–For low weight infants or infants with special needs, a car bed allows a baby who cannot be transported in a sitting position to be transported laying on back, side, or stomach.
–For infants from birth to one year old and at least 20lb. Some hold up to 35lb to keep baby rear-facing longer. This car seat can also be used to transport baby outside the car with the handle, or clicked into a stroller to make a travel system.
–A mix of the rear-facing infant seat and the toddler seat, a convertible seat can be used from birth until it is outgrown, many now at 50+lb! After baby has outgrown the rear-facing position, turn the seat around to make it a toddler seat. Some families use a rear-facing infant seat for the first few months to year for the versatility, and then switch to convertible to rear-face longer.
–Forward-facing only, this seat is used after a child is at least 1yr and 20lb until they are old enough for a booster. Many prefer to use a convertible to rear face longer and skip this one. Some toddler seats transition to boosters.
–Boosters are used to position your child higher up in the seat so that the seat belt hits them correctly. It is best to keep your child in a 5pt harness until they outgrow their car seat before moving them to a booster (And at the speeds we drive at nowadays, we should probably all be in 5pt harnesses)
–Backless boosters are not recommended for cars with low seat backs or no headrests. It is better all around to have a back on your booster to prevent from whiplash. Boosters with backs also help position the shoulder belt correctly.
*NOTE: “Children under 13 are 40% safer in the back seat, whether or not there are air bags.” USA TODAY
Premature/low birth weight/special medical needs baby-full term size: Car Bed
Birth-12mo: Rear facing only 'bucket-style" infant car seat
Birth-2yr+: rear facing in a convertible car seat. A child should be rear facing until they outgrow the weight limit. The AAP recommends no sooner than 24mo. Later if possible
2-8yr: Rear facing until seat is outgrown, then forward facing in a convertible, toddler car seat or harnessed in a harness-booster seat
8-12yr: Booster seat
12yr+: Belted in the back seat
13yr+: Belted in the front or back seat
*Always register your car seat so that you will be updated in the case of a recall.