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Nuna Pipa Lite Rx Infant Car Seat at Pish Posh Baby - man and woman walking whilst holding a baby in a car seat

Car Seat Buying Guide: How To Choose The Right Infant Car Seat

Posted in car seat

Children come with a lot of stuff. From cribs and highchairs to teethers and toys, there’s always something that's required. But there is one essential piece of equipment that most hospitals won’t even let newborns leave without: a car seat. Buying the right car seat for your child is maybe one of the most important decisions you can make as a new parent.

But with so many car seats available it can be daunting to decide which seat to get and when to get it. Front-facing or rear-facing? How do you install the thing? Which one’s the safest? Does the most expensive seat mean it’s the best?


Woman with baby in the Nuna Pipa Lite Rx Infant Car Seat at Pish Posh Baby


From car seats for newborns to booster seats for older children, follow the PishPosh Baby car seat buying guide to help you decide which car seat will best suit your family.

Which car seat should I buy?

The best car seat for your child is the one that fits your child, fits your car and one that you’ll be able to use correctly every time. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all option – many parents will buy three or four different seats by the time their child finishes kindergarten. Why? Because car seats are specifically designed to be as safe as possible for different developmental stages of your child.

So, from a safety point of view, children should stay in the safest car seat until they outgrow it. That means: don’t try to move your little one too quickly to the next stage car seat - their safety may be compromised. 

Finding the best car seat depends on your child’s age and weight. Have a look at our chart to help you choose. And as always, our dedicated team of baby gear experts would be more than happy to answer any questions to help you make the right choice. 


Pish Posh Baby Car Seat Buying Chart


You can view the whole PishPosh Baby car seat collection here

Keep Your Baby Safe

All our seats pass through rigorous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash testing, but a seat is only as safe as how well it is installed. Although car seats need to meet federal safety standards, many children are still injured in crashes. This is partly because 46% of car seats are not used correctly. Check out our article on seven car safety mistakes to avoid.


Nuna Pipa Lite Infant Car Seat safety feature at Pish Posh Baby


Here is a list of features that will leave less room for error during installation and make your car seat easier to use day in, day out.

Car Seat Safety Features To Consider

  • Push-on LATCH system connectors. All seats can be secured using a seatbelt or the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system – a set of metal clips buried in the back-seat cushions and a top tether. Push-on LATCH connectors (as opposed to a less expensive hook) are easier to attach to the vehicle’s metal anchor, and disconnect with the push of a button.
  • Separate straps. Separate straps for each half of the body makes it less likely the straps will twirl or become uneven, which can be dangerous in a crash. 
  • ‘No rethread’ harness. As your child grows, you’ll need to adjust the shoulder strap height. Some seats require you to pull the straps out and rethread them through the seat, while others are much simpler – look for a ‘no rethread’ harness.
  • Safety belt lock-off devices. These help pinch the belt into place. 
  • Correct rear-facing seat positioning. Some seats have a built-in ‘foot’ or ‘load leg’ as well as different recline positions to help achieve this.
  • The Doona SenAlert prevents your child from being left unattended in the car with a three level alert system that connects to your phone.

PishPosh Baby's Car Seats

Here at PishPosh Baby we stock three categories of car seats:

1. Infant Car Seats

Cybex Cloud G Comfort Extend Infant Car Seat - Moon Black

Pros: Can be detached for use as a baby carrier and attached to a compatible stroller base. Ideal when you don’t want to wake a sleeping baby!

Cons: Because they are only in rear facing mode, your child is likely to outgrow an infant car seat fairly quickly.

Price range: $200 - $650


2. Convertible Car Seats

Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat

Pros: Can be rear- or forward-facing and your child can be kept rear facing for longer. Will last from birth until 4-6 years.

Cons: More likely to be bulky, and cannot be used as a detachable carrier like infant car seats. Not suitable for very small babies under 5lbs.

Price range: $200 - $750


3. Boosters Seats for older children


Clek Oobr Full Back Booster Seat - Ten Year Blue (C-Zero Plus)


Pros: Harnessed boosters feature a 5-point harness, a head rest and side-wings to protect your child. Backless boosters are cheaper and more portable.

Cons: Backless boosters offer less protection than a Harnessed Booster.

Price range: $45 - $420


Regardless of which seat or installation method you choose, children up to 2 years old (or until they are too tall and heavy for that type of seat) should be seated rear-facing (looking at the back seat) - the safest position possible. 


1. Car Seats For Newborns and Infants

Before your newborn is allowed to even leave the hospital you will need a properly installed rear-facing car seat. For most families that’s likely to be an Infant Car Seat.

All infant seats are rear-facing only, and the most common type snaps in and out of a base installed into the car, as well as into a stroller frame. Infant car seats use a five-point harness, come with a newborn insert to use from birth and typically last until your child is 6 to 15 months old. These bucket-style seats are convenient because they can also serve as a baby carrier, albeit an unwieldy one. 

If you’re a first-time parent, we always recommend making sure you choose a lightweight infant car seat, because you’ll not only be carrying the actual seat but your baby inside as well! Try the Nuna Pipa Lite RX Infant Car Seat + Pipa Relx Base, which is lightweight enough to tote while doing your shopping or the Maxi Cosi Mico XP Max Infant Car Seat (PureCosi), which is one of the lightest infant car seat in its class, with a super-comfy ergonomic handle. 




Alternatively, pick a car seat with integrated wheels: the Doona+ Car Seat Stroller has wheels that flip down to convert into a complete travel system. 


For added safety, choose a car seat that has a ‘load leg’. The Clek Liing 2021/2022 Infant Car Seat has a European belt path for baseless installs as well as an energy-absorbing metal load leg for increased stability. 



Take a look at our blog post about the best infant car seats for more recommendations. If you'd like to find out which car seat would be compatible with your stroller take a look at our car seat compatiblity list.


2. Convertible Car Seats 

A convertible car seat, also known as a toddler seat, can face either backward or forward in the car but experts recommend that a convertible seat be used in rear-facing mode for as long as possible. The Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat is designed for both revolutionary forward-facing safety performance and extended rear-facing use, allowing for most kids to remain rear-facing until their fourth birthday. It’s also safer to keep your child in a five-point harness until they outgrow the height/weight limits. Don’t rush moving to a booster! 


Convertible seats typically last until your child is 4 to 6 years old, are heavier and generally far less portable. Because it won’t usually be removed from your car, you don’t need to worry about its weight. Comfort is key! For a child of 9 to 12 months and up, we recommend a seat that’s super comfortable for longer rides as well as being easy to install.

The Maxi Cosi Pria 3-in-1 Car Seat can be used from birth to 10 years old. Children can ride rear-facing, from 4-40 pounds; forward-facing to 65 pounds; and up to 100 pounds in booster mode. Converting to each new stage is simple and intuitive, so you can quickly make car seat adjustments.

 Maxi Cosi Pria 3-in-1 convertible car seat at Pish Posh Baby
Maxi Cosi Pria 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


We also recommend a seat with a cover that you can remove and wash as these seats tend to get dirty (think food + toddlers = MESS). The Britax Grow With You Clicktight Booster Seat has an easy-to-remove cover for cleaning without uninstalling the car seat or removing the harness. 

Take a look at our blog post about the best convertible car seats for more recommendations.

3. Car Booster Seats For Older Children

    • High-Backed, Harnessed Booster Seats

    By the time your toddler seat is well worn, it’s time for your child to graduate to a high-backed, harnessed booster seat. Your child should weigh a minimum of 40 pounds, be at least 4 years old, able to sit still in the car and avoid slumping when falling asleep in the car. High-back boosters provide extra head and side impact protection.

    Try the Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat: its LATCH connectors are not only safe but also mean the booster won’t fly off the seat when not in use. 

    • Backless Car Booster Seats 

    Your child should move to a backless booster seat once their ears reach the top of the head restraint of the high-back or harnessed booster seat. Backless boosters use the car’s safety belt to keep your child in place, lifting them higher in the seat so the belt contacts firm parts of the body, like shoulders and legs, rather than soft parts, like stomachs.


    Try the Clek Olli Backless Booster Seat, which comes in a range of fun colors, the Chicco GoFit Plus Booster,  which is equipped with LATCH to help stabilize the seat while the child gets in and out, and the Peg Perego Viaggio Shuttle 120, which comes with a carry handle and adjustable shoulder clip, making it easy to use on the go.  


    Securing Your Car Seat: Seat Belts vs LATCH

    There are two ways to securely attach a car seat to your vehicle: The vehicle seat belt or a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system.  

    A LATCH system is an easy way to secure a car seat to a vehicle without using seat belts. Most car seats and vehicles manufactured after 2002 are required to have LATCH systems. This system offers convenience with standardized attachment points, ensuring easier installation. LATCH systems also minimize the risk of incorrect installation, enhancing safety. Seat belts, on the other hand, require proper routing and tensioning, which increases the chances of human error.

    However, as your child grows, most car seats will require you to use a seat belt rather than a LATCH system, as the seat belt is stronger. In general, LATCH and seat belts are equally safe when it comes to securing your child’s car seat, so long as you follow your vehicle instruction manual and the car seat is fitted correctly. 

    If you need further guidance about how to securely attach your car seat to your vehicle, our Certified Passenger Safety Technicians are available to help and advise. 


    When Can Your Baby Face Forward In The Car?

    As highlighted above, children should be rear-facing in car seats until at least 2 years of age where possible due to several crucial reasons. 

    Firstly, rear-facing seats provide better protection for a child's vulnerable head, neck, and spine during frontal collisions. This position allows the seat to absorb the force of impact and distribute it across a larger area, reducing the risk of severe injuries. 

    Secondly, young children's bones and ligaments are still developing, and their heads are proportionately larger and heavier. Rear-facing positions provide optimal support for their bodies, reducing the strain on their necks and minimizing the risk of serious injuries.  

    Lastly, it's important to follow the specific recommendations of car seat manufacturers and safety organizations to ensure the highest level of protection for young children while traveling.

    Questions To Ask When Choosing A Car Seat

    When buying a car seat, you may find it helpful to consider the following questions before committing to a particular model: 


    1. Will the car seat fit your vehicle specifications?

    It’s important to check if the car seat you choose can be securely installed in your particular make and model of vehicle. Vehicles manufactured before 2002 are less likely to have a LATCH system, which means you will need to choose a car seat that can be installed using a seat belt system. You’ll also want to consider the dimensions of your car interior as some car seats won’t fit well in particular vehicle models. You can read our customer reviews to see what other parents recommend, and you can contact us for expert advice.


    2. Does the car seat suit your lifestyle?

    Consider your daily routines, such as frequent travel or commuting, and assess whether the seat offers features like portability, easy installation, or compatibility with travel systems, if needed. If you’re carpooling or regularly swapping the car seat into the grandparents’ car you’ll need to consider something that is easy to install and compatible for each vehicle. 


    3. Do you plan to have more children?

    If so, selecting a convertible car seat that accommodates different stages, from infancy to toddlerhood, might be a wise choice, as it offers long-term usability and potential cost savings. 


    4. What’s your budget?

    Assessing your budget is also crucial. Determine how much you are willing to spend on a car seat while ensuring it meets essential safety standards. Remember, higher-priced models may offer additional features, advanced safety technology, or longer expiration dates. However, you can rest assured in the knowledge that all of the car seats we offer at PishPosh Baby pass through rigorous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash testing and meet (if not, exceed) federal safety standards.

    Additionally, consider factors like the seat's weight and size, comfort features for your child, and ease of cleaning and maintenance. Research and read reviews from reliable sources to gain insights into the seat's durability, safety ratings, and user experiences.

    By asking these questions and thoroughly evaluating your needs, you can make an informed decision when choosing a car seat that provides optimal safety, convenience, and suitability for both your child and your lifestyle.

    Take a look at our Car Seat FAQs to find answers to the most common questions parents ask us when choosing a car seat. For car seat reviews and expert comparisons between all the latest models, have a look on our blog. Or get in touch with our advisors for guidance tailored to your family’s requirements. 


    Car Seat Accessories

    When it comes to keeping your child comfortable in the car, consider our wide selection of Car Seat Accessories to make travelling with a child easier. Then you can focus on your driving! 


    Extra Mirrors


    When your child is rear-facing it can be tricky to see what they’re getting up to! A back seat mirror provides a view of your baby without compromising their safety.


    Footmuffs and Covers

    Padded clothing and snow suits can be dangerous in the event of sudden braking, preventing your child’s harness from holding them as securely as possible. So to keep your little one snug and secure in cold weather we recommend using a footmuff or car seat cover that will integrate your child’s harness securely.


    Seat Protectors


    Protect your vehicle’s upholstery from spills and crumbs with a car seat protector. A car seat protector will also prevent compression from the car seat creating any marks or tears in your upholstery.


    Car Seat Adapters

    A car seat adapter is a device designed to securely attach an infant car seat to a stroller frame. It allows you to seamlessly transfer your baby from the car to the stroller without disturbing their sleep. The adapter ensures proper alignment and safety, making outings more convenient for families on the go.


    Weather Covers


    A weather cover for your car seat is essential to protect your child from harsh weather conditions such as cold, rain or intense sunlight. It provides a shield, ensuring their comfort and safety during outdoor journeys.


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