One of the first big decisions you have to make as a parent is your choice of a car seat. Not only is it your first major choice, but you also need to have your car seat ready to go for the baby before she even makes her debut. Prior to leaving the hospital with you, your infant must pass a car seat test and of course, you need to supply the car seat. That means you have to be ready, and you have to be comfortable with installing and uninstalling it. That’s only the start, there are different styles of a car seat in which safety plays a critical role. Infants can only safely ride in a certain kind of car seat which is different from the car seat toddlers later ride in. One way to make things a little bit easier on you, in the long run, is to shop for all-in-one car seats.
Related: Britax Car Seats; the Bentley of Car Seats: Why I chose the Britax One4Life
What Are All-in-One Car Seats?
All-in-one car seats are also called convertible car seats. These car safety seats are designed to grow with your children from the time they are born through age 10. Making them the perfect baby item for parents on a budget. The way they work is by using crafty designs and adjustable settings. You can face them back or forward depending on your baby’s development. You can adjust the angle, height, straps, etc. to match your children’s’ needs as they grow. They even convert into a booster seat when the time finally comes.
Why I Chose an All-in-One Car Seat
With our oldest, we used an infant seat like most parents. Then graduated to a toddler seat once she grew out of it. Infant seats can be convenient when transporting a baby to various places such as the doctor’s office or an occasional restaurant. However, they are also bulky, heavy, and awkward to carry around. You’ll be surprised how quickly your precious little newborn sprouts up. In no time they will grow out of an infant car seat and need a replacement. Obviously, there is an economic disadvantage with having to go buy an additional car seat. If you’re like us, with two cars, that means purchasing two more seats. Between the cumbersome problem of lugging an infant car seat around and the added cost of multiple car seat purchases, an all-in-one car seat made more sense based on my own personal experience.
Top Choices in a Car Seat
I am currently using two all-in-one car seats: Britax One4Life and the Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1. These are both well known and highly trusted brands. Britax One4Life is sturdy and easy to use. I have a review of the One4Life here. The Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1 is stylish and comfortable. See my full review on the Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1 here. Both child safety seats clean easily and are very easy to install. You do have to leave the seat anchored and remove the baby from the seat whenever you are out, but that doesn’t bother me. It’s much better than carrying an uncomfortable car seat. Not having a car seat carrier means more room in the car for groceries and other necessities. Personally, I enjoy wearing my baby to keep her close to me. It makes breastfeeding more discrete and easy to do. Now, try that in an infant seat. I’m just kidding. Don’t.
Related: The Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat Review
The economics of one all-inclusive child safety seat is also too practical to ignore. We have two cars. Car seats and other baby gear is expensive enough, especially when we have to double it. A one and done situation for each car just made more sense. We like both car seats fairly equally, but I have to admit I think the Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1 looks better.
Reasons to Purchase an All-in-One Car Seat
If you are on a long term budget or don’t mind paying a little more to save a lot later, then all-in-one car seats might be your best option. Consider an all-in-one if you like leaving your car seat stationary vs. taking it out all the time and if you prefer to babywear or utilize a stroller as an alternative to a car seat carrier.