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Best Car Seats for Twins and Preemies

by: Meg Collins, former CPST

Expecting multiples? Here are our Lucie’s List approved recommendations of the best car seats for twins and preemies. We highly recommend you pick from seats on this list in case you do have preemies.

If you are having triplets, please read here.

best car seats for twins

There are two main features we look for in car seats for preemies and/or underweight babies.

  1. Minimum weight rating. All the seats on this list start at 4 lbs. It’s highly unlikely you’ll be discharged with a baby weighing less than this. Tip: *If your babies spend time in the NICU, many times they will be required to pass the “car seat test” before they can be sent home. Not a bad idea to read up on that.
  2. Low harness slots. The rule for rear-facing seats is that your baby’s shoulders should be at — or slightly above — the nearest harness slot. Thus, it’s imperative that the car seat’s lowest harness slots are sufficiently low for a smaller baby. If the lowest harness slot is too tall, the seat will not work (in the beginning, at least).

Thus, all the seats on this list have a low or very low “preemie” position (that’s what I’m calling it, humor me).

All of that said, there are plenty of other infant seats out there that *can* work for smaller babies, but these are the ones that are tried and true.

If you’re planning on using your twins’ car seats in conjunction with a double stroller for twins, play special attention to stroller compatibility, otherwise you might be in for a nasty surprise, especially with the economy seats!

Installation

When installing two rear-facing seats in your vehicle, you’ll likely be installing them in the two side or “outboard” positions. The main reason for this is that it’s highly unlikely that your car is wide enough to fit a rear-facing seat in the middle — next to another rear-facing seat. You see, the seats tend to be widest at the handle area, and with two seats adjacent to each other, they will hit each other at their widest points.

It may be possible to achieve this [a side and middle installation] if you have an extremely wide car (a minivan, a large SUV or the like) and one of the narrower infant seats, like the Chicco KeyFit, but please check to confirm. If you can pull this off, you can – in theory – leave the other side seat open for another child or adult.

If you have an older child who is in a forward-facing seat or booster, put the forward-facing child in the middle, as these tend to “puzzle” nicely with rear-facing seats on either side. Like Tetris.

If your car has three rows, sometimes people ask if they can put one seat in the back row. Sure, you can do this, but it’s a HUGE pain to get them in and out. I think you will find it’s not worth the trouble.

Best Car Seats for Twins and Preemies

Here are our favorite picks for twins and preemies in each budget category, including our favorite Euro seats….

$ — Cosco Light ‘N Comfy ~ $79 (Economy Pick) — Bare bones, but lightweight, easy to carry, and good for smaller babies. Stroller compatibility is a question mark.

$$ — Safety 1st onBoard 35 & onBoard 35 Air 360 ~ $159 / $169 — Great for preemies, but not compatible with many of our favorite strollers for twins.

$$ — Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite ~ $219 — Great value, easy to install with a seatbelt OR LATCH, and a “no re-thread harness”!!

$$ — Britax B-Safe 35 & Britax B-Safe Ultra ~ $229 & $239 MSRP Very safe, but can only be used with BOB Duallie or another Britax or BOB stroller.

$$ — Chicco KeyFit 30 ~ $199 — Great mainstream value, compatible with most strollers. Solid pick.

$$$ — UPPAbaby Mesa ~ $299 — Top notch “American” luxury seat, pairs beautifully with UPPAbaby Vista double stroller; very easy to install; premium wool version has no flame retardants.

EURO SEATS

$$$ — Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 ~ $249 (“Euro” Favorite #1) — Low birth weight wedge insert required for babies 4-5 lbs. Has anti-rebound bar, which prevents it from flipping up in a crash. Downside: Complaints about canopy.

$$$ — Nuna Pipa ~ $299 (“Euro” Favorite #2) — Lightweight luxury seat, great safety features, pairs with Nuna strollers; uses rigid LATCH connectors, so, it’s best for installing in a window seat.

$$$ — Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 ~ $299 — Luxury seat, a “no re-thread harness”, an anti-rebound bar (built into the base) and a two-stage newborn insert, which is great for preemies.

$$$ — Cybex Aton Q ~ $299  (LUXE PICK) — Super stylish (German, modern) and safety-features galore; also great for taxis or Uber.

Economy Seats

Cosco Light ‘N Comfy DX Infant Carseat ~$79, 8lbs — Economy Pick

cosco is one of the best car seats for twins and preemies

In the economy category, this seat offers decent protection and fits babies 4-22 lbs. The Cosco Light ‘N Comfy is super lightweight (about 8lbs!), which parents of multiples (or anyone who has to lug more than one car seat around) will certainly appreciate. There’s nothing fancy about this bargain seat, but it does have an optional 4th adjustment position, which shortens the length of the crotch strap for tiny newborns.

Stroller compatibility is a question mark with this one, though you’ll probably have luck with double strollers that have a “universal adapter.”

Safety 1st onBoard 35 ~ $159; Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360 ~ $169 (on sale for $159 at Amazon)

Safety 1st is made by the Dorel Group, who also makes Maxi Cosi (both tried and true). The onBoard 35 has four sets of harness slots, four crotch buckle positions, EPS foam and an adjustable base. Unfortunately, this seat is not compatible with many of our fave twin strollers, so that’s something to consider.

Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air

But wait! There’s a new edition that we are loving for preemies/twins: the the Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360. For about $169, you get all the features of the onBoard 35 Air, plus 360 Protect™, which includes Air Protect® (a cushioning system that provides side impact protection), GCell® HX (a high-tech foam), a reinforced handle, and soft foam throughout for extra security and comfort. The cover can be removed and is machine washable – woot!

What strikes us about this seat is the incredibly high ratings from users. We like it for multiples because it comes with special insert pillows, so babies as small as 4 lbs can ride comfortably and safely. Also helpful for parents of twins is Safety 1st’s ergonomic Carry Curve™ comfort grip handle, which makes the seat easier to carry (helpful when you’re lugging around two…).

best car seats for twins
Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite ~ $219 MSRP (on sale for ~ $129), 8.4 lbs

The Graco SnugRide is one of the all-time most popular infant car seats — and one of our favorites as well. For multiples, we are loving the “SnugLock” version of the tried-and-true SnugRide 35 Elite.

Why?…

“SnugLock” is a self-tightening mechanism — an easy way for you to install the base with a seatbelt without having to wrestle it in place to tighten it. It’s basically a giant clasp for the seatbelt. It’s user-friendly — especially if you don’t want to mess with LATCH. Check out our video review here (and see below).

Please note that there are still a zillion different Graco SnugRide models (just kidding, there are only 11) — I picked the “SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite” (above) for a few different reasons: this model is actually a really great value — you get the SnugLock feature, the higher-end LATCH connectors that won’t break your nails (they’re called “InRight Connectors”). Basically, no matter how you install it, it will be easy. You also get a no re-thread harness, which is a HUGE perk for parents of multiples. Why? Because you don’t have to remove your seats and re-thread the harness manually (x2) as your kiddos grow (I’ve got your back MoMs and DoMs! ;-)). It’s easy(ish) for grandparents too!

This car seat takes up a lot of space in the back seat, so I don’t recommend it for compact cars.

Note that this seat will also work with Graco Click Connect strollers, as well as many of our top twin stroller picks, such as: Contours Options Elite, Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double, Valco Baby Neo Twin, Baby Jogger City Select, City Select LUXValco Baby Tri Mode Duo X, and the Mountain Buggy Duet V3. It also works with two of our fav frame strollers, the Joovy Twin Roo+ and the Baby Trend Snap ‘n Go

Bottom line: Even though it takes up back seat space and it’s a bit heavier than some other car seats/bases, it’s nice to have the SnugLock installation option and the easier adjusting harnesses (what we call a “no re-thread harness” in the CPST world), especially when dealing with two!

Mid-Range Seats

Britax B-Safe 35  ~ $229 (on sale for ~$199), 10 lbs;

Britax B-Safe Ultra ~  $239, 10 lbs

If you’re not familiar with Britax, they are one of our favorite car seat brands. Their bread and butter infant seat is the B-Safe 35. While this seat works well for preemies, it’s not compatible with many of our favorite twin strollers, so I would personally look elsewhere unless you plan on using it with a BOB Duallie or another Britax or BOB stroller (only the Britax B-Ready takes 2 infant seats). Generally speaking, other stroller manufacturers do not make adapters for Britax seats for some reason.

Britax B-Safe 35

Also important to know is that, while I trust the engineering of the seats from a safety perspective, they are missing the mark with comfort and fit for babies. You’ll read a lot of people complaining that the seat is too narrow and is outgrown rather quickly. I actually think it’s the depth that babies don’t like because they can’t see out very well.

Britax B-Safe Ultra

Note: Last year, Britax released their latest seat, the fancy-pants Britax Endeavours, pictured below.

Britax Endeavours

For $279, they are competing with the Nunas and Cybexes of the world (in the luxury space). The Endeavours is basically the B-Safe 35 Elite, plus an anti-rebound bar and a European belt path. I’ll note it’s way heavier than its European counterparts, at over 11 lbs. And again, you still have the stroller compatibility issue. However, it can accommodate babies as small as 4 lbs (and it does so quite well).

Chicco KeyFit 30 ~ $199, 9 lbs — Editor’s Choice

Ok, now we’re talking. The Chicco KeyFit 30 is a best bet infant seat for twins. Several reasons: it fits preemies very well (a hospital favorite, in fact), it’s fairly affordable (cuz you’re buying two!), it’s narrow, it’s super easy to install and best of all — because of its wide appeal in the US and in Europe, it’s compatible with nearly every stroller on the market. It was also voted Consumer Reports top infant seat for 2014. You could pay the extra $100 [each] and get one of the Euro seats, but I personally don’t think it’s necessary.

If you live in a city and are looking for a car seat to use in a taxi or Uber, or to easily click into a Chicco stroller, check out the Chicco Fit2 (~ $279). The key here is that you can use this car seat WITH a twin stroller, like the Joovy TwinRoo+, for up to 24 months (2 years, hence the “fit2”), whereas with other infant car seats, the babies will outgrow with infant seat around 12 months. Then you’ll have to switch up to a convertible seat that cannot be used with a stroller.

Think about the situation where you are out and about in Manhattan with twin one-year-olds taking taxis and such. You’ll need car seats… then you’ll need somewhere to put them/transport the car seats when you arrive at your destination. You feel me?

If you don’t need this capability (you drive your own car everywhere), then this seat is overkill, IMO.

UPPAbaby Mesa ~ $299, 9.9 lbs

The UPPAbaby Mesa is not to be overlooked. I recommend this seat especially for people who plan on using it with the UPPAbaby Vista, one of our favorite strollers for twins. In the $300 range, you’ll also get the nicer “no re-thread harness” with five harness height positions and two buckle positions. The Mesa goes one step further and gives you an adjustable base with tension indicator and self-ratcheting lower LATCH connectors (which are AWESOMMMME). You will really appreciate the ease of installation, the awesome canopy, high-end fabrics, etc. It also has a low birth weight insert for babies 4-8 lbs.

The newer version of this seat has a traditional American belt path, whereas previous versions had the Euro belt path. If you are looking for a seat with a European belt path, this one no longer has it — sorry!

We would be remiss if we didn’t discuss the fact that the wool versions of these seats, which come in smokey blue and grey only (“Henry” and “Jordan”), are made with no added flame retardants. Yes, you’ll pay a $50 premium for this, but we love it!! Again, if money were no object…

“Euro” Seats

Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 ~ $249 MSRP — “Euro” Favorite #1

Four sets of harness slots; three buckle positions, including one for newborns; easy to use “push-on” LATCH connectors; AirProtect cushions for enhanced side-impact protection; *low birth weight wedge insert required for babies 4-5 lbs. Like most Euro seats, it has an anti-rebound bar, which prevents it from flipping up in a crash.

Maxi-Cosi car seats are widely compatible with lottttts of strollers out there — second only behind the KeyFit — and usually for the more upscale (European) strollers. This seat will go nicely with nearly all of our favorite twin strollers, including the Bumbleride Indie Twin, the Baby Jogger City Select, the Bugaboo Donkey and the UPPAbaby Vista. Though it’s not my favorite car seat, the Maxi-Cosi/Bumbleride combo is super sweet for twins, not gonna lie.

One common complaint reviewers mention is that the canopy on the Mico Max 30 is too flimsy and begins to sag after a while — for the hefty price tag, one would (and should) expect more. Just sayin’.

Nuna PIPA ~ $299, 8 lbs — “Euro” Favorite #2

Our Dutch friends at Nuna bring you modern, well-designed baby gear for the high-end market. The Pipa is another favorite seat for twins/preemies. What sets it apart from the others is the rigid LATCH connectors (not so much for the middle seat), which make for a SUPER easy installation. If you are installing the seats in the outboard positions, the rigid LATCH connectors are ideal. Like the Maxi-Cosi, it too has an anti-rebound feature called the “load leg”.

Nuna Pipa “Load Leg”

This seat is lightweight at 8 lbs, which your arms will appreciate. It’s also one of the few seats with a “European belt path,” which means it’s super easy to install without a base into taxis and such, or while traveling via airplane. The Pipa has the “dream drape,” which is great for napping on the go. With a “Maxi-Cosi style” design, it too is compatible with the higher-end strollers, such as the Bugaboo Donkey, the UPPAbaby Vista and the Baby Jogger City Select. It’s also compatible with compact strollers, like the Babyzen.

Bottom line: If this is compatible with the stroller of your choice, get it!

Nuna Pipa Lite ~ $349

ALSO: You may want to check out the Nuna Pipa Lite. Parents of multiples might like it because it’s SUPER lightweight — only 5.3 lbs!! — which makes holding two of these bad boys at once much more manageable. One caveat, however: unlike the Nuna Pipa, you MUST install it with a base. If you’re a city dweller who takes taxis and Ubers, this is not a good option for you. But if you’re a suburban mom who only uses her car seats in the car, the Pipa Lite may be worth looking into.

Nuna Pipa Lite

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 ~ $299 (on sale for ~ $229), 9.5 lbs

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio best car seats for twins

The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio is another favorite upscale/European style infant seat. It too has a no re-thread harness, an anti-rebound bar (built into the base) and a two-stage newborn insert, which is great for preemies. Although, I prefer the installation on the Mesa (self-ratcheting) or Pipa (rigid LATCH) over this one (for money, I’m saying). As a practical matter, the big downside to the Peg is that it’s not widely compatible with most of our favorite twin strollers (in America, at least), so please keep that in mind.

Cybex Aton Q ~ $299 (on sale for ~ $169), 11.4 lbs — LUXE PICK!

The Aton Q is a super sleek and exceptionally safe car seat. Like the others we’ve listed, the Aton Q accepts babies as small as 4 lbs (and through 35 lbs), and no extra cushioning is required to keep tiny infants safe and secure in this seat.

The Aton Q takes extra measures when it comes to safety. This includes a Linear Side-Impact Protection (LSP) system, which is a “wing,” of sorts, that pops out from the handle of the seat and transfers side-impact crash energy to the seat’s shell. If you’re installing your baby’s seat in an outboard (side) position, take special note of this. (Important note: only use on the side facing the door, or else a passenger sitting next to this seat could become impaled — that would be very bad).

Another awesome feature users love is the no re-thread harness system. Each time you adjust the 8-position height-adjustable headrest, the harness will automatically adjust. Woohoo!

The Aton Q also has UVP 50+ extra large canopy that will keep baby totally shielded from the elements.

This car seat is great option for city dwellers who don’t own a car or need to take taxis/Ubers frequently; it can be easily installed without the base using the European-Style Belt Path, which routes the shoulder strap behind the seat. You can do this with other seats as well (as previously mentioned), but this installation is particularly easy and sturdy (cue to 1:40).


Ok wow; that was a lot. But we hope you found a seat that will work for your budget — and your babies. Cheers! Meg and Marissa

Back to: Twins!

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