When I became a car seat technician 16 years ago, most infant car seats had a minimum weight limit of 5 lb. At that time, car seat technicians at hospitals across the country were advocating to lower infant car seat weight limits to accommodate their very small patients. At that time, medical advances were allowing premature and low birth weight infants to go home earlier, but new car seat technology was needed to catch up with the demands of the field. We began to see infant car seats adopt a 4 lb weight minimum to accommodate these smaller infants. Fast forward to today, and a 4 lb minimum weight is generally standard for an infant car seat.
So here we are, 16 years later, and medicine continues to advance. Today, it is not uncommon for some babies to be ready to go home even before they hit 4 lb. However, just like 16 years ago, there are not many options available regarding safe transportation for an infant weighing less than 4 lb.
Earlier this year, Evenflo launched an exciting new infant car seat: the Evenflo® Shyft™ DualRide™ Infant Car Seat Stroller Combo. It is a notable addition to our infant car seat lineup for many reasons. One reason being it isn’t JUST an infant car seat, it’s also a stroller — at the same time!
In my world of safety advocacy, the most important part of the Shyft DualRide may not be as obvious. I have the privilege of working with car seat technicians across the country. Many of these technicians are based out of health care facilities, and we have again been hearing from these car seat professionals about the need for a safe transportation option for the very small infants in their care.
From the beginning of the DualRide project, we wanted to accommodate this need for our hospital partners and parents. We felt that providing a safe transportation option for premature or low birth weight infants was imperative. From the very first concept sample, we worked closely with hospital partners and some very sweet, very tiny volunteers, to test the fit of this car seat stroller combination.
While it doesn’t sound or look on paper like there is a big difference between 3 lb and 4 lb, in the world of child development, it is quite a distinction. From our perspective, to fit the dimensions of this smaller 3 lb infant, we needed to make sure our harness slots were appropriately positioned to fit their shoulder height. We needed to work with our soft goods design team to create an infant insert that would assist in optimizing the positioning of a child of this size. Lastly, we needed to make sure that the harness webbing could be snugged up and secured tightly around their smaller body dimensions. I am thrilled to see the 3 lb minimum weight limit on this new infant car seat.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the car seat technicians that work tirelessly to advocate for the needs of all child occupants — big and small. We would especially like to thank the techs and families who worked with us as we developed the Shyft DualRide, so that future tiny infants have another option for safe transportation. At Evenflo, we are committed to continuing to do our part to ensure that all infants and children can travel safely.