Updated June 13, 2021
Choosing an infant car seat is one of the most important tasks facing new parents and parents to be. There are so many choices! You want one that is first and foremost safe. Safety is by far the highest priority when choosing an infant car seat. But you also need to consider durability, comfort, ease of installation and overall value.
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Safety is key in an infant car seat!
All infant car seats in the US must pass federal safety standards. They have one job to do…keep your baby safe, secure and comfortable while you travel. Some car seats exceed the federal standards with additional safety features and several of them are rated the FAA for use on airplanes.
Most infant car seats consist of two pieces, a base unit that stays in the car and a carrier that snaps into the base.
What to consider when purchasing an infant car seat?
You want to be sure the infant car seat meets or exceeds federal safety guidelines. If you’ll be flying a car seat that meets FSS standards for airplanes would be your best choice.
- Ease of installation
Consider ease of installation and removal of the car seat. No one wants to struggle with getting a car seat in an out of their car.
Durability is important is an infant car seat. You’ll want one made from sturdy material that is easy to clean.
You will want a car seat that is comfortable for your baby. Some car seats are a little more narrow and may not be a good fit for larger infants. Ease of adjustment should be a consideration. You want to be able to adjust the harness easily.
- Ease of getting your child in an out of the car seat
Ease of loading and unloading your baby should be a consideration. Your baby will use the infant seat until they are 30 pounds.
- Overall Value
Consider the overall value when making your decision. Is the car seat safe? Comfortable? Easy to clean? Will it fit in your car? Is it within your budget?
What is an infant car seat?
Infant car seats are rear-facing only and are the first car seat most new parents purchase. These models fit babies from 4 pounds to 35 pounds. They are two-piece units with a base unit and carrier (which is handy for carrying your baby without taking them out of the seat).
Several models of infant car seats are compatible with strollers and travel systems and attach easily in the stroller. Some of the infant car seats require an adapter to fit in the stroller, so be sure to check if the model of car seat works with your stroller.
6 Best Infant Car Seat Reviews:
The Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat is our top pick for safety, durability, comfort, and convenience. This infant car seat is rated the #1 car seat in America and we can see why!
This model holds infants from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30 inches long. It has an insert for smaller babies 4-11 pounds so they stay comfortable and safe in this car seat with a cushioned seat and 5 point safety harness.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 is most beloved by parents for its ease of installation. Ease of installation is an important criterion to consider when choosing an infant car seat. We’ve done battle with many types of car seats over the years and the Chicco is a true joy to install.
The installation is simple and uses the LATCH system if your vehicle has it or can be secured with the seatbelt. It comes with easy leveling indicators that ensure proper fit.
The inserts are machine washable which is a nice added feature. The car seat is compatible with most Chicco strollers, as well as Britax and UPPABaby.
- Rated the #1 infant car seat in America
- Easiest infant car seat for installation
- 5 point harness can be adjusted with one hand
- Insert for babies 4-11 pounds
- Easy leveling
- Stay in car base
- Compatible with many brands of strollers
- 17.5 pounds
- Sunshade/canopy does not stay fully extended
The Britax B-Safe 35 infant car seat is an excellent choice for parents looking for both safety and value. The Britax infant car seats have a Safecell steel frame and impact-absorbing base that protect your baby from both front and side impacts. Side to side movement is minimized in this model as well. The car seat has an insert for smaller babies to keep them comfortable and secure.
The Britax B-Safe 35 infant car seat will hold babies from 4-35 pounds and up to 35 inches. Some parents have complained that the car seat is too narrow and uncomfortable for their bigger babies so you might want to try one out before you buy.
Installation of this car seat is simple using the LATCH system and center pull straps. The leveling foot and level indicators ensure proper installation in your vehicle.
The car seat is compatible with Britax strollers/travel systems and no adaptors are required. The canopy offers full coverage for sun and rain.
This model passes the FAA standards for air travel.
- Easy installation
- LATCH system
- Indicators for proper installation
- Works with all Britax strollers/travel systems
- Works in compact cars
- Made in the USA
- Maybe too narrow for bigger babies
The UPPABaby Mesa infant car seat has a sleek design style and excellent safety features.
This model is rear-facing and holds babies from 4-35 pounds and 32 inches. There is a cushion insert for smaller babies so they are held securely.
The UPPABaby Mesa is easy to install with the SMART secure LATCH system and a visual indicator that turns from red to green when installing correctly. The car seat offers side impact protection.
This model is compatible with the CRUZ and VISTA stroller and detaches with a one-button release. The cushion is machine washable.
- Easy install with SMART secure system
- Side impact protection
- Supportive headrest for added safety
- Sleek design
- Has an infant cushion insert for smaller babies
- SPF canopy
- Stay in car base
- Shade Canopy
- Easily attaches to the VISTA and CRUZ strollers
- Heavier than other car seats
- Straps are not removable for cleaning
The Graco Snugride Click connect 35 infant car seat is one of the most popular models of car seat. It will hold babies from 4-35 pounds and has a cushioned insert for so small babies are held securely. It is a rear-facing car seat.
The Graco Snugride is lightweight and easily attaches to all Graco strollers using the Graco Click Connect system.
Is a good car seat for preemies. It has a Folding canopy for sun protection and 5 point safety harness.
Exceeds U.S. safety standards and is FAA approved for use on airplanes.
- Good for preemies.
- Rear-facing car seat
- Protects infants 4 – 35 pounds
- Graco Click Connect system
- Crash tested to exceed U.S. Standards
- Straps too tight
- Seat too hot
- Clicking mechanism
- Poor quality fabric
The Peg Perego Viaggio infant car seat combines a high end feel with excellent safety features. This model is rear-facing and will hold babies from 4 to 35 pounds and 32 inches. The base is easily installed using the “Right Tight System” via the LATCH system or seat belt in the vehicle.
Comfort and safety with dual-stage cushion system made with Fresco Jersey soft and breathable fabric. Designed to maintain a secure fit as your child grows.
Side impact protection adjusts easily and the car seat has a rebound bar. This car seat is made in Italy and has the look and feel associated with quality foreign car construction.
- Rear-facing car seat
- Integrated anti-rebound bar (this feature is a safety requirement on European car seats.)
- Color-coded European belt path
- Fits most Perego Strollers
- Heavier than many car seats in this class. (Though some may not find this to be a bad feature.
- Needs an adapter for other brand stroller attachment
The Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 infant car seat is an excellent choice for parents looking for a lightweight car seat. It is rear-facing and will hold a bay from 4-30 pounds and up to 32 inches.
This model is one of the easiest car seats to clean. The cushions are machine washable and dryer safe.
The ‘Cozi-Dozi’ head pillow gives added head support for newborns. This car seat has an air protect side impacts system and rebound bar. Installation is easy using the one-click LATCH system.
Dream canopy with mesh window. The car seat is compatible with the Maxi-Cosi Quinny stroller.
- Lightest premium car seat in its class (less than 9lbs.)
- Easily removable fabric
- Easy cleaning
- Stationary base
- Rebound bar
- Some parents do not feel the canopy is durable enough.
Other articles you may find helpful:
- 7 Must-Know Tips For Traveling With A Baby
- 5 Best Baby Swing Reviews For Newborns
- 5 Best Baby Monitor Reviews: Essential Gear For New Parents