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10 Best Infant Car Seats

10 Best Infant Car Seats

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Car seats are a non-negotiable item when it comes to your baby. In fact, most hospitals won’t let you leave without one!

 

For many parents-to-be, finding the right car seat can be overwhelming and stressful. It’s easy to get sucked into the black hole of Amazon, comparing car seat after car seat, only to come up for air and realize it’s been hours since you’ve moved.

 

With so many car seat models on the market (and with more added each year!) it can feel nearly impossible to find the perfect car seat for your little one.

 

 

What is an infant car seat?

Infant car seats are designed specifically for infants. They offer extra support to your babe’s head, neck, and spinal cord, and keep them safe and cozy during trips in and out of the car.

 

They are rear-facing seats and usually have a maximum weight of 22-35 pounds. These seats can be used from the day you bring that sweet babe home from the hospital until typically 1(ish) years of age (or until they max out the height or weight requirements).

 

 

What makes a good infant car seat?

For your sound of mind, every car seat on the market is required to pass safety regulations set by the government. Therefore, there isn’t a “safest” option, since they all meet and pass the requirements.

 

However, many car seats come with different extras - like canopy size, safety features, comfort levels, and inserts.

 

Some questions you should ask yourself when looking for an infant seat are:

 

  • Will it fit in your car?

 

Since car seats come in all shapes and sizes, it’s important to make sure yours fits in your car! SUV’s and vans probably won’t have this problem, but sedans and trucks may.

 

  • Is it easy to clean?

 

Babies are messy. Between blowouts, spit up, and the rest of it, chances are you’re going to want to have the option to wash the covers. The ability to easily remove the covers and put them back on is insanely important.

 

  • How easy is it to install?

 

Some seasoned parents probably have an anxiety attack just thinking about having to install the car seat in a different car. Making sure the seat is tight enough, the latches are on correctly, and the recline is at the right height is exhausting (and frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing).

 

  • Is it compatible with your stroller?

 

The nifty thing about infant car seats? They can usually click into a stroller frame! This makes grocery store runs and neighborhood walks insanely easier.

 

  • Is it comfortable?

 

You wouldn’t want to travel uncomfortably, so don’t expect your baby to. Check for breathable material that offers plenty of padding from the skeleton of the seat and you will be riding in comfort!

 

Note: After-market products for car seats are considered unsafe and may void the warranty on your car seat if you were to be in an accident.

 

 

Infant car seat vs convertible car seat…what’s the difference?

Infant car seats are specially designed for your little squish.

 

Your baby’s head, neck, and spinal cord are still developing strength and stability, so the extra support offered through the infant car seat is crucial. These seats can only face the back of the car, which is required in most states until age two.

 

Infant car seats can be removed from the car, snapped into a stroller, or brought inside all without disturbing the baby (which is genius considering how much young babies sleep).

 

Convertible car seats are made for older babies and toddlers but can be used from birth (most have a minimum weight of 4 lbs). These seats can be rear-facing and forward facing, hence the name convertible.

 

Many convertible seats come as 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 seats that grow with your child, going from rear-facing to forward facing, to booster. They are much heavier than infant seats and can’t be carried around or used to clip into strollers.

 

We know you have a lot to do to prepare for the arrival of your babe, so we did the research for you. Here are our top 10 picks for infant car seats.

 

Best Inexpensive Infant Car Seat:

Evenflo Litemax 35

Why parents love it:

 

This car seat will go easy on your wallet (at only $89!) while also giving you confidence that your babe is well protected. It’s a lightweight seat, machine washable, and includes removable head and body pillows that snuggle your tiny newborn. It comes with a stay-in-car base that has a 2-step secure install for a perfect fit every time.

 

Requirements:

Child weight limit                                                      4 - 32 pounds

Child height limit                                                      17” to 32”

 

Best Convertible Booster Car Seat:

Graco Milestone All-In-One

 

Why parents love it:

 

This all-in-one car seat goes from rear facing to belt-positioning booster easy-peasy. With a no-rethread harness and four recline positions, your babe will be riding in comfort every day. This seat has an Inright LATCH system, which means you can install this seat in a split second (literally) and with a baby on your hip. An added feature is the cup holder within babes reach, and a machine washable cover for those unavoidable messes.

 

Requirements:

Child weight limit                                          5 - 40 pounds rear facing

                                                                        22-65 pounds forward facing

                                                                        30-100 pounds booster

Child height limit                                          Rear facing: head must be 1” below handle

                                                                        Forward facing: 27” - 49”

                                                                        Booster: 38” - 57”

 

Best Car Seat Stroller Combo:

Doona

 

Why parents love it:

 

This one-of-a-kind car seat is perfect for the on-the-go parent. With the click of a button, you can go from car seat to stroller and ready to roll. When it’s time to leave, the stroller legs and wheels fold under the car seat and clicks in, making the car seat a true breeze to use. The base includes an easy-install latch system but was also designed to provide a secure install without the base. This car seat is meant for travelers and city dwellers.

 

Requirements:

Child weight limit                                                      4-35 pounds

Child height limit                                                      up to 32”

 

Best Lightweight Car Seat:

Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35

 

Why parents love it:

At a solid six pounds, this is the ultimate lightweight car seat. With a removable 4 piece grow-with-me insert, extra-large 3 panel canopy, easy one hand harness and push button release, and an easy one hand seat-release, this car seat is a crowd-pleaser. The base has four recline positions and latch connectors for an easy install, and the seat is equipped with EPS energy-absorbing foam for ultimate head protection.

 

Requirements:

Child weight limit                                                      4-35 pounds

Child height limit                                                      up to 32”

 

Best Car Seat For Small Cars:

Britax B-Safe Ultra

 

Why parents love it:

 

Not only does this compact car seat offer a perfect fit in smaller sedans, but your babe will be riding in safety. This seat is two layers of side impact protection, an integrated steel frame, and an impact absorbing base. The no-rethread harness, auto-level indicators, easy remove cover, and extra-large canopy are just the cherry on top.

 

Requirements:

Child weight limit                                                      4-35 pounds

Child height limit                                                      up to 32”

 

Best Car Seat Travel System:

Evenflo Xpand Modular Travel System

 

Why parents love it:

 

Already have more than one kid or are planning to? This travel system goes from single to double in seconds, simply attach the second seat and you’re good to go! With up to 22 configurations, you can choose to ride with one or two riders or stow away the seat attachment for when babe is a bigger. The infant seat snaps directly into the frame, and the toddler seat can convert into infant mode to hold your baby comfortably. The best part? In one purchase, you’re getting both your stroller and your car seat. Talk about multitasking! (Plus, you don’t have to worry about stroller compatibility.)

 

Requirements:

Child weight limit                                                     

Car seat                                                                     4-35 pounds

Stroller                                                                       Up to 55 pounds

Child height limit                                                      17 - 32”

 

Best Car Seat For Easy Installation:

Chicco Keyfit 30

 

Why parents love it:

 

Traveling in the car with a baby can be nerve-wrecking, especially on that first drive home from the hospital. With a spring-loaded leveling foot, two easy-to-read level indicators, and a SuperCinch tightener with the LATCH system, this car seat ensures a perfect install to help ease your mind.

 

Requirements:

Child weight limit                                                      4-30 pounds

Child height limit                                                      up to 30”

 

Best Car Seat For Comfort:

Uppababy Mesa

 

Why parents love it:

 

Your babe will be riding in style with this car seat. As easy as it is on the eyes, it’s not so easy on the wallet, but with the extra safety features it comes with it’s totally worth it. The Mesa comes with an indicator window that turns from red to green when you’ve achieved the perfect install. The soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking fabric keeps babe cool and comfy - especially on those hot summer days. Not only is this seat the picture of pure comfort, but it’s the first and only car seat to pass federal safety standards without the use of fire-retardant chemicals. Price doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?

 

Requirements:

Child weight limit                                                      4-35 pounds

Child height limit                                                      up to 32”

 

Best Easy to Clean Infant Car Seat:

Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30

 

Why parents love it:

 

Having a baby means messes, and sometimes those messes happen at really inconvenient times - like leaving on a road trip only to realize your babe has had a major poop-splosion. This seat has easy off fabrics that are washer and dryer safe, so all you have to do is take them off and throw them in the wash. Also included is a reversible head support, extra-large canopy, anti-rebound bar, and stroller compatibility. You can’t go wrong with this seat.

 

Requirements:

Child weight limit                                                      4-30 pounds

Child height limit                                                      up to 32”

 

Best All Around Car Seat:

Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite

 

Why parents love it:

 

Much like you, this car seat does it all. The SnugLock technology includes a hassle-free 3-step installation that any parent (or grandparent) can do. The base includes a 4-position recline and the InRight LATCH ensures a perfect install every time. The Simply Safe Adjust Harness lets you adjust the headrest height and harness together, which means you aren’t left rethreading the straps every time babe grows an inch - which is pretty often! A few other awesome features are the rotating canopy, the newborn insert, and rapid remove cover for those inevitable messes.

 

Requirements:

Child weight limit                                                      4-35 pounds

Child height limit                                                      up to 32”

 

Once you’ve decided on a car seat (congrats!) make sure to test it out right away! Read the manual front to cover and make sure it’s a good fit for both you and your cars.

 

Every infant seat passes the set requirements, so try not to worry about safety. As long as the seat is installed correctly and the harness is adjusted, your babe couldn’t be safer!

 

 

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. 

 

  • Sam C's Editorial Team
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