Is it worth buying an infant capsule?

If you’re expecting a little new arrival soon, you’ve probably discovered that there are endless decisions to make. Should you buy a capsule or go straight to a convertible car seat for one! Both options are equally safe, so is it worth buying a capsule?

A capsule is a rear facing restraint with an inbuilt harness, which is the legal requirement for babies under 6 months. Let’s look at the pros and cons of buying an infant capsule:

Pros of buying a capsule

  • A capsule can be easily removed from the car, and then carried, or attached to a compatible pram (you may need to also buy adaptors). This way you won’t need to disturb your sleeping bub (see warning below).
  • Once your baby outgrows the capsule (around six months), you only need to purchase a 6 month-8 years forward facing convertible car seat.
  • It allows you to buckle your baby in while you’re in the house before leaving, which is a huge advantage on days when it’s boiling hot or pouring rain outside.

Cons of buying a capsule

  • Capsules can only be used for around six months, or less, depending on the size of your baby.
  • If you’re buying the capsule, it can be a similar price as a convertible car seat that can be used from birth to four years.
  • They can be quite heavy to carry around as bub grows, so you may be reluctant to remove it from the car anyway.

What about hiring or purchasing a second-hand capsule?

If you do decide you’d like to go with the capsule, an option is to hire one for as long as you need to from your local council or baby hire company for a small charge, rather than purchasing one. Ensure the company conducts a safety check before hiring it out to you.

For used capsules, unless you know its full history, it’s best to buy a new one even if it looks undamaged. If you decide you’d rather purchase one second-hand, make sure that it is:

  • less than ten years old
  • has a sticker with the SAI Global logo, certified to standard AS/NZS 1754
  • comes with an instruction manual
  • has a working buckle and 5 point harness
  • doesn’t have fraying or broken straps/harness
  • has no cracks in the seat’s plastic shell
  • hasn’t been damaged in an accident

Warning about capsules and baby sleep

If your baby falls asleep in the capsule, never leave them unsupervised, or asleep for long periods. Car seats are not designed for safe sleep. Babies have suffocated from lack of airflow due to not being in a flat position. Read more here.

What’s the alternative to using a capsule?

You can use a convertible car seat (read about the different options here).


Waking a sleeping baby seems like a crime, particularly if they’re difficult to settle. Infant car capsules can be an incredibly convenient way to transport your newborn. Getting out of the house can be so challenging, so the capsule makes it easy to transfer your baby from house to car and back again without disturbing them.

Time goes quickly though, and before you know it, you’ll need to move onto the next appropriate restraint. So, the decision is whether you want to buy (or hire) a capsule and a car seat, or just a car seat. The choice is yours, it’s all down to what works best for you, your family, and your budget.