There are a million decisions to make before the baby comes; it can get very overwhelming. From nursery decor to essentials, to care. It is so much! I’m the type of person that does a ton of research on every little thing. Even when choosing what to eat at a restaurant, I’ll look at the menu days ahead of time! When we were looking for a car seat, I spent hours researching. Should we get a convertible car seat or an infant car seat? There are so many options and pros and cons to each. For first time parents, it is hard to sort through all of the clutter.
After our research, we decided on the nuna PIPA infant car seat. Now that we are ending our usage with the PIPA, I feel like we made the absolute best decision. I can’t say enough great things about it! Before I dive into my thoughts on the nuna PIPA, I wanted to provide some information on why we decided to start with an infant car seat versus a convertible one. Feel free to skip this part if you have already decided and need more insight into the PIPA!
Convertible car seat vs. infant
The main difference between a convertible car seat and an infant car seat is the mobility due to the way they install. The convertible car seat is more of a permanent set up in the car, while the infant car seat attaches to a base and can be taken in and out of the vehicle. In my opinion, the convertible car seat is more valuable when your baby gets older. In the newborn weeks and infant months, especially if you plan to be on the go with baby, an infant car seat tends to be much easier to handle. For one, if your child falls asleep in the infant car seat, you can clip the car seat out and take it with you, even attaching to a stroller. Since the convertible car seat is a more permanent set up, you will not be able to take the seat in and out quickly. It is made to stay installed, which means you would need to remove the baby from the seat. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is in the first few months when baby falls asleep often.
On the other hand, depending on the option you select, many babies will typically hit either the weight or length restrictions by 9-12 months, which makes the infant car seat an added cost. With a convertible car seat, you can use it in the early months as a rear-facing seat and then convert into a front-facing and even booster seat (for some) as the baby gets older.
With this all being said, I still highly recommend starting with an infant car seat. It is so much easier to carry the infant seat in for doctor’s appointments, traveling, and frankly anything else. I love being able to easily unclip Elliott’s car seat and clip him into his stroller. We use the BabyZen YoYo and Bugaboo Cameleon strollers. However, there are attachments for both (YoYo adapter & Bugaboo attachment), as well as several brands (including UPPAbaby). Now onto the PIPA and why I think it is the best car seat on the market!
Why the PIPA?
Safety & weight
To start, the PIPA is one of the safest infant car seats on the market, per Consumer Reports who rate it a “best” for their crash-test rating. It is also one of the lightest infant seats available (besides the nuna PIPA Lite), coming in at 8 lbs.
If you aren’t already sold on the PIPA just on the safety and weight perks, the added features are amazing and unique! The PIPA is currently the only infant car seat in the US that can be installed without a base. Not only is this saving us a few hundred bucks at home since we don’t have to buy a new base for our 2nd car, but for traveling purposes, this is super convenient. The seat can easily be installed in taxis, ubers, rental cars, etc. All you have to do is install the seat using a seat belt. We traveled to Florida with our PIPA when Elliott was around four months old, and we had no issues setting up in ubers and our rental car. It didn’t take long to install and allowed us to travel with one less item (no base). The seat also meets FAA regulations for flying!
The nuna PIPA comes with what they call the “dream drape.” This is a mesh-like (breathable) cover that pulls down from the canopy to cover the car seat, much like a car seat cover, but this one is permanently attached to the canopy. The dream drape is AMAZING, and probably one of my favorite features! It is perfect for blocking out sun, wind, snow; you name it. We used it ALL the time on our trip to Florida, and I use it regularly while running errands, or going for walks. It was particularly useful when we wanted Elliott to nap. We would close the cover to block light, and he would instantly fall asleep. When the dream drape isn’t in use, you can fold it and zip it into the canopy.
Regular install and load leg
As I mentioned above, this is the only infant car seat in the US that can currently be installed without its base, so if you plan on traveling with baby, this is the perfect option. Otherwise, install with the base is also super straightforward; even I was able to figure it out. All you have to do is latch the base onto your back seats and level the adjustable front leg. Speaking of the leg, this is actually an additional safety piece where nuna has a “leg” up on competitors…pun intended. Per Consumer Reports, the “load leg” provides extra support from the seat base to the vehicle floor. When CR tested this, they found that car seats that included a load leg provided an additional margin of safety in a crash. Any added safety features sell me right away.
Generous weight limit
Another benefit to the PIPA is that car seats’ weight limit is more generous than some other options. As I mentioned above, many babies tend to outgrow their infant car seat within the first year; however, with the nuna PIPA, the weight limit is 32 lbs, and the height is 32 inches tall. Compared to another popular option, the Chicco KeyFit, which can only be used up to 22 lbs.
Overall, we loved our time with the PIPA, and I would highly recommend it! We’ve had zero issues with the install, set-up, or use. The only “downside” I’ve noticed in our 12 months of use is that Elliott does tend to get a bit warm in it. We live in Wisconsin, so we have mild summers, and I dress him fairly lightly. I may just have a sweaty baby, but his back does get a bit warm from time to time. Now that Elliott is 12 months old, we are moving onto a convertible car seat–the RAVA by nuna. Their products are top of the line and always highly rated for safety!
Let me know if you have any questions!