infant car seat

Top Infant Car Seats – Reviewing the Best Models for 2018

An infant car seat can actually make the difference between life and death for your baby on the event of an accident. Therefore, it goes without saying, you just cannot gamble with your child’s safety. This being the case, you need to ensure that you purchase the best safety car seat for him or her. With so many products to choose from in the market today, this is not going to be an easy decision.

By comparing the various makes and models of car seats in the market, you will be able to make the right choice. In this regard, there are several aspects that you must consider while shopping for the right product. For Instance, the seat you buy must be compliant with regulations governing the use of safety car seats in your state.

Additionally, you need to choose the right seat; in accordance to your child’s weight and height. Finally, you have to worry about the harness system as well as quality of the product you are buying. Other than that, you should choose the infant car seat features you prefer. To make things a lot easier for you, here are reviews of some of the best infant car seats today.

Best Infant Car Seats 2018 – Top 10 Models Reviewed

1. Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat, Tangerine – Best Overall

Despite a few setbacks in the past years, Graco is still one of the most renowned manufacturers of car seats today. Their seats are by far some of the safest, most durable, easy to use and made of quality materials. Just as is the case with many other products by this manufacturer, the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 offers a great value for your money.

Lightweight

As you may be aware, it is safer to have infants in a rear facing position whenever you have them in the car. This product is designed to offer you the best there is to offer in any rear-facing infant car seat today. To begin with, the seat is lightweight. This makes it relatively easier to carry the baby from the house into the car and everywhere else you will be going.

Rear-facing Protection

Having been designed specifically for restraining infants in the car, this product is supposed to be installed facing backwards. As such, it will offer all the protection you need to babies between 4 and 35 pounds and up to 32 inches tall. This is probably why a growing number of mothers have this as their favorite first car seat for their babies.

Easy Installation

You really do not have all the time to install or remove a baby seat onto and off the car every now and then. Even if you had all the time to do this, you will need a product that is comparatively easy to install. With this in mind, the SnugRide Click Connect seat features a secure Click Connect technology.

This innovative one-step attachment is designed to attach to any Graco Click Connect Stroller. This makes it easier and more convenient for you to create a custom travel system for the infant. Additionally, you will find the seat rather easy to install onto and remove from its infant car seat base in the car.

In this regard, the car seat base for this product is designed to make installation a breeze. The stay-in-the-car seat base features a LATCH attachment system. Additionally, the base is equipped with an indicator that is easy to read. This not only makes the seat easy to install, it ensures that you have a secure attachment for the seat.

Safety

The primary functionality of any infant car seat is to protect your bundle of joy from injuries and or fatality in the event of an accident. This product has all the features you need to achieve this. For instance, the five-point harness system used on the product is rather easy to secure and adjustable.

Additionally, the rear-facing seat has been crush tested and proven to exceed the current U.S. safety standards. In this regard, the seat is compliant with U.S. standard FMVSS 213. The manufacturer uses energy absorbing EPS foam on this seat. Such features combine to form a safety-conscious infant restraint product.

Pros
  • Made of EPS, energy absorbing foam
  • Features a five-point harness system
  • Comes with a LATCH-equipped base
  • Features a removable boot
  • Equipped with a rotating canopy
  • The harness is adjustable
  • Has a removable head support
  • Offers enhanced comfort
  • Compliant with US standard FMVSS 213
Cons
  • The fabric is not breathable, hence may overheat

2. Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat, Seaport – Best Economy Infant Car Seat

Here is another rear-facing car seat that is a great choice for infants. One thing you will love about this product is that it is convertible. This means that you can use it as a rear facing seat or a forward-facing car seat. To begin with, you will be able to use the product as a rear-facing car seat for your infant until the baby is 40 pounds heavy.

2-in-1 Functionality

Once the baby is more than 40 pounds heavy, you will not need to buy an additional seat. Instead, you will just convert the seat into a forward-facing car seat and continue using it to restrain the baby until he or she is 65 pounds heavy. This is a great way of saving money on car seats, don’t you think?

Enhanced Safety

You will also find this product comparatively easy to use. The adjustable five-point harness system used on this seat is rather easy to strap around the baby. In the event of an accident, the pressure will be distributed evenly over the baby’s weight by this harness. This will, in turn, reduces the likelihood of the baby getting injured exponentially.

On top of this, the seat is equipped with side impact protection, something many other products lack today. All in all, the Safety 1st Guide Convertible seat is designed to exceed FAA safety standards.

Exceptional Comfort

For additional cushioning and comfort, the manufacturer uses EPP energy absorbing foam on this product. This is further enhanced by the inclusion of lumbar body pillows, and an adjustable multi-position head support on the seat.

Pros
  • Comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty
  • May be used as a rear-facing or forward-facing seat
  • Made of EPP energy absorbing foam
  • Comes with lumbar body pillows
  • Equipped with an adjustable head support
  • It is FAA compliant
  • Features a five-point harness system
  • Product is hand-washable
  • Features Anti-rebound bolster
Cons
  • The seat does not recline, hence is difficult to angle

3. Graco Milestone All-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Gotham – The Best 3-in-1 Car Seat

Are you working on a rather tight budget? Well, you may need to buy just a single product that will be able to restrain the baby until he or she is old enough for the safety belts in your car. Is such a product really available? Yes, this is now available with the Graco Milestone All-in-1 Convertible car seat. As a matter of fact, this product has all the features you will need for babies up to the age of 12 years.

Adjustability

The ability to adjust the various components of a car seat will affect its comfort as well as safety rating. This product is equipped with an adjustable Simply Safe Harness system. This system is designed to adjust the height of the headrest and harness at the same time.

This, in turn, offers a perfect fit; hence preventing injuries associated with loose harness. You will also find this harness system comparatively easy to adjust using a single hand. the product is also equipped with a 4-position recline for enhanced comfort of the baby as he or she grows older.

Safety

Just as is the case with any other parent, you must be concerned about the safety of your kid, right? Well, this product will give you peace of mind whenever you are driving with the baby in the car.  To begin with, the adjustable five-point harness used in this product is secure enough. Additionally, the product has all features you need to securely restrain the baby in either forward or rear facing positions.

The product has been subjected to various crash testes and has excelled in all of them. For instance, the product has been proven to exceed US standard FMVSS 213 for safety. It also passed side impact tests and has been proven to be capable of withstanding a peak crash force 2 times Car Seat Standard.

Unique Design

Having been designed to serve you for a long period, this seat features a durable design.  The frame on the Graco Milestone All-in-1 Car Seat is made of reinforced steel. This gives the seat a tough construction to last for years. Additionally, the product features EPS, energy absorbing foam, which manages impact energy more effectively.

Pros
  • Fitted with washable seat covers
  • The seat covers may be removed with the harness in place
  • Features a removable cup holder
  • 3-in-1 functionality
  • Features a 4-position recline
  • Equipped with a Simply Safe Adjust harness
  • Features plush inserts
  • Meets US standard FMVSS 213
  • Has an integrated storage compartment
  • Can withstand extreme car interior temperatures
  • Made of energy absorbing EPS foam
  • The frame is made of reinforced steel
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • It only has 2 tilt settings when installed rear-facing

4. Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, Circa – The Best Convertible Car Seat

For many parents, the change from a rear-facing to a forward-facing car seat can be a costly one, especially if they have to buy another seat. Rather than having to spend more on two seats for this transition, you should consider buying a product that can serve as both. The Britax Boulevard Click Tight Convertible Car Seat is one of the best, in this regard.

Both Rear-Facing and Forward-Facing

Normally, babies below the age of two years tend to grow relatively fast. In this regard, it is advisable to prepare ahead of this transition. Most rear-facing seats can only accommodate a maximum weight of 40 pounds. With the Click Tight Convertible seat, you will not need to buy another seat once your baby outgrows the rear-facing infant car seat.

The product is designed to install as a rear-facing infant baby seat or a forward-facing seat for kids beyond the age of 2 years. As a rear-facing seat, the product may be used for babies between 5 and 40 pounds heavy. As a forward-facing seat, the product is capable of supporting up to 65 pounds of weight. This alone makes it one of the most versatile car seats out there.

Adjustable Comfort

In addition to keeping the baby secure, you need to ensure that he is as comfortable as possible.  This is why the Click Tight is packed with an array of comfort features. With regards to comfort, the seat is comprised of 2 protection layers; a foam-lined headrest and an energy absorbing shell.

For enhanced comfort, the seat has several adjustable features. For instance, the manufacturer uses a 14-position harness system on this seat. This improved adjustability makes the seat customizable, hence more comfortable for the baby as it grows.

Enhanced Safety

Despite being a comfortable and adjustable seat, this product does not lag behind in terms of safety. This is why it is equipped with a secure harness system. Additionally, the product features the Patented ClickTight technology by the manufacturer. This allows for secure and more confident attachment of the seat to the car. As a matter of fact, you cannot get the installation wrong with this new technology.

Pros
  • Relatively easy to install and use
  • Fitted with a 14-position adjust harness
  • Features a Safe Snug indicator
  • May be used as a rear-facing or forward-facing seat
  • Can accommodate babies as heavy as 65 pounds
  • Features two layers of protection
  • Equipped with side impact protection
  • Features a durable steel frame construction
  • Fitted with an impact absorbing base
Cons
  • The deep cradle may be slightly uncomfortable for bigger babies

5. Evenflo Embrace LX Infant Car Seat, Raleigh – The Best Rear-Facing Infant Car Seat

Is your newborn weighing less than 5 pounds? If so, this is the right infant car seat for your bundle of joy. This is primarily because the product is specifically designed for the small infants. In this regard, the product is ideal for newborns weighing about 4 pounds and up to 35 pounds. You will also love the sleek and lightweight design of the seat. So, what does the Evenflo Embrace LX has to offer?

Exceptional Safety Standards

You cannot bear the thought of getting involved in a road accident with the baby onboard, right? However, you really do not know when such an eventuality may happen. Therefore, it is best for you to be prepared for the worst at all times. This is why you need to invest in the safety of the Evenflo Embrace LX Infant Car seat.

In this regard, the seat was designed to offer structural integrity energy twice the federal crash test standard. This alone makes the product a favorite among mothers who would like to keep their babies safe at all times.

Enhanced Comfort

The on-the-go lifestyle design of this product not only makes it easy to carry around; it allows the seat to offer optimal comfort levels. Additionally, it comes with a removable head support for additional support and enhanced comfort of the baby. The fixed car seat base is also adjustable, making it possible for you to set the seat to the right recline.

Adjustability

Your baby will not remain small forever; hence the need to buy an adjustable product. As the infant increases in weight and height, he or she is going to need more space. Well, this is not going to be a problem with the LX Embrace seat. To begin with, the product allows for upfront adjustment of the harness.

Additionally, the product offers 3-shoulder positions, allowing you to fit the harness correctly around the infant. The adjustable recline base makes this seat even more adjustable.

Pros
  • The product is comparatively adjustable
  • Suited for the tiniest babies
  • Allows for upfront harness adjustment
  • Offers 3 harness shoulder positions
  • Comes with a head support pillow
  • Machine washable
  • Relatively easy to use
  • Features a stay-in-car base
  • Relatively lightweight
Cons
  • May only be used as a rear-facing car seat

6. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible, Atmosphere – The Best High-End Infant Car Seat

Flexibility is something you cannot take for granted when shopping for the best infant car seat. With an adjustable product like the Peg Primo Viaggio Convertible seat, your child will be comfortable, even on the longest drives. This may be one of the expensive car seats in the market today, but is really worth every penny. What makes it worth the price, you may be wondering.

2-in-1 Functionality

For this price, you will need a product that will serve you for a long time. The Peg Perego Viaggio does exactly that. With this seat, you may not need to buy an additional seat until the child is big enough to use the car safety belts. However, this is not always the case; in rare cases, you may need to buy a booster car seat after your child outgrows the convertible seat. Initially, this product may be used as a rear-facing infant seat for newborns up to 45 pounds heavy.

As a forward-facing seat, the product is safe for use by babies up to 65 pounds heavy. The convertible design of this product was designed to offer both aesthetical appeal as well as the highest safety level possible. The product is then lined with Fresco Jersey performance fabric, which offers outstanding moisture absorption capabilities.

Improved Convenience and Safety

This is one of the seats that are constructed using high quality materials in the industry today. The design is not only meant for enhanced versatility of the product, it has been proven to offer outstanding safety for the child as well as convenience for the mother. Additionally, the product is equipped with several safety and convenience features.

One such feature is the state of the art Side Impact Protection (SIP) by the manufacturer. The adjustable SIP on this seat safeguards the kid from injury should the car be hit from the sides. Additionally, the seat is equipped with Expanded Poly Styrene (EPS), energy-absorbing foam as well as a Shock Absorbing Foam Element (SAFE) device.

Rear-Facing for Longer

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is safer to carry infants in a rear-facing position until they are 2 years old. What if you would like to keep the baby facing backwards for a longer period? While most of the car seats available today may not allow you to maintain the rear-facing posture for more than the 2 years, the Peg Primo Viaggio does just that.

I this regard, the product can accommodate babies as heavy as 45 pounds in a rear-facing position. However, the head of the child needs to be at least an inch below the edge of the headrest for you to maintain the rear-facing posture. In this position, you can easily adjust the comfort recline for optimal comfort and leg room for your baby.

Pros
  • Equipped with Shock Absorbing Foam Element (SAFE) device
  • May be used as a rear-facing or a forward-facing seat
  • Made of EPS energy absorbing foam
  • Features a durable and high quality construction
  • Fitted with a top tether hook
  • Comes with a contoured steel back plate
  • Features adjustable side impact protection
  • The side impact protection may adjust to 10 different positions
  • Can recline in rear-facing mode
Cons
  • May not be very comfortable with the canopy fully extended

7. Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat, Lilla – The Best Car Seat for Ease of Use

This is another one of the best infant car seats available today that is specifically engineered to offer customized protection, ease of use and convenience. Being a high-end product, you must be expecting the best from this car seat. Well, you will not be frustrated because the seat delivers up to the promise.

Ease of Use

With many things to attend to in a day, you may not all the time you need to install and customize a car seat for your baby. However, the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant car seat does not require much. In this regard the product features a click-in attachment mechanism, which factors guess work out of the equation. This installation mechanism is so easy that you can actually use a single hand to mount and remove the seat.

You will also love the 2 easy-to-read bubble levels on this product. With these levels, you will be able to ascertain the base angle of the seat while installing it. As if that is not enough, the five-point harness system used on the seat features a one-pull tightening mechanism. You will also find leveling very easy with this product. This may be attributed to its spring-loaded leveling foot.

Accurate Protection

Not only is the five-point harness system used on this product easy to adjust and tighten, it offers a snug fit for enhanced protection. When venturing out of the car, you can either use the secure handle to carry the baby around in his or her seat. Alternatively, you can mount it onto any Chicco stroller using the secure click-into-position mechanism.

Pros
  • Fitted with a one-pull five-point harness system
  • Comes with a stay-in-car base
  • Features a newborn positioned
  • Equipped with a spring-loaded leveling foot
  • Features a secure LATCH tightening mechanism
  • Equipped with level indicators
  • Comes with full body inserts for newborns
  • Ideal for immature infants
Cons
  • The fabric is not breathable

8. Maxi-Cosi Mico AP Infant Car Seat – The Best Lightweight Infant Car Seat

As you may be aware, most of the leading infant car seats available today are bulky and heavy to carry around with the baby inside.  This is not the case with the Maxi-Cosi Mico AP infant car seat; the product weights a mare 8 pounds. This, along with its sleek, easy carry design, makes it easier to carry around without having to remove the baby. Additionally, the product is packed with a horde of features you will love.

Enhanced Safety

The primary role of any car seat is to keep the baby safe. The Maxi-Cosi manufacture has excelled in this regard. The AP Infant car seat is one of the products by this manufacturer that offers enhanced safety features to keep the baby safe in almost any crush scenario. To begin with, the product is equipped with Air Protect Advanced Side Impact Technology.

This technology is designed to protect the baby from injuries in the event the car is hit from the sides. Additionally, the seat uses a Air Protect cushion system to protect the baby’s head. For infants and newborns, the product features head insert for additional support and comfort, whenever this is required. You will also love the multi-position sun canopy on this product, which protects the baby against direct sunlight inside and outside the car.

Sleek Lightweight Design

If you are looking for a product to use both inside and outside the car, you will need a car seat that features a sleek and lightweight design. In addition to its easy-carry design, the product weighs only 8 lbs. the ease of carrying the seat is further enhanced by its unique carry handle. As such, you will find this product easy to carry around with the baby inside.

Again, you will also find the product easy to use with your infant travel system. In this regard, the product is design to mount on a Quinny or Maxi-Cosi stroller with ease. The rather heavy stay-in-car base of the product makes things even easier.

With the base permanently installed in your car, you can actually install and remove the seat with ease. The removal part is so easy and gentle that you will not end up waking a sleeping baby while at it.

Pros
  • Uses air protect technology for side impact protection
  • May be used for kids up to 29 inches tall
  • Made of premium quality fabric
  • Lightweight and easy to carry around
  • Relatively easy to install and remove
  • Easily mounts onto quinny and maxi-cosi strollers
  • Features additional padding
  • Equipped with a multi-position sun canopy
  • Features a flip out visor
  • Comes with a Cozi Dozi head insert
  • Fitted with a secure five-point harness system
Cons
  • Has a very low maximum weight bearing capacity at 22 pounds

9. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4/35 Infant Car Seat – The Best Infant Car Seat for Enhanced Comfort

Everyone would love to keep their babies as comfortable as they can, right. A car seat may be comfortable for the baby for the first few months. As the baby grows heavier and taller, the product that was once comfortable may become less comfortable. This is not the case with the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4/35 infant car seat. As a matter of fact, the product is designed around comfort and safety.

Improved comfort

One of the aspects that set this product aside from its competitors is its unique dual stage cushion system. Not only does this system create a snug environment for enhanced safety, it also enhances the comfort of the seat for the baby. This cushioning system is specifically designed to infants between 4 and 35 pounds heavy.

This Viaggio ca seat is also equipped with additional cushioning and support for the baby’s bottom and neck. Such a feature is particularly essential for the newborns. The cushioning system used in this product makes the seat cozy and helps position the child’s head properly in the seat.

Stay-in-Car Base

To make things a lot easier for you, this product comes with a stay-in-car base. By leaving the base in the car, you will find the seat lighter and more comfortable to carry. Additionally, this base design makes the product easier and faster to install and remove. As a matter of fact, you can install and remove the seat using one hand.

Exceptional Safety Standards

Side impact protection is something many manufacturers forget about in their car seats today. Being one of the leading infant safety car seat manufacturers today, Peg Perego is keen on offering the best protection for your child. In this regard, the product is equipped with an adjustable side impact protection (SIP).

The SIP used in this sea is relatively easy to adjust into any of its six positions, without the need for re-threading. The system is so easy that you can adjust it with the baby on the seat. This way, you can achieve the best fit for him or her. The head panel on this baby seat is developed in accordance to the Euro-NCAP test protocol for enhanced protection.

This is one of the very few seats that can actually be installed securely without a base. Yes, you read that right; the Primo Viaggio 4-35 may be installed without its car seat base. In such a case, you will need to use the color-coded seat belt path for installation. In such an installation, the handle serves as the natural anti-rebound bar; hence limits seat rotation.

Pros
  • Features a unique dual stage cushioning system
  • Offers 6 harness adjustment positions
  • May be installed with or without the base
  • The base features an Anti-Rebound Bar
  • May be used for the tiniest babies
  • Compatible with travel systems by the manufacturer
  • Features an innovative belt path
  • Equipped with adjustable side impact protection
  • Features a unique I shell design
  • Relatively easy to install and remove
  • The tilt on the base is adjustable
Cons
  • Relatively bulky and heavy to carry around with the baby inside

10. UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat, Jake – The Best Compact Infant Car Seat

Since its first introduction into the market, the UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat has received a considerable number of upgrades. Such upgrades were primarily aimed at addressing consumer concerns in the past years. This being the case, the new UPPAbaby MESA seat will surely mesmerize you. What makes this product a must buy for many mothers across the globe?

Secure and Confident Installation

Many of the baby car seats available today do not have a way of telling when the seat is properly and securely installed. However, the Mesa is rather different. This product is the very first in the world to use a SmartSecure accurate install technology. This innovative technology by the manufacturer allows you to securely and accurately install the seat in less than 10 seconds.

Additionally, the product features a tightness indicator. This indicator lets you know once you have achieved a secure tightness for your baby. As such, you can never get it wrong with this product. You will also love the self-retracting Latch connectors fitted onto this seat. The latches are designed to facilitate easy, fast and accurate installation of the seat.

Once you have installed the seat correctly, the indicator light window will change color from red to green. This is a visual confirmation that you have installed the product properly and securely for your baby’s safety.

Fabric Upgrade

A baby seat made of material that is not breathable can be uncomfortable for the baby in hot weather. To combat this problem, the manufacturer replaced the material previously used to make the Mesa. The recent model is made of breathable fabric that is washable. Additionally, the material used to make this seat has moisture wicking properties. This is a great addition, with regards to enhanced comfort of the baby.

Ideal for Preemies

Another problem associated with many car seats today is that they cannot secure preemies. With the UPPAbaby MESA Infant car seat, you will not need to buy a specialty Preemies car seat. No, this product is capable of securing and restraining babies as small as the immature or lightweight (4 pounds) babies.

In this regard the adjustable harness used on this seat, along with its crotch strap is designed to fit preemies, between 4 and 8 pounds heavy. As the baby grows heavier and bigger, you can easily adjust this harness system to accommodate them. As such, the product has been proven to be adjustable and comfortable enough for babies 4 to 35 pounds heavy.

Adjustable Protection

This is one of the few products that will allow you to customize the protection details to suit your baby’s requirements. In this regard, it is fitted with an adjustable headrest and side impact protection for your child. The adjustable headrest is further reinforced with EPP foam for additional protection and enhanced comfort.

You will also notice that the headrest features an integrated design. This goes a long way in ensuring that the child’s head remains stationary at all times, especially during a side collision. This is primarily why the product boasts of 4 times the independent side impact test.

Pros
  • Features a single hand stroller release
  • Easy to use with travel systems
  • Uses the new Smart Secure auto-retracting LATCH technology
  • Features a secure installation indicator
  • Equipped with side impact protection
  • Fitted with an adjustable headrest
  • Features a performance travel system
  • Does not require an adapter to attach to a stroller
  • Optimized for preemies
  • Made of breathable fabric
  • It is washable
Cons
  • It is exclusively a rear-facing car seat

Things You Need to Know Before Choosing an Infant Car Seat

Are you currently shopping for an infant seat for your baby? If you have never done this before, you may find the choice a little bit confusing. Not only are there numerous makes and models of seats in the market today; you have to ensure that your preferred seat conforms to preset requirements. So, how should you go about it?

To begin with, your preferred product must conform to either i-size or ECE Regulations. This way, you will not find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Again, the safety of your baby should be a key consideration while shopping for the right car seat.

Therefore, you need to get a product that is suited for the age and height of your baby. Finally, you may need to buy a product that is versatile and has the features you need. If you are shopping for the right car seat for your baby, here are some of the aspects you should consider:

1. Requirements by the Law

Regardless of the state you are living in, there are several legislations that govern the appropriate use of car seats. To ensure that you are on the safe side, you should first seek to understand what the law stipulates; regarding the use of baby car seats.

For instance, you are supposed to use a rear-facing infant car seat for infants. Additionally, you must use the right seat for the baby’s weight and height. Failing to adhere to such requirements is more likely to land you into problems with law enforcement. In most cases such offenders are fined about $100.

In 2013, the i-Size legislation—which is aimed at ensuring that all produced seats can fit in all cars—was introduced. In this regard, modern cars are supposed to have Isofix (a system that is designed to attach car seats to the car frame directly). If you are buying an i-seat, you have to choose the right one for your baby’s height and weight.

2. Types of Car Seats

As your baby grows older, you should expect his or her car seat requirements to change. As such, you may have to buy multiple car seats until the baby is old enough to use the safety belt in the car. This being the case, you need to know which seat type is ideal for the age, weight and height of your baby. In this regard, these are the 3 main car seat types you should consider:

Infant Car Seats

This is the starting point; the seat you will need the first time you carry your bundle of joy from the hospital. These are the car seats that are specifically designed to support the delicate and developing head, neck and back in infants. From the time the baby is born and until he or she is 26 inches long or 22 pounds heavy, they will requires an infant car seat.

The law in all the 50 states stipulates that all infant car seats have to be installed rear facing and preferably at the middle back seat in the car. As such, you have to buy a rear-facing infant car seat that has the convenience features you desire.

For instance, you may choose an infant car seat that features a stay-in-car base. Such car seats are more convenient as they are easy to install. Additionally, this feature allows for a gentle and easy removal of the car seat with the baby on the seat. As such, you will be able to remove the seat without waking the sleeping child.

Another aspect you should consider while choosing the right infant car seat is the harness system. While different manufacturers use different systems on their products, these are the two systems that are common today:

  • Three-point Harness System – in this system, the straps are meant to secure the baby at the shoulders as well as in between the legs.
  • Five-Point Harness System – in addition to securing the baby in between the legs and at the shoulders, this harness system will also secure the baby’s hips in place.

Convertible/ Infant-Toddler Car Seats

Most infant car seats are designed to handle a maximum weight of 22 pounds. As your kid outgrows heavier, you will have to change into convertible car seats. Most of the seats in this category are designed to handle a weight of between 20 and 40 pounds.

These infant-toddler seats are commonly referred to as convertible seats because they may be used as rear-facing or forward facing car seats.  When the baby is old enough to face forward like everyone else in the car, you will only reed to reverse the seat and install it facing forward.

Beyond the age of 2 years, babies will grow taller at a faster rate than they are gaining weight. As such, you need to consider the height rest of your preferred car seat. Again, you need to choose the right harness system for your convertible car seat. In this regard, these are the main harness systems you should consider:

  • Three-Point Harness featuring an Overhead Shield

As opposed to a conventional 3-point harness system, this system is fitted with a padded triangular or T-shaped shield. The shield draws two straps over the baby’s shoulders and buckles to a third strap at the crotch. Most of the infant-toddler car seats with this system are adjustable.

As such, you can adjust the restraint to fit the size of your baby. This system is safest when the shield is lying on the child’s chest.

  • Five-Point Harness System

This is one of the safest harness systems you can have on your baby’s car seat today. Since it has more straps than a three-point harness system, it is known to distribute pressure more evenly over the baby’s torso in the event of an instant deceleration.

In this system, two of the straps are meant to secure the baby’s shoulders, two for the hips and one through the crotch. Another good thing about this system is that it is fully adjustable, allowing you to customize the tightness of the harness around your baby.

  • T-Shield, Three-Point Harness

This is a three-point harness system that features a T-shield. The centrally positioned shield is designed to draw two straps over the baby’s shoulders. The T-shield then buckles to the car seat at the crotch. This system is commonly used in the relatively affordable convertible car seats available today.

If this is your preferred system, you should ensure that it is adjustable. When adjusting the restraint around your baby, the shield should not be higher than the chest. For safety, this system should not be used on babies whose heads do not clear the T-shield.

Booster Car Seats

What if your baby has outgrown a convertible seat, but is still too small for the car’s safety belts? In such a case, it is advisable to invest in the best booster car seat. Rather than restraining the baby, these seats are designed to help the child fit in the car’s safety belt.

These products are specifically suited for kids between the age of 4 and 8 years. Most of the booster seats available today have a maximum weight bearing capacity of 80 to 110 pounds. These products may be used by kids who are between 4 and 9 feet tall, although some of them are backless.

Booster seats are known to lower the chances of acquiring belt-induced injuries. Such a product will come in handy if you are transitioning your child from a safety seat to an adult-sized shoulder and lap safety belt.  If you are shopping for the best booster seat, you should choose between these two main booster seat types:

  • High-Backed Booster Seats

These booster car seats do not rely on the car’s safety belt system. Basically, there are meant for use as forward-facing safety seats for babies between the weight of 20 and 40 pounds. Depending on the manufacturer, such seats will attach to the vehicle using a latch system or the safety belts and tether in the car.

Most of the high-backed Booster car seats available today feature a 5-point harness system. This offers enhanced body protection for the baby. Once the child is heavier than 40 pounds, this seat may be converted into a belt-positioning booster seat.

To do this, you need to do away with the harness system on the seat and use the vehicles’ safety belt to secure the baby in place.

  • Belt-Positioning Booster

As the name suggests, these rely on the safety lap and shoulder belt in the car to restrain the child. Depending on the needs of your baby, you can either buy a backless or a high-backed belt-positioning belt for your baby.

3. Adjustability of the Car Seat

How flexible or adjustable is your preferred car seat? Regardless of the type of car seat you need to buy the comfort of your baby will, to a large extend depend on the adjustability of the seat. Babies are known to grow at a very fast rate. As such, a seat that is not adjustable may not be the right choice.

Some of the seat parts that need to be adjustable include the headrest, buckle and shoulder positions. Again, some of the leading car seat brands in the market are both width and height adjustable. As such, you do not have to buy a new seat every few months to accommodate the growing baby.

4. Portability

Portability is another aspect you cannot take for granted when shopping for the right car seat. With a highly portable product, you will not have to remove the baby from the seat every time you are leaving the car. Instead, you will only be required to detach the seat from its base and carry the baby in it.

Therefore, it is advisable to buy a car seat that is relatively lightweight. Additionally, you should look out for the features that will make the seat more portable.

Our Final Review

Are you expecting your first child or he/she was recently born? There is a good chance that this is your very first time to shop for baby products. As you may have noticed, no baby product is easy to choose.

Things get even harder as you shop for the more expensive products like a stroller or an infant car seat. This is a decision that requires a lot of comparison and consideration on your part.

In addition to buying a product that you can afford, you need to check its quality, height and weight bearing capacities. If you are looking forward to saving money on the purchase, you may need to buy one that will serve you through all developmental stages. In such a case, you will need the best 3-in-1 infant safety seat.

If money is not a constraint, it is advisable to go for the high-end products. Such products tend to offer better quality and more convenience as well as performance features. Regardless of your budget and personal preferences, this guide will help you choose the best infant car seat in the market today.

About the Author Gail Morrison

Hey there, I'm Gail Morrison, Founder and Editor here at Best Infant Car Seats. Being a mother is hard work, but it’s also full of surprises and laughter. With every month that passes, the joy only gets bigger, watching our kids grow. The journey never ends, and that’s what I love about it the most. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and tips with you.

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