Preemies & Small Newborns

The Car Seat Lady’s Tips for Preemies & Small Newborns

Newborn in Car Seat

Newborn in Car Seat

Are you taking home a baby weighing less than 5 pounds?


PROBLEM: More than 1 in 10 parents take home a baby weighing less than 5 pounds… but nearly half of the infant car seats have a starting weight of 5 pounds; only some start at 4 pounds or less!


IMPORTANT: Some car seats come with newborn inserts. 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. NOTHINGshould be placed under your baby or under the straps. Once your baby is buckled snugly wearing a few thin layers of clothes, you can “swaddle” the baby OVER the straps to keep him calm, give extra support for his body, and keep him warm.


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 theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  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, 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









©The Car Seat Lady, LLC (last update 4/14)


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