Your little bundle of joy has arrived before time, but that’s okay! With our list of the best car seats for preemies, you can be all set to take your little one home. Newborn babies are delicate, but prematurely born babies can be even more fragile. Therefore, finding the right car seat can be a daunting task. You have to keep in mind that your baby needs maximum protection. The seat also has to be approved medically. Keeping your infant’s special needs in mind, our list can help you choose the right car seat. Read on to know more.
Our Top Picks
Car Seat Safety For Preemies
Premature babies need to clear a car seat test before being released from the hospital. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends this for babies born before 37 weeks, and the test is performed on babies with low birth weight or special medical conditions. This test monitors the baby for bradycardia, apnea, or oxygen desaturation(1).
The baby’s breathing and heart rate must remain constant throughout the test to pass. Here are a few pointers to help you obtain the best results during the test.
- Straps: Strap up and buckle your child in the seat, just as you would when you are driving them home. Maintain a snug fit and make sure the child does not slouch. This will provide the doctors with a more accurate reading.
- Swaddling: Swaddle the baby well, so they are comfortable and sleeps through the test.
- Recline: Recline the seat to its highest position. This will keep their airways free and allow them to breathe continuously. The level indicator will tell you if the seat is well-reclined.
- Feeding: Avoid taking the test just after a feed. Give them time to digest the breast milk to avoid reflux action and vomiting.
8 Best Car Seats For Preemies
1. Best With Extra-Large Canopy: Britax B-Safe Ultra Infant Car Seat
Preemies require special care, which the Britax B-Safe car seat provides. The rear-facing seat can accommodate babies weighing four to 35 pounds and has a strong, durable steel frame body and a crumple zone. In addition, the baby car seat is moisture, odor, and stain-resistant, thanks to the Nanotex technology. The reclining action is spring-assisted. This video will give you more insights into the product.
- Seat belt guide for extra safety
- Dual-layered side impact protection
- Safe cell technology
- Safe center latch
- Easy installation
- Built-in locks
- Recline level indicators
- Extra-large canopy
- May be narrow for some babies
2. Best Lightweight: Graco SnugRide 35 Lite Lx Infant Car Seat
The Graco SnugRide preemie baby car seat is ideal for babies weighing four to 35 pounds. It measures 18.07×14.41×27.4 inches. The seat is designed with Protect Plus, which protects the baby from front, rear, side, and rollover impacts. It also includes a two-piece head and body support for optimal comfort. To make an informed decision before buying, you can check out this video.
- Easy-to-read level indicator
- Four-position adjustable base
- Rotating canopy
- Easy installation latch
- Head and body support
- Snug fit
- May be hard to release
3. Best With Removable Canopy: Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
An easy-to-install car seat for preemies, the Chicco KeyFit 30 incorporates the SuperCinchlatch feature. It includes a five-point harness and a single-pull tightener. The seat is recommended for babies weighing four to 30 pounds and comes with a Recline Sure leveling foot for a perfect base angle and Ride Right bubble indicators. In addition, the EPS energy-absorbing foam provides maximum impact protection. Click here to check out this YouTuber’s unbiased review.
- Smooth underside protection for vehicle seat
- Removable head, body, and neck support
- Removable canopy
- Integrated lock-offs
- Comfortable fabric
- Chest buckle may not sit flat
4. Best With Recliner Indicator: EvenfloLiteMax Infant Car Seat
If you’re looking for a car seat for your growing preemie, the EvenfloLiteMax accommodates children weighing four to 35 pounds. It has four shoulder harness positions and an ergonomic handle design for easy carrying. In addition, it has an easy-to-install base with a vehicle belt lock-off. The seat measures 18.3×17.8×30 inches.
- Integrated belt lock
- Recliner indicator
- Four recline positions
- Extended usage
- Full coverage canopy
- Back padding may not be enough
5. Best For Adjustable Height: Baby Trend Ez Flex Loc Infant Car Seat
The Baby Trend Ez Flex Loc car seat for preemies and infants has a five-point harness and four push-button height adjustments. The seat can be easily released with one hand access, and the EPS foam absorbs crash impact energy for added protection. In addition, it features flexible base latch straps and a smooth carry handle.
- Soft head-rest
- Easy installation
- Adjustable height
- Level indicator
- Energy-absorbing foam
- Could be heavy for some
6. Best Machine Washable: Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air 360 Infant Car Seat
This extended rear-facing onBoard infant car seat from Safety 1st has a latch installation system. Five layers of safety foam padding are provided for children between four to 35 pounds. Further, the Air Protect structural design protects against side impacts and rear, front, and rollover impacts. In addition, an easily adjustable five-point harness and four harness heights keep the baby well-fitted.
- Latch technology
- Energy-absorbing GCell HX patented race car foam
- Reinforced handle
- Soft foam
- Excess padding may make the child feel hot
7. Best With Energy-Absorbing EPS: Primo Viaggio 4/35
Designed with soft jersey fabric, the Primo Viaggio is a rear-facing car seat for babies weighing four to 35lb. The base is integrated with an anti-rebound bar with dual-stage cushioning for extra support.
The color-coded belt paths and compact handles make the seat easy to use and carry. In addition, a unique shell design with six vertical positions optimizes comfort and safety measures.
- Innovative shell design
- Energy-absorbing EPS
- Five-point harness
- Side impact protection
- No-rethread harness
- Installation with or without base
- Latch system installation
- Translucent headcover may not block the sun
8. Best Airplane-Friendly: Cosco Light N Comfy Dx Infant Car Seat
The minimum weight recommendation for preemie car seats should be four pounds. The Cosco Light N Comfy infant seat measures 31x18x14 inches and can hold up to 22 pounds. It has a latch and storage space and fits the baby snugly. In addition, it has four harness heights and side-impact protection to keep the tiny traveler safe.
- Easy to clean
- EPS energy-absorbing foam
- Easy to carry
- May be tough to install in old model cars
How To Choose The Right Preemie Car Seat?
Here are some pointers to keep in mind when choosing a car seat for preemies.
- Weight: Preemies will need a car seat with a lower minimum weight allowance than normal car seats. Look for a seat with a four-pound minimum requirement.
- Harnesses: The lowest harness slot must be lower than normal for a smaller baby. Look for shorter crotch buckles to keep the baby more secure. Chest clips should be avoided as these can obstruct the preemie’s chest and airway or reach their face, and the leg straps should not be too far apart.
- Durability: Since your baby is precious and a preemie needs some extra security, choose a seat that is strong and durable. The seat shell should be a sturdy frame with good foam and cushioning.
- Special features: Infant carriers have adjustable harness height positions, indicators, latch installation, multiple reclining positions, canopies, and side-impact protection. Some seats are also convertible to carriers and toddler seats. Pick a seat that offers maximum features.
Why Trust MomJunction?
Preemies require optimal protection during traveling. This post brings you a well-structured list of the best car seats for preemies available in the market. We have curated a detailed post to provide the necessary information about various car seat features useful for preemies. These car seats have advanced safety features and are durable, high-quality, and lightweight. This post also has a useful buying guide to help you pick the most suitable one.
Besides bringing tons of happiness and excitement, your preemie can also leave you feeling nervous and unprepared. And to travel with them with ease, you must invest in a car seat made specifically for their delicate and fragile body. Always ensure that the car seat you bring home has a minimum weight-holding capacity of four pounds, comes with shorter crotch buckles than regular car seats to keep your newborn safe, and is strong and durable. Also, avoid purchasing seats with chest clips as they may cause discomfort to their chest and airways. Lastly, for maximum protection, invest in car seats with adjustable harness height and reclining positions, latch installation and indicators, side-impact protection.
- Assessment of babies for car seat safety before hospital discharge.