When it comes to picking just the right essentials for your baby registry, the choices can seem overwhelming. (I almost cried just looking at the stroller aisle of our local baby superstore.) Getting wisdom from experienced parents can make all the difference in the world, especially when it comes to choosing something as important as a car seat. That's why Babylist's report on the most popular car seats of 2018 could be helpful to any expecting parent.
The all-in-one online baby registry surveyed thousands of customers about the items they found most useful once their little one arrived. Babylist then pulled the top picks and added some of their own findings, for a handy reference guide parents-to-be can use when making out their wish lists.
Since you'll be using a car seat pretty much constantly from the moment you leave the hospital, finding just the right one is a bigger decision than, say, choosing between a woodland and a nautical theme for the nursery. As Babylist pointed out, all new car seats today meet government safety standards, but which type to get depends on your car, your preferences, and your lifestyle. A convertible car seat — the type that can be used for both small infants and children up to 65 pounds — is a practical option if you don't want to keep buying new seats for each stage of your child's growth. On the other hand, an infant car seat can be a godsend for busy moms. They're the kind that snap in and out of a base, making it easy to transfer the seat to a stroller frame or just to carry by the handle; no need to disturb a napping baby by lifting it out of the seat.
These are the top choices of infant car seats, as recommended by the Babylist survey (they have a separate list for best convertible car seats). Any one of these would make an excellent addition to your registry, so get ready to read and click.
Easy To Use
This parent-approved infant seat is simplicity itself. The base is easy to install in your car's back seat, and has just one tightener to secure it; the clicking sound and visual indicator let you know that the seat is properly placed. Plus, its KeyFit adapter helps attach the seat to most stroller varieties. However, Babylist cautions that the adjustable handlebar can only be operated with two hands, so you'll need to keep your hands free if you want to move it up or down. This model fits babies from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30 inches.
A Budget Buy
Babylist reported that parents appreciate the combination of a reliable brand and a low price tag. Plus, it's lightweight (just 7.5 pounds), yet accommodates babies up to 35 pounds. If you're shopping for a travel system, the SnugRide fits all Graco models; for other brands, you'll need an adapter.
Peace of mind is what you'll buy if you choose this model. The Britax B-Safe features a steel frame and extra-protective foam padding on the sidewalls, ensuring baby's safety in case of a fender-bender. Just keep in mind that this car seat is heavier than most, so your arms will get a workout; its compact size makes it a good choice for smaller cars, but it also means that your baby may outgrow it faster.
Style And Ease
Parents give the Nuna PIPA high marks not only for its stylish European good looks, but also for its no-brainer installation. A color-coded system makes it easy to tell when the seat is locked in place. A "dream drape" canopy shields baby completely from the sun, making for comfier rides. It's also a great choice for families with multiple cars, or who often use taxis and Uber, because it can be quickly installed into just about any vehicle.
Comfort At Any Stage
Another adaptable choice, the Primo Viaggio can easily be installed in any car without the base. The adjustable cushioning system makes it simple to support your child's head both as a newborn and as an older baby, and the harness can be moved to six different positions for maximum safety and comfort. Babylist cautions that you'll probably want to buy a Peg Perego stroller to match, since it won't fit in other brands without an adapter.
Babylist users gave the Mico Max high marks for its easily-removable, machine-washable car pad; no worries about diaper leaks or bottle spills. Even the fabric is literally no-sweat; it's self-wicking, making for a cooler ride in the summer. There's no compromising on safety here, either; an anti-rebound bar in the front offers extra stability in case of a crash.
Top Safety Rated
This seat may be a little on the pricey side, but it's well worth it for the protection it offers. The MESA received a 5-star rating from the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration for its beautifully simple strap-free installation design. Clip in the connectors, push the base down until the indicator turns green, and you're done. The harness is adjustable without having to be rethreaded each time — another major plus. As if all that weren't enough, the Henry model of the MESA is the only car seat out there made without potentially toxic fire-retardant chemicals, yet it still passes federal standards for fire safety.
After experiencing a traumatic c-section, this mother sought out a doula to support her through her second child’s delivery. Watch as that doula helps this mom reclaim the birth she felt robbed of with her first child, in Episode Three of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes, launching Mondays in December.