Infant Car Seats by starting weight

Car Seat Tips for Preemies & Small NewbornsAre you taking home a baby weighing less than 5 pounds?
More than 1 in 10 parents take home a baby weighing less than 5 pounds. Every year, more than 10,000 US babies go home weighing less than 4 pounds!  Just like infant-sized clothes are too big for these tiny babies, infant-sized car seats are often too big too. Many infant car seats have a starting weight of 5 pounds; only a few start at 4 pounds or less!
Some car seats come with newborn inserts & positioners to improve the harness fit for very small babies. 
IMPORTANT: Car seats, and anything that comes in the box with the seat, have rigorous crash testing & standards they must meet. Products sold separately – like infant head/body positioners, fleece sleeping bags, strap covers, etc – are not regulated & do not have to pass any crash tests. Such “aftermarket products” should not be used as they will make your baby LESS SAFE, and will void the car seat’s warranty. NOTHING should be placed under your baby or under the straps. Once your baby is buckled snugly wearing a few thin layers of clothes, you can use blankets on top to keep the baby warm & rolled blankets on the side for extra body support (see picture).If your baby is born before 37 weeks or has a medical condition that may affect her breathing or ability to maintain her oxygen level, she will get a “car seat test”, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), before leaving the hospital.  During the car seat test, the baby will sit properly strapped into the car seat for 90 minutes to make sure that her heart rate, breathing rate, and oxygen levels stay in a normal range.  The AAP recommends that babies who “pass” their car seat test go home in a rear-facing car seat, NOT a car bed. Car beds should ONLY be used for infants who “fail” – i.e. they can not maintain their heart rate, oxygen level or breathing while in the car seat – as the protection provided by a rear-facing car seat is better documented than that for car beds.
Rear-Facing Infant Seats by Minimum Starting Weight

No Weight Minimum
* CombiShuttle 22 & 33, Navette
* Nania – Baby Ride (model with 4 shoulder strap slots)

4 Pounds
* CybexAton
* GracoSnug Ride 30
* Orbit BabyG2 Infant Car Seat
* Safety 1stComfy CarryOn Board35, and 35 Air
* The First YearsVia (must use carrier with base)

5 Pounds

Baby TrendFlex Loc, EZ Flex Loc
* EvenfloDiscovery, EmbraceSerenade
* GracoSnug Ride 22, Snug Ride 32/35
* Maxi CosiMico
* Peg PeregoPrimo Viaggio SIP 30/30
* Safety 1stDesigner
Combi Navette & Nania Baby Ride only available to institutions/agencies and only in multi-packs (3 or 4/box)

Alisa Baer, MD – (last update 05/11)

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