Best Infant Car Seat Reviews in 2018
Traveling with your babies could be quite a struggle when you’re on your own so this is why infant car seats were made. It’s impossible to drive while carrying them as it’s unsafe and it’s totally hard. These infant car seats are made to cater to the needs of parents who are driving to and from their destinations with their babies. In comparison to a baby car seat, an infant car seat best suits infants who are newly born up until they could easily support their heads and their bodies. Usually, it would be good for them until they are a year old or perhaps when they reach the maximum height and weight recommendation. But as long as they are still infants, buying an infant car seat is really important.
In this post, we’ll be able to help you find the best infant car seat in the market with the help of reviews and considerations you must take when it comes to choosing the product. We’ve also featured some options that can help every parent.
What is an Infant Car Seat?
An infant car seat is a type of car seat that is specifically made for infants. These are basically close to a stroller, but instead of having wheels and that long handle, it’s just the carrier. It’s then attached to your vehicle’s car seat through a LATCH system or buckles. Then you can place your baby on the car seat and secure them with their own buckles. These are comfortable and are padded to assure that your baby could get cozy.
Most infant car seats could also be turned into a carrier. When you un-install these from the car, it has a handle that you can use to help carry your babies wherever you may go. It’s basically like a basket but a more comfortable and stylish one and with safety features.
How to Use and Install an Infant Car Seat
Three out of four infant car seats are placed improperly. If this is the case, it could be terrifying what might happen to your baby when an accident occurs or even sudden swerving on the road. This is why knowing how to install your infant car seat is important.
There are two ways on installing an infant car seat; the seat belt system and the LATCH system. No matter what you choose, you should check the manual of both your car and your infant car seat’s manual to assure that the two are compatible.
Here are the steps on how you could install the car seat through the common way of using seat belts:
● First off, you should install the infant car base. You have to make sure that it’s the right angle. It should be somewhere between 30 to 45 degrees. Most infant car seats now have angle indicators.
● Use your car’s seat belt and pass it through the belt path of the base of the car seat. You have to assure that you know the right path for your belt. Normally, there’s also an indication on the car seat. Be sure that you follow that.
● When you have securely woven the seat belt through the right belt path, you can now buckle it. Be sure that you have also buckled it well so if you’re not familiar with your car buckle works, you should consult your car manual.
● To assure that the belt is tight, you should use on hand to pull down the car seat and another to pull taut the shoulder part of the belt. Try to check the car seat if it’s secure. It should not exceed an inch on the seat belt path.
● You may want to lock the belt either by using a lock system from the infant car seat or perhaps using the lock system of your car’s belt. Check your manual to verify the best and most appropriate way of locking your belt.
● Again, check your angle and see if it’s still between 30 to 45 degrees. Then you can now place the infant car seat. Always listen for the snap as it indicates that your car seat is anchored to the base you have just installed. Test it as well to make sure that it stays well.
● Always remember that infants should drive rear-facing.
Here’s how you use the LATCH system to install an infant car seat:
● LATCH or Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children are usually placed on the back part of the infant car seat. Take those and look for the indicator of the LATCH system on your car seat.
● Tighten your LATCH and be sure that there’s no movement from side to side or back to front. The only movement it should allow is an inch or less. If it’s more than that, tighten the LATCH and test it again.
● You can now install your car seat and make sure that it’s on a 30 to 45 degree angle so that your baby will be comfortable.
When using the infant car seat, you merely have to place your baby on the car seat and put the seatbelt on them so they would stay safe. If you want to take the baby, you can take off the car seat and now use it as a carrier. You’d be leaving the base of the car seat behind so it won’t be difficult for you to install again.
Here’s a video of how to install your infant car seat:
Types of Infant Car Seat
The infant car seat is actually a type of baby car seat; therefore, it doesn’t really have specific types any more. These car seats are usually around the time they are born to at the most, 2 years old. Or again, this will depend on how they have reached for the maximum weight and height recommendation for the infant car seat.
These are always rear-facing, to assure that your baby is able to have the full space and not be hindered by the chair.
Nonetheless, if you are looking for a baby car seat after the infant car seat, here are the other two types.
Convertible Car Seats – These are normally used by the time that your baby could be able to support their head and neck and again, until they are two years old. This is convertible as this could be used both rear-facing and forward-facing. Forward-facing is when your baby is no longer within the recommendation of for the weight of rear-facing which is around 30 pounds to 40 pounds.
Booster Car Seats – These are usually for babies 2 years old and above. Booster seats have harnesses that could be adjusted to a maximum height. The average height is between 40 to 60 inches. If they are still within that height recommendation, you can still use your baby car for added support. However, when a child reaches four or five years old, they are usually seated on the car seat itself.
Considerations When Buying an Infant Car Seat
This is basically the first and foremost consideration that every parent should look for. They bought an infant car seat to assure that their babies will be safe during the car ride. And even for manufacturers; their main goal is to assure that the products they make are safe for the children of the parents who are going to buy their stuff.
To know if an infant car seat is a safe product, you may want to know whether it has gone through a crash test. This is important and necessary. For a product to hit the market, it has to go through standard tests to see how safe it is for the customers. For infant car seats, a crash test is done and if a product passes, it could now be delivered into various shops to be sold.
Although it’s not necessary for manufacturers to acquire a certification for their crash tests from National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations, it’s always good to find a manufacturer that could provide you with that. At least being able to show an evidence that they are indeed capable of protecting your child when it comes down to that point. However, most of the products we see on the market, especially the brands that are popular when it comes to baby gears and stuff are certified and can assure quality and safe products.
So as much as possible, you should go with brand names that more parents trust. This is why we’re here to provide insight for the most famous brands there are.
The durability of infant car seat speaks a lot about the quality of the product. It is most important that the quality of the car seat is great so you can guarantee the durability of what you’re going to buy. In addition, this is also associated with the safety of the infant who will be using this.
You will want a durable car seat since you might be using it for a couple of years or until your baby’s able to sit well on your vehicle’s car. But it may take a while before they do. So when you acquire a durable infant car seat, you won’t have to worry about buying another car seat in just a short period of time. Sometimes, even, you could use this for your next child. However, you have to make sure that you are still able to use it for another kid. There are products that have expiration dates as well. This could be due to the parts of the car seat getting brittle or unreliable over time.
Nonetheless, once you buy a durable infant car seat, you can most likely use it for years.
Convenience is when it can be used more than just as an infant car seat. Most infant car seats can be used as carrier. These carriers/infant car seats have a handle that will allow you to easily carry the seat just like a basket. It’s convenient since you only have to take it off the car seat base and then bring your baby along with you. You don’t have to wake them up to transfer them to a stroller.
But along this should be the weight. Consider how heavy it is. It’s much better and much more convenient when your infant car seat is lighter as you could use it easily as a carrier. Some brands are heavier and because of that, they aren’t much used out of the car. They leave it behind along with the car seat base and they transfer their kids to stroller. Imagine the hassle in that.
We recommend that you pick out a durable and yet lightweight product. Or just see whether how much the weight of the product is and add to that the approximate weight of your baby currently.
Speaking of weight, you also have to consider the maximum weight recommendation of an infant car seat. Depending on the brand, some have higher weight capacity reaching to 40 or even 50 lbs. But no more than that since it’s not suitable for rear-facing. Some others have slightly lower maximum capacity which is under 30 or you might even see some that are only up to 20 lbs.
Considering the weight capacity of your infant car seat will allow you to use it as long as your baby needs rear-facing. Some babies tend to grow heavier even when they are just a few months old. You have to get bigger capacities for that.
A good infant car seat could be adjusted in different ways; it could be adjusted in angle or the harness. It’s important that your infant car seat could be adjusted as to provide the comfort of the baby while providing them with safety.
For the angle, it should have both an indicator of the current angle of the car seat and then an adjustment button that will help you choose the best angle. It’s usually around 30 to 45 degrees. This angle will help the baby breathe easily and normally. The wrong angle could either break the neck of the baby (as they still have no control over their neck muscles and their heads are still heavy for them) or it could also make it hard to breathe (their heads could drop down blocking the airway).
The harness should also have the right fit. You don’t want something that is really tight. Remember that your baby’s bones are still fragile. Tight seatbelts could crush their bones and damage their organs. This would be especially dangerous with sudden car movements. However, you don’t want to make it wider for them. Of course, they might slide off the car seat and that will be one thing you don’t want to happen.
Ease of Use
By ease of use, it could mean both ease of installation as well as ease of cleaning.
Ease of installation would refer to how easy it is to install. Although there are lots of tutorials on the internet and even along with the product, sometimes it’s extremely tough to find where are the right belt path or perhaps if there’s a lock system and how to use it. Sometimes, the LATCH system doesn’t reach the hook on the car and you will have a hard time finding out how you could possibly make it reach. It’s really important that an infant car seat could be easily installed and detached so when you need to transfer it to another car quickly, you can do it fast.
Another thing that’s important to consider is the ease of cleaning. You will need an infant car seat with either detachable padding or detachable outer cover. This is really important. Since it’s your baby’s seat in the car, there’s no doubt that milk may have been spilled or perhaps baby vomits or just about anything that you might have given to your kid. To avoid germs or even insects like ants that could harm your baby, you ought to clean it regularly as you can. And of course, it has to be easily cleaned.
There aren’t many features with infant car seats but there are a few that could be really handy such as an adjustable sun shade as well as a cup holder.
An adjustable sun shade is important especially when you’re bringing the car seat as either a stroller or a carrier. Since the sun is harsher these days especially during midday, you have to at least protect your baby from the sun. Most car seat has this feature so it’s not difficult for you to overlook this feature.
A cup holder is another convenient feature that a lot of infant car seats have. This is usually placed on the lower part of the car seat. This is really convenient especially when you bring the carrier with you. You don’t need a bigger baby bag just to fit a baby bottle. You can now place it there and it would be an easier access for you.
Editor’s Choice for the Best Infant Car Seat:
Evenflo Embrace LX Infant Car Seat
Evenflo is a great manufacturer of many different baby products. This brand is famous for providing safe and durable products that parents want to acquire for their babies. The Evenflo Embrace LX Infant Car Seat is no different from their other products. When you wish for durability and safety, it’s a really great product to have.
Baby Trend has been on the industry for 26 years. It’s no doubt that they have become a leading manufacturer for many different infant products as well. They won’t be on the market long enough if there aren’t any parents who support and love their products.
One thing that Baby Trend boasts is that they take quality products to the market without being too pricey. Not everyone could afford a hundred dollar infant car seat even when they need and want to. Good thing, the Baby Trend Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat is available for sale. It’s no more than $80 making it extremely great for the budget. But the question is, is it a good product to acquire? A lot of parents are worried about cheaper priced products since they are not entirely sure with the quality. However, Baby Trend is a manufacturer that offers great-quality products that are made from safe and durable materials
Other Popular Infant Car Seats
Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base
Chicco is another well-known brand in the infant products sections. But even when Chicco has provided excellent products over the years, the Keyfit 30 didn’t make it to the top because of one major consideration; the weight. It’s one of the heaviest and plus the baby, it would be really tough carry this around. Nonetheless, it has quality and really easy to install. We wish, the cover material would have been breathable since the baby sweats when they’re on the seat for a long time. The sun shade is also not the best length
Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat
The Graco SnugRide Infant car seat would have been a great contender for the top spot if only it doesn’t lack some LATCH components. We all know that this is a rather important part of the car seat so it didn’t score that greatly. Nonetheless, it has great head support and could fit in smaller babies plus it’s really comfortable.
Britax B-Safe 35 Elite Infant Car Seat
The Britax-B Safe 35 Elite is the heaviest infant car seat in the list, therefore it hasn’t placed the top. However, it’s really a great product that is easy to install and really comfortable for the baby. It’s a great buy since it’s also compatible with a lot of Britax B strollers.