Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat Review.

chicco-keyfit-30-infant-car-seat

Consumer Reports recently rated the Chicco (Pronounced Kee-Koh) Keyfit and the Keyfit 30 as the best infant car seat over all the car seat models tested. And rightfully so! The Chicco Keyfit is a fantastic infant car seat.

This premium infant car seat is very popular with parents in the USA, primarily because it’s packed with safety features, is great for preemies and new born babies, and is incredibly easy to install. It also has higher weight and height limits, meaning you get to use this car seat for longer (Excellent news considering what you have to pay for it. This makes the Chicco Keyfit is definitely worth every dollar.)

Quick Stats

  • Will fit babies in the 4-30 lbs weight range, and up to 30” in height.
  • Has an insert for infants between 4-11 lbs
  • Compatible as a travel system with several stroller brands.
  • Lowest harness position: 7″
  • Weight (without base): 9.5 lbs
  • Expiration: 6 years
  • Handle position: Allowed in any locked position
  • Product Dimensions: 27 x 17 x 22.5 inches

Features

  • EPS energy-absorbing foam liner for impact protection.
  • The Chicco Keyfit has three harness heights, with the lowest being 7″ (Good for small babies and preemies). You can easily choose a height that keeps the harness at or below your baby’s shoulders.
  • Comes included with a one stay in car base.
  • Has bubble indicators on either side of its base to show when a proper fit has been reached
  • Single-pull LATCh installation.
  • Compatible as a travel system with several stroller brands.
  • Expiration: 6 years
  • Removable padded infant insert for babies 4-11 lbs.
  • Has an adjustable, multi-position canopy
  • Easy removal from both stroller and base
  • Easy vehicle belt routing and a built in lock-off system accommodate vehicles without LATCH
  • FAA approved for use on an aircraft
  • Handle position

What we like about the Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat

Installation

The Chicco Keyfit is probably the easiest car seat to install. With a leveling foot to adjust to the angle of your car seat for an accurate fit, a bubble-level Indicators show that a proper base angle has been achieved, and a one pull harness adjustment, installing the Chicco is a cinch!

Installation using LATCH

With  LATCH, simply attach the anchors to the vehicles hooks, then tighten the five-point harness easily using the one-pull harness adjustment. Make the install tighter by you push the car seat towards the car’s seat. A bubble level indicator exists to show you when a proper angle has been achieved.

How to install the Chicco car seat base using LATCH

How to secure the Chicco into the car seat base

How to install the Chicco KeyFit using the Shoulder/Lap Belt

How to install a car seat without its base

Installing the KeyFit using the seat belt is pretty easy too. The belt paths are easily marked and have lock-offs to secure the base in place.

Fit to Child

The Chicco Keyfit has a minimum weight limit of 4 lb and  a 7″ bottom harness position. This makes this car seat an excellent choice  for smaller babies and preemies, as well as average size new-born babies.

This car seat also has a maximum weight limit of 30 lbs, and a maximum height limit of 30″ (either that or your baby’s head 1″ from the top of the car seat shell). This means that your baby will not outgrow their car seat as quickly.

The KeyFit 30 has three harness height slots so you can choose the right height to keep the harness at or below baby’s shoulders.

Infant Insert

The seat includes an infant insert that can help even the smallest babies achieve a proper fit. This insert must however be removed when baby weighs 11 lbs.

Important

A recurring pet peeve that most parents have with the Chicco Keyfit infant car seat is the canopy.

The Canopy

The Chicco Keyfit’s canopy has been a pet peeve for many parents. We have since learned that the Chicco has a number of canopy options. Put simply, there are 4 types of Chicco Keyfit 30 canopies.

Here is the Chicco Keyfit’s canopy breakdown.

  1. The sporty canopy- Does not shade too well. Is the source of many a frustrated parent. Also note: Many parents have no issues with this car seat. Models in this range are the aster, veranda, radius,glacial, snapdragon, midori, graphica, romantic, Sedona, minerale, surge and the pulse.
  2. The magic canopy- Has a zipper in the back. When opened, you can extend the canopy using a mesh opeing. This provides a sufficient decent shade. Models in this range are coal, avena and solare
  3.  3-panel canopy – Provides fantastic shade. Is however difficult to identify. One sure fire way to know is if the car seat comes with an accompanying BRAVO stroller system. This provides more protection from the sun than all the models listed above. The models are orchid, papyrus, Polaris, empire, lilla and Silverspring
  4. ZIP canopies – Aren’t too different. They provide ample shade and the only difference is their style than anything else. These models are emerald, obsidian.

The big problem is that these car seats are sold as the same product, but they differ slightly. Hopefully we have cleared up the Chicco Keyfit’s canopy confusion.

Expiration

Chicco keyfit 30 Car Seat Expiration date

The Chicco Keyfit Infant Car Seat has a 6-year lifespan. This means that if our used car seat list checks out (insert link here), the car seat can be handed down.

To find your car seat’s expiry date, check the sticker label on the top of the base, or on the bottom of the car seat itself. NB: Sometimes, the date of manufacture of the car seat base and the actual car seat may sometimes differ. 

Care and Maintenance

clean-your-car-seat

Clean the car seat’s fabrics with mild soap and water. You may machine wash these fabrics in cold water on the delicate cycle, using mild detergent only. Do not use any bleach.

To remove the seat cover, consult your car seat’s manual. To clean the harness, wash it with a damp cloth just on the surface. Never remove the car seat harness/harness components from the car seat.

If the car seat harness/straps are too dirty, they should be replaced immediately. Refer to our guide on how to clean a car seat

Cons

There isn’t much not to like about this infant car seat.

  1. Is heavy – Add that to your child getting older and carrying them around may turn out to be a real task.
  2. Bulky – Will be hard to fit 3 car seats across in the your vehicles back seat due to its size.

The Bottom Line

The Chicco Keyfit is an excellent car seat and definitely one of the best infant car seat options available on the market right now. Give it a shot!

How to clean your baby car seat

You’ve bought a car seat. Great! This goes a long way in keeping your baby safe as you travel. However, vomit, spills … You name it! All these happen eventually. Not to mention the much dreaded poop explosions. Your baby’s car seat is made in such a way that this mess will invariably seep into the car seat’s material and crevices. This can therefore become a vile source of germs and bacteria.

Keeping the car seat clean not only makes sure that your child does not fall sick and keeps your car clean and smelling fresh, it also helps keep your baby safe. Dirt in the car seat can build up as time goes by and prevent the car seat from working optimally. As such, make sure you clean the car seat often to keep the car seat in tip top shape.

The issue becomes that you can’t simply hose off your car seat. Be careful not to ruin or compromise your baby’s car seat and safety. Choose when to clean your baby car seat depending on how messy things get. Some babies will always always make a mess, and as such cleaning the car seat could become a weekly mission.

Before we proceed, it is important for us to go over a few ground rules that you should ALWAYS follow just to keep things safe.

  1. Read your owner’s manual: ALWAYS READ YOUR CAR SEAT OWNER’S MANUAL. This manual is packed with useful information on how to clean your car seat. Following these instructions ensures your baby is safe, and also makes sure that you do not void your warranty by doing things that are prohibited by your car seat manufacturer.
  2. Straps: You should NEVER submerge the car seat straps in water (Tub, Sink, Bucket or whatever else…) or wash them in a washing machine or otherwise. You can only wipe them down with a warm, damp cloth. Do not use soap. Car seat manufacturers specifically say that you should NOT wash your car seat straps with soap. Submerging the straps in water weakens the fibers/webbing of the car seat straps. In an accident, weakened straps can break. If the straps are too dirty, they need to be replaced. Better safe than sorry. Also, DO NOT use any chemicals on the shell of the seat! Any washed harnesses need to be replaced ASAP.
  3. Machine Washing: Unless stated in the manual, do NOT machine wash the cover or put it in the dryer. If the manual states otherwise, use the “delicate” or “hand wash” setting.
  4. Detergent: Do not use any hard/abrasive cleaners and raw detergents. Your child’s car seat cover has material on it that acts as a flame retardant. Using abrasive cleaners or detergent strips away this material. Always use a soft cloth and gentle soap clean the straps and seat cover.

First Steps

Remove from car: Take the car seat out of the car, and move it to a well-lit area like the garage or the driveway. Keep a towel under the car seat to prevent the bottom from getting scrapes, and also to prevent the surface on which you have placed the car seat from being damaged by the water.

Vacuum: This is the easiest way to clean the dust, dry particles, even small pieces of food and other things is to vacuum up all these things. Using a vacuum cleaner, you can easily reach every nook and corner of the seat. Use an attachment to clean the difficult to reach parts of the car seat.

Cleaning your  car seat cover:

If the cover is removable, the first step to cleaning the car seat is removing the car seat cover.

Remember to take photos of how the car seat looked like before dismantling it. Often times putting the car seat back is much harder than taking it apart.

Hand-wash the cover using cold water and mild soap. Do not raw chemicals such as bleach to clean the cover. Also, do not machine wash the cover or use a hard brush to clean the cover. Consult your car seat manual to see Don’t   even use any raw chemicals to clean the seat. You can consult the user manual to clean the cover.

Don’t machine dry or iron the cover. Spread the car seat cover on a flat surface or hang it out to dry on your clothes line to prevent the cover from shrinking.

Cleaning the buckle

  1. Take the buckle off the shell
  2. Run warm water over it for about 5 minutes
  3. DO NOT use abrasive detergent on the buckle.
  4. Engage and disengage the car seat buckle until you hear a click. If you do not, rinse the buckle again to make sure that nothing is making the buckle stick.
  5. Make sure you fix the buckle straps correctly by referring to your car seat manual.

Cleaning the harness

  1. Wash it with a damp cloth just on the surface.
  2. If the straps are too dirty they should be replaced immediately.

Cleaning the cover

  1. Wipe down the cover immediately the mess occurs. This reduces the time and effort needed for cleaning and avoids damage to the car seat.
  2. Remove the harness straps and the crotch strap before you take off the cover.
  3. Hand-wash the cover using cold water and mild soap ONLY like we mentioned above.
  4. Spread the car seat cover on a flat surface or hang it out to dry. This effectively prevents shrinking.

Cleaning the car seat shell

  1. Wipe the shell of the car seat with a very mild solution of soap and water only.
  2. Try not to get the labels wet during cleaning as they contain useful info that may fade away.
  3. DO NOT use harsh chemicals or detergent to clean the shell of the car seat. This will cause the plastic to become weak and may not keep your baby safe in case of an accident.
  4. Wipe away any excess water and with a cloth and ensure that no water is left in the crevices of the shell.

Putting back the car seat together

Put the car seat cover and harness back on the car seat. Use the pictures you took earlier if things get confusing, and check your car seat manual for proper instructions on what to do.

Make sure you do this step correctly because proper car seat use could mean the difference between life and death.

Storing the car seat

Keep the car seat in a room that is well aired and not humid or damp. This means that areas such as garages or basements are unsuitable for car seat storage.

Keep your car seat away from areas with direct sunlight as this will slowly degrade the shell of the car seat. This may result in the car seat becoming stiff and more likely to break.

Conclusion

Following the instructions given here and those on your car seat manual keenly ensures that your car seat works well for a long time and keeps your baby safe and comfortable.

When to switch to a convertible car seat

Infant car seat reviews
Car seats can be terribly complicated things. Fortunately, we are here to help! This article will give you useful information on how long your baby should sit in their infant car seat, and when you should use a rear facing convertible car seat.

An infant car seat is specially made to carry your new born baby. These car seats are meant to be used in the rear facing position only.

Ideally, an infant car seat is recommended for taking your new born baby home from the hospital. Read all about infant car seats here.

The recommended age to transition your baby to a rear facing convertible car seat is largely dependent on the maximum height and weight limit of the infant car seat you have bought, that is if you have already bought one.

Another factor is how quickly your child grows. Some children will reach the height limit long before they reach the car seat’s weight limits. Read your infant car seat owner’s manual for information about the specific maximum weight/height limits.

Some babies outgrow their infant car seat faster than others. Some have outgrown their car seats as early as 6 months, while others are still in their infant car seats at 13 months.

A good infant car seat will house your baby until they are 2 years old. There are infant car seats on the market today that will only get to an upper weight limit 22 lbs and 29 inches in height. Your baby will outgrow these quite fast.

Some infant car seats have upper weight limits of 35 lbs, and a height limit of 32 to 35 inches. These car seat models can as a result be used for longer (about a year). We prefer car seats with greater weight and height limits.

For example the Graco Snugride ClickConnect will keep your baby rear facing from 4 – 35 pounds and up to 32″ tall, which makes it an excellent first car seat for your baby. This is because you will use this car seat for much longer than a different car seat with lower limits.

Car seats such as the Graco Snugride will keep your baby rear facing for longer (The general concensus however is that you should keep your baby rear facing for as long as is possible. This because because your baby is 5 times safer rear facing.) and keep you from buying yet another car seat after just a few months of use.

Keep in mind

  1. Replacing your car seat for one with higher weight limits does not mean that you should place them in a forward facing position. Keep your baby rear facing as long as you can(4 years is ideal) to guarantee their safety. Read all about rear facing car seats here.
  2. Always refer to your car seat manual. It has information about the maximum weight and height limits. Use the infant car seat until your baby either reaches the weight limit or up to the point their head reaches 1 inch below the car seat’s shell.
  3. Once your baby reaches this weight or height limit, it is time to switch to a rear facing convertible car seat.

Convertible car seat have weight limits that range between 50-70lbs. This is if you get a good one, and this kind of car seat will last your child to around 3 – 4 years of age before they convertible car seat can turn forward facing.

These seats may seem pricey, but in the long run, these turn out to be the most cost-efficient seat option.

To paint a better picture about car seats and their car height and weight limits, here are the car seats we recommend for you. These infant car seats will allow your baby to use them longest because their limits are higher than the regular car seat.

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio: 4-35 pounds, up to 32 inches tall

Britax B-Safe: 4-35 pounds, up to 32 inches tall

Chicco Keyfit 30: 4-30 pounds, up to 30 inches tall

Graco SnugRide Click Connect: 4-35 pounds, up to 32 inches tall

Safety 1st Onboard: 4-35 pounds, up to 32 inches tall

Car Seat Accessories: Good or Bad?

car seat toys
Your baby will occasionally become restless and miserable during car rides. Keeping your kids entertained for every car ride is hard. Most parents try to avoid car rides when they can, while some will give their babies some car seat toys to keep them entertained during the drive.

If you do decide to get your baby some car seat toys, here is some stuff you need to know beforehand.

How to choose safe car seat toys for your little one.

Whatever you decide to get your child, you need to take two things into consideration.

  1. Is the toy soft enough? Would you be comfortable if a pro baseball pitcher threw that toy at your child? Any toy that you buy for your baby should be something that you are confident would cause little harm if it flew towards your child at 30 mph. To find out how fast a toy will hurtle towards your child during an accident, multiply weight of the toy by the speed the car’s travelling at. That gives you an idea of how dangerous car seat toys can be. Small, soft, plush toys make for great car seat toys.
  2. Hit yourself in the head with any of the car seat toys. Does it hurt? if it does, then it definitely poses a risk for your baby during a car accident. Soft toys are recommended.

Car seats have to pass stringent crash and safety tests before they are put on the market. Unfortunately, products that aren’t sold with the car seat do not have these tests carried out on them. That is why you will find car seat toys that fail the tests mentioned above on the store shelves.

Mirrors and window shades are not the worst things in the world. However, choose those that cling to the window of the car. The window shade for instance, may have a roller in it and this could turn into a dangerous projectile coming straight for your head in the event of a crash.

Mirrors need to be light and flexible. Unless it is as simple as a reflective sticker round a cloth pad, it is too dangerous to have in your car and around your baby.

Car Seat Handles.

While some parents will attach car seat toys to their infant’s car seat, others swear against it.

Our advice is that before you attach anything to the car seat handle of your child’s car seat, read your car seat owner’s manual. Some car seat models allow it, and others do not.

Additionally, many parent’s wrongly believe that the handle must be down. This is incorrect. Some brands allow this having the handle up, whereas some don’t. Your car seat manual will sort out any questions you may have.

Also, make sure that the car seat toys you attach to the car seat handle pass the simple car seat tests described above.

Keep your car seat toys secure.

The best way to be sure that a toy wont end up being a dangerous missile in a crash is to keep them secured.

Additionally, if there are loose items in the car such as a purse or other projectiles which you cannot do without, keep them low and/or secure them well. Otherwise, keep them to a minimum, or take them out of the car.

The same goes for any luggage. Ensure that everything is secured properly.

It takes a lot of effort choosing the best car seat for your baby, and even more to install it correctly. Do not negate this massive struggle by having or putting something in the car that’ll just whack them in the face should you get into a car crash.

Wish you the best! Happy parenting!!