So which Walmart car seat will you choose?
"Parents need to make sure that the car seat they are getting has passed safety standards. Check the labels on the side of the car seat first," says Amador, who suggests following up with verifications online. The websites for Transport Canada or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S. are great places to start. Then head to Walmart.
Next, Amador says to consider four factors before buying your next car seat at Walmart: budget, needs, wants and lifestyle. She suggests deciding what your spending limit is before shopping. But remember, higher-priced options often come with extra safety features.
Parents should also think about the stage their child is in and buy the appropriate seat. For instance, while Amador says that an infant car seat will have a shorter use time compared to a convertible car seat, she doesn't recommend putting newborns in convertible car seats because it's difficult to fit them with the wider straps and big chest clips, even with the infant insert.
"Keep in mind the type of vehicle the car seat will be installed in. If it's a sedan, then the car seat must fit the narrow space between the front seats and the back seat. If it's for a growing family, the car seats might need to fit three across," says Amador.
Regarding wants, Amador says that this is where the extra safety features come into play, such as the anti-rebound bar, side impact pods, lock-off installation, rigid LATCH and extended rear-facing or forward-facing limits. You can often find these in higher-end Walmart car seats.
Finally, keep in mind your lifestyle. For instance, are you frequent flyers? "If parents plan to travel by air with their toddler, they need to look for a car seat that is FAA-approved [or]. This means that the car seat has been tested and meets the safety standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration and is lightweight to haul around airports, car rentals, and hotels."
This convertible car seat from Walmart has everything you need and more: it installs quickly and easily, goes from an infant seat to a high-back booster and has been rigorously safety tested. Plus, it's got cup holders. It has a 4.5-star rating and comes at a great price.
Walmart verified purchaser Bella wrote, "My daughter loves this car seat! I love that it works for up to 100 pounds. It was super easy to install, it's not super bulky so it fits really well in my car and still leaves plenty of room in the back seat, and I didn't break the bank buying it. More than anything though, I LOVE that there's no rethreading when adjusting the car seat as your child grows. Makes life SO easy! I will definitely be buying these convertible car seats for the rest of my kids!"
This affordable seat is sleek-looking and offers all the basics. It converts from a rear-facing infant and toddler seat to a forward-facing toddler seat and has five shoulder height positions. Its seat is well-cushioned for a comfy ride and the cup holder is a great bonus for toddlers.
This Walmart car seat is lightweight at only 12 pounds and it's narrow, so it's possible to fit three across the backseat of your car.
Graco promises at least 10 years of use with this car seat. It goes from a rear-facing infant seat (up to 40 pounds) to a forward-facing seat (up to 65 pounds) to a high back booster (up to 100 pounds) and finally a backless booster (up to 120 pounds). It has a 10-position headrest and six recline positions.
The InRight LATCH system makes installation easy (or easier than most) and it has been tested and built to protect little ones during frontal, side, rear and rollover crashes with a steel-reinforced frame. The car seat cover is also machine washable and can be removed in under a minute, without uninstalling the car seat.
Have a bunch of kids? You can fit three of these Walmart car seats across most vehicles. The Diono Radian can also be used from birth through the tween years and, even better, you can keep your child rear-facing until they weigh 50 pounds — a feature that's hard to find.
This seat also folds up, making it great for travel and it's FAA approved for use in airplanes. It features memory foam for comfort, an automotive-grade steel reinforced frame and a removable, washable cover. And when you've got three kids snacking in the back of your car, washable covers are important.
The hardest part of using a car seat is actually getting your child into said car seat. Swiveling car seats make it so much easier because you can turn the seat towards the car door to slide your little one in and out. This one boasts a title as the only car seat in America that rotates in every mode of use —many swivelling seats only rotate in rear-facing mode.
This easy seat also accommodates babies from four pounds through kids 120 pounds. It's easy to adjust and you can even reposition the seat with baby in it. This Walmart swivel car seat has been temperature, side-impact and rollover tested.
While a convertible car seat from Walmart will see your baby from birth through their big kids years, there's still something to be said for a dedicated infant seat. The main bonus is that you can remove the whole seat from the car rather than wake your sleeping baby. And if you invest in a compatible stroller or buy a car seat adapter for your stroller, you can pop that car seat right onto the stroller frame creating a super convenient car-seat-stroller combo.
The Graco Snugride has been a parent favorite for 25 years thanks to top safety ratings, ease of installation and overall design. It offers protection from frontal, side, rear and rollover crashes and at just over seven pounds, it's about two pounds lighter than most infant car seats. And two pounds is a lot when you're also lugging a diaper bag.
Most booster seats are pretty basic and can be used only by kids who are four and up. Because of its harness, this one takes toddlers from 22 pounds up to kids as big as 120 pounds. The harness can be used for kids up to 40 pounds and then your vehicle's seat belt can be threaded through the backrest to keep your big kid safe.
It comes with two cup holders, and a supportive padded backrest. When you adjust the headrest, the seat belt positioning automatically adjusts as well. It's a great option for grandparents who may have a bunch of grandkids of different ages and sizes.
A stroller is one of the most important purchases you'll make as a new parent — it's really only second to the car seat. So buying a car seat stroller combo like this one just makes sense. Not only is the Evenflo Omni Plus Modular Travel System ridiculously well-priced, the included Evenflo LiteMax infant seat has great safety ratings and has been praised for its easy-to-use lock off, which locks your vehicle's seatbelt so the car seat stays securely installed.
The car seat can be used on the stroller frame or you can use the included seat, which transitions from a bassinet to a toddler seat. A decent-sized stroller basket means that you can carry your diaper bag right beneath your bundle of joy.
"Parents and caregivers who are on a budget should look at car seats at Walmart first. They have a good assortment of car seats for any stage, from infant car seats to boosters and toddler car seats," says certified car seat technician, Juliana Amador.
We don't have details yet on when the next Walmart car seat trade-in event will happen, but we're anxiously anticipating the great opportunity to recycle your expired car seats and receive a Walmart gift card in return.
In short, Walmart invites shoppers to bring in old car seats in return for Walmart gift cards. The car seats are recycled and shoppers get a little money towards their next Walmart car seat purchase. Win-win!
Sources: Juliana Amador, Certified Car Seat Technician
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