Select the Right Car Seat for a Small Infant


Select the Right Car Seat for a Small Infant

Which car seat is the right car seat? There is no one answer because it depends. The right car seat is one that fits the child, fits your car, and you can install correctly every time.

Not every infant will fit perfectly in every car seat. Check the car seat labels for the height and weight requirements. ​If your baby is very small, they may not meet the minimum weight requirement. Your child needs to be within all the height and weight limits for the car seat to be a proper fit.

What makes a car seat fit well for a small infant?

  • Proper Harness Height: All rear-facing children need the harness to be at or below their shoulders. Car seats have more than one harness height position. Read the car seat instructions to learn how to adjust the height of the shoulder straps. Select the slot that allows the harness to be positioned At or Below the child’s shoulders. Once the child is buckled, run your fingers along the harness at the shoulder towards the harness slot to evaluate harness height.
  • Correct Crotch Buckle Placement: Some car seats have multiple crotch buckle positions. Having it in the correct location for your seat and child will help achieve proper harness fit. The crotch buckle should be positioned close to the child to prevent the child from sliding, moving their body away from the car seat back and out of the correct harness position. The multiple buckle positions allow you to move the crotch strap close to a small newborn, and then to move it out later to accommodate a larger infant.
  • Placing the Child in the Rear-Facing Car Seat: Move the harness straps to the side and pull the crotch strap and buckle forward before placing the infant in the car seat. The child’s bottom and back should be against the car seat. Place the harness straps over the infant’s shoulders and make sure the webbing lays flat on the child and does not have any twists. Buckle the harness and tighten. The harness should be snug when checked at the shoulders and hips. Pinch the harness vertically at the shoulder. Your fingers should slide off easily. If you can pinch the webbing to create a fold, tighten the harness webbing to remove the slack. When the harness is snug, position the harness retainer clip at armpit level.
  • Padding: Many rear-facing only car seats have head supports and body inserts that come with the car seat. Additional padding that comes with the car seats can be used following the car seat instructions. Some inserts are designed for newborns and are to be removed at a certain weight. Others are more flexible and can be removed depending on the child’s comfort and how they fit in the car seat. Remember, when body inserts are removed, especially those that seat the baby higher up in the car seat, you may need to adjust the harness height. Using inserts according to manufacturer’s instructions ensures a child’s comfort and safety.

Car Seats with a Starting Weight of 3 Pounds

Evenflo LiteMax and Evenflo SafeMax

Evenflo LiteMax and SafeMax

The Evenflo LiteMax and Evenflo SafeMax infant car seats have updated weight and height requirements to allow their use with small infants:

  • Weight: 3 – 35 pounds
  • Height: 15.75 – 32 inches
  • Approval of the child’s healthcare provider.

This update is a retroactive change to existing Evenflo LiteMax and SafeMax infant car seats.

Evenflo guidelines regarding the use of the infant insert must be applied as follows:

  • Date of manufacture 1/1/2018 or newer:
    • Infant insert is OPTIONAL for child fit.
  • Date of manufacture 12/31/2017 or older:
    • Infant insert is REQUIRED for infants who weigh between 3 – 4 pounds; and
    • OPTIONAL for infants who weigh over 4 pounds.
  • The head pillow, harness covers, and buckle pad are OPTIONAL for all LiteMax seats, regardless of the date they were manufactured.

The Evenflo LiteMax infant car seat allows a “newborn” routing position for the crotch buckle. Read and follow the car seat instructions to correctly route the crotch buckle for a small infant. If you have questions, contact Evenflo for guidance.

Summer Affirm 335

Summer Affirm 335 and Base
  • Rear-Facing Weight: 3-35 pounds
    • Must have approval of the child’s healthcare provider when used with premature, low birth weight, or medically fragile infants.
  • Height: 15-32 inches
    • 4 Harness slot positions and 3 crotch buckle positions.
    • Infant body insert is optional for children from 3 – 11 pounds.
      • Insert is used when the harness is in the bottom 2 slots and the crotch buckle is in the inner or middle position.
  • Chest clip designed as small as possible for a good fit for small babies.
  • Secure the base with the Belt Tensioning Arm.
    • Route the webbing through the blue belt guides and close the Belt Tensioning Arm.
      • Lock the seat belt to complete the installation when using the lap and shoulder belt.
  • Angle the carrier handle toward the vehicle seat back to limit the amount of rebound movement experienced in a frontal-impact crash.


Scroll to Top