Last updated on September 19th, 2023 at 02:47 am
Let me begin my car seats for twins discussion with this disclaimer: I am not a safety expert. I am not even a car seat expert. I am simply a twin momma who has spent hours upon hours reading reviews, taking polls on Facebook, and berating myself for wanting to choose “the pretty ones” while looking for car seats for my twins.
When I had my singleton four years ago, I became a little obsessed with car seats. I read EVERYTHING I could about every car seat on the market… and I quickly became overwhelmed. Now that I have had my twins for almost a year, I feel like I have a better handle on the car seat question. So I wanted to share a couple key things you should think about when you’re picking a car seat for twins! Most of the tips here are regarding infant seats but can be applied to choosing transition and toddler seats as well.
Safety is the most important factor when choosing car seats for twins
This may be obvious, but it’s something we can’t stress enough. Safety is the #1 most important aspect when choosing car seats for twins, or for any child. Do your research to determine the top safety rated car seats. These ratings are constantly changing, so a good resource is to check out The Car Seat Lady’s website. There you can find all the most up to date information on car seat safety and her suggestions.
It is not recommended to purchase a secondhand car seat since even the smallest cracks could ruin the integrity of the seat. If you do accept secondhand seats, only do so from a trusted friend who will be honest about the car seat and it’s history.
Also, don’t forget to register any secondhand products with your name with the manufacturer. If you don’t, and there’s a recall, the original owner will be notified and not you.
Read the reviews, but trust your friends!
One of my biggest frustrations was reading user reviews on both extremes of the positive/negative scale. Almost every seat I looked at would have one user posting in ALL CAPS that this was the best car seat on the market and they had been using it for seven years straight because it was so awesome [this is me picturing their 7-year-old in an infant seat]. And the very next user would throw the car seat right under the bus for faulty straps, weird dimensions, or the inability to repel poop stains. Which one should I believe? I don’t know these people. Were they using the car seat correctly? Was it the best car seat they had because it was the only car seat they had? Reviews frustrated the daylights out of me!
So I turned to (get this)… real live people. I asked every mother I knew which seat she used, why she picked it, what she liked and didn’t, and so on. Also, I relied heavily on my local Mothers of Multiples group to get the perspective of having TWO car seats. Of course, I knew I would get a lot of different answers. But by speaking with an actual person, I felt like my research was much more complete. If you don’t really have anyone to ask, again, The Car Seat Lady’s website will be your best friend. She’s also great about answering questions via email and on her Facebook page. She has a lot of experience working with twins and can give you some great advice.
Measure your car when buying car seats for twins
Those seats may have an adorable contemporary flower print that your friends will undoubtedly swoon over (not really, but we kid ourselves). But will they fit in the car? There are two VITAL measurements that most of us just assume wont be a factor.
First, measure your back seat width. If you don’t have individual captain chairs for each car seat, measure your bench middle row or back seat, from door to door. With a preschooler in a high back booster in the middle and two infant car seats on either side… I need a pretty wide vehicle if I don’t want to be putting a child alone in the 3rd row! This measurement actually forced us into buying a new car even after purchasing one of the skinniest car seat and base sets (Baby Trend Flex Loc). Truth be told, we needed the car. However, if we’d been prepared, we could have made such a big purchase before they were about to come home from the hospital.
Second… measure the depth – from the back of the rear seat to the back of the front seat. Then, move the drivers seat up until your knees are in your chest and measure again! Comfortable yet? What, you mean you actually wanted to DRIVE the car? Seriously, we assume car seats are MADE to fit in the back of cars, but this isn’t the case with every vehicle. Especially nowadays. Even in some larger vehicles, the length of the car seat becomes an issue, especially for the driver. Experts agree that the car seat shouldn’t touch the rear of the front seats. However, we also know it’s not safe for you to position yourself so close to the steering wheel that it hinders driving.
Consider how you will carry your twins car seats
What stroller will you be using? Will they need to snap in? What about the handle of the car seat… is it conducive to comfort when hauling two at a time? Because traveling with two is exponentially more difficult than traveling with one, I HIGHLY recommend these few tips.
- Choose your stroller BEFORE choosing your car seats for twins. Of course, choosing a stroller… well, that’s a different article. But most strollers outlast car seats. Therefore, choosing one you like will actually help you decide which car seats to choose for your twins since compatibility and function will come into play.
- Test car seats – Actually go to the store and take them off the shelf and hold them. Carry two at a time. Practice different grips. Is the handle comfortable? Are they heavy? Remember, you will be muscling two of these car seats around. Ensure the car seats you choose for your twins are easy to handle, carry, and maneuver.
Take into account the weight AND height limits
As children grow, you have to keep an eye on the limits of your seats. When choosing an initial seat, I wasn’t really concerned with height or weight limits… and I should have been. My twin girls will be over the height limit on our infant seats while still under the weight limit. Or maybe your kids will reach the weight limit earlier than you’d like. How do you keep them rear facing as long as possible in a seat that doesn’t fit? I recommend choosing a convertible car seat to use after your infant seat. Many of these seats have rear facing capabilities up to 45 lbs! And then they turn around and face front up to 60, 70, or even 100 lbs!
No one wants to buy a new car seat every year or two. However, some of those “from birth to 100 lbs” seats are bulky and expensive. Choose an infant seat that will meet your babies’ needs. After that, choose a convertible car seat for twins that will keep them safe and comfortable as they grow!
Think like a kid when buying car seats for your twins
Children will spend a large portion of their lives strapped into these things. Are they comfortable? Are they happy? Especially as your child gets older, travels longer distances, and develops a mind of their own… think about THEM when choosing a seat! My 4-year-old wouldn’t survive without her cup holders (which are usually holding a princess doll rather than a cup), but to her they are essential. My twins are tall, so we will need to switch to a convertible car seat sooner than most, so they are comfortable.
Everyone’s got their favorite brand of baby gear… and many of our choices are aligned with our financial position. But make sure you take into account these tips and you’re sure to choose the right car seats for your twins.
Meghan Weber is a former career woman turned stay at home mom in Baltimore, MD. She has a beautiful 4 year old daughter named Karli Anna. Her 9 month old identical girls, Laurel Brynne and Lindyn Brooke, are her pride and joy. She serves on the board as the co-chair of the Philanthropy Division for her local mothers of multiples organization, CAMOM (Columbia Area Mothers of Multiples).
Are You a New Twin Parent?
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Accessible and informative, What to Do When You’re Having Two
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