🖐 Best car seat The best baby car seats from birth to age 12 | Expert Reviews

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This car seat provides the best fit for newborns and smaller babies, and can be used for children from 4 to 40 lbs. (depending on the model). Most.


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Our pick of the best baby car seats include the Cybex Pallas-S Fix and the Joie i-​Level and its Signature seat sibling.


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After 50 hours of research and crash-testing four top infant car seats, we found the best infant car seat for most families. Read on to see our.


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After 50 hours of research and crash-testing four top infant car seats, we found the best infant car seat for most families. Read on to see our.


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Best Overall: Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat. gracoever-car-seat​. Courtesy of Amazon.


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This car seat provides the best fit for newborns and smaller babies, and can be used for children from 4 to 40 lbs. (depending on the model). Most.


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It consistently ranks among the safest infant car seats in government front-impact crash testing. With the handle locked down in a triangle position, the seat is as stable as any other seat on an uneven surface, such as a bed or lawn. It also achieved the best head-impact scores in new laboratory testing that we arranged, and it easily passed the side-impact crash test we commissioned—the first test of this type that a publication has performed. Proper installation is generally a far bigger problem for people than seat safety, so we searched the NHTSA ease-of-use installation database to determine which seats offer easy installation and come with clear instructions. Several key notes: The tests we commissioned MGA to conduct are not part of the current federal compliance standard. Car seat technicians we spoke with agreed that a child is likely to reach the height limit of an infant seat before the weight limit. On the first of two days of testing, the technicians subjected our four infant car seats to the front-crash testing, which resulted in three metrics: HIC head impact , G-clip chest impact , and maximum seat-back angle which measured how far the seat rotated forward during a crash. A spokesperson for Chicco confirmed that the seat was temporarily out of stock but would continue to be manufactured. In front-impact testing, the KeyFit scored better on head impact, and the B-Safe had a better G-clip chest-impact score. If you already own an infant car seat and are looking for information on how to use it safely, read our section on car seat laws and safety concerns below. Chicco Fit2 The Chicco Fit2 is rated to 35 pounds or 35 inches—the tallest height limit of all the car seats we considered.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} The side of the Chicco base has a lock-off for a shoulder-belt installation, which you should use for the shoulder strap with seat belt installs in cars older than that do not have locking seat belts. After 50 hours of research, including testing 10 popular infant car seats at home and crash-testing four finalists in a top lab to measure their front- and side-impact performance, we think the Chicco KeyFit 30 is the best one for most families. The handle is easy to adjust, and the straps are simple to tighten and loosen. Many of the parents we interviewed said they moved their child to a rear-facing convertible car seat far before the child officially outgrew their infant seat, typically when they felt the baby had become too heavy to carry in the bucket seat. These features can add a level of convenience, but ultimately they are not required for a quality seat. Photo: Michael Hession. An intuitive tightening system makes it a no-brainer to tighten the base third photo and the car seat straps last photo. We discovered through our research that, counterintuitively, more babies are injured in infant car seats when outside of the car than in car crashes themselves see our Care, use, and maintenance section below for more on proper car seat use. BabyGearLab found the B-Safe more challenging to install with the belt and without the base than other seats it tested. For this review, I traveled to Burlington, Wisconsin, to witness a team of engineers at MGA Research crash-test several top-rated infant car seats. Also, many brands have multiple, similar infant car seat models, reflecting variations in height and weight limits or the addition of optional features such as push-button latches instead of the metal hooks found on less expensive seats , self-ratcheting latches that assist in creating tension for a tight install, a lock-off plate on the base to aid in seat belt installation as opposed to LATCH installation , or a no-rethread harness, which allows you to adjust the strap height from the front of the seat rather than having to turn it over and rethread the straps back through. Seat weight: 9. An MGA technician installed each seat to the research testing bench, which then accelerated to between 28 and 30 mph before simulated impact. The danger comes down to how balanced or tip-prone a seat is, so we attempted to determine if some seats were more susceptible than others to falls off tables, beds, or other raised surfaces by checking how much the seat moved when jostled. It will keep most babies safe and comfortable through their first year and often well beyond. We know that federal authorities have been considering adding a side-impact test to their existing standards and upgrading the test bench they use for front-impact testing to a more modern model. The European belt pass, which places the shoulder belt around the back of the seat in addition to across the top, is considered safer and works with seats such as the Cybex Aton 2 and Peg Perego Primo Viaggio you can find a helpful list from The Car Seat Lady. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}Infant car seats are designed to click in and out of a base you leave installed in your car—making it easy to get a baby into a house or stroller with minimal disruption. The seat has a one-year warranty and a six-year expiration the same as the Chicco seat. Most hospitals, complying with the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines , do not discharge newborns until a staff member visually confirms the presence of a car seat to transport the baby safely home. A study showed that side-impact crashes accounted for 40 percent of car-crash fatalities for children ages 5 and younger this figure included crashes that were considered unsurvivable as well as cases in which there was gross misuse of the car seat. Several qualities distinguish infant car seats from larger convertible car seats , many of which have weight and height ranges that include most newborn infants. A bubble indicator on either side of the Chicco base provides a straightforward, intuitive gauge for measuring the accurate seat angle. We subjected our seven infant car seat finalists to a series of at-home tests that mimicked everyday use. After running seven seats through these at-home ease-of-use and cleaning tests, we were able to narrow the field to four seats that we found were the easiest and most intuitive to use:. The B-Safe 35 is compatible with our main stroller pick, the City Mini ; our runner-up, the Britax B-Lively ; our jogging stroller picks, the Thule Urban Glide 2 and BOB Revolution Pro ; our budget travel stroller pick, the Mountain Buggy Nano ; and many others with purchase of an adapter if not included with the stroller. Families who regularly rely on taxis or car services, or who otherwise travel regularly with the infant seat without its base, may prefer a seat with a European belt pass or the Doona combination car seat—stroller, one of our travel car seat picks. Photo: Rozette Rago. After extended discussions with experts, we concluded that most of those optional features are generally not necessary and not worth paying more for though we did find that a push-button latch was typically easier to use than a simple hook, particularly when uninstalling the base. In all cases, we used brand-new seats delivered directly to the Wisconsin facility and handled exclusively by MGA staff. The KeyFit 30 comes in seven colors : papyrus beige , orion gray , moonstone light gray , eucalyptus dark green , nottingham heather gray , lilla polka dots , and oxford navy. While we paid all the fees associated with the tests and went to observe the trials, only professionals from MGA conducted the seat preparation, testing, and analysis. Some Amazon reviewers have complained that the Britax B-Safe is too narrow , and that narrowness means it is harder to fish the straps out from under a child, especially a larger child. The NHTSA awarded the Chicco KeyFit 30 four stars out of five for ease of installation; during our at-home testing experience, it was the easiest seat to install, and securing a tight fit took relatively little time or hand strength. The KeyFit 30 is also relatively lightweight, easy to wipe clean of crumbs and crud, and comfortable to carry and to click in and out of its base. On a practical level, though the Chicco KeyFit 30 has a lower overall inch rating than competing seats, it may actually fit your child longer than a seat with a height limit a couple of inches higher. The Chicco KeyFit 30 performs as well as or better than pricier seats and is measurably safer and easier to use than less expensive ones. Like the Chicco KeyFit 30, the Britax B-Safe 35 has a seat belt lock-off on either side of the base and a level indicator on the side of the seat to check for the proper angle. The warranty is for one year, and the seat expiration is after six years. Using the above criteria, we narrowed the original list of 30 down to seven top infant car seats:. Most important, an infant seat is designed to be used only rear-facing, the position that is known to be far safer for small children. The seat is rated to 32 inches and 35 pounds 2 inches and 5 pounds more than the Chicco model. The second day, MGA put the four seats through the side-impact test, using the same CRABI month-old dummy without sensors and the bench model as outlined in the side-impact NPRM this bench model is different from the current and research frontal benches. We commissioned MGA Research—an independent lab in Burlington, Wisconsin, that both government agencies and car seat manufacturers contract with—to carry out front-impact and side-impact testing on our four infant car seat finalists. Though some seats have higher safety marks than others, figuring out how much of a difference these small variations in the scores makes—if any—is a challenge, even for experts. The Chicco KeyFit 30 is light at 9. It weighs Four shoulder strap height positions accommodate a range of baby sizes, and an infant insert included but not shown helps secure smaller babies. While researching this guide we interviewed 20 industry experts, safety authorities, and physicians, who detailed the most important safety and usability considerations for infant car seats. Ensuring consistent, proper installation and use is more likely to offer a safety edge than buying a seat that scored a sliver higher in a crash test. The Chicco KeyFit 30 can hold a child up to 30 inches tall or 30 pounds. We conducted interviews with representatives from seven leading car seat manufacturers, including product managers, engineers, and safety technicians. However, the proposed US standards exist, similar regulations have been in place in Europe and Australia for years, and many US manufacturers are already testing their seats to meet such standards. Each crash test took only seconds and relied on a CRABI month-old dummy with three head-acceleration sensors and three chest-acceleration sensors attached to its urethane skin. Personally, I am familiar with government rules and regulations after spending almost a decade working on Capitol Hill and at the Department of Commerce. Although we think the boots can be a nice feature in certain climates—especially as thick, puffy coats are discouraged in a car seat —a regular blanket tucked over the buckled-in child should work just as well. It does not work with Uppababy strollers, like our upgrade pick, the Cruz. Those limits are 2 inches shorter and 5 pounds lighter than the limits of several of the other seats we tested, notably the Britax B-Safe 35 and the Uppababy Mesa, which are each rated to 32 inches and 35 pounds. We also talked to scores of parents about their car seat experiences, scanned hundreds of Amazon reviews, and read dozens of articles from reputable publications and sites such as Consumer Reports, BabyGearLab , and Car Seats for the Littles. We started by researching the most popular infant car seats, about 30 models in all. We judged this weight to be low enough to limit the usability of this seat. As is consistent with all crash-testing protocol, technicians manually dismantled and disposed of the seats after the tests. We hired MGA Research , a Wisconsin laboratory that runs much of the car seat crash testing in the country, to conduct front-impact and side-impact crash tests specifically for this story. Babies outgrow most infant car seats by the time they reach 30 or 32 inches tall or between 30 and 35 pounds, whichever comes first. This infant car seat is easy to install properly and has a more generous height and weight limit than other seats we considered, but it may be too narrow for some kids. We decided to conduct tests that would reflect those proposed future standards. The typical kid reaches that height range at 12 to 19 months and will be older than 3 by the time they weigh 35 pounds, so for most people the height limit is more relevant than the weight limit. It fits kids up to 30 pounds or 30 inches—beyond the point most people want to use an infant seat. Seat weight: Like the KeyFit, the B-Safe has a seat belt lock-off to ensure that installation stays tight, as well as a level indicator to tell you if the seat is at the proper angle. The Chicco KeyFit 30 stands out from its peers in safety. Unlike other seats we tested, the Chicco KeyFit 30 does not have any of the options we identified as being enticing to parents but unnecessary, such as self-ratcheting latches a distinguishing feature on the Uppababy Mesa , a no-rethread harness, or central lock-off plates on the base. The KeyFit 30 is compatible with our main stroller pick, the Baby Jogger City Mini 2 ; our upgrade pick, the Uppababy Cruz ; our jogging stroller picks, the Thule Urban Glide 2 and BOB Revolution Pro ; our budget travel stroller pick, the Mountain Buggy Nano ; and many others with the purchase of an adapter if not included with the stroller. The synthetic material is a snap to clean—we easily wiped up any graham crackers or applesauce we spilled on the seat cover. In contrast to other car seats we tested, many of which use pictures, labels, or diagrams to explain installation, the Chicco KeyFit 30 was the easiest to figure out how to use, with little room for misunderstanding. We contacted current and former employees of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency responsible for vehicle and car seat safety. Installation is generally a bigger problem for people than seat safety, and the KeyFit 30 is easier to install than competitors, with or without a LATCH system. While the B-Safe lacks the clear, well-placed installation instructions like those on the KeyFit, we found it easier to click in and out of its base than that seat. The Chicco KeyFit 30 has better overall safety scores and is easier to install, adjust, carry, and click in and out than seats that cost much more. We also found the Chicco KeyFit 30 to be one of the easiest seats to click in and out of its base. For each seat, we read and analyzed the instructions, practiced installing the seat with the base, using both the latches and a seat belt, as well as without the base , repeatedly adjusted the straps and handles, and evaluated the experience of clicking the seat in and out of its base. Both efforts are currently stalled. For travel, we recommend that parents use their existing infant car seat, without the base, and for parents who expect to travel quite a bit, or rely heavily on car-sharing services and want to have a single car seat and stroller combination, we recommend the Doona , a pick in our forthcoming guide to travel car seats. We also spoke with car seat safety advocates, organizations that have argued both for and against a proposed side-impact standard, and leaders at the state level, such as Dr. Zeroing in on these seats was not easy. Our 20 total hours of background research helped us conclude that the ideal infant car seat should have several features and attributes. MGA conducted all our tests at its Burlington, Wisconsin, facility. Unlike convertible car seats, infant seats also come with a detachable base, allowing parents to easily click the seat in and out of the vehicle and to carry the baby in the seat or attach it to a stroller.