Car Seat Shopping For Beginners

My son and our daughter-in-law are expecting in about a month and we could not be more excited. Of course, as doting grandparents we plan on spoiling our first grandchild in every way possible. We also know how tight money is when you are having a child so we are thrilled to help out when we can. A car seat is our first effort to help share some of the burden with them, especially since this is can be one pricey but necessary piece of equipment. When we started shopping for a child safety seat we did not realize just how many options are available or how many different types of car seats there were to choose from. It was a bit of an education for us, so we thought we would share some of what we learned.

Thankfully we could find all of the information that we needed online, which was a much different experience than we had our first child back in the day. We found a lot of helpful parenting sites that let us understand which kind of seat would be best for our needs. Once we decided on the type of seat we wanted we could then go shopping with the knowledge to make a good choice.

Various Kinds of Car Seats

Since it had been decades since we had the need to use a car seat we just didn’t realize how far they have come. This was our first hurdle, but it was nothing major.

Infant Seats

This is just as the name implies. Infant car seats are designed for newborns and they come with the proper support for the head and neck region. This is important because young babies are not developed enough in that area of their bodies to support the weight of their own heads. This type of car seat has a very short shelf life, usually 18 months to 24 months max since their weight limit is usually around the 35 lbs mark.


Easy to carry – Most infant seats come with a handle so that you can easily remove your child from the car or carry them back and forth with ease. They are a lot lighter in weight than convertible car seats which makes it easier to transport your child.

Stroller Compatibility – A lot of today’s infant seats are compatible with different strollers. This will enable you to simply lift the seat and snap it into the stroller. This added convenience is a huge plus for parents that love to use strollers.


Short Time of Use – Since these types of seats are specifically designed for small children you will end up having to buy a convertible seat eventually when they quickly outgrow it. This means an extra added cost somewhere in the near future.

Convertible Car Seats

These are very popular options for parents since it can be used for a longer period of time, even with newborns. It is important to know some of the common mistakes made with this type of seat before you install it in the back of your vehicle. Using it correctly has a big impact on how it will perform during a crash.


More Economical – You only have to buy one seat for the first few years of your young one’s life. They are recommended for children from 5 to 65 lbs. Once they outgrow them you will probably have to get a booster seat, but that is further down the road.

Multiple Facing Positions – They are called convertible because they can be used in rear-facing mode for small children and forward-facing for larger kids. Great flexibility, especially if you have more than one child of varying ages.


Weight – These safety seats are going to a lot heavier and harder to move in and out of the car than an infant seat. It can be quite a workout if you want to switch between different vehicles and some parents just end up getting multiple seats to avoid this, one for each car.

Stroller Compatibility – What is a plus for infant seats is a negative for convertible seats. You cannot easily lift these with a handle and they will not snap into strollers like infant seats.

Booster Car Seats

This is the final type of seat that you need and is a transition piece of equipment. Once your child outgrows their convertible car seat they probably won’t be tall enough to use your vehicles standard seat belt right away. Using a booster seat ensures that the seat belt fits over their body properly so that it won’t cause injury by riding too high in case of an accident. This is also a very important piece of safety equipment you should be prepared to purchase when the time comes.

We Went The Convertible Route

After speaking with our daughter-in-law we decided to go with a convertible car seat. She said she wasn’t sure how if she would get any use out of the stroller advantages of an infant seat and thought just using one seat was a better option. Once we heard that we could then find something that both parents and their precious child would enjoy using. This is where we could really hone in and find something that was the perfect fit for them.

This part was actually fun, since all of our education was almost complete. We took advantage of the Turnagain Times child seat ratings to narrow down our options and we found an option that we feel our little granddaughter will love riding in all while being protected from something unfortunate happening.

Having a child is an expensive and nerve racking experience for the entire family. This is why we are so blessed to be in our position to help out when we can. We started by purchasing a convertible safety seat for our granddaughter, but rest assured this is just the first step in our quest to spoil her.