The 8 Best Infant Car Seats to Buy in 2018

The right fit for your baby and you

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Choosing the best car seat for your baby is an important decision for any parent. You want a car seat that is safe, easy-to-use, and also comfortable for your little one.

All infant car seats on the market must pass certain safety standards, but some car seats offer additional safety features — such as rebound bars, leg loads, European belt paths, or extra impact protection. Most infant car seats have additional cushion inserts to protect newborns and maintain proper head position.

Some models are more well-suited to travel or use in taxis. Others are a great choice for preemies or twins, thanks to highly-adjustable harnesses. Many infant car seats can be integrated with different strollers, though some may require the use of an adaptor. If you’re shopping for the best car seat for your infant, check out these top 8 choices.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Chicco KeyFit® 30 Infant Car Seat

Chicco KeyFit® 30 Infant Car Seat
Courtesy of Target

For an infant car seat that offers a combination of safety, convenience and value, the Chico KeyFit 30 is our top overall pick.

This model is one of the top-selling infant car seats on the market right now, and for good reason. The Chico KeyFit 30 is suitable for babies that weigh from 4 to 30 pounds and measure up to 30" in height. The car seat includes removable cushion inserts for babies up to 11 pounds to ensure proper positioning. The upper limits of the Chico’s weight and height range are a little lower than some other models of infant car seats but should be sufficient for most babies. If you have a long baby or you’re tall yourself, then you may want to look for a car seat that will accommodate babies up to 32" or 35". The car seat is compatible with a number of Chicco strollers, as well as a number of other popular strollers including the Baby Jogger, BOB, Britax, UPPABaby, and Valco – to name just a few.

The Chico KeyFit impresses with its simple installation. The base has a LATCH system for vehicles with this capability, or you can use the belt to secure the base. A ReclineSure leveling foot helps to get the position just right, while a built-in level on the base gives you an easy indication of when the seat is properly aligned. The carrier portion of the car seat weighs nine pounds — not the lightest seat on the market, but also not the heaviest. Like all car seats sold in the US, the Chico KeyFit 30 meets ASTM standards and Federal Motor Vehicle Standards. Note, though, that it is not FAA-approved for air travel.

Parents like the wide, tangle-free straps of the five-point harness system, and it’s an added bonus that they are adjustable without rethreading. However, there is only one crotch belt position which doesn’t allow for as much precision fitting as baby grows. Still, the Chico KeyFit 30 is a moderately-priced and quality-built infant car seat that parents and babies everywhere rely on for everyday transportation.

Best European: Peg Perego Primo Viaggio

If you’re looking for the engineering features and added safety measures popular in European car seats, choose the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio infant car seat.

This well-made car seat is made in Italy and has premium fabrics and a quality feel. Many parents remark that the seat itself feels like a high-end Italian product — but that’s not the only reason to buy it. The Primo Viaggio car seat features a color-coded European belt path for safer (and easier!) base-free installation in vehicles. It also has a rebound bar, which is a must-have European safety feature.

The Perego Primo Viaggio car seat accommodates babies that weigh from 4 to 35 pounds, and are up to 32" tall. The seat has a dual stage cushion system to meet the needs of the smallest of infants while later adjusting to fit larger babies. Additionally, the Side Impact Protection system can be adjusted to six different settings without needing to rethread the harness to ensure that your baby is protected. The Primo Viaggio fits into most Perego strollers, but options are more limited outside of the Perego product line. However, with an adaptor, it will fit into some Bugaboo, UPPAbaby, Baby Jogger, and BOB strollers.

Best for Preemies: Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat, Oakley

For an infant car seat that will accommodate petite babies with lower weight, such as preemies, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite is a top choice.

This car seat can accommodate babies that range from 4 to 35 pounds — so it will be ready to transport even your smallest bundle of joy. What really sets this car seat apart for twins and preemie babies is the highly adjustable harness. It features 4 different positions and is easy to adjust without rethreading. To further support small babies, the seat has a removable infant headrest and body cushion. The carrier portion of the car seat weighs 9.6 pounds.

The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite is part of the Click Connect product line, meaning it easily snaps into Click Connect Graco strollers. However, it is not compatible with other strollers. This infant car seat meets or exceeds all US-safety standards for car seats, and is also FAA-approved for air travel.

Best Under $100: Baby Trend Flex-Loc 30 lb. Infant Car Seat

Baby Trend Flex-Loc 30 lb. Infant Car Seat
Courtesy of Target

A safe, secure infant car seat doesn’t have to cost big bucks. Remember, all car seats sold in the United States must pass certain safety standards. For the best infant car seat under $100, choose the Baby Trend Flex Loc.

This car seat is suited for babies between 5 and 30 pounds and up to 30" in height, making it a slightly narrower range than some other car seats. Still, the range is average for most infants and should accommodate your little one. This more affordable car seat doesn’t skimp on some of the features more commonly found on higher-end seats, including an adjustable harness that doesn’t require rethreading. It also has a four-position height adjustable base and a quick-release LATCH system that parents appreciate.

The Baby Trend Flex Loc has a large canopy to shield baby’s eyes from the sun, and it also includes a boot to make the seat warm and cozy on chilly days. One drawback is the lack of a newborn cushion insert. The Baby Trend Flex Loc is also only compatible with other Baby Trend strollers.

Best for Travel: Doona Infant Car Seat

If you’re always on the go with a little one in tow, you need an infant car seat that can meet your travel demands. For this, we recommend the Doona Infant Car Seat.

This go-anywhere, do-anything car seat has built-in wheels to make it a stroller at a moment’s notice. Simply unfold the seat with the push of a button and the wheels extend and you’re on your way. This is a great choice for parents that plan to take their infant on vacation, out shopping or to parks. Instead of worrying about carrying a separate stroller, Doona does it all.

The Doona will fit babies from 4 to 36 pounds, and it also features a newborn cushion insert. When used with its base, the Doona is LATCH system compatible and has an installation indicator to let you know the seat is secure. The handlebar becomes an anti-rebound bar for added safety. Some parents comment that the Doona is heavy to use as a baby carrier — but that’s why the wheels are so convenient. Most people only lift it in and out of a vehicle and use it with the wheels extended the majority of the time, making the weight a non-issue. Overall, people love the Doona for travel and errands and it’s a great choice for babies on the go.

Best for Safety: Britax B Safe 35 Elite

You can’t wrap your baby in a safety bubble, but the next best thing is a super safe car seat like the Britax B Safe 35 Elite.

This American-made infant car seat features engineering and design features to keep your baby safe and secure in the car. The Britax B Safe 35 Elite features the company’s exclusive SafeCell Impact Protection technology. Most significantly, this means that the Britax B Safe 35 has a steel frame to add strength and resilience to the seat in the event of a crash. It also features an energy-absorbing shell and foam-lined headrest to keep baby from feeling an impact. A newborn cushion insert provides proper-fit for small infants.

The Britax B Safe 35 Elite will fit babies from 4 to 35 pounds and up to 35" in height. This makes it one of the longest-lasting car seats in terms of infant weight and height capacities. However, it seems that some babies don’t like the narrow seat and high walls that limit visibility. The Britax B Safe 35 Elite is compatible with Britax or BOB strollers only. Still, for a steel car seat that offers a superior level of protection and passes Federal Motor Vehicle Standards and FAA standards for air travel, it’s hard to pass up on the Britax B Safe 35 Elite.

Easiest to Clean: Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30

Sometimes, messy things happen in an infant car seat. For a seat that will make quick work of clean-up, choose the Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 car seat.

This infant car seat has an easy-to-remove insert that won’t require harness rethreading and can be put in the washing machine and dryer. This is a huge help to parents when dealing with a diaper disaster or bottle malfunction. The Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 will fit babies from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30" in height. It also features the brand’s ‘Cozi-Dozi’ head pillow to give extra head and neck support to newborns.

Other standout features of the Maxi Cosi Mico include the dream canopy — an oversized shield for baby with a mesh window. However, some parents found that the canopy wasn’t sturdy enough to keep out wind or heavy rain. This infant car seat also features an American belt path. It also has a rebound bar for added safety. The carrier portion of the car seat is just under nine pounds. Aside from the Maxi Cosi Taxi, you will need to use an adaptor to use the car seat with strollers from brands such as UPPAbaby, Nuna, or Babyzen.

Best for Taxis: Cybex Aton 2

If you’re an urban dweller or plan to make frequent city trips, you may be looking for an infant car seat that will work to get in and out of taxis easily. The Cybex Aton 2 car seat is a great choice for use in taxis or Uber-like rides.

The Aton 2 features a European belt path, which is safer than an American belt path for base-free vehicle use. It also has an adjustable leg load which is an added safety feature in the event of a crash, since it keeps the seat from rotating forward. A LATCH system is also available for vehicles equipped with this feature. This infant car seat weighs less than 9 pounds, so it’s lighter and quicker to grab as you load it in and out of a vehicle.

The Cybex Aton 2 will hold babies from 4 to 35 pounds, and up to 30" in height. It also has a removable cushion insert to help newborns stay safe in the car seat. This infant car seat meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and is also FAA-approved. It’s compatible with UPPAbaby, MaxiCosi, and several other premium strollers — but you’ll need to use an adaptor to make it work. Overall, the lightweight and safe Cybex Aton 2 works well for taxi or Uber rides.

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