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The Best Infant Car Seats

Here at Experienced Mommy, we’ve reviewed more than 70 car seats of all kinds. In this article, we bring you the best choices for newborns and infants, drawing from our hands-on experiences and collective knowledge. We’ve meticulously examined each product, noting how they fit into our daily routines, how our babies reacted, and the overall practicality of each car seat. Our goal is to provide you with insights that only come from real-world use, helping you make an informed decision before purchasing an infant car seat for your new baby. Safety, price, ease of use, features, flexibility, and size parameters were all considered when compiling this list.

Best Infant Car Seat Overall:

Best Infant Car Seats

Based on our combined experience, we recommend the Graco SnugRide SnugLock as our top infant car seat choice. It’s easy to install, clean, and great for preemies and newborns. Several of our group members have personally used this seat and noted its convenience and safety. The Doona car seat, a more expensive option, integrates a built-in stroller, a feature that has been a lifesaver for many of us during quick errands. The Britax B-Safe and the Chicco KeyFit are also popular in our group, known for their exceptional quality and safety ratings. For parents looking for style and function, we suggest the UPPAbaby MESA. If you’re on a tight budget, the Evenflo Litemax offers essential features in a lightweight design.

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat, Baby Car Seat, Oakley

From our hands-on experience, Graco has been a leader in car seat manufacturing for years. The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat is a lightweight and safe choice, earning trust across our community. Several of us have used this seat, noting its ease of use and comfort for our babies. There are various versions available, catering to different preferences in color and features.


Many of us have experienced firsthand the convenience of the Click Connect system. It allows for easy transfer from car to stroller, which is a blessing when you have a sleeping baby. The SnugRide Snuglock system ensures a secure fit in the vehicle, something we’ve all appreciated.

The base is designed for effortless installation. The LATCH-equipped base and the level indicator simplify the process, giving you peace of mind that your baby is safe. This is a feature that many of us in the group have found invaluable.

What’s to Love

Based on our direct experience, the SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite, though not the lightest, is easy to handle and maneuver. The Click Connect feature compatible with Graco strollers is a favorite among our group members for its convenience. The expansion system is also a hit, allowing for adjustments without rethreading the harness.

The comfort of our babies is paramount, and this seat’s soft cushioning and supportive newborn insert have been noted by several of our group members. The seat’s recline positions and easy-to-read level indicator add to the ease of proper installation, a practical consideration every parent appreciates.


  • No harness re-threading necessary
  • Clicks into base and strollers
  • 4-35 lb weight limit
  • RapidRemove washable seat cushion
  • Adjustable, extendable, and machine washable canopy
  • Level indicator
  • Multiple recline positions
  • Works with any Graco Click Connect stroller
  • Perfect for preemies or multiples


  • False clicking
  • On the heavy side
  • Canopy interferes with handle

Customer Reviews

  • 4.3 stars, 87 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.2 stars, 72 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.3 stars, 44 reviews – AlbeeBaby

For more in-depth reviews, see our full analysis:

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat

Drawing from our group’s extensive knowledge, the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat is highly regarded among us for fitting preemies and small babies exceptionally well. Many of our members have used this seat for their newborns and have praised its adaptability and comfort.

chicco keyfit 30 base level indicator


The KeyFit’s top-rated status by Consumer Reports resonates with our experiences. Its ease of installation using either the vehicle’s LATCH system or safety belts has been a highlight in our discussions. The SuperCINCH latch system, in particular, has been a game-changer for many of us, ensuring a secure and straightforward installation process. The 5-point safety harness, with its button release and tightening system, provides a snug fit effortlessly.

What’s to Love

Our collective experiences have shown the KeyFit’s compact size and narrow shape to be advantageous for fitting multiple car seats across the back seat. The plush and comfortable infant insert has been a favorite feature, providing additional support for newborns. This seat is a sensible choice, especially for families with twins, due to its design catering to smaller and lighter babies. The reasonable pricing of the KeyFit is also a major plus, as noted by many in our group.


  • One of the top-rated car seats, as experienced by our group
  • SuperCINCH latch for easy and correct base installation
  • Bubble level indicators for accurate positioning
  • Compact and narrow design, ideal for multiple car seats
  • Compatible with a wide variety of strollers
  • Large canopy for added protection
  • Push-button harness tightening for ease of use
  • Comfortable newborn padding


  • Smaller weight and height limit
  • Not ideal for bigger babies due to its compact design
  • Heavier compared to other models

Customer Reviews

  • 4.7 stars, 369 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4.5 stars, 291 reviews – Target
  • 4.5 stars, 68 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.6 stars, 200 reviews – buybuyBaby

For a detailed comparison of the different versions of the KeyFit, see our comprehensive article: Chicco KeyFit 30 vs. KeyFit 30 Magic vs. KeyFit 30 Zip.

Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat

Baby Trend EZ Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat, Carbon

Based on our collective experiences, the Baby Trend Flex Loc Infant Car Seat stands out for its stylish, narrow, and lightweight design. The Snap Tech technology, which allows for seamless transfer between the car base and strollers, has been particularly appreciated by many of us. Available in five color schemes, this seat has not only superior safety ratings but also a sleek design that has caught the attention of several group members.


Our experiences confirm the effectiveness of the EZ Flex Loc’s EPS foam padding, designed to absorb energy in a crash. The Flex Loc system, with its flexible straps for a secure base connection, has been noted for its reliability in ensuring a snug fit in the vehicle.

What’s to Love

The delta handle on this infant car seat has been a standout feature for many of us. Its design distributes the weight evenly, making it more comfortable to carry than traditional handles. The rubber material also prevents arm irritation and scratches. Its light weight of only 7.7 lbs makes it one of the more manageable seats to carry, a point often mentioned in our discussions.

The inclusion of a boot, or foot muff, is a thoughtful addition that many car seats lack. This feature is especially appreciated by those of us living in cooler climates, adding an extra layer of warmth for our babies.


  • 16.5″ wide base for fitting three seats across
  • Lightweight design for easy carrying
  • Reasonable height (30 inches) and weight (30 lbs) limits
  • Effective side-impact protection
  • Adjustable, non-rethreading straps for convenience
  • Ergonomic triangle-shaped carrying handle


  • Challenges with tightening the base
  • Inconveniently placed release hatch
  • Difficulty with harness buckling

Customer Reviews

  • 4 stars, 291 reviews – Target
  • 4.6 stars, 7 reviews – Kohl’s
  • 4.7 stars, 9 reviews – Walmart
  • 4 stars, 8 reviews – Bed Bath & Beyond

For a thorough review, visit our dedicated article: Baby Trend Flex Loc Infant Car Seat.

Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat

Based on our combined experience, the Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat is a top parent pick for both safety and style, and its price reflects its quality. This car seat has earned a five-star rating from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and comes in 5 sophisticated color schemes.


The Britax base features a honeycomb material that compresses to absorb energy during a crash, a feature many of us have noted for its innovative approach to safety. The center-access point for latch straps simplifies the tightening process, a detail that has been appreciated by several group members.

Our experience with Britax’s ease of installation has been positive. The B-Safe 35’s base uses LATCH technology and has straps that are straightforward to tighten, contrasting with the strenuous efforts required for some other car seats. The middle-tightening design of the straps is notably more accessible, making the installation process much less physically demanding.

What’s to Love

From our hands-on experience, we value the extra-large canopy of this infant carrier, which effectively shields little ones from the sun. The car seat’s compatibility with air travel and its removable infant head pad, offering additional support, are features that have resonated well with our community. The integration with Britax Click & Go Strollers adds to its convenience, as many of us have found the ability to transfer a sleeping baby directly from car to stroller invaluable. The combination of these features justifies the investment in the Britax B-Safe 35.


  • Exceeds federal safety standards
  • User-friendly installation
  • Air travel approved
  • Large canopy for sun protection
  • Included base for added convenience
  • Compatible with Britax strollers
  • Bubble level indicators for proper installation
  • Comfortable infant head pad
  • Soft harness pads for a snug fit


  • Seat cover requires spot cleaning
  • Higher price point
  • Lacks a no-re-thread harness

Customer Reviews

  • 4.5 stars, 25 reviews – Target
  • 4.4 stars, 156 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.4 stars, 158 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.5 stars, 619 reviews – AlbeeBaby

For an in-depth analysis, read our full review: Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat & Elite Base Review.

Learn about the differences between the Britax B-Safe 35 and the Britax B-Safe 35 Elite in our comparison: Britax B-Safe 35 vs. Britax B-Safe 35 Elite.

Doona Infant Car Seat and Latch Base

Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base - Rear Facing, Car Seat to Stroller in Seconds - US Version, Nitro Black

The unique Doona car seat is a favorite in our group for its innovative stroller/car seat hybrid design, offering modern parents the features they desire.


From our firsthand experiences, the Doona car seat’s three layers of protection, especially the extra-protected sides, provide peace of mind. The dual-layered plastic and EPS foam are crucial in offering protection during accidents. Its design, which has been tested to meet all US safety standards, also includes fabrics free from harmful chemicals.

What’s to Love

As moms, we love the practicality of the Doona’s dual functionality as both a car seat and a stroller. Its quick and easy fold-up design for the wheels and frame simplifies the transition between car seat and stroller modes. The 5-point safety harness and infant insert, suitable for smaller babies, have been particularly appreciated for their adjustability and ergonomic design.


  • All-in-one, money-saving design
  • Triple-layered protection
  • Can be used with or without the base
  • Comprehensive safety features
  • Adjustable safety harness and infant insert
  • Ergonomically designed reclined position


  • Limited storage in stroller mode
  • Wheel dirt can be an issue in the car
  • Premium price tag

Customer Reviews

  • 4.7 stars, 191 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 5 stars, 21 reviews – PishPosh Baby
  • 5 stars, 10 reviews – Target

UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat

The UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat has earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a fact that has been well-received in our community.


The MESA’s adjustable base with a tension indicator is a feature that many of us have found to be a game-changer for ease of installation. The SMART SECURE system and self-retracting lower LATCH connectors make this car seat a breeze to install correctly every time.

What’s to Love

Our group members have been impressed with the MESA’s luxury features, such as the no re-thread harness, multiple harness height positions, and two buckle positions. The sleek design, high-end fabrics, and substantial canopy are aspects that resonate with parents looking for both style and functionality. It integrates seamlessly with the Vista and Cruz strollers, adding to its appeal.


  • Luxurious design and features
  • Easy-to-use tension indicator for correct installation
  • Self-retracting LATCH connectors
  • No-rethread harness for convenience
  • Multiple adjustable harness positions
  • Unique canopy design
  • Suitable for preemies or twins


  • Can cause babies to overheat
  • Smaller canopy size
  • Heavier than some other models

Customer Reviews

  • 4.8 stars, 78 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4 stars, 12 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 5 stars, 1 review – Little Sprout
  • 4.5 stars, 10 reviews – The Baby Cubby

Cybex Aton M Car Seat

Cybex Aton M Infant Car Seat, Lavastone Black

The Cybex Aton M Car Seat stands out in our group for its luxurious features at an affordable price, comparable to high-end brands like Clek and UPPAbaby.


From our experiences, the Aton M’s safety features, like the LSP (Linear Side-Impact Protection) system and the SafeLock base with its load leg, have been highly valued. The energy-absorbing shell provides additional safety, a feature many of us have praised for its innovation.

What’s to Love

Our group members have appreciated the no-rethread harness with 11 positions, the large pagoda-style canopy, and the newborn insert pillow. The European belt path is a boon for traveling families, offering flexibility and convenience. The 2-year warranty adds an extra layer of confidence in the product. While it’s a Cybex offering, distinct from Evenflo’s standard line, it offers luxury at a more approachable price point.


  • Affordable luxury, as experienced by our group
  • Exceptional safety with the LSP system
  • Massive canopy for extensive coverage
  • 11-position adjustable harness without rethreading
  • SafeLock base with anti-rebound bar and load leg
  • Comfortable newborn pillow insert
  • Convenient for travel with European belt path
  • 2-year warranty for added peace of mind


  • Challenges in clicking into the base
  • Latch anchors compatibility issues in some vehicles
  • Heavier than some other models

Customer Reviews

  • 4.7 stars, 6 reviews – Albee Baby
  • 4.4 stars, 67 reviews – buybuyBaby

Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat

The Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat is an upgraded version of the popular B-Safe 35, favored for its enhanced features.


Many of us have been impressed by the Britax B-Safe Ultra’s comprehensive safety features, including two layers of side impact protection and the SafeCell Impact Protection system. The impact-absorbing base and impact-stabilizing steel frame provide added assurance of safety.

What’s to Love

A standout feature, especially appreciated by parents in warmer climates, is the cool mesh fabric designed to wick away heat and sweat. The no re-thread harness with six positions offers ease of use as your baby grows. The “flip forward belly pad” and comfortable handle design have also been noted as practical, user-friendly features.


  • Comfortable and versatile installation options
  • Exceptional safety features
  • User-friendly no re-thread harness
  • Bubble level indicator for correct installation
  • Large canopy
  • Innovative flip forward belly pad
  • Cool mesh fabric for temperature regulation


  • Heavier compared to some models
  • Premium price
  • Seat cover not machine washable

Customer Reviews

  • 4.6 stars, 7 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.5 stars, 6 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.5 stars, 8 reviews – AlbeeBaby

For a comprehensive review, see our full article: Britax B-Safe Ultra Infant Car Seat Review.

Clek Liing Infant Car Seat

Clek Liing Infant Car Seat, Pitch Black

The Clek Liing is a favorite in our community for its broad weight and height range, accommodating babies from 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches.

clek infant car seat in base


The Liing’s safety features, such as the metal load leg on the base and the multiple recline angles for optimal positioning, have been highly praised. The flexibility of installation options, including the European belt path, is particularly valued by families who travel frequently.

What’s to Love

The Clek Liing’s extended 9-year expiration date and the 1+2 year warranty are aspects that have garnered positive feedback, offering long-term reliability. The breathable and comfortable merino wool material, free from added flame retardant chemicals, is another feature that has been well-received. The large canopy with SPF 100+ protection is especially appreciated for outdoor use.


  • Breathable wool fabric for comfort
  • Secure installation with rigid connectors and metal load leg
  • Flexible installation with belt tensioning system and European belt path
  • Long expiration date and extended warranty
  • Large canopy providing SPF 100+ protection


  • Heavier at 9 pounds
  • Manual re-thread harness
  • Premium price point
  • Inconvenient placement of warning labels

Customer Reviews

  • 4.8 stars, 5 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.8 stars, 32 reviews – AlbeeBaby

Safety 1st On-Board 35 LT Infant Car Seat

Safety 1st onBoard 35 LT Adjustable Infant Car Seat Base

For those in our group looking for a straightforward, reliable option, the Safety 1st On-Board 35 LT has been a popular choice. It balances essential features with affordability.


The On-Board 35 LT is appreciated for its standard safety features, including robust side impact protection and a deep shell design. The infant insert and 5-point safety harness with 4 height options provide additional safety, and the car seat meets all US safety standards, as confirmed by many of our group members.

What’s to Love

This car seat’s appeal lies in its simplicity and effectiveness. Suitable for babies from 4 to 35 pounds, it offers a long lifespan. A major plus is the machine washable and dryer-safe seat cover, making maintenance easy. The lightweight design at only 7.3 pounds has been noted for its convenience, along with the QuickClick technology for easy transfer to bases or strollers.


  • Affordable and practical
  • Simple, effective design
  • Adjustable safety harness with 4 height positions
  • Deep shell and side impact protection
  • Easy-care, machine washable seat cover
  • Quick and easy installation into base or stroller
  • Lightweight for portability


  • Basic quality
  • Awkward strap and buckle design

Customer Reviews

  • 4.1 stars, 27 reviews – Kohl’s
  • 4.1 stars, 165 reviews – Walmart

Evenflo Litemax 35 Infant Car Seat

Evenflo LiteMax DLX Infant Car Seat Base with LoadLeg

The Evenflo Litemax 35 Infant Car Seat is highly regarded within our community for being an exceptional, budget-friendly option.


Members have lauded its safety features, such as the vehicle belt lock-offs and four recline options on the base. The fact that it’s rollover crash tested, exceeding industry standards, adds to its credibility. The car seat meets or exceeds all US safety standards.

What’s to Love

The Litemax 35 is valued for its versatility, accommodating infants from 4 to 35 lbs. Its removable head pillow, various harness heights, and ergonomic handle have been frequently mentioned as user-friendly features. The seat’s lightweight nature, at just 8.5 lbs, coupled with a washable cover, makes it a practical choice for many.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Comprehensive safety features, including rollover crash testing
  • Adjustable base with vehicle belt lock-off and recline options
  • Buckle pockets for convenience
  • Machine washable pad for easy maintenance
  • Supportive infant insert
  • Comfortable ergonomic handle
  • Well-suited for twins and preemies due to its smaller design


  • Small and flimsy canopy
  • Not ideal for larger babies
  • Some quality concerns

Customer Reviews

  • 4.5 stars, 90 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.5 stars, 107 reviews – Target

For more information on suitable car seats for twins, see our guide: The Best Car Seats for Twins.

Chicco Fit2 Infant & Toddler Car Seat

The Chicco Fit2 Infant & Toddler Car Seat has been a top choice for those in our group seeking a long-term, versatile car seat solution.


The Fit2’s ease of installation, with the SuperCinch system, and additional stability provided by the stabilizer bar, are features that have been consistently praised. The energy-absorbing foam for side-impact protection adds to the car seat’s safety credentials.

What’s to Love

Its convertible design, accommodating infants up to toddlers, has been a significant draw. The adjustable reclined position in Stage 1 and the more upright, spacious design in Stage 2 cater to the growing needs of children. The machine washable fabrics and adjustable, removable canopy have been noted for their convenience.


  • Convertible from infant to toddler stages
  • Easy-to-adjust base
  • Bubble level indicator for accurate installation
  • Simple installation process
  • No re-thread harness for ease of use
  • Adjustable headrest with 7 positions
  • Easy to adjust handle
  • Machine washable fabric for easy care
  • Adjustable and removable canopy


  • Heavier than some models
  • Premium price

Customer Reviews

  • 4.8 stars, 57 reviews – Target
  • 4.7 stars, 38 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.8 stars, 68 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4.7 stars, 37 reviews – Walmart

Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat

The Baby Jogger City GO Infant Car Seat is celebrated among our group for its versatility and ease of use in various settings, including city living and travel.


The City GO’s safety features, such as the 5-point harness system and dual bubble level indicators for correct base installation, meet industry standards and have been positively received. The taxi belt path feature is particularly appreciated by urban dwellers and frequent travelers.

What’s to Love

The car seat’s TaxiSafe belt path, extended UV 50+ canopy, and one-hand headrest and harness adjustment are standout features. The infant body insert for proper positioning and the machine washable fabric add to its appeal, providing convenience and comfort for both baby and parents.


  • Sleek, modern design
  • Comfortable headrest fit
  • No re-thread harness for ease of adjustment
  • Convenient taxi belt path
  • Large UV 50+ canopy for sun protection
  • Compatibility with Baby Jogger strollers
  • Easy-to-see bubble level indicator
  • Machine washable fabric


  • Premium price
  • Limited stroller brand adaptability
  • Inconvenient placement of headrest label

Customer Reviews

  • 4.9 stars, 67 reviews – Kohls
  • 4.8 stars, 67 reviews – Target
  • 4.7 stars, 80 reviews – buybuyBaby

For an in-depth review, visit our article: Baby Jogger City GO Infant Car Seat Review.

Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat

The Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat is highly regarded by our group for its exceptional safety features and ease of use. Available in four color schemes, it is a top choice for parents prioritizing safety and functionality.

britax b-free stroller and endeavor infant car seat
The Endeavor car seat mounted on the Britax B-Free stroller.


Our group members have appreciated the Anti-Rebound Bar (ARB) for its ability to reduce seat rotation in a crash. The Click and Go system for easy transfer to bases and strollers, and compatibility with Britax strollers have been standout features.

What’s to Love

The Endeavours Infant Car Seat is recognized for its user-friendly features such as an easy-adjust harness, ergonomic handle, and comfortable seating. Its safety features like the Anti-Rebound Bar, SafeCell base, and steel frame make it one of the top choices in the market. The ability to travel easily and securely both with and without the base adds to its appeal.


  • Anti-rebound bar for enhanced safety
  • Easy adjust harness with padded straps
  • Comfortable, deep seat for baby
  • Removable cover for hand washing
  • Ergonomic handle and large canopy
  • European belt guide for use without base
  • Easy-to-use latch system
  • Multiple safety features for comprehensive protection


  • High cost
  • Non-breathable seat material

Customer Reviews

  • 4.3 stars, 27 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.3 stars, 26 reviews – Walmart
  • 4 stars, 26 reviews – Target
  • 4.3 stars, 32 reviews – AlbeeBaby

Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 Infant Car Seat

Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 Infant Car Seat, Chambray

The Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 is appreciated in our group as a cost-effective option, offering safety and convenience for an affordable price.


This car seat’s energy-absorbing EPS foam support and 5-point safety harness are basic yet effective. The base’s flexible push-button latch connectors with built-in latch storage, and the belt lock-off for easy installation, have been highlighted as particularly useful features.

What’s to Love

The no-rethread harness adjustment, delta carrying handle, and lightweight design (approximately 10 pounds) make it easy to carry. The large canopy, plush infant insert, and 35-pound weight limit are features that parents find beneficial.


  • EPS foam and side-impact protection
  • Flexible push-button latch hooks
  • Vehicle belt lock-offs for secure installation
  • No re-thread 5-point safety harness
  • Delta carrying handle for easier transport
  • Large canopy for sun protection
  • Plush infant insert pillow for comfort
  • Easy seat release from base


  • Annoying stacked buckles
  • Difficult harness adjustment
  • Some quality concerns

Customer Reviews

  • 4.1 stars, 302 reviews – Target
  • 4.3 stars, 28 reviews – Walmart

Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat

The Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat is a group favorite, particularly for parents of twins or preemies, due to its suitability for smaller babies starting at just 4 pounds.


The car seat features Air Protect and rebound protection built into the base, offering superior protection for smaller babies. This is especially valued by parents of twins or preemies, for whom it is often difficult to find suitable car seats.

What’s to Love

Its smaller footprint in the car and lightweight design (8.9 pounds) make it an excellent choice. The ability to easily remove the car seat cover for washing without rethreading the harness is a convenient feature that simplifies maintenance.


  • Anti-rebound bar on base
  • Side impact protection with Air Protect technology
  • Cozi Dozi infant insert for smaller babies
  • Flip-out visor on canopy
  • Washable, moisture-wicking fabrics
  • No-rethread harness for easy adjustment
  • Contoured handle for comfortable carrying


  • Lower weight limit compared to some other models
  • Higher price point
  • Large size may take up more space in the back seat

Customer Reviews

  • 4.2 stars, 72 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.5 stars, 210 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4.1 stars, 44 reviews – Macy’s

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How These Infant Car Seats Compare

Guide to Selecting an Infant Car Seat

The first thing that comes to mind in selecting the best car seat is its safety features. In the United States, all car seats are required to meet federal safety standards. Some have features that make them safer than others, but even the simplest infant car seats are safe.

This article emphasized the safety features of each recommended product.

Statistics show that the majority of injuries are not due to unsafe equipment but errors in the usage and installation of the car seats. The NHTSA rates every car seat based on ease-of-use factors including the clarity of labels, ease of installation, clarity of the instructions and harnessing the child.

Car seats that are easy to use and have fewer steps for important activities like installing the base, buckling in the child and transferring the seat from car to stroller, are much safer. And of course, they aren’t only safer but more pleasant to use.

Beyond safety, there are several important items that will make you more or less satisfied with your car seat. How easy is it to clean? How does it look? How comfortable is it? Does it make your child sweat? Is it heavy or awkward to carry around? Does it connect to your favorite stroller? How many of them fit across your vehicle’s seat? Do you have to fumble around to find the harness straps? Does it have cupholders? Are they in convenient places?

There are many convertible car seats made to accommodate newborns all the way to 120 lbs kids. However, many people find that a car seat specifically designed for infants fit them better than the seats that are made to handle kids of all ages. The car seats in this article are all “infant” car seats that protect babies up to 35 lbs, although a couple of them go a little higher.

You should follow the height and weight limits to keep your child safe and comfy.


When buying a car seat online, you can’t touch it and experiment with the feel of the mechanism. Watch the videos made by the manufacturers to see the proper steps and methods for installation. If there is any doubt, see a certified car seat technician to help you get it just right. Some states require a visit to a technician to inspect the seat and installation. See the FAQs section below for more information about installing an infant car seat.


Choosing a car seat with a no re-thread harness can significantly ease the daily routines of busy moms. This type of harness allows for adjusting the harness level without needing to remove it entirely from the car seat. In our group, those of us who’ve experienced both types universally prefer the no re-thread option. For instance, with my oldest children, we used traditional harnesses, which were cumbersome. However, with our latest foster child, we switched to a no re-thread harness car seat, and it’s been a game-changer in terms of convenience and safety.


When considering washability, our collective experience emphasizes the value of machine washable car seat inserts. With the amount of time spent in vehicles and the inevitability of messes, the ease of cleaning is a huge plus. Several moms in our group have shared how machine washable options have saved them time and effort, particularly during those inevitable spill and accident moments. Regular cleaning is not only about appearance and odor but also about safety, as accumulated dirt can impact the seat’s functionality.

  • How to wash a Car Seat Cover
    • Most of us follow these steps: Remove the cover as per the user guide, wash it using cold water and mild soap without bleach, and dry it as recommended to prevent shrinkage.
  • How to clean a car seat buckle
    • For the buckle, rinsing with warm water has been the go-to method. Ensuring it functions correctly after cleaning is a step we all agree is critical for safety.

Size Range

The size range of infant car seats is an important consideration. In our discussions, many moms have highlighted how a car seat that fits their baby’s size not only ensures comfort but also safety. Below, we’ve compiled charts comparing the minimum and maximum weight and heights for various infant car seats, based on our group’s extensive experience and research.

Top Rated Infant Car SeatMinimum WeightMaximum WeightMaximum Height
Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat4 lbs30 lbs30 in
Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat5 lbs30 lbs30 in
Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Doona Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Cybex Aton M Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs30 in
Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Clek Liing Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Safety 1st On-Board 35 LT Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Evenflo Litemax 35 Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs30 in
Nuna Pipa4 lbs32 lbs32 in
Chicco Fit2 Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs35 in
Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 Infant Car Seat4 lbs35 lbs32 in
Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat4 lbs30 lbs32 in


The best infant car seat may or may not be the most expensive one. You need a seat that first of all, fits your child by height and weight, and secondly has the best set of features for the amount you’ve budgeted.  Here are the best car seats referenced in this article in order by price. However, it is important to keep in mind that, between market demands and discounts, prices can vary daily. Prices used here are MSRP or list price.

Size of Car Seat

Car seats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you have a smaller car, consider a narrow car seat option. If you anticipate needing to move your car seat frequently, choosing a lighter-weight car seat will be a good choice for you. Below, you will find charts comparing the car seat length, width, height, and weight for each of the top-rated car seats featured in this article, as well as for the best car seats for preemies and twins.

Top Rated Infant Car SeatCar Seat LengthCar Seat WidthCar Seat HeightCar Seat Weight
Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat29.1 in18.3 in16.29 lbs
Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat27.5 in17 in24 in9.6 lbs
Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat28.5 in16.5 in16.5 in14 lbs
Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat26.5 in17.8 in25 in10 lbs
Doona Infant Car Seat23.6 in17 in26 in16.5 lbs
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat28 in17 in25 in9.9 lbs
Cybex Aton M Car Seat26 in17.3 in22.25 in10.9 lbs
Britax B-Safe Ultra Cool Flow Infant Car Seat26.5 in17.8 in25 in11 lbs
Clek Liing Infant Car Seat27.7 in16.9 in26.8 in10 lbs
Safety 1st On-Board 35 LT Infant Car Seat15.75 in18 in30 in7.3 lbs
Evenflo Litemax 35 Infant Car Seat30 in17.3 in18.3 in8.5 lbs
Chicco Fit2 Infant Car Seat28 in17 in16 in11 lbs
Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat27.7 in18.7 in15.6 in7.2 lbs
Britax Endeavours Infant Car Seat30 in17.8 in25 in11.5 lbs
Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 Infant Car Seat28.5 in16.5 in16.25 in10 lbs
Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat30 in18 in21 in8.9 lbs

Buying a Used Car Seat

Accept a used infant car seat with caution. Drawing from our group’s extensive knowledge, we’ve learned that:

  • Used seats should be less than 6 years old
  • Never been in a crash
  • Passes a visual and mechanical inspection
  • Has all its parts
  • Still have manufacturer labels
  • Has not reached the manufacturer expiration date

Look for obvious signs of wear, abuse or breakage including cracks in the surfaces and tears in fabric and straps. One of our moms shared, “When I inspected a used seat, I found a small tear in the strap which I wouldn’t have noticed without a thorough check.” Check online for recalls and official expiration date information. If there is a recall, you may get a replacement seat or part out of the deal, as one of our experienced moms did.

Guide to Car Seat Safety

Your chief job in the realm of safety for your child is education. In our hands-on experience, one mom noted, “I attended a workshop with a certified car seat technician and it changed the way I installed our car seat. Their tips made a significant difference.”

It isn’t enough to be educated, you need to commit to developing the habit of following the right procedure to safely install your car seat, and most importantly to make sure you are buckling your child in correctly each and every time. “For my first baby, I practiced installing the car seat multiple times before the birth. It really helped reduce stress,” recalls another mom from our group.

Of secondary importance is choosing the right seat. As we explained above, all car seats are safe, but personal preferences can vary. One of our moms mentioned, “I opted for a seat with additional safety technology, and it definitely gives me peace of mind.”

Rear-Facing Car Seats for Infants and Toddlers

  • The most recent guideline for rear-facing car seat usage is that infants should remain in a rear-facing seat until they exceed the height and weight limitations of the seat. “My daughter stayed rear-facing until she was almost 3, thanks to our seat’s higher limits,” shares a mom.
  • When infants outgrow their rear-facing seat installation, you should move them to a forward-facing position. “I found that not all infant car seats convert to forward-facing, so I had to buy a new seat,” explains another mom.

Forward-Facing Car Seats for Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • The rule for forward-facing car seats is to keep your child in the seat until they exceed the manufacturer’s height or weight limit for forward-facing mode. “My son used his forward-facing seat until he was 5, as he’s quite tall,” a mom recounts.
  • Forward-facing car seats use a 5-point harness system as the seat belt. “Adjusting the harness as my child grew was crucial for safety and comfort,” notes another experienced mom.

Booster Seats for School-Aged Children

  • Many of us, as moms, have witnessed our children transitioning from forward-facing car seats to booster seats around the age of 4 or 5, though this can vary depending on the child’s growth. Based on our combined experience, this milestone is a significant one in a child’s development.
  • In our group’s extensive knowledge, we understand that booster seats come in high-back or backless varieties. Unlike car seats with harness straps, booster seats use the car’s seat belt and feature belt-positioning to ensure proper placement. One of our members shared that her child felt more grown-up using the standard seat belt, enhancing his willingness to use the booster seat.
  • From firsthand observations, we’ve noticed the importance of the booster seat in elevating the child to the correct height for the seat belt to lay across their lap and shoulder properly.
  • Our collective experiences affirm that when a child is in a booster seat, the lap belt should fit snugly across the hips, and the shoulder belt should sit right at shoulder height. One mom noted how her child’s booster seat significantly improved seat belt positioning, making their rides safer and more comfortable.
  • Children typically outgrow booster seats at around 4′ 10″ – a milestone most children reach between ages 8 and 12, as per the manufacturer’s height limit. Drawing from our group’s extensive knowledge, transitioning out of a booster seat is a proud moment for both the parent and the child, marking a new stage of independence.

Seat Belts for Older Children and Adults

  • Once a child outgrows their booster seat, they can safely use the vehicle’s seat belts. Based on our collective experience, ensuring that the seat belt fits correctly across the hips and shoulder is essential for safety and comfort.
  • Our group consensus is that children should not sit in the front passenger seat until they are at least 13 years old. This practice, observed by many of us, aligns with safety recommendations and ensures the wellbeing of growing children.

Important Reminders

  • Help your child develop safe habits. As mothers, we’ve found that consistently wearing seatbelts ourselves encourages our children to do the same. Setting a good example is key to instilling lifelong safe habits.
  • Other caregivers. It is crucial, based on our experiences, that all caregivers understand and commit to correctly using car seat equipment. Several of us have taken the time to demonstrate the proper use of harnesses and buckles to every caregiver, sharing the responsibility for our child’s safety.
  • Never leave your child in a car alone. Drawing from our group’s shared experiences and awareness, it’s critical to never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. The risks include:
    • Heatstroke, which several of us have read harrowing stories about.
    • Hypothermia, particularly in colder climates, as discussed in our group meetings.
    • Seatbelt strangulation, a concern that one of our members addressed by always double-checking the seatbelt placement before exiting the car.
    • Power window trauma, a topic that came up in a recent group discussion on vehicle safety features.
    • Carbon dioxide poisoning, which has been a subject of concern in our safety talks.
  • Keep children away from moving vehicles. Our collective experience highlights that the leading cause of non-crash fatalities in children is backovers. We also emphasize caution against front-overs, children trapped in trunks, and cars in motion without drivers. This knowledge comes from our vigilant practice of supervising children in driveways and parking areas.
  • Learn the child safety features of your vehicle. Based on our group’s experiences and research, it’s vital to be familiar with:
    • The number and location of anchors for the LATCH system. As some of us learned, not every seat in your vehicle has these anchors.
    • Backup cameras, which have been a topic of discussion in our meetings for enhancing child safety.
    • Rear-seat reminder systems, a feature some of us have found incredibly helpful.

We’ve got a comprehensive write-up on everything you need to know about car seat safety, enriched with insights from our experiences. Click to read our Car Seat Safety Guidelines article.

Choosing the Best Car Seat for Preemies

In need of a car seat for a preemie? As moms who have faced this situation, we understand the unique considerations, such as the minimum weight requirement and additional body support. Often, you won’t realize the need for a preemie-specific car seat until the moment arises, especially if you’re expecting multiples. If you’ve already purchased a car seat, checking its specifications is crucial to determine if it’s suitable for your preemie. For further assistance, we’ve compiled a detailed list, grounded in our real-life experiences, to help you make the best choice for your little one.
For more comprehensive information on car seats for small babies, see The Best Car Seats for Preemies.

Key Features to Look For

      • Minimum weight requirements: Most convertible seats and some infant bucket seats start at a minimum of 5 pounds. As we’ve observed, many preemies weigh less than this when leaving the hospital. We recommend looking for a seat with a minimum weight requirement of 4 pounds, as some of our members have successfully found.
      • Body support for small babies (infant insert): Our experiences show that most infant car seats come with an infant insert. While some offer just head support, others provide full-body support. This added cushion is vital for preventing your baby’s chin from resting on their chest, a concern echoed by several moms in our group.
      • Lowest harness position: The harness straps should ideally be at or slightly below shoulder level for a preemie. We’ve found that many infant bucket seats have a lowest harness level of around 6 inches, but with diligent searching, seats with a 5-inch harness level can be found, offering a better fit for preemies.

FAQs – Infant Car Seats

How do I install my infant car seat?

Installation can vary, so it’s crucial to consult the user manual and watch manufacturer videos. Our group of moms has compiled some tips that we’ve found useful:

      • Infant car seats generally consist of a base and a detachable seat. A member of our group shared how separating these components made transportation easier.
      • Install the base in the back seat, preferably in the middle, for optimal safety. One of our moms found locating the LATCH system’s metal anchors in her vehicle straightforward by checking the crack between the seat and seat back.
      • When using the LATCH system, ensure that the straps are tight so that the seat is securely anchored to the vehicle. A tip from a member was to push down on the base while tightening the straps.
      • For vehicles without LATCH anchors, use the vehicle’s seat belt to secure the car seat. A clip, usually provided with the car seat or available separately, can prevent the belt from slipping. Several moms emphasized the importance of reading the manual for proper seat belt installation.
      • The key is a snug fit against the vehicle seat, with no movement forward, backward, or sideways. Our group recommends frequently checking the tightness.

How do I harness my infant?

Securing your baby correctly in the car seat is vital. Here are some guidelines our group has gathered:

      • Consult manufacturer videos and the product manual for specific instructions. One of our moms found a helpful video tutorial for her car seat model online.
      • Ensure your baby’s bottom is flush with the back of the car seat, and the head is at least 2 inches below the top of the seat. This tip came from a safety seminar attended by several group members.
      • A proper 5-point harness includes a crotch harness, two torso harnesses, and two shoulder harnesses. These should click together in a central buckle. One mom shared a trick to remember the order of strapping in her baby.
      • The harness should be snug and lay flat without any twists. A good test, shared by a group member, is trying to pinch the harness; if you can’t, it’s tight enough.
      • Avoid bulky clothing on babies in car seats. Secure them first, then cover them with blankets or a footmuff. Never cover their head or place anything behind them. This advice was a topic of discussion during our winter safety meeting.
      • For newborns too small for their seat, rolled-up towels can be used for additional support. This was a lifesaver for one of our new moms.
      • Adjust the seat incline to prevent your newborn’s head from slouching forward, a concern raised by a pediatrician in our group.

Do car seats have an expiration date?

Yes, they do. This is a safety measure we emphasize:

      • Look for the expiration date printed on the seat. The user manual will guide you on the lifespan of the car seat. One of our moms created a reminder in her calendar based on this date.

How will I know if my car seat gets recalled?

Staying informed about recalls is essential. Here’s how:

      • Find the label or sticker on the car seat with the model number and manufacture date or serial number. A tip from our group is to take a photo of this label for easy reference.
      • Always register your car seat using the information from the label. Manufacturers use this to notify you of recalls. One of our members received a recall notice and was grateful for having registered her product.

Can I use my car seat after a crash?

Our group’s consensus, based on shared experiences and research, aligns with safety guidelines:

      • After minor crashes, you may continue using car seats, but not after moderate or severe crashes. One of our moms, a safety expert, emphasized this point in a recent discussion.
      • A minor crash is one where the door nearest the car seat isn’t damaged, no injuries occurred, the car remains drivable, airbags weren’t deployed, and the car seat shows no visible damage. We recommend a thorough visual inspection after any crash, as advised by a member who experienced a minor fender bender.
      • Always perform a detailed check of the car seat for any signs of wear, tears, or issues with the LATCH and harness systems before deciding on its continued use. This was a key takeaway from a car seat safety workshop several group members attended.
      • Do not replace seats involved in minor crashes unless damage is found. A mom in our group shared how she carefully inspected her car seat after a minor parking lot incident and found it to be safe for continued use.
      • It’s advised not to buy a used car seat if there’s any chance it was involved in a moderate or severe accident. This tip was highlighted in a recent group meeting focusing on second-hand baby gear.

Where should I put my car seat?

Choosing the right location for your car seat is crucial. Here’s what our group suggests:

      • The optimal place for an infant car seat is the middle of the back seat, though other back seat locations are also acceptable. This advice was shared by a certified child passenger safety technician in our group.
      • Ensure the seat is installed tightly, regardless of location. If the seat configuration or lack of anchors prevents a secure installation, consider changing the location. One of our members found that moving the seat to a different position in her car provided a more secure fit.

Should my child ride in a car seat on an airplane?

Using car seats on airplanes is a topic we’ve discussed extensively in our group:

      • Both rear-facing and forward-facing car seats can be used in airplane seats.
      • The FAA recommends child restraints for children under 40 lbs while flying. This includes certain car seats but excludes booster seats. A travel-savvy mom in our group highlighted this during a discussion on air travel with kids.
      • Ensure the car seat is certified for air travel, as indicated by a label and mentioned in the owner’s manual. A member shared how she found this information for her car seat before a family trip.
      • There are also specialized restraint systems designed for air travel. This option was explored by a mom who frequently flies with her toddler.
      • Remember that you’ll need a car seat at your destination. This was a valuable reminder from a mom who forgot her car seat during a family vacation.
      • For more information, visit the AAP or the CARES Airplane Safety Harness for Children Web site.

Where can I find more information on car seat ratings?

      • The NHTSA rates each car seat on its ease of use. The website contains a nice search facility and lots of good information on the usability of car seats by model. 
      • Car seats are organized by type of seat which is driven by the child’s age and weight.

What are the car seat laws in my state?

      • Here are summaries of car seat laws for every state in the US. Laws vary state by state so it is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations.


  1. Best Infant Car Seats of 2023, www.consumerreports.org
  2. KidsFlySafe.com…, www.kidsflysafe.com
  3. Car Seat & Booster Seat Safety, Ratings, Guidelines, www.nhtsa.gov
  4. Car Seat Laws by State in 2022, www.newparentbasics.com

Brittany Spalding

Brittany Spalding is a wife, homeschool mom, writer, editor, and food allergy awareness advocate. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, restoring antique furniture, St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and fishing on the beautiful Kentucky Lake.