Best infant car seats : The safest and most comfortable seats

Best infant car seats. We know you can’t wait to take your tiny newborn home from the hospital. But if you plan to make that trip in a car or taxi, you know what you’ll need: a car seat.

What is an infant car seat?

Car seats are essential — you won’t be able to leave the hospital without a rear-facing car seat on hand or installed in your car.

While young babies can also ride in a convertible car seat, an infant car seat is specifically designed for newborns. That said, both infant and convertible car seats provide the same amount of safety, says Suzanne Chan, a pediatric nurse practitioner and a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST). It comes down to personal choice and cost when opting to get an infant car seat over a convertible car seat.

Unlike convertible car seats, infant car seats can be easily removed from the car and carried, and some can even clip onto your stroller. Many parents consider this a huge convenience since it’s such a big time-saver — especially if you have other kids you have to buckle in and out every time you get out of the car.

Why you might want an child car seat vs. a convertible car seat

According to Chan, You may prefer an infant car seat if:

  • You don’t own a car. Or, you’ll often be traveling with your baby in cars that aren’t your own. Infant car seats can usually be installed more easily than convertible car seats. Plus, many infant car seats snap right onto your stroller so you can get in and out of the car without much fanfare.
  • The main seat of your stroller has a minimum weight or age requirement. Some strollers aren’t suitable for newborns without a compatible infant car seat, particularly jogging strollers and those without a seat that can lay entirely flat.
  • You want the flexibility to easily move your child from car to stroller. Many infant car seats can be clipped into compatible full-size strollers, so you can go from car to stroller without unbuckling the baby. And because they’re generally more compact, infant car seats are also easier to pick up and move around.

How long can babies use a car seat?

Infant car seats have height and weight limits, and should no longer be used once your child reaches either milestone. In other words, if the baby has met the height limit but is under the weight limit, you’ll still have to retire your infant car seat.

The exact height and weight limits vary from model to model — check your car seat’s manual for your seat’s limits — but most infant car seats have a height limit somewhere between 30 and 35 inches (or when your child’s head is less than one inch from the top of the carrier), and a weight limit between 30 and 35 pounds.

In many cases, this means your child will be just fine in an infant car seat until around their first birthday, give or take a few months on either side, depending on their size.

What is the best travel car seat on the market?

All car seats sold in the U.S. must meet government safety standards. “As long as the car seat meets federal motor vehicle safety standards and has a five-point harness, it is considered safe,” says Chan.

Still, that doesn’t mean all baby car seats are the same. Car seats come at a wide range of prices, but the more expensive seats aren’t necessarily better. Since they must meet the same federal regulations, the cheaper seats are perfectly safe — just more basic, says Chan. “Often, they will have lower weight and height limits, less cushioning, and a more involved installation.”

Here’s why you may want to consider those factors when shopping for an infant car seat:

  • Installation: Some infant car seats have extra features that help you ensure your seat is properly installed. Check how easily your seat can be installed with this helpful chart from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and consider meeting with a local certified child passenger safety technician to make sure you know how to properly install it before your little one arrives.
  • Ease of cleaning: Babies get messy, and you’ll want a child car seat that can easily be cleaned. Ideally, the fabric cover should come off and be machine-washable.

  • Compatible strollers: Not every stroller can attach to every infant car seat. If it’s important that your car seat clips into your stroller, check with both manufacturers before settling on a stroller-car seat combo. Even if they can’t be attached out of the box, some strollers have adapters for common car seats. (To make the process easier, you can also purchase a travel system.)
  • Weight and height limits: You want to keep your baby rear-facing for as long as possible, and you’ll also want to get the most time out of your investment.

It’s worth noting that experts don’t recommend using second-hand car seats. “It’s not okay to purchase a used car seat unless you know its history,” says Chan. “If a car seat has ever been in a car accident (even a minor one), it needs to be replaced immediately.” It’s also important to note that car seats have expiration dates — typically six years from the date of manufacture, so you’ll want to read your manual and ensure you know when your car seat expires (and that this won’t happen before your baby outgrows it).

How we made our picks for the best infant car seats

To come up with a list of the best infant car seats, we considered expert input from CPSTs, polled our editors, and scoured the What to Expect community for recommendations. Here, you’ll find the final list: comfortable and safe car seats at a variety of price points to help you get baby from place to place.

Best Infant Car Seat Overall

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base

Best Infant Car Seats - Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat

Pros: Easy to install, performs well in safety tests
Cons: Heavier than some other models

Why We Love It

The Chicco KeyFit is one of the most popular infant car seats among What to Expect parents, and for good reason. The installation process is so simple, mom and Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) Sylvia Fallas told us she has installed this seat in under 30 seconds! It’s also easy to nail the correct recline angle, thanks to a built-in level.

Although not the most lightweight model, the Chicco KeyFit is still lighter than some other models on this list. It’s suitable for children up to 30 pounds or 30 inches tall (and newborn parents also love the insert for babies weighing 4 to 11 pounds).

Weight/height limit: 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30 inches tall

Weight: 9.5 pounds (without base)

Dimensions: 27.5 x 16.5 x 24 inches

Community Reviews

“Loved our [Chicco] Keyfit 30, planning to use the same for this baby. Kept my son completely safe when I was rear-ended at 50 mph which nearly totaled the car.”

– lewhit

Best Lightweight child Car Seat

Nuna Pipa Lite RX Infant Car Seat

Nuna Pipa Lite RX car seat in slate

Pros: Super lightweight, removable UPF 50+ canopy, can be used with or without base
Cons: More expensive than other car seats

Why We Love It

While the Nuna Pipa Lite RX may not be the most wallet-friendly infant car seat on this list, it’s the top choice for loads of parents in the What to Expect community — and at just 6.9 pounds, it’s one of the lightest car seats you can find. Moms rave about how much of a game-changer it is having such a lightweight car seat, on top of how it’s adaptable with any Nuna strollers.

What’s more, the fabric is a blend of merino wool and special Tencel lyocell fiber, meaning it’s ultra-breathable and soft for your baby. There’s also an unbelievable amount of bells and whistles included, including a height-adjustable headrest with memory foam, a special “dream drape” that protects baby from the elements, a five-second base installation, and a removable UPF 50+ canopy.

And unlike the similar Lite LX, the RX you can use this seat with or without the accompanying Relx base since it can be installed using a vehicle’s seat belt. That means the RX is an especially ideal pick for city parents who often rely on taxis and Ubers, or families who travel often and don’t want to lug along the base. It’s also convenient for when loved ones watch babies and need to drive somewhere since you won’t need to install the base into their car.

This infant car seat is recommended for babies who weigh between 4 and 32 pounds (and are up to 32 inches tall).

Height/weight limit: 4 to 32 pounds and up to 32 inches

Weight: 5.7 pounds (without canopy or insert)

Dimensions: 27.25 x 17.5 x 23 inches

Community Reviews

“My husband and I went with the Nuna Pipa RX Lite (best of both worlds, but definitely has that hefty price tag). In… Personal opinion, I liked how compact the Lite felt (I’m pretty small at 4’11 so the lighter/smaller the better for me!”

– jc42722

“We live in the city in a two-story walk-up so weight was definitely a priority to us and we wanted to make sure that we could put it in a car without the base (Ubers, taxis, in-laws, etc). the pipa lite rx checks all boxes, definitely more expensive but worth it to us because we get everything we’re looking for and don’t have to compromise!”

– ccp9123

Best Affordable child Car Seat

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 XT Infant Car Seat

Best Infant Car Seat - Graco SnugRide SnugLock in gray

Pros: Easy to install, affordable
Cons: Heavier than some other models

Why We Love It

One of the biggest selling points of the Graco SnugRide? The unbeatable price tag.

But while it may be an affordable option, this infant car seat still offers plenty of benefits. For one, many parents rave about the brand’s Click Connect technology, which eliminates installation mistakes, since you literally hear a “click” when it’s done correctly.

You can use this infant car seat until your baby is 35 pounds or 32 inches tall, which is more than some other models on this list. And given its affordability, it also enables you to invest in a fancier, longer-term option later on.

Height/weight limit: 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches

Weight: 15 pounds

Dimensions: 27 x 25 x 17.5 inches

Community Reviews

“The Graco SnugRide is great. The sun shade comes down so far, you don’t need any other cover. Also, the ability to move the handle with only one hand is a great feature other infant car seats do not offer.”

Best Infant Car Seat and Stroller Combo

Doona Car Seat Stroller

best infant car seat

Pros: Car seat and stroller in one, great for travel
Cons: It May be too short for tall parents, baby will need a new stroller once you reach height/weight limits

Why We Love It

If you’ll often be getting in and out of taxis with a baby or logging frequent flier miles with her, the Doona is guaranteed to make your life so much easier. Many parents love that this infant car seat converts into a stroller so you don’t have to worry about carrying it or installing a base once you reach your destination.

Some parents find the Doona a little heavy for carrying and it doesn’t take bumps as well as bigger, sturdier strollers, but the convenience of having a car seat that can transform into a stroller still makes it a favorite.

Just don’t forget: Infants shouldn’t be in car seats for extended periods of time. So while the Doona is great for running errands around town, it should not be used in place of a bassinet, crib or flat-lying stroller for naptime.

Height/weight limit: 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches

Weight: 16.5 pounds

Dimensions: 39 x 17.3 x 32.2 inches

Community Reviews

“I have [the Doona] and I love it. I love that taking it on the bus is easy.”

– Esnooopy

“Best. Purchase. Ever!! Absolutely love the Doona! It’s so easy and convenient. Kept me from having to haul around a stroller in my trunk for a year! We traveled across the country with it and it easily rolled down the aisle, folded up, and strapped into the seat. No waiting for our stroller at the gate or fumbling around. Can’t wait to bust it out for our new baby.”

– LoveHoy

Easiest-to-Clean Infant Car Seat

Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 Car Seat

Best Infant Car Seats - Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat

Pros: Moisture-wicking fabric, easy to wash, compatible with many strollers
Cons: Some parents say it’s hard to release with one hand

Why We Love It

If you’ve ever had to deal with a diaper explosion or carsick baby while on the road, you’ll appreciate that the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 has an easily removable seat pad that doesn’t require you to unthread the safety harness. (This is huge for safety reasons, too — since you can be confident you got the seat cover back into place correctly once it’s clean.) The moisture-wicking fabric is also machine-washable and dryer-safe (something many other seat covers don’t boast).

Also good? It’s compatible with many popular stroller brands so long as you use the Maxi-Cosi adapters (sold separately). This way, you can move from place to place efficiently — one of the biggest conveniences of a great infant car seat.

Height/weight limit: 5 to 30 pounds and up to 32 inches

Weight: 20.85 pounds (with base)

Dimensions: 31 x 16 x 18 inches

Community Reviews

“I absolutely love it. I like how lightweight it is, how easy the fabric is to take off and it is comfortable to carry.”

– HereWeGo5

Easiest-to-Install Infant Car Seat

Uppababy Mesa Car Seat

best infant car seat

Pros: Easy to install, sleek and attractive
Cons: More expensive than some other options

Why We Love It

Safety is your first priority when choosing an infant car seat, and the Uppababy Mesa offers top safety features and a design parents love. The sleek look doesn’t come at the expense of comfort, either: The Mesa has generous padding in the center and sides, plus an adjustable headrest that is reinforced for added protection in case of a side-impact collision.

It’s also blissfully easy to install. Many parents appreciate the Mesa’s tightness indicator, which switches from red to green to let you know that you’ve secured the seat into the base correctly every time. Plus, it clicks nicely and loudly when it’s installed properly, so you know you’ve done it right.

The Mesa is also naturally flame-retardant, thanks to its merino wool construction — something many naturally-minded parents appreciate. Also, note that the Henry and Jordan versions of the Mesa are also naturally flame-resistant (not retardant).

Height/weight limit: 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches

Weight: 9.9 pounds (without base)

Dimensions: 26.4 x 17 x 23 inches

Community Reviews

“The head support adjusts up and down with the shoulder straps, which is a big plus in infant seats.”

– Gunner22

“We used the Mesa with my 2-year-old and will use it for this baby. I loved how simple the base was to install. We have the vista and I love how easy it is to connect and disconnect from the stroller.”

– Donnababyb

Best Infant Car Seat for Anxious Parents

Britax B-Safe Gen2 Car Seat

Britax B Safe Gen 2

Pros: Extra safety features, easy to install, straps never need to be rethreaded
Cons: Heavier than some other models

Why We Love It

There’s no getting around it: Taking your teeny-tiny baby home from the hospital is nerve-wracking. But parents who are extra nervous about that first trip may breathe a little easier knowing that they’ve strapped their newborn into a super comfortable car seat for the ride, thanks to a relatively roomy seating area, soft pads on the harness, and smooth fabric on the seat (that, as an added bonus, can go in the washer and dryer when it gets messy).

The Britax B-Safe Gen2 Infant Car Seat is also designed to be easy to install, giving anxious parents another boost of confidence. Level indicators tell you if the seat is positioned correctly, and if you need to switch cars for whatever reason, you don’t need to take your base with you when you go — the seat can be installed in a car with just a seatbelt.

Height/weight limit: 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches

Weight: 19.9 pounds (with base)

Dimensions: 26.6 x 17.9 x 25.9 inches

Community Reviews

“We love our Britax! This will be baby number 3 in it and it’s been a wonderful seat for us.”

“Loved it! Worth every penny. I had one with my daughter, and she was able to comfortably fit until she was a little over 1 year. It is safe and just looks more protective than any other brand I’ve seen. I wish I wouldn’t have sold mine now that I have twins on the way.

Best Narrow Infant Car Seat

Clek Liing Car Seat

Best infant car seat Clek Liing

Pros: Suitable for small cars, eco-friendly, multiple recline positions
Cons: More expensive than some other options

Why We Love It

Whether you have a small car or need to fit three seats across a single row (calling all parents of multiples!), the Clek Liing is a smart choice. The seat is nice and slim, plus short enough to leave room for tall drivers and passengers to sit comfortably in the front. Still, thanks to the smart design, the interior of the seat is roomy enough to keep baby comfortable wherever your travels take you.

There are plenty of added comfort features, too. The Clek Liing has seven recline positions, a mesh peekaboo window for airflow and visibility, and a large, three-position canopy complete with SPF 100+ protection.

What’s more, has plenty of installation features, including a seat belt tensioning and locking device, indicators that alert you when you’ve achieved proper tension, and a load leg on the base.

Height/weight limit: 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches

Weight: 9 pounds (without the base or newborn insert)

Dimensions: 27.7 x 16.9 x 26.8 inches

Community Reviews

“The Living base is amazing and so easy to install (this is the best part about it) especially since I had a C-section and couldn’t drive for 6 weeks, my husband was constantly moving the seat base between his car and my mother-in-law’s since they had to drive me everywhere. The seat is also easy to click on and off the base, and it can be done with one hand.”

Most Stylish child Car Seat

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4

Best infant car seat Peg Perego

Pros: Stylish, easy to install
Cons: More expensive than some other options, not compatible with many strollers

Why We Love It

While safety is, of course, paramount when it comes to infant car seats, for many parents, aesthetics are a close second. The newest iteration of the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio delivers on both fronts. The sleek and lightweight seat features a breathable jersey fabric that comes in a wide range of colors (the Italian-based company manufactures 14 different shades!). The seat also has a slim design that not only enhances its aesthetic but also means it can fit better in small cars.

Despite its lightweight, the shell feels substantial. It also has adjustable side impact protection, an anti-rebound bar to reduce the car seat’s motion in the event of a collision, and six harness positions.

Height/weight limit: 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches

Weight: 9.5 pounds (without base)

Dimensions: 29 x 17.25 x 25.25 inches

Community Reviews

“We like the shape, weight, and ease of use in addition to the extra safety features. Also, both our babies have been very comfortable in the seat.”

– Gnuggs

“I love the peg Perego car products. I used one for my daughter and I’m going to buy one for this baby girl too. I’m jealous you got one as a gift and didn’t have to fork out the cash for it LOL”

– jenkholt


What is the best brand of infant car seat?

Best infant car seat overall: Chicco KeyFit 30. Best car seat and stroller combo: Doona Car Seat and Stroller. Best lightweight infant car seat: Nuna Pipa. Best affordable infant car seat: Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX. Easiest-to-clean infant car seat: Clek Liing. Easiest-to-install infant car seat: UPPAbaby Mesa.

What are the safest infant car seats?

When it comes to choosing the safest car seat option in Singapore, there are a few considerations to keep in mind, such as the child’s age, weight, and height and the car you use. You also should think about the type of seat you would like – rear-facing, front-facing, or convertible.

What are the top-rated baby car seats?

Cybex Aton 2

  • Crash Test 8.5
  • Ease of Install – LATCH 8.5
  • Ease of Install – Belt 6.5
  • Ease of Install – w/o Base 5
  • Ease of Use 4.5
  • Comfort / Quality 7.3
  • Weight / Size 6

Do I really need an infant car seat?

This is, of course, highly dependent on your living arrangements and for some may be the single factor that necessitates an infant car seat carrier. If you have more than one child and have to use street parking or a parking lot, an infant car seat carrier might be a must.

When to replace an infant car seat?

When to stop using a booster seat?

  1. Check the weight/height limitation of your seat If your booster seat is approved to ECE R44-04, you have to stop using your seat once the maximum weight has …
  2. Check your national laws Each country has its own regulations regarding when a child car seat has to be used. …
  3. Check how your child sits in the car without a child car seat

At what age do I stop using an infant carrier car seat?

  • Generally, kids weighing over 65 pounds are ready to switch to a booster seat.
  • When your child reaches 49 inches tall.
  • When you believe your child is mature enough to properly sit in a booster seat with the seat belt correctly positioned at all times.

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