The Best Car Seats for Babies and Toddlers
Car Seat Buying Tips
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants ride in a rear-facing car seat until they meet its maximum height or weight specifications. Once met, the child should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he outgrows it (usually around 4 years old) before moving up to a booster seat.
Infant car seats: Rear-facing infant car seats click into a pre-installed base, which allows you to take the seat in and out of the car without disturbing a slumbering baby. The seats also click into compatible strollers.
Convertible car seats: Convertibles can be installed as rear- or forward-facing, extending the longevity of the seat, but they remain fixed in the car; they're not designed to be portable.
Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
Installing the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat is foolproof, thanks to a bubble level on either side of the seat to help adjust the recline angle. It also features an option to secure the base via seat belt or LATCH, easy pull straps to secure your baby, plus a simple click-in, click-out system. The Chicco KeyFit 30 is also compatible with the Chicco Cortina, Cortina Together, KeyFit Caddy, Liteway Plus and S3 strollers.
Suitable for babies 4 to 30 pounds and 30 inches; $200.
Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 locks your buddy in for a luxurious ride with a foam ventilation system to keep her cool. At 9.5 pounds, it's available in 12 colors and has six height positions, plus the scallop-shaped base makes it easier to fit in your car's backseat. It works with Peg Perego travel systems, as well as other major stroller brands.
Suitable for babies 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches tall; $300.
Never installed a car seat before? Don't worry! Watch this video to learn how to install one safely and correctly like a pro.
Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
The Britax BOULEVARD ClickTight Convertible Car Seat has two layers of energy-absorbing side impact protection for added safety. It also boasts easy installation, 14 positions, and a "Click & Safe Snug Indicator" to ensure proper harness fit.
Suitable for babies 5 to 40 pounds rear-facing, and 20-65 pounds forward-facing; $250.
Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat
UPPAbaby MESA's SmartSecure system turns green when the perch is installed correctly, and a European-style belt path means you can use it without a base. It latches into the UPPA baby Vista and Cruz strollers, as well as certain Baby Jogger models.
Suitable for babies 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches; $300.
Cybex Aton Q
The snazzy Cybex Aton Q has eight adjustable positions, including a headrest that modifies the recline, seat size, and harness position. At 11.6 pounds, it still packs a safety punch with a Load Leg to stablize the seat and Linear Side-impact protectors to channel crash energy away from your fragile cargo. It's compatible with Cybex Callisto and Onyx strollers, in addition to other major brands, including Baby Jogger, Quinny, and Stokke.
Suitable for newborns to 35 pounds; $300.
Diono Radian RXT
You may never see the car seat aisle again after purchasing the Diono Radian RXT. It converts from a rear- to forward-facing seat and later to a booster, and it boasts a full steel frame and aluminum reinforced sides for top-notch safety, along with 12 adjustable height positions.
Suitable for children 5 to 45 pounds rear-facing, and up to 65 pounds forward-facing; booster up to 120 pounds; $300.