There are a lot of baby products that you can wait until your baby is actually born to purchase — but finding one of the best infant car seats is something you'll want to do well before their arrival. If you're planning to give birth in a hospital, there's a solid chance a nurse will even inspect your car seat to ensure it's securely fastened to the car and that your infant is safely locked in place before sending you home.
So, what exactly does that all mean? Well, in terms of infant car seat safety, the Mayo Clinic points out a few important tips to keep in mind when shopping for one. Believe it or not, car seats actually come with an expiration date. So, if you're purchasing a used seat, be sure to check when it expires, make sure it hasn't been recalled, has no visible damage, and hasn't been in a crash. Also, newborns and infants up to 12 months old or 20 pounds should only be placed in rear-facing car seats that are positioned in the back seat (in the center of the seat, if possible). And of course, always make sure to read the car seats manual thoroughly to make sure it's installed correctly.
Keeping safety tips in mind is stressful enough — the good news is that you can relax when it comes to finding a great infant car seat because there are plenty to choose from. These seven infant car seats that have amazing reviews and reputations.
1A Highly-Rated Car Seat That's A Breeze To Install
One of the highest-rated infant car seats on Consumer Reports, the Keyfit tested incredibly well in crash reports and is considered among the easiest seats to install using your vehicle's Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (aka LATCH) system of safety belts. It features a five-points harness that you can adjust with one hand, full body inserts to protect and support newborns from four to 11 pounds, and a single-pull LATCH tightening operation that allows the carrier to click into its base with ease.
2A Cozy Convertible Car Seat That Transitions From Rear-Facing To Booster Seat
Parents already have enough on their plates (and too many products to have to purchase). Eliminate some of that stress by investing in this three-in-one convertible car seat, which takes your baby from rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seat. It boasts side impact protection, a one-step QuikFit harness, and a machine washable and dryer safe seat pad that conveniently snaps off and on. Another cool feature: This seat in a rear-facing position takes up less room that other seats and provides parents in the driver and passenger seats an extra seven inches of leg room.
3A Lightweight Carrier With A Flip-Out Visor For UV Protection
Perfect for children rear-facing from five to 22 pounds and up to 29 inches in height, this top-notching infant car seat scores points from Consumer Reports for its lightweight construction, "better" score in crash tests, and good fit-to-vehicle installations. Its canopy has a flip-out visor for UV protection and to protect your baby against sun glare, and this seat features a five-point harness, side impact performance with air protect technology, and adapters that make this carrier compatible with Maxi Cosi and Quinny strollers.
4A Lightweight Car Seat That Can Absorb Energy In The Event Of A Collision
The Cybex Aton 2 received a "best rating" for crash protection from Consumer Reports LINK and is said to be extremely lightweight, easy to transport, and simple to install, thanks to a tensioning plate feature that works best with your vehicle's LATCH system. This infant car seat also has an adjustable load leg that keeps the seat from rotating forward during a crash and linear side impact protection to absorb energy in the event of a side impact collision.
5A Convertible Seat That Goes From Rear To Front-Facing
This best-selling convertible car seat can be converted from a rear-facing seat for newborn and babies between five and 30 pounds before spinning it around for use as a front-facing seat for toddlers 22 to 40 pounds. It has four shoulder strap options for a growing child, an energy absorbing foam liner that protects in the event of a collision, and a plush head pillow for added comfort.
6A Click Connect Car Seat That Easily Attaches To Compatible Strollers
If you're looking for more than a car seat — and would prefer a relatively affordable carrier that effortlessly clicks into a compatible stroller — you've found it. This infant car seat provides a one-step secure attachment between the rear-facing car seat to all Graco Click Connect Strollers. It suits babies between four and 35 pounds and up to 32 inches in height, and according to the manufacturer, it has been crash-tested to meet or exceed U.S. safety standards.
7A Rear-Facing Car Seat That Doesn't Require A Base, For Easier Travel
Parents who live in cities and rely on taxi cabs or who are always on the go find it frustrating to tote around an infant car seat and a heavy base — but this highly rated seat eliminates that added accessory. This seat, ideal for babies between 4 and 35 pounds, has a push-button LATCH for simpler quick base installation, and it also features a Taxi-Safe belt that can be used to secure the car seat when you don't want to lug the base itself. The extended UV50+ canopy is another sweet feature that can protect your baby from the sun's harmful rays.
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