Infant car seats are incredibly popular for their ease of use and portability. However, the one downside is their lack of longevity. As you near your child’s first birthday, you will have to look into purchasing a new car seat for your toddler. But knowing exactly when it’s time to transition your baby from an infant car seat to a larger, convertible car seat can be confusing. You want to get the most use out of your infant seat, but our little ones will be ready for an upgrade before you know it! Here are some things to look for when deciding if it’s time for a new car seat, how to pick a convertible car seat, and an up-close look at the incredible Diono Radian 3QXT.
The first step is determining if your child is ready to transition to a convertible car seat. Here are 4 things to look for that will help you decide if your child is ready for a convertible car seat.
1. Height & weight:
Always familiarize yourself with your car seat manual to ensure you are using it safely. All manuals will list height and weight ranges that you can use as a guideline. Most children will hit the height limit for their seat before the weight limit. An easy way to check if your child is nearing the height limit is to visibly look at your child’s position when in the car seat. If the top of your child’s head is less than one inch from the top of the car seat, your child has most likely maxed out the height limit. If your child is heavier for his or her age, make sure to stop using your infant car seat if they exceed the weight limit even if they are still within the height range.
As your child nears age 1, it is best to go ahead and transition them to a rear facing convertible car seat even if they haven’t maxed out the height and weight limits. It is honestly never too early to transition to a rear-facing convertible car seat, as most of these seats allow children to ride in them safely from birth. Therefore, go ahead and transition them before they max out the size limits. In car seat safety tests, it was better for 1-year-olds to be in convertible car seats as opposed to infant seats, as they hit their head on the back of the front seat only 4% of the time compared to over 50% respectively.
3. Car seat expiration:
The main purpose of an infant car seat is to provide convenience for getting your little one into and out of the car. Infants sleep a lot. With an infant seat, you are able to easily remove the whole seat from the car and attach it into the stroller without waking them. However, as your child nears the toddler stage, you will notice that you are not using this feature anymore. For me, my babies always got to the point where they didn’t fall asleep in their car seat anymore. And even if they did, it was just too heavy to remove the whole infant car seat. If this is the case for you, it may be time for a switch.
Once you’ve decided that it’s time for an upgrade, the next step is deciding on a brand new convertible car seat. With the countless options on the market, it can feel impossible to decide. Here are some things that I find incredibly important when picking out a new seat, and how the Diono Radian 3QXT measures up to each one!
Features to look for in a convertible car seat:
- Longevity: Convertible car seats are known for longevity of use. Most can be used from newborn throughout childhood. However, some car seats have a wider range of use, with lower weight and height minimums and larger weight and height maximums.
The Diono Radian 3QXT has a weight range of 4 to 120 pounds, allowing you to use it for a premie throughout their whole childhood. The Radian also has several modes of use, which gives you a rear facing seat, forward facing seat, and booster seat all-in-one. Not all convertible car seats will transition into a booster in this way.
- Ease of installation: Convertible seats can be big and bulky, so having something that’s easy to get a tight and secure install without wrestling the seat itself is very important.
The 3QXT comes with the SuperLATCH attachment that is stored in the back compartment of the seat. When ready to use, it can be easily removed and latched into place, giving your seat a secure fit.
- Rear facing anti-rebound bar: Anti-rebound bars are becoming increasingly more common in car seats, and for good reason. Anti-rebound bars diminish the back and forth movement of the car seat in the event of a car accident. This can help reduce unnecessary injuries for your child.
The steel anti-rebound bar found in the Diono Radian 3QXT reduces rebound rotation by 50%, preventing your child from having greater injuries.
- Advanced side impact protection: Keeping our babies’ heads protected in the event of a crash is vital. So having added side impact protection gives us the peace of mind that our little one will have the added stability they need.
The Radian 3QXT has 8 layers of side impact protection, greater than most convertible car seats.
- Safe newborn features: Infant car seats are built with newborns in mind, while convertible car seats may not focus as much on these features. For this reason, I like to look at convertible seats that ensure a child will be comfortable and safe in the event I use it for my newborn, as well as for an older child.
Diono goes above and beyond to provide features for all stages of use. For newborns, the Radian 3QXT comes with a safe+ newborn protection insert, safe+ newborn travel high wedge, safe+ 2-in-1 infant positioning liner, and safe+ newborn harness pads.
- Easy adjust head rests: Your child will grow faster than you know, so having a car seat that is easy to adjust as they grow is important. Look for a car seat with an easy to adjust head rest.
The comfy contoured headrest of the Radian 3QXT keeps your child’s head cozy and contained while also being adjustable. The 12 position headrest easily slides up and down with the push of a lever.
- Comfortable, breathable materials: Along with providing safety, a car seat should be comfortable as well. I’ve owned a convertible car seat that truly lacked in this category, and my child made it known to me.
The Diono Radian 3QXT will keep your baby comfortable with the comfort+ memory foam cushioned seat. It’s also machine washable, which is a huge bonus for us busy moms!
- Side-by-side fit: Having space in your car is important, so a slim fit design for you car seat matters. If you have more than one child, this will matter even more. Very few car seats allow for 3 seats to fit side by side in the back of a midsize car, so this may be an important feature to look for when you’re searching.
Without giving up the added side impact protection, the Diono 3QXT is still slim enough to fit 3 side by side in most midsize vehicles in both rear facing or forward facing modes.
As parents, all we want to do is protect and love our little ones. Following safe car seat guidelines and recommendations, picking out a car seat with all the safety features, and familiarizing ourselves with our car seat manual are all things we can do to protect our little ones from harm. No one wants to get in a car accident, but in the chance that happens, we want to ensure nothing will happen to our sweet babes. With the Diono Radian 3QXT, you get a seat that truly hits all the boxes.
For more baby gear info and safety tips, visit our blog at babycubby.com.