Infant seat or toddler seat for your newborn?
The choice can be a difficult one. Do I purchase an infant seat for my newborn, knowing that they grow so fast, and I could be buying a new one in 8-10 months, or do I just go ahead and buy a convertible car seat and use it rear facing? After all, some of the convertible car seats say they're good for 10 lbs. and up right..... Given the option of an infant-toddler car seat (also called a convertible car seat), why bother with an infant seat? The most important reason is safety. Although most newborns will fit in an infant-toddler car seat (with it rear facing), experts agree that babies under 20 lbs. are better off in the smaller infant car seats. They're contoured to securely hold newborns and offer good support in all the right places. (Note that some infant car seats can handle infants weighing up to 22 lbs.)
An infant car seat is also much more convenient. The car seat can double as an infant carrier, feeding chair, or rocker. That means you can take your child from one destination to another without waking him up (much easier then the toddler seats). With an infant-toddler car seat, you have to unbuckle your baby and transfer him to a stroller or other carrier. My kids are never good at this when it's nap time.
As far as safety concerns. Consider these sobering statistics: In 2000, 248,000 kids in the United States were injured in auto accidents and 1,668 children died. Most of them weren't properly restrained, which means that car seats could have prevented many of their deaths. And while you may assume that most of these tragedies resulted from fiery highway collisions, the truth is that 75 percent of car accidents happen within 25 miles of home, and 60 percent of them happen on streets where the speed limit is 40 mph or less.
So this is one piece of baby gear you'll want to buy long before your water breaks. Please take your time when considering which car seat is right for you. Read as much as you can online and talk to the sales people at the store you're purchasing.
And remember, check out seatcheck.org for a location near you to have your car seat properly installed. It's FREE and only takes a few minutes. We have done this for our infant seats and then again for the toddler seats. They always find something to change about how we installed our seats.
Other information on car seat safety can be found on BabyCenter.com.