The 10 Best Infant Car Seats to Buy 2019

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It’s one of the more important buying decisions you’ll have to make: A child’s car seat.

You’ve probably made your entire home child proof even before the baby is born. But you’re also responsible for your child’s safety when he or she is in the car. You can’t control other drivers’ actions. That’s a scary thought. But here’s where your power lies: You can control the environment inside your vehicle.

An accident—or even just a sudden stop—can happen at any moment. You’ll minimize your child’s injuries if he or she can’t be thrown around by the momentum created by the moving vehicle. So have you installed a top of the range infant car seat yet?

Features to Consider in Good Infant Car Seats

If you plan on taking your child in the car, you need one of the best infant car seats in 2018. A quality seat protects optimally and even has user friendly features. And of course you need one that suits your unique circumstances:

  • Do you need equipment for small cars?
  • Must you prepare for twins?
  • Will you often move the seat between two cars? This calls for easy mechanisms so you don’t waste time.

We know these seats can be frustrating to use, because they’re often difficult to install. This leads to some households not using them, but that’s dangerous. We want to help so we did some research.

We searched for the best ones on the market in terms of safety and functionality. And of course we kept your budget in mind too. Now you can simply use the reviews below to find your solution to maximize safety and minimize risk for your children. And there’s even a buying guide to help you make the best informed decision.

We’ll say it again: it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make and we want to make it as easy as possible for you. Let’s get this right.

Ready to start shopping?

Top 10 Best Infant Car Seats 2019

1. Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat

Why we like it: Instead of focusing on only one aspect, the designers thought about many features parents need. That’s probably why it’s subsequently dubbed the best infant car seat in the country.

Editor’s Rating:

Design & Installation
Firstly you won’t struggle to get this unit in and out of the car. The sturdy base stays inside while you only move the carrier. The base is state of the art since it has an enclosed bottom to minimize damage of your seats. On top it allows for different installation options incorporating your seat belts.

The base’s angle can even be adjusted via:

  • ReclineSure levelling foot
  • RideRight bubble level indicators

You want your baby to ride comfortably and this seat helps you get it right.

See? They thought of everything. And when it’s time to get out of the car the carrier fits onto other Chicco equipment such as strollers.

Comfort
The carrier further ensures comfort for all sized infants, since it contains removable head and body supports. Help your baby find comfy positions whether he or she is a newborn or even old enough to start looking around at what’s going on outside.

Safety
Your baby is kept safe by the carrier’s foam which can absorb the energy from an impact. He or she will be kept in place by the five point harness. Even the sun won’t hurt your child since there’s a canopy as well

Specs

  • Dimensions: 17” x 27.5” x 24”
  • Weight: 17lb
  • Capacity: 30lb

Pros
  • Absorbs impact
  • Easy to install in car
  • Useful for different aged infants
  • Very affordable unit
Cons
  • Too large for small cars and even shopping carts
  • Sunshade is very small

2. Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat

Why we like it: Thanks to machine washable fabric that can be put in the dryer, you have one less frustration to deal with.

Editor’s Rating:

Design & Installation
Note that this is not a normal infant seat, but rather what they call a convertible seat. You can either place it facing forward or backward. Because it’s narrow it may suit many small cars. Just note that it still takes up room lengthwise.
For older infants there is a cup holder so you can keep your child happy while you concentrate on the road.

Safety
You child’s safety is enhanced by an Air Protect cushioning system which was researched and patented. The structure of the seat even protects against side impacts. Thanks to the straps that have various settings you can find one that is most comfortable and safe according to your child’s unique build.

Comfort
You know how important comfort is for your child which is why they used fabric that channels away heat and moisture (self wicking fabric). The fabric and padding create a very inviting environment for your baby and because the headrest can adjust infants of various ages will feel snug and comfy.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 21.2” x 22.8” x 29.5”
  • Weight: 18.4lb
  • Capacity: 40lb (rear facing) / 70lb (forward facing)
  • Minimum weight: 18.4lb9lb

Ideally you should use it for toddlers younger than 18 months.

Pros
  • Seat can recline
  • Easy to clean
  • Additional padding around head and on the sides
  • Easy latch mechanism
  • It falls into a reasonable price range
Cons
  • Straps are difficult to fasten
  • Hard to snap buckles into place
  • Very big lengthwise so front seats must be pushed forward a lot

3. UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat

Why we like it: You get different installation techniques and they’re all easy to do.

Editor’s Rating:

Design & Installation
There are a few seats that come with easy installation options. This is one of them. You can use one of these:

  • Your seat belt
  • LATCH system

And yes, it does work for smaller cars too, although you’ll have less space to manoeuvre to install it. But it will fit and once the base is locked in place you simply move the carry seat for taking your baby out or placing him or her inside.

Just note that this is one of the heavier models on this list. Using this as a carrier while you do shopping isn’t very practical. Luckily—and this is why it’s such a loved model—it fits on a variety of brands’ strollers without the need of adapters.

Comfort
There’s a canopy that gives SPF protection and your baby won’t be bothered by the sun shining in its eyes.

Safety
The most important part of the body is well protected, because the headrest has integrated Side Impact Protection features.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 17.5” x 17” x 31”
  • Weight: 24.7lb
  • Capacity: 35lb
  • Minimum weith: 4lb
  • Height recommendation: 32”

Pros
  • Installation takes seconds
  • Can use with VISTA/CRUZ strollers
  • Very secure
  • Can rock seat when placed on floor
Cons
  • Can only hand wash
  • Heavy to carry around
  • Polyfoam used is flammable
  • Expensive model

4. Britax USA Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

Why we like it: If your child wants to see more of what’s going on you can adjust the height without taking the seat out first.

Editor’s Rating:

Design & Installation
It’s one of the more user friendly models regarding installation because the seat is divided in two. You simply take off the front part, strap the seatbelt over the back part and set the front section back in place again.

While many other products are hard to fasten, you’re guided by Britax’s Click & Safe feature. When you hear it ‘click’ you’ll know it’s firmly in place.

It’s a little heavier than many other models, but it’s actually smaller in size.

Comfort
Imagine how comfortable you can make your child by customizing the straps with the 14 different positions of the harness.

Safety
Next it impresses with its protective measures as it provides multiple layers of padding to help prevent injury and shock. It’s called SafeCell Impact Protection and incorporates:

  • A metal framework
  • A base that can absorb energy
  • Staged release stitches which actually limit forward movement if a crash should happen

Specs

  • Dimensions: 18.5” x 23” x 23”
  • Weight: 24lb
  • Capacity: 65lb

Pros
  • Easy installation
  • High weight capacity
  • Practical size to save space in small cars
Cons
  • No head support for newborns
  • Heavy to carry
  • Seat not very comfortable—that’s one thing the brand can improve upon
  • Buckles—especially the one at the crotch—are a bit short

5 Maxi-Cosi Mico AP Infant Car Seat

Why we like it: We love it because it’s so light and takes up less space than many other seats.

Editor’s Rating:

Design & Installation
This chair caters for very small babies so even your preemie may find comfort in this model.
Things you’ll enjoy include:

  • The base stays in your car so no more struggling to get the seat in and out
  • The fabric is washable
  • The seat can latch onto the brand’s stroller

Comfort
And here’s why your baby will love it:

  • It’s comfortable
  • Tactile fabric is used which will feel soft but also stimulate senses
  • Bright colors stimulate senses

Safety
Mico’s patented AP (Air Protect) technology in the form of a cushion system is used to protect your baby’s head. A five point harness will keep your baby secure.

One thing parents always note is that these five point harnesses are tricky to fit, because you struggle to guide a child’s arms through the openings. However it’s probably the safest type of harness so we believe it’s worth the effort.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 18” x 16.5” x 31”
  • Weight: 18.8lb
  • Capacity: 22lb
  • Minimum weight: 5lb

Pros
  • Caters for preemies
  • Ergonomic handle for easy carrying
  • Sun canopy flip out is available
Cons
  • Only usable for a short time in a baby’s life
  • Children outgrow it very quickly and it can feel uncomfortable even long before they’re 12 months old
  • Canopy is low quality

6. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

Why we like it: Take guess work out of the picture with the state of the art installation method, so you can be on your way faster.

Editor’s Rating:

Design & Installation
This is a light and compact car seat so it’s most parents’ dreams come true. It caters for children as light as 4lb so this makes it one of the best options for preemies and newborns.

You have easy installation thanks to the many features Graco installed:

  • Use the level indicator so you know when your child’s seat is installed correctly so your baby won’t sit at an uncomfortable angle.
  • You can either use the seat belt or the InRight LATCH method to secure the seat. The latter literally only takes a second to install.
  • You can listen for the required ‘click’ so you don’t have to guess whether the seat is secured.

And once you’re back at home you can easily clean the RapidRemove seat cover. Simply take it off—it’s really quick to do—and wash.

Just note that the canopy tends to get stuck under the handle which is frustrating for many users.

Comfort
During the ride your child is kept comfortable thanks to:

  • The seat’s four different recline positions
  • The canopy can rotate so you can adjust it to the position that dynamically blocks out the sun
  • The headrest and harness—a five point design—will always adjust together to optimize safety & comfort of all body parts

Safety
Features such as the SafetyCore technology absorb shock and keeps your baby safe.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 29.1” x 18.3” x 16.2”
  • Weight: (car seat): 7.5lb
  • Weight: (entire unit): 18.8lb
  • Capacity: 35lb
  • Minimum: 4lb
  • Height recommendation: 32”

Pros
  • One of the lightest seats available on the market
  • Caters for preemies
  • Easy to clean
  • Absorbs shock
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Canopy gets stuck in handle

7. Baby Trend Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat

Why we like it: Here they even thought of the small details such as carrying your child. The seat’s handle is covered in a substance that prevents scratching. After all, your comfort is important too. When you can carry the seat comfortably there is less chance of jolting the seat and waking the baby.

Editor’s Rating:

Design & Installation
The manufacturer tries to make it as easy as possible for parents to use, since many features only require one step to complete. There’s the one hand adjustable harness and the seat’s adjustable height feature that also operates with a push button.

It couldn’t be easier so when you’re in a rush you’ll love this chair.

Note that this is another two sectioned chair. You can leave the base in the car and only move the seat. The seat also fits on the manufacturer’s stroller equipment so transporting your baby outside your car is so easy.

The seat is quite narrow, so if space in your car is a problem, this is one of the better options on this list. Just make sure there’s enough space lengthwise as well.

Comfort
The seat ‘grows’ with your child because many features can be adjusted:

  • The straps
  • Height

It does cater for smaller children, so you can consider it if your baby is born prematurely. However, it does lack some support for their tiny bodies.

Safety
What keeps you baby in his or her seat is also a safety harness. It’s tested to sustain strain, so will keep your baby in position during impact. The chair’s EPS energy absorbing foam will minimize the effect of trauma to the area around your baby’s head.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 16.5” x 26” x 25”
  • Weight: 18.74lb
  • Capacity: 30lb
  • Minimum: 5lb
  • Height recommendation: Younger than 18 months

Pros
  • Can fit three seats on an average car’s back seat
  • Easy to install
  • Light weight
Cons
  • Upright position causes babies’ heads to fall forward
  • Not enough support for small babies
  • Not soft and comfortable as other seats on this list

8. CYBEX Aton 2 Infant Car Seat

Why we like it: We love this seat because it provides so many dimensions of comfort and safety, giving parents peace of mind.

Editor’s Rating:

Design & Installation
Another super light seat that can double as a carrier too! Parents love this model for everything from the bright colors that keep children’s attention to the ease of use.

Comfort
The shape is ideal even for newborns thanks to the Newborn Inlay. It provides comfort, keeps them safe and even facilitates the best body positioning for breathing.

Safety
Here’s how the seat protects your child if a crash should occur: The load leg is adjustable and is designed to stop the seat from rotating during a crash. This ensures your child’s spine doesn’t get hurt.

Secondly the pressure of a blow from the side is absorbed by the unique L.S.P. System (Linear Side-impact Protection). And then the entire shell is also designed to absorb shock.

You can see this relatively compact unit provides surprisingly high levels of security.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 17” x 18” x 26.25”
  • Weight: 9lb
  • Capacity: 35lb
  • Minimum weith: 4lb
  • Height recommendation: 18 months

Pros
  • Very light
  • Many safety features
  • Ideal for newborns and preemies
Cons
  • Low quality strap design
  • Hard to clean
  • Hard to remove the seat from the base
  • Babies outgrow this seat quickly

9. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4/35 Infant Car Seat with base

Why we like it: A unique feature is the short handle that’s extremely accommodating to moving the carrier in and out of the car.

Editor’s Rating:

Design & Installation
Parents have so many practical solutions to every day challenges:

  • This model has a base that stays in the car so you only have to fit the carrier into it instead of installing the whole unit.
  • It’s lighter than other models of similar design so it’s a better option if you know you’ll want to carry your baby in its seat.
  • Installation is easy thanks to color coded belt straps that show you what goes where.

Comfort
We also love that the chair caters for small children:

  • There is support for babies’ necks and bottoms
  • As your baby grows these support units can adjust

And during every drive your baby will be kept comfortable thanks to the breathable fabric used.

Safety
As stated at the beginning of this article, car seats should be designed to help you prepare for the worst. This model does exactly that by containing an anti rebound bar. If an accident should happen this will minimize movement and prevent injuries to your baby.

At all times the baby is kept in place with the five point harness we all trust.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 25.9” x 17” x 23.9
  • Base dimensions: 21.6” x 14.6” x1.5”
  • Weight: 17lb
  • Capacity: 35lb
  • Minimum weith: 4lb
  • Recommended maximum height: 32”

Pros
  • Can adjust as baby grows
  • Caters for small babies
  • Many safety features
  • Plush interior
Cons
  • Strap system is confusing despite the color coding
  • Difficult to gauge whether base is locked in place
  • Caters for small babies
  • You can’t use the canopy and the handle at the same time

10. Safety 1st Car Seats 1st Guide 65 Sport

Why we like it: This seat makes it onto this list because it’s the perfect balance between affordability and practicality. You still get exceptional protection for your little one, but you don’t have to break the bank so any parent has the opportunity to create a safe car interior now.

Editor’s Rating:

Design & Installation
Here’s the bonus: Because it’s smaller than most seats you can easily fit more than one next to each other, so this is an excellent option for twins.

The low budget design still features accessories such as cup holders, so customize it according to your child’s current needs.

Comfort
You can also customize the inside to create comfortable spaces for different sized toddlers. The pillows can be added or removed according to your child’s size and build.

Safety
Your child is kept safe by a sturdy harness with the highly trusted five point harness design. Next they’re protected from the risks of impact by padding that even limits injuries from side impact.

Specs

  • Dimensions: It’s only 18” wide
  • Capacity: 40 lb / 65lb (forward facing)
  • Minimum: Child must be at least 5lb

Pros
  • Caters for larger infants too
  • Small enough to fit two or more in average sized vehicles
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Limited features compared to other models
  • Won’t be comfortable for preemies

Guide to Buying the Best Infant Car Seat

You’re going to use your infant car seat for months or even years. It’s vital to your budget that you make the right decision. It’s also vital to your sanity because you don’t want to struggle with this unit every time you get ready to travel with your child.

You won’t think of a car seat until you need one so you may not be experienced in what makes a seat really great. So we’re going to list the most important aspects for you. Whether you pick from the list above or go on a shopping spree, this insight will help you make wiser decisions.

Here’s what you need to know.

Know Your Car Seat Types

Did you know there are different types of seats and all of them have particular uses & benefits? They definitely aren’t the same, so make sure what you need before you purchase. Here’s the list of options:

  • Convertible car seats: These seats can be used either facing the front or the back of the seat. It’s safest to let your newborn face the back, but soon he or she will outgrow that space and want to look outside. That’s when you flip this type of seat around so you don’t have to purchase a new one. These seats are also made to handle bigger toddlers even up to 65lb.
  • Infant car seats: Here the weight limit is usually around 40lb. These seats are designed to face the back for optimum protection in the event of a crash.
  • Booster seats: These are transition seats. Your child may become too big for car seats, but toddlers are definitely not big enough that normal seat belts will keep them safely strapped in. That’s why you need a booster option that elevates them enough so you can then use the normal seat belts. It also makes for comfy seating.

Don’t let a sales person cause you to purchase the wrong equipment. When you know what you want it’s easier to find ideal solutions at the right prices.

What Makes a Good Car Seat?

There’s a reason there are so many seat models on the market. There’s so much that can go wrong during a drive and each brand is trying to offer easy solutions.

So here’s your checklist for when you start shopping around.

Is it Easy to Clean?

You know a mess is inevitable when it comes to children. So what will you do? You can’t leave a seat dirty because it’s unhygienic and can cause discomfort for your child.

Therefore it’s vital your seat must be easy to clean.

If fabric is smooth and easy to wipe down, it helps already. The winning option however is when you can take off the cover and put it in your washing machine and even the dryer.

Also make sure it’s very easy to take off the cover. When you have kids you want quick and simple options.

Is it Comfortable for You?

Another easy solution you want is how to put the seat into the car, or take it out. Here are a few thoughts:

  • If it’s too heavy to carry you’ll struggle placing it in the car.
  • It must be easy to lift out so you don’t wake your baby sleeping inside the seat.
  • Make sure it’s easy to fasten in place, because you don’t want to waste time each time you get ready to travel.
  • Are the straps easy to adjust so you can create comfortable seating as your baby grows?

Is it Comfortable for Your Child?

Your child’s comfort is paramount, because you want him or her to feel content while sitting inside. There’s nothing worse than your baby crying simply because you’re placing it in the safety seat. Often this crying is brought on by discomfort.

Firstly see if you can adjust the inside to customize it according to your baby’s build and future growth. A newborn shouldn’t roll around, while a bigger toddler shouldn’t feel squashed.

The straps should also be in the right place so the fabric doesn’t create friction on sensitive skin, such as near the crotch. Read a few reviews and you’ll quickly gauge which seats were designed with a baby’s form in mind.

What are the Safety Features?

And now for the most important consideration: Safety. After all, this is why you’re buying a car seat.

Each brand will have a unique approach to safety, so read reviews to see if new inventions actually work. At the least you should find these characteristics if you want one of the safest infant car seats:

    • A sturdy frame
    • Strong straps
    • The seat must be kept in place securely
    • There must be enough padding to absorb shock in the event of a collision
    • Support in vital areas such as the neck and back, especially for newborns

Armed with this information you’ll identify the better options quickly.

How to Fit the Seat With the Car

Before you simply purchase a seat, you must first look at your car. Will the seats’ dimensions we mention in the reviews above fit into your vehicle?

An important aspect many parents forget is that the seat not only takes up the space on the back seat. Because of excessive padding, sun visors and foot rests a baby seat may require front seats to be pushed forward.

When you know you’ll often drive with your baby alone, you can simply put him or her on or behind the passenger seat. But what happens when more people join you in the car?

You also can’t risk the driver feeling uncomfortable. If two or more baby seats are required for larger families, you must ensure it won’t affect driver seat positioning.

To ensure everyone’s comfort—and safety—you must measure the maximum space available behind your seats and find an infant car seat that will fit into that space.

Here’s another important tip: Make sure the size of your doors allows for easy access to the baby’s seat. Whether you’re putting the baby inside, placing the seat in place or taking the seat out to carry your sleeping baby with you, you want it effortless, right?

You may have to do this every day of your life, so pick wisely.

Let’s Talk About Price

It’s not necessary to break the bank simply because you need a car seat. Yes, the high end seats provide exceptional protection and usually they have super easy ways of fitting in your car & strapping in your child.

These brands put effort into designing new mechanisms and that’s why their prices are high.

That does not mean a more affordable seat isn’t worth checking out. After all, safety—not ease of use—is the most important factor you must consider. As long as the seat you purchase affords secure strapping and enough padding to absorb shock, your child will be safe.

There are other features you can splurge money on, but you can easily find a DIY way to add it to any car seat:

  • Fabric that channels away heat and moisture.
  • Sun visors
  • Cup holders

These aren’t essentials, but yes you—and your baby—will love them, so they’re worth it if they fit into your budget.

Can you see this purchase is all about priorities? Think of your baby’s safety first and then look for the other features.

Final Words

Did you find your favorite infant car seat on our list? We know one of these won’t simply be an expense, but an asset in your household. And if you have unique preferences, use the guidelines to find the perfect seat. We know it’s a tough decision, so good luck and enjoy the journeys with your baby by your side.