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Best Car Seats for Kids and Babies

Having a baby changes everything. All aspects of life are improved, but they are also complicated, which means that you have to be fully prepared for the responsibility of caring for another human life. There are plenty of new products that you have to invest in, but you have to invest wisely, and car seats are of the uttermost importance when it comes to the time it takes to properly research a product before you buy it.

In the following paragraphs, we are going to talk more about the best car seats of kids and babies, with an emphasis on how to choose one and which are the products of the moment.

Car Seats and Age

Everybody knows that kids grow up really fast, which means that you will have to choose the right seat depending on the age of your little one. Alongside height, weight, and safety standards, the age of the little one will have a major say in the type of baby car seat that you can choose:

  • 0 to 2 years: A rear-facing seat is the best option for babies in this age range.
  • 2 to 4 years: You can choose a forward-facing seat provided that the little one weighs no more than 40 pounds.
  • 4 to 8 years or kids up to 4 feet and 9 inches: Children in this age range or those less than the aforementioned height can stay in a belt-positioning booster seat.
  • >8 years and/or 4 feet 9 inches: If your little one fits into either of these two categories, you can just have them wear a seat belt but take note that all children require a booster seat until they are old enough to use an adult seat belt. To check if the situation applies, look at the position of the shoulder and lap belt on the child. The shoulder belt should be on the chest instead of the neck, while the lap belt should be on the upper thighs instead of the stomach.

Car Seat Quality and Safety

Nothing is too good for our children, especially when we’re talking about safety. That means that you will have to pay really close attention to the signs and features that tell you if a car seat is of good quality and meets the safety standards required for a little human. Here is what you need to look out for (please keep in mind that there are variations to the information that we’re about to share depending on the country where you live):

  • The safety label has to mention that the car seat in question meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.
  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should always buy a new car seat instead of opting for a used one. You can also buy a second-hand one if you know its history and you know that it wasn’t involved in any car accidents.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a rating system that will show you the ease of use of a certain product. If you come across a seat that has at least 4 stars, that means it comes with a clear set of instructions and is easy to use.
  • You also want a seat that has a five-point harness. These are the safest choices out there, way safer compared to seatbelts or three-point harnesses.

Tips for Proper Car Seat Installation

Buying a quality and safe car seat for kids and babies is important, but so is knowing how to install it properly. If the seat is not secured and the baby isn’t properly placed in it, we could be talking about the most qualitative seat and it wouldn’t matter. When you’re ready to install the new kid/baby car seat, here is what you need to know:

  • Aside from the instructions that come with the little one’s car seat, you will also have to read the car manual of your vehicle. By reading both of these combined, you should know have important information like how to use the seat belts or the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (also known as LATCH) system.
  • A kid seat should never be placed on the front seat. Until your child reaches the age of 13 or has at least 4 feet and 9 inches in height, they should always stay in the back seat of the car.
  • Threading the seat belt is one of the most important parts of properly installing a car seat. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you buckle and lock the seat belt when you’re done.
  • When the car seat is properly installed, it should not move more than 1 inch in either direction.
  • Part of the installation process is making sure that the seat is reclined at the correct angle. The manufacturer’s instructions should provide you with such details.

Top 5 Car Seats for Kids and Babies

Now that you know what to look for in a car seat and how to properly install one, it’s time to review five products that have impressed us with their construction, durability, safety, and price.

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Best overall

The Graco car seat for babies is the best one there is, and you don’t even have to take our word for it. It’s the testimonials of tens of thousand satisfied parents that share their experiences related to how awesome this car seat actually is. It can be used as a rear-facing seat and it supports children that weigh up to 50 pounds, and can then be changed to a front-facing seat and supports toddlers up to 65 pounds in weight.

The four-position extension panel allows you to give your little ones up to five more inches of legroom while they’re still facing the back of the car. You can recline the seat in six different positions, to make sure that your little one is resting as comfortably as possible. The headrest can also be adjusted in 10 different positions.

With a single motion, you can adjust the harness system so that it keeps your child safe in place all the time. It comes with a variety of other features that parents have come to appreciate, including a harness compartment, a strong frame, the ease of installation, and integrated cup holders for when your child is old enough to request their own drink.

Who Should Buy This?

Parents looking for a customer-favorite product that’s designed to convert from a rear to a front-facing seat are going to love what the Graco has to offer.

Pros:

  • 6-position recline.
  • 10-position headrest.
  • Adjustable harness system.
  • Integrated cup holder.
  • Passed crash tests.

Cons:

  • Parents claim harness is difficult to adjust.

Specs for comparison table:

  • Color options: 10
  • Maximum height: 49 inches
  • Maximum weight: 50 pounds

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Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat

Best-seller

Chicco is a brand that barely needs any introduction because it makes some of the most high-quality baby products in the world. Chicco has found its way into parent households all over the world and they are famous for their strollers and high-quality car seats that focus on a good balance between the quality of the materials used in the construction and the comfort it offers for your baby.

This particular car seat is suitable for infants that weigh between 4 and 30 pounds and have a maximum length of 30 inches. It has a leveling foot that helps parents adjust the base angle which is most suitable for their little one. The SuperCinch LATCH tightener is there to make sure you get a secure fit for the safety of your baby.

It comes with head and body support, both of which can be removed if needed. There is also a removable canopy that can be put to good use when the little one needs some shade. It has a five-point harness which, as we previously mentioned, is that you’re aiming for maximum safety.  The car seat is compatible which Chicco strollers.

Who Should Buy This?

If you want the very best car seat for your infant, one that’s made from a world-renown manufacturer and adored by parents all over the world, this Chicco car seat is definitely the right product to buy.

Pros:

  • Removable canopy.
  • Five-point harness.
  • Secure LATCH system.
  • Removable head and body support.
  • Lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam.

Cons:

  • Tends to retain heat.

Specs for comparison table:

  • Color options: 10
  • Maximum height: 30 inches
  • Maximum weight: 30 pounds

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Britax B-Safe Endeavours Infant Car Seat

Most safety features

If you’re really interested in what safety features a car has to offer, the Britax car seat for infants is one of the most feature-packed products that focus on layers upon layers and features that are meant to keep the baby safe even in case of impacts. The car seat is designed with two layers of impact protection located on the sides, alongside quick-adjust head protection.

The seat is designed with a steel frame that works hand-in-hand with the impact-absorbing base to make sure that your baby is as safe as possible. The added anti-rebound bar is designed to stabilize the car seat when placed in the rear-facing position. The SafeCenter LATCH system makes it easy for parents to tighten and secure the base of the seat to the car one.

Even as your baby grows a little bigger, the quick-adjust harness is there to make sure that no rethreading is needed and that the two-position buckle will work even as your baby grows. When adjusted in a rear-facing position, the seat can support babies that have between 4 and 35 pounds.

Who Should Buy This?

If you want peace of mind knowing that your child is resting in a car seat that’s as safe as possible, know that the B-Safe seat is focused on delivering as many safety features as a baby could possibly need.

Pros:

  • Side impact protection.
  • Easy to secure LATCH.
  • Travel system ready.
  • Anti-rebound bar.
  • Quick-adjust harness.

Cons:

  • Heavy and narrow.

Specs for comparison table:

  • Color options: 15
  • Maximum height: 32 inches
  • Maximum weight: 35 pounds

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Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Car Seat

Editor’s choice

Buying a car seat for infants can be quite a financial effort, and this is where the SnugLock 35 comes in. It is designed to be a cost-effective solution for parents who aren’t willing to compromise the safety of their children. The product stays true to the features that we’re used to seeing in a variety of different products made by the same manufacturer.

It has an adjustable base with four different recline positions that will allow you to customize the seat to best fit in the vehicle, but also give your little one the most comfortable position to rest in. The rotating canopy is a feature that should never be underestimated, as it’s very easy for the sun to get in the baby’s eyes and create discomfort instead of giving him the peace needed to rest even inside a moving vehicle.

The five-point harness system is one of the best ones on the market. The car seat was also tested for impact and has met the most rigorous crash tests to make sure that your little human is protected even in case of accidents.

Who Should Buy This?

The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 car seat for infants is a product that manages to perfectly balance price and features/safety, and we recommend it to parents who want to save some money but also buy a product worthy of their children.

Pros:

  • 4-position adjustable base.
  • Rotating canopy.
  • Side impact tested.
  • LATCH connectors storage space.
  • SnugLock technology.

Cons:

  • Canopy feels a bit flimsy.

Specs for comparison table:

  • Color options: 4
  • Maximum height: 32 inches
  • Maximum weight: 35 pounds

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Evenflo Big Kid Amp Car Seat

Best booster seat

The last car seat on today’s list is designed for older kids, those who are at least 4 years of age and require so much more than just a little infant car seat. This particular model is a 2-in-1 product that has a removable back for a smooth transition. The height can be adjusted into 6 different positions so that your children can stay comfortable even during long car rides.

The seat is designed with plenty of padding so that your kid gets all the comfort they need. The product is designed for children between the ages of 4 and 10, but pretty much for any child that has a maximum weight of 110 pounds and measures between 40 and 57 inches in height.

Who Should Buy This?

Parents that was a booster seat for their children between the ages of 4 and 10 can trust the Evenflo Big Kid Amp car seat to provide their younglings with comfort and safety during long car rides.

Pros:

  • Removable backrest.
  • 6-position height adjustment.
  • Multiple designs.
  • Energy-absorbing foam liner.
  • Comfortable during long car rides.

Cons:

  • No anchoring system.

Specs for comparison table:

  • Color options: 4
  • Maximum height: 57 inches
  • Maximum weight: 100 pounds

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Bottom Line

It’s true that having a child brings a lot of expenses to the table, and while there are a few things that you can compromise with, products that are related to the little human’s safety are no joke. Even if some car seats seem too expensive, you should pay more attention to the comfort and the safety standards met by the product, as these are all that matter in case of an accident.