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A right of passage of any new parent is schlepping your new little one around in an infant car seat carrier, right? You can buy adorable covers to make them a bit less abusive to your forearm and decorative covers to protect your babe from the elements.

But can you, could you, skip the baby bucket seat all together? 

Perhaps you’re one of many new or expectant parents who don’t realize that an infant car seat carrier isn’t required or absolutely necessary. And let me be perfectly clear - YOUR BABY MUST BE IN A CAR SEAT FOR ALL TRAVEL! What I’m talking about is the option of using a convertible car seat for your infant instead of a “pop out” infant seat.

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What Is A Convertible baby car seat?

Convertible car seats accommodate rear-facing or forward-facing babes (you should keep your little one rear-facing until at LEAST 2 years of age). Some have very low minimum size limits and come with additional support inserts to accommodate newborns. Often, the manufacturer's instructions dictate different install position for infants.

Convertible car seats stay in the car. They don’t come with a handle or “pop out” of a base that remains in the car. They are intended for safe travel and that’s it.

Why Skip The Infant Car Seat Carrier?

Our family made the not-so-common decision to skip an infant car seat with both of our babies. WHY?

Even with all my knowledge of how developmentally unhelpful car seat positioning is, how sleeping in a car seat can be a SIDS risk and how the overuse of car seats can contribute to Flat Head Syndrome (Positional Plagiocephaly) and neck tightness (Torticollis), I knew that as an exhausted new parent it would be far too easy for me to let perceived convenience rule the day.

I knew how hard the temptation would be to let my sleeping babe remain in the seat on outings and even in the house. I knew that it would provide an easy seat to keep baby in on stroller walks, errands, restaurants and friends’ homes. I also knew that we would need to purchase a convertible seat in the first year of baby’s life anyway and saw that skipping the infant seat could save us some serious money (read on to learn why it didn't)! 

Why It's Not Always Feasible To Skip An Infant Car Seat

Skipping an infant seat isn’t feasible for everyone and I don’t think it’s the best choice for all families or all babies. Here are some situations that might make it more difficult or virtually impossible to skip an infant car seat:


Very cold weather climates

More than one child and having to use street parking or a shared parking lot at home

Babywearing isn't an option either due to baby's temperament/preference or physical limitations of parents

Multiple caregivers picking up a child from childcare (although at some point in the first year, all caregivers will need to have a convertible seat in their car for pickup)

How To Survive Without An Infant Car Seat Carrier

Since I receive many, many, many emails from readers wondering how we manage without an infant car seat, especially with our second-born joining the family a few months ago. Here’s how we make it work and don’t think twice about our decision:

Leaving The Hospital

As long as you have an appropriate car seat for a newborn, there is NO requirement of having an Infant Car Seat in order to be discharged from the hospital.

However, because it is so much the norm now to buckle baby into an infant seat in the hospital room and carry them out to the car, it is helpful to talk to your birthing place ahead of time and mention that you’ll be using a car seat that will be installed in your vehicle. Due to security restrictions to reduce the risk of infant abductions, both our babes were rolled to the car in a bassinet by a nurse and then we buckled them in their car seats.

Restaurants, Errands and Outings

Wearing baby in a wrap, sling or structured carrier is a fantastic option for outings. It frees up space in your shopping cart, allows you to be hands free, gives baby awesome sensory input and is nice for bonding (added bonus, I can breastfeed my infant while prepping lunch for my toddler).  I started wearing both of my babies in their first days of life and both loved it once we found the right carrier. 

From my experience, starting babywearing early is very helpful for getting your baby used to it. I’ve collected a total of 4 carriers (several were purchased used) and have different preferred uses for each and have found that each of my babies had one that they most preferred in the first two months - the Baby K'tan with my firstborn and the Moby wrap with my newest addition.

Online or local babywearing groups are great resources for finding the right carrier and may even allow you to try out different carriers befor

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