Can You Buy Good Cheap Infant Car Seats?
The main problem with infant car seats is that they don’t last very long and you will probably end up having to buy a convertible car seat eventually anyway. Many infant car seats cost as much as $200, which is a lot of money for a product that is unlikely to last for much more than 12 months.
The commonly cited benefits of infant car seats over convertible car seats are:
- you can carry your baby around in them using the seat’s carry handle
- they can be used as part of a “baby stroller travel system”.
- some consider that they fit smaller babies better than convertible seats.
There can be no doubt that infant car seats are a more convenient option for newborn babies than convertible car seats, but many parents choose not to buy them simply because of the extra expense involved.
But, what do you get for your money and are these cheaper seats safe and comfortable for your baby to use?
The Safety 1st Infant Car Seats
#1 Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite Plus
The Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite Plus is the cheapest of the 3 infant car seats at about $70.
Like the Maxi Cosi Mico AP, the Comfy Carry Elite Plus will accommodate babies weighing between 4 and 22 lbs and up to 29 inches in height. However, unlike the Maxi Cosi Mico AP, this reduced size does not seem to have much of an impact on the weight of the seat. The Mico AP weighs just 8 lbs, whereas this seat still weighs 15 lbs. But, of course, it must be pointed out that it is about $120 cheaper than the Mico AP.
This seat comes with an adjustable head support infant insert and a 5-point harness.
The base (supplied) is belt-fitted and can be adjusted to the appropriate angle within your vehicle.
This is a perfectly safe and functional infant car seat, but you can’t expect the same degree of padding and ease of use as a premium product. The buckle is a bit more difficult to use than other seats and the carry handle isn’t the most ergonomically comfortable one on the market, but it is solid, functional and won’t break the bank.
#2 Safety 1st OnBoard 35
The Safety 1st OnBoard 35 is slightly more expensive than the Comfy Carry Elite Plus.
This seat is suitable for babies weighing between 4 and 35 lbs and no more than 32 inches tall, and so will last much longer than the Comfy Carry Elite Plus. It comes with a lot of leg room, a 5-point harness, washable insert and side impact protection.
Weighing in at 16.5 lbs, it is only slightly more heavy than the Comfy Carry Elite Plus, despite the fact that is can be used to carry much larger babies.
The 2 most common complaints about the seat are the slightly flimsy canopy and the fact that the base is quite long. So, if you have a very small vehicle, this might be a problem. If in doubt, check with the manufacturer or buy it from an online retailer that offers Free Returns.
Overall, I consider that this is a very good seat for the money and I would certainly prefer it to the Comfy Carry Elite Plus.
#3 Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air
The Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air comes with the sort of features that you would expect in a premium infant car seat.
It is suitable for babies weighing between 4 and 35 lbs and no more than 32 inches tall and comes with the expected 5-point harness and customisable infant insert. It is much more flexible than the cheaper models and comes with 4 harness heights and 3 buckle locations to accommodate your growing child
The biggest selling point, though, is probably the fact that this seat comes with full body side impact protection. The Air Protect cushion system protects your baby’s head and the GCell HX™ patented foam inside the seat provides superior body protection.
The base is fitted into your vehicle using a simple one-clich LATCH system.
On the downside, the canopy is not very sturdy and the seat it is a little heavy at about 20 lbs. You can actually buy a Britax B-Safe infant car seat for the same price at the moment.
Can You Use These Seats With a Stroller?
The Safety 1st Clic It Infant Stroller is compatible with all 3 of these seats, in addition to many others.
It is an absolute steal at $60 with Free Shipping.
If you cannot afford to buy a premium $200 infant car seat, you should seriously consider the Safety 1st models mentioned above. I probably wouldn’t recommend the Comfy Carry Elite Plus since the Onboard 35 is only a little bit more expensive, and it will last much longer and also comes with side impact protection.
The OnBoard 35 Air model does have some extra side impact and convenience features, but if I was going to spend about $140 on an infant car seat I would choose the Britax B-Safe instead.
After purchasing any child car seat, you should always read the User Manual thoroughly before using it. It is also advisable to visit your local Fire Department or NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Centre to ensure that the seat is definitely suitable for your child’s specific requirements and that you have installed it correctly. These services are usually provided free of charge.
You can find your nearest NHTSA Centre here.
Do You Need More Help?
If you need any further advice or assistance whatsoever, please feel free to contact me and I will do my very best to help.
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