Searching for the best infant car seat
Aisles of car seat options might leave you scratching your head, but there are ways to determine which seat is right for your family. Understand the different types of infant car seats, think about the stroller you’ll use the most — check out five fabulous, new strollers — and the ease of transferring seats between cars. We’ve rounded up the best infant car seats and know you’ll find the perfect one for your new arrival.
Travel systems are one-stop-shopping for new moms
Travel systems take the guesswork out of pairing a stroller and an infant car seat. With a coordinating, sure-to-fit pairing of an infant bucket carrier seat and a stroller, travel systems are a way to check two items off your registry with one selection. Travel systems tend to be a little bulkier than some other options, so it’s important to research size and consider whether the size will be prohibitive for your lifestyle. Compare travel systems to convertible strollers before making a final decision.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat is one of the most consistently popular car seats on the market (Babies R Us, $190). The seat is easy to install, comes in a variety of neutral fabric options, and can be used with various Chicco strollers as a travel system. The “30” in its name means your infant can sit rear-facing in the KeyFit up to 30 pounds.
With a slim profile, the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect Infant Car Seat is popular for several different reasons (Babies R Us, $90). The seat is budget-friendly and can be used in a light-weight travel system with popular Graco strollers. The Classic Connect’s small size means it works well alongside other car seats — a feature much appreciated by moms of multiples or those with older children.
Style-conscious moms will love the Maxi-Cosi Mico AP Infant Car Seat (Babies R Us, $200). The Mico AP comes in a rainbow of bright and cheery shade, and it’s one of the lightest bucket carrier seats available. The Maxi-Cosi seat can be used with Maxi-Cosi and Quinny strollers — and other strollers, like the Bugaboo, with an adaptor.
Britax is entering the luxury modular stroller market with the new Britax Affinity, and the B-Safe 30 Infant Car Seat is the perfect seat for parents interested in a coordinating infant seat (Babies R Us, $180). The tangle-free, five-point harness will help parents smoothly strap in their infants each time. Many parents of older children are fiercely loyal to the Britax brand when it comes to convertible and booster seats, and the B-Safe is a wonderful introduction to the brand.
One of the best things about infant car seats is the ability to carry a sleeping baby between locations, but that very feature can annoy parents when their seats are uncomfortable to carry or remove from the car. The Baby Trend Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat features a one-hand seat release, so the seat is easy to remove from the base, and the triangle-shaped handle makes it comfortable for moms to carry (Babies R Us, $120).
Things to keep in mind when shopping for the best infant car seat for your family
- What is the weight and size of the seat? You’ll be carrying it, plus the weight of your baby, for months.
- Does the look of the seat matter to you? Some lines are more stylish and streamlined, while some focus on easy-to-clean neutrals.
- Do you need the car seat brand to match the stroller brand? Remember many strollers have adaptors that allow you to cross brands, especially when it comes to jogging and convertible strollers.
- Will you need an additional seat or base for other cars? Budget can play a part in the selection — remember all car seats pass through rigorous safety tests, a more expensive seat doesn’t mean a safer seat.