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Confused about car seat regulations? Read our reviews of baby car seats, toddler car seats and booster seats to find out which ones are worth investing in.

Car seat compatible with stroller And a carrycot?
5

Zibidee · 06/04/2022 09:48

I feel like I won't need a car seat to be able to fit on my stroller frame as we will have a carrycot for the early months and I don't want my newborn to stay in the car seat too long all squished up.
But will it be too difficult to take a sleeping baby out of the car seat and into the carrycot? Or into the house to its moses basket?
I would prefer a car seat that stays in the car and will last til at least 4yrs, from an economical and environmental point of view, less waste etc. Rather than a Group 0 size that is compatible with the stroller but only lasts 12months. But John Lewis sales assistant laughed at me when I suggested this, purely so as not to have to wake a sleeping baby.

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Caspianberg · 06/04/2022 13:28

We have the maxi cosi mica. It’s a 360 0-4 year car seat.

There’s never really been a time when I really really needed to take car seat out of car. Ds was heavy born and so I imagine would have been too heavy to carry pretty quickly.

The times he fell asleep in car seat I either transferred to sling or pram when out, or just in my arms at home.

I would have needed a travel size though for flying, but covid meant no flying when he was born, and he would have outgrown by the time we first flew. I would have just bought a cheaper simple maxi cosi with no fancy features like isofix/ spin/ lie flat though for those odd days.

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BertieBotts · 06/04/2022 20:44

That wasn't very helpful of the assistant to laugh.

Apologies in advance because this will be a bit of a long one.

Okay so firstly - do you need a car seat that goes on your pram - no, not really. Many people find this a convenient option, but it's definitely not necessary, especially if it doesn't appeal to you. I didn't have this for my first baby and it was really no issue at all to transfer him into the pram, as soon as you start walking, the movement puts them straight back to sleep. Although I had a compatible car seat with DC2 and 3, I have also transferred them at times because they shouldn't be in the car seat for hours and hours anyway, and found exactly the same. Worst case scenario, you sit in the car for 15 minutes or so to let your baby get a bit of a nap if you think they will wake up. Really no big deal at all.

Whether it is better to get a car seat for 0-4 years vs 12-15 months - this is a completely different question and there are a couple of things to consider, as well as being different reasons people usually want to do this, the big three being: Cost, eco-friendliness, and decision fatigue.

But first of all the big thing most people don't necessarily realise: 0-4 years is an average. Those car seats are designed to last right up to the fourth birthday for a child bang on the 50th centile, which means that any child that is taller for their age will outgrow the seat sooner, and any child who is shorter for their age will fit into it for longer. A 75-90th centile child will normally outgrow these seats by around age 3-3.5 and 99th centile, often before their third birthday. (50th centile means that the child is taller than exactly 50% of children their age and gender).

These days, the fourth birthday is around the earliest that most experts would recommend you move your child to a booster seat (aka the next stage of seat). That means that there's around a 50/50 chance that this seat simply isn't going to last you for the full second stage, meaning you'll need to buy another harnessed seat (up to 25kg is the next weight category). This might not matter to you, but it's important for looking at the three reasons people decide to buy a fixed seat from birth. And unfortunately it's not really easy to predict in advance whether you're likely to have a tall child or a short one, unless you know you and your partner are both very tall or very short or you know you're predicted a big baby or you know you're expecting a premature birth. Most people don't fall into those categories.

OK so to go back to the reasons:

Cost

It can seem like you save money by buying one seat covering two stages at once, but if you are unlucky enough to fall into the "tall child" category then you will find you need to buy three seats after all:
0-4y seat > bigger harnessed seat > high backed booster seat

Whereas if you start out with an infant carrier you can wait and see what height/weight centile your child is on and guarantee that you'll only ever need to buy three seats.
Infant carrier > up to 18kg -OR- up to 25kg seat > high backed booster seat

And cost-wise, well, it really depends what you buy - you can easily spend over £400 on infant seat + base combo these days if you get pulled into the hype around the luxury seats, which I honestly think is a lot of money to spend for a year - but you can also still pick up a basic and decent infant carrier for less than £100, especially if you don't feel the need for a base. 0-4 years fixed seats can cost anywhere from £150 to £500 (I'd be wary of the really really cheap ones) so it really depends what features you're looking for and where your budget is, but most of them are around the £200-300 mark.

Eco-friendliness

Basically the same argument applies here - and arguably, more materials go into your 0-4 years' seat than a simple infant carrier without base.

For both the cost and avoiding unnecessary consumption argument, it's worth considering whether you plan to have a second child within that first 4 years and whether you would therefore need a second stage-2 car seat. If you are careful to choose a longer-lasting infant carrier, then you could in theory keep your second baby in there for over a year which might just be enough time for your older child to gain the maturity necessary for a high backed booster seat with seatbelt. Or it might be that you're planning a smaller gap and you'll need to buy two stage-2 seats anyway - in which case - the combination as follows works brilliantly for passing down between children, and can actually completely negate any waste:
0-4y seat > larger harnessed seat OR second harnessed seat OR harness/booster seat > high backed booster seat

Decision fatigue

I understand that choosing items for your baby can seem overwhelming and the idea that you won't have to keep buying car seats every few years and you're just set until they are four (or even twelve) is really enticing, but I'd definitely think about the weight/height issue. Yes you will definitely be putting off the need for another seat for several years either way. But I would go in with the assumption that you'll need to buy another car seat in 2.5/3/4 years' time, whether because of a sibling or because the seat is outgrown.

And the ones that go up to 12 years - don't bother with them. They're a false economy, they almost never get a good fit for a newborn, 12 years is an absolute age in car seat safety, and you're shooting yourself in the foot because for 2/3 of the seat's use (years 4-12) you're stuck with a bulky, annoying, outdated seat that's weathered the toughest of the sticky toddler years. You won't WANT to keep using the same seat for 12 years. You honestly want to replace the giant harnessed toddler seat with a booster as soon as possible (safety permitting of course).

If you do want to get a fixed seat what should you consider?

First, it's absolutely essential to get a fit check in your car before you finalise any purchase. Not all car seats fit all cars, you will definitely need to cover the rear facing stage for quite some time, (actually, the longer you rear face the better) and these seats take up more space than infant carriers so check the front seat space with the seat installed. Check the angle. Most of these seats are isofix and if your isofix points in your car are badly located this can cause a problem and tip the seat right back which is simply not suitable for a newborn. Try the seat without the newborn inserts too - sometimes the angle can be really steep for a 6-12 month old baby - toddlers are generally OK with a more upright angle.

Not all fixed seats are really designed with newborns in mind. See if the shop you're looking at has a newborn or small sized doll to try in the seats, or take a teddy that fits into a newborn sized vest. Test whether the safety harness really looks like it will go small enough to secure a newborn. Not all of them do, as sometimes they are designed with the assumption you'll move over at around 6 months old.

If you are concerned about the 50th centile problem or you are quite sure you are likely to have a taller than average child and think it's unlikely you will want to hand the seat down to another baby, you might want to consider seats that already have the 25kg capacity built in. There are only three that go from birth to 25kg - Axkid One+, Avionaut Sky, BabyAuto Dupla. I don't know how the latter two accommodate newborns so you'd need to research that, but the Axkid One+ is great (it is not cheap, though.)

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Zibidee · 07/04/2022 17:30

Wow what an essay! and really helpful thank you!
I am 5'4 and the donor is 6'3 so our boy is predicted at 6ft as an adult. So far on growth scans it looks like he will be born at 8-9lbs.
So I imagine he will be on the higher centile and therefore grow out of a 0-4 car seat around 3yrs.
So based on a taller guesstimate ,
We either do
Group 0+1 for 0-3yrs (get the really sticky years out of the way)
Then Group 2,3 for 3-11yrs
Or
Get a simple Group 0 for 0-12mth, for ease of getting him home from hospital, and then to avoid having to disturb him when sleeping.
Then spend the money on a Group 1,2,3 for 12mth - 12yrs.
Given that he will probably be taller.
What do you think?
And is the swivel worth it?

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PurpleSwizzle · 08/04/2022 16:57

@Zibidee

Wow what an essay! and really helpful thank you!
I am 5'4 and the donor is 6'3 so our boy is predicted at 6ft as an adult. So far on growth scans it looks like he will be born at 8-9lbs.
So I imagine he will be on the higher centile and therefore grow out of a 0-4 car seat around 3yrs.
So based on a taller guesstimate ,
We either do
Group 0+1 for 0-3yrs (get the really sticky years out of the way)
Then Group 2,3 for 3-11yrs
Or
Get a simple Group 0 for 0-12mth, for ease of getting him home from hospital, and then to avoid having to disturb him when sleeping.
Then spend the money on a Group 1,2,3 for 12mth - 12yrs.
Given that he will probably be taller.
What do you think?
And is the swivel worth it?

I would personally go for the Avionaut Sky. It does from birth to 25kg and is an amazing seat - the only downside is you lost the convenience of an infant carrier. The swivel seats only last to 18kg so you'd find yourself buying another stopgap seat between this and your highback booster! It's £369 but 10% off right now :)
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BertieBotts · 10/04/2022 06:51

Hiya, so, if you think he will be taller - you won't want to move to a Group 2-3 seat at 3 years old. Group 2-3 seats are high backed boosters which use the adult seatbelt.

You have the same problem with the majority of 123 seats, this type of seat incorporates a 5 point harness forward facing up to 18kg or 105cm, and then you remove the harness and it turns into a normal group 2-3 booster. If your child has already outgrown a group 0+/1 seat, then they'll be too big for the harness in the 123 seat and you might as well just buy a group 2-3 (which, as I said, you probably won't want to if he's only just turned three).

And you don't want to move to a group 123 seat after the infant carrier - they are usually forward facing (which is a no no at only one year old) and they are really big and have loads of space around the child. Plus you'll have the same issue that you'll get to three and he'll outgrow the harness but be too young/fidgety/immature to trust him with a seatbelt.

Long term you're going to either need:

A forward facing 123 seat with 25kg / 125cm limit on the harness. If you like this idea then it would make sense to opt for a 0+/1 seat first of all, and then you can keep the swivel.

or

A rear facing seat up to 25kg/125cm. These are the safest seats, but not everybody wants to rear face at 3 years old. If you like this idea, then you could do any of the following:

  • Look at 125cm rear facing seats from birth (Avionaut Sky, Axkid One+)
  • Get an infant carrier/Group 0+ - If you go for an i-size one I'd recommend making sure the height limit is at least 80cm. Otherwise weight based with a good sized shell.
  • Get a Group 0+/1 seat and replace it with one of these later.

    There are also changes happening in the car seat industry at the moment as the old Groups get phased out (by September 2023) and new seats are made with height limits instead and aren't constrained by the same rules, so you could just get the 0+/1 seat now and see what is available in 3 years' time - you might have totally different options by then which don't exist yet.

    As for the swivel being worth it - it's kind of yes and no!

    Compared to an infant carrier seat, I personally don't think it is as the majority of the time you're getting baby ready in the house so you can have the seat facing you without the need for a swivel. If you find yourself leaving the seat in the car a lot and taking baby in and out, you'll miss the swivel for this stage.

    Compared to a fixed rear facing seat for child under about 2, it does have a slight edge, because having them facing you is easier to get the straps really nice and tight, and because it's really nice to be able to recline them on the go for naps but sit them up otherwise. But a lot of people say that the seats are easy to use without swivel.

    Compared to a fixed rear facing seat for child over 2, no, you don't miss it, because of the angle that you lean into the car and do them up, and because the fixed rear facing seats have really low sides.

    Compared to a fixed forward facing seat, again it is slightly easier, because the angle you have to pull to tighten is awkward.
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