We are constantly asked in store by first time parents, Should I buy a baby capsule or car seat? The short answer is that buying Baby Capsules for your newborn will make your life easier than a car seat. Do you need a capsule, no. It all comes down to your lifestyle.
It can be hard for parents to decide which travel system is best with all the options available. As there are so many different types, it’s easy enough just get something that looks good on paper but isn’t really suitable. Especially if you want your child comfortable and safe during car rides!
Is it worth Buying a baby Capsule?
The short answer is YES. Let me explain.
When buying Baby Capsules or Car Seats for a newborn, you pretty much have 4 main strategies. But even these can vary because every parents needs are different.
Child Restraint Strategies
A Capsule until they outgrow it somewhere between 6 to 18 months depending on the size of the child. Then move to a convertible car seat where you can convert it to a forward facing mode until approximately 4 years. Then move to a booster seat until they outgrow is at approximately 8 years.
Convertible Car Seat from newborn, converted to forward facing when large enough until approximately 4 years. Then move to a booster seat until approximately 8 years of age.
An infant Capsule until they outgrow it somewhere between 6 to 18 months depending on the size of the child. Then move to a convertible fully harnessed front facing car seat until they outgrow it at approximately 8 years.
Birth to 8 child restraint from newborn until approximately until approximately 8 years of age.
I have listed these in order or safety(although now you can get a birth to 8 seat that is 30 months rearward facing). You see, the longer a baby can be in a rear facing mode, the safer. By going from a capsule to a convertible car seat that is 30 plus months rear facing, this is safer. The cheaper alternative is to transition straight from an infant carrier/capsule into a forward facing Convertible booster seat. Or now it’s possible with even a birth to 8 car seats.
When you look at the total cost of ownership from birth until the child is no longer needing a booster seat, the cost difference between both strategies 2 and 3 is negligible. There is no doubt that an infant capsule is better from a convenience and lifestyle point of view. Read on and let me explain.
What are the pros and cons of Baby Capsules VS a Car Seats?
The baby capsule can be cheaper…
If you have multiple cars in the family, then you only need to buy one capsule and one extra base. a base is typically a third of the cost of a car seat. You install one base in each of the two cars. Then you literally can click the capsule into the base in the car that you are travelling with baby in on that day. This is a big advantage.
Not Waking baby means better lifestyle
If you buy a capsule, then you would buy a pram that is compatible with it and use it as a complete travel system. This means that you can literally place baby in the capsule inside the house. Cary baby in the capsule to the car. When you get to your destination, without waking baby, remove the capsule with baby in it out of the car and click it into the pram.
Then visit the cafe with your travel system and enjoy a drink all while baby sleeps comfortably.
Unlike car seats, you would have to remove the child from the seat, removing the harness and waking them each time you transition into the car and out again and then into the pram and out again.
Helping babies sleep…
Most good infant capsules can be used like a rocker. When removed from the pram or the car, they can be placed on the floor and rocked. This is a very effective way of helping to calm a baby and help them sleep when out and about. We see mums doing this in cafe’s a lot and it works.
It is a commonly known fact that lots of babies will go straight to sleep in the car. We have had plenty of parents discuss bad nights where baby can not sleep. They have put baby in the car in the middle of the night and gone for a drive. Now those with a child car seat have a problem when they have to wake baby at home to remove them. This is where the convertible car seat loses.
How Long can I leave baby in a capsule?
It must be noted, that it is not recommended to leave a child in a capsule or car seat or pram for extended periods of time. This means on long drives etc. you should stop and get them out of their car seat or pram and let them stretch and move a bit before moving on. This goes for both types of child restraints.
Benefits of Convertible Car Seats.
Convertible car seats are permanently installed into a car. If you want to move one to another vehicle, there is a lot more mucking around. It really means a full install process including safety checks once done. This is where a baby capsule wins.
Car seats such as birth to 4 years of age are often now at least 30 months rear facing, so from a safety point of view, it can be safer than a strategy of moving from a capsule straight to a convertible booster seat.
If you are going with a convertible car seat from day 1, then you will lose some benefits that baby capsules offer in terms of convenience and ease of use. It may be a little cheaper in the short run but in the long run, an Infant Carrier / capsule will usually work out around the same. With the right child restraint strategy choice listed above, you can have the convenience without losing any safety benefits of car seats.
This is why so many parents these days are choosing a car seat strategy of using a capsule over a car seat.
Everyone’s needs are different. The best way to choose the right strategy for your exact situation is to find true experts and ask for help.
I can not stress the importance of getting the right advice from true experts, not just a sales assistant working in a large multi-store who may not even be working there next month.
We have a full team of highly trained staff on helping you choose the best child restraints for your needs. Do not hesitate to seek advice from us. We are here to help.
About the Author
Frank is a founding owner of Bubs n Grubs. He is also the sole author of the Bubs n Grubs Baby Blog. He has been personally evaluating baby products & testing them before offering them to our customers since 2009. In addition, he is consistently giving manufacturer’s feedback & product development advice, reviewing & getting customer feedback. He has been doing this since the business started in 2009. He is proud to be one of the rare baby store owners who regularly engages with customers in store. Frank values the constant feedback and regularly seeks it out. He has been featured on the Morning Show & the Today Show on Channel 7 and Channel 9 and is a recognised expert in baby products as a result.