Part of having a new baby is the added burden of selecting the best infant car seat. Thanks to our friends at Chicco we now have selected and received our favorite infant car seat, to help out with this article. However all our tips and opinions on how to select an infant car seat are our own.
There are so many options out there for an infant car seat that it can be overwhelming. How do you know which infant car seat is the best? Well we are here to help! When selecting your next infant car seat, consider these top 5 tips; and hopefully you will end up with the perfect infant car seat for your little family!
5 Features of the Best Car Seat
Now some people tell me that I should just skip the infant car seat and go straight to a convertible car seat. I mean why buy so many car seats? When you can just start with one convertible car seat and transition it around?
Well, for me it is a personal choice. Although newborns fit into a convertible car seat, experts agree that an infant car seat is the safest option for a new baby. It is tailored specifically for the smaller child and offer the right support in the right places. Where Convertible car seats are not as tailors to smaller children.
Which leads straight into the first tip on how to select the best infant car seat- Safety!
1. Safety. When selecting the best infant car seat, you need to look at the safety ratings and options of the car seat.
For me I had narrowed down our search to 3 different infant car seats. All 3 were highly recommended by multiple friends and family members. These were the 3 brands most often mentioned. One was less expensive. One was very expensive. And then the Chicco Keyfit 30 infant car seat was the middle ground.
Looking into the infant car seats more, we discovered that they were all three rated equally for safety. So that didn’t help me narrow down the option. Except the fact that it was nice to know that the $400 car seat wasn’t the “safer” option, but just had more bells and whistles.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 is the number 1 rated infant car seat in America. It features energy-absorbing foam for improved side-impact protection. And features the thickly cushioned seat pad and five-point harness to keep the baby secure and safe.
It can safely secure an infant from 4 to 30 lbs. And features a handy bubble leveler on the base to ensure the car seat is installed properly.
2. Ease of installation. It’s all well and good to pick a safe car seat. But what good is it if you can’t get it installed properly?
This has always been the bane of my existence when it comes to car seats! All kinds. They are so stinking hard to install into the vehicle! Once we finally got the car seat into place, I would refuse to move it; because of the headache that ensued from trying to put it back into the car.
But with the Chicco Keyfit 30, I don’t have this stress! It features the easy latch system to ensure it is attached properly and securely. But more than that; the latch system is so easy to use!
Simply attach each latch hook into the car. These hooks are amazing too! No need to pinch your fingers to get it to clip open and over the lap hooks in the car. Nope, just push towards the car hook and it clips itself! And release is easy too with a simple button just like a seat belt!
And then there is the SuperCinch One-Pull LATCH Tightener that you pull tight! That is it! It uses Forch-multiplying technology to help achieve a tight and secure fit with a fraction of the effort. Seriously, I just placed my hand in the center of the base to push down a little to ensure it got a tight fit and it was very tight! Easiest base I have ever installed!
Plus there is the added bonus of ReclineSure Spring-Loaded Leveling Foot which helps you make sure the base is level. Plus using the bubble leveler you can make sure the base is level before you even snap in the car seat carrier on top! So no matter the type of seat you have, you can easily get the right level for the car seat! This means baby gets a safe and secure seat without sitting too high up, too far forward or at an odd, unsafe and uncomfortable angle.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 has seriously been the easiest car seat to install!
3. Comfort. I’m talking about the baby’s comfort and yours as the parent. How easy is it to carry around? Does it cradle baby properly?
This is rather important as you don’t want your baby to be in a seat that is uncomfortable for them. Nor do you want to be uncomfortable as you carry the infant car seat around. Sure as the parent, there will be some discomfort. Because let’s admit it, carrying around a car seat is not something you dream about doing for fun. But some infant car seats are a lot easier to handle than others.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 offers an easy carrying handle for the parents. And it is light weight making the effort minimal.
For the baby it features a removable infant insert and shoulder straps to help ensure that the baby is properly cushioned and supported. This is something we used to have to purchase separately. But with the Chicco Keyfit 30, it comes standard with the infant car seat!
Plus it features a thickly cushioned seat pad and five-point harness to offer optimal comfort.
Plus, it also has a fold out sun visor! I love this thing! It offers just a little more shading options. Talk about comfort for those sunny days!
4. Functionality. How easy is it to use? Again, something you need to consider when purchasing an infant car seat. Will it give you headache as you use it?
Will the carrying handle adjust positions easily? Or will you get so frustrated trying to adjust it that you want to scream?
Do the buckles clip easily or do you hurt your hands each time?
The Chicco Keyfit 30 is so easy to use. The installation, as I mentioned; is the easiest we have ever used. It takes a lot less time, and maneuverability and struggling to get it secured into the car.
Then the infant car seat easily snaps into the base. And just as easily removes with a pull of a simple button. No fighting the car seat base to let go of the carrier.
But mostly for me, it was the ease of the 5 point harness and adjustment that really sealed the deal for me! Like I mentioned earlier; we were recommended 3 different car seats from friends and family. But the Chicco was the easiest one to use!
I went to the store and played with the 5 point harness. The 5 point harness in the Chicco Keyfit 30 is easy to adjust and is adjustable from the front! You don’ t have to play with any straps in the back of the car seat to get the right fit.
The chest strap was so easy to snap closed. And easy to unsnap, making removing of the baby so much easier! The buckle closure was also a lot easier to snap into place. And removal again was easier than the other brands surrounding it. It didn’t stick, nor require all my hand strength to push in the release button!
And as for adjusting the tightness of the 5 point harness; well the Chicco Keyfit 30 again blew the others away. With a simple 1 hand tightening strap pull, I can tighten the harness around my little one to get the perfect fit. And it’s just as easy to release to get a little extra room for removing her from the harness as well. Or for when she begins to grow and needs a different fit. It is incredibly easy to adjust how tight the harness fits.
5. Cleaning! How easy is it to clean?
We all know babies are messy. There will inevitably be spit up and diaper blow outs. Not to mention the normal wear and dirt that will arrive from having a baby. So just how easy is the infant car seat you are looking at to clean?
For most cleaning with the Chicco Keyfit 30; you can wipe clean with mild soap and water. Without having to take the entire car seat apart.
But for a deeper clean you can easily remove the car seat cover and wash. It isn’t one that takes forever and a lot of hassle to remove either. Just remove the straps of the harness just like you are adjusting them for a taller baby. And then you can remove the car seat cover. Then wash in cold water with mild detergent and hang to dry. Then simply put it back onto the car seat.
If you still feel overwhelmed by selecting your next infant car seat, take a deep breath. Consider these top 5 tips to selecting the best infant car seat. And narrow down your selection to your top 3 picks. Then take it to the store. Actually visit a store and handle the car seats you are considering. Buckle the buckles. Lift it out of the base and clip it back in. Adjust the handle. How easy does it move? How easy is it to handle? How does it feel in your arms?
Then pick the one that you like the best.
That is how I was able to narrow down my list of options. As I mentioned, I was given 3 recommendations. The highest priced car seat was nice. It really was. But I didn’t think the price equaled what was offered. There weren’t any special features in that one that I couldn’t get with the Chicco Keyfit 30! Plus the harness was not a easy to use, nor did it feature the easy features for installation.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 blew the cheaper brand out of the water when I visited the store and actually handled the two side by side. The Chicco Keyfit is much more user friendly, and easy to use. Plus it had extra features that the other brand didn’t. And the Chicco Keyfit 30 can hold my baby up to 30 lbs, where the others only went to 20 lbs.
So for us, the best infant car seat for this new little baby entering our family was an easy choice. The Chicco Keyfit 30.