Infant car seats are exemplary for newborn babies as they are lightweight, convenient and can perfectly fit in for your little one who can snuggle in it. It has all the characteristics that can meet the needs of both your baby and your needs. If you are looking for the top 10 infant car seats in the market for the year 2018, we suggest you give this guide a read. For heads up, infant car seats are not the same as convertible car seats. Convertible car seats can be used both in a forward-facing mode as well as rear-facing mode, but infant car seats are designed in a way that it can only be used in a rear-facing position. This is actually a good thing! Ask why? It is recommended that small infants should ride in the rear-facing position up to at least two years of age since it is safe for them. Here are few benefits of infant car seats that you won’t find in most other car seats:
- You can easily snap them in and out from a base.
- It is convenient to carry from one place to another while the baby is sitting inside it.
- Whether the baby is a newborn or a growing infant, an infant car seat provides a snug fit for the right support for your baby.
- They are relatively lighter than a convertible car seat, making them convenient to be carried around.
It is often very confusing to choose from all the different brands and models available in the market. In terms of usage too, it can get really difficult to choose a specific model for your baby. You need to keep a lot of other things in mind, such as cleaning, safety, comfort, and support. Keeping all of these in mind, we have created a list of 6 best infant car seats for you so that we can make the task of choosing the right model for you easier.
Considerations To Make Before Buying An Infant Car Seat
A car seat base facilitates you to easily fasten the infant car seat in and out of the vehicle. Most infant car seats come with such base. When travelling with your baby, all you need to do is put the infant car seat into the base and buckle up your baby, and you are ready to go. When you reach the destination, you simply need to unlatch the infant car seat from its base and carry it with the baby in it. Moreover, the bases of some infant car seats come with add-ons like an adjustable foot that facilitates a proper angle of recline and a bubble level indicator confirming if you’ve achieved the correct installation angle or not.
To accommodate your baby’s growth, the car seat must have an adjustable harness, headrest, straps, and harness’ height should be smoothly adjustable from the front. Most high-end models have harnesses that don’t require re-threading together with single-hand belt adjustments with quick-release buckles and single-hand height-adjustable headrests.
LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children)
The LATCH system allows parents to directly append the infant car seat to their vehicles rather than using a seat belt to protect the car seat safely. This makes the installation process more manageable and most infant car seats only use the lower anchors but not tethers. Latch connectors usually come in two styles: a “rigid latch” that sticks straight out of the seat’s back or one that’s attached to a flexible strap threaded through the car seat.
Easy to clean
The seat pad and fabrics of an infant car seat should be detachable and machine washable, so whenever your baby spits up or messes on it, it’s manageable. You would be able to easily and quickly wash the seat pad and immediately dry it for use whenever you want to hit the road.
An infant car seat that’s well padded should be more comfortable than one that’s not padded correctly. Additionally, there must be removable inserts for the head and body areas to provide your baby with proper support, snug fit and comfort.
Side impact protection
This is vital as babies need optimum protection around their head, neck and chest areas in-case of a collision. Some infant car seats contain special energy-absorbing foam along with side impact protection that engages air-protect technology to make sure that your baby is safe during impact.
Convertible VS Infant
While it seems that purchasing a convertible car seat would be the most efficient, there is a distinct advantage to also using an infant car seat. You let your sleeping baby, the one that always dozes off in the car and peacefully stays asleep. Instead of having to unbuckle and lift them out of the seat to leave the car and ruining their perfectly peaceful nap, you simply raise the infant car seat from its base and can either snap it onto a stroller or just use the car seat as cozy resting spot if you’re heading inside to visit friends or family.
6 Best Infant Car Seats
Now that you know all the nitty-gritty of getting the best infant car seats, we suggest you check this list of top 6 infant car seats for 2018.
1. Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat
The Graco SnugRide’s Click Connect – 35 Infant Car Seat is an excellent car seat on our list. It is lightweight, and the seat is an all square one. As it’s tall, it has a high weight carrying capacity. This safety seat has many more features. Comparing all the features of the safety seat with its price you’ll find it as the best pick. But before being sure about it, you should go through this review so that you have a better knowledge of the product. In this review, we will analyze everything about the product in front of you and help you choose your pick. Every child seat has some unique features that are convincing enough for you. We’ve tried to make the whole thing as user-friendly as we can. Now, Graco SnugRide is a well-qualified product with a lot of features.
- a) Light Weight: The Graco SnugRide – Click Connect – 35 Infant Car Seat is one of the lightest infant car seats. Weighing merely 7.5 pounds, it is large but comfortable to handle and maneuver owing to its light frame. This is a significant feature because it becomes much easier to carry the baby inside his or her car seat. Also, it makes transferring this car seat from the car base to a stroller simpler.
- b) Comfortable: This Infant Car Seat comes with plenty of soft cushioning and is crafted of a smooth material. Babies are comfortable enough to be soothed to sleep in this car seat especially while the car is moving.
- c) Latches to Car: The base easily attaches to most modern cars, with two metal hooks looping into the docking points in the car. For making it more user-friendly and for additional safety, you can even secure the base with a seat belt. Then the actual infant seat can click into place and keep your baby safe.
- d) Fits 4 to 35 Pounds: This baby car seat can be used for babies as small as weighing 4 pounds. Nothing is more difficult than having a premature baby; in addition to all the health concerns you face you have to purchase new equipment made especially for them, including a car seat since the one you had doesn’t give them the support needed. This baby car seat also works well for babies up to 35 pounds, making it ideal for keeping the baby rear facing as long as possible.
- e) Removable newborn insert: This car seat can accommodate newborns as well as preemies with the supportive insert. The insert provides their heads and necks with the required support. It is also detachable so that it won’t get in the way as your baby grows. It can also be removed before washing.
- f) 6 recline positions and level: It has six distinct recline positions as well as a pendulum level that helps you to ensure that your car seat and base are installed correctly in your car. You don’t want to take chances with the safety of your baby, and the recline level and positions help to make it possible to know when your car seat is done right.
- g) Safety standards: Last, but not least, the Graco SnugRide’s Click Connect – 35 Infant Car Seat fulfils every safety requirement and follows every standard for infant car seats. Saving lives of many babies, they are amongst the best sellers for a reason.
2. CHICCO KEYFIT 30 INFANT CAR SEAT
The Chicco Keyfit 30 is a superior-quality, beautifully designed, rear-facing infant car seat and has become the seat of choice for many parents. Its popularity will be a major benefit for you as you’ll soon discover it in this article. It can be used in one configuration, i.e., as a rear-facing infant seat. You’ll require a convertible if you need a front-facing one. It’s one of the newest infant seats from Chicco, and aims to improve child safety by increasing the odds parents have of correctly installing and using car seats from day one. The company calls the Keyfit 30 the most comfortable infant car seat a parent can install, and they also go as far as to claim it to be the highest rated infant car seat out there. The seat was clearly thought out well ahead of time, and that led to the good design and solid construction. The covers of Keyfit 30 are machine washable (use cold water cycle on delicate along with a mild detergent, and then line dry them). The seat is detachable from its base and attachable to Chicco strollers, which makes it easy to carry your children while on the go. The harness adjuster is exceptionally fluid, which helps in loosening and tightening. You can achieve a proper install either with the seat belt or using the lower LATCH anchors. The seat can be fitted with or without the base.
- a) Safety: Like all infant car seats, the Chicco KeyFit 30 is crash tested and offers extra side-impact protection. It has an unyielding design and plenty of head and body support. If you have a premature born or a newborn child, the infant insert feature offers extra comfort and keeps your child safe. When your baby turns big enough, you can detach the insert. Although the seat works well for small children, s/he will outgrow it at 30 inches and 30 pounds, so you’ll need to upgrade to another car seat before long. Keyfit 30 is also airplane compliant, so if you travel a lot, it will serve the dual purpose by keeping the baby safe on the ground as well as in the air. The LATCH connectors secure the seat into place tightly, so that there will be no movement virtually in the case of an accident.
- b) Convenience: For many parents, while buying the car seat, the deciding factor is how well it comforts their lives. The KeyFit 30 carrier fits with most of the Chicco strollers, including the Cortina. The base is easy to install in any vehicle. It has a storage compartment with the installation instructions. You can comfortably fit wipes or diapers inside that storage compartment for emergency situations. The cushions on the seat are tricky to remove, but once taken off, you can wash them in a standard washing machine. Install of this seat is possible with or without the base. Hence, you can keep the base in your car itself. If you need to drive your baby in someone else’s car, the seat fully adjustable without the base. Instructions relating to “How to do this safely” are in the manual.
- c) Additional Features: The Chicco Keyfit 30 includes all the extra features we look for. The adjustable base and harness support the seat to fit your growing baby. KeyFit’s canopy offers adequate protection from direct rain or sunlight, but it is a little shorter than we would expect. Also, it’s difficult to use the canopy having an adjustable carry handle, so you might have to get an aftermarket blanket to shield your baby when carrying the car seat. The adjustable head support feature on the seat ensures that the baby has the head support s/he requires while growing. You can quickly adjust the seat using the centre-pull adjustment strap, which fits both straps at once with a single pull.
- d) Support: KeyFit 30 comes with one-year warranty. The Chicco website provides excellent support; a downloadable version of the instructional manual is one of the services. One can search for Chicco products in his/her area with the local retailer search function.
3. Evenflo SafeMax Infant Car Seat
The Evenflo ProSeries Pivot is a stylish travel system with three reversible modes. It’s selling features include a large three-panel canopy, cruiser tires, ergonomic handle for effortless handling, SafeMax infant car seat with anti-rebound bar. The 3-in-1 stroller solution offers a versatile design is adjustable with the growth of your child. Infant mode provides both Car Seat Carrier and Carriage function. With the growth of your child, the pivot’s usefulness evolves to accommodate both forward and rear-facing seated positioning.
- a) Adjustable in the vehicle: SafeMax Infant has a seatbelt lock-off in the base allowing the base to be joined to the seatbelt without locking the belt itself. The lock-off is also used for the lower LATCH anchor installation, but should never be used with both the seatbelt and LATCH at the same time. The base of the infant seat has two different ranges of weight for proper recline of the baby. The light blue area is for the smaller infants (weighing 4-20 pounds), and the green is for larger infants (weighing 20-35 pounds). Evenflo has never allowed the handle to be left up in the vehicle and the SafeMax Infant is no exception to this. The handle must be down in position 3 when it is used in the car. The result of this handle position is that the seat takes up a full inch more front to back. Evenflo mandates a 1.5″ of clearance space between any part of the carrier and the driver or from the passenger’s seat directly in front of it.
- b) Seat belt installation: To install with a seatbelt, place the base on the vehicle seat and press down to simulate the installation to determine if the recline is adequate for the size of the child. If more recline is needed, turn the knob on the base to drop the foot down, if less is required, rotate the knob and press down to collapse the recline foot. Open the lock off by pushing down on the lock-off door and pushing the button at the same time. Route both the lap and shoulder portions of the seat belt through the belt path and buckle. Pull the slack out of the seatbelt and then close the lock-off. If the lock-off doesn’t close, you may need to loosen the seat belt slightly. Check for tightness at the belt path to ensure that you have less than an inch of movement side-to-side and front-to-back.
- c) Stroller compatibility: The SafeMax Infant seat is available for purchase as a part of the Pivot travel system or on its own. The Pivot stroller can accommodate children of up to 50 pounds and can be used with the SafeMax infant seat or the standard stroller seat, which can be transitioned to a bassinet if desired and both the car seat and the regular stroller seat can be used facing inward or outward.
- d) Recline: The base of the Evenflo SafeMax has two different weight ranges for proper recline of the infant. The light blue area is for the smaller infants (weighing 4-20 pounds), and the green is for larger infants (weighing 20-35 pounds). If the highest recline provided by the recline foot is not adequate for your child’s size, you can roll a small blanket or towel and place it under the foot of the base resulting in an increased recline angle. The indicator is easy to read; however, it is unfortunately only on one side, which makes it tough to install on the driver’s side of the car, especially if there are adjacent seats.
4. Britax B Safe 35 Infant Seat
One of the most recognised and respected names in child-safety products is Britax. The Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat is definitely one of their best car seats when it comes to the structure and ease of use. When strapped into this properly installed car seat, you can rest assured that your baby will be safe. B-Safe 35 is also part of a large Britax travel system along with all of the safety features. This infant car seat stands apart from the others because its designers figured out how to make an easy to install infant car seat. This rear-facing car seat comes with a base and carrier designed for comfort and impact-resistant safety. While many infant seat bases are confusing to install, the Britax B-Safe 35 is not confusing at all. The base has centre pull straps and push-button LATCH connectors, so you immediately know if the seat is safe in your car. Detaching is just as easy; you can remove the entire seat with a push of a button.
- a) Ease of install: This seat has the push-button anchors that directly click-in to the LATCH connector. These anchors are simple to attach by thrusting them into the U-shaped vehicle anchor points. The strap of this infant seat is easier to tighten than that of the competitors’, and significantly simpler when it comes to loosening, which is quite rare. The seat also has an in-built recline foot on the base. This feature helps the parents to find the right angle for installation. They get a visual cue with the included “level indicator” to guide them.
- b) Ease of use: The buckle is smooth to push, and the two sides are relatively easy to position. The chest clip which has an easy to depress button slides apart fluidly. It is also easy to mate the two up when buckling. The harness on the seat is stiffer to tighten than most of the competition, and we worry this may get worse over time as the strap gets grimy. The release button is located at the foot of the carrier on top of the padding near the tightening strap. The shoulder straps detach from the splitter plate, and they thread through the slots on the seat’s back. The straps then rethread through the higher slots and consequently reattach to the splitter. It isn’t a difficult task, but considering the number of steps involved, it feels like a hassle. Some seats can adjust with the baby in the seat and do not even need rethreading; which puts B safe 35 in a disadvantageous position. The corresponding crotch strap has two positions, and together they offer enough variability to achieve a proper fit for most babies.
- c) Comfort: The padding on this Britax is relatively thin and flexible compared to the competition. The shell quality of the B-Safe 35 is better than the cheaper products in this review, but not as good as the options in the same price range. However, the overall fit and finish look good compared to a lot of the competition. The handle on this seat is a durable part of the carrier. The canopy on the seat is also superior and looks like it can survive through the average useful life of the seat. The canopy is larger as compared to the competition. It doesn’t have a peek-a-boo window but is one of the best-looking canopies in the group.
- d) Value: This Infant Car Seat is a favorite choice of the parents who like its attractive design and high-quality safety features. The seat is easy to install and for its ease of installation when compared to competitive brands – it has some of the highest ratings. It is part of the B-Safe 35 Elite Travel and Britax B-Agile System. Parents can use the car seat with these useful strollers. While the car seat is not perfect, the flaws are not safety related. Britax has several valuable accessories that add to the durability and usefulness of this car seat.
5. PEG PEREGO PRIMO VIAGGIO 4/35 INFANT CAR SEAT
The Peg Perego’s Primo Viaggio 4-35 is a rear-facing infant car seat for babies weighing 4-35 pounds and with heights of up to 32 inches. It is equipped with a “Right Tight System” to lock the base in place securely. It has an innovative shell design for maximum safety and comfort. The base has a built-in anti-rebound bar for added protection. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4/35 weighs 9.5 pounds. The handle is compact making it easier to carry. The car seat can be used without the base and has a color-coded belt routing system to ensure proper attachment. This seat is supported by car seat adapters from top rated strollers outside of the Peg Perego lineup.
- a) Ease of install: This car seat is more substantial, and an easier to use anchor. It is utilized by being pushed on the vehicle’s U LATCH anchor and released by pushing the red button. The straps on the Peg anchors are easy to tighten, but it is only about average for loosening. The base recline can be adjusted using a knob that can move the foot up and down. The foot is easy to adjust even when the base is tightened down, unlike some of the other seats. This will lead to higher compliance by ensuring that the base remains adequately installed as baby grows.
- b) Ease of use: The buckle on the Peg comes out with minimal efforts but is rigid than some to put back together. Unbuckling doesn’t require much thumb strength, and most people can do it with one thumb on the button. The chest clip can be operated using one hand and is like the Recaro Performance Coupe chest clip. The buckle button is easy to push, and the sides apart without catching. They are also easy to match up when putting the sides together. Adjusting the shoulder strap length on this seat is a non-rethread design which you operate from the back. To use the sliding mechanism, you first need to squeeze it together with your forefinger and thumb to move it up and down; the squeezing is uncomplicated, and the sliding is smooth.
- c) Quality: The Peg earned one of the highest marks for the comfort of the seat padding. It has a foam padding having medium firmness, over the ordinary stiff, dense foam. The double layer padding makes this really comfortable, and babies will really feel cozy in it. The fabric is smooth and silky on the majority part of the seat with a little rougher fabric on the bottom cushion area. The shell on this infant seat earned it the highest score in the side-by-side comparison by durability and overall quality.
- d) Value: The Peg Perego is an impressive car seat. It is a distinctive looking product that is simple to use and comes with exciting features providing safety and convenience. It has the most compatible and easy to adjust shoulder heights and a subtle buckle that is not as hard as the competition. Most strollers offering car seat adapters support the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4/35 Infant Car Seat.
6. Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat
The Baby Jogger’s City Go Infant Car Seat features a lock-off on the base and European belt routing, a no-rethread harness and a substantial infant insert. Additionally, it has a huge waterproof canopy with UV protection. The narrow base and carrier help in tight spaces. The European belt routing feature is advertised as a “taxi-safe belt path”. The seat’s box reads “Taxi-safe belt path allows the seat to be installed into a vehicle without the base.” European routing does limit rotation in a collision; it’s noteworthy that a seat placed without the base, with standard routing, in a car, taxi or any other vehicle, is safe. Installing an infant seat without its base in a taxi is a sound and safe solution for travelling in the city limits. City Go connects to Baby Jogger strollers; however, a special adapter needs be purchased separately from Baby Jogger.
- a) Ease of use: The Go has a similar buckle to those found on the Chicco seats. The buckle is easy enough to press, as is the chest clip. The handle is adjusted by pressing in on dual buttons on either side simultaneously and pivoting the handle up. The handle rubs on the canopy when the canopy is down, and the handle is down, but they do not interfere when they are both up which is more important. The handle has four positions. Installing the carrier onto the base is easy and smooth. The carrier rests easily on the top of the base and gravity pretty much does the rest without much need for additional pressure. The LATCH anchors store by clicking on either side under the base, which is not very elegant, but it keeps them out of the way. The Go manual slides into two clips on the bottom of the base for safekeeping.
- b) Weight: Carrier weight may be only marginally relevant for parents moving the carrier from car to stroller or inside their house steps away, but it can be critical for parents that need to carry the carrier long distances or spend time in the city where toting a baby may be more common. The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 weighs only 9.58 lbs.
The process of buying the best infant car seat for your little one can be a tedious one. You also need to be extra careful and aware of all the features that come with it so that your baby can be comfortable in it and be secure as well. You would also want to ensure that all the features that come with the infant car seat are comfortable, safe, easy to use and easy to clean as well. So what is the wait for? This list will suffice to all your needs in buying an infant car seat for your baby.