Are Car Seats Universal?

Last Updated On November 22nd, 2018

Even since cars were invented, new parents have struggled with ways to take their babies along for the ride while still being as safe as possible. The rise in popularity for car seats has only made this market grow exponentially. But as the years have gone by, new innovations and tragic events have made the evolution of car seats difficult to track, as styles have become obsolete and new variations have caused many parents to rethink their previous notions. For example, in the early days of car seats it might have been counter-intuitive to imagine your baby facing the rear of your vehicle rather than forward. Yet now we know this is the safest position to settle your newborn in when braking or decreasing forward momentum so they won’t go jarring forward and risk injury. This has made it difficult to tell if all car seats are appropriate for every back seat of any vehicle.

Are Car Seats Universal?

This actually may not be the right kind of question you should be asking yourself. Instead, you might want to know if all car seat bases are universal. A car seat base is the apparatus that you secure in your car that allows you to remove the actual seat itself while keeping the base inside. The universality of the base with regards to the various type of vehicles is usually uniform. Most car seat manufacturers design bases that can fit into the basic seat of both cars and trucks with an extended cab.

But just because the car seat base is universal, such versatility does not in any way extend towards the different type of manufacturers and how they make the seats that fit each base. For instance, a Graco car seat base will only accommodate car seats from the same manufacturer – not for any other type. This is why you should be skeptical of any claims from someone who claims they have a universal car seat base. Most companies design bases specifically for use with their own products only, thus a Chicco car seat will not fit into a Graco car seat base. So in truth, there is no such thing as a truly universal car seat base, much less a universal car seat altogether. This is not to say that some car seats aren’t compatible with car seat bases from different manufacturers, but this is either due to coincidence or some type of working relationship between manufacturers.

The Right Kind

This is why you should always purchase both together rather than separately. Usually, this is not a problem since most manufacturers often bundle seats and their bases sale together. However, sometimes new parents cannot afford brand new car seat accessories (babies cost a lot of money, don’t you know). So if for some reason you do have to purchase each component separately, make sure than you try and find a car seat made by the same manufacturer as that of the base you may already have or vice versa. As long as each separate component is designed to fit with the other, you should have no difficult keeping your newborn safe as you drive them around town.

Also read: Are Car Seat Canopies Safe?

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