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Best Infant Car Seats

There are loads of infant car seats to choose from, but here are our favorites in each price category —

Big Picture

$ — Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 ~ $139 – Economy Pick ~ A decent infant seat for a great price

$$ — Britax B-Safe 35 ~ $199 – Good safety features for the price (steel reinforced), but must use Britax/BOB stroller

$$ — Chicco KeyFit 30 ~ $199Editor’s Choice ~ Great mainstream value, compatible with most strollers

$$ — Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 ~ $255 – An “economy” Euro seat, but not our fave

$$$ — Chicco Fit2 ~ $279 – Specialty seat; best for urban dwellers who don’t own a car (benefit: can use with a stroller for up to 2 years vs. 1 year for most other infant seats)

$$$ — UPPAbaby Mesa ~ $299+Favorite “American” luxury seat, pairs with UPPAbaby strollers, which are fab; also very easy to install and can go in center seat; the Merino Wool version ~ $349 – “The seat I would buy if money were no object”- this wool version has NO fire retardants added and is exquisite

$$$ — Nuna Pipa ~ $299+ – Lightweight luxury seat, great safety features, pairs with Nuna strollers; uses rigid LATCH connectors, so best for installing in a window seat

*Got twins? Check out our recommended car seats for twins & preemies list.

Stroller and Car Seat Compatibility

Ideally, you should select an infant seat that’s compatible with your stroller of choice. It will save you money for a special “car seat adapter” alone. Yes, this is tricky because it’s a chicken and egg problem (the seat you choose kinda depends on your stroller; the stroller you get kinda depends on your seat).

Here’s the lay of the land in the best infant car seat department:

Our Economy Pick:

Also consider:

Editor’s Choice

“Old Faithful” — the Chicco KeyFit is rated #1 by consumers on multiple 3rd party sites, including Consumer Reports. And I agree! The KeyFit is a high-quality, beautifully designed car seat that won’t break the bank.

Alice in her KeyFit on a plane

Affordable European Pick:

The Choice for Urban Families (who don’t own a car):

The Chicco Fit2 is the Chicco Keyfit, but… longer. It was designed specifically to be used longer (for babies/toddlers up to 2 years of age vs. 1 year with a regular infant seat) – and still in conjunction with a stroller. That’s the beauty of this seat.

It’s great for urban families who may need to use a car or taxi on occasion (for your 1.5 year old, for example), and need a way of transporting the car seat (via the stroller) once at your destination. Toddler car seats, on the other hand, are very big and heavy and hard to carry around/transport when you’re out and about — and you can’t click them onto a stroller. See also: Graco SnugRide Extend2Fit.

Please don’t say to me, “but I live in New York and we don’t have to use car seats in taxis.” Unless you have a death wish, you absolutely should use a car seat at all times.

American Luxury:

Euro Awesome:

Worth Mentioning: The Sexy German Choice, but very hard to find!

The German-engineered Cybex Aton M is a cool new edition to the Cybex lineup. It’s been VERY difficult lately to find Cybex seats in the US, unless you live in NYC, so I’ve shied away from reviewing them lately.

But the Cybex Aton M is out at Albee Baby. Its bragging rights are a super huge canopy with a very easy “baseless installation” (a true “European belt path”) – this is great for city-dwellers who often install their seats in various vehicles, like taxis.

This seat is really well-constructed and the fabrics and hardware are really, really sexy. It has safety features galore, including a side impact protection feature, called the LSP, a load leg, which is an anti-rebound feature that reduces rotation in an accident.

Downsides: they are having a major quality control problem with the car seat base; parents have had great difficulty getting the seat in and out of it, while others haven’t had this problem. Also, the headrest is quite small, so taller babies will outgrow the seat sooner. It’s also not recommended for preemies.

Yes! Those are our half-dozen (or so) favorite infant car seats. We hope you found something you like!

Stay the course, you’re doing so well!

*Got twins? Check out our recommended car seats for twins & preemies list.

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