By now, you’re probably aware that you’ll need an infant car seat in order to be able to take your baby anywhere with you – and that includes the ride home from the hospital. But with so many different models on the market, and with the pressure to choose the safest option for your beloved child, figuring out which one to pick can be truly overwhelming. That’s why we have decided to check out the most popular infant car seats and see if they’re worth the money – read our reviews and find the right model for your baby’s needs!
TOP RATED CAR SEATS FOR NEWBORNS
Chicco KeyFit – Editor’s Choice
The first infant car seat we’re going to take a look at is also our most favorite one – it’s the product of our choice! The Chicco Keyfit is an immensely popular car seat, owned by thousands of parents and receiving words of praise from all over the world. The Chicco is well-known for their quality car seats, but this time they did a really good job – this model has a lot of good things going for it, as it looks awesome, is easy to install and clean, has comfortable padding, and has all those little features that are necessary for a comfortable use.
Chicco always takes great care when it comes to ease of installation of their car seats, and here, that is also the case. By taking a look at the included instructions, you’ll find that there are three different ways in which you can install this model into your vehicle – with the base by using the “LATCH” system, with the base using the seat belt, and without the base. No matter which method you choose, the installation is quick and easy, and that’s always a big plus in our book.
Needless to say, this manufacturer scores well in the crash tests and the Keyfit has passed numerous tests that have been conducted at different places, and is one of the safest options available. The interior of the seat is lined with the EPS foam and can protect the infant from the side impacts, while the well-cushioned seat has the 5-point harness restraint system, praised by the experts. If you’re traveling a lot, you’ll also be pleased to find that this seat is certified to be used on the airplanes, with one section of the instructions showing how to use the model inside an aircraft. There’s also a canopy (protection from the sunlight), and the adjustable head-support feature.
All in all, this is a great infant car seat and one that deserves our sincere recommendation.
- Ease of installation
- Very comfortable
- 5-point harness
- Can be used on an airplane
- Moving/unlocking the handle is sometimes hard
- A bit heavy
Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 – Good Value for Money
Next up is Graco’s popular SnugRide Click Connect 35 – this company is well-known for making extremely safe products that are long-lasting and durable, which is exactly why we’re always pleased to have their seats on a review. Just like we expected, there is a load of useful features here, and the seat features a quality build that makes it durable and very effective when it comes to impact energy management. And, since it is so popular with the users, we think that it deserves a more in-depth look – let’s do it!
One of the first things you’ll notice about this model is definitely how lightweight it actually is – it’s among the lightest infant car seats on the market. It weighs just 7.5 pounds and is very easy to handle due to the light frame, and we think that this feature is invaluable – it makes transferring the seat from a stroller to a car base an easy task to do. It clicks into all Graco Click Connect strollers and is very comfortable due to soft cushioning that’s made out of very smooth material. It can fit babies weighing 4 to 35 pounds, allowing you to keep your baby rear-facing for as long as it is possible.
Another thing we really liked here is the presence of the removable newborn insert, which gives the baby’s neck and the head a necessary support and can be removed at any time. There are six recline positions, as well as the pendulum level that lets you see if the seat and the base are correctly installed inside your vehicle. And last, but not the least, this car seat meets all the safety standards and requirements for the products of this kind – it’s a best seller for a reason.
The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 is an excellent choice for your first infant car seat – it offers good value for the money, and comes with all features that are necessary for comfortable use.
- Very lightweight
- Clicks into strollers
- 4-35lbs limit
- The pendulum level
- Small canopy
- Expiration date
Evenflo LiteMax 35 – Affordable yet Quality Product
When it comes to infant car seats, Evenflo stands out as one of most well-known brands – their models always receive praises from the parents, and for a good reason. But will their new model, called LiteMax 35, continue this tradition? Read on and find out!
One of the first things to notice about this infant car seat is its attractive design. No matter which color combination you choose, you’ll be getting a pretty good-looking product that’s at the same time very lightweight, portable, and easy to move around. However, the low weight of this seat doesn’t make it very compact – it’s actually not recommended for use in smaller vehicles.
It can be installed and used in a variety of different ways, which might even confuse a bit you in the beginning. But don’t worry – it’s better to have a versatile seat than one that can be used in only one way. The LiteMax 35 comes with pockets that hide the buckles, an infant insert (allows use with babies weighing only 4lbs), a level indicator with two different settings and a 4-position recline. All of these features enable the use of multiple crotch and harness positions, even though it can take some time to figure everything out.
And when it comes to comfort and ease of cleaning, we have only words of praise. Both the body pillow and the seat pad of this product are extremely comfortable due to their soft, cozy cushioning, ensuring snug rides for your little one. And if you live in a hot climate, you’ll be pleased to know that the material that these elements were made out of is a temperature-regulating one. Of course, the pad and the pillow are fully-removable and machine-washable, so the ease of cleaning is guaranteed.
Other things worth mentioning are the FAA approval, which allows usage on airplanes, and the nice manual storage spot on the bottom of the seat.
As you can see, this model comes with a ton of extremely useful features and is undoubtedly a very tempting offer. It’s yet another quality car seat from Evenflo!
- Versatile for an infant car seat
- Comfortable seat pad & body pillow
- Highly portable
- FAA approved
- Not for smaller vehicles
- A bit confusing installation and use
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio – Designed for Safety
When it comes to safety, one can focus on choosing a safe car and driving it safely. But having children complicates the matter – you will also have to purchase a quality car seat that’s functional and safe. This is especially important if you have an infant, and the next seat we’re going to take a look at is designed for newborns – the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio, manufactured by an Italian manufacturer that specializes in juvenile products. It’s an attractive, rear-facing seat with some outstanding features and one that definitely deserves a detailed review.
One of the nicest things about the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio is the fact that it has a plush cushion that can be removed once the infant reaches 8 pounds of weight. There’s also the second stage cushion part here, which is also really comfortable – remember, the baby will be strapped with a restraint system, which means that the comfort is essential. It’s made out of Fresco Jersey fabric which has the ability to absorb the moisture and thus keeps the kid dry and cool. The restraint system is very convenient and easy to use, and one only has to pull it out of the compartment door and then lift the straps, pulling the harness up.
Unlike many other infant car seats, the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio isn’t bulky – it has a narrow base and is an excellent choice for the compact cars. Of course, it has an option of being placed by using the LATCH system, which is included in almost every car ever since 2002. There’s a generous amount of EPS foam in this model, offering a great deal of protection in case of a car crash – it’s one of the safest infant car seats out there, and one that should keep your worries at bay.
All in all, the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio has passed our test, and we think that it’s worth considering for purchase.
- Extremely safe
- Very comfortable
- The base is easy to install
- Not bulky
- Cushion isn’t machine washable
- Difficult to use the carrier with extended canopy
UPPAbaby MESA – High-End Product Worth the Money
The UPPAbaby is one of the newest names in the world of the car seats, although this company has already produced some high-end strollers. Due to their prestige in this department, we thought that it would be a good idea to check out their baby car seat, which has a great design and comes with a set of features that make it a choice worth considering if you’re looking for a seat that looks and works great. Let’s see what it has to offer!
The sleek design is something that you’ll notice immediately – this is a very stylish-looking infant car seat, allowing your beloved baby to ride in style. The model is some 17″ wide (making it much narrower than, say, Chicco KeyFit) and weighs 11.1 pounds, which is pretty lightweight. Although they’re basic, the car crash test results of this model still exceed the governmental guidelines; which means that it has a right amount of protection for your baby, but doesn’t offer an extra margin of safety. Still, it’s made out of good material and is very comfortable, providing thick padding and an excellent fabric in the head section.
The UPPAbaby MESA also has a nice medium-sized canopy and is very easy to install, no matter which method you choose – LATCH, belt, or without the base. The buckle is, unfortunately, a bit stiffer than those we’ve seen on some other models, but not hard to operate. Its stiffness, actually, has a good side – it’s probably there to meet all the safety guidelines, and will only make your infant even safer during the car rides. The buckle has two positions (ensuring the best fit for the infants of any size), while the assembly offers five height position.
We think that the UPPAbaby did a pretty good job here – although not perfect, this seat is well-designed and offers the right amount of protection for your child.
- Beautiful design
- Provides good protection
- Amazingly easy install
- Thick padding
- The cover stains in the rain
CHOOSING THE BEST INFANT CAR SEAT – BUYER’S GUIDE
With so many different brands and models on the market, it can be incredibly hard to select the right car seat for your newborn, and this can be especially difficult if you don’t know a lot about these things. Did you, for example, know that you can’t just buy any car seat, but need to purchase one that’s specifically designed for infants?
An infant car seat is suitable for the babies that are between 32 and 35 inches tall and are weighing up to 40 pounds, and are facing only the rear of your vehicle. In this article, we’ll tell you what things you should be careful about when purchasing a new car seat for your infant.
THE EASE OF USE
We advise you to look for the models that have the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) 5-star rating system. The more stars you see, the easier it will be to use the car seat. This rating takes into account the ease of installation and the level of security for your infant, as well as the clarity and the content of the included instruction manual.
A CAR SEAT BASE
Most models come with the plastic base that can be installed inside the vehicle, with some parents buying an extra base for their secondary vehicle. All that one needs to do here is to snap the seat into this base and buckle up the kid. Once you reach the destination, you can unsnap the seat and take it with you. Some bases will have add-ons such as the level indicators (showing you the correct angle of the installation) or the adjustable foot (helps you getting the proper recline angle) – look for these features.
THE EASY ADJUSTMENTS
As the infant grows, you will have to adjust the headrest and the harness. The high-end models will allow you to adjust the harness and the straps height, while the most-user friendly models will have things like no-rethread harnesses and the single-hand belt adjustments (sometimes with the quick-release buckles).
Seeing as the babies and messes usually go hand in hand, you’ll have to look for the models that have detachable covers that can be washed in the washing machine. This makes the cleanup process a lot easier.
You want your baby to feel comfortable, and the only way to do that is to select an infant car seat that has a well-padded seat, as well as the head support section.
Ever since 2002, all vehicles and the car seats are compatible with the LATCH system – this will allow you to attach the seat directly to the car, which makes the installation easier and more secure. Look for the models with rigid LATCH connectors.
INFANT CAR SEAT INSTALLATION – INSTRUCTIONS
One might think that literally anyone who can read the manual can install the baby car seat in a correct way, but, according to NHTSA, 3 of 4 such seats are not installed properly. We’ll try to make things a bit easier for you – read on and find out how to do this thing in a right way.
THE TERMS TO LEARN
First, let’s have a quick look at the most common features that can be found on the baby car seats:
The LATCH connectors
Almost all types of models are equipped with the LATCH connectors (whether they’re hook-style, push-on, or rigid lower anchor style). You can attach these to the anchors that are embedded in your vehicle’s seat (all cars produced after 2002 have them).
The top tether strap
Some models will include the top tether straps which anchor to the car seat and thus keep the seat secure, reducing the possible threat of a head injury.
The harness system
All types will come with the included harness systems. As your kid is growing, you will have to adjust the harness system, and, in the infant car seats, the harness straps are supposed to be below the infant’s shoulders. Many of these systems are adjusted by moving the straps through the slots in the seat shell and the fabric, while some come with the external adjustment option. No matter which type you choose, the chest clip has to be at the kid’s armpit level.
The recline indicator
Recline indicator will tell you if the seat is installed at the correct angle. This is an important feature and one that will help you to learn how to place the seat in the car in a proper way.
The most important accessories are the ones that will give your kid a more comfortable riding experience – like the cushions, pads, and the covers.
INSTALLING THE INFANT CAR SEAT
A proper installation of a baby car seat can be separated into the following steps:
The first thing you’ll have to do is to separate the carrier from the base. The base is the part that remains in the vehicle, and you can separate the carrier from it by using the built-in button or a lever.
Now, you will have to anchor the base to your vehicle’s back seat – snap the hooks onto the bars at your car’s designated spots, tightening the anchor belt until you notice that the base is snug against the back seat. Also, there might be a place that will allow you to feed the vehicle’s seat belt through the base, and this adds some extra security.
If your vehicle hasn’t got an anchor system, you will have to use the car’s seat belt to secure the base to the backseat. In this case, just feed the belt through the base’s designated openings and make sure that it’s buckled. Be careful not to leave the seat belt in a bunched up or twisted state – it should fit cleanly.
Now, it’s time to place the carrier into the previously installed base, setting it into the rear-facing position. You should hear a clicking sound once it is in the right position. A good idea would be to practice separating the carrier from the base, which will come in very handy in case of emergency.
This step includes double checking the base’s angle, and you can use the level indicator for this if your model includes one. The youngest babies need to be in a position that’s more reclined, as it helps them breathe in a more proper way.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CAR SEATS
Q: Wouldn’t it be safer to hold my kid?
A: No. The statistics have proved that the people ejected in a crash are far more likely to die, as the forces taking place in a collision reach hundreds of pounds, and even more. That is too great for a mother or father to hold the baby in a proper way, and the reaction time that’s needed in such an event makes it impossible to restrain the baby or any other passenger.
Q: How long should the baby ride in a rear-facing position?
A: One thing is sure – the rear-facing position is the safest one. The infants should be kept in this position for at least two years, but preferably as long as it is possible. Their weight should reach at least 20lbs before you introduce them to the forward-facing position.
Q: Should I buy an infant car seat with a shield or a harness?
A: The 5-point harness is widely considered as the safest option.
Q: Which infant car seats are safe to use on an airplane?
A: If you’re flying a lot, search for the seats that have the FAA approval. Most of the infant and convertible seats have this label.
Q: For how long can I use the infant car seat?
A: Many manufacturers are now putting the expiration dates on their models, and six years is considered to be the general recommendation. This means that you’ll probably be able to use your seat for two or three babies.
Q: Can I put the infant car seat on the front seat of my car?
A: It’s a well-known fact that the airbags can be deadly to infants, and even to 12-year children who are using seat belts. Never put your newborn on the front seat – just on the middle part of the back seat.
Every parent wants to keep his or hers newborn safe, and one of the hardest times to do this is during the car rides. With so many car crashes happening every year, one could get really worried while buying the infant car seat, asking himself questions such as “Will this model be safe for my kid?” or “This is too cheap, and probably not good enough.” The choice of infant car seats on today’s market is truly overwhelming, and one could get really lost between dozens and dozens of different brands and models.
That is why we are here – our articles and reviews will help you select the proper model for your kid and your vehicle. We know how hard picking the right model can be, especially if you don’t know a lot about these things, which is exactly why we decided to get together and help the mothers and fathers finally get rid of the worries they have during the long car rides with their children. In our honest and unbiased reviews, you will be able to select the model that suits your needs the best – and, if we had to choose just one model and recommend it to you, that would definitely be the Chicco Keyfit – it’s one of the best infant car seats on the market right now, and indeed the product of our choice!