness
o Thin cushion
o No side-impact protection
o Small weight limit
A no-frills simple convertible car seat that holds your child until about 6 years. Meets and exceeds the Federal Crash Test standard for multiple shoulder harness positions.
5. Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat
o Small compact build
o Easy to clean
o Detachable cup holder
o Non-adjustable recline
o Difficult to adjust headrest and straps
A cost-effective convertible carrier with built-in side impacts protection. Enjoy a 1-year warranty on a car seat that exceeds federal, ASTM, and JPMA safety standards.
How we conduct our review
We purchase the baby car seat products and test it with our product team. We will also consult the market users and evaluate the user’s preference. No free sample will be accepted from vendors or re-seller – Guaranteed.
46 Models Considered
5 Models Tested
79 Hours Researched
4 Experts Consulted
251 Consumers Consulted
Why at all do You Need an Infant Car Seat?
Let us hold on with your baby for now. If you, as an adult, were involved in a crash while driving at only 30 mph, you would experience roughly over 30 Gs of force. That is if you had the seatbelt on if not, that would be about 150Gs. 30Gs of force translates to about 2.4 tons, 150Gs, 12 tons. You are looking at being under the weight of about 34 adults, all weighing 154lbs if you experience 30Gs of force, 171 adults in case of 150Gs.
It is not even that gentle. As you drive, your body including all your organs independently also travels at the same velocity as your car. A crush stops the car abruptly, and all the kinetic energy it is moving with is transformed into friction, sound, and energy to deform the chassis. Meanwhile, you also keep traveling until something stops you. If you have the seatbelt on, it will do the stopping. Otherwise, your windscreen, dashboard, or even the ground outside will take matters into their own hands. Even with your seatbelt, you are forcefully jerked back into the cushion of the seat, and that is still a considerable amount of impact. Also, your internal organs smash into each other, bones, soft tissues, or muscles with the same force.
As an adult, your best protection in a car during a crash is a seatbelt. It is worn from the shoulder, across the rib cage, and to the pelvis, which is considered the strongest part of your body. So when there is a crush, this 30Gs of force is distributed across these parts. We can now put your child into the scene. You cannot imagine 30Gs of force on your child; their bodies are not simply strong enough. Again, they are not even tall enough for a seatbelt to secure their bodies at the appropriate points. That is where your infant car seats come in. When properly used, they can absorb a lot more of these energies, reducing the impact on our children.
Buying Guide for baby car seats for small cars
Not all the users like all features in the same way. And there are some extra features to any products you may avoid. There are some things that may differ in every product that is accepted by diverse types of users. We are evaluating several things to help you choose the baby car seats as per your choice and necessity.
How long do you need to keep an Infant Car Seat in your Car for?
You might be wondering how long, for which you will be sacrificing the precious space of your small car to baby car seats. The real question you should be asking is, “At what point do I think it is okay for my child’s body to experience 30Gs of force or more, in the unfortunate case of a crush?” That, I think, should buy your child more time in a baby car seat or a booster.
Typically, your newborn’s bones are soft and porous. As they grow, given optimum nutrition (Calcium and Vitamin B being very crucial), their soft bones will be calcified and will become denser. This will continuously happen until it peaks at about age 20 for boys and 18 for girls. So obviously, your child’s bones are not as strong as yours are.
At birth, your baby has soft bones. These are the fontanelles of the skull, located at the front and the back of their heads. They will take up to 18 months to harden. Therefore, not only should your baby mandatorily be in a baby car seat from birth until a year-old, their heads should comfortably be rested on adequate padding and at the correct angle. For this to happen in baby car seats, they are rear-faced. Rear-facing allows your child to properly lie in the car seat and correctly angle their heads. Most importantly, your child is pushed further into the car seat in the event of the car jolting to a halt or a crash, rather than out of it.
As your child approaches 2 years, they grow taller than the baby car seat. Their head and legs cannot all fit in. However, they are still not strong enough for a seat belt. There are car seats for toddlers, which are mostly forward-facing and big enough to accommodate them. It will again provide them with the side cushioning that your normal car seat will not.
The EU and Federal Motor Safety standards require that children should have some special restraint, other than the normal seat belt until they attain the age of 12 or a height of 4ft 5in (or 135cm). However, at about age 8 or even less for fast growers, your child may attain a weight of 80lbs. This happens to be the weight limit for most toddler car seats. In most cases though, your child would still not have attained the right height to use a seatbelt safely. There are children seat boosters that raise your child so that he/she can wear the seatbelt correctly across their body.
These are not just well-researched recommendations, they are regulations, especially if you live in the US or Europe. As such, you should make these provisions even with your small car. Not just because the laws say so, but also because you want to protect your child/children whom you love.
DID YOU KNOW?
• For secondary caretakers such as grandparents, who only pick children up occasionally, cheap convertible (less than $90.00) car seats are mostly recommended.
• Most parents will end up buying at least two car seats. If you choose a 3-in-1 seat at the beginning, then you would a seat for your stroller for your infant. If you use the stroller seat, then you would need a booster seat when your toddler crosses 6 years old.
Keeping your Baby Comfortable in Baby Car Seats for Small Cars
A small car can be a difficult fit for even adults, in case you are a plus size or many people. If you have a baby in the car seat, you have to pay particular attention to their comfort. This is because they may not be able to tell you when you have placed their head improperly. Even more dangerous is when they can bear the discomfort enough not to cry. Particular things to attend to when you place your baby in a car seat are posture, temperature, and position of harnesses.
Your child’s posture in the car seat is so critical. Remember that their bones are still quite malleable. Therefore, improperly positioning your child may not just lead to temporal discomfort but may also do some permanent damage. Especially, when some pressure is exerted on them in that posture, in the case of a crash or a jolting halt. When you place your baby in the seat, make sure their neck is in full length. That is, make sure your baby’s chin is not resting on his/her chest (nod position). Sometimes baby car seats come with extra padding for their heads that can result in the chin-on-chest posture. Remove them if necessary. You can place the baby with their head back or slightly tilted to the side. Their hands should not be at their back, check to see if you can clap them. Their legs will normally rest on the lower side of the seat. However, in case your baby’s legs become slightly longer than the seat, cross them. The harnesses will normally keep their back and pelvis flat in the seat, but it will not hurt to make sure of that first.
When it comes to temperature, it does not even begin in the car. Newborns up to 6-month-olds will usually have clothes wrapped around them when they go out. Parent should know what temperatures are outside so that they can dress babies accordingly. The danger arises when it is cold. Some parent’s first instinct will be to put the baby in heavy or fluffy clothes. That will only be okay if your baby is not going in the car seat. The harnesses in the baby car seat are only properly fit when they are locked close enough to the baby’s body, such that there are no slacks. Fluffy clothes will not allow that. Instead, when warmth is required, dress baby in multiple thin clothes or wrap more cloth around them.
The harnesses may be another source of discomfort for your baby in a car seat. Infants always have a 5-point harness. That is the standard. Therefore, you will have the harnesses coming over each shoulder to meet and buckle with one from the crotch. Then there is another buckle across the shoulders. You always want to make sure that the harnesses stay flat and are not wound up at any point. When this happens, any little pressure continually exerted can cause bruises to your baby. Some harnesses come with shoulder pads. If they are too long for your newborn, they will often be stuck up in their neck area. They also tend to prevent the shoulder buckle from being in the right position. That is, up across the chest and between the armpits. Remove these pads if they prove unnecessary or a nuisance.
For most cars, an infant car seat will fit comfortably without hitting the seats in front, even if they are not centrally placed. However, baby car seats for small cars should be placed on either side of the seat to allow room for other passengers at the back. In that case, whoever is in the front seat should manage whatever legroom is there and never try to pull the seatback. Otherwise, they could displace the car seat slightly off its correct angle, putting the baby at risk.
Always be alert of the noises your child makes while in the car seat. You are there to help them because they cannot help themselves.
How to Identify Baby Car Seats that will Fit into your Small Car
As a matter of safety, most of the baby car seats you will find on sale have been manufactured to meet the EU and/or Federal Motor Safety standards. The challenge will be to identify the right and practical one based on the age of your child, your budget, and of course, the size of your car.
Your biggest concern, when you think about baby car seats for small cars, would be vertical and horizontal space. The common headache would be being able to fit other passengers at the back with your baby car seat. However, getting your baby into and out of the car seat while it is fitted in the car is a simple convenience you should be able to get. Your toddler at the back will also be concerned with legroom, and the fact that their pate is not hitting the ceiling while they sit in the forward-facing seat or booster.
0 and 0+ seats
These seats are for newborns up to about 13 months. Very often, manufacturers tend to state the width of the base. Among the smallest you would find is a little over 14 inches. However, this does not reflect their true width because their widest points are normally around the mouth of the seats, where the handles fit. As a result, their widest points measure about 17 inches in the least. You would need to consider this, especially if you want to fit in multiple seats. For 0 and 0+ seats, you will not be much concerned with their heights, concerning your ceiling because their occupants are not tall, and just lie inside them.
1 and 2 seats
By the time your kids would be using these seats, they should be either about 20 lbs or over 9 months old. These seats face forward and sit upright, only slightly inclined. These seats normally have a high base such that the neck of the infant car seat may be higher than that of the actual car seat. Therefore, cars with particularly low ceilings should only go with seats with relatively low bases, or better still, seats with low heights overall. The smallest of cars have a total height at the rear to be about 62 – 67 inches. Therefore, baby car seats with a height of about 28 inches or less should be sort. What would be of more concern though, is legroom. Especially for toddlers who would sit with their legs protruding outside from the seat. For these, the smallest depth of baby car seats is about 20 inches. It must be mentioned that this category includes convertible seats. That is seats that can be used as rear-facing for 0 and 0+, and forward-facing for 1 and 2 baby categories.
These are booster seats, for babies from 6 – 11 years or 40 – 80 lbs and 47 – 57 inches. By this time, your children are pretty big, and all they need are a prop up to help them wear the seat belts properly. This is also the time you would be most concerned with heights. As mentioned, some small cars may have rear heights as low as 63 inches. Again, legroom might also be a problem. In that case, there are backless booster seats you can consider.
For your small car, there are other considerations besides the car seat themselves. Your type of car seat is one, and the attachment system is another. If you have contoured seats or captain chairs, then invariably, your baby car seat or the booster takes one. Bench seats may afford you space for the car seat and two other small passengers, who would not require much width. Either a seat belt or a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system attaches the baby car seats. These do not affect much unless you are attaching more than one car seat. You would only have the LATCH if your car was made after September 2002, and you would have it in at least two seating positions. This will allow you to combine the seatbelt and LATCH in fixing two or if possible, three baby car seats.
Where your car seat fits
As the name suggests, your baby car seats should fit in your car. If you make the right choices on your purchase, however, there are a variety of vehicles they can ride to continue keeping your child safe and comfortable.
Your car is the obvious primary location for your car seat. Both expert recommendation and regulation require that until about 12 years old, your child ride in the backseat. This unless in impossible situations such as when there are too many baby car seats that can fit in the rear seat. In which case, the rear-facing seat or the oldest child in a forward-facing seat should ride in the front. Also, the airbag must be deactivated and if possible, the front seat moved a little further back. Always check to see that your baby car seat is properly installed. Almost all of them will have an indicator to tell if the seat has been inclined properly. Read the manual to ensure that. If you are in doubt, several town hospitals and traffic police have checkpoints to help you do that. Be sure, also, to adhere to age, height, and weight limits when using the car seat (especially convertible rear-facing to forward-facing ones), as well as the attachment system. The weight limit for LATCH is a combined weight of 65 pounds, for the child and the seat.
This is only practical for 0, 0+, and 1category of babies. Mainly because children in these categories cannot walk and still have relatively weaker bodies. Even in commercial taxis, it is normally impractical to properly attach your baby car seat. You can still locate the LATCH if they are easily accessible and attach them loosely. There again, your baby is safest in the backseat. For older kids, the seat belt is recommended even if they have not attained the “seat belt age”.
Some baby car seats readily detach from their base to fix on a baby stroller. This is normally referred to as a travel system. Mostly, brands allow this compatibility across their products. There are some though, that are more universal. Convertible baby car seats, however, do not allow for this transferability due to their weight and build. Depending on the seat you purchase, you can this travel system through 0, 0+, and 1 stages of your baby’s stages.
Traveling by your child on the plane is a different breed of stress for many parents. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not require car seats on the plane when you travel with your child. However, they and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend it.
For infants under 2 years, some parents prefer to hold them on their lap. Many airlines give heavy discounts or may waive the fare if you choose this option. It is also common that the airlines also hold baby car seats and strollers in storage at no extra cost. In many cases even, you may ride your baby stroller to the foot of the plane staircase before it is folded up.
Then again, you may prefer that your infant ride in its seat. The car seat becomes necessary in this case. However, you must make sure that your car seat is compatible and safe for use on the airplane. If it is, it will be boldly stated in the car seat manual and embossed somewhere on the seat. You might also need to check the airplane seat sizes ahead to ensure that your car seat will fit into it. Many airlines post the size range of seats aboard for each class on their websites. If you use the car seat aboard, they will fit on the airplane seat just as they would, in your car. However, as a matter of precaution, you can carry the car seat manual for when you encounter problems, or if it is your first time. The FAA recommendation is that infants under 20 pounds are fixed rear-facing in a forward-facing airplane seat.
If your child weighs above 20 pounds but less than 40, the airplane seat harness does not still offer maximum protection for him or her. An appropriate toddler car seat should be used and placed, facing forward. There are also child safety harnesses for airplanes that you could acquire. They are referred to as the Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES). They are the only FAA-approved harnesses for flight take-off and landing.
Your child who is on a booster seat in your car should be over 40 pounds or over 6 years old. For such children, it is considered that the airplane seat harnesses offer them maximum protection. As such, your booster seat is not necessary. A backless booster seat is not permitted on the plane, according to FAA regulations. It has been shown that if the airplane seat malfunctions and suddenly jerks forward, it can crush your child if there is a backless booster on. High-back booster seats are permitted by some airlines. But then again, in most cases, your child does not need it.
Just as a matter of chip in, trains have neither the seat belt nor the LATCH system. However, you may carry your baby car seats or strollers especially if you will make long trips or cab travels when you alight.
It might be hard to accept the reality that your child gets first dips on space in your small car, and would do so for over a decade. Think of it as a loving gesture from a parent to your child, whose bones and body need much cushioning. Even if you would not consider it so, the law gives you no other choice, especially if you live in the US or Europe.
For the littlest of kids, more attention is required because they are most fragile. Putting infants in these car seats may result in some discomfort for them if not properly done. You have to pay some attention to their posture in the seats, how the harnesses hold on to them and how you dress them for the day’s temperature.
For your small car, the dimensions of the baby car seats are most important. You would want them to be small enough to fit, but big enough for your child. Check the width, depth, and height specifications for every seat you consider. The 3-in-1 seats, that is, those that hold your child from infancy through the “booster” years are the tallest.
Beyond fitting in your car, you can make considerations for when you have to use other means of travel. You may consider seats that fit on a stroller as a travel system, those that can be used on flights, etc.
Whatever you decide, make sure that your baby is, at least, safe in your small car.