Any new parent can tell you how stressful parenting is, especially if it’s your first time. The late nights and the constant worry are just the tips of the iceberg. Suddenly, you have to buy all this new stuff that promises to keep your baby safe.
One of the most important things you will need is an infant car seat. But how will you choose? Which brand is the best? How will you know which is safe? Since these questions can be overwhelming, we decided to help you out.
We came up with this detailed review in order to bring the best infant car seats to your doorstep. Before we get into all the details, we have to first assure you that all infant car seats are required to meet or exceed NHTSA standards of safety.
However, there are those that have extra safety features that make them stand out. These are the ones we have featured here. In order to come up with a thorough review, we went through thousands of consumer reports and NHTSA ease of use ratings.
It was also important to us that we selected infant car seats that can support a large range of baby weights. These infant car seats can comfortably support babies from as light as 4 to 5 pounds to as heavy as 35 pounds.
Some of them even come with unique features such as air-rebound bars and steel load legs. So sit back and relax, your life is about to get a whole lot easier.
What To Look For In An Infant Car Seat
Keeping your little one safe is a full-time job and while it can be stressful at times, it is the most fulfilling job anyone can ever have. That being said, we are here to ease some of your worries about buying the utmost important item needed for car travel with your baby.
For starters, most, if not all, baby car seats come with its array of safety features, bells and whistles, and the like; but what we’re going to be discussing here are the specific features you should be looking for in order to pick out the best of the best baby car seats. Let’s get started!
The number one thing to look for is, of course, the safety features. Luckily, we’ve already done the research for you. Here are the key components of the safest baby car seats:
The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system. This usually isn’t a concern when it comes to modern baby car seats, but it’s always good to check anyway. The LATCH system ensures that your baby’s car seat will stay in place by allowing you to secure the baby car seat to your vehicle. Using LATCH makes installation a lot easier, but correct installation with seat belts is okay too.
LATCH connectors come in one of two styles. One style attaches to your baby car seat with a flexible strap that threads through the car seat, and the other is called a “rigid LATCH,” which sticks straight out of the seat back. Many experts consider the rigid LATCH connectors easier to operate.
The recline indicator. This easy-to-use device will tell you if your baby’s car seat is at the correct angle. It is very important for babies riding in a car seat to start out more reclined to ensure that they are able to breathe properly. This means that having a recline indicator on your baby’s car seat is an integral part of facilitating your baby’s safety. We have found that ball or bubble indicators are easier to read than a simple level line.
This feature is incredibly important because the entire back of a rear-facing baby car seat protects your baby by absorbing the majority of the forces in a crash. If the seat is improperly placed or over-reclined, those forces can get transferred to the child’s shoulders and neck instead of the car seat. It is recommended that rear-facing baby car seat should be reclined to between 30 and 45 degrees, but stick to the manufacturer instructions for an exact degree.
Head Support. Unless your baby is a child of the Hulk’s, your newborn will most likely be unable to hold up their head. For this reason, you should look for a baby car seat with an insert to support their head. Keep in mind, it is also important that you only use inserts manufactured by the same company as your baby car seat, you could be risking your baby’s safety otherwise.
Side-impact protection. Many baby car seats have energy-absorbing foam to better protect you baby’s head and chest in a side-impact accident. Deep side walls and adequate barriers around the head, neck and spine are key features of the top rated baby car seats.
Adjustable straps. These will come in handy as your baby starts to outgrown their baby car seat. The best baby car seats will provide you with some, if not all, of the conveniences of single-hand belt adjustments, quick-release buckles, no-rethread harnesses and single-hand height-adjustable headrests.
Now that you have a better understanding of what makes a baby car seat safe, you can take your pick of the top ten best baby car seats on the market, which we have listed below for your convenience.
Please note: If you are unsure about whether or not you have installed you baby car seat correctly, many stores employ Car Seat Safety Technicians who are certified to check correct installation and placement of baby car seats. If you are unable to locate one at a store, many police stations have at least one officer who is a certified Car Seat Safety Technician.
Best Infant Car Seats At A Glance
Before we delve into an in-depth discussion of the best infant car seats, we wanted to present you with an overview of all the products. You can always come back to it for any comparisons, mixing and matching, and for overall convenience and accessibility.