Building a baby inventory is one stressful process that can give any new parent a few headaches. One of the most important equipment every parent should consider is the baby car seat. It is important because it’s a matter of your little one’s safety. No one approves of the situation where the infant is the only unprotected person in the car just because he/she is too small to use the seat belt.
Whether it’s a long holiday trip or a short drive to visit relatives or family friends, your little one needs the maximum protection he/she can get because getting into the car means taking on a genuine risk for our very lives. With a myriad of car seat models on the market today, choosing the right car seat for your baby may be a daunting process especially when you are not equipped with the right knowledge.
As a way of providing you with the much-needed support to foster your parent-hood experience, we have come up with a comprehensive review aimed at equipping you with the knowledge you’ll need to choose the best car seat on the market. We will start with a brief review of the key elements you need to look at when choosing a car seat, and then we will proceed to highlight the credible car seats you can find on the market today.
What to Look for in an Infant Car Seat
- Is a Good Fit for the Car?
Before you start looking for the car seat, it is wise to look at the car first. Take the manual book and do a little homework trying to understand any instructions related to the car seat otherwise you will end up buying something that is useless. Car seats can be installed by means of two options. Its either you attach it by means of a seat belt or through the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children system).
Identify your preferred anchoring system and then proceed to choose the car seat based on the preferred method or option. If you are keen to go for the LATCH, it is a wise step to understand where exactly the LATCH attachments are placed in your vehicle and this can be done through the aid of a manual book.
- Is it a Good Fit for the Little One?
No one wants to buy anything undersized or oversized for his beloved child and the same is the case with car seats. An ill-sized car seat can present both safety and comfort problems to the child thus you definitely need to make steps towards getting the right size. Every car seat comes with specifications relating to weight, height, and other measurements.
These details are what you need to pay attention to before you buy anything called a car seat. In principle, there are two main types of car seats and these are Rear-facing and forward-facing car seats. As for Rear-facing car seats, the child’s position is in such a way that they face backward and this has its advantages.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should travel in Rear-facing seats as much as possible. In general terms, a child is considered oversized for the car seat when the distance between the head and the car seat top is less than 1 inch. When it comes to forward facing car seats, it is recommended that the child should be two years or older or has at least reached the maximum height or weight range of the seat.
- Can the Car Accommodate the Seat?
You surely don’t want to be in an awkward situation where you splash the cash on a good-looking car seat and get back home excited only to find out that it can’t really fit into the back seat. Before you visit the shopping mall, get your hands a little busy, take your tape measure and come up with the measurements of the back seat.
After this, relate to the car seat measurements which you can find at the brand’s website or other authoritative online sites like Amazon. Apart from this, another important question to ask yourself is that who else will be riding the back seat? You surely don’t want to put the other child at risk by sitting them on your lap in the front seat just because the baby’s car seat is eating up almost all the space at the back.
- How Much Safety Does it Provide?
Car seats are about two basic things, and these are safety and comfort. The market is full of tons of models and you need to choose the one that offers the best protection according to your budget. Some models are authentic whereas some are nothing more than mediocre products from commercial thieves who care about nothing else but money.
You need to go for the most reliable brands, and you can get the information from authoritative online review sites and other sources. When it comes to the authentic car seats, you will also realize that they offer different features relating to safety. Some of them offer basic protection properties, some offer top-notch features whereas some of them provide something in between.
For instance, some of the car seats just offer a basic harness system while others go the extra mile to incorporate leg loads and rebound bars to provide extra protection. The extra features come with an extra price of course but they are usually a worthwhile investment when you have the money.
- What Are Other Users Saying?
On this note, you can’t just take every good thing you read about the product for biblical truth. You might be impressed by the profile of a product, get excited about it and purchase it relentlessly only to find out that it’s a fluke. No matter how good anything seems, take your time and get online to have a glimpse of what other people’s experiences have been like.
If the user ratings correlate with the excellent profile then chances are that the product has a high chance of living up to expectation. On the other hand, if the reviews are showing a general negative trend with a recurring defect showed by multiple customers, then it’s probably a good idea to give it that cold shoulder to save the hard earned money, and most importantly, the baby.
Having considered the basics, let’s plunge into the exciting world of car seats and see if you can find your darling. In general, every car seat is being considered in four main aspects and these are key specifications, pros, cons, NHTSA rating, and our verdict.
Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 is a baby car seat designed to hold and accommodate infants. It is arguably one of the lightest infant car seats on the market, with a weight of approximately 7.5 pounds. It is structured to accommodate infants that weigh between 4–30 lbs. It is paired with a removable child support cushion with a machine-washable seat pad. Its stay-in-car base has a 6-position dial adjustment which makes the installation easy.
It is manufactured in four colors: grapeade, pierce and studio. Most infant car seats are hard to clean since the seat pads can only be washed with hands. Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 has a machine-washable pad which makes it easy to clean. With this infant car seat, there are super clean shades of lavender and royal purple which has solid black and grey accented to it.
These colors will mesmerize your child with its appearance, and the softness of the fabric which feels good on its skin. Also, the major reason you will love is its safety, since it clicks into the base securely. The seat clicks into Graco Strollers making it possible to leave your baby asleep in the car while moving them to the stroller. It meets and actually exceeds safety standards for infant car seats.
It is fixed and proper fit as a result of the SnugRide’s 5-point harness. The car seat is comfortable with fitting head support which creates more room for the baby. Besides, the baby needs more room as he grows! However, the car seat has a false clicking- sometimes the car seat will make a clicking sound even when not
securely fit the stroller.
In addition, some users complain that its base is not secure since it seems to move from side to side. Others complain that the hood can be clumsy, almost impossible to move. It has a smaller canopy compared to most car baby seats.
Introduced in 2016, this is another lightweight infant car seats on the market. It is also very comfortable and has high safety ratings from past users. It is tested for safety and easy to assemble. It is also rated by customers as having very comfortable head support.
The material is soft making the car seat very comfortable for your little one. The padding is easily removable and machine-washable, making cleaning easier. However, there are concerns about the quality of the fabric and the ability of the seat to hold big babies.
Also, the car seat might be too small for some children, and the straps may be difficult to adjust or may not fit well. Some reviewers have concerns about the
quality of the material, especially with wear and tear occurring in a short time.
The soft material makes this car seat very comfortable for babies, and its lightweight build makes it comfortable for parents to carry. It has an ergonomic handle making it comfortable to carry. It comes with buckle pockets, which make it easier to find buckles and also keep buckles away from babies. It also comes with a full coverage canopy, providing protection against the sun.
The car seat comes with audible notifications to signal if a belt has become unbuckled, as part of the SureLatch system. The SureSafe system is a quick connector that allows you to push and click for simple installation. The SureLATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system can be used in place of seat belts in cars with lower anchor bars. The Evenflo Lite Max car seat has been tested for safety during accidents including rollover testing.
The rollover test simulates roof-to-ground contact, which is an impact responsible for the majority of injuries in rollovers. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) overall rating of 4/5. Also, the car seat loses points in seat setup for smaller infants, which is not configured initially. The harness slots can be difficult to reach and require adjusting. It received extra points for installation features including the sureLATCH system.
Evenflo provides a 90-day limited warranty which requires proof of purchase. Replacement parts can be ordered online, but, the availability of certain parts depends on the model number and date of manufacture (on the back of the child restraint).
Uppababy Mesa is a serious contender for best infant car seat currently on the market. The car seat and base combo is amazing and would satisfy the needs of any parent. We would have liked to see the Uppababy Mesa be compatible with more baby strollers. Currently, it is compatible with the Uppababy Vista or Cruz. The car seat has a unique base. The manufacturer calls it the smart security system and it makes installing the base a cinch.
The base LATCH connectors or ISOFIX if you’re in Europe comes out when you press the orange buttons on the front of the base. You connect the LATCH connectors to your car seat, if it was made after 2002, you push down on the base until the red window screen turns green. This base installs within seconds and because of the Smart Secure System, the Uppababy Mesa is one of the safest infant seats on the market.
Let us face it, the more difficult a car seat is to install, the more likely a parent is to install it incorrectly. If you don’t want to use the LATCH connectors, for parents with older cars or incompatibility issues, the base comes with a really nice lock-off system for the seat belt. If you are installing the car seat without the base, you should know that it does not have a European belt path.
Mesa car seat has two slits on the front, and you would use that to install with a seat belt. It does have level indicators on the sides to ensure the seat is installed correctly. The Mesa weights 9.9 lbs, it’s defiantly not the lightest on the market, with that extra weight you do get some neat features. The headrest features Side Impact Protection, in case of an accident it’s designed to keep the babies head in place.
The Mesa is designed using EPP foam which will compress and not break in a car accident, this absorbs the energy and directs it away from the baby. The seat comes with two small storage pockets for the buckle, making putting the baby in and out easier, Good Job UPPABABY! The seat covers are easily removable and you don’t have to fight with the harness to get them off which is neat!
Most people don’t mind spending a little extra money on a product that is high quality. Although the Britax B Safe Infant Seat is heavier than other infant seats, this car seat will ensure that your newborn is safe. The deeper shell is well able to accommodate bigger babies. If you are looking for a seat that is easy to install, this is the one for you!
Although many agree that the extra safety features make the high price well worth paying, nothing is more important than the safety of your child. This seat features safe cell impact protection which is a safety feature system that provides a protection that is greater than crash test rating requirements. The compressing base and B-Safe steel frame will protect your child from harm, should you be involved in a car accident.
The deep shell is designed to absorb crash forces. The Britax will keep your child safe from the sun with the extra large canopy and it has air travel approval. It also has 2 crotch strap positions, built-in side locks, deep seat pan and an easy to adjust harness. However, besides the fact that this steel framed car seat limits movement, it cannot be washed in a machine.
Making sure the car seat is properly secured on the plane before departure is essential since the heavy steel base of this baby seat is not approved for flying. Also, the latch straps are very short and may present a problem on some vehicles. The buckle is also difficult to move from one position to another.
Final Words on the Britax B Safe 35 Infant Seat
One is able to work around any minor disadvantages and complaints. Better cover choices could be considered. The handle fits comfortably in the crook of your arm making this rear-facing only car seat a recommendable product. Color Choices are Black, Red, and Grey. The Britax B-Safe 35 has been rated 5 stars by the The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for its ease of use, which parents love!
Since being introduced in 2014 the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 is an excellent infant car seat that’s still available on the market. It has many great features that make installing and using this baby car seat a breeze. The 4-35 tells you, the seat was designed for babies 4 lbs up to 35lbs. The height restriction for this seat is 32 inches.
Almost all babies will max out the height restriction before they become too heavy for the car seat. You will then need an upgrade to a convertible car seat.
The Primo Viaggio weighs 9.5 lbs and has an NHTSA safety rating of 3 stars. Infant car seats need to have clear instructions, complete illustrations and safety features that let the parent know the seat is correctly installed.
Though this is a well-built car seat with quite a few safety features built in, such as the side impact protection, belt path, and dual stage inserts, it does fall short compared to other infant car seats on the market. This infant seat features a 5 point harness with a cushion insert for infants with 4 or more pounds of body weight, which gives the baby extra support on their bottom and neck.
With 6 different adjusting positions and a built-in no-retreading system, it’s easy to adjust the seat to fit your baby perfectly. The car seat can be installed without the base with the use of their innovative belt path. The car seat handle is compact with good grip, easily adjustable and doubles up as an anti-rebound bar for extra protection.
The base can be quickly installed with the use of LATCH connectors and secured with the Right Tight System. You also have an option to install the car seat base with a seat belt and lock it off using the lock off. The car seat has a green level that tells you if the base was installed correctly. Infants should always be installed in the forward facing position whether you use a base or the seat itself.
Overall, the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio will get the job done and keep your baby safe. It’s much lighter than many infant seats available, it has a canopy that locks in position and stays up even when it’s being carried. The padding is thicker and with extra padding around the baby’s head offers great side impact protection. There are large numbers of strollers that fit this car seat, and you do need to buy an adapter.
The Baby Trend Flex-Loc is an infant car seat with promising features and a sleek design. It uses flex technology which makes it easy to install into the car. Flex-Loc means that the part of the latch straps which is normally attached to the latch anchors in the car are flexible. It has a bendable arm hook which makes it quick and easy to hook to the anchor.
This seat has the release latch at the baby’s feet as opposed to most which have it at the baby’s head. This makes it ideal for small cars. It can hold babies that weigh between 5-30 pounds and up to 30cm in height. This is great because a parent can use this car seat up to when the baby is about 2-years. When it comes to safety, this infant car seat doesn’t disappoint.
It uses the amazing EPS Foam for padding, which is very lightweight and super force absorbent. This means that in case of a car crash it provides superior protection. It has extra padding for the sides giving it great side impact baby protection. Also, it has a boot. Now, that’s something really nice about this car seat especially if you live in really cold places.
The boot is like a blanket which is easily attached to the bottom of the car seat. It covers the baby giving extra insulation. It is also easily detachable, so no, there’s no need to worry when it’s not cold. It comes in 8 colors: pink, phantom, floral stem, mist, carbon, grey mist, elixir, and Vanguard.
Although it has been rated on Amazon as one of the best and modern infant car seats, with most reviewers commending its safety features, sleek design, and ideal weight and height limit, there are a few complaints from customers. Some state that the seat lacks padding for infant’s heads and you, therefore, need to get extra padding when the baby is very small.
It also has a harness buckle which is hard to buckle and the seat is heavy.
In general, the Baby Flex Car Seat is a superb purchase. If you are mostly concerned about safety and a sleek design and you don’t mind spending a little more effort and time when using the seat, then this is what you need.
Chicco has done a wonderful job creating in creating Keyfit 30. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let start with the model name Keyfit. The brand name came with the design of the car seat to fit your child, your car and your lifestyle. The 30 comes from the maximum child weight the car seat was designed for.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 is designed for infants that weigh between 4-30 lbs, generally, babies grow out of infant seat height wise then weight wise. Once an infant is 2 inches from the top of the seat, it’s recommended to upgrade to a convertible car seat. This is generally when the baby is 9 – 12 months old. This car seat has a great safety, is compatible with many strollers and offers excellent value when compared to similar infant seats.
Your new Keyfit 30 will come with the car seat and base. The base can be attached by LATCH / ISOFIX / LUAS connectors, which are different acronyms for the anchorage system built into cars made after 2002 and stands for Lower Anchors and Thethers for CHildren in America. Once the base is installed in your car, which is easy and quick.
The base has orange buttons on the sides that let you adjust the level. There is a green bubble on the base that lets you know the base is installed correctly, the bubble will be in the middle if correct. If you are using the LATCH connectors, connect them one at a time until it clicks in place. Apply pressure to the base and pull the loop.
The base should have less than one inch of movement when pushed from the side. I personally prefer no movement. Double check the green level and you’ll know if you have installed the base correctly. It’s fairly easy to install and is quicker than using the seat belt which you can when you find yourself in a car without the base around.
The baby seat has different slots that allow you to raise the straps as the child gets bigger. Just so you know, the straps should always be at or below the babies shoulder level. Thanks for reading through this short little review. You might also interested in reading this review about the travel trays we did a while back.
8. Nuna Pipa Car Seat
The Nuna Pipa is a fantastic car seat. The design has not been updated from last year’s model but that still does not take away from this infant seat. The first thing you will notice is the weight. This car seat is light compared to its competitors at 7.7 lbs. The car seat removes from the base with the push of a single handle. The Pipa base installs quickly and effortlessly making it a safe alternative.
The harder a base is to install you are more likely to make a mistake and compromise the safety of your child. A huge plus for the Nuna Pipa. The Pipa’s base rigid LATCH / ISOFIX connectors click into the car seat for cars made after 2002. Depending on where in the world you are, the connectors go by a different acronym. In addition to the LATCH connectors, the base comes with a Load Leg.
The load leg goes down to the floor of the car, this improves the stability of the base as well as diffusing the impact of a crash. A win in our books! Just a weird quirk with the load legs, a few parents with larger vehicles such as a truck or a big SUV have found the load leg does not actually reach the ground of the vehicle. Make sure to take measurements before you purchase a Nuna Pipa.
Not many infant car seats come with a drape like the Nuna Pipa. Nuna calls their drapes the DREAM Drapes. It is stored in the canopy and covers most of the seat and attaches by magnets on the side. This provides excellent shade for the baby. The Nuna Pipa is compatible with many strollers. You do have to purchase adapters, unfortunately. Be sure to look for an adapter that fits your stroller.
In the current condition, you will find wide options in the infant car seat that makes it tricky for new parents to choose the best one in term of comfort and durability. However, as you are going to buy these seats for your loving little ones, you need to be really careful at the time of choosing one. If you are looking for the right one, you can consider buying Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30. Here is a quick but detailed Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 review to further inform you about this exciting product.
What Is Maxi-cosi Mico Max 30?
It is a lightweight and comfortable infant seat that offers safety and comfort to your little one. It is compatible with Quinny, Maxi-Cosi and other strollers from premium brands. It is adjustable and can ensure a proper for fit in any vehicle. Besides, it comes with the Latch system to make the installation process easy and swift.
The color of this product is devoted black. It has an air protect super side impact protection. It has removable fabrics for easy cleaning. It offers great support for the head and neck of the smaller babies. It comes with an innovative design for easy removal without the rethreading harness.
Why Is it Better?
Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 is lightweight and adjustable. It is machine washable. The product is easy to install and offers the best protection. You cannot expect all these improved features from any other infant car seat.
Is There Any Negative Point?
The product lacks a lock-off device. Some customers complain that the harness strap covers too big and bulky for newborns. Others complain that it is too big. But it is important to state that the product is highly appreciated by the users for the nice design, well-built, lightweight, and better protection.
Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 is designed for newborns and smaller babies. If you are looking for a safe, comfortable, and durable car seat for your infant, you can go with this option.
Thanks for reading through this short little review. You might also interested in reading this review about the best kids travel tray we did a while back.
As most people would agree, a good infant car seat means digging deep into your pockets. While most parents would gladly set aside a good number of bucks for this purpose, the circumstances may not always allow it. For any parent looking for a reasonably affordable, quality infant car seat, the Evenflo nurture infant car seat is probably the best choice around.
This lightweight infant car seat offers a number of impressive features that most infant car seats within its price range normally don’t. Evenflo manufacturers are known for their high priority for safety; additionally, their infant car seats are made to give your child maximum comfort during every single car ride. Without further, let’s take a look at what this infant car seat has up its sleeves.
The Evenflo nurture infant car seat is designed to carry children weighing between 5-22 pounds. This means you can use it for your baby’s entire first year. It comes with an extended canopy that works to shield the baby from external elements. When it comes to reaffirming the seat’s safety, it is rollover tested above industry standards.
The seat is also put through a side impact test and meets all Federal Safety Standards; the manufacturer is clearly taking zero chances when it comes to safety. The seat has three shoulder harness positions, two crotch belt positions, and a five-point harness. The seat can be used with no base usually in a rear-facing position.
Its handle is designed to promote ease of use and comfort when carrying it; what’s more, it comes with a new handle position for added rebound support. This seat also comes with a stay- in-car-base. Additional features include a machine washable pad that is easily removable, energy absorbent lining foam and auto belt guides.
Things to Note
Who Is This Seat For?
Any parent looking for an inexpensive infant car seat that features most of what it’s more expensive counterparts do. It is a cheaper yet efficient car seat that serves remarkably well compared to most others within the same price point.
What Makes It A Better Option?
When it comes to safety, this seat is one of the best options.
Having undergone several safety tests and passed remarkably, it exceeds the industry’s most safety standards. For the icing on the cake, you do not necessarily have to pay those extra bucks for this feature.
A good number of buyers collectively agree that this seat works marvelously despite its price. Most agree it is a worthy buy and express maximum satisfaction.
This seat limited to children who weigh between 5 and 22 pounds and are 19 to 29 inches tall. That means you may have to purchase a new seat for your toddler by the time they are one year old. Another con would be that it doesn’t come with a reclining support and you may have to purchase one separately. Thanks for reading through this short little review. You might also interested in reading this review about the kids’ travel tray we did a while back.
The Best Overall Car Seat: Cybex Aton q
If you are patient enough to look at the feature set of this car seat and take a painstaking effort to compare it with the rest, you will soon realize that it is a complete package that edges rest. It basically has all the superior features that a top class car seat is supposed to have.
The overall design is classy, the feature set is incredible, the actual performance is captivating and this is substantiated by top ratings from both customers and authorities including the NHTSA.
The Most Reasonable: Britax Be Safe 35
Being the most reasonable is about providing you with a good balance between features and the price. We are talking about a car seat that provides a lot but with a price that won’t blow your budget. Without a single spec of doubt, The Britax Be Safe 35 is one such car seat.
Going at an Amazon price of 168 dollars, it manages to give you top-notch features including the Safe Cell Technology, state of the art lock off the system and reliable lower anchor connectors. It is definitely the number one option to consider if you are up for a car seat that gives you a blend of quality and affordability.
The Car Seat for the Budget: the Combi Shuttle
The Combi Shuttle has a price tag that doesn’t test your financial muscle beyond a 100 dollars but still manages to put on a feature set showdown that can compete with high-end car seats. You wouldn’t really expect safety-enhancing features like the Anti-rebound bar and great hook LATCH connectors from a car seat in this price range but it somehow manages to have these qualities. It should be the car seat to go for when the budget isn’t really allowing you to settle for the likes of the CYBEX Q.
To sum it all up, choosing the right car seat is a matter of finding the best quality for the amount of coin you have in your pocket. It is a process that starts with defining your muscle, understanding what you need to look for and then relating the knowledge to the list of credible car seats we have presented in this comprehensive review. We hope the knowledge gained here is enough to assist you on your journey to getting the best you can get for the precious and beautiful little one.