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Best car seat toys 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated October 1, 2020

Norman RyanHELLO! I’m Norman Ryan. After more than 28 hours of research and testing, which included using 17 different car seat toys in five cities and interviewing product teams at five major companies, I made a list of the best car seat toys of 2018

I’ll brush up on how to choose the best car seat toys and examine things like materials, quality, and weight. In this article, I’ve listed down the Top 3 list. These are the best car seat toys your money can buy.

Best car seat toys of 2018

I have taken the initiative to educate you on the top three best car seat toys that you can buy this year. Like choosing clothes or cosmetics, choosing car seat toys should be based on your purpose, favorite style, and financial condition.

Here are my top picks with detailed reviews, comparison charts and buying guides to help you purchase the perfect item for your needs. Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
5 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
5 points
5 points
Awards 1
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How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the car seat toys by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



№1 – Doll Toy Car Seat – Pink Dot

Doll Toy Car Seat - Pink Dot

Real 5-point harness is fully adjustable for dolls 12″ to 20″
Only for use with dolls or stuffed toys, not to be used on children or animals
Comfortable two-position handle grip is ergonomically designed for small hands
I didn’t notice a single drawback yet

Why did this car seat toys win the first place?

The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch!
















№2 – Daisy 4 Packs Infant Baby Plush Adorable Animal Car Seat Hanging Rattle Toy Kids Stroller Crib Pram Ornament Bells Puppet with Wind Chime and Squeak

Daisy 4 Packs Infant Baby Plush Adorable Animal Car Seat Hanging Rattle Toy Kids Stroller Crib Pram Ornament Bells Puppet with Wind Chime and Squeak

☞ DEVELOP BABY ABILITY: Our stroller toy with a balance between bright color,cute animal,high contrast patterns and rattle sound that help stimulate baby’s abilities. Learning from playing.Your baby can learn colors name and animal while playing. They will happy to play with this cute friends.
Heavy in weight as compared to others in our lineup.

Why did this car seat toys come in second place?

I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture.
















№3 – HAHA Baby Soft Hanging Rattle Toy Infant Stroller Car Seat Crib Pram Hanging Bell Puppet Toys Cute Travel-Along Activity Kids Plush Animal Wind Chime with Teethers for 0 to 36 Months Boys Girls

HAHA Baby Soft Hanging Rattle Toy Infant Stroller Car Seat Crib Pram Hanging Bell Puppet Toys Cute Travel-Along Activity Kids Plush Animal Wind Chime with Teethers for 0 to 36 Months Boys Girls

DEVELOP BABY ABILITY-HAHAH Baby stroller toy with a balance between bright color, cute animal, high contrast patterns and rattle sound that help stimulate baby’s abilities. Learning from playing. Your baby can learn colors name and animal while playing. There has a teether on each toy allows your baby holding it to chew on which help to ease baby’s toothache and training baby’s hand-eyes-mouth-brain coordination.
The price might be something to consider for some.
The knob at the top is rather flimsy.

Why did this car seat toys take third place?

It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials.
















car seat toys Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy car seat toys, right? No!

Key Features

point harness – Mostly found on car seats for newborns, a three point harness has a crotch strap and two shoulder straps which buckle together over a child’s pelvis.

point harness – Found on Group seats and above. The two side straps offer greater protection as children grow larger and heavier.

Travel system – A travel system is a combination of newborn baby car seat and a pushchair. You can simply remove the car seat from the pushchair frame and fit it into your car. The frame can then be folded down and transported into the boot. Some models may also include a carry cot.

Some other tips for finding the right infant car seat

Transport Canada recommends that you rear face your child as long as possible as it is the safest way for them to travel.

Convertible car seatsConvertible car seats are seats that can be used either rear- or forward-facing. Convertibles stay installed in the car. Not all convertibles adjust small enough to properly fit a newborn. It is very important to try this sort of car seat before buying to make sure that it fits properly in both directions.

Tiny Love Arch

Our number one rated, and our choice for one of the best car seat toys available, is this toy from Tiny Love. You will use this toy for a long time with your child, as it adjusts in size and features as your baby grows and develops motor skills. Attach this to your stroller and your baby will be happy all day long.

Batting Features Turn to Pulling Features

When your baby is first born, they don’t have the motor skills to grab and pull at toys. Tiny Love kept this in mind, making their arch toy adjustable to adapt to your baby’s age. When they are first born, push the arch up so your baby can bat at the toys. When they are over months, adjust the arch so they can reach out and pull at the toys.

Features and Specifications

This toy bar from Bright Starts lands in our top three because of the great value this product has. This toy bar attaches to almost any infant carrier and gives your child multiple fun toy options. Your baby will be stimulated and entertained for hours with this fun, easy to install toy bar.

Lamaze Clip & Go

If you loved the idea of Firefly Freddie, you are sure to also love Mortimer the Moose as well! This is another toy from Lamaze from their Clip and Go collection. Your child is sure to love the friendly and soft moose, especially all of the fun elements that come with him! Attach him anywhere and easily take him on the go, whether in a stroller or car seat.

Infantino Hug and Tug

We’ve already discussed one Infantino toy, and this next one is another great one your kids are sure to love. The top of this cute bug attaches to just about anything- strollers, car seats, high chairs, cribs, you name it! With plenty of features, including a movement and musical element, this is sure to be a winning toy.

Taf Toys

This car seat toy from Taf Toys is perfect for your little one who is still in a rear facing seat. This toy attaches to your back seat and will keep your child entertained for hours! With multiple elements and stimulation for their eyes, hands, and even feet, this is sure to keep your child (and you) happy, even on the longest of car trips.

The Age of Your Child

Another major factor in deciding what toys are best for your child is the age of your child. A toy that is well-suited for a 3-year-old may not work at all for a 1-year-old. Consider your child’s maturity level and what you think they are capable of handling when you choose toys. The best way to determine if a toy is age-appropriate for your child is to look at the age range recommended by the manufacturer of the toy.

The Materials

You’ll definitely want to consider what types of materials that your toddler’s toys are made of. Certain things are not safe for children and could potentially harm your child. Make sure that toys are made of non-toxic materials. You should also look for fabric toys to be flame resistant or flame retardant. All of your child’s toys should also be lead-free. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid older hand-me-down toys. Older toys likely won’t meet today’s safety standards and could contain dangerous substances such as lead.

What Your Child Gets Out of the Toy

Each type of toy provides something different for your child. You can aid your child’s growth and development in different ways according to what toys you provide for them to play with. Ideally, you’ll want to get a variety of different types of toys to help your child in multiple areas.

Toys That Aid in Hand-Eye Coordination

There are lots of toys that will help your child to develop good hand-eye coordination which they will need for many different aspects of their life. Hand-eye coordination is important if your child wants to play sports, it can be very beneficial for anything artistic your child does, and it’s vital for things your child will do when they’re older such as driving.

Think of what your child will use their hand-eye coordination for throughout life when determining what toys will be good to help develop it. For example, your child will need good hand-eye coordination for things like art and driving so consider toys like large, easy-to-grip crayons and ride-on toys for this.

Educational Toys

It’s also important to include educational toys when choosing toys for your toddler. Your child learns so much of what they learn through play, and choosing toys that foster that learning will help your child’s mental development. There is a saying that play is a child’s work and that couldn’t be more true.

Look for toys that help your child learn something. Things that include the alphabet or numbers may be good choices. Books are also amazing learning toys for children. Reading to your child will teach them all sorts of amazing things including helping them learn to read when the time comes. It’s never too early to start reading to your child.

Toys That Encourage Imagination

One more very important type of toy that you want to make sure your child has some of are toys that foster your child’s imagination. Your child can use their imagination with almost any toy, but some toys are especially good for getting your child’s creative juices flowing.

Toy’s That Have Multiple Uses

It’s a really great idea to choose toys for your toddler that do multiple things that can help with your child’s growth and development in more than just one way. There are lots of toys that have not just one, but two or three or even more different uses for your child. For example, many building blocks have pictures, letters, and numbers on the sides of them. These are wonderful because they encourage imagination since your child can build anything they can think up using them, but they also can help teach your child different things like their letters which they’ll need to know as they begin reading.

Balls are another good example. Toys that have multiple uses are also often the types of toys that will last a long time because your child will enjoy them at different stages of their development. Additionally, having toys that can do different things for your child will also help to save you money and space since you won’t necessarily need as many toys overall.

Infant car seat

This is the best seat for young children (birth to years old). It boasts a harness and, in a move, cradles and crash with the child to lessen the stress to their spinal cord and fragile neck. The car seat is designed to ride in a car in the rear-facing position. It can be used for to 2months, depending on the baby’s growing rate and the car seat’s size.

Convertible car seat

A convertible car seat can be used from birth until a child gets too large for a car seat. Meaning to say, you can make best use of your investment. It can either be used in the rear facing or forward facing positions, depending on the child’s weight.

Travel systems

Travel systems are the granddaddy of strollers, which combine a stroller and a car seat that makes it impossible for parents to use it throughout the toddlerhood and infancy of their baby. The car seat locks in the stroller for an easy transport. A smooth ride is offered.

This is favored by many moms due to its classic style. It is designed with a stylishly oversized wheels and curved lightweight metal frame. Also, this can be the cozy place of your baby to take a nap while going around. Since it is only meant for infant use, you will need to buy another stroller when your baby can sit up.

Britax B-Agile and B-Safe Travel System

The B-Agile and B-Safe Travel System is specially designed to offer maximum safety and effortless travel while you are traveling in style. The maneuverable, extremely easy to fold and lightweight is the ultimate choice of the stroller to sail across modern life. With a top combination of style and features, this travel system is the best go-to product.

High practical appeal is one of the most essential things parents want to see in a stroller item. This may not have the most appealing style or design available on the market, but the speed, safety and general safety features will surely give real value for your hard-earned money. This product is suited for months to years old children.

The only downfall about this product is that, the car seat bracket is not durable, which could lead to damage after a year. But generally, it is a safe and stellar choice even for conscious mommies.

Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30 Travel System

Designed for the Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat, the stroller functionally works as a travel system for babies and a full-size stroller for growing infants. One-pull harness loosening and tightening in the car seat enables for quick fitting; the tightly-padded infant insert offers extra support for smaller children around the back, neck, head and bottom. The aluminum stroller is loaded with features to make the strolling comfortable for kids and convenient for parents.

Britax US Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, Verve offers the easiest installation in all car seats that convertible car seats to a car seat. The car seat provides excellent side-effect protection and undoubtedly one of the best convertible car seats there. It uses a steel frame which uses safe cell technology, is a power-absorbing base and it is enacted that it safeguards children in 2017.

The Click tight system provides the easiest and most secure installation for installation, which will give you peace of mind about child safety and comfort. Additionally, Britax Marathon ClickTit is one of the very few seats, which has a safety frame, one of the pillars of its safe cell Impact Protection system. This is a V-tether and power absorbed base which increases the speed of a crash, thus reducing the mobility.

Parents can easily adjust the car seat of Brittax Marathon Click right, for example, the child grows up to the age of childhood age as a child of regular age and age.

Travel back in time with the

Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-convertible car seat, with a 3-way extension panel that offer up to inches of extra leg room for your growing child. The 3-in-seat takes your child from to 100 pounds! The Extend2Fit 3-in-convertible car seat can be used rear-facing from to 50 pounds, facing forward for small children from 2to 6pounds, and as a high-backrest reinforcement for large children from 30 to 100 pounds.

The seat has a simple adjustment that allows you to adjust the height of the harness and headrest without re-threading, InRight Latch for a one-second latch and hassle-free harness storage that keeps the buckle out of the way, making it easy to get baby in and out.

If you have already select a used

Child safety seat you need be sure to buy this from anyone you trust. So that you can know if there are any accident and damage occurred before. Or buy a new one from market.

As a child safety seat, do not forget to check how your car seat fits on the back of your vehicle as soon as you get it.

There are some questions to consider once you place your car seat: is left leg room left? Can you easily adjust the match strap from the position of the face backwards? Are you sure you have installed it correctly? You can see any problem by selecting a different car seat model. Take enough time and patience, and you can make sure all your passengers, large and small, have a comfortable trip.

What we have did for you

To find the best  convertible car seat  we asked around 50 parents for share their experience with the car seats which they have used. We send the team to the market to check the most loving brand and model which is on top selling list. Then we have brought some of them and analysis at our lab. We have compared the feature from different brands and models.

How To Survive Without An Infant Car Seat Carrier

For neighborhood walks, I used a double stroller (the Baby Jogger City Select) with a bassinet attachment. When my super tall baby outgrew the bassinet at only months old, we moved her to the stroller seat fully reclined.

Getting To and From The Car

Since we have a private driveway (and two kids), I load toddler in the car first with the house door open while baby plays in her Pack ‘n Play in the living room. I unload baby first and bring her into the house to her Pack ‘n Play while I run out to unload brother.

Since I can’t load toddler into his car seat while wearing baby, If I happen to be loading the car on a rare outing without a stroller I quickly place baby in her seat unbuckled, load and buckle toddler and loop back to get baby buckled in. I leave my car keys next to baby to remind me to go back and buckle her (since I have only remaining brain cells left and could totally imagine forgetting to strap her in!).


Without an infant car seat carrier, there IS a little more strategy involved when you’re preparing to go on a new outing. Sometimes I do find myself in an unexpected moment of problem-solving. For example, when I took my month old swimming without bringing our stroller and had to figure out what to do with him while I got dressed. But I have always been able to figure out a solution (I dried off while holding him as best as I could and then laid him down on both of our towels on the floor while I changed. The towels were going in the wash when we got home anyway!).

Choosing A Convertible Car Seat

Infant seats protect your growing baby’s neck and head while providing full body support. They are always rear-facing and usually have a removable carrier for use with a stroller or to simply carry the baby with you. Infant safety seats are not all created equally, so you’ll have to find the highest quality seat you can afford and any accessories you may need to keep your child safe and comfortable.

Infant car seat reviews show the most important aspects of each product so you can easily compare them with similar products on the market. We only list the best selling seats, so this is a great place to start shopping.

Convertible Car Seats

These seats are designed to work from birth until they no longer need a child restraint. They’ll start as a rear-facing infant seat which can be converted into a front-facing seat and then a booster seat. Some will convert into a backless booster seat, while others will not. When used as an infant seat, they don’t usually work as a portable baby carrier.

These seats will have a harness system like an infant car seat, but also have a higher weight limit, enabling your child to sit rear-facing for longer. Most convertible seats will hold up to 6pounds or more. Convertible car seat reviews focus on which seats are the safest and easiest to use at every stage of your child’s life.

Infant Travel Systems

Car seat/stroller sets have become increasingly popular within the last few years. They are more efficient, especially for caregivers who are always on the go and have an active lifestyle.

They can be used for quite a few years. They are heavier and bulkier than the traditional stroller or car seat. Depending on the type of stroller that comes with the travel system, it may allow you to attach an infant carrier, or work as jogging or double stroller.

Travel system reviews focus on product weight, maneuverability, compatibility with infant carriers, and on-board accessories. Today’s best infant travel systems are safe, lightweight, easy to maneuver, compact when folded, and provide enough storage for travel necessities such as diaper bags and small items for both child and caregiver.

Safest Car Seats

The best car seats are typically those with the newest technologies and safety systems, but still come from time-tested brands you can trust. They’ve not only been fully vetted by parents, but have also gone through rigorous crash testing and studies.

These reviews take a comprehensive look at each individual car seat, comparing them on safety, ease of use, comfort, style, size limits, and more. Our car seat reviews are completely objective, relying on statistics and real customer experiences.

Budget Car Seats

Most dogs love car rides and will jump from seat to seat to get the best window views. Most dog owners don’t think about buckling up their pets, but they’re just as susceptible to injury in a crash as you and your children are.

Even if your dog is the more laid back sort, a dog car seat keeps them contained so they don’t damage your interior and keeps them safely restrained in the event of an accident. Since dogs aren’t shaped like humans, airbags and regular vehicle restraints can really hurt them. A dog car seat allows you to safely and comfortably transport your dog to the vet, the groomer, or across the country.

Infant Car Seat Covers

If you travel often, an infant car seat cover is a must-have item. Babies can’t tell you when the sun is too warm or in their eyes. A sun-blocking infant car seat cover can shield them from the sun without trapping heat. Those made with thicker materials can make the seat warmer in the winter months, especially if you can’t warm your car up before putting your baby in it.

They can keep both baby and seat safe from the elements. Infant seat covers can also help your child sleep for a longer time, making the drive much more enjoyable for everyone involved.

When you aren’t in the car, an infant seat cover protects against the sun’s harsh rays and keeps dust and dirt from accumulating in the car seat. An infant car seat cover is a wise choice for a higher-end car seat so you can better protect your investment.

Tips and Tricks

Whether you’re a brand new parent or an experienced car seat buyer, visit our tips and tricks page to find recent recalls, specification changes, upgrades, and new accessories. If you have a question or a topic you want us to cover, feel free to contact us at any time.

Exersaucer ~ 6-1Months

This self-contained walker-style exersaucer features over 1toys, including a flip book that makes different sounds and a piano that plays songs. Babies can walk around the table in the chair (and later stand at it on their own). Parents love how long it keeps their little ones entertained.

This exersaucer offers over 1activities, including a light-up piano that plays songs and speaks in English, French, and Spanish phrases. It has a seat that rotates and lots of colorful, fun toys. Bonus: made in the U.S.A.


This popular activity center has a chair that both rotates and jumps and over 1activities (including a piano that plays songs and speaks English, French, and Spanish phrases).

Babies can spin the seat around in this stand-alone jumperoo (stationary jumper) and jump off the ground with their feet; this Jumperoo is incredibly popular with little ones.

Toy to enjoy an easier driving experience while your baby faces the rear seat and remains safe and happy – and you calm and able to concentrate on the road rather than a screaming and dissatisfied child.

Packed with entertainment for the toddler, the Play & Kick Car Seat Toy provides playful activities and soothing music to help calm and keep the baby occupied while you’re occupied.

The toy also includes three colorful and soft toys that the baby can grab and play with. Or, he can choose to kick the soft kick pad, he’ll hear music and experience twinkling soft lights that will help develop his motor skills and other senses.

You’ll be happy to know that the Play & Kick Car Seat Toy attaches extremely easy to the car’s headrest with two plastic rings. And, you can adjust the angle and height to your child’s reach with the easy to use Velcro straps.

VTech Baby On-the-Moove Activity Bar. Note that ‘Moove’ isn’t misspelled in this instance – it represents the cute and laughing ‘cow’ in the middle of the toy that swings back and forth.

As the cow swings, the motion sensor is activated and your toddler will be delighted with interesting sounds that he chooses. The heart button on the cow triggers songs, phrases and music. The bird on the toy helps the child learn motor skills and self-awareness. That should keep him occupied for a while – and help him learn.

Electronics For Kids

This entry was posted in Activity Play Centers, Baby And Toddler Toys, Educational Toys, Electronics For Kids, Figures And Playsets, Kids Activities, Kitchen Toys, Music And Sound, Play Vehicles, Pretend Play and tagged best christmas toys, best christmas toys for kids, best toy gift guide, best toys for christmas, most popular christmas toy, the best christmas toy gift, trending toys for christmas.

Pull Quote

We hired MGA Research, a Wisconsin laboratory that runs much of the car seat crash testing in the country, to conduct front-impact and side-impact crash tests specifically for this story.

Personally, I am familiar with government rules and regulations, after spending almost a decade working on Capitol Hill and at the Department of Commerce. I’m a former reporter for CQ Roll Call, and my stories about policy and parenting have appeared in The Washington Post, Health Affairs, and Marie Claire. For this review, I traveled to Burlington, Wisconsin, to witness a team of engineers at MGA Research crash-test several top-rated infant car seats. My two boys, ages 1½ and 4 years, both still ride rear-facing in their car seats.

Who should get this

Amid all the lengthy lists of “baby must-haves,” the one item not up for debate is an infant car seat. If you’re going to be driving in a car with your baby, you need one. Most hospitals, complying with the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, do not discharge newborns until a staff member visually confirms the presence of an infant car seat to transport the baby safely home.

Several qualities distinguish infant car seats from larger “convertible” car seats, many of which have weight and height ranges that include most newborn infants (we plan to review convertible car seats later this year). Most important, an infant seat is designed to be used only rear-facing, the position that is known to be far safer for small children. Unlike convertible car seats, infant seats also come with a detachable base, allowing parents to easily click the seat in and out of the vehicle and to carry the baby in the seat (or attach it to a stroller). Babies outgrow most infant car seats by the time they reach 30 or 3inches tall or between 30 and 3pounds, whichever comes first. The typical kid reaches that height range at 1to 1months and will be nearly years old by the time they weigh 3pounds, so for most people the height limit is more relevant than the weight limit.

How we picked

We started by researching the most popular infant car seats, about 30 models in all. We looked at online customer reviews and media coverage, including by Consumer Reports, BabyGearLab, Mommyhood101, BabyCenter, Fatherly, and The Car Seat Lady. We interviewed nearly 20 experts on car seat safety, policy, and installation, and we looked closely at the results of government (NHTSA) testing, as well as at the findings of Consumer Reports and BabyGearLab, the two other media outlets that have conducted independent laboratory crash testing of infant car seats. BabyGearLab tested to NHTSA standards for front impact in 201and 2017; Consumer Reports modifies the NHTSA standards (PDF) and conducts tests that simulate a crash at 35 mph instead of 30 mph (the most recent results are from September 2016), among other differences.

All car seats sold in the US are self-certified by the manufacturers to pass strict NHTSA standards (PDF) for safety testing. NHTSA conducts what it terms “safety compliance testing” of multiple seats each year and presents the database of results (parsing out the test results for each seat requires some additional digging). Proper installation is generally a far bigger problem for people than seat safety, so we searched the NHTSA ease-of-use installation database to determine which seats offered easy installation and came with clear instructions.

Our 20 total hours of background research helped us conclude that the ideal infant car seat should have several features and attributes.

Among the safest seats available: In our early analysis, we relied heavily on data from NHTSA, particularly the results of the front-impact crash testing that the federal agency performs annually. However, infant car seats are self-certified, meaning they are not required to pass NHTSA’s formal tests before going on sale. Each year, NHTSA conducts crash testing on some of the car seats currently for sale in the US. However, since car seats are not required to be certified, several of the seats we looked at did not have government crash-test data.

Easy to install: Most parents will tell you that the most frustrating thing about dealing with car seats is the installation, and the experts we interviewed said that proper installation is the most common barrier to car seat safety. So we knew that a good car seat must be easy to install correctly, both with and without a LATCH system, so that a diligent adult following directions could manage a correct installation within a few minutes without expert assistance. (LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, a system that allows you to install a car seat with metal clips that attach to hooks built into the car, forgoing the lap belt. All cars and car seats manufactured after Sept 1, 200include the LATCH option.) Any harried parent who has had to install a car seat in a relative’s car or in a rental knows that an intuitive installation system trumps a well-crafted set of directions, though those are good to have, too.

Straps that are easy to buckle and adjust: A car seat’s straps should be easy to tighten, loosen, and buckle, ideally without your having to refer back to the written instructions.

A reasonably high height and weight limit: You don’t want your child to outgrow the seat before you’re ready and willing to switch to a convertible car seat. Aside from a Consumer Reports test, there has been little documented difference between the safety of an infant seat versus a rear-facing convertible seat. The primary reasons that parents we spoke to cited for keeping a child in an infant seat longer were the convenience of clicking them in and out of the car and easy access to a compatible stroller. Even without a stroller, a click-in car seat provides a fast way to transport a child into the car while keeping them warm and dry. As many parents can attest, coaxing a kid into a car seat while standing outside in the pouring rain is far less appealing than using a quick click-and-go—and that’s why some parents want to use an infant seat for as long as possible.

Widely available, ideally in different colors or patterns: We wanted seats that you could purchase easily from multiple big retailers, and had design options that appealed to a wide swath of parents.

How we tested

To distinguish among the top infant car seats, we commissioned front- and side-impact crash tests, the latter of which are not currently required under federal law. Here, in footage from the independent lab tests we commissioned for this guide, the 1-year-old-sized dummy in the Chicco KeyFit 30 does not make impact with the door in a simulated 30 mph crash, which means a passing grade for the Chicco.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Chicco KeyFit 30 can hold a child up to 30 inches tall or 30 pounds. Those limits are inches shorter and pounds lighter than the limits of several of the other seats we tested, notably the Britax B-Safe 3and the Uppababy Mesa, which are each rated to 32 inches and 3pounds. Car seat technicians we spoke with agreed that a child is likely to reach the height limit of an infant seat before the weight limit. However, “the primary factor in a child outgrowing a car seat’s height limit has to do with the ‘tush to top of head’ length,” which is the distance between the bottom of the seat shell interior and the top of the baby’s head, said Lani Harrison, a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) based in Los Angeles. The Chicco KeyFit 30 has a 21-inch tush-to-top-of-head length, versus 19½ inches for the Britax and 1inches for the Uppababy (Harrison provided the measurements). On a practical level, though the Chicco KeyFit 30 has a lower overall inch rating than competing seats, it may actually fit your child longer than a seat with a height limit a couple of inches higher.

Of course, a child will outgrow their infant seat. Since a convertible/toddler seat is inevitably the next step, we think it is not a dealbreaker for a child to outgrow a seat on the slightly earlier end, especially as we found that most parents opt to switch to a convertible seat before the child officially outgrows their infant one anyway.

Unlike other car seats we tested, the Chicco KeyFit 30 does not have any of the options we identified as being enticing to parents but unnecessary, such as self-ratcheting latches (a distinguishing feature on the Uppababy Mesa), a no-rethread harness, or central lock-off plates on the base. These features can add a level of convenience, but ultimately they are not required for a quality seat.

When using the Chicco KeyFit 30 without its base, you slide the seat belt through tabs at the front of the seat rather than wrapping it around the back of the seat as well.

For installation without a base, the Chicco KeyFit 30 relies on the “American belt pass,” which places the seat belt across the top front of the bucket, above the baby’s legs. The European belt pass, which places the shoulder belt around the back of the seat in addition to across the top, is considered safer and works with seats such as the Cybex Aton and Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-3(you can find a helpful list from The Car Seat Lady). Families who regularly rely on taxis or car services, or who otherwise travel regularly with the infant seat without its base, may prefer a seat with a European belt pass. While this difference is worth noting, since most families will be using the infant seat in conjunction with the base, we still believe that the Chicco KeyFit 30 is clearly the best overall choice for most families.

Chicco KeyFit 22

Sometimes referred to simply as the Chicco KeyFit, the KeyFit 2has a weight limit that’s pounds less than that of the more popular KeyFit 30. We judged this weight to be low enough to limit the usability of this seat, which as of August 201also had poor availability. A spokesperson for Chicco confirmed that the seat was temporarily out of stock but would continue to be manufactured.

Chicco Fit2

The Chicco Fitis rated to 3pounds or 3inches—the tallest height limit of all the car seats we considered. The seat is intended to hold kids up to years old, and could be particularly appealing to parents or caregivers who appreciate the convenience of an infant car seat and want to delay switching to a convertible seat. The Fit2’s base has an additional “toddler” position, so the seat will properly fit an older child at a more upright angle, and it has an extendable headrest and a removable canopy. Like the KeyFit 30, the Fitis compatible with Chicco strollers. BabyGearLab listed this seat as an Editors’ Choice, and though NHTSA has not yet rated the Fitfor ease of installation, it has a base similar to that of the KeyFit 30, which we found to be very easy to install.

Cybex Aton 2

Of the seven car seats we tested at home, the Cybex Aton was the most difficult to click in and out of its base (it required placing different fingers on two release panels, and then pushing in at the same time). We also found the Cybex seat’s handle adjustment—which required gripping the widest part of the handle—frustrating. After a day of making adjustments to the Cybex handles, I could feel the strain in my forearms and wrists. But NHTSA awarded this Cybex model four out of five stars for ease of installation, and at 9.pounds it’s lighter than most comparable seats.

The Cybex Aton comes in colors, including hues more bright than those of the Chicco KeyFit 30, and has a two-year warranty.

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35

4-3had handles that were relatively difficult to shift, a flimsy chest clip, and hard-to-adjust straps. The button to adjust the straps is tucked beneath car seat material, and like the Cybex Aton 2, this Peg Perego model requires pressure from the thumbs, not the hands, to adjust the handles. Though the seat scored above the mean in NHTSA’s safety-compliance ratings for head and chest pressure—see page of this PDF  report—the agency gave it just three out of five stars for installation (we didn’t judge its installation as harshly). It comes in 1colors and has a two-year warranty.

Cybex Cloud Q

The pricey Cybex Cloud Q has a full-recline feature, which may be useful for parents who use their infant seat with a stroller and want their baby to be able to lie flat when sleeping rather than sitting up in the normal car-seat position. The Cybex Cloud Q comes with a load leg, and NHTSA gave it four of out five stars for ease of installation.

Nuna Pipa

The Nuna Pipa features rigid lower anchor connectors that you rotate forward and click into the vehicle’s lower LATCH hooks, a design that CPST Lani Harrison told us adds to the safety of the seat. Consumer Reports gave the Pipa a “best” crash-test rating, and BabyList lauded its “primo design”; this model also earned a score of four stars (out of five) for ease of installation from NHTSA. But it’s more expensive than our pick, and not as widely available or as well-reviewed as the seats we tested.

Current federal requirements for manufacturers

While individual states are responsible for regulating how car seats are used, any car seat sold in the US must meet federal safety standards set by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. NHTSA requires that all car seats meet certain benchmarks in crash tests that determine the force on the head and chest in a simulated front-facing crash. NHTSA also tests car seats for ease of installation, as industry experts estimate that most car seats are improperly installed.

Current front-impact crash testing relies on three measurements to judge safety performance: HIC (head injury criterion), a composite measure that combines time and acceleration to measure the likelihood of a head injury in a car crash, and must be under 1,000; G-clip (also called the ms chest clip), the chest-acceleration measurement, which should be under 60 g; and maximum seat-back angle (to provide adequate neck support in a crash), which should be less than 70 degrees from vertical. Lower numbers are better: With all three tests, the lower the number is, the farther it is from exceeding NHTSA’s front-impact injury-criteria limits.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your car seat toys wisely! Good luck!

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