Best Infant Car Seats for the Safest & Most Enjoyable Road Trips

Rear-facing infant seats are there for you when you need it most. From the moment you’re taking your little bundle of joy home from the hospital, your infant seat is there to safely transport your child to the home that they’ll grow up in. As your child grows up through the years, that car seat will adapt and will still perform in levels of safety and comfort, allowing you to safely take your child with you wherever you go.

However, among all these happy and unforgettable moment, safety is still a key factor you need to consider. Car crashes and collisions are still the leading cause of child fatalities, and it’s devastating for any parent of a family member to have to go through that experience. It’s simply not worth the risk. With this in mind, ensuring that you buy the right infant car seat for you is a huge step in the right direction when it comes to increasing your child’s chances of survival.

With so many infant car seats to choose from, it can be a difficult task knowing which one is perfect for you and your loved one. To give you a helping hand, I’ve compiled a list of my eleven favorite car seats that are currently available in today’s market. This list will detail each car seat, so you know the ins and outs of each one, allowing you to make the best decision possible! If you’re still not sure which one is best for you, scroll down, and you’ll discover my step-by-step buying guide to infant car seats, detailing exactly what goes into making the perfect seat so you can, again, make the best purchasing choice for you!

My Eleven Favorite Infant Car Seats to Maximise Your Child’s Safety in Your Car

To give you an idea of some of the best and most popular infant car seats available today, here are eleven of the market-leading, fully-featured child car seats that will give you everything you need for the most comfortable journeys.

1. Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat

Starting off my list of favorites is a car seat from one of the best child product brands in the industry. Graco’s SnugRide Car Seat is everything you could want in a car seat and more. This super-lightweight seat makes it easy to transport with you wherever you go while making it incredibly easy to install into any vehicle. When installing, the base of the seat contains the advanced LATCH system, meaning you can safely and correctly install the seat in a matter of minutes with minimal hassle.

Regarding safety, once your child is in the seat, you can ensure their safety thanks to the 5-point harness system, which is easily adjustable for security and comfort, while the above rotating sun canopy can be moved to wherever you need it. The internal area of the seat is made using high-quality fabrics that provide superior levels of comfort, and there’s even an adjustable head support feature, giving your baby all the support they need.

What's Great About It: The leading feature of this rear-facing car seat is the level of protection this seat provides in the event of a collision. Even little knocks or crashes can have an effect on your newborn baby’s body which is why the Graco seat is built using market-leading EPS foam. This energy absorbing foam effectively manages and diverts kinetic energy sustained from a collision, minimizing the risk of injury to your child.

2. Evenflo LiteMax 35 Infant Car Seat

Available in three beautiful and stylish designs, Evenflo has pulled out all the stops for this multi-function car seat. This rear-facing seat is suitable for children weighing anything from 4lbs to 35lbs, making this seat ideal for newborn children and above. This seat comes with a detachable base that can stay inside the car once securely fitted using the innovative two-step seatbelt locking system, allowing you to take your child out with you wherever you go.

This seat continues to impress with its 4-setting reclining options which allows this seat to fit into a variety of vehicles while maximizing comfort while your child is awake or asleep. In addition to this comfort, the ergonomic handle ensures that your baby remains stable while in the seat or while you’re out and about. There’s a three-point harness to ensure your child is locked in safely during journeys and there’s even a removable head pillow to maximize comfort and support for your child while using the seat.

What's Great About It: Regarding safety, this seat has been meticulously tested to meet and exceed all the relevant federal safety standards and is one of the only seats available on the market that has been successfully tested to vehicle rollover testing standards. This level of safety is all down to the complete side-impact foam that absorbs and distributes collision energy.

3. UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat

Traditional infant car seats always came with the same problem. Time-consuming installation. Originally, it could take a good 20-30 minutes to ensure that a car seat was properly connected to the car and everything was done up and in place, not easy when trying to deal with a distressed or unhappy baby. However, the UPPAbaby seat has set out to rid this problem once and for all. Using Smart auto-retracting technology, you can simply attach the mini latch system to the belts of your car which then automatically sets the desired tension. There’s even a red and green indicator to show how secure the seat is, leaving you safe in the knowledge that it’s perfect.

Once the seat is installed, you can easily set your baby into the seat while connecting the non-threadable harness, meaning you can be on the road in a matter of minutes. Regarding comfort, you can set the adjustable headrest to ensure your baby is comfortable and there are ample levels of support for your child’s head, back, and neck.

What's Great About It: In addition to the advanced side-impact technology that helps to protect your child in the event of a crash, there’s also a simple one-handed stroller release, meaning you can quickly and easily detach the seat from the base, allowing you to take your baby with you, wherever you go easily.

​4. Chicco Keyfit Infant Car Seat & Base

Priding itself on being on the easiest car seats on the market to install into any vehicle, the base of this seat uses an advanced built-in lock-off system which eliminates the need for a LATCH system, saving you both time and space in your car. The seat itself can be easily fixed in and removed as required thanks to the easy one-handed removal button. Suitable for babies from newborn to 30lbs, this seat is teeming with comfort and safety features, giving you everything you need for a healthy, safe and happy baby. There’s even a removable insert to ensure your baby is properly fitted and comfortable when using the seat.

The seat boasts a five-point harness system to ensure your child is safely in place in the seat and there’s a multi-directional and fully adjustable sun canopy to protect your child from the sun, whether you’re in the car or out and about. With added compatibility to other existing Chicco products, you can use this seat however you need to use it. Regarding safety, the seat is produced using EPS energy-absorbing foam that provides high levels of protection in the event of a crash.

What's Great About It: Ideal for use inside and outside of a vehicle, the ergonomically designed handle means you have full control while carrying your baby around maximizing comfort for you as you carry out your day to day tasks. Additionally, the seat has been rigorously tested to meet and conform with all FMVSS 213 safety standards.

​5. Safety 1st Light ‘n Comfy Elite Infant Car Seat

Expertly designed to be ready for that first drive home with your precious bundle of joy, the Safety 1st Elite has been researched and developed to be suitable for children 4-22lbs while in the rear-facing position. One of the leading issues that this seat is designed to fulfill is safety. With this in mind, you can enjoy the safety benefits of a high-security 5-point harness system that’s easily adjustable with one hand. The harness itself can even be set to one of four different heights that allows your baby to be as comfortable as possible while using the chair.

This high level of safety continues with the fact that the seat itself features a complete side-impact protection system that assists in the event of a crash and there’s even an infant insert to ensure that your child fits perfectly into the seat. The seat itself can be easily removed from the base, allowing you to quickly and easily take your baby with you wherever you go. The seat can in easily installed into any vehicle thanks to the industry standard LATCH system and even includes LATCH storage so you can use the seat belts of the vehicle if you prefer.

What's Great About It: Aside from all the safety and comfort features that this seat provides, it’s also one of the most affordable infant car seats on my list, making it suitable for all budgets, perfect for if you’re planning for your baby and on a bit of a tight budget.

​6. RECARO 2015 Performance Coupe Infant Seat

One of the best ways to ensure your child’s happiness while in the car is to maximize the levels of comfort they have while using the seat. This is a feature that the Recaro seat excels in. Whether you’ve got a newborn baby or an older child, the removable insert ensures your baby is as comfortable and as supported as possible. Furthermore, the internal region of the seat prides itself on its memory-foam cloud comfort materials with added temperature control properties that maximize the seat to provide your child with superior levels of comfort. What’s more, the internal layers can be easily removed, allowing you to keep the seat clean and hygienic.

Regarding safety, your baby can be safely positioned in the seat thanks to the Twist-resistant HERO harness, exclusive technology that, again, maximizes comfort and positioning every time you use the seat. This no-rethread harness means the seat is ready to use every time, easily adjustable with one hand with the added ability to choose between 5 unique height positions and two buckle positions, enabling you to adjust the seat to be the perfect fit for your child, even while they are growing up.

What's Great About It: Proper installation of this lightweight seat has been made incredibly easy thanks to the revolutionary micro-twist feature alongside an integrated bubble spirit level bar, showing you exactly how balanced the seat is so you can be safe in the knowledge that it’s level and securely fastened into place.

7. Baby Trend EZ Flex-Loc 30 Infant Car Seat

Safety is one of the most important features to consider when trying to find the right car seat for you. This latest edition car seat from Baby Trend has maximized on its features to ensure the most comfortable and protective ride possible. Suitable for children between 5 – 30lbs, this rear facing seat includes a supportive, comfortable and adjustable head support cushion as well as a leading standard 5-point safety harness that is easily adjustable with one hand and the simple push-button means you can easily take your child out of the seat without any fuss.

What’s more, while installing the chair and base into your car, there’s an integrated 4-position push-button so you can simply and easily adjust the height of the car, allowing you to make the perfect fit. Additionally, there’s also a bubble level indicator, showing you exactly how balanced the seat is to ensure it’s properly in place. The body of the seat itself is produced using energy absorbing EPS foam, adding to the already high levels of protection in case of a crash or collision.

What's Great About It: This seat boasts full compatibility with the rest of the Baby Trend range, including strollers and even diaper changing tables, meaning once you newborn is here, you easily streamline your life to make things as easy as possible, giving you more time to spending loving your little bundle of joy.

​8. Cybex Aton 2 Child Car Seat

If you’re looking for a lightweight car seat/carrier that you can take with you wherever you go, the Cybex Aton could be ideal for you. Regarding safety, the Aton boasts an energy absorbing shell around the outside of the seat that provides superior levels of protection in the event of a crash. In addition to this, the seat also prides itself on its innovative L.P.S system. This stands for Linear Side-Impact Protection which again helps to protect your child if the crash was to occur to the side of your car. The final main safety aspect of this seat is the integrated adjustable load leg. This feature helps to prevent the seat from moving forward in the event of a crash, added a much-needed layer of protection to your child’s spine.

Installation of this seat is easy thanks to the European Seat Belt routing system which means you can use the seat with or without the base just as effectively, making this ideal for smaller vehicles or for use in multiple vehicles that your family and household might have.

What's Great About It: In addition to this amazing safety features, the Cybex Aton 2 is extremely lightweight for an infant car seat. The adjustable, ergonomic handle means you can easily remove the seat from the car, allowing you to carry your baby safely with you wherever you go, ensuring your baby is always happy, comfortable and supported.

​9. Safety 1st Onboard 35 Air+ Infant Car Seat

As the company name suggests, the Air+ car seat is all about the safety of your baby. Using an exclusive and patented GCelll HX system, your child can benefit from optimal levels of protection. This unique system uses standard EPS energy absorbing foam. However, there are hexagonal spaces between the areas of foam which mean that the kinetic energy from a crash is effectively absorbed and distributed throughout the seat, resulting in minimal stress on your baby’s body.

The seat itself is produced using highly durable Air Protect cushions that are expertly designed to protect and support your child’s head while allowing them to enjoy superior levels of comfort, no matter whether you’re in the car or not. The base of the seat boasts the advanced LATCH system which makes for easy installation, meaning whatever car you’re in, you won’t have to spend more than a couple of minutes installing the chair properly and correctly.

What's Great About It: Let’s face it, children, especially babies, are not the cleanest of humans and them and mess go hand in hand. However, the entire cushioned inside of this seat is easily removable and can be easily washed in your washing machine, allowing you to maintain the highest level of cleanliness and hygiene, keeping your baby a happy, healthy one!

​10. Peg Perego Primo Viaggo 4/35 Infant Car Seat

If you’re looking for one of the most fully-featured infant car seats on the market and want the very best for your baby, the Peg Perego comes with everything you could ever possibly need. Suitable for newborn babies and children as they grow, the Primo seat is capable of safely supporting children from 4lbs all the way 35lbs, making it one of the most versatile seats on my list. The support base included with the seat is completely optional, and the seat can be securely fastened to any vehicle with complete ease and accuracy. When not using the base, there is a unique color-coded feature that allows you to easily use the seatbelts to ensure that your seatbelts are in all the right places. When using the base, you’ll enjoy added safety benefits including the anti-rebound bar, an exclusive feature that stops the seat moving forward sharply in the event of a crash.

When not in the car, the seat boasts a short ergonomic handle that keeps you close to your baby while maximizing the lightweight properties of the seat. Regarding safety, this seat boasts advanced adjustable side-impact protection which can easily fit into one of any six unique positions, meaning you will never have to rethread the harnesses and provides the best, most comfortable fit possible.

What's Great About It: The leading feature of this outstanding child car seat is the innovative Dual Stage Cushion System. The first stage is specially designed for newborn babies and offers fantastic levels of support and comfort on crucial body areas such as the neck and bottom. The second stage can be implemented as your child is growing up. These included cushions are used to support your baby’s body in all the right areas, making it ideal for promoting healthy body growth.

​11. Britax B-Safe 35 Elite Infant Seat

This award-winning car seat is ideal for parents who want everything there is available in a modern-day car seat without the expensive price tag. This rear-facing seat is ideal for babies of any age from 4lbs to an outstanding 35lbs. Britax has designed this seat to seamlessly integrate into your life with the best intentions for you. The seat can be effortlessly attached to your existing stroller, allowing you to keep the base itself in your car so it’s always set up and ready to go. Regarding safety, your child will benefit from the patented Britax SafeCell Impact Protection technology with an additional layer of protection, minimizing the risk of injury should you become involved in a collision.

The entirety of the seat is extremely easy to install into your car thanks to the lower LATCH system which allows you to effortlessly pull through your center seatbelt straps before locking the base into place. Both the seat and the base have been specially designed to minimize the space taken up in your car while still having enough room for your child’s comfort and all these game-changing features.​

What's Great About It: The final leading protective feature of this seat is the five-point harness system that ensures your child is safely secured in the chair without the risk of them falling or climbing out. This is a no-rethread system that’s easily adjustable for comfort and support with one hand, meaning the seat is always setup and ready to go.

My Comprehensive Buying Guide to Choosing the Ideal Infant Car Seat

There are a lot of features that can go into making the ideal car seat for your child. With so many brands and options to choose from, it can easily become overwhelming trying to decide which one to pick. To give you everything you need to know, here is my complete checklist you can use to ensure you’re making the best decision for you and your baby.

Harness System

One of the leading safety features on any kind of infant car seat is the harness system. These systems are similar to the seatbelt systems in your car but are specially designed for babies. The harness system on your chosen seat needs to be both supportive, nurturing your child’s body shape and holding them in place, so no injury occurs in the event of a collision, and comfortable enough so your child isn’t irritated and can rest easy.

The standard for most infant car seats is a three-point harness system. This will give you straps over both shoulders of your child and one between the legs that come up through the waist. This should be enough to comfortably hold your child into position while padded straps is a fantastic feature to look for regarding comfort. You will usually find this feature on the more affordable car seats.

However, if you’re looking for optimal safety levels for your child, it’s highly advised that you choose a car seat with a five-point harness system. This is similar to the three-point, but you’ll get two extra straps around the waist. This is ideal for ensuring your child is safe at all times, both in and out of the car. You’ll also want to look for a one-handed button that means you can release the harness easily and won’t have to fuss around with trying to get the straps off when you need your baby out of the car quickly.​

Comfort

A comfortable baby is a happy baby, and there’s no exception here. If you’re taking your baby in the car a lot, even if it’s once a day, you’re going to want a comfortable car seat. This can be achieved by looking at the materials used to make the seating area of the seat. They need to be soft and supportive, and an adjustable and detachable head pillow for support is always an bonus.

If you’re looking for optimal comfort, look for a car seat with a memory foam interior. This will naturally cushion the shape of your child’s body, giving them the best level of comfort possible.

Protection

Leading car seats will be made out of EPS foam. This energy absorbing material is ideal for soaking up any kinetic energy that your vehicle becomes subject to in the event of a crash. If a crash was to occur with your baby in the car, no matter how small, your child’s body is extremely fragile and any level of shock could injury your baby. This is why these car seats with this technology have been designed. With the seat absorbing most of the shock, the idea is that your baby won’t feel a thing, therefore minimizing that risk of injury.

Ease of Use

We all dread the moments where you’re in a car or trying to put your baby in a car, and they simply won’t stop crying and screaming. When you want to address the problem, the last thing you want is a harness system or difficult to use a seat that simply won’t cooperate. Many of the leading seats, especially the majority in my list, come with a simple one-handed operation buttons. This means you can simply detach the seat from the base in a matter of seconds, enabling you to easily remove the seat from the car and deal with the problem.

Likewise, when putting your baby into the seat, fiddling around with safety straps is going to stress out your baby. Many of the seats in my list come with an easy option where you can simply pull one strap on the harness tight, and the rest will automatically adjust with you.​

Weight & Height

When looking into which car seat is perfect for you; it’s essential that you look into what weights your chosen car seat supports. If you’ve got a newborn baby, you’ll want a seat that can support a child from 4lbs or above. Likewise, if your baby is growing and weighs 30lbs, but the seat only caters for 20lbs, this can lead to the seat becoming unsafe as its features are not designed to handle this kind of weight.

Furthermore, you’ll want to consider the height of your baby to ensure they fit comfortably and properly into the seat. Always refer to you baby and the product description to ensure you are making the right decision. Most of the seats on my list come with fully adjustable settings that allow you to effectively change the dimensions of the seat, perfect for your growing child to fit comfortably into the seat, no matter what size they are.​

Conclusion

Choosing the right car seat for your child make just seem like a matter of convenience when in fact it’s quite possibly one of the most important decisions you can make as a parent. Take the time to ensure you are choosing the right one before making the purchase and you can rest assured that your baby is enjoying the optimal levels of comfort while traveling as safe as possible!

    Sandra Cobain
     

    Mum of two. Child psychologist. Ardent admirer of art, crafts and cooking. She is the head of content for BestForTheKids. When she's not busy crafting posts & researching about compelling content ideas, she can be spotted playing outdoors with her two adorable children.

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