Best Baby Car Seat Reviews in 2018
Traveling with your baby could be difficult without a baby car seat at your disposal. These baby car seats are rather important when you’re off with your baby with or without a companion. These are made to help them be more comfortable in their own seats in the car. They are also way safer with specially made seats for them rather than just letting them stay on the car and buckling them with the belt. It could be dangerous for them since the seatbelt on the car could crush them especially when the car takes a sudden halt. This is the very reason you need to get a baby car seat; and get the best when you can.
In this review, we will be able to help you know which of these baby car seats are the best buys for your needs and even for your lifestyle. We’d also compare featured products to help you know the details with each one and ultimately find the best.
What is a Baby Car Seat?
A baby car seat is a specially-made seat for infants that you could install in your car. At first look, it could be quite similar to a stroller seat. However, these baby car seats are made with different specifications to assure that they could become much more comfortable on their car rides. These are also usually easier to place in the car which is very important when you have an emergency and you need to bring the baby with you.
Usually, these baby car seats only face the back of the car so there’s added comfort, space and even safety for the children.
How to Use and Install a Baby Car Seat
Before you attempt on doing any car seat installation, you have to make sure that you read the instruction manual on the product you have bought especially on the child restraint section for the safety of your baby. You could be able to know the basics of car seat installation. There are different types of baby car seats around and each one has a different way of installing them. But, through the manuals, you’d be able to know the first things you have to do.
You may also want to read your vehicle’s child safety manual since that would also be important.
Here are some quick tips when it comes to installing baby car seats:
● Recline rear facing convertible seats first before you should install it. Thread your car’s seat belt through belt path on the car seat and then buckle it. You have to make sure that you are threading it on the right belt path to firmly secure the car seat. After you had made sure, you then could lock the belt in place.
● When your car seat is reclining, recline it first and then install the baby car seat as tight as you can. When you push back the car seat, it should be installed more firmly.
● Grasp the seat belt as close as you could to the latchplate. This will help make it even tighter.
LATCH compatible car seats are those vehicles that could be used for baby car seats that have a LATCH. The LATCH means the lower LATCH anchors. This is an added feature to help make the car seat get a little tighter and more secure. There’s also a different instructions on using the LATCH system so you should know that. You could read the instruction manual.
● Read if your vehicle’s manual to see where you could place the car seat since there may not be a LATCH on the center.
● There are LATCH belt paths and each one will correspond to an appropriate LATCH. For example, there’s the rear-facing LATCH belt that should go through the rear-facing belt path.
● Snap the hooks firmly and be sure that they are connected to the vehicle’s LATCH anchors. Double-check just so you can guarantee.
● As you pull the belt tighter, adding weight on the seat could help.
● The belt should be tight and only allows not more than an inch when you tug on the belt path.
Here are videos to help you out:
Types of Baby Car Seats
You’d most likely be able to find three types of baby car seats in the market. Knowing what these are and what their differences are would help you know what you ought to get. Here are the types of baby cars seats that you could find.
● Infant Car Seats – This type of car seat is designed for infants. Usually, this is for your baby from birth up until they could be placed looking forward. These car seats are often facing on the back and can’t be turned to face the front. Because of its design, it’s got different installing method. Although most 2-year-olds could be able to use this type of car seat, some could outgrow these. But the great thing about these types is that they could normally be used as carriers as well.
● Convertible Car Seat – This is a type that could be used since birth and until they could outgrow the chair. But unlike usual infant car seats, these convertible ones could be used in forward-facing or rear-facing. This may depend on the weight of your children. Usually, rear-facing car seats may not be suitable when your child weighs heavier than usual. The car seat may topple back. This is the reason why when your child reaches two and above, parents likely use the front-facing car seats.
● Booster Seat – This is the one for toddlers or kids. It’s a forward-facing seat only and recommends weight of 30 to 40 pounds. However, this could still depend on what brand you have brought.
Considerations When Buying a Baby Car Seat
One of the biggest concerns of parents when it comes to buying anything for their kid is the safety of the product. Will their children be safe when they buy and use this certain product? Or do they have to be worried about certain materials or features that may cause harm to their child?
When it comes to baby car seats, buying a safe one is really important. The one that parents should buy are the ones that has the right safety features like a LATCH system with good and durable anchors or perhaps seat belts that are still comfortable for the child but could also help them become more secure especially when their at that age when they like to move around more.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations do examinations of the every car seat that we see on the market. They also do crash tests that will determine how good these baby car seats are in protecting our precious children. The type of the car seat could also help you a lot when it comes to considering a baby car seat. Rear-facing seats are the safest that’s why these are the ones that are recommended for newborns or for those up until 2 years old. If you want to save money, you could buy a convertible baby car seat that you could change when they outweigh the recommended weight for rear-facing.
Durability is in line with safety. With a more durable baby car seat, you could also guarantee the safety of your baby.
The only time that the durability of a baby car seat you have bought will be in the moment of a crash or an accident; and of course, we don’t want that to happen to you. This is why some companies have already offered crash testing their products and giving your results so you have to know that the durability of their product is indeed something that you can be happy about.
What we recommend is that you look for a crash testing and the NHTSA certificate along with the baby car seat you are looking at. The certificates should back up what they’re saying that they have durable baby car seats. However, NHTSA nor the manufacturers of these baby car seats aren’t really required to have and show certification. Nonetheless, you could rely more on the ones that could show you enough proof so don’t be afraid to ask.
By convenience, we mean how parents could also use these baby car seats apart from being car seats. There are those that could be used as carriers as well. We definitely recommend this one for those parents out there who are looking to get something that could help them save. By having a convertible car seat to carrier, they could save some money on buying a different one.
One more good thing about convenient and convertible car seats is that these are able to save space. Just imagine having to bring along a big scooter or carrier as well. It could be quite tight in the car especially when you don’t really have a big vehicle.
However, parents should be reminded that it could take time to convert these baby car seats into carriages. Of course, they would have to unbuckle and uninstall the whole thing. If you’re the type of mother or father who is always in a hurry, then we recommend that you actually find a different carriage.
Adjustability refers to the various adjustments that you can do to cater to your child. For example, they are heavier or taller. You could be able to adjust a certain part of the baby car seat such as the head support which is important when they are taller. Also, the adjustability of a car seat is great since you could adjust with the growing of your child. Usually, you’d have to use a baby car seat from birth until they are a couple of years old. The adjustability will help you keep track of their weight and height and still make them feel a lot more comfortable during the whole ride.
Weight and Height Recommendation
Not all of these baby car seats are able to hold on a maximum weight. Not all of these also share the same the minimum weight recommendation. And of course, they don’t share the same height recommendations as well. When it comes to choosing a baby car seat, you have to know both the minimum and the maximum recommendation for height and weight. This is to assure that your baby could be able to use the baby car seat without any problems.
For convertible types of baby car seat, these would usually have minimum and maximum weight recommendation each for rear-facing and for front-facing. Usually, when the child gets heavier and taller, they would have to be placed front-faced since rear-seating might become unsafe and uncomfortable for them.
Ease of Use
By ease of use, it would be good if it’s fairly easy to install, adjust and even to carry when it’s converted to a carrier. You should be able to use it without hassle. And seeing as kids could be rather hyper, you need something that you easily could buckle and unbuckle your children in. But of course, it shouldn’t be too easy that even your children could easily take it off since that could be extremely dangerous especially when the vehicle is moving.
Of course, the overall ease of using these baby car seat will mean that these are also a lot easier to use even when they are converted to carriers or even the simple act of converting to a rear-facing baby car seat to a front-facing one. Again, the ease of installation is important too.
And not really a lot of reviews say this, but the ease of cleaning these baby car seats is important. You have to know whether the supporting cushions could be taken off or what are the parts that can be separated to clean. This is rather important. We might be giving some food to our babies while traveling to keep them occupied. The leftover food could then fall to their car seats and it could definitely attract ants and small insects. Cleaning your baby car seat once in a while is a must.
Editor’s Choice for Best Baby Car Seat:
Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat
Chicco is one of the biggest baby brands in the world and the biggest in all of Europe. We aren’t really surprised that they would provide high quality baby products such as a baby car seat as all of their baby products are definitely made with the best materials and specifically made for the benefit of babies and the happiness of parents.
Chicco has been around for almost 50 years. It was named after the founder’s son and a member of the Artsana Group. Up until now, we can expect the best baby products.
Another thing we like about this car seat is that it’s really easy to install. It’s another thing that is on top of the considerations. The amazing features it has also gives the product 5 stars. Here are the features that we have found:
● 9 Recline Positions – This gives 9 levels of reclining position depending on what your kids want. You could be able to recline it a bit farther when your baby is sleeping. This gives them more comfort than having to sit upright which could give them back and neck aches. Or of course, they could sit upright so they could enjoy the whole ride. It’s very easy to recline as well, you just have to turn it depending on the reclining level you wish.
● Headrest adjustability – You could be able to use it until your child is at least 30” tall. It’s not much compared to other headrests that boast until 50” or so. Nonetheless, it’s pretty much a small drawback since most kids of 30” or so could actually begin sitting on the vehicle’s car seat. But until then, you can definitely make use of this.
● 2 Position Chest Clip – Since rear-facing and forward-facing is appropriate for different age groups, the position chest clip of the Chicco NextFit Convertible car seat accommodates the growth of the child. You could detach the shoulder pads if your child feels like it’s uncomfortable for them.
● Easy to Tighten – It’s so easy to tighten harness that you could actually use just one hand. It’s a secure and easy fit for your kids without having to break a sweat.
● Easy LATCH Tightening – Not only is the harness easy to tighten, the LATCH is easy to tighten too giving your kid security.
So yes, it’s basically a great buy. The features aren’t the only features it has but we believe that these are the most important features that every parent would want to know.
Best Value for Money:
Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat
Compared to Chicco NextFit, the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car is a lot cheaper. While Chicco is almost $300, Safety 1st is only $110. This is basically so much cheaper than the leading brands. And for that price, you can get a really good product. It’s definitely not bad at all especially for those parents who want nothing but the best for their children. So, here’s a quick rundown for the specs of this car seat and what makes it a good choice for parents.
Other Popular Options
Britax Frontier Clicktight Combination Harness-2-Booster Car Seat
Another great contender for the top choice, it’s actually slightly cheaper than Chicco but it has great features such as durability (passed the crash test). It’s also really easy to install. You just have to buckle the seat belts and then you can assure that seat will be securely installed in the car. It also has a greater maximum height and weight recommendation meaning that you can use it for a longer time. The maximum height is 62” in harness mode. The harness mode is the adjustability of the head rest and the harness giving the maximum space, comfort and safety for your children. The maximum weight is 120 lbs in forward-facing mode. The padding are also really soft and comfortable for the children; definitely great for longer car rides. But the downside is that the whole seat is heavy. It’s not suitable when you’re trying to install it to another car. Plus, it’s not really a great choice when you want to try and convert is a carrier. It would definitely be too much for you.
Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
Graco is another big name in the industry. They have lots of other baby products such as clothes, bottles, strollers and even car seats. They have made a name because of the quality of their work and that shows with this car seat. This one is an easy to set up car seat with comfortable padding. It’s secured and can give your child an easy fit with easily adjustable harness. But the best of all is that it’s pretty easy to install which is important if you’re having an emergency. The downside, however, is that it could get pretty heavy and you can’t easily change it from car to car