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The Best Infant Car Seats of 2022


Here at EM, we’ve reviewed more than 70 car seats of all kinds. In this article, we bring you the best choices for newborns and infants. Pros and cons of all infant car seats have been provided, even to our 5-star, top-rated car seats. This is to help you make an informed decision before purchasing an infant car seat for your new baby. Safety, price, ease of use, features, flexibility, and size parameters were all considered when compiling this list. 

Best Infant Car Seat Overall:


Best Infant Car Seats

Easy to install, easy to clean, safe, affordable, and great for preemies and newborns, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock is our top infant car seat choice. The Doona car seat is a pricier, yet multitasking option because it has a built-in stroller. Both the Britax B-Safe and the Chicco KeyFit have dominated best car seat lists due to exceptional quality and safety ratings, however, the B-Safe has a larger weight limit. If high-end style and function are what you want, choose the UPPAbaby MESA. On a tight budget, the Evenflo Litemax has all the right features and a lightweight design.

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat, Baby Car Seat, Oakley
Price$$$$
Quality
Popularity

Graco has been renowned for years as a leader in top-of-the-line car seat manufacturers. The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat is a lightweight and safe infant car seat that is a trusted product from a trusted brand that you can’t go wrong with.  There are several versions of this seat available with different color options and features. 

Safety

This terrific infant car seat might not have the name, but it still comes with Click Connect. Click Connect is Graco’s system for letting you take the infant car seat off its base in a vehicle and snap it onto a compatible Click Connect stroller. This is a simple, one-step process and it leaves you with many options for strollers. This allows you to create your own custom travel system. Just set the car seat into either a Graco Click Connect Stroller or into the included infant car seat base, and you’ll hear a ‘click’. This lets you know it is securely attached.

You can purchase whichever stroller best fits your individual needs, then easily move your baby, while still in her car seat, to the stroller. This is excellent for any type of outing, as you can leave your sleeping baby happily in the best car seat and move her to the stroller with no additional hassle.

The SnugRide Snuglock system allows you to thread the vehicle’s seatbelt or straps to the latches through the base. There is a handle that you close down over the belt or straps that tightens them ensuring a snug fit against the vehicle seat.

The infant car seat’s base is designed to make installation easy and simple for you. The convenient stay-in-car base is LATCH-equipped for hassle-free installation, and it features an easy-to-read level indicator, which helps eliminate installation guesswork. You can feel confident that you’ve installed this infant car seat correctly. 

All Graco car seats are crash tested and safe as they meet or exceed all federal safety standards. All of these features come together to reassure safety-conscious parents.

What’s to Love

The SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite is not the lightest seat on the market, weighing in at 9 pounds. It is large, but can it’s still easy to handle and maneuver due to its great design. This is an invaluable feature because it makes it much easier to carry your baby inside his or her car seat. Transferring this infant car seat from the car base to a stroller is a breeze. The other nifty aspect of the click feature is that it snaps into ANY of the Graco Click Connect strollers, like the Graco FastAction Fold Click Connect Stroller.

This best car seat has a system that allows for expansion that doesn’t require the harness straps to be rethreaded when the headrest is extended.

The Graco SnugRide Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat has plenty of soft cushioning and is made of a smooth material. Babies are easily comfortable enough to be lulled to sleep in this car seat, especially while the car is in motion. This infant car seat can accommodate preemies as well as newborns with the supportive newborn insert. The insert gives little heads and necks much needed support, but is removable so it won’t get in the way as your baby grows. It can also be removed for washing.

This infant carrier has six different recline positions, as well as a pendulum level, that can help you make sure your car seat and base are correctly installed into your car. You don’t want to take any chances with your baby. The recline positions and easy-to-read level indicator help make it possible to know when your car seat is properly installed.

Pros

  • No harness re-threading necessary
  • Clicks into base and strollers
  • 4-35 lb weight limit
  • RapidRemove washable seat cushion
  • Adjustable, extendable, and machine washable canopy
  • Level indicator
  • Multiple recline positions
  • Works with any Graco Click Connect stroller
  • Perfect for preemies or multiples

Cons

  • False clicking
  • On the heavy side
  • Canopy interferes with handle

Customer Reviews

  • 4.3 stars, 87 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.2 stars, 72 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.3 stars, 44 reviews – AlbeeBaby

See Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

See Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 Infant Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of the older version of this infant car seat.

Want to know how the SnugRide 30 compares to the newer SnugRide 35? Read the Snugride 30 and 35 comparison article here.

You’ve read about both Chicco and Graco, now read our Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat vs the Graco Snugride 35 comparison article.

Also see how the very similar Snugride 35 compares to the Keyfit30 Zip in this article.

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
Price$$$$
Quality
Popularity

The Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat is well liked by doctors, nurses, and hospitals because it fits preemies and small babies so well. 

Safety

The Keyfit was voted top-rated by Consumer Reports because it excelled in their new crash protocol, and also because it is one of the easiest seats to install using either your vehicle’s LATCH system or the safety belts. Chicco’s SuperCINCH latch system is legendary for its ease of use.  The 5 point safety harness has a button release and tightening system for the best fit with minimal effort.

What’s to Love

A few other helpful features are the compact size and narrow shape, which is great for fitting more than one car seat across. The included infant insert is plush and comfortable. In addition to being a hospital favorite, it is also reasonably priced. This car seat is great for families with twins. Often times, twin babies weigh slightly less than singleton births and are born earlier than their due dates. So, a car seat that is designed for smaller and lighter babies is a great fit for a mom with more than one infant.

Pros

  • One of the top rated car seats on the market
  • SuperCINCH latch for correct base install
  • Bubble level indicators
  • Narrow and compact
  • Works with a wide variety of strollers
  • Large canopy
  • Push-button harness tightening 
  • Newborn padding

Cons

  • Smaller weight and height limit
  • Compact design is not ideal for bigger babies (they’ll outgrow it quickly)
  • On the heavy side

Customer Reviews

  • 4.7 stars, 369 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4.5 stars, 291 reviews – Target
  • 4.5 stars, 68 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.6 stars, 200 reviews – buybuyBaby

We’ve got a great article that looks at all the versions of the Keyfit. Read our Chicco KeyFit 30 vs. KeyFit 30 Magic vs. KeyFit 30 Zip article.

Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat

Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat, Carbon
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

The Baby Trend Flex Loc Infant Car Seat is a nice looking, narrow and lightweight car seat with some nice features. Baby Trend has a technology named Snap Tech that makes it easy to move car seats from the base in the vehicle to strollers and back.  Available in five color schemes, this infant car seat boasts superior safety ratings and a sleek design.

Safety

EZ Flex Loc makes use of EPS foam padding to absorb energy in the case of a car crash. The term Flex Loc describes the system for connecting the base to the latches. They are “flexible” straps that can be tightened for a snug fit in the vehicle seat.

What’s to Love

I love the delta handle on this infant car seat. Although it may appear bulky at first glance, it is not. The triangle handle distributes the weight of the car seat, so that it doesn’t dig into your arm like a regular handle. In addition to having a useful shape, the rubber material is soft saving your arms from irritation and scratches. Trust me, this one of the more comfortable seats to haul around on our list.

Did I mention that the seat is only 7.7 lbs?

I also appreciate that this infant car seat includes a boot, or foot muff. A lot of people buy a foot muff for their car seats and strollers, but this seat comes with one. This is a nice extra we don’t see with many seats. If you live in a cool climate you’ll really appreciate it. During the warm months you can take it off easily and the seat looks like any other best car seat.

Pros

  • 16.5″ wide base so you can fit three across
  • Very lightweight seat for carrying
  • Reasonable height (30 inches) and weight (30 lbs) limits
  • Good side-impact protection
  • Adjustable, non rethreading straps
  • Triangle shaped carrying handle

Cons

  • Base doesn’t tighten easily
  • Release hatch is in a strange location
  • Harness is hard to buckle

Customer Reviews

  • 4 stars, 291 reviews – Target
  • 4.6 stars, 7 reviews – Kohl’s
  • 4.7 stars, 9 reviews – Walmart
  • 4 stars, 8 reviews – Bed Bath & Beyond

See Baby Trend Flex Loc Infant Car Seat for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat

Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat - Rear Facing | 4 to 35 Pounds - Reclinable Base, 1 Layer Impact Protection, Ashton (E1A183D)
Quality
Popularity

Although a bit pricey, the Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat is a top parent pick for both safety and style. This car seat earned five stars from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and is available in 5 sophisticated color schemes.

Safety

The Britax base has a honeycomb material called that compresses to absorb energy during a crash. There is a center-access point for latch straps to make it easier to cinch them tight.

Britax prides itself on having easy to install car seats. The B-Safe 35 comes with a base that uses LATCH technology and straps that are easy to tighten. If you have installed using LATCH before, depending on the car seat you have, it can be really difficult to tighten the LATCH straps. (I’m talking pulling a muscle in your leg difficult.) With the Britax B-Safe, you simply tighten the straps at the middle of the base, which is easier to access no matter what seat you are installing the car seat in. No more awkward leaning over the base and pulling with all your might; it is a super simple install. 

What’s to Love

I appreciate that this infant carrier has an extra-large canopy very important to help keep the sun out of your little one’s face while you are on the go! In addition to impeccable safety and quick, simple installation, this infant car seat is approved for use in an airplane. For a relaxing ride, the removable infant head pad cushions your new baby while providing additional support.

Harness pads ensure that your little one is snug as a bug. Plus, it can be used with any Britax Click & Go Stroller. Having an infant car seat that clicks into a stroller means you don’t have to wake your little one to move them from car to stroller. This is priceless, in my opinion. All of the added features makes the Britax B-Safe 35 worth every penny.

Pros

  • Safe exceeds federal standards
  • Easy to install
  • Approved for air travel
  • Big canopy
  • Includes one base
  • Compatible with Britax strollers
  • Bubble level indicators
  • Infant head pad
  • Harness pads

Cons

  • Seat cover is not machine washable needs to be spot cleaned
  • Expensive
  • Does not feature a no-re-thread harness

Customer Reviews

  • 4.5 stars, 25 reviews – Target
  • 4.4 stars, 156 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.4 stars, 158 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.5 stars, 619 reviews – AlbeeBaby

See Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat & Elite Base Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Curious about the difference between the Britax B-Safe 35 and the Britax B-Safe 35 Elite? Check out the comparison here.

Doona Infant Car Seat and Latch Base

Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base - Car Seat to Stroller in Seconds - Nitro Black, US Version
Price$$$$
Quality
Popularity

The Doona car seat is unlike any other. Aside from it’s unique stroller/car seat hybrid design, it has a lot of features that modern parents are looking for.

Safety

For starters, this car seat has three layers of protection, with the sides being extra protected. The dual-layered plastic and EPS foam provide coverage in an accident. The bar that eventually becomes the stroller handlebar acts as an anti-rebound bar when in car seat mode. It’s been tested to meet all US safety standards, and it even features fabrics that are free from harmful chemicals

What’s to Love

This car seat is also a stroller. What’s not to love about that? The wheels and frame fold up quickly and easily underneath the car seat and become the base when traveling in a vehicle. The included latch base is safe and easy to use. It features a 5 point safety harness that’s fully adjustable, as well as an infant insert for smaller babies. The whole car seat has a flatter, more reclined angle to help your baby be in the correct ergonomic position at all times. 

Pros

  • Money-saving design
  • All-in-one travel system
  • Triple layered protection
  • Use with or without base
  • Great safety features
  • Safety harness and infant insert
  • Reclined position puts baby in ergonomic position

Cons

  • No storage in stroller mode
  • Dirt from wheels can spread in car
  • Big price tag

Customer Reviews

  • 4.7 stars, 191 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 5 stars, 21 reviews – PishPosh Baby
  • 5 stars, 10 reviews – Target

UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat

2018 UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat - Jake (Black)
Price$$$$
Quality
Popularity

The UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat won the five-star rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Safety

One of the top perks of this seat is the ease of installation because of the Mesa’s adjustable base with a tension indicator with colors showing that it’s installed tightly. It has self-retracting lower LATCH connectors. The SMART SECURE system makes it really easy to install this car seat correctly each time. 

What’s to Love

The UPPAbaby Mesa is a luxury version of the infant car seat. It comes with the no re-thread harness, five different harness height positions, and two buckle positions. Several notable features are the sleek design, high-end fabrics, and substantial canopy. It also works seamlessly with the Vista and Cruz strollers. 

Pros

  • Luxury design
  • Tension indicator on base for correct install
  • Retracting latch connectors
  • No-rethread harness
  • Many adjustable harness positions
  • Uniquely shaped canopy
  • Great option for preemies or twins

Cons

  • Car seat makes baby run hot
  • Canopy is small
  • Heavy

Customer Reviews

  • 4.8 stars, 78 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4 stars, 12 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 5 stars, 1 review – Little Sprout
  • 4.5 stars, 10 reviews – The Baby Cubby

Cybex Aton M Car Seat

Cybex Aton M Infant Car Seat, Lavastone Black
Quality
Popularity

We have another luxurious and feature-filled car seat in the Cybex Aton M Car Seat. In fact, it has many of the same features as some of the luxury brands like Clek and UPPAbaby with a lower price tag.

Safety

There are two major safety features of the Aton M: the LSP system and the SafeLock base. LSP stands for Linear Side-Impact Protection, which is a little leg on the car seat that gives extra protection in a side-impact crash. The base features a leg of it’s own, the load leg, and it also has an anti-rebound bar and vehicle belt lock-offs. In addition to the push button latch system, it has an energy-absorbing shell for the utmost in safety. 

What’s to Love

Other notable Cybex features include a no-rethread harness with 11 positions, an XXL pagoda-style canopy, and a newborn insert pillow. You can use the European belt path for easy traveling, and a 2-year warranty. While Evenflo owns this German company, it’s certainly more luxurious than your standard Evenflo car seat, but the price isn’t exorbitant. 

Pros

  • Affordable luxury
  • LSP system provides exceptional safety
  • Massive canopy for near-total coverage
  • 11 position no-rethread harness
  • Anti-rebound bar and load leg on SafeLock base
  • Newborn pillow insert
  • European belt path for traveling
  • 2-year warranty

Cons

  • Difficult to click into base
  • Latch anchors don’t position correctly in some vehicles
  • Heavy

Customer Reviews

  • 4.7 stars, 6 reviews – Albee Baby
  • 4.4 stars, 67 reviews – buybuyBaby

Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat

Britax B-Safe Ultra Infant Car Seat - Rear Facing | 4 to 35 Pounds - Reclinable Base, 2 Layer Impact Protection | Cool Flow Ventilated Fabric, Cool Flow Grey (E1C009S)
Quality
Popularity

The Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat is an enhanced version of the popular B-Safe 35.

The Ultra has 6 harness positions with no rethreading required. It has 2 layers of side impact protection and improved mesh fabric for wicking away heat and sweat for a more comfortable ride. It is available in 5 colors.

Safety

The Britax B-Safe Ultra has loads of features to keep your baby safe. This includes TWO layers of side impact protection, as well as the Britax SafeCell Impact Protection system. What is the Britax SafeCell Impact Protection system? Well, it is an entire system of features that work together to keep your baby safe. This includes the impact absorbing base and the impact-stabilizing steel frame.

Britax’s bases have a honeycomb material designed to compress during a crash, reducing the energy that is transmitted to the infant. This also serves to reduce the forward movement of the seat. 

The shell of the infant car seat contains a steel frame. Inside the seat, there are two layers of padding for protection against side impacts. The padding is specially shaped around the baby’s head to provide a nice pillow, but more importantly to minimize side to side motion that an cause head or neck injury. 

Bubble level indicators let you know that this infant car seat is in its correct position. I am impressed by the safe and simple installation of this infant carrier.

What’s to Love

One of the defining features of the Britax B-Safe Ultra is that it has a cool mesh fabric to keep baby cool and comfortable.  This would be a wonderful option for people in hotter climates, as the fabric will help baby not to overheat by circulating the air more efficiently. Many parents reported that this seat was very comfortable for their babies who would otherwise get sweaty in other infant car seats.

As your baby grows, you will be able to adjust the height of the straps by simply pushing a button. No more un-threading and re-threading of the harness straps. With a one-touch adjustment, both the headrest and the straps move up or down. The harness has six different positions. This best car seat is compatible with all Britax single strollers.

There is a piece of padded material with an inner wire called a “flip forward belly pad” that keeps the baby from sitting on the lower harness when you are putting them in the seat. It makes it much easier to find the harness pieces and get them connected. It is also a barrier between the harness and the baby’s belly that reduces rubbing and irritation. 

The handle of the seat is fairly comfortable for both hand-carrying and draping over your forearm. There is also a canopy to cover baby from sun and rain. There is a pillow that takes up space for smaller infants and can be removed as they get bigger.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Easy and versatile installation
  • Impeccable safety
  • No re-thread harness
  • Bubble level indicator
  • User-friendly
  • Extra large canopy
  • Flip forward belly pad
  • Mesh fabric

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Not machine washable

Customer Reviews

  • 4.6 stars, 7 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.5 stars, 6 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.5 stars, 8 reviews – AlbeeBaby

See Britax B-Safe Ultra Infant Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Clek Liing Infant Car Seat

Clek Liing Infant Car Seat, Mammoth (Flame Retardant Free Merino Wool)
Quality
Popularity

The Clek Liing has a nice wide range of weights and heights: from 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches. This should definitely last you until at least your baby’s first birthday.

Safety

The Liing car seat has top of its class safety. The base features a metal load leg to keep the car seat from twisting during a crash, while also taking on some of the impact energy. The base also reclines to 7 different angles to get the safest one. The car seat base can be used with the rigid latch system, or it can be used with the belt tensioning system, which is similar to the vehicle belt lock-offs on other models. You can also use it without the base with the European belt path, which is perfect for traveling with.

What’s to Love

You’ll love that this car seat stands behind its quality; it has a 1+2 year warranty and a 9 year expiration date, which is way longer than the industry standard 6 years. The merino wool material is both breathable and comfortable, and it doesn’t contain any added flame retardant chemicals. The large canopy has a see-through window shade at the back to help you keep an eye on baby. At 10 pounds, it is a bit heavy to carry along. The lowest harness position for this car seat is just 5.5 inches, which is ideal for preemies or smaller babies

See our full Clek Liing review for more details and features. 

Pros

  • Comfortable and breathable wool fabric
  • Rigid lower connectors
  • Metal load leg on reclining base
  • Belt tensioning system 
  • European belt path
  • 9-year expiration date
  • Large canopy with sunshade

Cons

  • 10 pounds is a bit heavy
  • Manual re-thread harness
  • Expensive
  • Warning labels placed in an inconvenient area

Customer Reviews

  • 4.7 stars, 3 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 5 stars, 14 reviews – AlbeeBaby

Safety 1st On-Board 35 LT Infant Car Seat

Safety 1st Onboard 35 LT Infant Car Seat, Monument 2
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

Sometimes you want a car seat that’s simple, safe, and effective. The Safety 1st On-Board 35 LT is that car seat. It may not be fancy, but it has all the features that matter at a great price.

Safety

This car seat has all the standard safety features, including great side impact protection, latch connectors on the base, a deep shell design, and materials like foam and durable plastic to absorb energy in an accident. It has an infant insert to keep the littlest passengers safe, and it has a 5 point safety harness with 4 height options. Of course, it meets all US safety requirements for car seats. 

What’s to Love

This car seat works for babies from 4 to 35 pounds, so it has a long life span. The car seat cover comes off and is safe for both your washer and dryer. The QuickClick technology from Safety 1st helps it go quickly and easily into the base or any compatible car seat. While the canopy and the other features, like the safety harness and handle, are nothing special, this car seat is only 7.3 pounds and easy to use. 

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Simple design
  • 4 height options on safety harness
  • Deep shell and side impact protection
  • Washer and dryer-safe seat cover
  • Clicks easily into base or stroller
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not the highest quality
  • Awkward straps and buckles

Customer Reviews

  • 4.1 stars, 27 reviews – Kohl’s
  • 4.1 stars, 165 reviews – Walmart

Evenflo Litemax 35 Infant Car Seat

Evenflo LiteMax Infant Car Seat, 18.3x17.8x30 Inch (Pack of 1)
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

The Evenflo Litemax 35 Infant Car Seat is a wonderful, budget-friendly option with several notable features.

Safety

The base has vehicle belt lock-offs and 4 recline options. Evenflo is also known for being rollover crash tested, which isn’t a requirement in the car seat industry. This car seat meets or exceeds all US safety standards.

What’s to Love

There are quite a few reasons you will love the Evenflo Litemax infant car seat, but mostly you’ll love the very reasonable price point. It safely fits infants and babies from 4 – 35 lbs, offering secure and safe premium protection for normal and low birth-weight babies. A few notable features of this seat include the removable head pillow, 4 different harness heights, and a well-designed ergonomic handle.  I also like that this seat is very lightweight, at just 8.5lbs. And did we mention the washable cover?

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Meets or exceeds all safety standards
  • Rollover crash tested
  • Vehicle belt lock-off and recline on the base
  • Buckle pockets
  • Machine washable pad
  • Infant insert
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Smaller/narrow design is great for twins and preemies

Cons

  • Small and flimsy canopy
  • Too narrow for large babies
  • Quality issues on some seats

Customer Reviews

  • 4.5 stars, 90 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.5 stars, 107 reviews – Target

See The Best Car Seats for Twins for more information on this and other car seats.

Chicco Fit2 Infant & Toddler Car Seat

Chicco Fit2 Infant & Toddler Car Seat, Tempo
Quality
Popularity

The Chicco Fit2 Infant & Toddler Car Seat is an excellent, albeit pricey, choice for new parents. This infant car seat comes in many beautiful fashions, so you’re sure to find the one that matches your lifestyle.

Like its Keyfit sibling, Fit2 is widely recognized by industry experts as one of the best car seats available today in terms of ease of use, safety, and comfort.

Safety

The most important installation objective is getting the seat base tight against the seat of the car. The Fit2 uses a system Chicco calls SuperCinch that lets you pull a strap in the middle of the base to tighten the straps connected to the latches. It is easy to use and works well.

There is a stabilizer bar that is part of the base that pushes against the vehicle to provide additional base stability.

The shell of the seat contains energy-absorbing foam to provide protection in side-impact accidents.

What’s to Love

Most bucket-style infant car seats only last you until around your child’s first birthday, when your child will likely start approaching the seat’s height limit. The Chicco Fit2 addresses this problem by featuring a convertible infant seat that can switch from an infant stage to a toddler stage. 

Stage 1 – Use as a rear-facing infant car seat for newborns up to 12 months old or 35 lbs. It has an adjustable reclined position so that infants with poor head control don’t slump forward.

Stage 2 – Transition to a toddler seat for ages 9 to 24 months, up to 35 lbs. The seat remains rear-facing but is more upright and provides additional legroom for those longer toddler legs. 

A 7-position headrest and padded no re-thread harness provide adjustability to accommodate growth throughout both stages. The premium fabrics are machine washable for easy clean-up during unexpected messes and accidents.

As the Fit2 was designed to fit seamlessly with your lifestyle, it was also designed to fit seamlessly with Chicco strollers, including the Chicco Viaro. With this travel system compatibility and its easy, one-hand removal from base and stroller, this infant car seat brings you extended convenience and peace of mind – both in and out of the car. This infant carrier also features an adjustable and removable canopy to keep your little one protected from the sun’s rays.

Pros

  • Infant to toddler convertibility
  • Easy to convert base
  • Bubble level indicator
  • Easy to install
  • No re-thread harness
  • 7 position headrest
  • Easy to adjust handle
  • Machine washable fabric
  • Adjustable and removable canopy

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Customer Reviews

  • 4.8 stars, 57 reviews – Target
  • 4.7 stars, 38 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.8 stars, 68 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4.7 stars, 37 reviews – Walmart

See The Chicco Fit2 Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat

Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat, Black
Quality
Popularity

The Baby Jogger City GO Infant Car Seat is a comfy, safe seat for your baby in and out of the car. Baby Jogger knows your travels aren’t limited to rides in the family car; you require options. That is why this infant car seat is truly a “go anywhere” car seat, and is available in three muted color schemes.

Safety

Safety-wise, the City Go is pretty run of the mill. It passed the required US standard FMVSS 213 (child restraint test) and has been side impact tested. It’s also equipped with a 5-point harness system. Everything is within the industry standard. Having the taxi belt path is a bonus but not a long-term safety measure since in your own car you would be using the base.

The 6-position base is adjustable to ensure a proper and level installation in your vehicle. Two easy to see dual bubble level indicators provide confidence that you’ve securely and correctly installed your base. This infant car seat boasts two quick, simple, and secure installation options. The push-button LATCH provides an easy LATCH install, while the integrated belt lock-off allows for an easy seat belt installation.

What’s to Love

The TaxiSafe belt path allows quick, easy, and safe installation without a base for use in taxis or rental cars. This is a wonderful feature for city dwellers, or families that are constantly on the go. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you’ll love the extended UV 50+ canopy. It keeps your baby well shielded from the sun when needed and can be pushed back when not needed. The one-hand headrest and harness adjustment makes it easy to ensure your growing baby is always safely secured. An infant body insert keeps little ones properly positioned and is removable as baby grows.

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Great fit on the headrest
  • No re-thread harness
  • Taxi belt path
  • Large UV 50+ canopy
  • Ability to adapt to any Baby Jogger stroller
  • Bubble level indicator
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Restrictive stroller brands adapters
  • Headrest label position

Customer Reviews

  • 4.9 stars, 67 reviews – Kohls
  • 4.8 stars, 67 reviews – Target
  • 4.7 stars, 80 reviews – buybuyBaby

See Baby Jogger City GO Infant Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat

BRITAX B-Safe Endeavours Infant Car Seat - Rear Facing | 4 to 35 Pounds - Reclinable Base, 3 Layer Impact Protection, Circa
Price$$$$
Quality
Popularity

The Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat gives you peace of mind that your baby is safe – no matter where you go or how you choose to get there. Available in four color schemes, this infant carrier is a top parent pick for both safety and features.

Safety

The Endeavours infant car has a Anti-Rebound Bar (ARB) that makes contact with the vehicle’s seat. It reduces seat rotation in a crash and protects baby from that intense twisting motion. 

The Click and Go systems allows you to safely and easily snap the seat in and out of the base and in and out of strollers. This seat can be paired with any Britax stroller to form a travel system.

Britax was a player in the transportation industry long before they started making car seats. They bring exceptional expertise in safety engineering to their baby products.

What’s to Love

The Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat is simply spectacular. It has features like an easy-adjust harness, an ergonomic handle, and a comfortable seat for baby that make it easy to love. Combine that with its ability to travel easily and be secure both with and without the base, and it’s a winner.

Because it has several different safety features, like the Anti-Rebound Bar, the SafeCell base, and a steel frame, it easily becomes one of the best seats on the market. Be prepared to shell out a pretty penny for this seat, though. It doesn’t come cheap, but it’s money well spent for the safety, mobility, and comfort of your sweet little baby.

Pros

  • Anti-rebound bar
  • Easy adjust harness with padded straps and tummy buckle
  • Comfy, deep seat for baby
  • Cover can come off easily to be hand washed
  • Ergonomic handle and big canopy
  • European belt guide for use without base
  • Latch system is easy to use
  • Multiple safety features for ultimate safety

Cons

  • Big price tag
  • Seat material isn’t very breathable

Customer Reviews

  • 4.3 stars, 27 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.3 stars, 26 reviews – Walmart
  • 4 stars, 26 reviews – Target
  • 4.3 stars, 32 reviews – AlbeeBaby

See Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

You’ve read about the B-Safe 35 and the Endeavours. See how these Britax car seats stack up by reading our comparison here.

Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 Infant Car Seat

Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 Infant Car Seat, Chambray , 16.5x16.25x28.5 Inch (Pack of 1)
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

The Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 is a solid option when it comes to purchasing an inexpensive car seat. Coming in at under $100 dollars, this car seat offers a lot of safety and convenience for a low price.

Safety

While this car seat has the basics, like an energy-absorbing EPS foam support and a 5-point safety harness, the base is where it really shines. The base has flexible push-button latch connectors with built-in latch storage. If you are using a vehicle belt, the base has a belt lock-off for quick and easy installation. With recline and easy seat release, the base makes this seat easy to use.

What’s to Love

The harness is no-rethread! Just click it up or down to adjust. This is a thoughtful feature. The delta carrying handle, combined with the approximately 10-pound carrier weight, makes for easier carrying. The canopy is large, the infant insert is plush and supportive, and the weight limit is 35 pounds – all features that parents will be grateful to have.

Pros

  • EPS foam and side-impact protection
  • Flexible push-button latch hooks
  • Vehicle best lock-offs
  • No re-thread 5 point safety harness
  • Delta carrying handle
  • Large canopy
  • Plush and large infant insert pillow
  • Easy seat release from base

Cons

  • Stacked buckles are annoying
  • Difficult harness adjustment
  • Not the best quality

Customer Reviews

  • 4.1 stars, 302 reviews – Target
  • 4.3 stars, 28 reviews – Walmart

Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat

The Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat is a favorite car seat for twins for numerous reasons.

Safety

This car seat has Air Protect and rebound protection built into the base. It also offers superior protection for smaller babies. Parents of twins or preemies will love that it works beginning at just 4 pounds but can be used all the way up to 30 pounds or 32 inches. One of the main reasons I like this luxe seat is the lower body positioning insert and low buckle height options, which makes it such a great choice for smaller or preemie babies, which twins often are. 

What’s to Love

It’s got a smaller footprint in the car, due to the seat width of only 18 inches at the widest point, or 16 inches at the base. It’s also one of the lighter car seats on the market, weighing in at 8.9 pounds. You will also appreciate that you can easily remove the car seat cover for washing without taking off and rethreading the harness, which is convenient when you have double the mess to clean. 

Pros

  • Anti-rebound bar on base
  • Side 
  • Cozi Dozi infant insert
  • Flip out visor on canopy
  • Washable, moisture-wicking fabrics
  • No-rethread harness
  • Contoured handle

Cons

  • Lower weight limit
  • Expensive
  • Takes up a lot of back seat real estate

Customer Reviews

  • 4.2 stars, 72 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.5 stars, 210 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4.1 stars, 44 reviews – Macy’s

How These Infant Car Seats Compare

The table below compares only the recommended products on this page. A low or high Price means it is low or high compared to the other products listed. The Popularity Score reflects how often readers click on and buy the product. The Quality Score is our assessment of the overall performance and satisfaction with the product compared to others in the table.


Guide to Selecting an Infant Car Seat

The first thing that comes to mind in selecting the best car seat is its safety features. In the United States, all car seats are required to meet federal safety standards. Some have features that make them safer than others, but even the simplest infant car seats are safe.

This article emphasized the safety features of each recommended product.

Statistics show that the majority of injuries are not due to un-safe equipment but errors in the usage and installation of the car seats. The NHTSA rates every car seat based on ease-of-use factors including the clarity of labels, ease of installation, clarity of the instructions and harnessing the child.

Car seats that are easy to use and have fewer steps for important activities like installing the base, buckling in the child and transferring the seat from car to stroller, are much safer. And of course, they aren’t only safer but more pleasant to use.

Beyond safety, there are several important items that will make you more or less satisfied with your car seat. How easy is it to clean? How does it look? How comfortable is it? Does it make your child sweat? Is it heavy or awkward to carry around? Does it connect to your favorite stroller? How many of them fit across your vehicle’s seat? Do you have to fumble around to find the harness straps? Does it have cupholders? Are they in convenient places?

There are many convertible car seats made to accommodate newborns all the way to 120 lbs kids. However, many people find that a car seat specifically designed for infants fit them better than the seats that are made to handle kids of all ages. The car seats in this article are all “infant” car seats that protect babies up to 35 lbs, although a couple of them go a little higher.

You should follow the height and weight limits to keep your child safe and comfy.

Installation

When you are buying a car seat online you can’t touch it and experiment with the feel of the mechanism. You should watch the videos made by the manufacturers to see the proper steps and methods for installation. If there is any doubt, see a certified car seat technician to help you get it just right. Some states require a visit to a technician to inspect the seat and installation. See the FAQs section below for more information about installing an infant car seat.

Harness

Decide whether or not you prefer a car seat with a no re-thread harness. A no re-thread harness means that you can adjust the harness level without completely taking the harness out of the car seat. On car seats without a no re-thread harness, you must un-thread the harness straps through the back of the car seat and then re-insert them back into the car seat at the desired harness height.

With a no re-thread harness, you simply squeeze a button at the top of the car seat, and the whole back of the car seat can move up or down until you reach the desired harness height level. It may sound like a basic feature, but it is so much simpler to adjust a harness that doesn’t need to be re-threaded. Plus, it reduces the chance of re-threading the harness back into the seat incorrectly.

With my oldest children, we didn’t have a no-re-thread harness. However, with our most recent foster child, we were gifted a car seat that featured a no re-thread harness. It may seem like a small feature, but I will be the first to admit that this small feature makes a big difference.

Washability

Best car seat inserts are machine washable, however, some are spot clean only. If you anticipate spending a lot of time in your vehicle, or many potential messes, it is important to consider a machine washable option. Cleaning a car seat isn’t just a great way to make your backseat look (and smell) better, it’s also an important safety factor. Over time, dirt and grime can accumulate and prevent a seat from performing up to the highest standard.

It is recommended that you clean the car seat cover and buckle periodically to keep them in their best shape. Here are a few general tips for cleaning your car seat and buckle, but please refer to the user guide that came with your car seat for specific cleaning instructions.

  • How to wash a Car Seat Cover
    • Remove the cover from the infant car seat. The user guide contains instructions for both removing and replacing the cover.
    • Hand wash or machine wash the cover using cold water and mild soap, per the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not use bleach.
    • Lie flat, line dry, or machine dry (only if it is dryer safe) to prevent the cover from shrinking. Do not iron the cover.
  • How to clean a car seat buckle
    • Remove the buckle from the seat. The user guide contains instructions for removing and replacing the buckle.
    • Thoroughly rinse the buckle with warm running water.
    • Don’t use anything on the buckle except for water.
    • After washing and drying, test the buckle thoroughly by fastening and unfastening all the connections of the 5-point harness. You should feel it catch and usually hear a confirming click sound.

Size Range

Size ranges vary on infant car seats. Be sure to take your baby’s size into consideration when purchasing an infant only car seat. Below, you will find charts comparing the minimum and maximum weight and heights of the infant car seats featured in this article.

Top Rated Infant Car SeatMinimum WeightMaximum WeightMaximum Height
Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat4 lbs30 lbs30 in
Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat5 lbs30 lbs30 in
Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Doona Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Cybex Aton M Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs30 in
Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Clek Liing Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Safety 1st On-Board 35 LT Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Evenflo Litemax 35 Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs30 in
Nuna Pipa4 lbs32 lbs32 in
Chicco Fit2 Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs35 in
Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat4 lbs30 lbs32 in

Budget

The best infant car seat may or may not be the most expensive one. You need a seat that first of all, fits your child by height and weight, and secondly has the best set of features for the amount you’ve budgeted.  Here are the best car seats referenced in this article in order by price. However, it is important to keep in mind that, between market demands and discounts, prices can vary daily. Prices used here are MSRP or list price.

Size of Car Seat

Car seats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you have a smaller car, consider a narrow car seat option. If you anticipate needing to move your car seat frequently, choosing a lighter-weight car seat will be a good choice for you. Below, you will find charts comparing the car seat length, width, height, and weight for each of the top-rated car seats featured in this article, as well as for the best car seats for preemies and twins.

Top Rated Infant Car SeatCar Seat LengthCar Seat WidthCar Seat HeightCar Seat Weight
Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat29.1 in18.3 in16.29 lbs
Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat27.5 in17 in24 in9.6 lbs
Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat28.5 in16.5 in16.5 in14 lbs
Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat26.5 in17.8 in25 in10 lbs
Doona Infant Car Seat23.6 in17 in26 in16.5 lbs
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat28 in17 in25 in9.9 lbs
Cybex Aton M Car Seat26 in17.3 in22.25 in10.9 lbs
Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat26.5 in17.8 in25 in11 lbs
Clek Liing Infant Car Seat27.7 in16.9 in26.8 in10 lbs
Safety 1st On-Board 35 LT Infant Car Seat15.75 in18 in30 in7.3 lbs
Evenflo Litemax 35 Infant Car Seat30 in17.3 in18.3 in8.5 lbs
Chicco Fit2 Infant Car Seat28 in17 in16 in11 lbs
Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat27.7 in18.7 in15.6 in7.2 lbs
Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat30 in17.8 in25 in11.5 lbs
Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 Infant Car Seat28.5 in16.5 in16.25 in10 lbs
Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat30 in18 in21 in8.9 lbs

Buying a Used Car Seat

Accept a used infant car seat with caution.

  • Used seats should be less than 6 years old
  • Never been in a crash
  • Passes a visual and mechanical inspection
  • Has all its parts
  • Still have manufacturer labels
  • Has not reached the manufacturer expiration date

Look for obvious signs of wear, abuse or breakage including cracks in the surfaces and tears in fabric and straps. Check online for recalls and official expiration date information. If there is a recall you may get a replacement seat or part out of the deal. 

Guide to Car Seat Safety

Your chief job in the realm of safety for your child is education. There are many resources available for learning about safe usage and the installation of car seats. In most cities, you can find certified car seat technicians who are trained to review the installation of your car seat base and give you advice on how to improve.

It isn’t enough to be educated, you need to commit to developing the habit of following the right procedure to safely install your car seat, and most importantly to make sure you are buckling your child in correctly each and every time. If this is your first baby you’ll want to purchase the seat in advance of the child’s birth and get it properly installed. Then you’ll be all set for the trip home from the hospital without stressing out in the parking lot on the maiden voyage.

Of secondary importance is choosing the right seat. As we explained above, all car seats are safe, and the choice will primarily depend on your budget, the size and age of the child, ease of use features, and additional safety technology if that will give you peace of mind.

Rear-Facing Car Seats for Infants and Toddlers

  • The most recent guideline for rear-facing car seat usage is that infants should remain in a rear-facing seat until the exceed the height and weight limitations of the seat. The old standard was that they should stay in a rear-facing seat until age 2. The new recommendation means they could stay in their seats a bit longer or shorter depending on the seat you choose.
  • When infants outgrow their rear-facing seat installation, you should move them to a forward-facing position. Keep in mind that not every infant car seat converts to a forward-facing position, so you may have to transition to a new seat entirely.

Forward-Facing Car Seats for Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • The rule for forward-facing car seats is to keep your child in the seat until they exceed the manufacturer’s height or weight limit for forward-facing mode. This is typical until age 4 or 5.
  • The manufacturer’s height and weight limits can be found in the user manual and online. 
  • Forward-facing car seats use a 5-point harness system as the seat belt.
  • As the child grows it is important to adjust the height of the seat and the harness position to ensure that the harness remains snug. Many newer car seats make harness adjustment easy and do not require rethreading the harnesses each time you raise or lower the headrest.

Booster Seats for School-Aged Children

  • When a child no longer fits in their forward-facing car seat they graduate to a booster seat. This usually happens between the age of 4 or 5 but could vary based on the growth rate of your child.
  • Booster seats are either high-back or backless. They do not make use of harness straps and 5-point harnesses. Instead, they use the seat belt in the car and have a mechanism called belt-positioning to make sure the seat belt falls in the right places across the child’s body.
  • The purpose of the booster seat is to set the child up at the right height so that the seat belt lays correctly across their lap and shoulder.
  • When a child is in a booster seat the lap belt should fit snugly across the hips, and the shoulder belt should be secured right at shoulder height.
  • Children should use a booster seat until they reach the height limit specified by the manufacturer. This is typically around 4′ 10″ and children reach this height between 8 and 12 years of age. At that point, they are able to sit in a vehicle seat and use the seat belt as an adult uses it.

Seat Belts for Older Children and Adults

  • When a child outgrows their booster seat they can use vehicle seat belts without any additional seating device. At this point, the vehicle seat belt should fall across the hips and shoulder at a reasonably comfortable and safe position.
  • Children should not sit in the front passenger seat until they are 13 years old.

Important Reminders

  • Help your child develop safe habits. Always wear seatbelts yourself and your child will be likely to follow your example.
  • Other caregivers. It is important that everyone your child rides with knows how to use the car seat equipment correctly. It is equally important that they commit to using the car seats and harnesses correctly and consistently. Take the time to explain and demonstrate harnessing and buckling your child for every caregiver. You and the caregiver share the responsibility for the safety of your child.
  • Never leave your child in a car alone. Every year there are many child fatalities caused by:
    • Heatstroke
    • Hypothermia
    • Seatbelt strangulation
    • Power window trauma
    • Carbon dioxide poisoning
  • Keep children away from moving vehicles. The leading cause of death in non-crashes of children is backovers. Fatalities are also caused by front-overs, children trapped in trunks, and cars in motion without drivers.
  • Learn the child safety features of your vehicle.  Important things to look for are:
    • The number and location of anchors for the LATCH system. Not every seat in your vehicle has anchors.
    • Backup cameras
    • Rear-seat reminder systems

We’ve got a whole write-up on everything you need to know about car seat safety. Click to read our Car Seat Safety Guidelines article.

Choosing the Best Car Seat for Preemies

In need of a car seat for a preemie? There are certain factors to consider, such as the minimum weight requirement of the seat and additional body support for infants. Apart from if you are expecting multiples, which are typically smaller than full-term babies, you probably won’t know you need a car seat to fit a preemie. Chances are if you are looking for a car seat for a premature baby, you need to choose one rather quickly. If you have already bought a car seat, check its specifications it may be a good fit for your preemie. Otherwise, check out the detailed list below to help you make the right choice for both you and your little one.

See The Best Car Seats for Preemies for more information on other car seats for small babies.

Key Features to Look For

There are some things, specifically, to look for when looking for a car seat for a preemie. These include:

Minimum weight requirements

Most convertible seats and some infant bucket seats have a minimum weight requirement of 5 pounds. Since many preemies will weigh less than this upon leaving the hospital, try to look for a seat that has a lower weight requirement. It is fairly easy to find an infant bucket seat with a minimum weight requirement of 4 pounds, but definitely be careful when choosing.

Body support for small babies (infant insert)

Most infant car seats come with some sort of infant insert, to add a bit more support for newborns. Some car seats just have head support, while others have full-body support. The added support is important to help provide extra cushion. It also helps to keep your baby’s chin off of his chest. Because newborns don’t have control of their heads, they tend to slump forward in car seats. A good infant insert will allow a baby’s head to rest slightly further back from their chest to avoid this slumping.

Lowest harness position

When fitting a car seat harness to your child, the harness straps should be as close to shoulder level as possible, or slightly below shoulder level. One of the main issues with finding a car seat to properly fit a preemie is that the lowest harness position is too high on many seats, leaving the harness above shoulder level rather than at or below it. Many infant bucket seats have the lowest harness level of around 6 inches, but if you look around, you can find seats with 5-inch harness levels. This is best for preemies.

FAQs – Infant Car Seats

How do I install my infant car seat?

Every seat is different. Read the user manual thoroughly and watch the manufacture videos to learn the best way to install your infant car seat. Here are some tips that may apply:

  • Infant car seats usually have a base and a seat which are separate components.
  • Install the car seat base in the back seat and preferably in the middle. Check your vehicle to locate metal anchors for connecting the car seat base using the LATCH system. Anchors are round metal bars found in the crack between the seat and seat back of your vehicle. Not every seat will have anchors but they will be located on both sides of the seat if they are present.
  • If your seat has a latch connection system, read the manual to find out how to attach to the vehicle anchors and tighten the straps such that the seat is snug against the vehicle. 
  • If you need to install the car seat in a vehicle that does not have anchors, read your manual on how to correctly use the vehicle’s seat belt to attach the car seat. When using the car’s seat belt, there is usually a clip that holds the belt together and keeps it from slipping that is provided with the car seat. These clips can be purchased separately.
  • Regardless of the installation belt or strap mechanism, the most important outcome is a car seat that fits snugly against the vehicle seat. It should not move forward or backward, or side to side.
  • Check the tightness of the seat each time you use it.

How do I harness my infant?

  • Watch manufacturer videos and read the product user manual. 
  • Your baby’s bottom should be flush with the back of the car seat.
  • Your baby’s head should be at least 2 inches below the top of the seat.
  • 5-point harnesses include a crotch harness, two torso level harnesses, and two shoulder harnesses. Each of these have clips that fit together in a central buckle.
  • Slots for the harness should be at the same level as your baby’s shoulders or slightly below.
  • Harnesses should be snug. They should never be twisted, but should lay flat. You shouldn’t be able to pinch a harness.
  • Babies should not wear coats or bulky clothing while in their car seats. Buckle the infant securely first then cover them with blankets or a footmuff to keep them warm. Do not cover the baby’s head with a blanket and don’t place a blanket or anything else behind the baby.
  • There may be empty space beside your newborn when she is too small to fill the car seat. You can roll up towels to place on each side of the infant to keep them from rolling to the side.
  • Make sure the seat isn’t inclined upright so much that your newborn’s head is slouched forward. This can cause suffocation. You may need to adjust the incline to be at a 30 to 45 degree level.

Do car seats have an expiration date?

  • Every car seat is required to have an expiration date. The date will be printed somewhere on the seat. The user manual should tell you how long the car seat is designed to last and you can calculate the expiration date based on the car seat life and the manufacture date.

How will I know if my car seat gets recalled?

  • Manufacturers place a label or sticker on every car seat that shows the model number and date of manufacture or serial number. 
  • Always register your car seat using the information from the label. Manufacturers use registration information to notify you of a recall.  

Can I use my car seat after a crash?

  • Car seats may be used after minor crashes but not after moderate or severe crashes.
  • Minor crashes are those where there is no damage to the door nearest the car seat, no one was injured, the car is still in driving condition, air bags were not deployed and there is no visible damage to the car seat.
  • That last point is important. Always perform a visual inspection of the car seat to look for cracks, wear, tears and sound operation of the LATCH and harness mechanisms before deciding to continue use of the car seat.
  • There is no need to replace seats involved in minor crashes unless you find evidence of damage.
  • Do not buy a used car seat if there is any possibility that it has been involved in a moderate or severe accident.

Where should I put my car seat?

  • The best place for your infant car seat is in the middle of the back seat. Other back seat locations are also acceptable.
  • Regardless of the location, the seat should be installed tightly. If there are no anchors or the seat has a strange shape or configuration that prevents a tight installation, you may have to change locations.

Should my child ride in a car seat on an airplane?

  • Rear-facing and forward-facing car seats can be installed in airline passenger seats. 
  • The FAA recommends that children 40 lbs or less use certified child restraints while flying. This includes infant and convertible car seats. It does NOT include booster seats.
  • Not all seats are certified for flying. There should be a label and specific mention in the owner’s manual that says the seat is certified for flying.
  • There are also restraint systems specifically designed for air travel that you can purchase for a trip.
  • You will need a car seat when you reach your destination.
  • For more information, visit the AAP or the CARES Airplane Safety Harness for Children Web site.

Where can I find more information on car seat ratings?

  • The NHTSA rates each car seat on its ease of use. The website contains a nice search facility and lots of good information on the usability of car seats by model. 
  • Car seats are organized by type of seat which is driven by the child’s age and weight.

What are the car seat laws in my state?

  • We’ve published summaries of car seat laws for every state in the US. Laws vary state by state so it is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations.

Final Word

Car seat shopping for your new baby can be overwhelming. My sincere hope is that this article helped alleviate some of your stress. Like I said in the introduction, there are no perfect car seats. However, there is a perfect car seat for your family and lifestyle. Rest assured that all of the best car seats featured in this article are safe and stylish.

All that’s left for you to do is choose a car seat that fits your car and budget. With any of the options listed above, your little one is sure to experience safe, happy travels. If you’re considering an all-in-one car seat instead of an infant-only seat, please see The Best Convertible Car Seats of 2021. May God bless you on your journey!

Sources

  1. Best Infant Car Seats of 2022, www.consumerreports.org
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html, www.cdc.gov
  3. Car Seat Ease-of-Use Ratings, www.nhtsa.gov
  4. Car Seat Safety (for Parents), kidshealth.org
  5. Car Seat Use After a Crash, www.nhtsa.gov
  6. Flying with Children…, www.faa.gov
  7. KidsFlySafe.com…, www.kidsflysafe.com
  8. Car Seats and Booster Seats, www.nhtsa.gov

Brittany Spalding

Brittany Spalding is a wife, homeschool mom, writer, editor, and food allergy awareness advocate. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, restoring antique furniture, St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and fishing on the beautiful Kentucky Lake.