Car Seat 101 - The Difference Between an Infant Bucket Seat, Convertible Car Seat, Harness to Booster and Belt-Positioning Booster Seat

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Car Seat 101 - The Difference Between an Infant Bucket Seat, Convertible Car Seat, Harness to Booster and Belt-Positioning Booster Seat

What is the Difference Between Infant, Convertible, and Booster Car Seats?

Does the thought of buying a car seat send you into a tail-spin? Are you overwhelmed with options and aren’t sure where to turn? Are you having issues deciphering which car seat is the best fit for your child? Well, take a deep breath and read below!

There are 4 major categories of car seats:

  1. Infant Car Seats

  2. Convertible Car Seats

  3. Combination Harness to Booster Car Seats

  4. Belt-Positioning Booster Seat

Let’s go through them individually and use this guide to help you find the right fit for your child.

Infant Car Seats

  • Designed to be used on average from 4lbs to 30 or 35lbs and up to 32” (weight and height limitations vary by make and model of car seat)
  • Bucket style design to properly support developing infants
  • Base of infant seat is removable and stays attached to your vehicle car seat (additional bases are sold separately)
  • Click and Go technology allows you to snap in your infant seat easily into your vehicle and remove it when needed during errands
  • Rear-facing ONLY 
  • Review and compare some differences in Infant Car Seats from some of the top brands.

Convertible Car Seats

  • Can be rear-facing OR forward-facing
  • Designed to be rear-facing from 5-40 lbs
  • Designed to be forward-facing from 1 year AND 20 lbs, up to 65 lbs and 49”
  • Car seat is one complete unit with no detachable base
  • Car seat is not designed to be removed during errands. Only baby comes out.
  • Convertible seats will last from birth through the toddler years due to their high capacity.
  • Most seats will have several recline positions to accommodate infants and toddlers
  • Review and compare the differences of some of the most popular Convertible Car Seats.

Combination Harness to Booster Car Seats

  • Designed to accommodate forward-facing children from 2 years AND 25 lbs, up to 90 lbs in the 5-point harness mode
  • Designed to accommodate forward-facing children up to 120 lbs and 62” in the belt-positioning booster mode
  • Some will have a mild recline option
  • Some will include child cup holders
  • This will be the last seat you ever need!
  • Review the different styles of Combination Harness to Booster Car Seats.

Belt-Positioning Booster Seats

  • Designed to raise your child so that the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt fit correctly on their hips and shoulder.
  • Designed to fit children from 40-120 lbs and from 38-63” in height.

  • Should only be used with BOTH the lap and shoulder belt
     
  • Here are some different Belt Position Boosters.

 

**Remember, although children can legally forward-face at 1 year AND 20 lbs, it is HIGHLY recommended that they remain rear-facing until at least 2 years of age.  It is also recommended to keep your child in a booster until 63” or 120lbs. The NHTSA advises parents to keep children in their respective seats until they reach the maximum height and weight requirements. Belt position is incredibly important in keeping your child safe in the even of a crash, and car seats allow you to get the best fit for your child.

** When using car seats for multiple children, make sure to check the expiration date and discard of your seat when appropriate. Most seats will last 5-7 years before expiring. 

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6 comments

  • Williamtorm

    Hey, thanks for the article.Really thank you! Shoffner

  • Vanessa

    As an expecting mother I had NO idea the difference between car seats…this is just what I needed. Thank you for the info and 101 car seat review!

  • stacey smith

    thanks for the info

  • Elizabeth Mangham Crase

    Thanks! Car seats can be a real
    Head scratcher sometimes but SO IMPORTANT!!!

  • Staci

    We love our combination harness to booster! I love that my son is safe with a 5-point harness for as long as possible!

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