Types of child safety seats and booster seats available in US and Canada

Age/Type Infographic

Car Seat Type
Advantages
Challenges
Infant Only Car Seats
with base
Infant
(rear-facing only)
  • Has carry handle. Easy to take out of vehicle, even with baby asleep.
  • Seat base stays in vehicle and if done up correctly stays tight for every ride.
  • Maybe sold as part of a travel system that includes a stroller.
  • Your baby may outgrow this seat before she is ready to go forward-facing.
Convertible Car Seats
infant / toddler
Convertible
(rear-facing / forward-facing)
  • Can be used as a rear-facing seat and then changed to a forward-facing seat.
  • Many models have higher rear-facing weight/height limits than infant only seats.
  • Works well for heavier babies under one year of age.
  • Costs less than buying a rear-facing seat separately.
  • Not easy to move in and out of the vehicle.
  • Larger than rear-facing only seat. It may be hard to fit in some back seats.
All-in-One Car Seats
infant / toddler / booster
All-in-One
(rear-facing / forward-facing / booster)
  • Combines all three types of seats.
  • Many models have higher rear-facing weight/height limits than infant only seats.
  • Works well for heavier babies under one year of age.
  • Costs less than buying each type of seat separately but higher onetime cost.
  • Not easy to move in and out of the vehicle.
  • Larger than a rear-facing only seat. It may be hard to fit in some back seats.
High-back Boosters
Toddler Booster
  • Offers head/neck protection.
  • Good for vehicle Seats without head rests.
  • Easily adjusts as a child grows.
  • Good for taller children.
  • Good choice for children under 40 lb who are taller than the height limit for the rear-facing / forward-facing seats.
  • Some models may be used with the 5-point harness up to 65 lb.
  • Can only be used with lap-shoulder seat belts.
  • Can only be used by children over 40 lb.
Backless Boosters
Booster
  • Costs less than a high-back booster.
  • Good for vehicle seat with head rest.
  • Can only be used with lap-shoulder seat belts.
  • Can only be used by children over 40 lb.

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