infant car seats vs. convertible

Jess2316Jess2316 Registered Users Posts: 617
This being my first baby I have no idea what I'm doing or what I will be best off registering for so I'm hoping you can all help me out!


We registered for a convertible carseat, rear facing or forward facing and up to like 65 lbs or something, got great reviews and was fine with it until I realized it doesn't detach from the base so you can carry baby around in it. From what I now understand most convertibles don't detach.

My question is should we really be buying an infant seat just for the detachable feature or do you find that it's really not all that important? It seems like all the seats in stores around here are either infant or convertible so if I get one of each I feel like I'm wasting money buying both when the convertible would really be all I needed, minus the detachability.

What have your past experiences showed you? The baby is due at the end of January so I'm not sure about carrying him or her around without a carseat in the cold and snow if I decide against an infant one.
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Comments

  • irociroc Central MassRegistered Users Posts: 7,890 Curl Neophyte
    I hate detachable car seats. My personal opinion is that they don't attach as securely in the car. And my baby needs to be with me, up against my body, held, etc. I suggest wraps or bjorns.

    We ended up with a few carseats. I actually had a detachable, and I kept the bucket in my car in case I needed it, but I didn't want her sleeping in it all the time.
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  • Brown_Eyed_GirlBrown_Eyed_Girl Registered Users Posts: 1,353 Curl Neophyte
    Most people start with the infant seat, but I skipped it and just used the convertible for several reasons.

    First, I mostly wore Lydia in a wrap or sling when we were out. I felt it was important for her to be close to me when she was tiny, and that's how she was happiest. I think if I'd tried to carry her around in the infant seat, I would have been carrying the baby in one arm and trying to drag the seat along with the other. I used a fleece wrap in the winter and wrapped my coat around us both, and we were quite warm.

    I've had trouble with my back before, and I knew that carrying a seat with a baby in it would not be good for me. There's just not a really ergonomic way to do it.

    Finally, I wanted to save the money.

    People say the big advantage is you can keep a sleeping baby in the carseat, but I was often able to get her out of the car into the wrap still sleeping. And she took pretty short naps at that age anyway, so it just wasn't a big deal if she woke up. She'd go down for another one later (usually while she was on me in the wrap).

    A few situations required a little planning: eating in restaurants and shopping for clothes. As a newborn, Lydia usually just slept on me in the wrap while we ate out. There was an awkward period around 5 months when I had to hold her on my lap, because she couldn't sit up in the restaurant highchairs, but I don't think she would have been happy laying back in an infant seat at that age anyway. For shopping, I would lay the wrap or a blanket on the floor of the dressing room while I tried on clothes. A stroller would also work for this.

    As a new mom, I was really unsure how this would work out, but I figured if I didn't like using the convertible seat in the beginning, I could always go buy an infant seat at that time.

    Sorry for the long post! I just remember really wondering about this myself!
  • Jess2316Jess2316 Registered Users Posts: 617
    Most people start with the infant seat, but I skipped it and just used the convertible for several reasons.

    First, I mostly wore Lydia in a wrap or sling when we were out. I felt it was important for her to be close to me when she was tiny, and that's how she was happiest. I think if I'd tried to carry her around in the infant seat, I would have been carrying the baby in one arm and trying to drag the seat along with the other. I used a fleece wrap in the winter and wrapped my coat around us both, and we were quite warm.

    I've had trouble with my back before, and I knew that carrying a seat with a baby in it would not be good for me. There's just not a really ergonomic way to do it.

    Finally, I wanted to save the money.

    People say the big advantage is you can keep a sleeping baby in the carseat, but I was often able to get her out of the car into the wrap still sleeping. And she took pretty short naps at that age anyway, so it just wasn't a big deal if she woke up. She'd go down for another one later (usually while she was on me in the wrap).

    A few situations required a little planning: eating in restaurants and shopping for clothes. As a newborn, Lydia usually just slept on me in the wrap while we ate out. There was an awkward period around 5 months when I had to hold her on my lap, because she couldn't sit up in the restaurant highchairs, but I don't think she would have been happy laying back in an infant seat at that age anyway. For shopping, I would lay the wrap or a blanket on the floor of the dressing room while I tried on clothes. A stroller would also work for this.

    As a new mom, I was really unsure how this would work out, but I figured if I didn't like using the convertible seat in the beginning, I could always go buy an infant seat at that time.

    Sorry for the long post! I just remember really wondering about this myself!

    No no very helpful!!! I guess I was thinking that really you don't carry them around in the carseat that long and there is always the stroller option or sling or whatever. I work at a hospital and I always see moms carrying babies in for checkups in their seats so I guess I just assumed that was what you did!

    Along with Lamaze and birthing classes they should offer classes that teach what to look for and what to shop for and all that kind of thing for new parents. It's a lot to think about! Thanks!


    Any other opinions?
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  • Brown_Eyed_GirlBrown_Eyed_Girl Registered Users Posts: 1,353 Curl Neophyte
    Jess, I know what you mean about thinking "that's just what you do." The first time I carried Lydia into a store just in my arms when she was a newborn, I felt really strange.
  • mad scientistmad scientist Registered Users Posts: 3,530 Curl Neophyte
    I had small kids, so my bucket seat, which goes up to 22 lbs and 29 inches, was a great investment. It was $120 and its been used for almost 3 years now (with 2 kids). Easy to install, you can strap baby in while inside the house rather than while standing outside in the pouring rain or cold (I had 2 winter kids). I can move it from car to car and from the middle to side as needed.

    But my situation is unusual based on the fact that both of my kids fit into it for upwards of a year. Other people's kids grow out of them within a few months.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Syracuse, NYRegistered Users Posts: 5,656
    I also have a small kid - Solomon fit in his infant seat for a year, and then my parents got us a convertible for his first birthday. I rarely kept him in the bucket unless he fell asleep in the car, but then he'd almost always wake up when we'd get inside somewhere anyway. If I didn't still have the infant seat left over from him, I'd probably just get a convertible for #2... but since I still have it we'll use it to save money in the short-term. I don't plan to ever remove it from the car though because I simply can't imagine lugging around the baby in the bucket, plus a two-year-old, plus a diaper bag. I'll wear the new baby in a wrap (with my coat wrapped around him, like BEG said) and then I'll have both hands free for Sol and other stuff.
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  • SigiSigi Registered Users Posts: 2,379
    I liked having the bucket seat. With Soren I used it until he was almost a year old. The seat with him in it got to be really heavy, very quickly but it was very convenient.
  • FieryCurlsFieryCurls Registered Users Posts: 2,904
    We have a convertible. I am short and small, so I really didn't want to be carrying around a child in a bucket seat, so we went for the convertible. I used a Snugglie until she was 8 months old and then a mei tai.

    A bucket seat would probably have been economical for us since Lilly is a small child, but I still prefer the convertible.
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  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Syracuse, NYRegistered Users Posts: 5,656
    FieryCurls wrote: »
    A bucket seat would probably have been economical for us since Lilly is a small child, but I still prefer the convertible.

    But then you would have had to buy a convertible anyway once she outgrew the bucket...
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  • cosmicflycosmicfly Registered Users Posts: 1,814
    When I had my oldest, I started out with just a convertible seat but I hated how he looked so tiny in it, so I ended up buying an infant seat anyway. My second child was tiny and born in the middle of winter: I liked that I could load her into it in the house and cover her and carry her to the car warm and in the seat. My third baby was a summer baby and while I hold my babies a lot, I used the snap and go stroller frame with him a lot, which works with the bucket seat. I would use the stroller if we were at a cookout or something and he was content: the older kids enjoyed pushing him around and he enjoyed looking around and interacting with lots of people.

    Other than using it as a stroller with my warm weather baby, I didn't use the infant seat as a carrier: I preferred to carry my babies in stores, etc.
  • deezee02deezee02 Registered Users Posts: 1,509
    S was a fall baby, and since he was so sick, I liked the carrier to keep him away from others (if I had to run into the store, I would throw a blanket over the carrier, or at the DR. office) Also, through winter it was great to just have a bundle me in the seat and I did not have to worry about fussing with a jacket. He never slept in it once it was out of the car...he was such a light sleeper

    With the new baby, I like being able to just snap it in and then get him into his seat. I also like being able to get her all locked in before we get to the car, so I do not have to worry about messing with getting them both into the seat.

    We have one with a higher weight limit, so we are able to use it for quite a while (DS was in the carrier until about 18 months).
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Registered Users Posts: 31,259 Curl Connoisseur
    Unless you have a very small newborn (like 5 pounds), I don't see the point of an infant carseat. Carrying those seats is the-suck. They're so heavy and unless you're tall with long arms, they are very awkward. Big babies grow out of them very quickly. All 3 of my boys were huge, and would have outgrown an infant carseat by 4 months. My girl was tiny, but that made carrying her without a carseat all the easier.

    PLUS...I think infant carseats are abused by many parents, and babies are kept in them while in the car, and also in the house. Putting a baby in a bucket creates a barrier between parents and babies at a time when babies really need to be held a lot of the time. It breaks my heart when I see little babies crying in their buckets and the parent just props a bottle for them. I want to shake them and tell them to "pick that baby up!"

    Unless you have a winter baby and live someplace where it's below zero most of the winter, they're not worth it. Moderate winters like we have in the northeast are not a big deal with a baby...just put baby in a bunting and buckle them into a convertable carseat and use a stroller or sling when you get to your destination.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Syracuse, NYRegistered Users Posts: 5,656
    Unless you have a winter baby and live someplace where it's below zero most of the winter, they're not worth it. Moderate winters like we have in the northeast are not a big deal with a baby...just put baby in a bunting and buckle them into a convertable carseat and use a stroller or sling when you get to your destination.

    What I mostly did with Solomon, and my plan for this baby during the winter, is to still use a carseat cover while IN the car (a blanket would work over a convertible seat) and then transfer him to the sling/wrap in the car with the doors closed (by sitting beside him in the backseat) and then wrapping my coat around him when I get out. Won't need a coat for baby, just a hat.
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  • FieryCurlsFieryCurls Registered Users Posts: 2,904
    PixieCurl wrote: »
    FieryCurls wrote: »
    A bucket seat would probably have been economical for us since Lilly is a small child, but I still prefer the convertible.

    But then you would have had to buy a convertible anyway once she outgrew the bucket...

    True and that was another reason why we went straight to the convertible. I just meant that she would probably still fit into an infant seat at 16 months.

    She was 5 lbs. and 15 oz. at birth and I think she dropped down to 5 lbs. and 8 oz. by the time we left the hospital 2 days later. We were still able to get her in there tight enough without having to use a blanket or anything.
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  • Jess2316Jess2316 Registered Users Posts: 617
    Unless you have a very small newborn (like 5 pounds), I don't see the point of an infant carseat. Carrying those seats is the-suck. They're so heavy and unless you're tall with long arms, they are very awkward. Big babies grow out of them very quickly. All 3 of my boys were huge, and would have outgrown an infant carseat by 4 months. My girl was tiny, but that made carrying her without a carseat all the easier.

    PLUS...I think infant carseats are abused by many parents, and babies are kept in them while in the car, and also in the house. Putting a baby in a bucket creates a barrier between parents and babies at a time when babies really need to be held a lot of the time. It breaks my heart when I see little babies crying in their buckets and the parent just props a bottle for them. I want to shake them and tell them to "pick that baby up!"

    Unless you have a winter baby and live someplace where it's below zero most of the winter, they're not worth it. Moderate winters like we have in the northeast are not a big deal with a baby...just put baby in a bunting and buckle them into a convertable carseat and use a stroller or sling when you get to your destination.

    We live in Wisconsin and in January it is pretty darn cold out there, I'm due Jan. 25th. Plus it doesn't really start warming up till May-ish usually. April can be warmer but still have cool winds. This would be the only reason to consider an infant seat for me.

    Plus I worry about if I'm holding the baby under my coat or something plus a diaper bag what if I slip on ice or something and fall on the baby! The more I think about it winter alone is almost convincing me to get the infant seat...I guess if it was a warmer month I'd be all for the sling or whatever like a lot of people have been saying they use.
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  • iris427iris427 Registered Users Posts: 6,002
    I liked my bucket car seat. We didn't carry her around in it when she was awake, or leave her in it in the house.

    But she is a very light sleeper. It was really nice to have the option to carry her into a store or into the house without waking her, if she had fallen asleep in the car. There's no way I could have gotten her out of the seat without waking her. That's really the main advantage.

    It's also easier to switch cars with a bucket seat. Convertible seats are more complicated to install, so transferring from one car to another is less convenient.

    But if you just get a convertible seat from the beginning, you will save money.
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  • sariroosariroo Registered Users Posts: 1,958 Curl Neophyte
    Jess2316 wrote: »

    We live in Wisconsin and in January it is pretty darn cold out there, I'm due Jan. 25th. Plus it doesn't really start warming up till May-ish usually. April can be warmer but still have cool winds. This would be the only reason to consider an infant seat for me.

    Plus I worry about if I'm holding the baby under my coat or something plus a diaper bag what if I slip on ice or something and fall on the baby! The more I think about it winter alone is almost convincing me to get the infant seat...I guess if it was a warmer month I'd be all for the sling or whatever like a lot of people have been saying they use.

    I visited my parents for three weeks in January in Wisconsin when my baby was just over a month old and I would gladly spend $100 or whatever an infant carseat costs to keep my baby bundled and warm in that frigid state! I was so glad we were able to bundle her up with her little snowsuit, put her in the seat and put the snug cover thing over the carseat before braving it out in the cold just to keep that baby warm.

    We had an infant seat but I didn't really choose to buy it. I came home from work one day and my husband had went out and bought one. I was glad I didn't have to make the decision because I wasn't really into researching everything when I was pregnant so we kept it and used it. I didn't like lugging it around and used a Snap n Go stroller when I needed to keep her in the carseat. It was convenient to keep her napping if needed because she is one of those babies who instantly wakes up when you take her out of the seat and won't fall back to sleep no matter how tired. That can get old quickly! However, she outgrew the infant seat after a few months but it wasn't a big deal.

    Oh and I must be a horrible mom but I rarely carry a diaper bag anywhere. I see people with them all the time but I just leave it in the car and just run to get something if needed. Or I put a diaper and small pack of wipes in my purse when I know I'm going to be away from the car for awhile. I haven't figured out why people are carrying them everywhere.
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  • subbrocksubbrock Registered Users Posts: 8,212
    we started off with the infant seat and moved to a convertible carseat after her 1st birthday (she didnt reach 20 lbs until a few months after she turned 1). if we ever have a second child, i would do the same.

    i like the bucket seat for an infant because my little one was a light sleeper, it was super easy to transfer from car to car, and i didnt have to worry about protecting her from the elements. it doesnt get super cold here, but it does rain alot so i liked being able to pop her in and out of the car.
  • curlymelcurlymel Registered Users Posts: 359
    I struggled with this decision with Audrey. I ended up getting a convertible. With #2, we have an infant seat just because it was given to us. I think you just don't know what will work, because it depends on the baby, too. Audrey NEVER fell asleep in the car (or anywhere else!) and we just couldn't take her out in public the first 4 months anyway (screamfest). So, for her, it was a good decision!

    I think you just have to decide if you want the supposed convenience of the infant seat. You can get the snugride32, which lasts a lot longer than the other snugride, but then the baby will get too heavy to carry the seat around anyway.
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  • medussamedussa Registered Users Posts: 12,993
    iris427 wrote: »
    I liked my bucket car seat. We didn't carry her around in it when she was awake, or leave her in it in the house.

    But she is a very light sleeper. It was really nice to have the option to carry her into a store or into the house without waking her, if she had fallen asleep in the car. There's no way I could have gotten her out of the seat without waking her. That's really the main advantage.

    It's also easier to switch cars with a bucket seat. Convertible seats are more complicated to install, so transferring from one car to another is less convenient.

    +1
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Syracuse, NYRegistered Users Posts: 5,656
    medussa wrote: »
    iris427 wrote: »
    I liked my bucket car seat. We didn't carry her around in it when she was awake, or leave her in it in the house.

    But she is a very light sleeper. It was really nice to have the option to carry her into a store or into the house without waking her, if she had fallen asleep in the car. There's no way I could have gotten her out of the seat without waking her. That's really the main advantage.

    It's also easier to switch cars with a bucket seat. Convertible seats are more complicated to install, so transferring from one car to another is less convenient.

    +1

    Yes, this is all true. Sol would stay asleep in his bucket at home or at people's houses, but every time I tried to bring the bucket in someplace (like a store) with him asleep, he'd wake up and I'd end up with an empty bucket in the cart and him in my sling. I hope that new baby is a good enough sleeper that I can transfer him to my sling, because I honestly don't see how I can carry the bucket and a diaper bag and keep Sol in tow, in the middle of winter. I don't even plan to try. When it's cold I'll just put baby in my sling with the car doors shut and wrap my coat around him, then open the door and get out.

    Switching cars won't be an issue for us so much since Sol's convertible seat isn't easy to move anyway. Unless there's a time when each of us needs to take one kid, then I suppose we could easily put the infant seat in the other car.
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  • Mamacurl3Mamacurl3 Registered Users Posts: 1,559
    haven't read the responses, but I had an infant seat with my first..the detachable one you lug around with you. It was a pita.
    I skipped the infant seat and went straight to convertible with my other two kids, so much more convenient to take baby out and carry around in a sling/carrier instead of carrying the car seat.
    Plus, you save, since you just convert it when baby gets older and don't have to worry about buying another seat.
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  • irociroc Central MassRegistered Users Posts: 7,890 Curl Neophyte
    Unless you have a very small newborn (like 5 pounds), I don't see the point of an infant carseat. Carrying those seats is the-suck. They're so heavy and unless you're tall with long arms, they are very awkward. Big babies grow out of them very quickly. All 3 of my boys were huge, and would have outgrown an infant carseat by 4 months. My girl was tiny, but that made carrying her without a carseat all the easier.

    PLUS...I think infant carseats are abused by many parents, and babies are kept in them while in the car, and also in the house. Putting a baby in a bucket creates a barrier between parents and babies at a time when babies really need to be held a lot of the time. It breaks my heart when I see little babies crying in their buckets and the parent just props a bottle for them. I want to shake them and tell them to "pick that baby up!"

    Unless you have a winter baby and live someplace where it's below zero most of the winter, they're not worth it. Moderate winters like we have in the northeast are not a big deal with a baby...just put baby in a bunting and buckle them into a convertable carseat and use a stroller or sling when you get to your destination.


    We had those little bunting things for winter time. Loved them.

    I have no problem switching carseats to different cars. Can do it in just a minute while waiting in the pick up line at the airport and on Ativan.

    I've used the bucket seats before and I don't like the way they're installed. The one I had shifted and moved. I guess maybe it was supposed to have give so it moved a bit if it were in an accident, but it freaked me out. The convertibles are so secure and stationary. They don't budge.


    And yes, once as I was carrying my baby in a sling, I had to leave a store because a newborn was in it's bucket, in the top of the cart, screaming it's little head off. The mom kept waving a rattle in front of it's face. I could feel my head about to explode and I told my husband, I can't stay in here and watch this, and I walked out.
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  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Syracuse, NYRegistered Users Posts: 5,656
    iroc wrote: »
    And yes, once as I was carrying my baby in a sling, I had to leave a store because a newborn was in it's bucket, in the top of the cart, screaming it's little head off. The mom kept waving a rattle in front of it's face. I could feel my head about to explode and I told my husband, I can't stay in here and watch this, and I walked out.

    I can't stand this! I usually see the mom trying to rock the bucket like a cradle in the shopping cart to calm the baby. I just want to scream "PICK THE BABY UP!"
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  • Brown_Eyed_GirlBrown_Eyed_Girl Registered Users Posts: 1,353 Curl Neophyte
    PixieCurl wrote: »
    iroc wrote: »
    And yes, once as I was carrying my baby in a sling, I had to leave a store because a newborn was in it's bucket, in the top of the cart, screaming it's little head off. The mom kept waving a rattle in front of it's face. I could feel my head about to explode and I told my husband, I can't stay in here and watch this, and I walked out.

    I can't stand this! I usually see the mom trying to rock the bucket like a cradle in the shopping cart to calm the baby. I just want to scream "PICK THE BABY UP!"

    I know. It makes me want to cry too.
  • deezee02deezee02 Registered Users Posts: 1,509
    PixieCurl wrote: »
    iroc wrote: »
    And yes, once as I was carrying my baby in a sling, I had to leave a store because a newborn was in it's bucket, in the top of the cart, screaming it's little head off. The mom kept waving a rattle in front of it's face. I could feel my head about to explode and I told my husband, I can't stay in here and watch this, and I walked out.

    I can't stand this! I usually see the mom trying to rock the bucket like a cradle in the shopping cart to calm the baby. I just want to scream "PICK THE BABY UP!"

    I know. It makes me want to cry too.

    To the mothers defense, some kids HAVE to be left in infant carriers. I could only wear Steven for about 5 mins before he was mad, due to his surgery, being worn was VERY unfomfortable for him, plus with the feeding tube, it was very very tricky to get him in there right. I HAD to keep him in the infant carrier, especially in winter, as if I had to run to the grocery store to get diapers or formula (I tried to get it when DH was home, but sometimes we had to run out for the occasional item).

    I am sure mothers judged me for not picking my baby up, for waving a rattle at him to quiet him down as I ran through the store...the problem was we HAD to keep him in there to keep the least amount of germs from getting to him, since he could not be worn, that was the safest for him.
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  • Katina128Katina128 Registered Users Posts: 560
    The problem with convertible seats is that some of them don't fit a newborn well. For rear facing, the harness straps must come out of the carseat AT or below the baby's shoulders. If the baby is tiny, or if the car seat's bottom harness slots are really high, you can't use a converible for a newborn. There are several seats on the market now that fit newborns well. Those are the Cosco Scenara, The First Years True Fit, Evenflo Triumph, Graco MyRide, Combi Coccoro, and Sunshine Kids Radian. Hope that helps!
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