Infant car seats come in many shapes and sizes. They can be big, small, subtle and outlandish. They come affixed with gadgets and hinges, some of which look easy to manage for the average earth dweller and others that look as though they’ve been developed in a galaxy far, far away. They can be comfortable, inviting, odd looking, and entirely perplexing. They require constant care, adjustments, and their lifespan can seem shorter than that of the average fruit fly.
When it comes down to it finding the right car seat is an art form, requiring a good deal of time, energy, and research. Thankfully, there are a number of resources and consumer grades to help you determine which car seats (and what prices!) are right for you. We’ve included a few snippets below:
Consumer Reports recently published a list of the best car seat manufacturers and brands, following its requisite crash and safety testing of infant seats. All in all, 13 infant car seats earned the best rating post-crash test, which increased and/or changed parameters like speed (from 30 to 35 miles per hour) and seat placement to better gauge durability. Based on the report, infant seats tested ranged from $55 to $440. Somewhat surprisingly, higher costs didn’t always equal better quality. The $55 seat (the Evenflo Discovery 5), for example, earned the better rating, but the Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat G2, which rings up at $440, received a basic score. Cars.com put together the 13 best seats
- Britax B-Safe
- Chicco KeyFit
- Chicco KeyFit 30
- Cybex Aton 2
- Cosco Comfy Carry
- Evenflo Secure Ride 35
- Graco SnugRide 30 (Classic Connect)
- Maxi-Cosi Mico
- Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite
- Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite Plus
- Safety 1st onBoard35 Air
- The First Years Contigo
- The First Years Via I470
BabyCenter.com went straight to the source, asking moms what they believed to be the safest infant car seats on the market in 2014. The top-ranked Chicco Keyfit 30 ($195) features a bubble ball, similar to a carpenter’s balance bar, which helps determine if he seat is placed at the proper angle. Mom’s agreed that the Chicco Keyfit 30 is one of the easiest seats to install; as one mommy critic put it: “Light, but safe. That’s all that matters.” Others mommy picks from BabyCenter.com include the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 ($88), a bestseller that’s both safe and affordable, running just under the $100 mark. Ideal features include a comfortable headrest and neck support, along with providing a good deal of sunshade.
As Parent Magazine puts it, “Nothing is more stressful than the first time you have to trust the car and car seat to get your baby home.” While that first nervous moment may trump them all, it’s easy to forget how stressful your child’s ensuing growth patterns ultimately require you to do it over again. That’s why Parent recommends the Diono RadianR100 Convertible Car Seat ($207.99). The Diono can support up to 100 lbs, depending on how you use it: It holds the baby in rear-facing mode from 5 to 40 pounds, forward-facing 20 to 65 pounds, and forward-facing up to 57 inches. Bonus: It will also act as a booster up to 100 pounds. The 3-in-1 Graco Nautilus ($139.99) also comes highly recommended. The harness straps can be used from 20 to 65 pounds and can transform from a high-back booster to a backless booster, should you desire those options.