Pregnancy is a seemingly never-ending exercise in preparation. And while you hope and plan for the best, it's smart to prepare for scenarios that deviate from the regularly scheduled program. For example, how do you know which car seats are preemie friendly, easy-to-use, and safe? It's arguably the most important item you'll invest in as a new parent, so it's worth researching the best preemie car seats for your impending arrival, just in case.
When your baby's born premature, finding items that fit and suit their small size can be, well, difficult. While most car seats are safe for babies five pounds and up, there are others that accommodate preemies at around four pounds, so it's important to check the specifications on any car seat to ensure that your baby will be enjoying a safe, secure fit. If your small baby isn't nestled in correctly, the harness can't be in the position to protect your baby adequately, and basically, the whole system is null and void.
When it comes to babies and their safety, size matters, weight matters, and all the little details of a car seat that help or hinder the safety and security of baby's body matter. So with that in mind, here are some of the best preemie car seats that every soon-to-be parent should at least consider and familiarize themselves with. You might not need them, but if you do you'll at least know enough about them.
Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 LX
This car seat, which holds babies starting at just 4 lbs and all the way up to 35 lbs (or 32 inches) addresses all your preemie concerns. The Simply Safe Adjust Harness System provides an easy one-hand harness that adjusts automatically. This seat has been crash-tested to meet or exceed U.S. safety standards, giving all parents — new or seasoned — peace of mind. The car seat's weight without the base is 9.75 pounds, and it easily connects with one-step secure attachment to all Graco strollers. For the rear-facing infants, this car seat has it all.
Britax B-Safe 35 Elite
This top-selling car seat beats out all the competition in terms of safety. When using the included infant padding insert, your 4 lb. preemie will ride in comfort while being protected by two layers of side impact protection, quick-adjust head protection, a steel frame, and the impact absorbing base. Plus, with the Safe Center LATCH, there's easy installation and no rethreading. The quick-adjust harness and two-position buckle grows with your baby, and the spring-assisted recline and indicators make sure the car seat is at the exact right angle for maximum safety and comfort.
Chicco KeyFit 30
This fan favorite offers a one-pull LATCH tightener in the middle of the base. In other words, no more tightening on the side. The padded seat is lined with energy-absorbing foam for side impact protection. The built-in level tells you when it's in the perfect position, and this car seat, too, holds preemies as small as 4 lbs and up to 30 lbs, 30 inches.
Safety 1st Onboard 35 Air+
If you're looking for a safe, reliable car seat with all the bells and whistles that won't break the bank, this is the seat for you and your preemie. The specially designed Air Protect side impact protection system surround baby's head while the GCell honeycomb HX energy-absorbing foam rests along the sides of the torso for an all-around safe place to ride. For preemies at 4 lbs and up to 35 lbs, there's an included preemie insert and low 5-point harness setting that uses the LATCH system for ease and, of course, more safety.
Cosco Light N Comfy DX
This affordable car seat option doesn't cut corners when it comes to safety. The 5-point harness offers a center front adjustment and a padded insert to accommodate smaller babies 4-22 lbs and up to 29 inches. Parents will love the side impact protection built right into the seats, too. The EPS energy absorbing foam reduces any force your baby might experience during a crash. This seat has been thoroughly crash-tested to exceed Federal Safety Standards with a lightweight base that's easy to install and remove.
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible
While slightly on the pricey side, this car seat is top-rated in both comfort and safety. The Flextech provides "multi-directional crash energy management" to keep your preemie as safe as possible in the event of a crash. Advanced side impact protection and deodorized, self-wicking fabric also helps keep baby cool and comfortable during any drive. For easy cleaning, simply "unsnap" the seat pad and toss it in the washing machine. This seat is designed not only to keep your preemie protected, but to fit beautifully in your car, allowing extra space for other passengers. The pria 70 is specially designed to fit better in your car, allowing more room for your passengers to stretch out in the front seats. This Tiny Fit system includes an infant support pillow to keep the neck of preemies at 4 lbs (up to 70 lbs), stable and secure.
Primo Viaggio 4-35
This preemie-friendly car seat offers dual-stage cushioning to help cushion the heads and necks of babies 4 lbs and up (to 35 lbs and 32 inches). This seat supports growing babies with the integrated anti-rebound bar for ultimate safety. Complete with fresco jersey breathable fabric and side impact protection that adjusts in six different ways, your little one will be safe and snug. Even the patented handle and seat design have color-coded belts to ease belt routing when not using the base. It's easy to move in and out of the car, and the innovative design absorbs energy with the EPS-ined shell for maximum air circulation.
Baby Trend Flex-Loc
This top selling car seat offers a 5-point harness system and car seat anchors to keep your preemie secure, specifically when you're rounding those sharp corners. This seat suits preemies at 5 lbs up to 30 lbs and 30 inches, with easy-to-use adjustments for height. This seat is smaller than some of the others, which makes it an ideal mode of transport for the smallest of babies.