The Best Infant Car Seats for Your Baby
A car seat is a very important item for a new baby. You want it to be safe and comfortable for the baby. Car seats for infants should always face the back of the car. This is the safest way for them to travel. Many infant car seats have a base you can easily click in and out of. You can carry your baby in the car seat or clip it into a stroller.
There is no perfect car seat for everyone. The right car seat will fit your car, child, lifestyle, and budget. We carefully considered age, height, weight recommendations, design, material, ease of installation and cleaning, value, and safety when reviewing products.
The Best Infant Car Seats for Keeping Your Child Safe on the Road
The infant seat is great for both preemies and toddlers. It has a base that prevents the baby from rebounding and a well-designed seat belt locking device. The headrest can be adjusted to seven positions, and the harness and body support are padded for your child’s comfort.
This seat is good for families who take taxis and rental cars. The seat has a European belt path, which means it can be installed safely in most cars in any country. The two-stage base of the car seat also makes it easier for kids to stay rear-facing for the first two years.
The two-stage base gives children older than 9 months the option of sitting more upright or continuing to ride reclined. The Fit2 is compatible with the majority of Chicco strollers. It may be utilized with adapters on a variety of other stroller brands. The seat accommodates children up to 35 inches tall and 4 to 35 pounds, which is longer than many baby seats available in the United States.
This car seat is both safe and recommended by experts and parents. It is installed using rigid LATCH and load leg features, which results in excellent crash test ratings. Some features include a five-point adjustable harness that doesn’t twist. On the base of the seat belt, tensioning and locking system indicate when the belt is properly tensioned. The carrier includes a load leg on the base and is a wonderful fit for premature infants.
According to some, the carrier’s European belt route may be safer than the American belt route utilized on most baby seats. For increased protection, the European belt path wraps the shoulder belt over the back of the bearer.
The Clerk Liing car seat is 27.7 x 16.9 x 26.8 inches and takes up less space than other seats. This makes it safe to put behind the driver or passenger seat or in a smaller car. The Liing car seat is also narrow on the outside but roomy on the inside, making it a good option when trying to fit multiple car seats in the back seat. The Liing car seat weighs 9 pounds (without the base) and is compatible with many major stroller brands. It has a one-hand release from the Maxi Cosi stroller adapters, making it easy to move from the car to the stroller.
The car seat offers seven different reclining positions. It also has a three-position adjustable canopy, which will protect your child from the sun’s rays. In addition, there is a mesh window so your child can see outside, and you can keep an eye on them. This car seat can accommodate youngsters weighing between 4 and 35 pounds and includes a three-year warranty.
These three infant car seat models are popular because they are well-rated in crash tests. In addition, they have numerous car seat features, such as the SnugLock seat belt tensioning and locking mechanism, a European belt route, an adjustable base with four recline modes, a spinning canopy with a window and visor, and more. They are also budget-conscious. The DLX and Elite carriers have a rethread harness, while the Platinum has a no-rethread harness.
These Snuglock infant seats can often be installed behind tall drivers. They are also compatible with most Graco and Baby Jogger strollers. The Platinum carrier is lightweight enough for parents who plan to tote it, weighing only 9 pounds without the base.
The three models all fit infants who weigh between 4 and 35 pounds and are up to 32 inches tall.
This seat is a good value for the price. It is appropriate for babies from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30 inches tall. The LATCH mechanism makes it simple to install, and a bubble indicator on both sides of the base ensures that it is appropriately reclined.
The LATCH installation is easy, but the seat belt installation is even easier. You can install it without the base, but it will be harder. It is best for parents who plan to use it often in one car.
The Chicco KeyFit seat has a five-point harness that you can tighten with one pull. It also has a carrier shell lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam for improved impact protection. The American belt path is easy to install, and the canopy and head and body support are removable for newborns.
The seat is quite comfortable, with thick padding and plush fabric. However, the fabric is coarse and can make some kids sweaty. The seat is compatible with most Chicco strollers and strollers from other brands when using an adapter.
This car seat is special because it can turn into a stroller quickly. It works for most kids until they are around two years old. This might be a good choice for some families, but you should consider whether it is the best option.
The Doona has lower crash test ratings than other infant seats when used with the base. For this reason, installing the carrier without the base using the European belt path is recommended. This will give optimal protection for your child in a collision.
This innovative car seat is a good choice for families who use taxis or don’t spend much time in their cars. The car seat has a five-point harness, adjustable handlebar, three-layer side impact protection, and removable and washable fabric. It also fits babies from 4 up to 35 pounds. Keep in mind that it is heavier than some other car seats.
The Liingo is the baseless Clek Liing carrier. If you don’t have a car or you like to travel around utilizing cabs or other modes of transportation, you will rarely, if ever, use the base. So instead of wasting money and space on a base, you don’t need, the Liingo is a better solution.
Lingo and Liing have the same carrier. It features the same excellent fit for premature infants, with straps that draw easily and do not twist. And the same European belt path for secure installation in virtually any automobile in any nation. Due to a government rule, the Liingo has a lower anchor strap (due to a government rule). Nevertheless, it is advised that parents remove it. It will make the carrier lighter and install the seat with the seat belt following the European belt path—an simple approach to make the infant safest.
If you decide that you need a car seat or want a base for your Liingo, you can always buy a Liing base. The Liing base is compatible with many different types of strollers, making it very easy to take off. The car seat will hold babies from 4 to 35 pounds or up to 32 inches tall.
What to Look for in an Infant Car Seat
All car seats must meet United States federal safety regulations, including the LATCH system. The LATCH system is a means to install a car seat without utilizing the vehicle’s seat belt. LATCH usually is merely on the base of the baby car seat.
The most crucial thing is ensuring the car seat is installed safely. One study indicated that 9 out of 10 newborn car seats were not placed correctly. You should examine how easy the car seat is to install, as it must be installed correctly to keep your infant safe. Suppose you wish to utilize your baby car seat in a taxi or friend’s automobile. In that situation, you’ll have to install the carrier without the base (which is possible for practically all infant seats) and use the vehicle’s seat belt to fasten it.
There are numerous strategies to ensure your child’s safety while driving. One way is to read the car seat manual and the vehicle manual. You can also get help from a local Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. They can show you how to install the car seat safely. You can also check websites or other resources to find someone who can help you install the car seat safely.
To select the appropriate car seat for your child, you must consider the child’s size and vehicle size. You also need to consider how many other car seats you will need to fit in the car. Some car seats are bigger than others and can’t touch other cars if installed in the backseat. You should read the car seat and your vehicle’s manufacturer’s recommendations.
You’ll also want to consider the car seat’s weight if you plan on traveling with it or moving it between vehicles often. If you’re frequently on the go, you’ll want something lightweight and easy to install.
Some infant car seats can be attached to other baby gear, like strollers and joggers. If you travel a lot, you’ll want to get a car seat that meets Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards so that it can be used on an airplane. Alternatively, you could get a car seat that fits into a stroller.
Other Best Infant Car Seats of 2023
A baby car seat makes it simple and risk-free to transport your newborn child from place to place in the wide globe.
As a new parent, you will find that an infant car seat is one of the most crucial pieces of baby gear you will require. Having one of these in your vehicle is an absolute must if you ever intend to travel with your infant. Most medical facilities won’t let you leave without one. Choosing the safest ride for your child can be challenging when there are so many options and so much emphasis on doing so.
To assist you in making the best and most educated choices possible. we interviewed actual parents, our very own team of baby gear specialists, and a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) on infant car seats spanning various price points and design philosophies. (Hint: Do you need any assistance understanding all of the terminologies? Consult the infant car seat glossary for clarification on any unclear terms.)
These are the infant car seats that Babylist considers to be the finest available.
- Weighs under 8 lbs
- Modern design + lots of extra safety features
- Easy installation
This baby seat is more than just a pretty face, thanks to its streamlined design and lightweight construction. With fewer than eight pounds, the Pipa is one of the lightest baby seats available today. Additionally, the installation process for this seat is straightforward. Concerned new parents can find peace in the True Lock safety system’s color-coded indicator system, verifying that the product has been appropriately placed.
In an accident, a stable leg that folds down from the seat to the ground absorbs the shock. (Stability legs, often referred to as load legs, lessen the force exerted on a car seat and cut down on the rebound a seat experiences. They are a great additional layer of protection that should be present in an infant car seat.)
Parents also praised the high-quality materials and extended “dream drape” that offers full coverage for their babies. They sleep, as do the strollers with which the seat can be used with an adaptor. Those who frequently take cabs will find that installing the Pipa in any automobile, even without the base, is a simple process.
To make matters worse, to remove the seat cover for the PIPA, one must first unthread the harness, which is time-consuming and annoying. Additionally, the magnet latches included on the dream drape can be difficult for some parents to use.
Look into the Pipa chair from Nuna, which has the option of using a Relx base for an additional fee. It has a four-position recline that can be used on the fly and a loose belt path, making it easier to install.
I am looking for a seat that’s even more lightweight? The Nuna PIPA Lite LX weighs only 5.7 pounds, which is significantly less than the conventional PIPA’s weight of 10.5 pounds. Remember that the Lite cannot be used without the base, so it is not the most convenient solution for traveling.
- Parent favorite
- Three across, a thin profile works effectively.
- A good LATCH installation, but a difficult seat belt installation
The KeyFit 35 is a favorite among customers due to its excellent safety features and ease of use. It is a recent upgrade to the already popular KeyFit 30, maintaining the same look and feel. However, the KeyFit 35 has the advantage of accommodating babies growing up to 35 pounds and 32 inches. In contrast, the KeyFit 30 only accommodates a baby’s growth up to 30 pounds and 30 inches, allowing you to rear-face your child for an extended period.
This seat’s base can be installed quickly and easily thanks to the single tightener in its center, which pulls it firmly into position. In addition, the reliable sound of a “click” will let you know when the carrier has been correctly inserted into the base. An internal level that is simple to read will let you know when it has been positioned perfectly.
Other popular characteristics include:
- An anti-rebound bar (which stops the child from moving excessively in the event of a collision).
- A harness that does not require rethreading, a cover that can be removed and washed.
- A slim profile fits nicely in smaller cars or three across.
Because the KeyFit adaptor is compatible with most strollers, you won’t have to worry about waking up your child when transitioning from the car to errands.
Installation without the base can be tricky (which is not ideal if you plan to use your seat in ride-shares or on airplanes). Finding the correct size for some infants might also be challenging.
- Anti-rebound bar and good side impact protection
- Headrest + harness adjust together
- A popular pick for Babylist families
This baby car seat, available at an economical price range and part of the SnugFit line manufactured by Graco, is simple to install and is another top choice made by Babylist parents.
A few reasons why you’ll enjoy this chair are listed below. Because you can adjust the headrest and harness, finding the perfect fit for your child will be much easier than with other car seats of a similar design. There is also a low weight limit of four pounds, which is great if you’re bringing home a preemie or a smaller baby. Additionally, a four-position recline and additional protection built-in to help absorb impact in the event of a crash, including an anti-rebound bar, is a nice perk at this price point.
Check out the DLX model of the same seat if you are willing to spend a little more on it. The head support and side impact protection have been improved. Additional features include an adjustable base with five different positions and a handle that can be adjusted with one hand.
- Affordable, Features load leg for additional support, Works for infants as light as three pounds.
When it comes to an infant car seat that is both secure and very reasonably priced, the LiteMax is without a doubt our top pick. Compared to the price of other seats like the Nuna Pipa or Clek Liing, this seat’s lead leg, a safety feature often found in hearts that cost much more, is a great addition. With a weight limit of three pounds, this seat is one of the lightest available on the market. Because of these features, it is an excellent option for when you bring home a preemie or a newborn who is on the smaller side. A headrest that can be adjusted, a harness that does not require rethreading, and the ability to add LATCH are desirable characteristics.
Following the directions carefully can be tough, so be sure to read them well before you begin. Evenflo provides free one-on-one video installation support with a qualified car seat specialist. Only United States and Canadian residents can take advantage of this service.
I am looking for a seat that costs even less than this one? Take a look at the Litemax, which is the most basic version of this seat. Even if it does not have a load leg, it is still a dependable and secure choice that costs less than one hundred dollars, making it a pretty good price.
- Accessible to both install and to check if it’s installed correctly
- No-rethread harness
- Beautifully designed
Naturally, UPPAbaby’s Mesa car seat would be equally as well-liked and well-known, given that the company’s strollers are among the most famous and beloved on the market.
The ease with which it may be installed is one of the most appealing features of this thoughtfully designed seat. Because the LATCH connectors clip together and the base is pushed down with your body weight, tug or pull-on straps are unnecessary, like in other car seats. It’s that simple. When the seat is adjusted correctly, the indicators will be green. The seat can be attached to the Vista and Cruz strollers without additional adapters. In addition, it may be used with a wide range of strollers from different manufacturers. (However, you will want adapters to do that.) You won’t ever have to rethread the harness (which is a massive bother!) as your child gets bigger, which is another excellent benefit of this product.
At around 10 pounds, the Mesa is on the heavier end of the spectrum compared to other chairs that are functionally equivalent. Finding the correct fit for premature infants and infants of a smaller size may also be challenging. It may be challenging to install in particular car models that use LATCH and have buckles positioned further back in the seat. Seats that include additional safety elements, such as an anti-rebound bar, load leg, or a European belt path, are more expensive. These are all examples of things that would be considered “extra.”
- Hybrid car seat and stroller
- Ideal for urbanites and frequent travelers
- As your child develops, a second stroller will be required.
The Doona is the first product of its kind; it is an infant car seat that can be converted into a stroller by just pressing a button. When it’s time to load the stroller into the car, the wheels and legs of the stroller may be pulled up and folded underneath the car seat.
Why should we care so much about this? Because of this, the Doona is the best all-in-one solution available on the market for people who travel frequently. It is also ideal for city dwellers who must enter and exit public transportation quickly. Parents who live in an apartment complex have a long way to walk between their apartment and car. If you frequently enter, leave the vehicle to drop off older siblings. There is no point in disrupting the slumber of your sleeping child.
When your child is no longer required to use an infant car seat, you will no longer be permitted to use the stroller for them. Additionally, due to the streamlined design, there is no additional cargo capacity for items such as diaper bags or shopping bags.
- Packed with safety features
- Slim profile, eco-friendly fabrics
This high-end seat comes from the ultra-modern (and ultra-safety aware) Canadian car seat firm Clek. It is a fantastic example of how safety and style can harmoniously coexist. Installing the liing can be done in three distinct (and simple) ways: with the base and Rigid-LATCH, with the base and seat belt, or without the base and seat belt. Every possible installation arrangement of the seat achieves the same high level of safety performance in crash tests. Additional support is provided by a metal load leg built into the table’s base in the event of an accident.
Besides such things, what else do we adore about the liing? A massive canopy offers protection with an SPF of 100 or more and practically complete coverage. There are also many reclining positions, three eco-friendly fabric selections, and a two-stage infant insert that offers tight support for newborns.
There is no way to get around the fact that this car seat is quite pricey; it is what it is. On the other hand, it is made to last. Since the liing has an expiration date that is nine years in the future, you can use it for more than one child.
- Seat fabric removes easily for cleaning
- Lightweight—under 9 pounds
- Straightforward, simple installation
In addition to its low weight and ease of cleaning, the Micro Maxi has a few advantages of its own. One of the lighter seats on our list weighs less than nine pounds. This makes it easier to carry your child in their infant seat when you need to travel them from place to place. The pad that covers the seat can be removed without much effort and laundered in a washing machine. In addition, the material is self-wicking, ensuring that newborns will remain dry and comfortable even when the temperature is higher.
Installing the seat does not require any special skills or techniques. In addition, it protects the user in the event of a side impact with additional padding. It has a bar that prevents the user from rebounding.
Because of the additional length the anti-rebound bar provides to the seat base, it is difficult to install in tiny vehicles.
- Numerous security features
- Simple to install; however, there is no European belt path
- Slim profile
The B-Safe is an exceptional safety product with an affordable price range. In addition to a steel frame and an impact-absorbing base, the seat’s sidewalls are padded with energy-absorbing foam to protect against side impacts. In addition to that, setting it up is a breeze. If you are utilizing the LATCH system, the straps you will need to tighten will extend from the middle of the base rather than the sides. A feature that many parents find pretty appealing. (However, assembly is not as straightforward in the absence of the base. Therefore, if you’ll need to use this seat in cabs or the automobiles of friends, the B-Safe might not be the ideal option for you.)
The weight of this seat is more than average. It is because the construction is steel. Thus there’s a reason. Also, as we’ve discussed before, it’s not a good choice if you need to set it up without the base. If you want to be able to do that, you should look into buying the Ultra model.
- Compact front-to-back works well in smaller cars
- SensorSafe technology
- Lots of safety features
Finding a compact car seat that functions effectively in a smaller vehicle might be challenging. Still, the Cybex Aton 2 is an excellent option in this regard. It is easy to fit in sedans and other compact vehicles. It is a wonderful choice if you are on the higher side and want a seat with additional legroom in the front or back. Because it is one of the tiniest front-to-back seats on the market, it easily fits into sedans and other compact cars.
In addition, the size of this seat is a tremendous benefit. Still, you shouldn’t miss the fantastic safety features it offers. The Aton 2 has a load leg and a straightforward installation process. If your child is unbuckled, sits for an extended time, or is left alone in the car with SensorSafe technology, an alarm will sound on your phone.
This seat is one of the more expensive options. Additionally, some parents have mentioned that the canopy is on the shorter side and that it might be difficult to tighten the straps due to their stiffness.
What Is an Infant Car Seat?
An infant car seat is a type of car seat that is designed to accommodate newborns and younger babies. These seats constantly face the back of the car and are designed to be fixed to a base. Your baby’s seat may be installed and removed quickly and easily, thanks to the base remaining in your vehicle.
A few other possibilities for additional car seats include:
- Convertible car seats: These are designed to grow with your child, from rear-facing seats for infants and toddlers to forward-facing seats for older children weighing up to around 65 pounds. Suppose you decide to use a convertible seat from the beginning of your child’s life. In that scenario, you’ll have to give up some of the convenience you’re used to because these seats are too heavy to transport around and aren’t designed to be easily removed from your vehicle. However, specific convertible seats can be used from birth.
- Booster car seats: Booster car seats are designed for children at least four years old and weigh at least 40 pounds. These seats accomplish what their name suggests, raising your child higher in the seat of your vehicle. It guarantees that your vehicle’s conventional lap and shoulder belts will span over your child’s body at the appropriate positions to hold them in place safely.
How Long Are Infant Car Seats Good For?
Infant car seats are safe for use from day one until your child reaches the seat’s maximum height or weight restriction. Whichever comes first (anywhere between 22-35 pounds, depending on the specifics of your seat).
You must keep in mind the “or” in this situation. It indicates that even if your child is still within the height limitations of your infant car seat. But it has outgrown the seat’s weight limit; it is time to transfer to a convertible car seat, and vice versa.
Around the age of one year, the majority of babies have outgrown their infant seats.
What Is the Best Infant Car Seat?
Every single car seat put on the market in the United States must comply with the same federal safety criteria that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has outlined. However, each state may have its own car seat rules. For example, an increasing number of states now require that children under two ride in a seat facing the back of the vehicle. Car seats in the United States are all needed to fulfill the same standards for safety and installation. You may rest confident that a car seat costs less money does not indicate that it is any less safe for your child.
What do you get for your child’s money if you buy a more expensive car seat? You should expect other features and conveniences when purchasing a more expensive chair. Such as a larger canopy, a more straightforward installation process, and possibly some additional safety measures that are not currently mandated by law.
Consider the following factors when selecting a new car seat for your infant:
- Fits in your car: There is a wide variety of styles and sizes of car seats. Some are more suitable for use with larger or smaller vehicles.
- Ease of installation: Most car seats may be placed using the standard seat belt or the LATCH system. It provides a more straightforward method of securing the car seat by utilizing built-in anchors and tethers (available in cars made after 2002).
- Safety indicators: There are car seats with built-in leveling mechanisms and indicators to let you know when they’ve been installed correctly. (Most problems involving the safety of vehicle seats are caused by improper installation of the seats. To assist you in safeguarding your installation, here are some tips.)
- Fabric: In addition to looking for a fabric design that appeals to your sense of style, consider the material’s longevity. What a breeze it will be to clean if something goes awry!
- Safety extras: Some automobile seats have more stress absorption and padding and are constructed from materials of a higher grade.
- Stroller compatibility: Many strollers and stroller frames have attachment points allowing infant car seats to be snapped. A stroller and a car seat sold together as a package are referred to as a travel system. However, if there is a particular car seat that you adore, but is not compatible with your stroller, check to see if a separate adapter is sold. To allow the two items to work together.
- New vs. used: There is a risk that used car seats will be broken, and there is also a risk that they will not comply with the most current safety rules. If you decide to go with a used car seat despite our recommendation that you get a new one, buy it from a reliable source. Check the seat’s expiration date and investigate whether or not that specific model has been subject to a recall. If the seat is dirty, clean it with the manufacturer’s detailed instructions for how to do so. When it comes to keeping a car seat clean in a way that doesn’t compromise its structural strength or safety, each kind of seat has its unique protocol.
The Best Place for an Infant Car Seat Is:
Installing your child’s car seat in the middle of the back seat of your vehicle is, according to the statistics, the safest area to do so. It is because most collisions involve a side contact; therefore, sitting in the center position will aid in avoiding direct impact.
A child safety seat may not be able to be installed in a spot where the driver or front passenger can use a seat belt in all automobiles. Before beginning the installation process, you should always consult the owner’s manual for your specific car. Regarding installing car seats, the Safe Kids’ Ultimate Car Seat Guide Installation Tips is an excellent resource to consult.
Do I Need an Infant Car Seat?
An infant car seat has several advantages over a convertible one, including the fact that it is easier to install and remove. One of these benefits is that the infant car seat can be used from birth until the child is approximately two years old.
Infants can continue sleeping through the transition from the car to the stroller if they have a travel system. Because it is attached to a permanently fixed base in the vehicle, it is also considerably simpler to click your infant seat and baby into and out of the car.
Transferring an infant car seat from one vehicle to another is also considerable. It is easier than removing and reinstalling a convertible car seat, which is helpful to keep in mind if you plan to transport your child in more than one vehicle. Be sure to get an additional car seat base so that the infant car seat can be clicked into the base of the backseat and you can get moving.
Infant Car Seats We’re Keeping an Eye On
- The first of its type, the Maxi-Cosi Coral XP Infant Car Seat (available for $399.99), sets a new bar for innovation. With this integrated car seat and carrier nesting system, you won’t have to worry about the awkwardness of carrying an infant seat. You can pull out the carrier, place the cross-body strap over your shoulder, and get going once you hit a button that causes the inner carrier to pop straight out of the seat’s shell. You won’t have to take the child out of the seat to do this.
- Baby Jogger, well-known and adored for producing fantastic strollers that can be folded with one hand, has recently entered the market for car seats. The City GO AIR is easy to install, weighs just under nine pounds, is lightweight, and incorporates an anti-rebound bar. Its weight also falls on the lighter half of the spectrum. Additionally, it can be attached to any Baby Jogger stroller out there.
Choosing the Right Infant Car Seat For You
Make sure that as soon as you get your infant car seat, you test it out in your vehicle (or vehicles) before removing the tags or getting rid of the package it came in. You will want to ensure that it has a decent fit in your car, that you can get a safe and proper installation, and that it lives up to the standards that you have set for it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Infant Car Seat
A properly fitted and installed restraint decreases a child’s chance of being injured in a crash by more than 99%. In most cases, the more expensive seat will not provide significantly better protection.
The Graco Extend2Fit had the best score in our analysis of crash test results. It did very well in the head and chest sensor tests, providing an extra margin of protection compared to other car seats.
When selecting a car seat, read the labeling to determine which car seat is right for your child. Your child needs to be within limits for that particular car seat.
Yes, convertible car seats are safe when designed for an infant’s height and weight. They should always be installed rear-facing, and they must be installed properly.