The following is a quick view of the current recommendations (as of March, 2011) from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Infant-only seats
- Are used for infants up to 22 to 35 pounds, depending on the model.
- Are small and have carrying handles (and sometimes come as part of a stroller system).
- May come with a base that can be left in the car. The seat clicks into and out of the base so you don’t have to install the seat each time you use it. Parents can buy more than one base for additional vehicles.
- Are used only for travel (not for positioning outside the vehicle).
- Can be used rear-facing, then “converted” to forward-facing for older children. This means the seat can be used longer by your child. They are bulkier than infant seats, however, and do not come with carrying handles or separate bases.
- May have higher rear-facing weight (30–40 pounds) and height limits than infant-only seats, which make them ideal for bigger babies.
- Usually have a 5-point harness that attaches at the shoulders, at the hips, and between the legs. Older convertible seats may have an overhead shield—a padded tray-like shield that swings down over the child.
- Can be used rear-facing, forward-facing, or as a belt-positioning booster. This means the seat may be used longer by your child.
- Are often bigger in size so adequate space within the vehicle when rear-facing should be determined.
- Do not have the convenience of a carrying handle or a separate base; however, they may have higher rear-facing weight (35–40 pounds) and height limits than infant-only seats, which make them ideal for bigger babies.
If you ever have any questions regarding car seat safety, please feel free to call our office. Primary Children's is also another great source for car seat safety information. The car seat safety hotline is 801-662-CARS (2277).