Lots of things are negotiable in the world of parenting: choosing a sleep sack, whether or not to cloth diaper, and so many more things. However, a nonnegotiable in every parenting journey is a car seat.
As with any baby product, there are seemingly endless choices, all boasting different bells and whistles. Fortunately, comparing car seats can be much easier than you might think. We’re here to help you break down the basics and choose the very best option for your family.
Some of our favorite infant car seats come from UPPAbaby, a reliable, safe, and aesthetically pleasing baby brand. UPPAbaby strollers and car seats are very high-quality and will last as long as your little one needs them and beyond. Our two favorite car seats from UPPAbaby are the MESA V2 Infant Car Seat and the MESA MAX Infant Car Seat.
What Should I look for in a Car Seat?
There are tons of things to consider when buying a car seat and UPPAbaby stroller.
We have narrowed it down to 5 main categories we think are most important:
Car Seat Safety is a Top Priority
Fortunately, industry standards are very strict, making just about every car seat on the market extremely safe for your child. If you’re buying a new car seat from a store, rest assured that it has passed dozens of safety tests, ensuring all seats will keep your little one safe.
However, some have some extra safety features that may be desirable to parents. For example, some have seatbelt lock systems if you have a mischievous little one who likes to unbuckle their seatbelt. There are also safety features that help determine if the seat is placed in the car correctly, making installation a no-brainer.
Both the MESA V2 and MESA MAX have extremely secure bases and can be installed using the European method. European installation refers to the ability to thread the seatbelt over and behind the seat, ensuring maximum safety and anti-rebound technology during a crash.
Comfort for Long Rides
In addition to safety, car seats have to be comfortable! After all, your precious little one will likely spend hours of their life in this seat. This is important for baby’s comfort and your sanity! If their seat is nice and cozy, they are more likely to enjoy car rides and avoid meltdowns.
Look for features like adjustable head and backrests for the comfort of your child. For parents, look for adjustable handlebars to accommodate all different heights. Another key comfort feature is canopies; make sure your seat has adjustable canopies in the front and back to protect baby from the sun. No one likes the bright sun in their eyes!
While both of these UPPAbaby car seats have great coverage, the MESA MAX has a bigger canopy than the MESA V2, making it easier to shield baby from the sun and from any unwelcome visitors.
With Car Seats, Convenience is Key
Something you use every single day must be easy to use and fuss-free. When you’re choosing a car seat, make sure you consider things like weight, dimensions, and base connectivity options. Researching these things ahead of time will make a world of difference.
Another important convenience piece to consider is cleaning. As much as everyone would like to avoid it, there are bound to be accidents of all kinds in the car. Whether you’re cleaning juice, crumbs, or bodily fluids, your car seat must be easy to clean. When learning about washing car seats, make sure to read the manual so as not to compromise any safety features of the seat.
Consider Car Seat Cost
Since car seats and strollers can be big-ticket items, comparing costs and establishing a budget is key to finding the right car seat for your family. Keep in mind that you might not necessarily need or want the fanciest car seat with all the bells and whistles.
Start by determining what features you cannot live without, then budget accordingly! For example, you might have to consider paying a little more if you’d like leather trim or wool interior. Also, think about what types of accessories you might want in the future!
Baby Gear - Looks Matter
If all goes well, you will have the same car seat for quite some time. Consider aesthetics and what is visually pleasing! You may want to prioritize a certain color to match your car’s interior, or you may desire a cute pattern that goes with your nursery.
Whether or not it’s your first priority, it’s totally okay to consider aesthetics when searching for a car seat. You will have to look at it every single day; it might as well be cute and stylish!
Both of our favorite UPPAbaby car seats are very aesthetically pleasing. The MESA MAX comes in five colors, whereas the MESA V2 comes in three. Two of the new colors for the MESA MAX feature Merino wool, which is a natural flame-retardant,
Our Favorite Car Seats
It’s important to know when to transition to a new seat or position with your child’s car seat. There are several types of car seats available that generally correspond to the size of your child, including:
- Booster seats
- Convertible car seats
- Infant car seats
Booster Seats for Older Children
You might be surprised by how long your child should be in a booster seat, but that just means it’s important to choose a good one! Comfort is key with a booster because little ones are a bit older and have more autonomy. If they think their seat is uncomfortable, they won’t be afraid to let you know!
Car Seats that Grow with Baby
Convertible car seats are a great option for many parents. Most can be used from infancy all the way up to a booster seat. However, convertible seats are generally less portable and are a little bulkier. If you don’t think you’ll need to use the seat as a carrier, this is a great option to use from the beginning!
Infant Car Seats and Carriers
One of the first, and therefore most important, decisions you’ll make as a parent is what type of infant car seat to buy. New parenthood is chaotic and messy, so you want to choose something that will make life a little easier. The UPPAbaby seats linked above fit the bill! The most notable thing about infant car seats is that they are designed for rear-facing setup.
The UPPAbaby MESA V2 seat and the MESA MAX seat have several similarities and differences, all of which should be considered when choosing the best seat for your family. Whether you end up choosing the MESA V2 or the MESA MAX, you can rest assured that UPPAbaby strollers and car seats will keep your little one safe, comfortable, and secure.
MESA V2 and MESA MAX Similarities
The seats for the MESA V2 and MESA MAX are both pretty light, weighing in at about 10 pounds each. They are both approved for infants up to 35 pounds or up to 32 inches in height, whichever comes first.
The bases of the two are not interchangeable. Many of the other specs of both the MESA V2 and the MESA MAX seats themselves are quite similar, with the major differences being in the car seat bases.
MESA V2 Infant Car Seat
The MESA V2 is an UPPAbaby classic that has been popular since its debut. The MESA V2 has a bit of a lower price point than the MESA MAX, making it a little more accessible for many families.
The MESA V2 has tons of safety features that will keep your little one safe in any situation, like extra padding and a superior headrest to keep baby secure - an improvement from the original MESA seat. Additionally, the base for the MESA V2 is slightly lighter and less expensive than that of the MESA MAX.
MESA MAX Car Seat
There are several improvements made to the MESA MAX that make it highly desirable as UPPAbaby’s newest and most impressive car seat. The MESA MAX has an upgraded headrest, and the infant insert can be used for a slightly longer period of time.
The biggest difference in the MESA V2 and the MESA MAX is in the base. The MESA MAX base features a steel load leg, a relatively new and very popular trend in infant car seat safety. While this is an excellent safety feature, it does make the MESA MAX base a little heavier.
Car Seat Installation
Another thing many people worry about when considering car seats is how to install them; but fear not! If your car is from 2003 or later, it has something called a LATCH system. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.
Federal law mandates that all cars now have the LATCH system, which is essentially just little rings that are attached to your seats that make connection a breeze. Most car seat bases have hooks that attach to the rings, and just like that, your seat is connected and ready to be secured!
The MESA V2 and the MESA MAX both come fully equipped with the LATCH system. While the LATCH system does make things exponentially easier, make sure to review instructions and adhere to all the safety guidelines of your car seat, UPPAbaby stroller, and your vehicle.
UPPAbaby Stroller Options
Whether you’re just trying to navigate the grocery store or looking to get more active as a parent, easy transportation is a must! Some parents choose wagons as their children age, but a good UPPAbaby stroller for your infant seat makes things so easy.
Fortunately, both the MESA V2 and the MESA MAX are compatible with several UPPAbaby strollers, though some require adapters. Though UPPAbaby does not make adapters to fit other stroller brands, other brands may have accessories that make your UPPAbaby seat compatible.
Accessories for UPPAbaby Strollers
Part of the fun of UPPAbaby strollers is all the accessories that are available! Some accessories are functional, some are for aesthetics, and some are both. All of the accessories outlined below are fully compatible with the MESA V2 and the MESA MAX.
Our favorite accessories for UPPAbaby strollers are:
- Knit UPPAbaby Stroller Blanket
- UPPAbaby Stroller CRUZ Piggyback V2
- VISTA UPPAbaby Stroller Wheel Reflectors
- UPPAbaby Stroller Travel Bag
- Organization Set for UPPAbaby Stroller
Keeping Baby Cozy with a Knit Stroller Blanket
We love this beautiful knit stroller blanket for two reasons: it’s warm and it’s safe! It’s important to remember that putting your child in a coat or thick clothing under their car seat straps is dangerous. Always dress your little one normally and rely on blankets to keep warm over the straps. This beauty does a great job!
Piggyback Stroller Attachment for Siblings
This accessory takes your UPPAbaby stroller to the next level by providing a spot for an older sibling! It attaches easily to the stroller and is perfect for young kiddos who want the independence of walking but might get tired quickly. This is the perfect accessory to help your UPPAbaby stroller last for many years.
Stroller Wheel Reflectors
This one may seem simple, but it makes a huge difference in the safety of parents trying to remain active. These wheel reflectors will ensure that you and your baby are visible to cars even in the low lighting of dusk or dawn. With these simple additions, you can focus on staying active, knowing your safety is not at risk.
Travel Bag for UPPAbaby Stroller
This one is a no-brainer! If you’re traveling or need to transport your UPPAbaby stroller, be sure to grab this travel bag. It makes a huge difference when traveling via airplane and takes the guesswork out of stroller storage. It also helps keep the back of your car clean from anything that could get on the wheels of the stroller!
UPPAbaby Stroller Organization Kit
We’re suckers for a good organization hack, and this set is the perfect one for your UPPAbaby stroller! It includes a cup holder, snack tray, and parent organizer. With these accessories, you will be the most organized parent on the block, and you’ll never have to search for your keys in the depths of a diaper bag again!
UPPAbaby is a pioneer in the stroller and car seat industry, and its MESA V2 and MESA MAX systems are both worthwhile and will keep your baby safe and happy. Whichever you choose, you can take comfort in the fact that UPPAbaby cares about your baby’s safety, as well as your peace of mind.