Choosing the car seat that best fits the needs of your child and vehicle and comes highly rated is an important parental responsibility. Since all car seats have to meet federal safety requirements in order to be sold in the U.S., any one of them could be appropriate.
Some, of course, cost more than others and have more features. There are also different car seats for various developmental stages of your child. Here are the top 10 infant car seats, based on ratings from Consumer Reports and other car seat safety sites.
Chicco KeyFit 30 – One of two infant car seat models from Chicco (the other being KeyFit), the KeyFit 30 is considered the best seat overall for balancing child crash protection, ease-of-use, and vehicle fit. The KeyFit 30 is also one of the best fitting car seats for newborns. This is a 30-pound rear-facing weight capacity seat. Carrier easily locks in place on the base and the handle can be in any locked position during vehicle travel.easy-to-use push-on LATCH connectors and single-pull LATCH tension is easy to adjust. The Chicco KeyFit 30 carries an approximate retail price of $180.
Chicco KeyFit – Like the KeyFit 30, the Chicco KeyFit provides a very good balance of child crash protection, ease-of-use and vehicle fit. The carrier easily locks into the base and the handle can be in any locked position during vehicle travel. The seat is easy to adjust due to single-pull LATCH tension and the KeyFit also has push-on LATCH connectors. Pricing is about $170 retail.
Combi Shuttle – With an approximate retail price of $180, the Combi Shuttle is a 35-pound rear-facing capacity infant car seat that replaces the Shuttle 33. It is the only infant seat currently available from Combi in the U.S. It is considered one of the easiest seats to install using either LATCH or vehicle belt. Other pluses include easy-to-read dual-range level indicators on both sides of the base, easier to use push-on LATCH connectors, and carrier should be a good fit for newborns as well.
Safety 1st onBoard35 – Excellent crash protection ratings, instructions that are easy to understand, dual weight-range level indicators, carrier that should fit newborns well are some highlights. The continuous harness, however, can sometimes be difficult to keep tight and even on the child. The Safety 1st onBoard34 is priced at about $100 retail.
Britax B-Safe – With its 30-pound rear-facing weight capacity, the Britax B-Safe is a good car seat for small vehicles. In many vehicles, it installs well without the base, which could be attractive for city dwellers that use a taxi. Many safety and ease-of-use features contribute to the retail price range of approximately $120-$230.
UPPAbaby Mesa – The only model currently offered by UPPAbaby, the Mesa carries a retail price of approximately $280. This infant car seat features easy installation with UPPAbaby's SMARTSECURE system, which features a tightness indicator. Mesa has a 35-pound rear-facing weight capacity, push-on LATCH connectors with automatic retractors, tightness indicator, adjustable crotch strap, and the handle can be locked in any position during travel. It can be difficult to hold the needed tension on seat belt while closing the lock off, and the lock off won't close on some seat belts if they are anchored too far forward of the seat back
The First Years Via 1470 – The only infant seat currently offered under the First Year s brand, the Via 1470 ranges in price from $148.10 to $248.00. It has a 35-pound rear-facing weight capacity when used with the base (22 pounds without the base). Push-on LATCH connectors are easy to use.
Graco Snugride 30 – One of multiple infant car seats offered by Graco, the Snugride 30 carries a retail price of about $100. The Snugride 30 is a 30-pound rear-facing weight capacity infant car seat that’s easy to securely install with LATCH. The harness height adjustment has multiple loops which can prove confusing to parents. The labels and instructions could be clearer.
Cybex Aton – The first infant car seat offered in the U.S. by Cybex, the Aton costs a little more than some of the competitors, carrying an approximate retail price of $250. The Aton has a 32-pound rear-facing weight capacity, has easier to use push-on LATCH connectors and a tensioning plate that aids in providing a secure installation.
Graco Snugride 35 – With an approximate retail price of $165, the Graco Snugride 35 offers good crash protection, ease of use and fit to vehicle belt, and fair fit to vehicle LATCH. This is a 35-pound rear-facing weight capacity infant car seat with easy to use push-on LATCH connectors and seat-belt lock-off that provides secure installation with vehicle belts. One criticism is that the Snugride 35 may need additional recline for newborns.