Best Infant Car Seat Reviews

Infant car seat reviews

Find the best infant car seat of 2017

You have a selection of 2 kinds of car seats for your baby: An infant car seat or a convertible car seat.

Infant car seats are seats designed to ensure newborns are safe while traveling. Designed only for rear-facing use, infant car seats usually have deep shells and ample cushioning to shield and cushion your precious baby.

The car seats listed here stood out in key areas such as ease-of-installation, making them great choices for any family. This kind of seat will keep your baby safe from birth to 9-12 months.

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat

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How to choose the best infant car seats

Budget: The all important question. What is your budget? All car seats meet the same stringent safety regulations, and since your baby will typically outgrow most infant car seats on the market today at around 6 months and 15 months depending on their rate of growth, be sure to buy a car seat that fits well within your budget.

Ease of Use: One of the most important things to look out for. In general, the pricier car seats are those that are more user friendly.

Side-impact protection: A well-padded infant car seat with lots of head support offers both comfort and impact protection. Some infant car seats have special endothermic foam and different options designed to better protect your baby’s head and chest in a side-impact accident.

Car Seat Weight and Height Limits: Each car seat has its own minimum and maximum allowable baby weight and height limits. Some car seats will have a max weight limit of 22 pounds while others go to 30, 35 or even 40 pounds. Most children will outgrow their car seats in height long before they hit the weight limits. Selecting infant car seat with higher height limits gives you the most use before you have to switch to a convertible seat. These limits are vital to your child’s safety and luxury. Be sure to check the limits of your infant car seat. Higher limits mean you get to use the car seat for longer as long as your child is still within the recommended range.

Your Baby’s Weight: For smaller babies and preemies, infant car seats that start off at lower weight limits of 4 pounds will be a great fit. This is because it’s easier to achieve the right fit for smaller children since the harness straps must be at or below the baby’s shoulders.

Car Size: Car seats are bulkier than ever, with additional cushioning, additional safety options, foam, and thicker plastic. This could result in problems fitting multiple infant car seats into the rear seat. Most cars won’t fit three regular size car seats into the rear seat. Check out our article on how to fit 3 car seats into the back seat of your car. If you use taxis often, pick out a car seat that comes with a belt-routing path for installing the car seat without its base.

Easy cleaning: Babies and messes go hand in hand. Be sure to pick a car seat with a removable machine-washable car seat cover to make cleaning a lot of easier. Head over to our accessories page and pick out the best car seat cover for you.

Stroller Type: Infant car seats enable you to transfer your baby from place to put while not waking them. You simply raise the infant car seat from its base and snap it onto a stroller Therefore, be sure to confirm that the car seat you pick is compatible with a stroller on the market. Check out our list of strollers that will work seamlessly with your infant car seat.

Travel Systems: Travel systems will ideally include an infant car seat and a stroller. The stroller and infant car seat combination enable you to snap the infant car seat into the stroller for portability. This portability is what makes travel systems so great given how heavy infant car seats can get.

Price: Infant car seat vary wide in price. You may have noticed that some infant car seats sell for under $100, and others cost upwards of $300! Generally, the costlier car seats tend to be plusher, softer to the touch, more user friendly, use higher quality elements (snaps, handles, hinges), lighter elements, and are available in a trendy array of color and pattern choices.

LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children): Since 2002, all car seats and vehicles are compatible with the LATCH system. LATCH permits you to connect the seat on to your vehicle rather than using a safety harness to secure it. This means installation is safer and easier. Most babe automotive seats use the lower anchors solely, not the tethers.

A five-point safety harness: The straps – one for every shoulder, one for every thigh, and one between your baby’s legs, make the car seat much safer.

Additional features:  Some car seats come with level indicators that show when you achieve proper recline, additional side impact protection or even a load or stability leg.

Infant car seats will set you back between $60 to $300.

The convertible car seat vs infant car seat debate

While it may appear that buying a convertible car seat would be more economical, there are definite advantages to using an infant car seat instead.

For the infant car seat vs. convertible car seat discussion, we say GET THE INFANT CAR SEAT! Sure it will cost extra money in the end because you’ll be shopping for 2 different seats within a year of each other. However, the convenience of the infant car seat is definitely worth the extra cash. Here’s why:

Size: Many parents have said that convertible car seats are too massive for their children, and that they are forced to use head rests, towels, or alternative padding to prop them in place till they grow into the seat.

Convenience: Another massive concern. Infant car seats are smaller and lighter than convertible car seats and have a handle for simple carrying.They snap in and out of a base that you put in within the car and in and out of your stroller, therefore you’ll be able to transfer your baby from place to put while not waking them.

If you own more than one vehicle you’ll be able to purchase extra bases to be put in in every vehicle therefore saving on the cost of having to buy a new car seat for every car.)

You simply raise the infant car seat from its base and snap it onto a stroller instead (If you plan to purchase an infant car seat, then you’ll most likely need to ensure that your car seat and stroller are compatible).

The larger and heavier convertible car seats are installed permanently in your car. Once you reach your destination you have got to undo your baby and transfer him to a stroller or different carrier.

If you intend on having a lot of children you’ll be able to use it for them too, then you’ll be able to get your money’s worth.

Safety: The most vital reason of all. Although most newborns can seat in a convertible car seat, experts agree that babies under twenty pounds are safer in an infant car seat. They’re specially made to carry newborns firmly and give better support in the proper places.

The disadvantage of an infant car seat is financial: once your baby outgrows it, you’ll have to buy a convertible car seat.

Please note: Infant car seats should solely be used rear-facing, and must never be placed forward-facing in any vehicle. Infant car seats must always be put in in the back seat.

Should You Replace Baby’s Car Seat After a Crash?

A car seat is intended to save your child’s life in case of an accident. It does so by
cradling their heads thus preventing their weak spines from snapping or their pelvic bones from crushing into their little internal organs. So yeah , a car seat is very important.

Installing it correctly is just one part , you have to be sure that you are using it correctly and that it is the right size and age/weight limit for your child. You also have to be 100% sure that the car seat has not expired and you have to think about what will happen to your car seat if you do get into an accident.

If your baby was not in the car at the time of the accident and your car is not a complete
write off , there are still factors you may need to consider as the car seat may have
damages that will compromise its ability to keep your little one safe.

How to know that you may need a new car seat after an accident. Here is a
simple checklist:

  • If anyone was hurt, you need a new car seat. It’s really that simple.
  • Did the airbags deploy? If they did, then you need to replace your car seat.
  • Although deployment of airbags does not always happen during a major accident.
  • Was the door on the side of the car seat hit? If it was hit, then you need to get
    your child a new car seat.
  • Were you able to drive away in the same vehicle after the accident? If so, a
    minor accident may not need for you to replace your car seat.
  • Can you see any damages? If you are able to see any damages to the seat such
    as the plastic looking whiter, dents, scrapes or small fractures then please get a
    new car seat.

The guidelines above have been set by The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration. These guidelines apply to any car seat that has been involved in an
accident (even if there was no child in it at the time).

Several tests have been done by various agencies on car seats using sleds with
different speeds (up to 40 miles per hour) and then tested again to access if a damaged
seat is more likely to fail in case of another accident (it will).

Car seats in Minor accidents, like those tested at 9 miles per hour and passed the
accident checklist did not show any damage but if you are worried, then you may get another car seat to give you peace of mind (there are some manufacturers who will
recommend replacement even after a minor accident).

One last thing, if the accident was not your fault and you need to replace your car seat,
the other driver’s insurance should pay you the cost of getting a new car seat. This
however may be different per state due to varying insurance laws.

7 Car Seat Rules To Keep Your Baby Safe

infant car seat safety

There are so many car seats to choose from and buying just the right one can be
overwhelming.

A car seat is however perhaps the most important purchase you will make. If you are the kind of person who is conscious of budgets, cut costs on other baby items like swings, fancy cribs, etc. A car seat can and will save your child’s life. We hope these 7 rules to buying a car seat will help 🙂

You don’t need a pretty car seat; you need a safe car seat.


A car seat may look nice, but if your child does not fit in it, it will not keep them safe. The car seat may even out them at more risk. When it comes to travel systems, most car seats will fit with different strollers. A stroller and car seat are separate purchases (but you do need to consider compatibility).

Always try the seat out before you buy, or make sure you can return it.

Try the car seat out before you buy it or ensure that you can return it. The only way to know that a car seat fits is to try it. You can call the store ahead of time and ask if they will let you test the seat. If you buy a car seat online, be sure that you understand their return policy and that it works for you.

Buy a new car seat

If you are not clear on whether the car seat has been recalled, expired or if it is generally in good condition, just get a new car seat. Only buy a used car seat from someone you would trust with your child’s life.

If it didn’t come with car seat, you don’t need it.

car seat toys
All those cute toys and add-ons are potentially dangerous. They also take away any liability from car insurers should the seat fail you. These toys are considered illegal in most states. So when it comes to toys, pillows and add-ons don’t waste your money.

Always Read the Manual.


The manual is your car seat bible. All the questions you have about the car seat are answered in the manual. Go through it before you buy the seat and keep it for reference. Should you misplace it, call the manufacturer, order a new one or get an online version.

The best car seat install is the safest.


The seat belt isn’t safer than LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) and vice versa. That said, you can’t use both at the same time. The middle of the backseat is generally safer than the sides. Where and how you get the best install will determine the safest install for your car seat.

Ask a CPST for help with a proper install


Call 1-866- SEAT-CHECK or visit safekids.org to find a certified technician. The manufacturers number is always on the manual so you can call them as well. When in doubt about anything, always ask for help.

Car Seat Safety Challenges In Summer

The summer heat will often mean that your car and its occupants will often be too hot.

Your little ones just like you, could get burned by a hot strap or buckle. Keeping your
children cool in the car is one thing that may need a little creativity on your part.

We have some tips and tricks for you that may help keep everyone safe and cool in
your car during the summer.

Put the car in the garage if you have one. Also try as much as possible to leave
windows slightly open. This may not help much, but letting any heat out of the car
always helps.

Cover your windshield from the inside with a sun shade. Avoid using the ones that
have suction cups or a solid bar. These may cause serious injury during an accident
should your head hit the window.

Always feel the buckles and the car seat itself to check if they are too hot. Use a
towel to transfer the heat from the buckle or let the car air out for a few minutes. Do not put your child in a hot car seat as they can be easily burned.

Frozen ice packs can also be used to cool the buckles or a seat that it regularly warm. You can get a “Cold Seat” product that you freeze and put on the car seat to cool it.

Things do get a bit trickier once you hit the road. Obviously your car a/c (if it works)
should be able to cool you and the kids off.

Also, give your children lots of water or drinks with ice in them. Keeping water bottles with you 24/7 may be a good idea.

Older kids can be given a spray bottle to mist themselves and their younger siblings (or you could just do it yourself at a stop).

You could even get some of those soft foam fans for extra cooling if you don’t have a/c.

What other tips do you have for keeping your kids cool in the car?

Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air Review

The Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air infant car seat a safety standout, affordable infant car seat for your baby. It fits babies 4 – 35 lbs and is easy to install.

This is a comfortable car seat and with a quality build, is not too heavy, and scores well for overall. It fits smaller infants and preemies well due to its infant inserts and lower bottom harness slots. Additionally, the Safety 1st boasts a large shell and 17% more leg room. There’s no proof to back this up, but the car seat does look bigger than other infant car seats. Your baby will be able to use the onBoard 35 Air longer than some other infant carriers especially if they get to 32” in height before 35lbs as is the case for most infants.

While it may not have all the bells and whistles that higher priced car seats have, this cheap car seat managed to hold its own with more expensive car seats. Impressive! Parents are going to love this car seat.

The Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air is a cheap car seat that outperforms other plenty of other more expensive car seats on the market today. This makes it a brilliant choice for parents on a tight budget, with its only downside being that it has limited stroller options compared to more expensive infant car seats such as the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35.

It is important to note that all the seats for sale in the US offer a basic level of protection by meeting the requirements of the standard.

Features

  • Rear-faces from 4-35 pounds and up to 32” in height
  • Features Air Protect® Side Impact Protection meant to protect your child’s head
  • Carry Curve™ Handle with padded grip for additional comfort for easy carrying
  • Infant insert to keep smaller babies and preemies cozy.
  • Additional leg room for your baby’s comfort
  • Machine washable car seat pad
  • 5 recline positions so that the base achieves best fit
  • 4 harness heights and 3 buckle locations to accommodate your growing child
  • Storage compartment for LATCH

One Standout feature is the Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air’s “Air Protect”. This feature acts as an air cushion meant to protect your baby in the event of a side collision. They absorb energy and limit compression on the cushions by allowing the air to gradually escape. They are used on the sides and replace EPS or EPP foam that’s common in many other car seats. The rest of the area around and behind the head is covered in EPS foam.

Comfort/Quality

The Safety 1st onBoard is comfortable seat, made out of soft fabric and comes with additional infant inserts

The padding on the Safety 1st isn’t the highest quality, but still feels nice. The fabric is also soft to the touch. The car seat shell is of a decent quality, as is the finish. Everything speaks to a car seat in this price range.

The handle has a rubber grip on its center that makes it comfortable to hold, and can be locked in any position, and an indicator tells you when the handle has been locked.

The Safety 1st has a large, average looking canopy that does not get in the way of the handle.

Weight

The Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air’s weight is average (9.46lbs), and is in line with other top infant car seats that we tested.

The Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air weighs 9.46lb, which is the infant car seat average (Not too heavy and neither is it too light)

While a car seat’s weight is a factor you should consider when picking a car seat, it should not be the number 1 thing you consider. Just because a car seat is light does not mean that it is the best car seat for your baby.

The weight of a car seat should only be a deciding factor whrn being used to settle a tie breaker between two or more good car seats based on other factors like features, ease of installation etc.
However, buying a stroller (frame stroller or a compatible standard stroller) can gived you something to attach the carrier to so you don’t have to carry it by hand thus giving you an easy time.

Stroller Compatibility

One downside of this car seat is its limited stroller compatibility, it does not work with many strollers and does not work with any of the strollers listed in our best baby stroller reviews.

The Safety 1st is compatible with some strollers such as the Safety 1st Aerolite Deluxe Stroller, and the Safety 1st Clic It Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier. View the list of best rated strollers and infant carriers.

Best Applications

The Safety 1st 35 Air is perfect for parents looking for a comfortable, high quality car seat that does not break the bank.

It certainly does not sport all the bells and whistles the more expensive, high-end car seats have, but parents can trust this car seat not to disappoint.

Value

This car seat offers parents and infants proper value. While it may not be decked out with all the bells and whistles that parents love so much, the onBoard 35 manages to score above average, while still being cheap car seat.

While this is not the cheapest seat in the review, it is one of the cheaper car seats with so much more to offer compared to other cheaper or equally priced car seats. Given that well performing infant car seats cost between $200 and sometimes even $300, this car seat is a breath of fresh air.

Accessories

The Cozy Greens back seat mirror

We recommend the Cozy Greens Back Seat Mirror as an accessory for your infant car seat. This nifty mirror keeps your baby entertained, and helps you keep an eye on them while they’re in their seat.

The surface of the mirror is shatterproof and provides wider viewing angles owing to its convex shape. According to Amazon reviews, this is the best car seat mirror compared to other options offered due to its clear reflection.

The mirror has a flat base which means it can be secured against the front of the rear headrest by using the horizontal and vertical straps & tightened to ensure it stays in place. Unfortunately, for the vertical straps to be fastened on the headrest, it needs to be an adjustable headrest.

Conclusion

The Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air comes standard with a positional infant head pillow and bolsters

This is a fantastic car seat. Parents get a very good car seat that doesn’t cost as much as most infant car seats. While it might not have all the bells and whistles the higher rated, more expensive infant car seats on our list, it has enough to give them a run for their money.

It has a high upper weight limit of 35lbs, a longer carrier, is easy to use & install, and is Side Impact Protection tested.

This car seat is a great choice for parents on a budget, or those looking for a secondary car seat. Many parents will be happy with this car seat.

The downside of this car seat is that it has limited stroller compatibility options compared to other infant car seats such as the Peg Perego or the Chicco Keyfit 30. Not a deal breaker, however. We believe that this shouldn’t be a major factor unless you cannot choose between two or more car seats.