UCB Parents Carseat Recommendations
Choosing a carseat for the new baby
Advice and recommendations from the UCB Parents mailing list.
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Can anyone give some recommendations for an infant car seat? I am due in 3
months, but I think it is now the time to look around. Which criteria should
be considered? Since we will move back to Europe in October we consider buying
a high quality model, using the car seat as transportation for the baby during
the flight ( is this possible? ), and using it in Europe as well. Is this a
good idea or should we buy a less expensive model only fot the three months in
the US? I appreciate every idea and recommendation. Thank you! Andrea
1) Go to Babies R Us, and perhaps other stores, and play around with a
variety of them (check the ergonomics, buckles, etc - don't forget, YOU will
have to buckle & carry it). You really may want to consider a brand that
works with a Snap N Go for traveling (see #5 below).
2) You should get one with a five-point harness; those are the safest.
Safety criteria, as well as product availability and service, may be
different in Europe.
3) None of them are nearly as expensive as the high-end toddler seats, so I
wouldn't worry about price. It is DEFINITELY worth it to get an infant seat
(although some seats claim you can use them from infancy through
toddlerhood, it is well worth it to buy a regular infant seat that snaps
into a base and that you can carry around, because the other seats aren't
4) If you are willing to pay for a plane ticket to guarantee a seat for the
infant (it may be worth it, with such a long flight) you can always take the
carrier in the plane with you. (If you want to risk not buying one, airlines
are pretty nice about letting the baby seat on the plane if they have an
extra seat available, but you can't guarantee the seat will be next to
yours.)On domestic flights, at least (I haven't flown internationally with
our son) the baby must sit in the window seat. The infant seat will face
backward, just as it does in the car, and you strap it in with the seatbelt.
You will have to check the base with your baggage, but it's convenient
because you can pick it up and the baby is ready to ride in a car from the
5) Another VERY convenient accessory is the Snap 'N Go, a shell of a
stroller that certain brands of infant seat snap onto, which turns the whole
thing into a stroller of sorts. They are FANTASTIC for traveling because you
can (at least on domestic flights) check them right at the gate (they
collapse easily), so you stroll your infant right to the gate, only have to
carry him/her and the carrier onto the plane, and then the Snap 'N Go will
be returned to you at the gate when you deplane, and you stroll the baby
right back out of the next airport.
6) Check http://www.babycenter.com/refcap/399.html#1 for extra information.
we had planned to buy one of the infant carrier car seats before our baby
was born 3 years ago, but instead we received a car seat as a gift, one
that we could not return. as it turns out, it was a wonderful thing. the
seat, a cosco basic model convertible car seat (can be used
infant-->toddler), served us very well (actually, it still is), and cost a
mere $50. actually, in california a few years ago, a horrible accident
occurred where a baby girl was in that exact car seat and survived a crash
that killed both of her parents. no kidding! just because it's not the
fanciest option, does not mean it is not safe!
and i have to disagree with those that claim that the infant car seat
carriers are convenient. have you ever watched someone carry one of those
things? i have never seen someone who didn't look distressed trying to
tote their baby in one of those! we chose instead to use a babysling for
transferring our child to/from the car and to hold him "hands free" in
between. we travelled by plane frequently when our son was an infant
(through age 2) , cross country (from alabama to california) while my
husband was telecommuting. i remember EVERY TIME being thankful that i did
not have that clunky car seat or stroller to contend with at the airport,
along with all the other gear. most of all, i was glad to hold my baby
close-- hurrying through airports, during take-off and landing (as they
recommend you do), and when he got restless and wanted to move on the
plane. the sling was so handy for all of these. and remember, while the
FAA "approves" certain car seats, they have not actually shown them to
improve your child's chances of surving a serious incident.
The opinions and statements expressed on this page
are those of parents who belong to the
UC Berkeley Parents Network and
should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by the
University of California, Berkeley.