Choosing Infant Car Seats for my Twins
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I keep receiving requests for an updated registry post to see what I actually used for my twins and what I liked. While I am working on it, I am in no rush, because I actually want to use the products for an adequate amount of time. That being said, today I’m finally ready to share a review of the Britax Car seats we have been using for the last (almost) 10 months! We have been traveling so much from road trips to flights, our car seats have been through it all.
Keep reading to see what we looked for in car seats and what we have thought of our Britax B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit Infant Car Seat in SafeWash.
Note: all images that you see here are not taken in a moving car, some not even in a car at all. When riding in the car, we make sure the belt and straps are correctly done and minimize belongings in the seats themselves with the babies. They are never unattended with blankets, etc. present. ALSO enjoy the step back into time because they are so little in these photos!!
Twins are expensive. It isn’t just everything times 2; it is more like everything squared. It is exponentially more expensive! There are areas you can skimp and cut corners, but an area I was not comfortable doing so was in the car seat section. These are literally built to keep your baby safe, so I looked for car seats that are rated well for safety, while also getting the most bang for my buck.
When it came to registering for items, it took me forever. I had very specific requirements I was looking for and wanted to see options altogether so I could compare in pros, cons, prices, etc. I created a shared spreadsheet with Nick so he could add items he wanted and we could make decisions together. The twin niche already limits you on some things as far as functionality and availability, but throw in the fact that I wanted car seats that did not use flame retardant (FR) and that narrowed our options down for us. If you’re wondering why I don’t want flame retardant, I kind of mentioned this here. The headline is that it contains a lot of extra chemicals I don’t want on my babies’ skin. The chemicals slough off and live on us, the air, in our water systems, and more, so they aren’t something I wanted anywhere near my twins’ bodies.
To Get a Transitional Car Seat first or not to ??
One piece of advice I had heard was to opt for a convertible carseat with an infant insert. Babies grow fast and it is not unheard of that they will outgrow their carseat in length and/or height in less than a year. I think this is great advice as one of our twins is ready for a size up; however, something that this tip doesn’t take into consideration is twins. Those who opt in for this hack do not have the ability to click the carseat into a stroller. While this is doable for one baby, it isn’t really practical for two, especially if you are doing it alone. You can for sure go the route of this hack with twins and just get infant inserts for strollers or opt for the bassinets, but there is an ease to leaving them in their car seats, clipping them in, and going. On this topic, our favorite stroller is the Bumbleride Indie Twin. We loved the bassinets, but even if you don’t buy the bassinet attachment, the regular seats fully lay down + have an infant insert. Because of this we could have opted for a transitional car seat and not worried about being able to clip them in. The stroller we used that our car seats clip into is the Contours Elite V2 Tandem stroller. We had to buy adapters for the car seats to fit. They do not make an infant insert for their actual stroller seats, so you can’t really use those until they are older. I suppose you could buy generic inserts on Amazon, but this is not recommended as they haven’t been made for or tested with the stroller.
Ultimately, we decided to not go this route because we valued the ease of clipping them in while still in their car seats. When they are that small, they really don’t mind being in there and reducing disturbances is really helpful for sanity. Another reason we opted against a transitional car seat is that twins are often born small, if not premature. We wanted a car seat that was rated for preemies! The seat itself is rated for as small as 4lbs which checks the preemie box. The twins were born at 38 weeks / 6lbs 14 oz and 7lbs 1 oz, so we did not end up needing it to fit so small, but we were glad we were prepared for it! Ours also has seat pads that you can remove once the child is over 11 lbs (we removed around 2 months for 1 twin and around 3 months for the other).
Which brands carry options for infant car seats without flame retardant?
The companies that I narrowed it down for toxin-free car seats were:
Flame retardants used to be a requirement for baby items (and couches) and still are for certain things. For example, anything labeled as a child’s pajama legally has to have flame retardants, so I understand why brands haven’t totally shifted. I say this as some of the brands listed do not have a fully flame-retardant free line. I’ll list specific styles that qualify below. It is typically more expensive to produce in a more nontoxic manner and people need car seats in all types of budgets / aren’t always able or willing to pay for top dollar. That being said I understand why they still exist, yet am thankful that brands are making the shift / we were able to benefit and afford this change.
All that to say, my non-negotiable (besides safety) was that the car seat didn’t have flame retardant on them. You can get even more “non-toxic” by going with natural fibers over synthetic and having certain certifications like Greenguard Gold Certified or Oeko-Tex certified. Here are the options we considered:
I listed this one first because Nick REALLY wanted this one. He liked it because of the way it looked, but also because it really is a top notch product. They also have achieved European REACH standards for reduced chemical inputs. Their expiration and warranty are top of the line as well. It is a really nice car seat, but if we did these car seats, I would have wanted the stroller and we had already decided against it since it isn’t really made with twins in mind, rather two kids of different ages.
Blue Marl (Henry) or Charcoal Mélange (Jordan)
$349.99 (includes base)
60% merino wool, 40% polyester
4lbs - 35lbs
32” length maximum
Rear Facing Only
Carrier weight: 9.9 lbs
Base weight: 9 lbs
Infant Car Seat Dimensions: 26.4” x 17” x 23”
UPF 50 Canopy
Expires in 7 years, 2 year warranty
Fits with Uppa System Strollers and a lot more with adaptors. The question isn’t really which stroller works with these seats, it is more-so which stroller DOESN’T it work with them?! It is a little harder to find double strollers that work, but it isn’t impossible. Other compatible stroller options are inclusive of but not limited to Britax, Maxi-Cosi, Thule, the coveted Baby Trend Snap and Go Double.
Convertible Car Seat Option: UPPAbaby KNOX Convertible Car Seat
You know I love a brand with good history and functionality! Britax is a brand that has been around for 50+ years. They are leaders in crash and safety testing as they spend more than 150 hours testing individual components on each product. I also love that all of their products are made in the U.S.A. Note that some parts are made overseas, but everything is put together in the United States. This is the most budget friendly option.
Twilight (the one we have) or Cowmooflage 2.0
$269.99 (includes base)
Britax doesn’t release what they make their “SafeWash” out of as it is proprietary, but they say it “uses a unique knit fabric construction (non-wool) and incorporates selective foam, harness straps, plastic, and metal parts – all of which are free of added FR (flame retardant) chemicals.” It is also machine washable for up to 30 washes. So you could essentially throw it in the wash 2+ times a month for the year they are in it and still have the technical properties. Personally, I have gotten away fine with vacuuming and spot cleaning mine. I have not washed it in my washing machine thus far, but I like that I have the option to. From what I can tell, they stopped allowing halogenated flame retardants on their products back in 2013. Non-halogenated flame retardants are considered nontoxic as they don’t emit VOCS, but alas still a chemical compound. Britax introduced the SafeWash fabric back in 2019 as a step up from that / making further strides against the chemical usage, plus allowing for washing.
4lbs - 35lbs
32” length maximum
Rear Facing Only
Carrier weight: 11.6 lbs
Base weight: 9 lbs
Infant Car Seat Dimensions: 26.6" x 17.9" 25.9"
UPF 50 Canopy
Expires in 6 years, 1 year warranty
It fits with any Britax stroller to complete their travel system, as well as others with adaptors like Contours Elite V2 Tandem stroller that I have and those from Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, and Cybex.
Convertible Car Seat Option: Britax® Advocate ClickTight® SafeWash™ Convertible Car Seat in Otto
This was my top contender initially because I wanted to use their convertible car seat with their “Infant thingy” before I realized that meant I couldn’t put their car seats in a stroller. This is the priciest model I list, but it does boast a nice product. One of the main pros with this seat is that it is less than 17” (16.9” to be exact) and can fit three across. Narrow frame car seats are a bit of a niche item, so if you need that, this could be the one for you. Note that all Liing models are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, while the mammoth collection (linked above) is the only set of products that are free of any added flame retardants. There is only a $30 difference between the Liing in Mammoth versus non-Mammoth Liing, so well worth the upgrade in my opinion. A callout that is vastly different than the other car seats listed in this section is that this one has a UPF 100 canopy whereas all of the other options are UPF 50. Not sure it makes a huge difference, just like SPF 50 isn’t that different than SPF 100, but I thought I’d mention it. The expiration is extra long too! All of their seats are made in America and have certifications of Greenguard Gold and Oeko-Tex.
$489.99 (includes base)
70% Merino Wool / 30% Tencel (spot clean or hand wash only)
4lbs - 35lbs
32” length maximum
Rear Facing Only
Carrier weight: 9 lbs
Base weight: 17 lbs
Infant Car Seat Dimensions: 23” x 16.9” x 26.8”
UPF 100 canopy
Expires in 9 years, 1 year warranty
Another reason I liked this model is because it would have fit in my favorite stroller - our Bumbleride Indie Twin. It also fits in Thule, Donkey, Uppa, and more.
Convertible Car Seat Option: Clek Foonf Mammoth
This car seat caught my attention as it is the lightest of the bunch. Carrying two babies is already heavy, adding a heavy car seat x2 on top of that is a lot. So yes it is the lightest, but it also has the smallest weight limit. Sure it is only 3lbs of difference, but I wanted to note that. The length max is the same across all of the seats listed here. For about $50 you can “upgrade” for different fabrics in the Nuna Pipa, but I don’t know that it is worth it to me. The upgrade is only about .3 lbs lighter. If you truly want a lighter option, the Nuna Pipa Lite may be for you, but note that you cannot use it without a base. Since we travel and don’t want to lug around a base, the Lite was a concern and off the table. The Nuna Pipa Lite weighs in at only 5.3 - 5.7 lbs (!!), but the regular Nuna is only 7.6-7.9 lbs which is already so light. The Lite version is composed of merino wool and Tencel and is spot clean only, whereas you can wash the pieces of the regular Pipa. They have achieved certifications for Greenguard Gold and use of GOTS organic cotton, in addition to meeting European REACH standards for reduced chemical inputs and use.
Birch, Caviar, Frost, Granite
$319.95 (includes base)
Premium Micro Knit (machine washable!)
4lbs - 32 lbs
32” length maximum
Rear Facing Only
Carrier Weight: 7.9 lbs
Base Weight: 14 lbs
Infant Car Seat Dimensions: 26.5” x 17” x 22.6”
UPF 50 Canopy
This seat obviously works with the Nuna strollers and with several more like Baby Jogger, Bugaboo, Uppa, Thule, and more. The regular Pipa model does not work with the Bumbleride Indie Twin stroller, but the Pipa Lite version does.
Convertible Car Seat Option: Nuna Rava Convertible Car Seat
I didn’t mention a couple brands that currently non-toxic spectrum car seats. At the time of my initial research it wasn’t completely clear, but when I was researching for this post, it appears Maxi-Cosi and Chicco now offer some flame retardant free options as well. Your options for these brands are the Mico Max Plus Infant Car Seat with PureCosi and the Chicco KeyFit 35 ClearTex Infant Car Seat. Newer brands like Orbit Baby, Bugaboo, and Stokke (the last 2 are produced by Nuna) also seem to offer their entire lines without flame retardants, including their infant seat options.
Which car seat did we go with for our twins?
Ultimately we went with Britax B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit Infant Car Seat in SafeWash.
I like the fact that they are made in American and their main focus is safety. The amount of tests they run is really soothing to me, as I don’t want to have to worry about those crash tests and such - I have enough on my mind already. They truly do their due diligence!
Their car seats are well made. They have held up and traveled well so well!. Thankfully you don’t have to use a base, which comes in clutch for travel. For the record, they have gone with us on 14 flights and 8 road trips and even more car rides. They are so easy to install too! Britax features a (red) level so you know you have properly installed it - no guesswork there. The exclusive SafeCenter LATCH makes it easy with only 3 steps to install the base. If you go without the base, it is no sweat there either. It has a European belt guide which not only makes it quick, but gives it extra stability.
The car seat keeps your baby stable as they grow as well. There are 6 different positions, plus adjustments that can be made to keep up with their growing bodies. I spoke to other mothers who had issues with their car seats and contributing to flattening of heads, but we have the twins in the car seats a lot and saw no issues.
It is the heaviest option that I list here, but that is because of its steel frame, which is steel for a reason… safety.
And one of the best parts? It helps that they don’t break the bank, especially when purchasing two! We are very happy with our decision to go with Britax for our infant car seats and highly recommend them.
What about strollers?
Single strollers are one thing, but narrowing down to double strollers is another. It ultimately makes or breaks your carseat decision, so keep what you want in mind. You may need to decide if you prefer tandem or side by side. We actually have both, but our favorite is the side by side. I like having them next to each other, as there are no fights about who is in the front. Additionally, it feels safer to have them both next to me versus stacked. A lot of double strollers are made for kids of different stages and don’t really consider twins. These are mostly tandem options, ie the Uppa Baby Vista Stroller. Nick wanted that one so badly. Whenever he saw an Uppa stroller, he wanted to go up to them and ask how they liked it. I told him he could, but their opinion didn’t really translate unless they had twins.
I will have a post reviewing our strollers, but I wanted to mention them here for basics and car seat purposes.
Bumbleride Indie Twin Stroller. We love this one as it is side by side and drive so smoothly thanks to air tires. They literally can’t keep this stroller in stock and we understand why because it is our favorite! The only sad part is that it doesn’t fit our Britax car seats. It does fit the Clek Liing and Nuna Pipa though. The stroller is the same width as that of a wheelchair, so if the location is ADA compliant (like they should be), you won’t have any issues fitting throughout the area.
Contours V2 Options Elite Double Stroller. This is the stroller we were given and made it possible to glide around in our car seats. We had to buy two sets of adaptors. We keep this one in our car and the other in our house to use for neighborhood walks. It fits not only Britax car seats, but Chicco, Maxi-Cosi, and Nuna.
Baby Trend Double Snap-N-Go. I wanted to mention this stroller frame as it came highly recommended. It is advertised as universal, but as of 2021 isn’t considered a good fit for all car seats anymore. It’s great because it is just a stroller frame and you can clip infant car seats in. It works with the Uppa Baby Mesa, but that’s the only one that I list on this page that works with it. You’ll only use this for the first year / until they outgrow their infant car seats. A similar option is the Joovy Twin Roo. I cannot speak to it myself, but have heard that the Snap-N-Go is better. The Joovy Twin Roo works with Britax, Chicco, and Maxi-Cosi. Reminder that adaptors are sold separately.
Britax B-Free Single Stroller. To be honest, we haven’t used a single stroller, but it was recommended to have one just in case, so this is the one we have. It fits with the Britax car seats, as well as some Maxi-Cosi and Nuna with adaptors.
Car Seat Tips
Branded Accessories. It is tempting to get off-brand items as it may be cheaper, but this isn’t the best option in all cases, specifically in your car. For example, if you’re going to get Britax car seats and want the mirrors for your backseat head rests / rear facing car seats, you need to get the Britax branded mirrors. These are the mirrors that the car seat was crash tested with and are therefore the safest option. We have these Britax Baby Mirrors.
Research via brand websites. You may purchase the car seats from a different retailer, but I would look for specs and such on the brand’s own website. Retailers tend to round numbers here and there, so checking the official website will give you the most accurate read.
Check recalls and expirations. Keeping car seats for other kids or gifting? Check the dates. There are always new studies and testes coming out. On this same note, be very diligent if you are getting a hand me down from some one. Be sure you know that it wasn’t involved in a wreck and was care for well.
Clean regularly. These boast the ability to be washed in the washing machine, but to be honest we haven’t done that. We wipe them down and vacuum them out when necessary.
Car seat toys. We keep our car seats separate for each twin. In theory we don’t mind sharing, but they are different sizes and their own people. We notate each seat by a (stroller) toy so we don’t have to adjust every single time we use. Of course they need to be adjusted with growth, but this doesn’t occur every single use. Our favorite toys are the JellyCat Jitter Stroller toys. We have the sunflower and the avocado though the avocado one seems to be sold out everywhere. Initially we had Odell the Octopus for Olive instead of the sunflower, but it was a rattle. They both enjoyed the ability to pull the toy and feel / watch it jiggle back to its initial spot atop the car seat handle. It keeps them playing and happy and at the very least distracts them in the car until we are able to pull over to address their issue.
Learn about Trade in Programs. Need to get rid of an old seat because it expired, but still need to use a seat? Try Target! Target offers you 20% off a new car seat, stroller, or select other baby gear. Walmart also one and offer you a $30 gift card in exchange. This is a better option if you aren’t in need of another car seat.
Coming home from the hospital? You can have certified specialists check to make sure that the car seats are correctly placed, but it doesn’t end there! Don’t just make sure that your car seats are properly installed… make sure you know how to use them and adjust the straps. We had our seats ready to go, but struggled to adjust the straps as the babies were so little. I was sweating from hormones and Nick was sweating trying to adjust the straps while taking up lane space at the front of the hospital. I carried them out / we didn’t bring the car seats in. Practice adjusting the straps beforehand so you can just head straight home, no issues!
I shared this post to provide education. The more you know!! It was not intended to scare or make you feel less if you cannot afford a “cleaner” option. Do what you can and if you can’t opt for one with less toxins, perhaps try to clean your car seat regularly to catch any traces of flame retardant that have shed naturally. Just do the best you can! All car seats are required to meet federal safety standards and though this doesn’t include FR, it does include everyday usage and crashes.
The truth is you can’t go 100% toxin free in this world, but you can make decisions to lessen the amount of chemicals and harmful substances you expose your kids to. By opting for less toxins, you are also voting with your dollar to keep your waterways and environment just a little bit cleaner and safer. Toxins often produce run-off which can affect all of us, from food to drink. Let’s promote and support brands that are doing their part while keeping our kids and their world a little safer too.
P.S. We kind of put the cart before the horse and had already picked our car seats before choosing a stroller. While it is probably better to choose these simultaneously, I’m not upset about our decision. Since we live in an apartment and stairs and garages are involved, it is really convenient to keep a stroller in our car and in our house. I can also truly speak to the tandem versus side by side debate and give valuable input since I have and still use both. Hint: #TeamSidebySide Stay tuned for a stroller blog post. Coming soon!
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