What features do you expect in the top-rated car seats for infants?
The compatibility with a stroller, or the one with a long-lasting rear-facing for toddlers?
No matter what you prefer in the best option, you can always find a suitable car seat for infants from newborn babies to 12 months toddlers, boys or girls.
We’ve reviewed all of the top car seats for infants so you can skip trawling the web for hours on end. All the information you need is right here.
Infants younger than 1-2 years old should stay rear-facing for safety consideration. To make it simple, we’ve split the car seats into three simple groups based on the car seat types that allows installation in a rear-facing position:
- Infant Car Seats (up to 35 lb./32”)
- Convertible Car Seats (up to 50 lb./43”)
- All-in-one Car Seats (up to 50 lb./ 49”)
Within each category, you’ll find a selection of car seats organized by the increments of weight and height limits.
Choose the weight/height range you’re looking for to narrow down the car seat options and see which comes out as the best in the category.
All the car seats listed have been carefully considered, thoroughly reviewed, and compared against our database of 50+ car seats.
Particular focus has been placed on weight and height limits, safety ratings, extendable use, the durability of the car seats, and how comfortable they are to stay for the little passengers.
Best Car Seats for Infants
If you plan on buying a car seat with a higher rear-facing weight limit then your best option is to read my reviews of the convertible and all-in-one car seats. Those in the other categories are better suited to small infants with a low weight limit with no exception in the infant car seats and the travel system.
If you want to dive straight in you can see my top choices for one year old in car seat category below:
Infant Car Seat
Chicco KeyFit 30
Convertible Car Seat
All-in-one Car Seat
Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1
Rear Facing Infant Car Seats for 1 Year Old
1. Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
Chicco KeyFit 30
Award: Best Infant Car Seat for Premature Babies
For newborn infants, we’ve identified the Chicco KeyFit 30 as the best bet.
While it has an affordable price of under $200, this car seat has some excellent features that won’t disappoint you, especially if you have a compact car without much space for a car seat.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 is also the best car seat recommended for premature newborns.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 can be used for babies who are weighing from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30 inches in height.
The upper weight and height limits will last at least for infants 6 months or older up to 1 year old.
The 4-pounds minimum weight limit of this infant car safety seat makes it perfect to fit preemies, without sacrificing the car seat’s safety and comfort.
It’s also the best recommendation by many neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses for premature babies.
To make the little stay comfortable in the car seat, the Chicco KeyFit 30 includes a removable infant head and body insert.
For premature or smaller babies, the infant insert for the car seat offers extra support and keeps them secure. As they grow large enough, the insert is removable.
There is also an adjustable and removable canopy that can provide shade from the sun when taking the little outside in the infant car seat or attaching it to a stroller.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 comes with many excellent features to be the easiest-to-install infant car seat so that first-time parents will place it in the vehicle simply, properly, and securely.
A ReclineSure leveling foot and two RideRight bubble level indicators help you to set up the car seat at a proper angle.
The base included in the seat is equipped with LATCH connectors and a SuperCinch tightener, ensuring a secure fit in the cars.
All the car seats are required to pass the crash testing before going to the market, so does the Chicco KeyFit 30.
It also meets the Federal Safety standards and offers extra side impact protection by the EPS energy-absorbing foam carrier shell. The five-point harness with one-pull tightening gives more support to keep the baby secure in the cars.
The KeyFit 30 is a lightweight infant car seat, making it very portable and easy to switch between cars.
It’s recommended to get multiple bases that are compatible with the KeyFit 30 in different family cars so that you don’t need to purchase several baby car seats.
The 2-position carrying handle gives you a comfortable grip when you take the carrier out of the car. The carrier weighs only 9.5 pounds and is compatible with Chicco strollers for travel system use.
This car seat is FAA-approved for air travel. So if you’re a frequent-flyer family and like to take babies for traveling in different cities or countries, this KeyFit 30 can serve the dual purpose of keeping your baby safe in the car and in the air.
The KeyFit 30 is made of machine-washable fabrics that can be removed separately into the washer with cold water for cleaning, but not use bleach.
The plastics and hardware may be sponge cleaned using warm water and mild soap and dried with a towel, while the harness is not machine washable and can only be cleaned using warm water and mild soap.
Chicco KeyFit 30 vs KeyFit 30 Zip vs KeyFit 30 Zip Air
- Newborn Positioner
- Machine-washable fabrics
- Large canopy
KeyFit 30 Zip
- Newborn positioner
- Machine-washable fabrics
- Quick-remove seat pad
- Cozy all-season boot
- Premium zipper features
KeyFit 30 Zip Air
- Reversible newborn positioner
- Machine-washable fabrics
- Quick-remove seat pad
- Cozy all-season boot
- Premium zipper accents
- 3D AirMesh breathable backrest
2. Doona Car Seat & Stroller
Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller
The Doona is, pound-for-pound, the ultimate portable infant car seat and stroller. It maintains an infant car seat’s stellar reputation and has a convenient foldable design alongside a flexible handle. The Doona car seat is a feat in car seat engineering and as a result, there are no other car seats that can compete with its blend of portability and practical design. It’s not the cheapest, but the quality and longevity are well worth the price tag.
Doona Infant and Stroller is the world’s first 2-in-1 infant car seat and stroller in one to work as a complete and fully integrated travel system without an additional stroller.
The car seat itself is an infant car seat and stroller combo that was designed to deliver a safe and practical solution for fitting newborns and babies, both in and outside of the vehicle.
This infant car seat features a unique design with foldable wheels, allowing parents to move from car seat to stroller in seconds. It’s the only car seat with integrated wheels on the market.
This means that you don’t need to take an additional stroller no matter where you plan to go, on public transition, in the taxi/uber, or having a chat with friends in the cafeteria.
Doona is also the best car seat for travel. It not only can be easily installed in your own vehicle for family travel but also allows for a simple installation in the taxi and uber cars.
Plus, it’s approved for aircraft use, making it one of the best car seats for air travel, as long as your baby does not outgrow its height or weight limits.
The unique hybrid functionality does not affect its safety. The Doona has been tested to meet the strictest US standards for car seats, strollers, and hand-held carriers.
The car seat is also made of baby-safe materials that are free of hazardous chemicals and are carefully tested and approved under the strictest European standards and the REACH regulation, including SVHC (Substances of Very High Concern).
Doona combines functionality and quality into one. The company positioned it as a high-end car seat and manufactured it with the highest level textiles for the longest durability and best quality, assuring the safety and continued use of the product.
The textiles are breathable, removable, and washable to provide the best comfort for your babies.
Doona comes with a unique double-wall structure that enables the folding of the wheels into the body and offers a significant safety benefit.
The two layers of durable, impact-absorbing plastic, along with additional layers of EPS, foam, and textiles provide enhanced side-impact protection.
3. 2018 UPPAbaby MESA
The most entry-level infant car seat from the UPPABaby range, the MESA is ideal for busy parents who need a car seat to match their fast-paced life. Boasting of extremely easy installation with a visual indicator and included infant insert for preemies, it’s ideal if you have enough budget and need something with plenty of padding for comfort and protection.
If you want to ride your baby in a stylish car seat, the UPPAbaby Mesa won’t disappoint you.
It features a sleek design and is made of look-premium fabrics, making the UPPAbaby Mesa one of the few high-end infant car seats, like the Primo Viaggio, both in price and features.
As a premium newborn car seat with a beautiful design and look, the UPPAbaby Mesa is not a budget item and costs almost $300, with which you can even purchase a great convertible car seat for longer use.
However, it is still a good option with some excellent safety and convenience features, if the budget is not your major concern.
Like many baby car seats, the UPPAbaby Mesa can securely fit newborns as small as 4 pounds, thanks to the included infant insert which provides a flatter and safer riding position for preemies and small newborns 4-8 lbs.
As babies grow, the MESA supports to accommodate children as large as 35 pounds or 32 inches in height. In other words, you’ll be able to use this seat for your baby until he or she is 15 to 21 months old, according to average growth rates.
If your little grows faster than others, this car seat can also be used for younger tall babies anyway.
Like all car seats on the market, the UPPAbaby Mesa meets or exceeds federal safety requirements.
This car seat also features side impact protection, which is incorporated into the shell construction and EPP foam-constructed wings, keeping your child’s head stationary, reducing the forces, and minimizing head trauma and whiplash in any event of a collision.
The adjustable headrest offers extra protection and can be moved up as your child grows.
Most infant car seats use the LATCH connectors for simple, fast, accurate installation, as does UPPAbaby MESA.
It’s even easier to set up MESA car seats in the vehicles, thanks to the unique tightness indicator that helps to assure you that the seat is installed correctly by turning from red to green.
To keep your little cool and comfortable in the seat, the UPPAbaby MESA is made of soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking fabrics that are machine washable for practical use.
The canopy is large enough to protect babies from the sun when you attach the seat to a stroller for outside walking.
However, some customers complain about the canopy that could be stained in the rain. This is the biggest disadvantage of the MESA as it can’t hold for all weather conditions.
This car seat is compatible with only two types of strollers coming from the same UPPAbaby company – VISTA, and CRUZ. Better less than none.
If you want a car seat with more compatible stroller options, you might want to consider the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio.
The car seat is also FAA-certified for airplane usage. Considering its weight at about 9.9 pounds, the UPPAbaby MESA is quite acceptable for air travel and you can easily take it to the airport.
4. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Car Seat
Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Car Seat
The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 combines style and practicality to produce an infant car seat that is not only protective and comfortable to ride but also affordable. It is the best entry level scooter and comes out on top for ride quality, safety, protection, and weight and height limits against all infant car seats under $200. If you’lre looking for a compact option that is lightweight and available for air travel, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 is the winner.
If you’re a frequent-flyer family and love traveling around the world even after you have a kid, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 might be a great choice.
Weighing at only 7.5 pounds, this lightweight car seat makes it easy for you to carry a baby from car to stroller and everywhere in between.
This car seat is also FAA-certified to be used in the aircraft, meaning that you can even use it for air travel with your tiny through different cities.
The Graco SnugRide SnogLock 35 is a rear-facing car seat for newborn infants as small as 4 pounds. Thanks to the 5-point, front-adjust harness, this car seat will still give small babies a secure and snug fit until he or she outgrows the baby car seat by reaching the top weight limit of 35 pounds or a height limit of 35 inches.
From its weight or height limit, you’ll know that the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 is not good for tall babies who grow beyond the average growth rate.
But Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 is still a safe infant car seat, going through rigorous crash testing, meets or exceeds the US safety standards FMVSS 213.
Featuring side impact protection, along with the EPS energy-absorbing foam, this car seat offers great protection for your little in case any crash happens.
Like all newborn infant car seats, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 also provides shade and sun protection for your baby with a canopy, which is rotatable for more space when you need to carry the handle.
This car seat is compatible with all Graco Click Connect strollers, thanks to the Click Connect technology, with which you can easily attach the seat to strollers in one step for a customized travel system that best fits your lifestyle.
The seat cushion is machine washable and you can simply remove it for cleaning. For the metal and plastic parts, you can clean them with mild soap and water, but for a buckle, you’d better use a damp cloth for cleaning.
Convertible Car Seats for Infants 6 Months
1. Graco Extend2Fit
Award: Best Convertible Car Seat for Longer Rear-facing
*RF=Rear Facing; FF=Forward Facing
The Graco’s Extend2Fit was designed with a top weight limit of 50 pounds in a rear-facing harness, perfectly to keep infants safely riding rear-facing for a longer period of time.
Even toddlers around 2-3 years old could stay in this car seat rear-facing.
More than a higher weight limit, the Graco Extend2Fit also features a 4-position extension panel that provides up to 5-inch of extra legroom in rear-facing, while the height limit is still as good as other convertible car seats for infants – up to 32-inch.
Thanks to the 50 lb rear-facing weight limit and adjustable extension panel, this convertible car seat is able to ride an infant in rear-facing as long as possible, until they’re ready to turn front-facing.
The seat combines long-term use and safety into one. More than the longer stay in rear-facing, the long-term also means durability.
Made of reinforced steel, the frame delivers strength for safety and durability for 10 years of use, since the manufacturer’s date.
Pro tip: The real usage of a car seat should be shorter than the lifespan that the manufacturer stated because the car seat was generally on sale on the market after several months since it was manufactured in the factory.
So carefully check the label in the car seat manual to make sure it’s not expired.
The Extend2Fit convertible car seat for infants is Graco ProtectPlus Engineered to help protect the little passenger in frontal, side, rear, and rollover crashes.
It meets or exceeds a few basic and strict crash tests, like the US FMVSS 213 standards, European Rear-Impact Crash Pulse, and its own RollSafe testing standard based on European rollover testing procedure.
Installation can be easily finished. The InRight LATCH, along with an easy-to-read level indicator on the top side, provides an easy and one-second attachment with an audible click to help ensure a proper and secure installation.
This convertible car seat for infants was designed to go along with your child’s growth. The car seat insert add-ons included help to keep your infant feeling cradled and comfortable.
It’s removable when your child is big enough to stay in the car seat steadily and safely without additional help. It features a 6-position recline and 10-position headrest height that allow you to find the best fit for a growing child.
The Extend2Fit convertible car seat for infants is friendly for traveling with a child, no matter in a vehicle or on an airplane. It’s FAA approved for aircraft use and can be installed with the seat belt on the plane.
2. Chicco NextFit Zip
Chicco NextFit Zip
The Chicco NextFit Zip is one of the best convertible car seats for infants. It has a very high length limit – up to 43 inches tall, to allow them to stay rear-facing for a longer time, up to 2 years of age or older.
This is very different from the Graco Extens2Fit’s extendable length.
Designed for newborns and preschoolers, the Chicco NextFit Zip is able to accommodate infants between 5-40 pounds in rear-facing and big kids below 65 pounds in forward-facing.
The 65-pound is a common weight limit for 99 percent of convertible car seats, except the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max, which comes with the highest weight limit of 85-pounds in a 5-point harness. (PS. The Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max was just recalled by the company and is not available now on the market.)
This car seat is very friendly for growing infants. It includes a newborn positioner that is removable when your kid can stay steadily in the car seat by themselves.
The 9-position ReclineSure leveling system and 9-position adjustable headrest allow you to find a comfortable fit for a growing child.
It’s also friendly-designed for parents, providing additional support for them to install the car seat properly and securely.
The SuperCinch LATCH tightened (Pull 2nd) is good to install the car seat tightly in both rear- and front-facing, while the LockSure seat belt locking system helps to lock and secure the installation.
With the one-pull harness tightener, you can easily adjust the harness’s tightness and looseness to perfectly fit your child in seconds.
Another appealing point for parents is the zip-and-wash design. You won’t have much time and energy to wash the seat pad by hand, so whether the car seat is easily taken off or machine washable is important for busy parents.
Even the CupFolder is dishwasher-safe for faster cleaning with a machine without by hand.
The Chicco NextFit Zip is certified for use on aircraft. Contact the airline prior to travel to discuss their Child Restraint policy before you take it on board every time.
3. Britax Marathon ClickTight
Britax Marathon ClickTight
The Britax Marathon ClickTight might have the highest height limit for riding an infant in rear-facing among the convertible car seats.
It boasts of the same height limit for both rear- and forward-facing, up to 49 inches tall.
However, you should pay attention to its weight limit this time. Children ride in the rear-facing safer and it’s recommended to use the car seat until they exceed the highest weight or height limits.
But you should also transfer the car seat from the rear-facing to forward-facing on time. For Britax Marathon, the 40-lb is the maximum weight limit in rear-facing for riding an infant.
40-pound is not the best performance for fitting an infant in rear-facing, especially compared to those car seats for infants with a 50-lb rear-facing weight limit, but you should be still impressed with Britax Marathon.
The ClickTight word in every model means a lot. It’s a patented click tight with three simple steps to find the seat belt through for an easy and safe installation. The V-shaped tether adds confidence to install the car seat tightly and securely.
Proper installation is the first step to ensure your child’s safety in a child restraint system.
The Britax’s Marathon car seat for infants features a high-strength steel frame to reinforce the seat structure for a stable fit, while the crumple zone provided by the SafeCell helps absorb crash energy to keep your child safe.
This car seat is also FAA approved for air travel, but you should take it as a second consideration for its heady-duty body.
That’s the common drawback for all convertible car seats – bulky and heavy, not easy to carry them from home to the airport. If you like to fly a lot with your growing kids, finding a car seat that is suitable for air travel is a good idea.
All-in-one Car Seats for Infants Between 6 Months to 1 Year Old
1. Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1
Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1
Award: Best All-in-one Car Seat with 4 Modes
If you want to save money and get an all-in-one car seat for infants, you should not miss this Graco 4Ever DLX.
It is a superstar to ride your child going through all the three stages – rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster (high back and backless) until they’re big enough to wear the vehicle seat belt for safety.
This car seat can be installed rear-facing to ride newborns as little as 4 pounds, even preemies.
Infants are fragile and weak to hold their heads in the car seat. The included plush head and body inserts provide additional support for small babies and help to keep your infant feeling cradled and comfortable in this child safety seat.
The 6-position reclines, with three of them rear-facing, allow you to find a perfect fit through their growth, newborns, infants, toddlers, and big kids.
The top weight limit in rear-facing is only 40 pounds, making the Graco 4Ever DLX less appealing to those car seats with higher weight limits.
But it’s still good enough to keep the infant rear-facing at the second birthday. If you’re living in states that require a child to ride rear-facing as long as 2 years old, it’s a good option.
Getting the infants in and out of the car seat can be a challenge, especially in the rear-facing position. There is not much space between the car seat and the back seat.
The Graco 4Ever DLX features rubberized fuss-free harness storage for a no-slip grip to get your child in and out easily.
This all-in-one car seat supports smooth transitions to forward-facing as the infants approach the weight limit of 40 pounds in rear-facing.
In the front-position mode, Graco 4Ever DLX is brilliant to ride a child from 22-pound to 120-pound in three modes: forward-facing 5-point harness, high-back booster, and backless booster.
Even if you follow the guides and advanced tips to ride the infants in rear-facing until its 40 pounds weight limit, it still goes for a long time for a child from 40 pounds to 120 pounds.
To achieve this long-term use, the company made this car seat frame with reinforced steel for durability up to 10 years.
Here needs your attention: the 10-year lifespan started from the car seat’s manufacture date, so the real use should be shorter than the lifespan the company and car seat boast of.
The manufacture date can be found in the label on the car seat so that you can easily count down the remaining service life.
Kids should stay safely in the car seat. The 4Ever DLX might be one of the safest car seats for infants. It’s Graco ProtectPlus Engineered to help protect the littles from the frontal, rear, side, and rollover crashes.
The ProductPlus is the company’s unique system and says that the car seat meets or exceeds a series of rigorous crash tests, including US standard FMVSS 213, side-impact tests with a 5-point harness system (and high back belt-positioning modes in this car seat), rear-impact tests based on European Rear-Impact Crash Pulse.
Some high-end models have this feature, you’ll see the car seat is ProductPlus Engineered. But this does not mean other Graco car seats are not good.
Actually, as a traditional manufacturer with dozens of years of experience, Graco has a few patented extraordinary functions to make sure the little riders’ safety.
Easy installation can add extra scores to the car seat performance. More than the default included InRight LATCH, the 4Ever DLX upgraded with an integrated belt lock-off feature to make it easy to install with the vehicle’s seat belt. No tangle and wobble!
Riding comfortably is also important to your little one, after all, they’ll spend years in the car seat. The breathable cushioned seat pad is made of machine-washable fabrics, along with the RapidRemove feature, you don’t need to be panicked about the littles messing the car seat up.
The RapidRemove is a new and upgraded feature for the Graco 4Ever DLX to connect the cover and seat with snaps that allow the easy pull of the cover for washing in a few seconds. This is more convenient and easier compared to those Graco car seats without this feature.
Talking to the removable cover, the Chicco NextFit Zip series should have their names. They feature a zip-off design to pull off the cover with a zipper in seconds.
2. Diono 2020 Radian 3R
Diono 2020 Radian 3R
The Diono Radian 3R is able to fit newborns starting from 5 pounds to up to 50 pounds in rear-facing, making it the best car seat for infants.
Riding in rear-facing is safer and the 50-pound weight limit allows the littles to stay in the car seat in rear-facing for as long as possible up to 4 years of toddlers with an average weight.
Even big kids who grew faster than their peers can ride in rear-facing in their 2-3 years old in this Radian 3R car seat, which is a great option in those US states that require infants under 2 years old should ride in rear-facing.
The car seat has only one height limit throughout its three-stage use – up to 57 inches. So the infant’s weight is the only thing you should consider when it’s a good time to transition the car seat from rear-facing to forward-facing as the infants grow.
As one of the members of the Radian R series, the Radian 3R features a unique combination of Diono car seat engineering and rigorous testing and performs well enough to protect the littles in the event of a crash.
Aluminum reinforced sides, along with the thick energy absorbing foam add scores to its protection performance by distributing crash forces for full shielding upon side impact.
The reinforced steel constructed the car seat core and frame and gave strength for protection and durability.
The Radian 3R lasts for a long time of use up to 10 years after the date of manufacture.
The Diono Radian 3R lacks the headrest position, but just provides the 10-position harness adjustments for growing infants in the rear- and forward-facing.
There are no inserts for infants, and if your baby needs additional support, it’s better to get an advanced version like the 3RX pr 3RXT, or the other variant – 3QX or 3QXT.
Installing the Radian 3R is very easy with its SuperLATCH system, thanks to an audible click for letting you know when the LATCH connectors are locked properly in the safe.
No base is required to install the car seat in rear-facing and included support can be mounted to the car seat to hold it up for rear-facing riding.
The Diono Radian 3R is friendly for compact cars, it is slimily designed to fit 3 across in the back seat. This makes it popular in big families with several kids.
As a 3-in-1 car seat, the Radian 3R is able to ride a child from birth to youth across the three stages from rear-facing, forward-facing, to booster.
But it does not feature a detachable design to be a backless booster, even though it allows a 120-pound weight limit.
It’s the cheapest model of the Diono Radian series, with the basic features. And if you prefer a high-end model that comes with a few extra functions, check the comparison of the Diono Radian R series.
From the weight and age standpoint, your three-year-old kid can sit in the rear-facing or front-facing convertible.
From the safety point, it’s better to stick to the rear-facing mode as long as possible before your child outgrows their car seat’s weight limit – up to 50 pounds for the Radian 3R.
If your kid grows at an average speed as their peer, they should not exceed the 50-lb weight limit. But if your kid wants to see and explore the landscape outside the window, you can switch Radian 3R to the front-facing and move your kid then.
It’s not required to put a 3-year-old child in the rear-facing; Most US states only indicate this requirement that a 2 years old child should ride rear-facing in the local laws.
The Diono Radian 3R also works as a booster for big kids in teens. As long as your kid grows over the harness weight or height, you should change it to booster mode, generally in the ages of 7-8 years.
Lots of parents love Diono’s car seats for their great accommodation in compact vehicles or small cars with relatively narrow seats in the back. T
he company noticed this pain point for some parents and big families with several children at different ages. So they developed the 3-series, meaning to fit 3 across in the back seat.
Fitting 3 across is not Diono’s unique technique, another 3-in-1 car seat we’ll talk about in the following – Maxi-Cosi Pria also supports to fit 3 across.
Things to Consider to Look for the Best Car Seats for Infants
Okay, it’s time to purchase a baby car seat, now what’s next? Do a search, find some, compare them and pick up the best option.
It’s easy to make a list of dozens of car seats, you can find them on Amazon, Target, Walmart, or any other online or offline stores, but the most important and time-consuming part is to compare the car seats’ features, to check if it is the best option for your specific needs.
We do this job for you and make a complete list of great car seats for a kid to ride from birth to the day he or she gets out of a car seat.
It’s recommended to keep these five questions in mind when selecting the best infant car seats for the coming little one.
- Which infant car seats offer the safest ride?
- Which are the most comfortable (for both babies and parents)?
- Which are the most user-friendly in terms of installation and daily use?
- Which have the highest weight and height limits to allow for extended rear-facing?
- Which is the most value for the money?
These questions give you a rough view. Based on the questions, we list some basic but important features to look for when you find a superior baby car seat.
Your budget. It’s absolutely okay that your kid deserves the very best. However, what he or she needs during their upbringing is quite a lot more than just a car seat.
All the baby things can add up quickly. You can always find a great seat whatever your price range, so just focus on those that fall into your budget. This will save you both money and time.
Your vehicle. Car seats are available in different sizes. Not all car seats fit well in compact or small cars. Also, consider how many car seats you want to place in the back row.
Make sure you have measured and known how much room there is for a car seat and how much space a car seat takes up, especially when you need to locate it in a small car.
The Safety. All the car seats on the market are required to meet federal crash-test safety requirements. All best infant car seats in this list are FAA approved to assure you of your baby’s safety in a car seat.
Some manufacturers promote their seats with additional safety features like anti-rebound bars, which are not federally regulated or tested for better protection.
Easy to install and use. Proper car seat installation increases safety. However, a study revealed that almost 95% of maiden parents made at least one mistake while installing and using baby car seats?
Seats that are very easy to set up and intuitive to use are much less likely to be used incorrectly.
You might need special attention on the car seat buckles, clips, and LATCH system. You usually use a harness and chest clip to put the infant seat in your car and make sure you have the straps tightened strongly to secure your baby.
Look for buckles, clips, and straps that are simple and require less strength to use and tighten.
The LATCH straps are also a necessity to set up the car seat with your car’s built-in LATCH system. Look for car seats coming with a LATCH that don’t require much strength for setup.
Push-on connectors are generally easier than clip-style. The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4/35, for example, uses push-on connectors.
Seamless switch. Infant car seats generally come with a separate base that can be left in the car. The separable design allows you to take the seat in or out of the car for easy switching between different cars.
Most of the baby car seats can be used with strollers for a travel system. Look for some car seat that can be simply attached and detached to the base and buckled onto a stroller for a travel system, without waking your little one in his/her sleep during the switch.
Easy-to-clean and breathable fabrics. Infant car seats made with a smooth fabric can be wiped for cleaning more easily than a textured fabric such as corduroy. Most car seat covers are machine washable, but not all are dryer-safe use, but as long as you’re not in a rush, hanging it with air dry is acceptable.
Car seats made of breathable materials provide the best comfort to your baby. If you can’t check this from the product description, you can check out the customers’ reviews to see what other parents say about their experience.
Grow with your child. An infant car seat is rear-facing only. To keep your young rear-facing as long as possible, the car seat with a higher weight limit is better for longer use, of course.
Convertible car seats generally have a higher weight limit than newborn car seats. But for preemies, it’s recommended for parents to use a baby car seat like Chicco KeyFit 30.
What about the car seat brands? Graco and Britax have a few years of experience in the car seat industry, but other new brands found in millennial times are not bad anyway.
Advanced Tips to Install the Car Seat for Infants
Buying a baby infant car seat is just the first step for your child’s safety, installing it PROPERLY is the second and most important step, because improper installation of a car seat can cause injuries, even death to babies.
You should always thoroughly read the car seat manual before doing anything. The State laws also suggest setting up and using the car seat following the manufacturer’s guide.
If you have any questions, you can search for tips and video guides on YouTube or the manufacturer’s official website.
Or you can ask help from someone at the local police station, a pediatrician, a hospital, or even a baby store if you still have questions.
Do remember to call the manufacturer’s customer service if there is anything not clear.
FAQs on a car seat for infants
This is related to the position where parents need to place the car seat for their babies. The safest position is the centre of the backseat or second row. A study showed that for children from newborn to 3 years old, sitting in the center rear seat is 43% safer than sitting in the eight seat in the back.
However, only 28% of parents place their baby’s car seat in this spot. It was found that the rear passenger side is the most common place in the vehicle for a car seat, up to 41% of parents in the research mount the child’s car seat here.
It’s a common case to have two or more babies in a family. Following the car installation location, the middle of the back seat is the safest place, the seat behind the passenger’s seat is the next and the last is the seat behind the driver’s seat.
If you have to set up two seats in the car, it would be better to put them in the back seat side by side, with the car seat for younger babies placed in the middle, and the other for older children behind the passenger’s seat. But make sure the two car seats can be put in the same row.
Yes, some convertible car seats can ride newborn infants as little as 4 pounds, like the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat. But for parents who have premature babies, it’s recommended to start with a baby car seat. Most infant car seats include a support insert for the baby’s head and body for better security.
You can’t use a baby infant car seat for a lifetime. They have a lifespan, which is different from usage time. While babies always outgrow their seats during their 1-3 ages, the car seat can be used for a longer time for their following siblings. Generally, most newborn car seats feature about 6 years of lifespan.
Yes. All baby car seats come with a base, and most parents place the car seat on the base, but this doesn’t mean you always need to set up the car seat with the base. Want to know the way to settle a baby car seat without a base, just move to the next question.
How to install infant car seat without base
Car seats featuring either American-style belt path or European-style belt path can be set up without their base.
This installation video on YouTube demonstrates the Chicco KeyFit 30 that features an American-style belt path without its base.
The summarised steps:
- Recline the seat for an appropriate angle.
- Pass lap belt through guides and buckle belt.
- Engage the seat belt’s locking mode by pulling slowly to end.
- Apply pressure & pull shoulder beltCheck for tightness
If you have an infant seat with a European-style belt path, it is supposed to Put the seat more securely in a much wider variety of vehicles. Seats with European-style belt path include Doona, Graco SnugRide 35 Classic Connect, Nuna Pipa, Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35, UPPAbaby Mesa (older version before 2015), and more.
The installation video shows the steps:
- Buckle babyPass lap belt through guides and buckle belt
- Engage seat belt’s locking mode by pulling slowly to the end
- Pass shoulder belt around carrier and into designated guide
- Recline seatApply pressure & pull shoulder beltCheck for tightness
Many parents may wonder: Is it safe to use a carrier without a base? The Answer is yes.
That depends. For parents who have prematurely newborn infants, it would be better to use a baby car seat like Chicco KeyFit 30 for the child’s safety. But if your baby can fit a larger car seat well, it is perfectly OK to use a convertible car seat instead of buying an infant-only car seat and then transition to a convertible car seat. Whatever you use, make sure your newborn fits into the height and weight range for rear-facing to ride safely in these car seats.
Both infant and convertible seats are a great option for newborns. For small babies, the infant car seats may be better, featuring some head and body inserts for better safety. Newborn car seats are also portable with a carrying handle so that you can take the baby in and out without waking them. Convertible car seats will save money for their longer use and lifespan and are better for families that have few budgets on a car seat.
It’s time- and energy-consuming to find a suitable car seat, this But there are some basic things you should consider for choosing the seat: your newborns, your car, your budget. A car seat that lets your little one stay most comfortable is a more appealing option. Before purchasing a car seat, you should always check with your doctor with the baby’s conditions, like the estimated weight or height range, and measure your car interior room for a seat. Then pick up one that falls into your budget.
To use the LATCH connectors to set up the car seat, make sure your vehicle has lower LATCH anchors. You should always read the car seat’s instruction manual and the vehicle’s owner manual before starting. Then you can follow these steps to mount the car seat with LATCH:
- Place the baby car seat in the back center seat of your vehicle, in the rear-facing position. Locate the lower anchors in your vehicle.
- Connect the lower anchor attachments on the car seat to the lower anchors, making sure the straps aren’t twisted across your toddler’s head or body.
- Press down firmly on the car seat and tighten the straps. Tips to check the tightness: the car seat won’t be moved side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch.
- Make sure your car seat is installed at the correct recline angle.
- 30-45 degree angle: Babies must ride sitting semi-reclined to keep the airway open.
- Most rear-facing car seats have built-in angle indicators or adjustors to assist you, generally found near to the bottom on the side.
- The angle may need to be adjusted as your child grows, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions.
The car seats that can be used rear-facing generally have a 5-point harness to strap and secure the babies. Doctor Alisa from the Car Seat Lady has made this video for parents to strap their babies in the correct way. The summarized steps:
- Loosen the straps. You should pull the shoulder straps towards you while pushing/lifting the loosening tab to make the straps loose.
- Slide bottom back. Make sure the baby’s bottom is all the way into the back of the car seat.
- Buckle between legs on both sides.
- Buckle chest clip.
- Tighten the straps by gathering the slack bottom to top. Pull straps up while still keeping chest clip low, then pull the tail of the bottom of the seat to make sure the straps tighten enough.
- Check for snugnessMove the chest clip to armpits
The video also shows how to put a blanket to swaddle the baby correctly in the car seat.
Yes. All car seats have limited lifespan, about several years. For the infant car seat case, the lifespan is generally 6 years. Convertible and booster seats can be used longer and generally also have a longer lifespan up to 10 years.
All infant car seats have weight and height limits. Most US State laws recommend you stop using them and move your child to a higher-weight-and-height-limit convertible car seat once your little one has outgrown their infant car seats. The highest weight or height limit is usually reached somewhere between 9 and 18 months. But it’s better to ride your child in a rear-facing position until age 2.
Yes. Most baby car seats are certified for air travel. Although airlines typically allow infants to ride on a caregiver’s lap during flight, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) recommends that infants ride in properly secured safety seats. You may need to contact the airline first to make sure your car seat is acceptable.