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The Best Infant Car Seat To Keep Your Baby Safe and Comfortable
Last updated: 14 Oct 2023
Bringing home a newborn can be scary, especially if you’re a first-time parent. There are so many things to learn and buy. But with a top-quality infant car seat, you and your baby can feel safe and secure wherever you go.
Like most purchases, it’s not as simple as “expensive is better.” You need to research which car seat is best for your infant and your vehicle. With so many different car seats on the market, the research can be overwhelming. So we’ve compiled a list of the most popular infant car seats of 2023 to help you decide.
Choosing The Most Effective Infant Car Seat: A Buying Guide
Infant car seats are one of the most important purchases for a new parent. These seats offer the ideal fit for newborns and smaller children and are the primary source of safety for your children when traveling with them in a vehicle. It is normal to get overwhelmed while choosing one – especially with the vast variety today.
The safest car seat for your infant will be one that you can securely install into your vehicle, that fits your child’s size and age, and that you can use easily. Just looking at the safety rating is hardly enough; just because it has been rated ‘safest’ doesn’t mean that it will be compatible with your vehicle or your child. You need to look for the best seat, and here’s a guide to help you do just that.
The Upsides and Downsides of Investing In An Infant Car Seat
Infant car seats are the most popular car seats for newborns. They are only rear-facing and have carrying handles and a base to snap the seat in and out of. Most of these kinds of seats are meant for babies weighing between 4 to 30 pounds.
Infant car seats can easily be snapped in and out of the car seat and are designed keeping portability in mind. They are also compatible with strollers to provide new parents with added convenience and ease of use. They are also lighter than convertible seats and much easier to switch between different vehicles.
Unfortunately, infant car seats have their limitations as well. They cannot be positioned in more upright rear-facing positions, and because they are rear-facing, they offer very limited legroom. They also have limited height and weight restrictions, which means that your child will grow out of them pretty soon, and you will have to invest in a new one after the child is slightly older and bigger.
Things To Consider When Buying An Infant Car Seat
Again, your car seat needs to suit your needs. If you travel a lot with your child, your car seat must be easy to operate. A frequent traveler should also ideally go for a lightweight seat that can fit on your stroller. However, always purchase your stroller based on your car seat purchase and not the other way around because the car seat is more important for your child’s safety.
Safety and Legality
The most important thing to remember about the car seat you buy is the safety it will offer your infant. That is the primary purpose of this purchase, so you need to ensure that that purpose is being fulfilled at any cost. In most countries, you have organizations to test and evaluate car seat safety and set regulations for the kinds that are permitted. Car seats that are certified by these organizations have been crash tested thoroughly before they are assigned a safety score. Look for certified seats with high safety scores and those meeting the minimum road safety standards.
Ensure that the seat you buy fits your infant’s height and weight. Especially for smaller babies, ensure that the seat buckles around the child snugly and tightly. The right size is essential for ensuring your baby is secured. According to the CDC, risk of infant fatalities goes down by 71 percent for children appropriately secured in a car seat.
Your baby should be comfortable and snug enough in their seat to fall asleep. If your child isn’t comfortable, that’s going to make for a terrible journey for them, as well as for you!
Ensure that the seat you buy comes with extra padding and that its material is breathable and lightweight.
Ease of Installation
According to statistics, 46 percent of child seats and boosters are not installed correctly, which leaves children at a higher risk of getting injured or dying in car crashes. Since you’ll probably be regularly installing and uninstalling your infant car seat in your car, it’s important to ensure the seat is easy to install. Ideally, you should pick a seat with a dedicated installation base, making the entire process a lot easier. With this base, all you need to do once is install the base into your car and plug the seat in and out as per your requirements.
For added convenience, your car seat should be compatible with your stroller. However, you should buy your stroller to fit the car seat you’ve bought rather than vice versa. With this compatibility, you can easily unplug the seat from the car and clip it onto your stroller for portability.
Children can be messy, which means you’ll need to clean your car seat pretty often. You want to buy one made of materials that are easy to wash and maintain. The seat should be removable and washable, so you don’t have to worry about not getting under certain spots. Ideally, they should also be dryer-safe, so you don’t worry about drying them up completely after a thorough wash.
The more lightweight the car seat, the more portable it will be. This shouldn’t be a deciding factor when buying a car seat, but it’s something worth looking into when you’re shopping. Also, look for designs with handles and seat canopies for comfortable and wider usage.
The recline angle on your infant’s car seat is important because it supports the child’s head. Especially for newborns, this support is critical. Look for a car seat that can be reclined to a safe angle and doesn’t easily shift from that angle to prevent your baby’s head from flopping forward. All car seats can change the recline angle, but not all of them function properly.
You want to make parent life as easy as possible, so having a few extra features without compromising the primary ones can be beneficial. Some features include a 5-point harness, a car seat base, cushion side-impact protection, an anti-rebound bar, compatibility with the LATCH system, and non-rethreading straps.
Reviewing The Best-Reviewed Infant Car Seats of 2023
The Mesa Infant Car Seat by UPPAbaby is a top-of-the-line car seat. Its materials are high quality and feature extra padding and cushioning for your child’s comfort. Its head wings are robust, and it has a shock-absorbent EPS foam spread through the interior to provide added side-impact protection. It also features a tension indicator base, recline angle indicators, and storage pockets in the cover.
The MESA uses a SmartSecure latch system for easy installation. The straps will loosen when you hold the chest clip down and tighten on their own when you release the button. It can even be attached with a rear seat belt if you have an older car. The seat’s LATCH connectors are more efficient than your regular metal clasps and add to the overall safety of the product. This product may be expensive, but it is one of the best investments you can make in infant car seats.
Premium-quality, flame-resistant, and chemical-free materials for comfort
Lightweight, soft, and breathable fabric for temperature regulation
Easy to install with and without base
Features SmartSecure system for higher efficiency
Includes extra features (tension and recline angle indicators and pockets).
The Baby Trend Infant Car Seat is an ideal choice for those looking for a safe, comfortable and easy-to-use car seat. Its features are designed to promote the health and safety of your infant during travel. This car seat is lightweight, weighing in at less than 8 pounds, so it is easy to carry around and provides excellent mobility. The built-in ergonomic grip ensures that you can easily lift the car seat by following the technique recommended by chiropractors. The handle of the seat can act as an anti-rebound bar to help limit rotation in the event of a collision.
The base of the car seat includes a flip foot recline and bubble level indicator, making it easy to achieve the perfect angle for your baby both while in the car and when you take them out. The plush seating of the seat provides superior comfort for baby, giving you greater peace of mind when traveling. To ensure that your baby is safe and secure, this car seat meets and exceeds federal safety standards as well as being FAA approved for airplane use.
Britax’s B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit seat features many safety features, including two layers of side impact protection, a shock-absorbing base, and a steel frame for sturdiness. This spacious model offers your infant six headrest positions for added comfort. It is compatible with Britax strollers and can easily be adjusted to them using Click and Go technology. A bonus about this seat is that the harness loops at the back can be unhooked to raise the harness to the next slot, which makes your seat suitable for your child as they grow in height and weight.
This infant seat’s SafeCell technology allows it to work as a crumple zone that will pull away the shock from any crash away from the infant in the seat. It also features an ergonomic non-slip handle to make carrying the seat more accessible, a waterproof canopy constructed out of UPF 50+ fabric, washable fabric throughout, and a LATCH installation system for ease of use.
Features steel reinforced base for sturdiness
SafeCell crumple zone technology for added safety
Offers six headrest positions for added comfort
Fabric is machine-washable for convenience
Waterproof canopy and non-slip handle for portability
Graco’s SnugRide SnugLock 35 car seat is trendy because it is easy to install. This model comes with a base that features a swing arm that clamps down onto your car’s seat belt during the installation process, so you’ll be done installing it in no time at all. This infant seat also features the latest SafetyCore crash force absorption technology on the base for added safety.
The SnugRide SnugLock 35 offers four different headrest positions for your infant. The fabric that the interior is made of is of decent quality but on the thinner side. The canopy provides great coverage and features a peek-a-boo window with velcro closure. What’s great about this item is that it’s super lightweight and convenient to carry around when you’re on the go.
Decent features and quality for the price
Extremely easy to install
SafetyCore technology for shock-absorption
Offers four different headrest positions for comfort
The Chicco KeyFit 30 is a popular infant seat because of how solid and safe it is. It offers above-average performance in most areas; combine that with the affordable price, and you have a perfect seat to buy on a budget. This seat has been tested to display one of the top results from crash testing and is also extremely easy to install with its LATCH system.
The Chicco has leveling foot and RideRight bubble level indicators for easy seat alignment. It also has an extremely soft padding that you can remove when you need to wash it. This seat is compatible with many strollers; if you get a compatible stroller to go with it, you be able to comfortably transition your child’s seat from your car to the sidewalk.
Easy to install and adjust
Features high-quality and comfortable fabric and lining
The Safety 1st Onboard 35 LT car seat is suitable for babies of different sizes and weights thanks to its four harness heights, which means that even if you’re buying it for your newborn infant, you’ll be able to use it for an extended period. This seat is incredibly lightweight, which makes it easy to carry around on the go. It’s compact when it’s installed, narrow in size, and pretty easy to install.
This infant seat features inserts with separate body and head cushions for added comfort for your little one. It’s even FAA-approved, so you can use it to hold your child securely in place while flying. The two recline options give you the option to decide whether you want that extra leg space for your kid and to pick an angle they are most comfortable in. The cover is removable, machine-washable, and dryer-safe for easy maintenance.
Comes with head and body inserts for newborns
Extremely lightweight and compact for easy use and portability
Extremely reasonable price for the quality
Removable, machine-washable, and dryer-safe cover
Four harness height slots for children of varying sizes
Q: Which side should I install my infant car seat?
A: According to the NHTSA and the AAP, you should install your infant car seat in the middle seat.
Q: How do I know when to change my child’s car seat?
A: When your child reaches the height or weight limit of the seat, or when you find your seat compromised in any way, you should start looking for a new one.
Q: Can I buy a used infant car seat?
A: That is not recommended because you can never guarantee the safety of used products. The safety features of used items can be compromised in many ways, and you would never know until something bad happens.
The Mighty Moms Reviews Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you tackle motherhood and everything that comes along with it. The content is created by The Mighty Moms Reviews Team. Mighty Moms’ editorial staff is not involved. Mighty Moms is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.