12 Best Infant Car Seats for Small Cars Safety Rated 2022

One of the most marvelous and nerve-wracking perceptions a new parent will have is bringing their baby home from the hospital for the first time. The best infant car seats make the transition smooth and easy, giving parents peace of mind that their child is protected, stable, and comfortable. We put over a dozen baby car seats through hands-on tests to determine the best and safest options of the year to help you choose the perfect one. The best 5 options we discovered are shown below, accompanied by reviews of a hundred models. As a new parent, one of the most significant purchases you’ll make is an infant car seat, which will serve as a foundation for the move to a convertible car seat and, eventually, a booster car seat. Our assessment takes into account Ease of Use, Mobility, Baby Weight and Height Ranges, Safety, Car Size, and Stroller Compatibility to make your decision easier. We put all of the features to the test, install the car seats in numerous vehicles, read all of the manuals, and compile feedback from dozens of parents who participated in our testing. We came away with a dozen of the best infant car seats this year.

1. Chicco KeyFit 35 Infant Car Seats

The cost is between $150 to $200. Chicco’s flagship KeyFit 30 is known for its security, reliability, ease, simplicity, and affordability. It is without a doubt one of the most popular infant car seats on the market and has been for almost a decade. The KeyFit 35 improved on the KeyFit 30’s core design in four major ways: increased weight and height capacity, no-rethread adjustable harness height, European belt routing, and an anti-rebound bar. Premium SuperCinch LATCH connectors, EPS energy-absorbing foam and side-impact protection, preemie support (4 pounds) with the supplied newborn insert, machine washable fabrics, Ride Right bubble levels to aid installation, and 6-year expiration date are all shared by the KeyFit 30 and 35. We like both KeyFit strollers because they have a nice design, are simple to put together, have high-quality and pleasant textiles, are compatible with a variety of strollers, and are lightweight. We have hundreds of hours of experience using the KeyFit car seats as parents and proprietors of this site, and as scientists, we are thrilled with their good NHTSA simplicity of installation and crash test ratings. We appreciate the KeyFit 35’s increased weight (35 pounds) and height (32″) capacities, as well as the extra two inches of legroom, given the AAP’s recommendation to keep your child rear-facing for as long as feasible. Around 14-18 months, you’ll probably need to upgrade to a convertible car seat with the KeyFit 30 (most babies achieve 30″ height by this age); however, the KeyFit 35 should serve until your child turns two. We particularly like the KeyFit 35’s anti-rebound bar and wider canopy for extra peace of mind. The KeyFit 35 was originally priced at $250, but it has steadily dropped in price over the last year, putting it in a highly competitive position: with its incredible features, safety, comfort, and simplicity, it’s a definite winner at this price point! Although we prefer the KeyFit 35, we recognize that many parents prefer to use an infant car seat for the first year before transitioning to a rear-facing convertible car seat, which makes the KeyFit 30 a great contender. This is especially true if your baby’s height and weight are below the 80th percentile; if they’re big or tall, they might grow out of the KeyFit 30 at a young age (especially in height). With the KeyFit 35, there are no big drawbacks. It’s not as small as competitors like the Nuna Pipa or Graco Snugride (9.6 pounds for KeyFit 30, 10 pounds for KeyFit 35). Highly recommended, and we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether the 30 or 35 is ideal for you! Is there anyone else who believes the KeyFit is a great choice? BabyList, Babygearlab, WhatToExpect, and Wirecutter are among our friends.

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2. Britax B-Safe Gen2 Infant Car Seats

Depending on the selections, the cost is usually between $200 and $300. Just when you thought the B-Safe 35 couldn’t get much better, Britax introduces the Britax B-Safe Gen2, the next generation of infant car seats with some pretty incredible features and specifications. The original B-Safe 35 had a few minor flaws, including a narrow bucket, heavy materials, and a hefty price tag. While Britax didn’t address the weight issue (they never do!), they did enhance the width and cost while maintaining the same high level of safety and quality. They’ve also included a super-soft, long-lasting fabric with no tags (for comfort and sensory reasons). If you’ve done any research on the B-Safe 35, you’ll recognize the specifications: the Gen2 supports infants as tiny as 4 pounds up to 35 pounds or 32″ tall. The harness height can be adjusted in four different locations (without rethreading) and the crotch buckle may be adjusted in two different positions. The Gen2 offers somewhat more comfortable crotch buckle placements than the B-Safe 35. Unfortunately, the Gen2 is half a pound heavier than the B-Safe 35, which is understandable considering the somewhat larger seating surface. The SafeCell impact-absorbing crumple zone, side-impact protection, energy-absorbing foam in the shell, a steel-reinforced frame, and, most crucially, the Safe Center LATCH function provide a secure and easy installation process. Gen2 is available in three different versions: the original Gen2, the Gen2 FlexFit, and the Gen2 FlexFit+. The FlexFit has a European belt guide, which allows you to install the car seat without the base by using the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts (in the standard European routing), making it ideal for secure installations in ride-sharing and taxis. The anti-rebound bar on the FlexFit plus (+) prevents rotational movement in the event of an accident. We specifically tested and suggest the Gen2 FlexFit+, although the majority of our findings apply to the lower (and less priced) variants as well. Phew, that’s a lot of cool stuff! We used the B-Safe Gen2 with a 4-month-old baby during our testing and were blown away by the overall quality, comfort, and convenience of use. The Gen2 feels really good quality right out of the box, especially the textiles, polycarbonate, and connectors. We like the SafeCell crumple zone to help absorb impact, the spring-assisted adjustable recline, the level indicators (which were easy to see), and the quick-push LATCH attachments. The Safe Center LATCH connector is located in the center of the base and allows you to place your weight on the base (we like to use a knee) while pushing up on a single-center strap to tighten both LATCH connectors at the same time. It performed admirably and aided us in securing a fantastic base installation. Steel frame reinforcement was also added to the base, which added a little weight but was also quite reassuring. The car seat itself snaps into place with a satisfying auditory click, instilling confidence. We appreciate how the cushioning molds baby’s bodies nicely and snugly without being too restricting, and the seat textiles are fantastic, extremely pleasant, and soft. The shell is roomy, which is ideal if you have a small chunky monkey. The shoulder harness straps were very wide and padded, making it nearly impossible for them to dig into your baby’s neck and face. Even in vehicles with a slanted back seat, getting a pleasant incline position without using a pool noodle was simple (and we adore the spring-loaded recline option!). All of the modifications, as well as the buckles, went off without a hitch. The harness height can’t be altered as easily as some others because it has to be done from behind. The good news is that it doesn’t require rethreading: to modify the height, simply grasp the harness height adjuster on the rear and pull it up or down. It works perfectly and strikes a good balance between quick-adjust harness height and rethreading. Overall, we like this car seat since the test baby was pleased and comfortable, the textiles were soft and luxurious, and we know that baby is safe and secure thanks to Britax’s reputation. There isn’t a removable newborn insert, to be sure. As previously stated, the shell is roomy, so if you have a little kid (under 6-7 pounds), they may have a little more room than you’d like. The cushioning is nicely proportioned once they’re around 7-8 pounds. Apart from that, the only other criticism is the weight, but that’s to be expected at this level of quality and safety! Who else is excited about the new B-Safe Gen2?

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3.UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Car Seats

Best Infant Car Seats UPPAbaby MESA

Typically, the cost is around $350. This baby car seat is more expensive than most others, but it has several nice features and a good safety rating, so it might be worth it. It’s one of the easiest infant car seats we’ve ever tested to install and use. There are three main causes behind this. To begin, it has a fantastic automatically tightening LATCH system with a handy indicator that indicates when the base is fully fastened to the seat. If you’re utilizing the vehicle’s belts, they include lock-offs that make achieving a steady, secure installation much easier. Second, it features a 4-position foot that lets you level the base precisely in the automobile, which is especially useful during installation (there is also a level indicator on the side). Third, the headrest and shoulder straps simply move between five height positions without rethreading (the crotch buckle changes between two height positions but requires rethreading from the bottom), ensuring a simple installation and ideal fit. The UPPAbaby Mesa boasts a nice plush dual-layer side protection that works up to 4-times better in side-impact crash tests than just about any other premium newborn car seat on the marketplace, according to UPPAbaby. The seat also incorporates energy-absorbing EPS foam to absorb impact in the case of an accident. An infant insert is available to suit babies (and preemies) as tiny as 4 pounds, and the seat has a weight capacity of 35 pounds (32 kg) “height), which is a fantastic range but also to be expected at this price. With a weight of just under 10 pounds and a lot of convenience and safety features for such a small overall weight (the base adds another 9 pounds), the seat’s weight isn’t an issue. It’s also not very wide, with a width of 15.5 inches “The handlebar levers protruding on the sides add another 2 inches to the width of the base. The bottom of the base is relatively thin, allowing LATCH and buckles on adjacent car seats to fit close together, making it a suitable alternative for placing three car seats in a row. We also loved how simple it was to use the chest buckle and how simple it was to change the shoulder strap using the front button and strap. The canopy isn’t as big as we’d like, and when both are up, it gets a little too near to the handlebar. We should also mention that the fabric isn’t as breathable as some of the others on our list, and some of our test babies experienced sweaty backs while using this seat. When it comes to materials, the new Henry version uses merino wool to create a chemical-free fire-resistant fabric. Wool is extremely breathable, so it should assist with the sweaty-back concerns we occasionally have with this seat. The UPPAbaby Mesa also lacks a steel-reinforced frame, anti-rebound bar, and load leg. The former saves weight, but at this price, we’d expect at least an anti-rebound bar. Overall, we believe it’s one of the best baby car seats on the market, and we appreciate the stylish design, easy installation and use, and great quality. Is there anyone else who feels the Mesa is a great choice? BabyList, WhatToExpect, and The Bump are some of our favorite sites.

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4. Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 DLX

Typically, the cost is less than $200. The SnugRide car seat series from Graco is one of the most popular and best-selling on the market. Graco has offered the SnugRide line for almost a decade, but last year they finally stepped it up and added the SnugFit line, which includes the anti-rebound bar that parents have been asking for. Why? In the event of a rear-end collision, the anti-rebound bar helps to stabilize the car seat and absorb rotational forces that can be damaging to your kid. Anti-rebound bars have been popular for nearly 5 years, and with their infant car seats, Graco has finally joined the party! The SnugFit 35 DLX is no exception to the SnugRide baby car seat’s reputation for being straightforward and uncomplicated. It’s not as soft or velvety as the B-Safe or Chicco car seats, and it’s not as fashionable or available in crazy patterns (like the Britax Cowmooflauge, which is fantastic), but it does the job and parents love it. It’s also approximately $50-75 less expensive than the other brands in terms of features, so keep that in mind. The SnugFit 35 DLX has a 32″ height restriction and can accommodate babies as tiny as 4 pounds (with the infant insert). It connects to the car’s safety belt or the Graco InRight LATCH system. As part of its TrueShield side impact protection technology, which protects not just the head but also the hips, it has been side-impact tested and incorporates EPS energy-absorbing foam for safety. Aside from the anti-rebound bar, one of the most appealing features of the SnugFit is the no-rethread harness height adjustment! We were pleased to discover that the headrest and harness heights may be adjusted jointly utilizing the simple button on the headrest’s top. We loved how easily the seat popped into and out of the base, despite its weight of roughly 9.5 pounds. The SnugLock technology is also compatible with any Click Connect stroller, so you can use this car seat with any stroller or base that has the Click Connect feature. As a result, compatibility with strollers and travel systems is much easier, especially because almost every stroller on the market comes with an adapter for the SnugRide car seats. The total weight of the seat and base is around 17 pounds (seat + base). One of our main complaints about this car seat throughout our testing is that it doesn’t seem big or wide enough to suit babies above 25-30 pounds, especially if they have broad shoulders. For infants, it is extremely supportive and comfy, but as they get older, they begin to recognize its limitations. Overall, we adore what Graco has accomplished with the SnugRide range, particularly the no-rethread shoulder harness, high-quality materials, and anti-rebound bar. With a price tag of around $200, these offer a fantastic feature set for such a low price. Given how simple the installation and functionality were, as well as the overall comfort and safety, we believe this is a good best-bet baby car seat for parents trying to save money while still trusting Graco’s great reputation for car seat quality and safety.

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5. Britax B-Safe 35 Ultra Infant Car Seats

Depending on whether you choose the B-Safe 35 (typically around $200) or the B-Safe Ultra (normally up to $250 depending on pattern choice), expect to pay around $200-230. The B-Safe 35 Ultra with Cool Flow fabric is the one shown. The Britax B-Safe Infant Car Seat has been the #1 best-selling model on the market for several years because parents adore it, and the Britax reputation for safety and quality can’t be surpassed. The B-Safe 35 and B-Safe Ultra baby car seats come with a seat base that connects to (and detaches from) your vehicle using either the premium LATCH system or the seat belt. Moms adore the form and fit of these seats, which are made in the United States, and we found that any of these models do a great job supporting even very small (4+ lbs) infants when using the accompanying infant insert. You can remove the extra body padding (once your baby is about 11 pounds) to offer your kid more room as he or she grows. The B-Safe Ultra adds quickly-adjust head protection, adjustable shoulder straps without rethreading (this alone is worth the money!), a European belt route, softer and higher-quality materials, and the popular Cool Flow fabric option to the B-Safe 35. The European type belt guide allows the seat to be placed without the base using the vehicle’s seat belts; this is ideal for customers who don’t want to spend the extra money on a second base, have numerous cars, or want to travel (and utilize ride-sharing or a taxi) without the base. The Cool Flow fabric is incredible and provides extra ventilation for the warmer months to keep your back cool and comfortable. All of these features add up to a car seat that weighs more than 20 pounds (seat 11.5 pounds, base 9 pounds), which we recognize may be too much for some parents. The Britax SafeCell technology is used in all B-Safe models, which combines side impact protection, a steel-reinforced frame, and EPS energy-absorbing foam. In comparison to the normal model, the Ultra has two levels of impact protection. The B-Safe Ultra features a somewhat plusher and more premium-feeling fabric than the Chicco KeyFit 30 or 35, and we found it much easy to clean with wipes and remove for machine washing. The Chicco KeyFit 35 has the same weight capacity (35 pounds) and height limit (32 inches) as the B-Safe. In terms of sizing, we found that the B-Safe can be a little restrictive in the shoulder area for larger babies, especially after they are around 10-12 months old, in our testing. There’s also no anti-rebound bar, which you can have for an extra $50 or so if you upgrade to the Britax Endeavours. This Britax car seat’s only actual limits are those. Finally, the B-Safe canopy is larger than most others, providing complete coverage for a baby in direct sunlight, rain, snow, or simply for solitude and during a nap. Britax B-Safe versions are also available in a variety of colors and designs. Yes, it’s pricey and hefty, but we believe the quality, features, and reputation for safety are well worth the investment. Is there anyone else who believes the B-Safe is a great choice? BabyList, Babygearlab, TheBump, and Wirecutter are among our buddies.

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6. Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller Combination

Typically, it costs around $500 (whew!). It’s the only infant car seat on our roster with a built-in stroller, making it a one-of-a-kind addition. Tired of worrying about car seat and stroller compatibility, hauling a stroller around in your trunk, and being frustrated by all the many folding and storage options? The Doona could be the answer for you! With stroller legs and wheels that fold down from the underneath of the car seat, this sleek design changes from a plush infant car seat to a stroller in just 5 seconds. It’s the ideal travel companion, a terrific alternative to a large travel system, and ideal for city living who don’t have much storage space. Last year, we had the opportunity to test the Doona (thank you, Doona!) and were blown away by its versatility and ease of use. First, let’s discuss about the car seat. The car seat can fit babies weighing as little as 4 pounds but as much as 35 pounds, or up to 32″ tall, thanks to the included baby insert and ultra-comfy memory foam head support. It boasts three layers of side-impact protection, EPS energy-absorbing foam, and the handlebar doubles as an anti-rebound bar when in car seat mode. There is no steel-reinforced frame, even though it is already extremely heavy (approximately 16 pounds), making it nearly hard to handle with a baby inside. Given the integrated stroller, carrying your infant in the car seat isn’t something you’ll often do with the Doona. It has a 5-point harness, a LATCH-compatible base, a washable removable cover, and is FAA approved for air travel. The car seat left a good impression on us; it was of good quality, comfortable and soft, and well-equipped. The only things we could have wished for were an adjustable harness that didn’t require rethreading (the back requires rethreading), a larger canopy that extended further down, and a bit more seating space for chunky monkies. Let’s discuss about the stroller next. This is the cool part! Simply place the handle in carrying mode (straight up), take up the car seat, and pull on a lever on the back, and the legs and wheels drop down smoothly underneath. It’s quite easy and quick to put together, and it’s a stunning design. With continuous use and after throwing it into and out of our vehicles across uneven areas, it performed flawlessly. The stroller is quite practical, easy to steer and navigate through small spaces, and fairly stable. The wheels are relatively rough and produce vibration and bumpiness on uneven sidewalks, the stroller isn’t stable or sturdy enough to put even the best diaper bag on the handlebar, and it lacks the amenities of a proper stroller (such as a storage basket, cup holders, phone/key tray, and so on). Another little problem we discovered was that if the wheels are muddy or wet when folding it and loading it into your car, your jeans and the car seat will become dirty and wet as well. Unlike a typical stroller, which you’d probably toss in the trunk. Aside from that, the car seat and stroller combo was simple to fold and snap into the base (or fasten into the vehicle without the base), even though it is somewhat hefty and large. However, after a few uses, we began to wonder why we would ever need to tote around a separate car seat and stroller! Overall, we were amazed by the concept and creativity, and we believe it is deserving of a top spot on our list! Of course, there are certain disadvantages, not the least of which is the expensive price tag (about $500!). However, when you add in the cost of a high-end baby car seat and stroller, you’ll be near to that total amount. Is there anyone else who feels the Doona is a great option? BabyList, WhatToExpect, and Babygearlab are some of our favorite sites.

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7. Nuna Pipa Infant Car Seats

Normally, it costs around $300. Nuna International, a boutique baby gear manufacturer based in Amsterdam, has created a sleek, simple, sophisticated infant car seat. They have European style and simplicity, as well as various safety measures that are prevalent in Europe but uncommon in the United States. The Nuna Pipa seat is made in China, like is most of the items on this list, and can be difficult to find in normal big-box stores. It can be found in PishPosh Baby and a few other upscale department stores. We liked this newborn car seat during our testing. Micro knit fabrics, soft and substantial cushioning where it’s required most (like on the crotch buckle! ), and a genuinely great canopy with a nifty “dream drape” extension that practically covers the entire infant to protect from the weather (UPF 50+) are just a few of the features. With the supplied baby insert, it can support babies as small as 4 pounds, making it a perfect infant car seat for preterm babies. It can also hold up to 32 pounds or 32 inches in length. All of this weight and height range while only 8 pounds! Although the base weighs roughly 14 pounds, no one walks around with the seat attached to it. For several reasons, this is one of the safest infant car seats we’ve ever evaluated. The standard 5-point harness, crumple zones in the base and load leg, deep and thick side-impact protection, and EPS energy-absorbing foam are all included. Second, it has a stable leg, which is extremely typical in Europe: the stability leg attaches to the bottom of the car seat’s base and extends down to the floor of your vehicle. The load leg, like an anti-rebound bar, reduces rotational forces by absorbing impact in the event of a collision. Using the simple LATCH connectors, the installation was a breeze. It’s worth noting that the LATCH connectors on this seat are stiff, which aids in safe installation but may limit the seating configurations available. Many vehicles’ center-back seats, for example, do not have the usual 11″ LATCH spacing, so you’ll have to utilize the vehicle’s seat belt to install. It’s worth noting that while most infant car seat manuals recommend this, the Nuna enforces it with its strict LATCH attachment space. We were delighted with this infant car seat throughout our testing and thought the textiles and overall fit and finish were rather exquisite. The Pipa employs certified GOTS organic cotton that is devoid of chemical fire retardants, and they source all of their fabrics, as well as their foams and dyes, to ensure that they are free of harsh chemicals and VOCs. The Nuna Pipa may be used with a variety of strollers, including the Baby Jogger, UppaBaby, Stokke, Bugaboo, Mamas & Papas, and Maxi-Cosi (with an adaptor). Of course, it’s also compatible with Nuna strollers directly without the need for an adaptor. Unlike others at this price point, it lacks a quick-adjust harness, which means you’ll have to re-thread the harness from the back every time you need to modify its height. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence, but it is very inconvenient. The main limiting issues are this issue, as well as the high price (about $300). Is it one of the most effective infant car seats on the market? Yes, especially if you value the style and lightweight construction quality, but you’ll have to pay a little more and maybe upset by having to rethread the harness straps manually. But those are the trade-offs you have to make when you want an outstanding car seat that only weighs 8 pounds! If you’re looking for another incredibly tiny and lightweight infant car seat, check out our evaluations of narrow car seats for the Cybex Aton and others. Is there anyone else who feels the Pipa is a great choice?

8. Maxi-Cosi Mico Max Plus 30 Infant Car Seat

Approximately $300. The Maxi-Cosi Mico Max Plus infant car seat is no exception to the company’s continuous improvement. This is an adorably fluffy and plush newborn car seat. The Maxi-Cosi infant car seats are not only beautiful, but they are also among the coziest and most comfortable on our list. It is, without a doubt, Maxi-Cosi! With a maximum height of 32″, this infant car seat can accommodate babies weighing 4 to 30 pounds. The lower infant insert must be used with babies weighing 4-5 pounds and can be used for as long as the owner’s manual specifies (according to the owner’s handbook). The height range of this car seat is up to 32 inches, which is a fantastic feature “tall, but without the added weight restriction (which, in our opinion, isn’t nearly as significant as the added height restriction). Keep in mind that your baby’s head must always be at least 1 inch tall “beneath the car seat’s top. It’s also a lightweight car seat, weighing in at 9.6 pounds without the base (the base weighs in at 7 pounds), with a detachable canopy. Our reviewers found the inflated airside protection cushions on the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max plus 30 were a huge deal and made them feel more secure. When you add in the EPP energy-absorbing foam and the fantastic load leg, you have an extremely safe car seat. We found the cloth to be extremely easy to clean and remove for machine washing. One of the changes between the Mico Max and the Mico Max Plus is the addition of the zippered “MaxShade” canopy extension, which adds roughly 6″ of extension with mesh sides for enhanced ventilation. The Max Plus also has a few extra benefits: To begin, the Plus is made of a high-quality denim-like fabric that is both self-wicking and breathable, preventing sweaty backs. Second, rather than an anti-rebound bar, the Plus have a load leg that extends from the bottom of the base and pushes down onto the vehicle’s floor. The anti-rebound bar, on the other hand, presses up on the back of the rear seat. This means that the Max Plus has the same degree of safety as the Max, but it has a shorter andsmaller bottom.  We believed this seat had some great features and functionality during our testing (thank you, Maxi-Cosi, for sending us a sample!). We liked the plush padding on the harness and crotch buckle, as well as the fact that when unbuckled, the crotch buckle folds forward, out of the way while putting the infant in the seat. We also liked that the car seat can be placed with or without the base, that the base employs seat belt lock-offs (or premium LATCH connectors) for a safe installation, that the load leg is simple to use, and that the base has three recline settings to accommodate most rear-seat slopes. The extra-large canopy is fantastic, and the cover is simple to remove and reinstall for washing. With a few exceptions that became minor annoyances throughout use, most items seem fairly robust and well crafted. First, when the handle is upright and the canopy is open, the canopy and carry handle collide a little. When you rotate the canopy and carry the handle out of the way to set the car seat on the base, the handle pushes up against the canopy and doesn’t readily lock back into place. It’s a little aggravating. Second, the upper cushion has large warning labels that are directly where your baby’s head and face would rest during naps. This implies that instead of being pressed against the soft fabric, your baby’s face may be pressed against the plastic labels. That was an odd design decision. Finally, rethreading is required for harness height modification. Aside from those issues, this car seat has a lot going for it, and it absolutely deserves to be at the top of our list!

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9. Chicco Fit2 Infant Car Seats

Around $280, and available in a variety of colors. This is a brand-new Chicco infant car seat that performed admirably in our hands-on testing. We’re happy to have it on our listing, and we believe it’s an excellent example of a high-quality, comfortable, long-lasting, and versatile car seat. It is, however, quite pricey, about equivalent to the highest-end B-Safe Ultra or Endeavors, so bear that in mind when making that comparison. Includes adjustable shoulder straps and headrest. Two crotch buckle positions, energy absorbing EPS foam, side impact protection, base barrier, large removable hood, spirit level, high quality LATCH connector, European belt guide, removable and easy-care seat cover, Adjust with one hand. The Chicco Fit2 improves on the already great KeyFit 30 and KeyFit 35 with a few key modifications. To begin, the Fit2 has two different rear-facing positions: one that is somewhat reclined for infants up to about 10-12 months of age (basically until they can crawl and walk), and another that is more upright with greater legroom. The 2d role is for babies as much as 35 pounds and 35″ height (or 24 months old), while the Keyfit 30 and KeyFit 35 are only for babies as much as 30 kilos and 30″ tall, and the KeyFit 35 is simplest for babies as much as 32″ tall. Second, like the KeyFit 35 but not the KeyFit 30, the Fit2 includes an anti-rebound bar integrated into the base to lessen rotating forces in the event of an accident. Third, the Fit2 includes greater shoulder harness and crotch buckle adjustments to accommodate growing babies, as well as adjustable shoulder strap height without rethreading (like the KeyFit 35). Fourth, we noticed that the cloth is typically plusher and of greater quality, and that the canopy is slightly larger and of higher quality, especially when compared to the KeyFit 30. Finally, it’s built-in Italy rather than China, and because it can withstand a greater weight, it’s a little heavier without the base, weighing 11 pounds. That’s all there is to it in terms of distinctions. Either the KeyFit or the Fit2 are great car seats, while the Fit2 is better suited to parents who are ready to invest a little extra for a wider height limit and higher-quality textiles and padding. Unless you have a very tall infant, we find it difficult to justify the extra premium over the KeyFit 35. Second, the upper shoulder and head space are a little tight, however removing the top infant insert helps, and it’s worth noting that the shoulders and hips aren’t as thin as the B-Safe 35. Overall, this is an excellent new addition to our list, and we’re looking forward to it!

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10. Clek Liing Infant Car Seats

The only reason this car seat isn’t in the top 5 is that it costs around $400. We received this car seat earlier this year and were blown away by its aesthetic, shape, and size, as well as its comfort, safety, and versatility. The Clek Living is one of the few infant car seats made in North America, namely in Canada. It’s also one of the few that has a load leg. And we probably don’t have to tell you that Clek has a fantastic reputation for producing high-quality, trendy things, but you’ll have to pay for it! The first thing we noticed when we opened the box was that the Clek Liing only weighed roughly 9 pounds without the base, making it extremely portable. The base, at 17 pounds, is a little heavier, especially with the load leg and rigid LATCH connectors, but that will be left in your vehicle, so it doesn’t matter. The materials – plastics and fabrics – all feel incredibly high quality and luxurious, even with the lightweight car seat structure (we enjoyed the C-Zero+ fabric, which is anti-microbial, stain, moisture, and odor resistant – not to mention devoid of chlorinated and brominated flame retardants). The Living can accommodate babies weighing as little as 4 pounds (with an infant insert) and growing up to 35 pounds and 32 inches tall (or at least 1″ clearance between the top of head and top of shell). It features a seven-position reclining, a European belt path allowing installation without the base, and a large canopy with a peekaboo glass. It incorporates a sturdy metal load leg for added stability during a crash (with 13 length settings ranging from 10″ to around 21″), EPP energy-absorbing foam, and a two-piece shell with side-impact protection for added safety. It has a seatbelt tensioner lock-off in the base, strong lower LATCH anchors, three harness heights (with manual rethreading), and a very tiny profile (it’s just 17″ broad) that makes it ideal for fitting three in a row. If you’re utilizing the firm LATCH anchors, installation is a breeze because they simply ratchet into place, giving you complete assurance. If you use the vehicle’s seat belt with the base, the belt-tensioning system also functions as a belt lock-off system. A small note: while in the vehicle, the Clek should be used with the handlebar facing straight up, which is unusual but useful if you’re carrying your infant around anyway. The load leg was simple to extend and modify; it is required in Canada for infants weighing more than 22 pounds, but it is optional in the United States. If you won’t be using the load leg in the US, Clek recommends using the vehicle’s seatbelt instead of the LATCH system. You can utilize the American or European belt pathways, both of which have bright blue routing guides if you’re installing the Liing without the base (the US belt path guides are on the sides). We tested the Living on a 5-week-old baby, a 3-month-old baby, and an 8-month-old baby. The comfort level was excellent in all cases, however, we did have to make some adjustments with the heaviest infant the removable upper and lower infant inserts helped a lot with the fit. The handle is fantastic and does not obstruct the canopy, and we can’t stress enough how convenient it is to have such a light and compact car seat! Everything on this car seat seemed to have been thoughtfully created and placed, which made us feel quite comfortable with it. Overall, we believe this latest addition to our list of the finest infant car seats is excellent! The obvious issue for most parents is cost, which typically ranges from $350-400, which is a significant financial outlay! Also, in this price range, we were surprised to discover that the harness height requires rethreading. This is a fantastic new addition to our list, and we’re delighted to include it. Not for everyone, but for those with a larger car seat budget and a desire for design, substance, and quality, this is a clear front-runner.

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11. Cybex Aton 2 Infant Car Seats

It’s usually around $300, making it one of the priciest car seats on the market. We tested the Cybex Aton 2 alongside the Clek Liing, with the Clek Liing narrowly edging out the Aton by a razor-thin margin. They’re both great seats, and the only reason they’re at the bottom of the list is because of their expensive price and lack of stroller compatibility. The Cybex Aton 2 felt very light (around 9 pounds without the base!) and compact (17.3″ broad) right out of the box, with the excellent build quality. From the plastics to the textiles, as well as all of the connectors and adjustments, everything seemed high-quality. The base adds more than 15 pounds, but that’s mostly due to the fantastic load leg, superior LATCH connectors, and integrated belt lock-off tensioning system. The Cybex Aton 2 supports infants as tiny as 4 pounds and up to 32 pounds or 30″ tall, according to basic specs. Overall, that’s a bit limiting, especially in terms of height, so if you have a larger infant, this might not be the best option. The Cybex Aton 2 base features a load leg to lessen rotational forces in a crash, energy-absorbing foam, side-impact protection, and a unique flip-out side-impact absorbing arm that sticks out of the side for further safety (a bit like on the Cybex Sirona). Not to mention amazing crash test scores that are the envy of virtually all other car seats; Babygearlab commissioned independent crash tests of this car seat and were gracious enough to publish the results – which were fantastic! The base can be used to install seat belts (with a tensioner and lock off) or the accompanying push-button LATCH anchors. It’s also possible to achieve it without a base by following the American or European belt pathways. With the Aton, it was difficult to get everything adjusted and placed correctly, and good installation is one of the most crucial components of car seat safety. You can do it, but it will take some time and you might scream some expletives in the process! This seat is quite comfortable due to its shape and size, as well as the soft and durable jersey-knit textiles. The seat padding could be a little thicker, but it’s not uncomfortable. With a big plastic front edge and a completely stretched canopy that leaves something to be desired, the canopy is a little weird. The harness includes three different height settings, although rethreading is required. Other issues we encountered included: the harness tightness adjustment being difficult to use at times, the chest buckle sliding down the harness at times, changing the handlebar position requiring two hands, and your hand being squeezed between the handlebar and the canopy. The seat is compatible with UppaBaby strollers, such as the Cruz, which is wonderful, but you’ll probably need adapters for any other stroller (though it should work with strollers compatible with Maxi-Cosi and Nuna car seats). So this seat has several little flaws that make it difficult to justify the price if it weren’t for the excellent crash test results. Even with the minor flaws and high price, these ratings are what maintain this car seat at the top of our list. Overall, it’s not an ideal car seat, but it does look beautiful and has exceptional safety ratings. Not for everyone, but a strong contender for those with a larger car seat budget.

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12. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4/35 Infant Car Seats

Approximately $300, with some color and pattern possibilities costing more. Peg Perego was developed in Italy over 60 years ago by Giuseppe Perego, who was inspired to create the best baby carriage available at the time, using rubberized materials instead of wicker and sheet metal. Well, he succeeded, and the company went on to be a huge success in Europe for decades. Fast forward to now, and Peg Perego has earned a reputation for producing safe, dependable, and comfortable baby products all across the world. This Peg Perego has several unique features that make it one of the best infant car seats of the year, including adjustable side impact padding (6 positions up/down) to accommodate your growing baby, a comfortable handle, plenty of padding for even small babies (down to 4 pounds using an included dual-stage insert, and up to 35 pounds), a soft and plush fresco jersey breathable cloth, an adjustable-height 5-point harness (no rethreading necessary), a soft and plush fresco jersey (not China). It’s also one of the few car seats (together with the Chicco Fit2, KeyFit 35, and Britax Endeavours) that have an anti-rebound safety bar in the front, which is currently standard in Europe but not yet needed in the United States. This car seat has a 32″ height limit for babies, which is a little higher than some of the other car seats on this list. It’s also rather lovely. You’ll understand why people are prepared to spend a premium for this seat once you see its sleek lines, modern designs, fine stitching work around the edges, and feel its quality fabric and padding. Some of the seat detailing looked as if it had been handcrafted by an Italian designer. It’s a nice touch. The seat is one of the heaviest on the list, weighing in at around ten pounds. It’s quite a bit heavier when combined with the base (not that you’d be carrying it around with the base). This car seat has a few major drawbacks: first, because the canopy opens up against the handle, it’s not the most pleasant to hold; the only logical choice is to carry it with the canopy retracted. We discovered that the harness straps tend to twist around and tangle a lot and that many of the good and economical car seat covers won’t fit around the massive side impact cushions, in addition to being a bit difficult to carry around. The canopy isn’t very big, and removing the cover for cleaning is a pain. Finally, unlike the B-Safe Ultra, it does not have a steel-reinforced structure, although that is true of most car seats on our list. Overall, this is a fantastic car seat with very slight drawbacks when compared to others. We’re delighted to have it on our list because of its overall high quality, amazing style, and versatility!

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How to Pick the Perfect Infant Car Seat?

Over two dozen parents participated in our hands-on testing and focus groups to learn the ins and outs of around 15 of the top infant car seats on the market. Every year, the new models that reach the market impress us, and we adore getting our hands on cool new baby gear! Thank you to all of the companies who brought us trial car seats to test this year! Our annual hands-on reviews and ratings, combined with feedback from vocal parents, help us identify several of the best and safest infant car seats of the year, including models from big brands like Britax, Graco, and Chicco, as well as smaller, growing, and niche brands like Maxi-Cosi, Peg Perego, Cybex, and Clek. Whether you’re planning to buy one yourself or put one on your baby registry, doing your homework is essential to selecting the best car seat for your newborn baby at a reasonable price! All of the car seats on our list are not only highly regarded, safe, and comfortable, but they also stand the test of time: in the world of baby items, reliability is crucial, and evens the best-looking and operating car seats can disappoint after a few months. For instance, broken chest buckles, finicky harness adjusters, and rips in the fabric due to bad stitching.

Ease of Use:

When buying a new car seat, this is perhaps the most critical factor to consider. You don’t want to deal with a vexing lock, a vexing seat belt system, awkward chest clips, fiddly handle adjustments, or a vexing carrying handle daily. If you pinch your finger every time you fold down the handle or curse the twisted harness straps as your kid screams, it won’t matter if you have the most attractive car seat on the market! We’ve tested over 80 different infant car seats over the past 10+ years, putting them to the test with both calm and wiggly babies, summer and winter outfits, with and without the base, and making sure they were not only intuitive to use, but also easy to buckle, unbuckle, attach to and detach from the base, adjust the incline, Turn the handle, adjust the canopy and remove the cover to wash. In general, we discovered that the more expensive car seat options are also more user-friendly, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. There are some fantastic options for under $150. We place a disproportionate amount of emphasis on seat installation convenience because proper car seat installation is the most significant element in car seat safety.

Price:

Infant car seats come in a wide range of quality, style, and (most crucially) price. You’ll see that some car seats cost less than $100, while others cost $350 or more. The pricing disparities are usually for very valid reasons. In general, higher-priced car seats are plusher, softer to the touch, more user-friendly, have higher-quality elements (snaps, handles, hinges, clips, fabric, stitching), are lighter, and come in a wider range of color and pattern possibilities. They may also employ organic textiles, fabrics that are extremely breathable, and/or fabrics that are free of chemical flame retardants. Because these textiles are more expensive, many car seats that use sophisticated fabrics make concessions on other characteristics. Is it true that more costly car seats are safer? No, all car seats are safe when used properly and must meet NHTSA regulations. Some of the less expensive brands, on the other hand, may fulfill the NHTSA’s minimum requirements, while others go above and above. Using an anti-rebound bar or load leg to lessen rotating forces during an accident, or double and triple side-impact protection, are examples of going above and beyond NHTSA criteria to improve safety. In general, a good quality car seat will cost around $150, a high-quality car seat will cost between $150 and $250, and a fancy seat with all the added safety and convenience features would cost around $300-350. It can be worth the extra money if you notice some truly unique characteristics. It’s comforting to know, though, that one of the best infant car seats on the market costs under $150 and is a secure alternative for your youngster.

Baby Weight and Height:

Newborns come in many different sizes and shapes.If you’re lucky you will have a 7-9 pound baby, however many parents deliver a bit early or birth a baby bigger than they planned. With a cute little 4 pound baby, you may be on the low end of the range, or the high end, with a chunky-monkey 12 pound baby (like me!). It’s crucial to keep in mind that each car seat has its own set of minimum and maximum infant weight and height requirements. The height and weight limits for car seats are critical and have a direct impact on your baby’s safety and comfort. Most infant car seats weigh a minimum of 4 pounds (1.8 kg), a maximum of 30 pounds (13.6 kg), or 35 pounds (with  infant cushion) (15.9 kg).Check the box, label, or manual because different versions of the same brand or model (such as Chicco KeyFit) have varying characteristics. For extremely small newborns (e.g., 4-11 pounds), certain models contain an infant insert (upper insert, lower insert, or both) to help support their bodies and provide a snug fit and increased safety. Always check the manufacturer’s advice for when to use and remove the lower insert in your car seat’s manual. We’d also want to remind out that you’re unlikely to exceed the weight restriction of a car seat before reaching the height limit. In other words, your child will most likely outgrow their car seat before becoming too heavy. That’s to be expected, but bear that in mind while deciding whether the weight limit or the height limit is more significant (we suggest focusing on the height limit more than the weight limit). Check out our list of finest convertible car seats for infants (rear-facing) and toddlers (front-facing), some of which can hold babies as tiny as 4 pounds and larger youngsters up to 100-120 pounds. In our opinion, the best option is to start with an infant car seat and then switch to a convertible seat later on. The main reason for this recommendation is that infant car seats remove from the base and come with a handle for carrying a sleeping baby, but convertible car seats do not. Car seats for infants and convertibles aren’t the only ones on the market. There are also booster seats that start as a harnessed booster and eventually convert to a full booster seat, as well as booster seats that employ the vehicle’s shoulder belt (and some use the LATCH system). Most newborn car seats can accommodate toddlers who are 30, 32, or 35 inches tall “(or until the top of their head is about 1″ below the top of the car seat, but check the manual for specifics). The majority of children will reach the age of 30 “If you want to extend the use of your infant car seat beyond their first birthday, look into some of the choices that accommodate toddlers up to 35 inches tall (like the Chicco Fit2).

Safety:

Car seats sold in the United States must meet government (NHTSA) safety regulations and procedures, so you can be confident that whatever car seat you purchase has been thoroughly tested for safety for babies and toddlers. It’s worth noting, however, that certain seats go above and beyond government safety requirements, prioritizing child passenger safety. There are a couple of good instances. For starters, some car seats provide more extensive side impact protection near the shoulders, head, and/or torso (due to thicker and/or more layers). At the very least, these will provide more comfort for your child’s tired head during naps; at the very worst, they may provide some further security in the event of a side-impact collision. Second, anti-rebound bars and load legs, such as those found on the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio, Chicco Fit2, and Evenflo SafeMax infant car seats, are becoming more popular; the theory is that the anti-rebound bar can lessen rotational forces in the event of a crash. This implies that in the event of a front-end collision, the infant seat will not slam into the back seat with such force. It’s difficult to rationalize paying extra for a luxury seat that lacks this modern safety feature (such as the UppaBaby Mesa). Similarly, some current infant car seats have a load leg that extends from the back of the seat down to the vehicle’s floor. In addition, we do not recommend utilizing any car seat accessory that is not developed by the same firm that made the car seat and is not built particularly for the car seat in terms of safety. Harness tie-backs, detachable cup holders, and car seat covers are all examples. If you’re worried about a proper installation, most local police or fire departments have a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) who can check belt adjustments, harness heights (shoulder belt height), recline, seat belt paths, LATCH use, car seat, and base compatibility, travel system integration, and make sure your infant car seat base is properly installed in your vehicle. Most of the seats on this list are simple to install, with no-rethread harnesses, bubble recline indications, and detailed owner’s manuals to ensure everything is done correctly. To avoid mistakes like putting a top tether when rear-facing (top tethers are only for forward-facing car seats roughly 99 percent of the time), not properly reclining the seat, or having a loose fit, read the handbook and watch some videos online. The FAA has authorized all of the seats on this list for car seat travel on flights.

Car Size:

If you have more than one child or drive a compact car like a Honda Civic or Toyota Prius, the size and fit of the car seat are critical. More cushioning, large side impact protection wings, more safety features and foam, and thicker plastic make mainstream baby seats larger than before. The days of having a car seat that is only marginally larger than the baby are long gone. Given the greater comfort and safety, the increasing size of infant car seats is a good thing. It can, however, result in two fitting concerns. First and foremost, while trying to put several car seats into the rear seat, especially more than two at a time. Most cars won’t hold three infant car seats in the back seat, so unless you drive an Escalade, make sure you measure before you go shopping. Second, rear-facing the larger infant car seats can be difficult. This is especially true for drivers and passengers who are taller. When the vehicle’s seat is slid back for a higher driver, the top of the baby car seat will likely be pressed against it. Always double-check your car seat’s manual and your vehicle’s manual to make sure it’s okay for the top of the car seat to touch the back of the front seat; some vehicles don’t allow it because it interferes with the vehicle’s safety systems (including the airbags), and some car seat manufacturers don’t allow it either. If you have a smaller vehicle or a taller driver or passenger, keep this in mind because the newer baby car seats are getting big! Install a rear-facing car seat behind the shorter adult as soon as possible!

Stroller Type:

What are your plans for the car seat once it has been removed from the vehicle? Do you want to be able to pop the seat out and put it in a stroller while your kid is sleeping? If that’s the case, you’ll want to buy a travel system or double-check that the seat will fit in your existing stroller, or if you want to utilize one of the more universal snap-in strollers, double-check compatibility. With their Click Connect system, Graco has made compatibility questions simple. This system ensures that your car seat will fit any stroller or infant car seat base that is also labeled as Click Connect. Though we recommend purchasing a stroller from the same manufacturer as your car seat, universal adapters have made strollers far more adaptable than they were previously.

FAQS (Frequently Asked Questions):

Why is UPPAbaby so well-known?

UPPAbaby products are a premium brand with numerous features and capabilities not found in lower-priced alternatives, and they are manufactured with superior materials that will endure for many years. UPPAbaby has also become a fashion statement for the trend-conscious parent due to its attractive design and contemporary touches.

After the infant car seat, what is the next level of car seat?

A convertible seat, which should be acquired no later than your child’s first birthday, is the next stage after outgrowing an infant seat. It can be installed either backward or forwards. The harness system features a larger rear-facing weight limit, similar to that of an infant car seat.

How long should an infant ride in a car seat?

Parents who use an infant seat typically transition to a larger, convertible seat between 9 months and 2 years, depending on their child’s growth (bigger kids will likely transition sooner), If the seat is considered suitable for their children’s height and weight, parents can do so faster.

Conclusion:

In a 30-mph crash test, all automobile seats must exceed federal safety criteria. CR has been testing seats for more than 30 years, and today we’re taking it a step further by simulating a 35-mph collision, which better resembles modern car settings. We also evaluate the car seat’s convenience of use, including how easy it is to follow instructions or adjust buckles and straps, as well as how well it fits into five different vehicles with difficult interiors. As a result, the better a seat performs in our tests, the more likely you are to correctly install it and secure your child. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to acquire the greatest car seat. Many mid-priced models are as good as or better than more expensive variants. Regardless of price, a certain seat may or may not be compatible with your vehicle.

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