Best Infant Car Seats of 2019

Bringing home a new baby soon? After you’ve picked out the perfect “going home” outfit, you’ll want to think about how your newborn will get there. You’ll want to make sure you have an infant car seat that’s easy to use and suits your needs.

We’ve taken a look at some things you’ll want to consider while shopping for this important purchase. We’ve also pulled together a list of our favorite car seats for infants.

Contents

    What Is an Infant Car Seat?

    An infant car seat is a seat designed specifically to protect a young baby. They are always rear facing. Car seats help prevent serious injuries and are required by law for the first several years of life (source).

    The ones designed specifically for infants usually have a weight limit. They may also have a height limit. They don’t usually offer much adjustability to the body of the seat, but you can customize strap placement.

    They usually feature a detachable base. This base affixes to the car seat through use of the LATCH system or with proper use of the seat belt (source). This allows you to remove your child from the car while keeping them in the car seat.

    If you’re dealing with bad weather conditions, running errands, or have a sleeping baby, this can be a real asset. Many infant car seats are part of a travel system, which helps make it easier to get your new baby more places.

    Types of Infant Car Seats

    Do you plan on buying one car seat and using it for many years? Or are you interested in a car seat you’ll only use during your child’s infancy? Here are the basic types of car seats you can expect to find while shopping.

    Travel System Car Seats

    Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System, Phantom

    Travel system car seats are designed to work with a specific stroller. They frequently come together as a set and you may see it as a cost-saving when buying them this way.

    When using the travel system car seat in the car, it will slide into its attached base. When you need to remove it, press the release button and it can be taken easily out of the base. These car seats frequently feature a carrying handle that makes moving the seat easier.

    Travel system strollers are designed for travel as well. They will fold to more easily fit into your car’s trunk. Pop open the stroller and the car seat will snap securely in place.

    With these travel systems, your child will usually face you while in the car seat in the stroller. This gives you great access to your child and can make your walks and errands a little less stressful. It also serves to keep your little one engaged and happy.

    When your child is older and out of the infant seat, you’ll be able to continue using your stroller. Your child will be fastened in facing out and you’ll just retire the car seat portion of the travel system.

    PROS:
    • Makes transitions easy.
    • Cost effective.
    • Prolonged period of stroller use.
    CONS:
    • May need an additional car seat during the first year.
    • Not always interchangeable with other systems, even within the same brand.

    Convertible Car Seats

    Evenflo Symphony LX Convertible Car Seat, Kronus

    Convertible car seats are designed to take your child from infancy into childhood. They may feature an insert that should be used when your child is young. This will help keep your child in the appropriate position to keep them safe.

    They don’t usually have a separate base. Instead, they are a single unit that is installed in the car. You’ll need to remove your child before leaving the vehicle and will need to place them in their car seat while car-side.

    If you don’t have a covered parking space, this may be a factor for you. It means you and your infant will be fully exposed to the weather while loading and unloading. Bulky jackets should never be worn in a car seat (source).

    When shopping, remember that you should never use an aftermarket product, like harness pads, on your car seat. It may compromise your child’s safety (source). If your car seat isn’t fitting properly, you’ll need to consider another product until your child is bigger.

    PROS:
    • Can be used from infancy through childhood.
    • No-fuss install.
    • Cost effective.
    CONS:
    • Doesn’t allow for easy transfers.

    Infant-Only Car Seats

    Safety 1st onBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat (Monument)

    This type of car seat is designed specifically for infants. These don’t have the longevity you’ll find in a convertible car seat, but they may fit smaller babies more easily. This may be a factor for you if you’re bringing home a preemie.

    Some of these car seats may feature universal compatibility with certain strollers. If you want an infant-only car seat and a stroller to go with it, plan carefully ahead of time. This will help ensure you end up with compatible units.

    While an infant-only car seat may fit better initially, you’ll need to replace it as your little one grows. If you do opt for this kind, anticipate car seat shopping again within the year.

    PROS:
    • Provides a great fit for infants.
    • Budget-friendly.
    CONS:
    • For use for a short period of time.
    • Aren’t always compatible with strollers.

    How to Choose the Best Infant Car Seat

    Have a better idea about what you need in a car seat for your infant? Here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping.

    • Is the car seat fully tested and safety approved? In the U.S., car seats are put through rigorous testing. Always choose a car seat that’s been stamped with safety approval.
    • What kind of features do you need? Many car seats come with features like stroller compatibility, cup holders, and even approval for use on airplanes. Make sure you know what you want out of your car seat before you start shopping.
    • What safety features are in place? Check to see if there’s a visual cue for when your car seat is properly in place. This can help you know for sure it is at an appropriate angle.
    • How easy is the car seat to install? You want a car seat you can confidently take in and out. There’s always the possibility you’ll be using your car seat in a different vehicle. You need to make sure you can install it properly in whatever vehicle you’re using.
    • Can your car seat be easily cleaned? Your car seat will likely experience a multitude of dirty events. Whether it’s spit up, formula, food, or an explosive diaper, you may need to clean your car seat. Choose a car seat you can clean and sanitize easily.
    • Pay attention to recalls: Recalls are generally voluntary and put in place to help protect your baby. If your seat has been recalled, turn it in or pick up your replacement part.
    • Know your car seat’s expiration date: Expect to use your car seat for several years? Make sure you know when your car seat is set to expire. This way, you won’t overbuy for something you won’t be able to use.
    • Map out your budget: Car seats can be reasonably priced. They can also be expensive. Know that all approved car seats are held to the same safety standards and plan your budget ahead of time.
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    The Best Infant Car Seats of 2019

    Seeking the best car seat for your little bundle of joy? We’ve spent our time researching, evaluating, and asked other parents for their opinions and experience. Here are our top seven infant seats to get you started.

    1. Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible Car Seat

    Best for Limited Space

    If you have multiple children close together in age, you know the struggle of finding car seats that will fit your space. This is especially true if you’re working with a smaller car or rear-facing car seats.

    This model from Diono is designed to fit in tight spaces. It’s a great option for three across in a back seat and can be used with kids who are 5 to 120 pounds. It can keep working for your child year after year as they grow.

    It’s available in multiple colors and is approved for use on airplanes. A 12-position headrest provides great head support while the seat is reinforced for complete side impact protection.

    This unit can fold flat for storage when needed and has an extra-long lifespan of 10 years.

    PROS:
    • Capable of sitting three across.
    • Extremely customizable.
    • SuperLATCH system for an easy install.
    CONS:
    • This unit is heavy.
    • There are no armrests or sides.

    Why We Love It

    Capable of Sitting Three Across

    Even car seats touting their small footprint can take up a tremendous amount of space. We love that bulky car seats help keep our kids safe. We don’t love the hassle that comes along with installing three across.

    Fortunately, Diono has made that a thing of the past. A narrow base helps ensure you can get three seats across a backseat while keeping your kids safe.

    Extremely Customizable

    This unit gives you additional customization options besides the 12 different positions for the headrest. The shoulder straps can be placed in five positions while there are three different buckle options. The angle of incline can also be adjusted, which is great for younger children who are still rear-facing.

    SuperLATCH System for Easy Install

    The SuperLATCH system is designed to make LATCH use even easier. Even a space-saving unit like this can be difficult to install when you’re dealing with three across. The SuperLATCH system provides an audible click and gives you a visual confirmation that your seat is properly in place.

    Keep In Mind

    This Unit Is Heavy

    There is nothing lightweight about this car seat. It is designed around a steel alloy frame to provide your child with a safe place while in the car. That frame comes at a cost, though, and it means this car seat is heavier than usual.

    This seat is heavy along the upper portion and cannot sit up on its own. Be aware of that when swapping out seats or changing your vehicle. At nearly 30 pounds, if you plan to fly with this car seat, you’ll want to have a travel plan in place.

    There Are No Armrests or Sides

    No armrests and low sides help give this car seat its streamlined look and narrow base. However, it can mean your child is less supported when in the car, especially while front-facing and sleeping. It also means there will be fewer barriers between your children during journeys.

    Additional Specs

    Weight28 pounds
    Dimensions16.14 inches by 16.93 inches by 28.35 inches
    Child Weight Minimum5 pounds
    Child Weight Maximum120 pounds when used as a booster seat
    Extra FeaturesSuperLATCH system, airplane approved, adjustable settings

    2. Safety 1st 35LT Car Seat

    Great for Small Babies

    This seat is equipped with the LATCH system. It’s suitable for children who weigh between 4 and 35 pounds. Head and body inserts are included and can be used for small babies, like preemies, who need additional support.

    To keep up with your quickly growing child, this unit comes with an adjustable harness. It has four heights it can be set at to properly accommodate your little one. The harness is easy and quick to adjust with a single pull.

    Though this unit is not part of a travel system, it is QuickClick compatible. Any stroller that features the QuickClick system can work safely with this unit.

    PROS:
    • Lightweight and easy to carry.
    • Includes approved inserts for your newborn.
    • LATCH compatible.
    • Compatible with QuickClick system.
    CONS:
    • The canopy is hard to move.
    • Harness buckle is large.

    Why We Love It

    Lightweight and Easy to Carry

    We love how easy this car seat is to get in and out of the car. This car seat features ultra lightweight materials and cutting-edge engineering.

    It’s not too heavy, and that makes it a great choice for an infant’s seat. Even when not using a compatible stroller, it’s not difficult to get in and out of the house and other destinations.

    Includes Approved Inserts for Your Newborn

    Small babies can shift around a lot in car seats and they sometimes need more support. Having approved inserts can help make your baby more comfortable. We love that this car seat comes with inserts designed to keep small infants safe and cozy.

    LATCH Compatible

    This car seat can be installed using a seat belt or the LATCH system. Not all vehicles are equipped with LATCH tether points (especially older models). The car seat will keep your child safe whether you use the LATCH attachment system or the seat belt.

    Whenever possible, I like to use the LATCH system. I find it keeps the seat in place better and creates more stability. Whether you choose to use the LATCH system or the seatbelt, remember you should use only one at a time.

    Compatible With QuickClick System

    This seat is designed to snap securely into compatible strollers. Unlike travel system sets where you don’t have a choice of strollers, you can choose your preferred stroller. As long as the selected stroller is also part of the QuickClick system, it will easily work with this car seat.

    Keep In Mind

    The Canopy Is Hard to Move

    Both the canopy and the handle can be resistant to being moved. Even when depressing the lock mechanism, it can be hard to get the canopy and handle to the desired position. This can make it more challenging than necessary to get your infant situated in the car or stroller.

    Harness Buckle Is Large

    This car seat features a five-point harness. The buckle designed to sit between the thighs is large. This can cause the buckle to press uncomfortably into a child’s inner thighs when they’re in the car seat.

    It’s possible this discomfort could build an early dislike for both car seats and travel. If your child objects to the car seat’s buckle, you may want to consider another option.

    Additional Specs

    Weight15 pounds
    Dimensions15.8 inches by 18 inches by 30.5 inches
    Child Weight Minimum4 pounds
    Child Weight Maximum35 pounds
    Extra FeaturesLATCH system, QuickClick system, ASTM International and Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association approved, infant inserts

    3. Evenflo Symphony LX Convertible Car Seat

    Best One-Time Purchase

    This car seat from Evenflo can be the only one you ever need to purchase. It’s suitable for children who weigh as little as 5 pounds. It can be used safely until your child is up to 110 pounds.

    This is a convertible car seat. It’s made to be used as a rear-facing unit for younger children, up to 40 pounds. Once your child is older and larger, the unit can be safely used while facing forward.

    This seat features the LATCH system and is designed for easy, one-hand use. It has a five-point safety harness and includes side-impact protection. A single unit, this car seat is easy to transfer between vehicles.

    PROS:
    • Takes your child from infancy through childhood.
    • One piece.
    • Great safety features.
    CONS:
    • LATCH tethers can be difficult to access.
    • Oversized.

    Why We Love It

    Takes Your Child From Infancy Through Childhood

    This seat is capable of bringing your child home from the hospital — and then home from preschool. We love how we can invest our time in learning how to use just one car seat. The money savings are great as well.

    This unit features inserts for newborns and the straps can be adjusted to give the best fit possible. The angle of the incline can also be changed. As your child ages, the height of the headrest can be adjusted as well.

    One Piece

    There’s no need to drag an additional base around with you or worry about having one in each vehicle. This unit is a single, self-contained car seat your child can continue to use for years to come.

    Great Safety Features

    This car seat offers extra side impact protection. This can reduce side impact force by up to 50 percent, and in turn keeps your infant safe in the event of an accident.

    In addition to the side impact protection, this unit has a harness that offers infinite slide. This helps give you an accurate and custom fit every time. The five-point harness is rated to protect your growing child.

    Keep In Mind

    LATCH Tethers Can Be Difficult to Access

    Though this unit does have LATCH tethers, they can be difficult to access, especially in tight spaces. Take this into consideration when evaluating your car to see if this seat is a good fit for you. The location of your LATCH system tether points may impact usability as well.

    Oversized

    This unit is large and may not be suitable for a smaller car. The car seat offers multiple reclining positions. Like other car seats, this one takes up even more room when rear-facing.

    You’ll likely want your young child in a more reclined position. This increases the depth needed to use the car seat easily. Make sure your back seat can accommodate the car seat in the configuration you need — while still allowing people up front.

    Additional Specs

    Weight23 pounds
    Dimensions28 inches by 19.5 inches by 21.5 inches
    Child Weight Minimum5 pounds
    Child Weight Maximum110 pounds
    Extra FeaturesLATCH system, quick connectors, adjustable harness and headrest, side impact protection, integrated cup holders

    4. Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat

    Easiest to Install

    This infant-only car seat is incredibly simple to install. It includes features like a sure leveling foot and a bubble level so you know when your seat is installed correctly. There’s a LATCH system that’s integrated with an easy-to-reach cinch to create a tight fit every time.

    Though this is for the car seat only, it is made to work with Chicco strollers that are sold separately. The car seat has an insert for newborns and can be used with babies as small as 4 pounds.

    The carry handle offers two preset positions and includes a comfort grip. It’s available in multiple colors and will suit children up to 30 pounds.

    PROS:
    • Super Cinch LATCH system.
    • Easy to install correctly.
    • Travel system compatible.
    CONS:
    • The sunshade doesn’t stay put.
    • Uncomfortable fabric choice.

    Why We Love It

    Super Cinch LATCH System

    The LATCH system on this unit is designed to keep installation fast and simple. You can keep the strap long while you fasten the LATCH clips into place. This lets you see what you’re doing more easily and gives you space to work in.

    Once your LATCH system is ready to go, a midpoint cinch lets you get the tight, custom installation you’re looking for.

    Easy to Install Correctly

    A lot of thought has gone into making this unit easy to install. A spring-loaded leveling foot allows you to get the perfect angle for your car seat. The base slides into this foot during installation.

    To confirm your unit is properly installed, two bubble levels are built-in to the car seat. When the bubble is in the designated space, you know you’ve installed it correctly — no second guessing necessary.

    Travel System Compatible

    Though this unit is sold alone (with just the car seat and the base), there is a compatible Chicco stroller. If you purchase the KeyFit stroller, you have an easy-to-use travel system. It’s a lightweight stroller model that can make for a good travel system even when space is limited.

    Keep In Mind

    The Sunshade Doesn’t Stay Put

    The sunshade doesn’t always stay where it’s been positioned. This means you may need to rely on backup sun protection when your child is buckled in. The sunshade may also get in the way when the car seat is being moved from one location to the next.

    Uncomfortable Fabric Choice

    The material used on the seat is easy to clean. However, this comes with some compromises. It isn’t breathable, which means your little one may get sweaty and uncomfortable, even on short journeys.

    Additional Specs

    Weight17 pounds
    Dimensions27.5 inches by 17 inches by 24 inches
    Child Weight Minimum4 pounds
    Child Weight Maximum30 pounds
    Extra FeaturesLATCH system, Super Cinch LATCH fastening, travel system compatible, leveling foot, bubble levels

    5. Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System

    Best Travel System Infant Car Seat

    This Evenflo seat offers a unique design for a travel system car seat. It’s designed for use in the accompanying base — both when in the car and in the stroller.

    The base is equipped with its own carrying handle to help make transferring a little easier. Installation takes a matter of moments and the guesswork that goes with getting the right angle is a thing of the past.

    This unit is safe for children who weigh between 4 and 35 pounds and who are 32 inches or less in height. This car seat is available in multiple colors.

    PROS:
    • Features the SafeZone base.
    • Certified for use in airplanes.
    • Includes an anti-rebound bar.
    CONS:
    • It’s heavy and bulky.
    • Removing the base from the car seat is hard.

    Why We Love It

    Features the SafeZone Base

    The SafeZone base allows you to more easily get your baby’s car seat where you need it to be. Instead of worrying about slipping the unit back in the base, you’re essentially left with a one-piece car seat. This is a great feature if you frequently need to move the car seat from one car to another.

    Certified for Use in Airplanes

    If you’re planning on traveling with a young child, you may want to bring your car seat along with you. You’ll need one when you get where you’re going. Their normal seat can also give your child something comforting in a new experience.

    Not all seats are approved for use in an airplane. Additional standards and safety testing are applied to ones approved for flights. Purchasing a unit that’s for use both in cars and planes can keep you from needing to make an additional purchase.

    Includes an Anti-Rebound Bar

    The anti-rebound bar functions as an additional holding point when the seat is latched into its base. It sits at the back of the base near your baby’s feet.

    While the additional handle space can be helpful, the intended purpose is much more significant than just convenience. This bar serves to help absorb and dissipate any impact the car seat experiences during a crash. This helps keep your little one safe.

    Keep In Mind

    Car Seat Is Heavy and Bulky

    Though the attached base and rebound bar can be convenient and safe, it adds a lot of weight and bulk. This can make short trips where you’re carrying the car seat more uncomfortable and difficult. If you don’t need the base and aren’t planning on using the stroller, you may want to detach it.

    Removing the Base From the Car Seat Is Hard

    There may be times you want to detach the base from the seat. Though it’s designed to stay together and function as a single-piece unit, its bulk may be problematic.

    Unfortunately, the base doesn’t unlock easily from the car seat. This can make detaching it frustrating and time-consuming, especially if you’re juggling the baby at the same time.

    Additional Specs

    Weight20 pounds
    Dimensions31.4 inches by 16.7 inches by 17.7 inches
    Child Weight Minimum4 pounds
    Child Weight Maximum35 pounds
    Extra FeaturesLATCH system, anti-rebound bar, airplane-approved, travel system

    6. Baby Trend Expedition

    For Active Moms and Babies

    This travel system and infant car seat is a great choice for the mom who wants to be active. The car seat is suitable for infants who weigh up to 30 pounds and the accompanying stroller is a three-wheel jogging stroller.

    This seat is suitable for babies who weigh at least 4 pounds. It features a five-point safety harness and has a level indicator to help you identify when the unit is properly installed. The seat is for use with children who are less than 30 inches in height.

    It’s top-rated and features head support for infants. It also offers a preset base height adjustment that can be used through a simple push-button operation.

    It does need a base, which is included with this travel system, and additional bases are available to be purchased separately.

    PROS:
    • Great for walking and errands.
    • One-hand adjustment.
    • Side impact protection.
    CONS:
    • This unit is heavy.
    • Car seat can be awkward to carry.

    Why We Love It

    Great for Walking and Errands

    This product is a great option if you need to go places. The stroller is narrow and real rubber wheels allow you to go anywhere easily. The car seat is easy to remove from the base and snaps into place on the stroller quickly and securely.

    One-Hand Adjustment

    The five-point safety harness is designed for quick and easy adjustment. This helps you create the perfect fit each time you fasten your baby in. This unit also features a push-button height adjustable base that comes with four different presets for a great installation fit.

    Side Impact Protection

    This top-rated seat features EPS energy-absorbing foam in its construction. This foam helps absorb side impact and reduces transfer to your child in the event of an accident.

    Keep In Mind

    This Unit Is Heavy

    Both the car seat and the stroller in this travel system are on the heavy side. Planning to do a lot with just the car seat piece, or think you’ll struggle with a heavy stroller? You may want to consider a different option.

    Car Seat Can Be Awkward to Carry

    It features a triangular grasp on the middle of the handle. This can be a great feature if you plan to hold it by the grasp. However, if you put your arm through the handle and support the seat with your arm instead, it can be awkward.

    The handle is designed not to scratch the carrier and the triangular grasp is wrapped in foam for additional comfort. Especially if you’re on the shorter side, it’s unlikely you’ll want to rely on the grasp for carrying the seat.

    Additional Specs

    Weight15.5 pounds
    Dimensions16.5 inches by 26 inches by 25 inches
    Child Weight Minimum4 pounds
    Child Weight Maximum30 pounds
    Extra FeaturesLATCH system, side impact protection, travel system

    7. Safety 1st Grow and Go Convertible Car Seat

    Easiest to Fasten

    This unit can be used with newborns who weigh as little as 5 pounds and with children who weigh up to 100 pounds. The seat features three recline positions to make sure your child is comfortable. It can also help you get a great fit for your car.

    The padding in this seat can be removed easily when needed without disassembling the harness. Two integrated cup holders help keep items and drinks within your child’s reach.

    It has a harness-holding feature that helps get even resistant children quickly into place. The unit is designed to have a small footprint even when rear-facing. The car seat is available in multiple colorways and meets all ASTM and JPMA safety standards.

    PROS:
    • Features a harness holder.
    • Reduced footprint.
    • QuickFit harness.
    CONS:
    • Can be difficult to tighten during install.
    • Can be noisy.

    Why We Love It

    Features a Harness Holder

    Each side of the car seat is equipped with a small harness holder. Before putting your child in the seat, pull the harness to the appropriate side and slide it into place. Fasten as usual, without needing to pull the harness out from underneath them or struggle with them for cooperation.

    Reduced Footprint

    Special attention has been paid to the size of this car seat. Finding car ones that can work well in a limited space — especially when rear-facing — can be challenging. This seat allows front seat users up to 7 inches more space to increase comfort and usability.

    QuickFit Harness

    The QuickFit harness is designed to make harness adjustments fast and painless. The headrest and the harness can be adjusted together at once.

    You may not need this feature until your child is older. However, it can be used throughout the life of the seat, even when in booster mode.

    Keep In Mind

    Can Be Difficult to Tighten During Install

    It can be challenging getting this seat to install tightly, especially when in rear-facing mode. This is as likely to happen when using the LATCH system as when using the seat belt to secure the seat. You’ll want to dedicate extra time to make sure the installation is correct.

    Can Be Noisy

    This unit is not any noisier than other car seats when the child is in place. If you do a lot of driving without your child, though, be prepared to notice the headrest rattles. If you find the noise to be a problem, you may want to consider another model.

    Additional Specs

    Weight18.7 pounds
    Dimensions24 inches by 19 inches by 23.75 inches
    Child Weight Minimum5 pounds
    Child Weight Maximum100 pounds
    Extra FeaturesLATCH system, QuickFit harness system, ASTM and JPMA approved, harness holders, integrated cup holders

    Detailed Comparison

    ProductAwardWeightDimensionsMin. WeightMax. WeightFeatures
    Diono Radian 3RXTBest for Limited Space28 lbs16.14″ x 16.93″ x 28.35″5 lbs120 lbsSuperLATCH system, airplane approved, adjustable settings
    Safety 1st 35LTGreat for Small Babies15 lbs15.8″ x 18″ x 30.5″4 lbs35 lbsLATCH system, QuickClick system, ASTM International and Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association approved, infant inserts
    Evenflo Symphony LXBest One-Time Purchase23 lbs28″ x 19.5″ x 21.5″5 lbs110 lbsLATCH system, quick connectors, adjustable harness and headrest, side impact protection, integrated cup holders
    Chicco KeyFit 30Easiest to Install17 lbs27.5″ x 17″ x 24″4 lbs30 lbsLATCH system, Super Cinch LATCH fastening, travel system compatible, leveling foot, bubble levels
    Evenflo Pivot ModularBest Travel System20 lbs31.4″x 16.7″ x 17.7″4 lbs35 lbsLATCH system, anti-rebound bar, airplane-approved, travel system
    Baby Trend ExpeditionFor Active Moms & Babies15.5 lbs16.5″ x 26″ x 25″4 lbs30 lbsLATCH system, side impact protection, travel system
    Safety 1st Grow & GoEasiest to Fasten18.7 lbs24″ x 19″ x 23.75″5 lbs100 lbsLATCH system, QuickFit harness system, ASTM and JPMA approved, harness holders, integrated cup holders
    Jump to the Full Infant Car Seat Reviews

    Shopping Tips for Infant Car Seats

    Narrowing down your choice can be hard because of how many products are out there. Our personal experience has provided us with some tips to help along the way.

    Saving money can be a good thing, especially when you’re preparing for a baby. When you’re shopping for a car seat, though, it isn’t the right time to start buying secondhand. Previous car accidents can compromise the way a car seat works.

    Car seats also have expiration dates. You’ll need to know how long your new car seat will last you. If you have multiple children, and you’re pulling out a car seat you’ve used in the past, check the date.

    Rear-facing car seats can take up quite a bit of space. Keep in mind how much room is available in your car. Don’t forget to take into account how much legroom is needed in the front.

    Once you have your car seat at home, install it before you need to use it. Sometimes measurements can be misleading and you’ll want to be confident it fits in your space.

    Installing car seats can be maddening. It sounds easy, but it often isn’t. Fortunately, your local fire department or police station can help you make sure your seat is properly installed — and ready for your baby.

    Most offer multiple ways to install. If your car and seat are LATCH system compatible, you may want to go with that installation approach. Don’t worry if LATCH won’t work for you, car seats are designed to install using the shoulder seat belt as well.

    Have a dirty car seat you’re tempted to pull apart and toss in the wash? Washing car seat components can interfere with your child’s safety. Always wash, care, and maintain the seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    If you’re in a car accident, check with the manufacturer to see if you need to replace your unit. The NHTSA has additional information about when your car seat should be replaced if you’re on the fence (source).

    If you do need to replace it, check with your car insurance company — they may cover the cost.


    The Best Infant Car Seat for Your Little One

    There’s a lot that goes into picking out a car seat for your infant. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, though. Look for one that’s comfortable, easy to install, and works with the size of the car you drive.

    Do you have car seat tips to share or an experience worth telling us about? We’d love to hear from you — please drop us a comment in the section below. And remember to share this article with your friends!

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