When it comes to car seat bundles, the search is vague, unless you know specifically what you are referring to. Do you mean an infant car seat with bases, or a seat with a stroller, or a grow with me bundle? There are plenty of options for you and your growing baby, and we’ll look over a few of them here.
Car Seats with Bases
The first car seat that your baby comes home in should be a rear facing one. Infant car seats are normally lightweight, have an easy to use carrying handle, and an easy to use base for the seat to click in and out of. These are nice because you can secure your baby in the seat, and take them in and out of locations while still in the car seat, instead of disrupting them or waking them.
A benefit to the infant car seat that comes with a base, is that you can purchase an extra base instead of a whole another car seat. Like to keep at Grandma’s, or for your significant other’s vehicle. You will need to be sure to check the information on the base before purchasing a second one. You’ll want to make sure the brand and style name are compatible, as most brands are not interchangeable with other manufacturers.
Car Seats with Strollers (Travel Systems)
You can purchase infant car seats that come with a stroller, commonly referred to as a travel system. These are convenient, as the infant seat will click into the stroller, again not having to disrupt your baby. Then as the infant grows, the stroller will still be able to be used without the car seat, getting years of use out of it.
There are a couple of things to consider when looking at the travel system’s stroller. I live in a rural setting, with not many paved roads, so strollers with plastic wheels was not a good option for me. I found three wheeled strollers with rubber wheels was great for most terrains that I would be traveling on with my baby.
I also considered how easy it folded up, and how much space it would take up in my trunk. If it couldn’t be broken down, it wasn’t going to be an option, as I needed something to take on the go with me.
Most brands of car seats have their own travel system for purchase. However, there are some companies that offer an adapter for an additional price, that will allow any brand of seat to fit on their strollers.
Grow with me Seat System
Grow with me car seats are also called convertible systems. These seats are intended for multi use, while your baby grows into a child. They tend to be more expensive, but with the hopes that you will be able to use it for quite a few years.
A convertible seat starts out rear facing when they are still babies, and then can be turned around to front facing. Some can also be broken down as they grow and become a booster seat. Others will offer options like extenders, that you can pull out to give your child more leg room, and also extend the seat’s height as they get taller.
Most parents will start with an infant carrier, and then transition to the convertible system’s around six months of age or so. A convertible seat is much heavier than an infant carrier, and also much more bulky. They do tend to offer a lot more comfort for the baby as they grow, with removable extra pads. These seat’s are not as convenient to switch from car to car.
They are normally very easy to install though. If your vehicle has the hooks welded to the frame, called anchors, it only takes two clicks to ensure your seat is properly installed.
They call it the LATCH system among all brands of car seat’s, and it gives you a good piece of mind that you have your child safely secured. The instruction manual that comes with your seat will certainly give you directions on how to properly install your car seat with the seat belt if that is the option that you need to use.
Booster seat’s are backless or high backed seat’s that are used with just the seat belt of your car. These can be purchased separately for fairly cheap, if you want to have more than one around. Most of the convertible system’s can be broken down into just a booster seat. This will be the last car seat purchase you make for your child.
Children have outgrown the harness belts on their front facing car seats, and are then ready for the booster. The booster is only meant to be used in the back seat of your vehicle, never the front passenger seat. There is no installing them other than using the seat belt, as the weight of the child on the seat is securing them in place. Make sure they don’t place the shoulder belt under their arm or behind them, as that is not secure.
There are lots of brands and lots of reviews on the internet about car seat bundles. The most important thing is the safety of your baby, but it is good to know the differences in the kinds of seats, to ensure you place them in the correct one from when their born until they have out grown needing help.
Car seat’s are constantly being tested and improved, and so they do have an expiration date on them. If you intend to purchase a used car seat, please check the expiration date on it, as well as inquire if it has been in any kind of accident. An accident could make the seat unsafe for another use. Safety is first!