Thank you Walmart for sponsoring this post on a topic I’m passionate about!
I became car-seat obsessed when I was pregnant with Harper. I had worked on a few news stories related to car seat safety at my day job as a public relations specialist at a children’s hospital, and conversing with certified car seat techs made me realize that car seats were one of the most important child safety topics.
Over the years, we’ve tried various brands of car seats for different ages and stages, so today I’m sharing our favorites and why we love them. I’ll also be breaking down how we travel with car seats (yes, installed on the plane!) since I get so many questions about that when we travel.
Walmart is one of my favorite online destinations to order a ton of everyday items my family needs, including car seats! They’ve got a great Best of Baby event happening now – so check out all of the offerings, here. There is also a car seat trade-in event happening through 9/30/19 – more details here!
Walmart.com offers free shipping on orders over $35 – score! It’s a one-stop online destination for all things baby, toddler and beyond.
INFANT CAR SEATS
Our favorite infant car seat that we used for both children is the Chicco Keyfit 30. We brought Harper home from the hospital in it and it’s such a lightweight rear-facing infant seat. I loved how easy it was to click in and out of the base, how its lighter weight made it easier to carry and how it fit perfectly on our stroller frame (we did purchase an adapter, but the seat was so easy to click in and out). I highly recommend this car seat for your child’s first six months or so (though, depending on their height and weight, the seat could last up to their first birthday!) I prefer an infant bucket seat like the Chicco Keyfit 30 for the newborn/infancy period because it’s easy to take in and out of the car, which you can’t do with a convertible seat (so you’d have to switch baby to a stroller or wearable carrier. The convenience of being able to click this car seat in and out of your car, especially during those early days, is a must IMO!
There are so many infant car seats on the market today, but the Chicco Keyfit 30 is the only one we used when our kids were infants and it’s so highly rated!
CONVERTIBLE CAR SEATS
Over the years, we’ve tried several different convertible car seats including a few Britax models, Chicco and Clek’s foonf seat. We love all of these brands and both kids have used them since they’ve been in convertible seats (we switched Harper to a rear-facing convertible seat when she was 8 months old and Lincoln was about 7 months old when we switched him). The American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend that children remain rear-facing until they’re at least two years old, and in some states, it’s the law, so check your local regulations. We turned Harper forward facing at age 4 and Lincoln just after he turned 3. It’s important to check your car seat manual to determine the maximum rear-facing weight and height limit of your child’s car seat.
Right now, we have six car seats (two in each of our vehicles and two for travel). In my car, Lincoln is in a Clek Foonf and Harper is in the Chicco MyFit LE harness + booster seat (we will use it in the five point harness mode until she maxes out the harness limits of the seat). In Kevin’s car, Lincoln is in a Britax Boulevard ClickTight and Harper is in a Chicco MyFit LE harness + booster seat (the same as in my vehicle).
There are even more options when it comes to convertible car seats – it can feel overwhelming! A certified car seat technician once told me that the best car seat for your child is one that is appropriate for their height and weight, installed correctly and with your child strapped in correctly.
All car seats are tested to meet the same safety standards – but some do have more features (ranging from comfort features to convenient features like cup holders), so it’s worth checking out various brands to see which features are a fit for your family, child and budget. I do like Britax’s ClickTight technology and I love that Chicco’s seat converts to a booster so you can use the seat even longer as your child gets older. You can use the search filters on the left sidebar of Walmart’s website to find the best seat for your child.
Harper’s red and white striped ruffle detail dress is here!
CAR SEATS AND AIRPLANE TRAVEL
We always travel with car seats unless we don’t require them at our destination (such as at Disney World, where we only uses buses for all travel).
For air travel, weight is key – I prefer to bring lighter weight (and often less expensive) car seats with us when we travel. They’re easier to maneuver through the airport and also to carry and install on the plane. Our favorites for travel this far have been the Cosco Scenera and most recently, the Evenflo Maestro sport harness to booster. We have traveled with both of these seats and they’ve been fantastic and easier to carry than our regular seats (we did take their usual seats on a plane once and I wouldn’t do it again!)
My tips for airplane travel with car seats:
- Ensure your car seat has an FAA compliant sticker on it (most do)
- Use light weight car seats for travel (not required, but makes it a little easier to trek them through the airport).
- Attach the car seat to your rolling luggage or wear it as a backpack for ease of carrying/pushing it through the airport. You can also buy a rolling cart for it.
- Install your child’s car seat on the plane – it is so nice to have them strapped into a familiar and comfortable seat. Plus, the FAA recommends babies and children fly in car seats.
- Check your car seat manufacturer’s guide prior to travel. In some cases, checking or gate checking your car seat can void the warranty because it can be damaged depending on how it’s treated once it’s out of your hands. I had a friend who checked her car seat only to find it totally broken when they retrieved it from baggage claim.
I used the top tether of the car seat to attach it to my rolling luggage after we dropped off our rental vehicle and checked into our flight.
Later, I used the car seat strap to carry it like a backpack through some of our airport journey. Then, Harper sat in the seat as we waited for more than 30 minutes in the customs line!Finally, I used the plane’s seatbelt to install the seat and off we went!I hope this post was helpful! Please leave any questions in the comments below!
SHOP THE POST:
Great post but I think you should remove the bit about carrying the seat by the straps or using the tethers to secure it to the suitcase. If you read your manual, they tell you NOT to do this as it can damage the harness. You should only ever carry it by the shell.
I love that you are showing car seats on planes because unfortunately many people don’t understand the importance of this.
Hi Michelle! I was not aware of this but I’m struggling to understand how using the top tether to temporarily secure the seat to rolling luggage would be any different than pulling it taut when it is installed in a vehicle. I will check my manual for the seats we travel with. Thank you!
Marie P. says
The information you’ve provided on car seats over the years has been so helpful, Veronika. I especially appreciate your encouragement to keep children in a car seat harness as long as possible. Thank you!
Thank you Marie! I appreciate your comment!