One of the non-negotiable imperatives of modern living is getting an infant car seat if you have a car and kid (or are expecting one). Fortunately, there are many of them on sale in malls, car shops, and online shops. But that is as good as it gets if this is your first time trying to get one.
When faced with so many products with many of them coming with breathtaking design, ‘overwhelm’ would have a new and personal meaning for you in your determination to ensure the safety of your kid. And this is normal.
Because manufacturers understand how important a carseat is for infant’s safety, the rush to attract eyeballs and inevitably wallets is intense. The results are amazing designs with a serious focus on aesthetics. One could easily be misled into choosing the wrong seat.
And this is where we come in. This guide is a review of the best car seats that looks beyond the external gloss and glitz. Yes, you would love the designs, but most importantly for your kid, all the products are top-notch in terms of comfort and safety.
20 Best Infant Car Seats
The next section reviews the car seats for infants that scaled our rigorous evaluation. For the evaluating team, the major benchmark was quality before others; of course, variables like cost, design, installation process, flexibility, etc., we’re also taken into consideration before reaching a final decision.
1. Graco Extended2Fit
Those who know a bit about child safety in vehicles won’t be surprised a Graco product kicks off this guide of best infant car seats. The Graco brand is a stamp of quality and high safety standards.
With their Extended2Fit model, the issue of leg space in rear-facing seats for growing infants was addressed uniquely. It comes with a specially designed tray that slides out to accommodate the growing legs of your newborn. The height of the harness and headrest can also be easily adjusted to match the growth spurts of the child.
Easy to install with the unique InRight LATCH system, the Graco infant car seat comes with a cozy 10-position headrest, 6-position recline, two cup holders, comfortable 2-crotch strap/buckle positions, and many more premium features all designed to keep your kid safe and comfortable.
2. The 4Ever DLX4 by Graco
Next up is another Graco infant seat with a name that tells you a bit of what to expect. The 4Ever DLX4 comes with all the premium features found in the Extended2Fit model plus several additional designs that account for the price differential putting this one at a higher level.
DLX4 is designed to last forever which in this case means for as long as the kid needs a vehicle seat. It’s a 4-mode seat that can hold up to 140 lbs from a low of 22 lbs in the rear or front-facing modes. It can also be adjusted for high-back and backless booster modes respectively.
Like all premium baby seats, installation is easy with the InRight LATCH system and Simple Safe Adjust harness. Other awesome features include multiple harness and headrest positions, removable seat cover for easy cleaning, cup holders, roll-over and all-sides protection in case of accidents, and much more.
3. The Apt 50 Mousketeer Minnie
It is great that Disney is also making quality baby car seats since they are one of the leading brands in kids’ merchandizing for products like toys and entertainment. So it won’t be a bad idea that a kid’s first introduction to Disney is linked to safety while taking a ride.
Apart from the low price point relative to others, you will love this seat for its cool Disney-themed design and the fact that it can be used as a rear of front-facing seat for babies up 40 and 50 lbs respectively. It also features a 5-point harness system, 6 height positions, and 3 buckle positions allowing for the best fit to accommodate the expected growth spurts.
The seat is easy to install with the One Click LATCH and comes with in-built, multiple side crash-protection features.
4. Grow and Go 3-in-1
Safety First, the makers of this aqua pop-colored convertible seat, have a range of kiddy carseats with quality, durability, and flexibility as the common themes. This one stands out for its blend of colors that is at once cool and attractive in a laid back way.
In terms of functionality, it is very easy to install and comes with a flexibility that ensures it is convertible from the rear to the frontal modes for kids between 5 – 40 lbs and 22 – 65 lbs respectively. A third mode is the belt position booster for kids between 40 – 100 pounds.
Other features include the QuickFit Harness to quickly and easily adjust the harness and headrest, side-impact protection against accidents, 3-position recline, and much more.
5. Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System
With the Bravo Trio by Chicco, you’d be getting a baby stroller and a seat in one exquisitely designed package. This might sound a bit much to install but it is quite easy to install/remove the seat in the car or the stroller. It is made with top quality fabrics that are easy to clean with soap and warm or cold water.
The seat has everything you’d want and more. These include a child tray with two cup holders, 5-point harness, adjustable canopy, multi-position reclining backrest, and all sides impact protection.
As for the stroller, you would love pushing it around thanks to the specially designed wheels, 3-position adjustable padded handles, and convenient parent tray.
6. Evenflo Tribute LX
What Evenflo’s Tribute LX lacks in attractive colors is more than made up in the high safety standard that is twice the Federal crash test standard benchmark. That said, the color scheme that incorporates different shades of grey and black is cool.
The convertible seat can hold between 5-40 and 22 -40 lbs in the rear and front-facing styles respectively. It features multiple shoulder harness positions designed to exceed the highest standards, 4-shoulder strap positions to accommodate the growing child, and convenient buckle release for easy harness adjusting.
You would love the energy-absorbing foam liner that provides added safety and comfort. Also taking charge of the child’s comfort are the harness covers, buckle covers, and plush head pillows.
7. My Ride 65 By Graco
My Ride 65 is Graco’s third product in this review of the best car seats for babies and for good reasons too. This seat would appeal to lots of folks who love a minimalist design that does not sacrifice any vital safety features.
The rear and front-facing seat comes with the standard LATCH system with an easy-to-read level indicator making installation easy and secure. Like all the best seats, it comes with integrated EPS, energy-absorbing foam for effective impact energy management.
You’d also be glad to note that it comes with dual cup holders to keep drinks within reach; removable headrest and infant insert to keep babies comfortable; and 5-point front-adjust harness to help you get baby in and out without hassles.
8. Evenflo SureRide DLX
Evenflo’s DLX is similar to the LX in many respects. But this is pricier due, perhaps, to the more attractive design and the addition of a few more features. That said, let’s not get bogged down by a DLX vs LX narrative because both are amazing seats.
The convertible seat is designed to cradle babies softly in both modes up to a high 65 lbs for toddlers and older kids from a low of 5 lbs for newborns or infants. It comes with a broad range of harness adjustments up to 6 positions to promote reliability, ease of use and to create a cozy comfortable environment for kids.
The combination of a slim profile, lightweight, and easy installation makes it easy to move from one car to another. The safety standards for multiple side impact protection more than exceeds the required standards to enhance safety during bumpy rides and crashes.
9. 4 in 1 Graco 4Ever
You might be thinking why you have to splurge on this seat when you have the three cheaper Graco options above with the same high-quality; four words: TrueShield Side Impact Technology.
Take all the best features of the other 3 Gracos above and then add the unique TrueShield Side Impact Technology, you’ll arrive at the ultimate in child safety when it comes to vehicle seats for infants.
With this technology, the sides of the seat have been straightened considerably to provide extra protection from head to hips. And with the steel reinforced steel frame, you would enjoy years of usage without any compromise in seat quality.
10. Chicco KeyFit Encore
The KeyFit is designed with one objective: to make it as easy as possible for parents to accurately and safely install the seat all the time. With the stay-in-the-car base equipped with LATCH connectors, installing the seat is simply a matter of pressing two buttons, dropping the seat onto the base, and releasing the buttons to lock the seat to the base securely.
It also provides an alternative means of installing the seat via the car’s seat belt using the integrated clear belt routing and lock-offs, before tightening and locking the belt to secure the seat.
Other interesting features that would interest parents include the Super Cinch Tightener to secure the kid with very little effort, removable body and head support to accommodate small infants, two-position carry handle, 5-point harness, and removable canopy.
11. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX
Graco’s SnugRide SnugLock 35 range of products are famous for the Click Connect technology that allows easy and convenient installation or removal of the seat from its base in the car and any compatible Graco baby stroller.
The 35 LX is not too pricey; some might even consider it a budget option when looking for quality seats for the first time. The ‘noiseless’ canopy is a popular feature. It can be adjusted without disturbing the baby. And in this tansy model, the pink trimmings along the edge of the canopy makes it really attractive.
Desinged to face the rear of the car only, all the important safety concerns have been adequately addressed. So also are the vital features built-in to make your kid comfortable always.
12. The SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35
Made by Graco, this is another relatively inexpensive seat for kids from this popular brand. It is one of the best-selling products in their inventory and for good reasons too.
The lightweight is one of its outstanding features making it easy to carry with one hand using the adjustable handle. It also has an impressive 35 lbs weight limit on the rear-facing mode.
As the name suggests, babies would love the snugness of the seat with removable cushions for newborn infants to also enjoy the cozy seat.
Easy to install using either the LATCH system or vehicle seat belt via the SnugLock technology, it also features an adjustable base with 4 recline positions, Silent Shady canopy that can he adjusted without disturbing the baby, and compartment to store the larch connectors and manual.
13. Blue Coral Grow and Go by Safety 1st
If you have to make a choice between this blue coral and the aqua pop model reviewed earlier (#4), the aesthetics would decide it for you. The features and functionalities of both models are the same. You even get them at the same price too.
In essence, the blue coral, like the aqua pop above, as well as being designed to grow with your child, features the highest safety standards to protect them again crashes.
Installing, reclining positions, modes, and weight limits are the same either in the rear, front-facing or booster modes for older kids. So go for it if the color scheme appeals to your style.
14. Safety 1st onBoard 35 LT
The onBoard 35 LT is another excellent product from Safety 1st. This rear-facing seat is designed for newborns from 4 pounds to toddlers up to 35 pounds.
It is notable for the ultra-lightweight construction thanks to next-gen engineering. This makes it easy to carry using the ergonomically-designed handle.
Easy to install and remove, it also comes with top-notch side impact protection, head and body inserts for added comfort and support for newborns, easily-adjustable 4 harness height positions, and easy-to-remove-and-clean seat pad, and much more.
15. Evenflo LiteMax 35
With a stay-in-the-car base for convenience, the LiteMax 35 is a rear-facing seat that delivers exceptional fit for even new infants. And with the 4-reclining positions of the base, comfort for the baby is fully optimized.
Parents would love the many premium features that include a pink extended canopy, supportive inserts for the head and body, easy-to-use seat belt lock-off, harness and buckle padding, machine washable pads, and much more.
16. Minnie Mouse Amble Travel System
This all-in-one travel system by Disney is another great option if you are bent on getting a Disney-themed seat for your child. It meets the highest standards for safety and comfort expected from all quality seats. It is a combination stroller and lightweight baby seat with a stay-in-the-car base that also features the QuickClick technology allowing the seat to attach to the stroller easily in a simple click.
The seat comes with multi-position seat recline, 5-point safety harness for infants and toddlers up to 50 lbs, adjustable canopy with stylish quilt and a peek-a-boo window.
The stroller, on the other hand, features a snack tray for the kid with a cup holder, a tray for parents with dual cup holders, and a storage area for essential items such as keys, cell phones, and purse.
17. Black Doona Infant Car Seat
This rear-facing seat by Doona is a 2 in 1 package designed with the stroller built into the seat. This is a pioneering concept which essentially means that parents don’t have to bother about packing the detaching the seat from the stroller. Basically, the system allows the shift between the stroller and car seat to occur within seconds!
With several strict external and internal tests undertaken before product release, your baby’s safety is fully guaranteed. Comfort is also not compromised with adequate paddings, body inserts, breathable inner foams, head support, etc., all combining seamlessly to provide a snug and safe environment for the baby.
18. UPPAbaby Mesa
Thanks to the unique tightness indicator, you would love the fact that with this seat, applying too much pressure or tightness is never going to be an issue. indicator. Another feature to love is the self-retracting Latch connectors that ensure installation is fast, easy and accurate. A green light comes on to indicate perfect installation.
Made with high-quality, soft, breathable material to keep your baby soft, cool and comfortable, it comes with a headrest that is reinforced with EPP foam designed to keep the baby’s head stationery to further keep them safe.
Other cool features include the UPF hideaway canopy, removable and washable seat fabric, easy attachment to Vista and Cruz strollers, and much more.
19. Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System
Safety 1st provides us with the penultimate newborn car seat. It is a convenient travel system that – like the other travel systems in this review – is a combination seat and stroller.
The seat is the onBoard 35 LT reviewed earlier (#14). If you read the earlier review, you’d know there is nothing lacking in this seat as far as safety and comfort ate concerned. The highest possible safety standards were adhered to with a stubborn insistence on the child’s comfort using soft foams and paddings in all the right places.
As for the stroller, it is a parent’s dream. It features a friendly braking system for long walks, large storage basket, child and parent trays with cup holders, and a lift-to-fold feature that requires just the lifting of the handle to fold the stroller when you are done with it.
20. Chico KeyFit 30
Propping up this list is Chicco’s KeyFit 30. With this seat, you would be happy, immediately and in the long run, with the amount of money invested. It is that good.
Easy to install and remove, it comes with fabrics and paddings that are a lot nicer than the ones found on most seats. The premium zip version comes with a seat cover that is easy to remove using the zip: removing the covers before throwing them into the washer is without fuss.
Other features include a bubble leveling system to ensure that you are installing it right; smooth buckles and latch-tightening levers; easy seat belt installation with the built-in lockoff system; compatibility with Chicco strollers; and much more.
Choosing the best infant car seat from a bunch of awesome products can sometimes be a complex exercise. Basically, your list is just the first step in the process.
To help you make that final, critical decision, a summary of some of the things you need to consider are listed below.
Size of the seat
The size of the seat relative to your car is a vital consideration. The questions you ought to ask is this: would it fir your vehicle and is it the right size for your kid?
Ease of use
Trust us when we say you want to avoid the frustration of going through several difficult hoops before you can install or remove the seat. When you have to do this daily, you’d question the wisdom of using the seat for your kid.
So you must ensure the seat you choose is easy to install and remove all the time.
Compatibility with your stroller is another vital variable when selecting newborn car seat. Simply ensure that removing it from the car and attaching it to the stroller is very easy.
But this won’t be necessary if you are going for a travel system that is a combination of the seat and stroller.
This shouldn’t be a big issue because all infant carseats have to meet the minimum federal safety standards before they are put on sale. But some models come with additional safety measures with extra in-built impact foams and steel frames.
If they are within your budget, consider making this a deciding factor when deciding between two or more seats
Front-facing vs Rear-facing mode
Ideally, a convertible seat that can be used in both modes is the best. Experts recommend a rear-facing baby car seat for newborns up to around the age of 2 and a front-facing seat from 2 until they don’t need it around the age of 6.
Choosing the best baby car seat is not just about keeping the baby safe while driving, but also about parents or caregivers. These are just two reasons the Chicco KeyFit 30 had to be our choice here. But the premium features combined with the moderate price tag gave it the edge.
The seat is easy to install either using the stay-in-the-car base or seat belt system of the car. We also like how its lightweight makes it easy to carry the seat around. And because taking it out from the base is smooth and hassle-free, you could do so without waking the baby up.
The zippered cover is a nice touch making removal and washing a breeze for parents.
The Evenflo LiteMax 35 shows that the best infant car seat doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. You would love the beautiful design that includes a pink canopy over a light grey seat.
We are impressed by the ease of installing the base making it easy to lock in or remove the seat. And of course, all the important safety and comfort features you expect to see are all present.
What is the Law for Car Seats for Newborns?
The laws about seats for newborns are very strict and are all about keeping children safe in cars. Though the laws differ from state to state, they all agree on the following:
- Infants must ride in the back
- Parents must install special seats for infants
- Newborns must use only rear-facing seats until they are at least two years old or at least 40 lbs
- All seats must be engineered to include safety features such as energy-absorbing foam and steel reinforcement for comfort and for protection in case of accidents.
How Much are Car Seats for Newborns?
The cost of getting quality seats depends on a lot of factors like the design, features, and brand. You could get great seats below $100 to as high as over $400.
Generally, basic rear-facing seats are less expensive than the convertibles that can be switched to front-facing modes. And The all-in-one seats that come with booster modes are even more expensive. But their price tags are less than travel systems that are a combination of strollers and seats.
When to Change Car Seats for Infants?
Many parents worry excessively about this question. The rule of thumb is to change the seat when the child outgrows it. But you could also do that when you notice the seat is defective, or it is too big for them.
All things being equal though, you have to wait until your child is at least two years old before changing to a front-facing seat.