best infant car seat

The Best Infant Car Seats of 2018

by Brittany Spalding |

A car seat for your sweet, new bundle of joy is one of the most important purchases you will make as a new parent. Infant-only safety seats, commonly called infant car seats or infant carriers, are convenient because they are designed to double as carriers, chairs, or rockers when not used in the car. Most models detach right from the base, allowing you to leave the base installed in the car. Many infant car seats can also attach directly to a stroller, providing you with an effortless travel system.

Below, you will find in-depth reviews of the best infant car seats on the market, today. While no car seat is perfect, there is a perfect car seat for your family. In an effort to provide full transparency, the pros and cons of all car seats have been provided, even to our 5-star, top-rated car seats. This is to help you make an informed decision before purchasing a car seat for your new baby. Safety, price, ease of use, features, flexibility, and size parameters were all considered when compiling this list.

Top Infant Car Seats Why They Made the List Mom Rating
Chicco Fit2 Infant Car Seat Convertibility. Easy to adjust. Bubble level indicator. Machine washable. No re-thread harness. ♥♥♥♥♥
Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat Lightweight. Clicks into base and stroller. Level indicator. Machine washable. ♥♥♥♥♥
Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat Comfortable. Versatile. No re-thread harness. Impeccable safety. Bubble level indicator. Extra large canopy. ♥♥♥♥♥
Baby Trend Flex Loc Infant Car Seat Flexible straps. Adjustable base. Delta handle. No re-thread harness. ♥♥
Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat Sleek design. No re-thread harness. Taxi belt path. Large UV 50+ canopy. Bubble level indicator. Machine washable. ♥♥♥♥
Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat Impeccable safety. Easy installation. Approved for air travel. Big canopy. Bubble level indicators. ♥♥♥♥
Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat Easy to adjust. Deep seat. Easy to remove cover. Ergonomic handle. Big canopy. European belt guide. Impeccable safety. ♥♥♥♥
Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 Infant Car Seat Superb safety. Easy installation. Lightweight. Affordable. Level indicator. Machine washable. ♥♥♥♥

Best Infant Car Seats of 2018

Chicco Fit2 Infant & Toddler Car Seat

Image of the Chicco Fit2 Infant & Toddler Car Seat, Legato

As you watch your baby grow, you’ll want to slow down time, savoring each and every moment. You’ll treasure every milestone; from the first smile, to the first word, to the first step. Now, from the industry leaders behind the #1 rated infant car seat, comes a first-of-its-kind innovation. The Chicco Fit2 Infant & Toddler Car Seat is an excellent, albeit pricey, choice for new parents. This infant car seat comes in many beautiful fashions, so you’re sure to find the one that matches your lifestyle.

Safety

Like all Chicco car seats, the Fit2 is designed with smart functionality that makes it easy to install. You can rest assured that your car seat is installed simply, accurately, safely, and securely every time. The ReclineSure leveling foot with one hand adjustment helps achieve the proper base angle in your vehicle seat. Two bubble levels clearly indicate base angle in vehicle seat, while a one-pull LATCH tightener helps achieve a secure fit to vehicle seat with a fraction of the effort.

What’s to Love

Most bucket-style infant car seats only last you until around your child’s first birthday, when your child will likely start approaching the seat’s height limit. The Chicco Fit2 addresses this problem by featuring a convertible infant seat that can switch from an “infant” stage to a “toddler” stage. In Stage 1, the Fit2 functions like a traditional rear-facing infant car seat, offering more reclined seating with removable head and body support to accommodate newborns and smaller infants from 0 to 12 months. In Stage 2, the Fit2 easily transitions into a rear-facing toddler car seat, offering a more mature seating position and extended leg room for toddlers from 9 to 24 months – without taking up extra space!

A 7-position headrest and padded no re-thread harness provide adjustability to accommodate growth throughout both stages. The premium fabrics are machine washable for easy clean-up during unexpected messes and accidents.

As the Fit2 was designed to fit seamlessly with your lifestyle, it was also designed to fit seamlessly with Chicco strollers, including the Chicco Viaro. With this travel compatibility and its easy, one-hand removal from base and stroller, this infant car seat brings you extended convenience and lasting peace of mind – both in and out of the car. This infant carrier also features an adjustable and removable canopy to keep your little one protected from the sun’s rays.

Pros

  • Infant to toddler convertibility
  • Easy to convert base
  • Bubble level indicator
  • Easy to install
  • No re-thread harness
  • 7 position headrest
  • Easy to adjust handle
  • Machine washable fabric
  • Adjustable and removable canopy

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Customer Reviews

  • 4.8 stars, 57 reviews – Target
  • 4.7 stars, 38 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.8 stars, 68 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4.7 stars, 37 reviews – Walmart

“I did a lot of research and shopping around for the perfect car seat that was safe, comfortable and easy to install and the Fit2 Rear Facing Car seat not only met but exceeded all my requirements…and more!” –  Heather

See The Chicco Fit2 Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat

Image of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat, Gotham

Graco has been renowned for years as a leader in top of the line car seat manufacturers. The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat is an ultra-lightweight infant car seat, and helps make it easy to transport your little one from home, to the car, and everywhere in between. This style is available in three color schemes.

Safety

This terrific infant car seat is equipped with Click Connect technology. It provides a secure, one-step attachment between infant car seats to all Graco Click Connect Strollers. This allows you to create your own custom travel system. Just set the car seat into either a Graco Click Connect Stroller or into the included infant car seat base, and you’ll hear a ‘click’. This lets you know it is securely attached.

You can purchase whichever stroller best fits your individual needs, then easily move your baby, while still in her car seat, to the stroller. This is excellent for any type of outing, as you can leave your sleeping baby happily in the car seat and move her to the stroller with no additional hassle.

The infant car seat’s base is designed to make installation easy and simple for you. The convenient stay-in-car base is LATCH equipped for hassle-free installation, and it features an easy-to-read level indicator, which helps eliminate installation guesswork. You can feel confident that you’ve installed this infant car seat correctly. This rear-facing infant car seat is rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed U.S. safety standards. It also includes EPS energy absorbing foam for effective impact energy management. All of these features come together to reassure safety-conscious parents.

What’s to Love

The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat is one of the lightest infant car seats around! Weighing a mere 7.5 pounds, it is large but easy to handle and maneuver due to its light frame. This is an invaluable feature because it makes it much easier to carry your baby inside his or her car seat. Transferring this car seat from the car base to a stroller is a breeze. The other nifty aspect of the click feature is that it snaps into ANY of the Graco Click Connect strollers, like the Graco FastAction Fold Click Connect Stroller.

The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat has plenty of soft cushioning and is made of a smooth material. Babies are easily comfortable enough to be lulled to sleep in this car seat, especially while the car is in motion. This infant car seat can accommodate preemies as well as newborns with the supportive newborn insert. The insert gives little heads and necks much needed support, but is removable so it won’t get in the way as your baby grows. It can also be removed for washing.

This infant carrier has six different recline positions, as well as a pendulum level, that can help you make sure your car seat and base are correctly installed into your car. You don’t want to take any chances with your baby. The recline positions and easy-to-read level indicator help make it possible to know when your car seat is properly installed.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Clicks into base
  • Clicks into strollers
  • 4-35 lb weight limit
  • Machine washable seat cushion
  • Adjustable, machine washable canopy
  • Level indicator
  • Multiple recline positions
  • Works with any Graco Click Connect stroller

Cons

  • False clicking
  • Small canopy
  • Must re-thread harness straps

Customer Reviews

  • 4.6 stars, 309 Reviews – Target
  • 4.5 stars, 484 Reviews – Walmart
  • 4.4 stars, 282 Reviews – Baby Center
  • 4.6 stars, 281 Reviews – J.C Penny

“We purchased this seat for our first child and loved it so much we are using it for our second child as well! This seat is so user friendly with the click connect feature and can be used with so many other amazing Graco items! We have used this seat with three different Graco strollers and it has clicked in and been extremely easy to use! This seat has some of the best safety ratings as well! It also can be used longer than most infant seats due to the higher weight limit which was a huge plus! The color and ease of cleaning makes it still look new for our second child! We love this seat and all of the Graco strollers we have used with it!!” – K Kelly

See Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat

Image of the Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat, Grey

The Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat is designed for safety, comfort, and mobility. The cool mesh fabric provides stylish safety and gives your child a cool, comfortable ride. You can easily and securely install the car seat with a base or without. This top-rated pick is available in five color schemes.

Safety

The Britax B-Safe Ultra has loads of features to keep your baby safe. This includes TWO layers of side impact protection, as well as the Britax SafeCell Impact Protection system. What is the Britax SafeCell Impact Protection system? Well, it is an entire system of features that work together to keep your baby safe. This includes the impact absorbing base and the impact-stabilizing steel frame.

The impact absorbing base compresses to absorb crash energy and counteract forward movement, keeping your child clear from the seat in front of them. An impact stabilizing steel frame gives you peace of mind knowing there is strength where you want it most – through the spine of the car seat reducing forward flex, and at the connection points to the vehicle.

Side impact protection surrounds your child in a deep protective shell designed to absorb crash forces and shield your child from debris. Two layers of side impact protection give your child an advanced layer of protection with an energy absorbing head restraint designed to keep your baby’s head and neck extra secure.

Bubble level indicators let you know that this infant car seat is in its correct position. I am impressed by the safe and simple installation of this infant carrier.

What’s to Love

One of the defining features of the Britax B-Safe Ultra is that it has a cool mesh fabric to keep baby cool and comfortable.  This would be a wonderful option for people in hotter climates, as the fabric will help baby not to overheat by circulating the air more efficiently. Many parents reported that this seat was very comfortable for their babies who would otherwise get sweaty in other infant car seats.

As your baby grows, you will be able to adjust the height of the straps by simply pushing a button. No more un-threading and re-threading of the harness straps. With a one-touch adjustment, both the headrest and the straps move up or down. The harness has six different positions. This car seat is compatible with all Britax single strollers.

A flip forward belly pad maximizes your baby’s comfort and provides easy access to harness buckle. The easy to remove cover pulls free of the car seat for cleaning without having to remove the harness. A removable comfort pillow cushions your child and provides extra support. The ergonomic handle is comfortable to carry with your hand or forearm, while an extra-large canopy protects your little one from sun and rain.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Easy and versatile installation
  • Impeccable safety
  • No re-thread harness
  • Bubble level indicator
  • User-friendly
  • Extra large canopy
  • Flip forward belly pad
  • Mesh fabric

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Not machine washable

Customer Reviews

  • 4.6 stars, 7 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.5 stars, 6 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.5 stars, 8 reviews – AlbeeBaby

“We’ve loved this car seat for our June baby, the Cool Flow technology really does keep her nice and cool in the hot summer weather! No more sweaty back when we take her out of the seat. And, I love how secure she seems in the seat.” – Kayla

See Britax B-Safe Ultra Infant Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Baby Trend Flex Loc Infant Car Seat

Image of the Baby Trend Flex Loc Infant Car Seat, Elixer

The Baby Trend Flex Loc Infant Car Seat has a great design and promising features. The flex loc technology allows for easy installation into the car. Available in five color schemes, this infant car seat boasts superior safety ratings and a sleek design.

Safety

There is literally no point in buying a car seat that gets poor safety ratings. After all, what would be the point of an unsafe car seat? Baby Trend’s Flex Loc Infant Car Seat does not disappoint. The padding used in the car seat is called EPS foam. This stuff if amazing. It’s super force absorbent and lightweight. It provides superior protection in the case of a car crash. Plus, Baby Trend added extra padding for the best side impact protection. No worries about baby safety with this well-built seat.

What’s to Love

I love the delta handle on this infant car seat. Although it may appear bulky at first glance, it is not. The triangle handle distributes the weight of the car seat, so that it doesn’t dig into your arm like a regular handle. In addition to being ergonomically friendly, the handle is covered in a soft rubber material, saving your arms from irritation and scratches. This helps absorb extra stress and makes sure that it is comfortable when you are hauling it around.

I also appreciate that this car seat includes a boot, or foot muff. Giving this car seat the boot sounds like a really bad thing, but it’s actually a sweet little perk. If you live where it gets chilly, this extra allows you to give your bambino some added warmth. A car seat boot is similar to a thick blanket that can be attached to the bottom of the car seat to cover baby’s body and give some extra insulation. If you happen to live in a milder climate, the boot comes off easily and can stay off without the car seat looking like it’s missing anything.

Pros

  • Flexible tether straps for easier latching
  • Smaller, sleeker car seat and base
  • Adjustable base for proper safety
  • Ample weight and height limit
  • Very safe
  • No re-threading to adjust straps
  • Great delta handle

Cons

  • Tough to get the base tightly latched
  • Strange positioning of the release hatch
  • Harness is hard to buckle
  • Heavy

Customer Reviews

  • 4 stars, 291 reviews – Target
  • 4.6 stars, 7 reviews – Kohl’s
  • 4.7 stars, 9 reviews – Walmart
  • 4 stars, 8 reviews – Bed Bath & Beyond

“I love this product! I especially love how we can adjust the headrest! Feels like something my baby can grow into comfortably 🙂” – Carmen

See Baby Trend Flex Loc Infant Car Seat for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat

Image of the Baby Jogger 2016 City Go Infant Car Seat, Black

The Baby Jogger City GO Infant Car Seat provides a safe spot for your baby to join in on your adventures from day one! Baby Jogger knows your travels aren’t limited to rides in the family car; you require options. That is why this infant car seat is truly a “go anywhere” car seat, and is available in three muted color schemes.

Safety

Safety wise, the City Go is pretty run of the mill. It passed the required US standard FMVSS 213 (child restraint test) and has been side impact tested. It’s also equipped with a 5-point harness system. Everything is within the industry standard. Having the taxi belt path is a bonus but not a long-term safety measure, since in your own car you would be using the base.

The 6-position base is adjustable to ensure a proper and level installation in your vehicle. Two easy to see dual bubble level indicators provide confidence that you’ve securely and correctly installed your base. This infant car seat boasts two quick, simple, and secure installation options. The push button LATCH provides an easy LATCH install, while the integrated belt lock-off allows for an easy seat belt installation.

What’s to Love

The TaxiSafe belt path allows quick, easy, and safe installation without a base for use in taxis or rental cars. This is a wonderful feature for city dwellers, or families that are constantly on the go. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you’ll love the extended UV 50+ canopy. It keeps your baby well shielded from the sun when needed and can be pushed back when not needed. The one-hand headrest and harness adjustment makes it easy to ensure your growing baby is always safely secured. An infant body insert keeps little ones properly positioned and is removable as baby grows.

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Great fit on the headrest
  • No re-thread harness
  • Taxi belt path
  • Large UV 50+ canopy
  • Ability to adapt to any Baby Jogger stroller
  • Bubble level indicator
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Restrictive stroller brands adapters
  • Headrest label position

Customer Reviews

  • 4.9 stars, 67 reviews – Kohls
  • 4.8 stars, 67 reviews – Target
  • 4.7 stars, 80 reviews – buybuyBaby

“I think this is a great car seat! I have no problem tightening it. The car seat clicks in easy and is light weight. We were in an accident with our 3 month old and totaled the car. Our son was untouched and very safe during the accident, we were so thankful. I would definitely recommend this car seat!” – Kira

See Baby Jogger City GO Infant Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat

Image of the Britax B Safe-35 Infant Seat, Black

Although a bit pricey, the Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat is a top parent pick for both safety and style. This car seat earned five stars from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and is available in 5 sophisticated color schemes.

Safety

Protect the people you love most. The B-Safe 35 is your smart choice for an infant car seat with patented SafeCell Impact Protection, an impact-absorbing base, and easy installation – all made in the USA with global components.

SafeCell Impact Protection is an integrated system of safety components found only in Britax car seats. Components include a steel frame for strength and a base that compresses to absorb energy during a collision. Parenting can be overwhelming, make it easier with SafeCenter Latch. Safely install the seat’s base using the center-pull straps and quick, push-button, lower Latch connectors.

Britax prides itself on having easy to install car seats. The B-Safe 35 comes with a base that uses LATCH technology and straps that are easy to tighten. If you have installed using LATCH before, depending on the car seat you have, it can be really difficult to tighten the LATCH straps. (I’m talking pulling a muscle in your leg difficult.) With the Britax B-Safe, you simply tighten the straps at the middle of the base, which is easier to access no matter what seat you are installing the car seat in. No more awkward leaning over the base and pulling with all your might; it is a super simple install. 

What’s to Love

I appreciate that this infant carrier has an extra large canopy – very important to help keep the sun out of your little one’s face while you are on the go! In addition to impeccable safety and quick, simple installation, this infant car seat is approved for use in an airplane. For a relaxing ride, the removable infant head pad cushions your new baby while providing additional support.

Harness pads ensure that your little one is snug as a bug. Plus, it can be used with any Britax Click & Go Stroller. Having a car seat that clicks into a stroller means you don’t have to wake your little one to move them from car to stroller. This is priceless, in my opinion. All of the added features makes the Britax B-Safe 35 worth every penny.

Pros

  • Safe – exceeds federal standards
  • Easy to install
  • Approved for air travel
  • Big canopy
  • Includes one base
  • Compatible with Britax strollers
  • Bubble level indicators
  • Infant head pad
  • Harness pads

Cons

  • Seat cover is not machine washable – needs to be spot cleaned
  • Expensive
  • Does not feature a no-re-thread harness

Customer Reviews

  • 4.5 stars, 25 reviews – Target
  • 4.4 stars, 156 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.4 stars, 158 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.5 stars, 619 reviews – AlbeeBaby

“Love this car seat! Has great features and lots of padding. I like how the baby sits deep and snug in the seat. The strap is easy to adjust and the padding around the neck area is great. The handle is also easy to adjust, easier than the other infant car seat I have. A great investment in your child’s safety and comfort!” – A Powers

See Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat & Elite Base Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Curious about the difference between the Britax B-Safe 35 and the Britax B-Safe 35 Elite? Check out the comparison here.

Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat

Image of the Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat, Circa

The Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat gives you peace of mind that your baby is safe – no matter where you go or how you choose to get there. Available in four color schemes, this infant carrier is a top parent pick for both safety and features.

Safety

The Endeavours infant car seat is designed for safety and mobility. The anti-rebound bar reduces rebound rotation by up to 30% in the event of a crash. Easily and securely install the car seat with a base or without, thanks to the European belt path. The Click & Go system allows you to pair the car seat with any Britax single stroller for a customized travel system. Next level Britax safety features protect your baby beyond federal standards—so you and your little one can relax and enjoy the ride. For a relaxing ride, plush foam padding and fabrics ensure your baby’s maximum comfort.

What’s to Love

The Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat is simply spectacular. It has features like an easy adjust harness, an ergonomic handle, and a comfortable seat for baby that make it easy to love. Combine that with its ability to travel easily and be secure both with and without the base, and it’s a winner.

Because it has several different safety features, like the Anti-Rebound Bar, the SafeCell base, and a steel frame, it easily becomes one of the best seats on the market. Be prepared to shell out a pretty penny for this seat, though. It doesn’t come cheap, but it’s money well spent for the safety, mobility, and comfort of your sweet little baby.

Pros

  • Anti-rebound bar
  • Easy adjust harness with padded straps and tummy buckle
  • Comfy, deep seat for baby
  • Cover can come off easily to be hand washed
  • Ergonomic handle and big canopy
  • European belt guide for use without base
  • Latch system is easy to use
  • Multiple safety features for ultimate safety

Cons

  • Big price tag
  • Seat material isn’t very breathable

Customer Reviews

  • 4.3 stars, 27 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.3 stars, 26 reviews – Walmart
  • 4 stars, 26 reviews – Target
  • 4.3 stars, 32 reviews – AlbeeBaby

“I absolutely love the Britax Endeavors car seat. It is stylish and easy to install. Not only was it easy to strap and secure my son in but I also like that I can easily attach it to my Britax stroller. The safety features give me a sense of security and ease of mind.” – Jennifer

See Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

You’ve read about hte B-Safe 35 and the Endeavours. See how these Britax car seats stack up by reading our comparison here.

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 Infant Car Seat

Image of the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 Infant Car Seat, Sapphire

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 Infant Car Seat took the best of the SnugRide 30, paired it with some amazing installation technology, and made an affordable and user-friendly infant car seat that can be paired with any Click Connect stroller. This reliable Graco gem is available in three color schemes.

Safety

The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 Infant Car Seat undergoes rigorous safety testing, so parents feel confident and secure when they fasten a Graco 5-point harness around their little one. In addition to meeting or exceeding all applicable U.S. safety standards, the SnugRide SnugLock 30 has been side-impact tested for occupant retention with the built-in 5-point harness system. EPS energy-absorbing foam provides effective impact energy management. This infant carrier is also extreme temperature tested to ensure that it maintains its integrity in all climates.

What’s to Love

The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 is a good car seat. It has everything I’d expect from Graco – safety, style, and reliability. I think the SnugLock technology on the base could rival the built-in lock offs of some of the more expensive brands. I love how lightweight the car seat is, but that small size makes me nervous for big babies. It’s a good car seat for the price, and a good entry-level product.

Pros

  • Superb safety
  • Easy, fast, and secure installation
  • Lightweight and small
  • Canopy
  • Newborn cushion
  • Affordable
  • Level indicator
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Hard to get the base back out of the car once installed
  • Smaller height and weight parameters
  • Canopy likes to fall back
  • Have to manually adjust harness height

Customer Reviews

This thing is still pretty brand new, so there aren’t a lot of reviews to speak of. The reviews that are out, look really good, though!

  • 5 stars, 3 reviews – Target
  • 5 stars, 1 review – Walmart

“Overall this is a great, safe, and quality car seat and it was very easy to install.” -KristieM

See Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 Infant Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this infant car seat.

Want to know how the SnugRide 30 compares to the newer SnugRide 35? Read the comparison article here.

Best Infant Car Seats for Preemies

In need of a car seat for a preemie? There are certain factors to consider, such as the minimum weight requirement of the seat and additional body support for infants. Apart from if you are expecting multiples, which are typically smaller than full-term babies, you probably won’t know you need a car seat to fit a preemie. Chances are, if you are looking for a car seat for a premature baby, you need to choose one rather quickly. If you have already bought a car seat, check its specifications – it may be a good fit for your preemie. Otherwise, check out the detailed list below to help you make the right choice for both you and your little one.

Key Features to Look For

There are some things, specifically, to look for when looking for a car seat for a preemie. These include:

Minimum weight requirements

Most convertible seats and some infant bucket seats have a minimum weight requirement of 5 pounds. Since many preemies will weigh less than this upon leaving the hospital, try to look for a seat that has a lower weight requirement. It is fairly easy to find an infant bucket seat with a minimum weight requirement of 4 pounds, but definitely be careful when choosing.

Body support for small babies (infant insert)

Most infant car seats come with some sort of infant insert, to add a bit more support for newborns. Some car seats just have a head support, while others have full body support. The added support is important to help provide extra cushion. It also helps to keep your baby’s chin off of his chest. Because newborns don’t have control of their heads, they tend to slump forward in car seats. A good infant insert will allow a baby’s head to rest slightly further back from their chest to avoid this slumping.

Lowest harness position

When fitting a car seat harness to your child, the harness straps should be as close to shoulder level as possible, or slightly below shoulder level. One of the main issues with finding a car seat to properly fit a preemie is that the lowest harness position is too high on many seats, leaving the harness above shoulder level rather than at or below it. Many infant bucket seats have the lowest harness level of around 6 inches, but if you look around, you can find seats with 5 inch harness levels. This is best for preemies.

Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 LX Infant Car Seat

Image of the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Featuring TrueShield Technology

The Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 LX Infant Car Seat has a nice wide range of weights and heights. This should definitely last you until at least your baby’s first birthday. It has a no re-thread harness, two crotch buckle positions, and a nice big canopy to help keep your little one protected from the sun.

The Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 LX includes a nice infant insert, but it can only be used up to 12 pounds. It also has an easy to read bubble level to help ensure the correct angle. The handle can be in any position when installed in the car, and at just 7.5 pounds, it is very easy to carry along. The lowest harness position for this car seat is 5 inches. (See the next section, below, to read why this car seat is a wonderful option for twins.)

Customer Reviews
  • 4.5 stars, 100 reviews – Target
  • 4.6 stars, 94 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.5 stars, 101 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.6 stars, 232 reviews – AlbeeBaby

“Our newborn is still a pretty little guy, but he fits in there securely and snugly. The seat was easy to install and is really easy to snap into and out of the car. Plus he seems really comfortable in there and sleeps great. : )” – Sarah

Cosco Light N Comfy DX Infant Car Seat

Image of the Cosco Light N Comfy DX Infant Car Seat, Pink Poppy Field

The Cosco Light N Comfy DX Infant Car Seat is one of the least expensive options when it comes to a car seat for a preemie. At just 9 pounds, this is among the lightest infant bucket seats you will come across. Unfortunately, not all of the models come with an infant insert, so make sure to choose a model that does come with the insert for added preemie protection.

The Light N Comfy DX also has three crotch buckle positions – many car seats have just two. This allows for a more snug fit for smaller babies. This seat also has a relatively low maximum weight limit, at just 22 pounds, and low maximum height limit at 29 inches. This may leave you needing to switch to a convertible seat sooner than you’d like. The lowest harness position for this car seat is 5.25 inches.

Customer Reviews
  • 4.7 stars, 23 reviews – Walmart
  • 5 stars, 1 review – Sears

“Needed an affordable and durable seat, this is the perfect fit!” – Marci

See The Best Car Seats for Preemies for more information on these and other car seats for small babies.

Best Infant Car Seats for Multiples

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat

Image of the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat, Orion

The Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat is well liked by doctors, nurses, and hospitals because it fits preemies and small babies so well, which is great for families with twins. Often times, twin babies weigh slightly less than singleton births and are born earlier than their due dates. So, a car seat that is designed for smaller and lighter babies is a great fit for a mom with more than one infant.

In addition to being a hospital favorite, it is also reasonably priced which will help your family since you will be needing to buy more than one car seat. You will also need to purchase a stroller that will carry two car seats and this model of the Chicco infant car seat is compatible with almost every twin stroller on the market.

It was also voted top rated by Consumer Reports because it excelled in their new crash protocol, and also because it is one of the easiest seats to install using either your vehicle’s LATCH system or the safety belts. A few other helpful features are the compact size and narrow shape. This allows for a better fit of multiple car seats in your vehicle.

Customer Reviews
  • 4.7 stars, 369 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4.5 stars, 291 reviews – Target
  • 4.5 stars, 68 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.6 stars, 200 reviews – buybuyBaby

“We bought these for our triplets, primarily because they were one of only a few seats that fit three across in our vehicle. We LOVE them! Over the past several years, we’ve used several different car seats for our nieces and nephews, but these are by far the easiest to install and use! They even got our NICU nurses’ approval!”

We’ve got a great article that looks at all the versions of the Keyfit. Read our Chicco KeyFit 30 vs. KeyFit 30 Magic vs. KeyFit 30 Zip article.

Graco Snugride 35 LX Click Connect Infant Car Seat

Image of the Graco Snugride35 LX Click Connect Infant Car Seat, Studio, One Size

The Graco Snugride 35 LX Click Connect Infant Car Seatis a favorite car seats for twins for numerous reasons. There are several top-rated SnugRide infant car seat models made by Graco, and this one is a higher end “Click Connect” model that is compatible with other Graco Click Connect strollers. Since you will be strapping in and taking out two babies, it is very convenient that this seat comes with a no re-thread, adjustable harness – which means you will not have to manually re-thread the car seat harness. You will also appreciate that you can adjust the harness height between fifteen different height positions as your twins grow taller. One of the main reasons I like this seat for twins is the lower body positioning insert for preemies and smaller babies. (See above to read why this car seat is a great choice for very small babies.)

Customer Reviews
  • 4.5 stars, 100 reviews – Target
  • 4.6 stars, 94 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.5 stars, 101 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.6 stars, 232 reviews – AlbeeBaby

“I got two of these as baby shower gifts for my twins. What I love: this seat is secure while not too bulky and my husband and I just got extra bases for his car so they are super easy to move back and forth. We also have a stroller they connect to. We already have SO many pieces of baby equipment that this car seat was the perfect choice for us.”

You’ve read about both, now read our Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat vs the Graco Snugride 35 comparison article.

Also see how the Snugride 35 compares to the Keyfit30 Zip in this article.

UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat

Image of the UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat, Jake

The UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat won the five-star rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The UPPAbaby Mesa is a luxury version of the infant car seat. It comes with the no re-thread harness, five different harness height positions, and two buckle positions. One of the top perks of this seat is the ease of installation because of the Mesa’s adjustable base with a tension indicator and self-ratcheting lower LATCH connectors. Several notable features are the sleek design, high-end fabrics, and substantial canopy.

Customer Reviews
  • 4.8 stars, 78 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4 stars, 12 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 5 stars, 1 review – Little Sprout
  • 4.5 stars, 10 reviews – The Baby Cubby

“Love this car seat so much! It’s a great-looking car seat but also very safe. I especially love how easy it is to travel with it!” -Nordstrom

Evenflo Embrace Select Infant Car Seat

Image of the Evenflo Embrace Select Infant Car Seat with Sure Safe Installation, Ashton

The Evenflo Embrace Select Infant Car Seat is a wonderful, budget-friendly option with several notable features. There are quite a few reasons you will love the Evenflo Embrace infant car seat. I LOVE the very reasonable price point. It safely fits infants and babies from 4 – 35 lbs, offering secure and safe premium protection for normal and low birth-weight babies. In fact, it is nationally recognized as a good car seat for low birth-weight babies.

A few notable features of this seat include the removable head pillow, a substantial canopy with full coverage, and a well-designed ergonomic handle. I also like that it this seat is very lightweight, at under 8lbs, which is extra important for parents of twins.

Customer Reviews
  • 4.5 stars, 66 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.5 stars, 58 reviews – Evenflo
  • 4.4 stars, 75 reviews – Target

“My 4 month old baby was in the car with me during a terrible head on collision and didn’t have one scratch on her.” – Michelle

See The Best Car Seats for Twins for more information on these and other car seats.

Guide to Selecting an Infant Car Seat

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides us with some astonishing and devastating statistics. Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. However, many of these deaths can be prevented. In the United States, 663 children ages 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes during 2015, and more than 121,350 were injured in 2014. One CDC study found that, in one year, more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat, or booster seat, or a seat belt at least some of the time.

Child safety seats can greatly reduce the risk of a potentially fatal injury, especially for babies, but also for toddlers. Yet, many safety seats are used incorrectly. When choosing any car seat, following some general guidelines will help ensure your child’s safety.

According to kidshealth.org, infant only seats fit newborns and smaller infants best, so you will have to buy another seat as your baby outgrows it. Infant-only seats are designed to protect babies from birth until they reach up to 35 lbs (about 16 kilograms), depending on the model. It is essential to follow the height and weight guidelines on the child safety seat and keep your child in a seat that faces the rear as long as it is possible and the seat still fits.

Installation

Once you select a seat, be sure to try it out, keeping in mind that store displays and illustrations might not show the correct usage. It is up to you to learn how to install a car safety seat properly and harness your child for the ride. See the FAQs section below for more information about installing an infant only car seat.

Harness

Decide whether or not you prefer a car seat with a no re-thread harness. A no re-thread harness means that you can adjust the harness level without completely taking the harness out of the car seat. On car seats without a no re-thread harness, you must un-thread the harness straps through the back of the car seat and then re-insert them back into the car seat at the desired harness height.

With a no re-thread harness, you simply squeeze a button at the top of the car seat, and the whole back of the car seat can move up or down until you reach the desired harness height level. It may sound like a basic feature, but it is so much simpler to adjust a harness that doesn’t need to be re-threaded. Plus, it reduces the chance of re-threading the harness back into the seat incorrectly.

With my oldest children, we didn’t have a no-re-thread harness. However, with our most recent foster child, we were gifted a car seat that featured a no re-thread harness. It may seem like a small feature, but I will be the first to admit that this small feature makes a big difference.

Washability

Most car seat inserts are machine washable, however, some are spot clean only. If you anticipate spending a lot of time in your vehicle, or many potential messes, it is important to consider a machine washable option. Cleaning a car seat isn’t just a great way to make your backseat look (and smell) better, it’s also an important safety factor. Over time, dirt and grime can accumulate and prevent a seat from performing up to the highest standard.

It is recommended that you clean the car seat cover and buckle periodically to keep them in their best shape. Here are a few general tips for cleaning your car seat and buckle, but please refer to the user guide that came with your car seat for specific cleaning instructions.

  • How to wash a Car Seat Cover
    • Remove the cover from the infant car seat. The user guide contains instructions for both removing and replacing the cover.
    • Hand wash or machine wash the cover using cold water and mild soap, per the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not use bleach.
    • Lie flat, line dry, or machine dry (only if it is dryer safe) to prevent the cover from shrinking. Do not iron the cover.
  • How to clean a car seat buckle
    • Remove the buckle from the seat. The user guide contains instructions for removing and replacing the buckle.
    • Thoroughly rinse the buckle with warm running water. Do not soak the buckle or use soap, household detergents, solvents, or lubricants.
    • Test the buckle by fastening and unfastening each of the buckle tongues for both sides until you hear a click after inserting each buckle tongue. If you do not hear clicks for each buckle tongue, you may need to repeat the cleaning process.
    • Dry the buckle with a towel and re-attach it to the car seat.

Size Range

Size ranges vary on infant car seats. Be sure to take your baby’s size into consideration when purchasing an infant only car seat. Below, you will find charts comparing the minimum and maximum weight and heights of the infant car seats featured in this article.

Top Rated Infant Car Seat Minimum Weight Maximum Weight Maximum Height
Chicco Fit2 Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 35 lbs 35 in
Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 35 lbs 32 in
Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 35 lbs 32 in
Baby Trend Flex Loc Infant Car Seat 5 lbs 30 lbs 30 in
Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 35 lbs 32 in
Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 35 lbs 32 in
Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 35 lbs 32 in
Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 30 lbs 30 in

Best Car Seat for Preemie Minimum Weight Maximum Weight Maximum Height
Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 LX Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 35 lbs 32 in
Cosco Light N Comfy DX Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 22 lbs 29 in

Best Car Seat for Twins Minimum Weight Maximum Weight Maximum Height
Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 30 lbs 30 in
Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 LX Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 35 lbs 32 in
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 35 lbs 32 in
Evenflo Embrace Select Infant Car Seat 4 lbs 35 lbs 30 in

Budget

The best car seat is not always the most expensive one — it’s the one that best fits a child’s weight, size, and age, as well as your vehicle. Here are the car seats referenced in this article in order by price. However, it is important to keep in mind that, between market demands and discounts, prices can vary daily.

Size of Car Seat

Car seats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you have a smaller car, consider a narrow car seat option. If you anticipate needing to move your car seat frequently, choosing a lighter weight  car seat will be a good choice for you. Below, you will find charts comparing the car seat length, width, height, and weight for each of the top rated car seats featured in this article, as well as for the best car seats for preemies and twins.

Top Rated Infant Car Seat Car Seat Length Car Seat Width Car Seat Height Car Seat Weight
Chicco Fit2 Infant Car Seat 28 in 17 in 16 in 11 lbs
Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat 28 in 18.7 in 15.6 in 7.5 lbs
Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat 26.5 in 17.8 in 25 in 11 lbs
Baby Trend Flex Loc Infant Car Seat 28.5 in 16.5 in 16.5 in 14 lbs
Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat 27.7 in 18.7 in 15.6 in 7.2 lbs
Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat 26.5 in 17.8 in 25 in 10 lbs
Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat 30 in 17.8 in 25 in 11.5 lbs
Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 Infant Car Seat 18.2 in 16.5 in 27.5 in 7 lbs

Best Car Seat for Preemie Car Seat Length Car Seat Width Car Seat Height Car Seat Weight
Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 LX Infant Car Seat 29.1 in 18.3 in 16.2 in 7.5 lbs
Cosco Light N Comfy DX Infant Car Seat 31 in 14.3 in 18.3 in 6.4 lbs

Best Car Seat for Twins Car Seat Length Car Seat Width Car Seat Height Car Seat Weight
Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat 27.5 in 17 in 24 in 9.6 lbs
Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 LX Infant Car Seat 29.1 in 18.3 in 16.2 in 7.5 lbs
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat 28 in 17 in 25 in 9.9 lbs
Evenflo Embrace Select Infant Car Seat 26 in 18 in 23 in 8 lbs

Buying a Used Car Seat

Accept a used infant car seat with caution. Never use a seat that is more than 6 years old, or one that has been in a crash. Even if it looks okay, it could be structurally unsound. Avoid seats that are missing parts, are not labeled with the manufacture date and model number (you’ll have no way to know about recalls), or do not come with an instruction manual. Also, check the seat for the manufacturer’s recommended “expiration date.”

If you have any doubts about a seat’s history, or if it is cracked or shows signs of wear and tear, don’t use it. If you accept a used seat, contact the manufacturer for recommendations on how long the seat can safely be used, and to find out if it has ever been recalled. Recalls are quite common, and the manufacturer might be able to provide you with a replacement part or new model.

Guide to Car Seat Safety

One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your child safe when riding in a vehicle. Each year, thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. Proper use of car safety seats helps keep children safe. But with so many different seats on the market, many parents find this overwhelming. If you are an expectant parent, give yourself enough time to learn how to properly install the car safety seat in your car before your baby is born to ensure a safe ride home from the hospital. The type of seat your child needs depends on several things, including your child’s age, size, and developmental needs.

  • Rear-Facing Car Seats for Infants and Toddlers

    • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 2 years of age or, preferably, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer.When infants outgrow their rear-facing only seat, a convertible seat installed rear-facing is needed. All parents can benefit from getting installation help from a child passenger safety technician (CPST) to ensure that their seat is properly installed.
  • Forward-Facing Car Seats for Toddlers and Preschoolers

    • Always read the vehicle owner’s manual and the car seat manual before installing the car seat. Any child who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for his convertible seat should use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by his car seat manufacturer.It is best for children to ride in a seat with a harness as long as possible, at least to 4 years of age. If your child outgrows a seat before reaching 4 years of age, consider using a seat with a harness approved for higher weights and heights.
  • Booster Seats for School-Aged Children

    • Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing seats. All children whose weight or height exceeds the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 through 12 years of age.Most children will not fit in most vehicle seat belts without a booster until 10 to 11 years of age. All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.
    • Instructions that come with your car seat will tell you the height and weight limits for the seat. As a general guideline, a child has outgrown a forward-facing seat when any of the following situations is true:
      • He reaches the top weight or height allowed for his seat with a harness. (These limits are listed on the seat and also included in the instruction booklet.)
      • His shoulders are above the top harness slots.
      • The tops of his ears have reached the top of the seat.
    • High-back and backless are 2 standard types of booster seats. They do not come with harness straps, but are used with lap and shoulder seat belts in your vehicle, the same way an adult rides. They are designed to raise a child up so that the lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly over the strongest parts of the child’s body.
  • Seat Belts for Older Children and Adults

    • Seat belts are made for adults. Children should stay in a booster seat until the adult seat belts fit correctly, typically when children reach about 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 through 12 years of age. Most children will not fit in a seat belt alone until 10 to 11 years of age.When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for the best protection. All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat.
  • Important Reminders

    • Be a good role model. Make sure you always wear your seat belt. This will help your child form a lifelong habit of buckling up.
    • Make sure that everyone who transports your child uses the correct car seat or seat belt on every trip, every time. Being consistent with car seat use is good parenting, reduces fussing and complaints, and is safest for your child.
    • Never leave your child alone in or around cars. Any of the following situations can happen when a child is left alone in or around a vehicle. A child can:
      • Die of a heat stroke because temperatures can reach deadly levels in minutes.
      • Be strangled by power windows, retracting seat belts, sunroofs, or accessories.
      • Knock the vehicle into gear, setting it into motion.
      • Be backed over when the vehicle backs up.
      • Become trapped in the trunk of the vehicle.
    • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your car seat. If you do not have those, write or call the company’s customer service department. They will ask you for the model number, the name of the seat, and date of manufacture. The manufacturer’s address and phone number are on a label on the seat.Also, be sure to follow the instructions in your vehicle owner’s manual about using car seats. Some manufacturers’ instructions may be available on their websites.

We’ve got a whole write-up on everything you need to know about car seat safety. Click to read our Car Seat Safety Guidelines article.

FAQ’s about Infant Car Seats

  • How do I install an infant car seat?

    Before installing your baby’s infant car seat, read the product manual thoroughly. These tips can help with the installation:

    • An infant only seat should be placed in the back seat, ideally in the middle of the back seat, but most important, in a position where it fits securely.
    • Read the owner’s manual for your vehicle to find out how to use its seatbelts with a child safety seat.
    • Use your knee to push down on the seat as you tighten the car’s seatbelt through the belt path. The car seat should not move more than 1 inch (3 centimeters) from side to side or forward and backward at the belt path. If the seat wiggles or moves on the belt path, the belt needs to be tighter.
    • Some seatbelts may require a special locking clip designed to keep the belt from loosening. Locking clips are available from baby product stores, safety seat manufacturers, and some car dealerships.
    • Be sure to check the tightness of the safety seat before each use.
    • Never use an infant car seat in a forward-facing position.
    • The car seat should recline at no more than a 45-degree angle.
  • How do I harness my infant?

    • Read the entire child safety seat manual.
    • Your baby’s head should be at least 2 inches (6 centimeters) below the top of the safety seat.
    • Infant-only seats are usually designed with a 3-point or 5-point harness. The harness should always be placed in the slots and should always be at or below your baby’s shoulders. Most models have a chest clip that holds the harness straps together. Move the clip so the top of it is level with your baby’s armpits.
    • All harness straps should fit snugly, especially over the shoulder and thigh areas. Straps should always lie flat, never twisted. If you can pinch any harness webbing between your fingers, it’s too loose.
    • Dress your baby in clothes that keep his or her legs free. This will allow you to buckle the latch crotch strap properly between the legs. If it’s cold outside, harness your baby first and then cover him or her with a blanket (never cover your baby’s head). Never buckle a blanket under or behind the baby.
    • If your baby slouches to one side in the seat (common with newborns), place rolled-up cloth diapers or rolled hand towels on each side of the shoulders. There are supports specially designed for car seats, but only use them if they came manufactured with your safety seat. Never place any kind of padding or blanket under your baby — this can affect the harness’s ability to restrain your little one.
    • If your baby’s head flops forward (also common with newborns), check the angle of the seat. Use a towel or blanket to tilt the seat back slightly (a 30- to 45-degree angle is best).
  • Do car seats have an expiration date?

    • Most car seats will have an expiration date imprinted somewhere on the seat. Check the owner’s manual. This will provide you with the useful life of your seat. You will then need to check your seat’s Date of Manufacturer to determine the Month and Year you should stop use. When in doubt, the easiest thing to do is to call the manufacturer and ask them. Be sure to have your model number and date of manufacturer on hand, both can be found on the seat bottom or seat back.
  • How will I know if my car seat gets recalled?

    • Remember to fill out and mail in the registration card that comes with the car safety seat. Each manufacturer places a sticker with the model number and date of manufacture OR serial number on every car seat. This information can then be used to register your car seat. Once your product is registered, your manufacturer can notify you in the event of a recall.
  • Can I use my car seat after a crash?

    • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that car seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. Car seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash. NEVER use a car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • A minor crash is one in which ALL of the following apply:
      • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.
      • The vehicle door nearest the car seat was not damaged.
      • None of the passengers in the vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash.
      • If the vehicle has airbags, the airbags did not deploy during the crash; and
      • There is no visible damage to the car seat.
  • Where should I put my car seat?

    • According to healthychildren.org, the safest place to ride for all children younger than 13 years of age is in the back seat. If possible, it may be best to ride in the middle of the back seat. However, it is sometimes difficult to install a car safety seat tightly in the middle if the vehicle seat is narrow or uneven. Also, many vehicles do not have lower anchors for the middle seating position.It is safest to put the car safety seat in a position where you can install it tightly with either the lower anchor system or seat belt. In some cases, this may be on either side of the back seat rather than in the middle. A child passenger safety technician (CPST) can help you decide which place is best to install your child’s car safety seat in your vehicle.
  • Should my child ride in a car seat on an airplane?

    • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the AAP recommend that children less than 40 pounds be securely fastened in certified child restraints when flying. This will help keep them safe during takeoff and landing, or in case of turbulence. Most rear-facing, convertible, and forward-facing seats can be used on airplanes, but booster seats and travel vests cannot.
    • Read your seat’s instruction manual and look for a label on the car safety seat that says, “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” You can also consider using a restraint made only for use on airplanes and approved by the FAA.Larger children may use the airplane seat belt or continue to use their car safety seat on the airplane as long as it is labeled for use on aircraft, and the child has not exceeded the seat’s weight or height limit.
    • Remember that your child will need an appropriate car safety seat to use at your destination. For more information, visit the FAA Web site or the CARES Airplane Safety Harness for Children Web site.
  • Where can I find more information on car seat ratings?

    • NHTSA’s Car Seat Finder is an easy-to-use tool that lets you compare seats and ease-of-use ratings to find the right car seat for your child. Just fill out your child’s age, height and weight, and you’ll be provided with car seat types that fit your child.
  • Is there anything else I can do to ensure my child’s safety while in the car seat?

    • Once your seat is installed, you still need to place your child into it properly to ensure their safety. Below are specifics for the harness system in both rear and front-facing seats.
      • Remove bulky clothing or unnecessary layers.
      • Place your child so their backside is flush against the seat without arching or slouching.
      • All straps should lie flat against your child without twists or knots.
      • Straps should be snug but not too tight.
      • The chest clip should sit level with their armpits.
      • The shoulder straps should connect to the seat at or directly below their shoulders.
  • What are the car seat laws in my state?

Final Word

Car seat shopping for your new baby can be overwhelming. My sincere hope is that this article helped alleviate some of your stress. Like I said in the introduction, there are no perfect car seats. However, there is a perfect car seat for your family and lifestyle. Rest assured that all of the car seats featured in this article are safe and stylish.

All that’s left for you to do is choose a car seat that fits your car and budget. With any of the options listed above, your little one is sure to experience safe, happy travels. If you’re considering an all-in-one car seat instead of an infant only seat, please see The Best Convertible Car Seats of 2018. May God bless you on your journey!

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Brittany Spalding
Brittany Spalding is a wife, homeschool mom, writer, editor, and food allergy awareness advocate. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, restoring antique furniture, St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and fishing on the beautiful Kentucky Lake.

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