So, your little angel arrived ahead of schedule and is a little more fragile than a full-term baby. As difficult as it may be to find the right kind of equipment for babies, finding the right one for preemies can be even more difficult.
As they have special needs, finding a car seat for your preemie necessitates careful considerations. You need to consider their height, weight, medical considerations, and maximum safety precautions.
Read this post as we’ve compiled a list of the best car seats for preemies so you can safely travel with your bundle of joy.
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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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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
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
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
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
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.
Buying essentials for newborns can be exciting but also stressful. A preemie necessitates special care, and car seats need to provide some smaller fits and extra security features. Choose the perfect car seat for your tiny one, so you can rest assured that your child travels safely and comfortably.
- Assessment of babies for car seat safety before hospital discharge.