by: Meg Collins, former CPST
Updated June 2018
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.
There are two main features we look for in car seats for preemies and/or underweight babies.
- 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.
- 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.
Thus, all the seats on this list have a low or very low “preemie” position (that’s what I’m calling it, humor me). Tip: *Please remove the strap covers that come with most infant car seats, as they will only get in the way of checking the harness height and tightening the harness itself. If you’d like, you can put them back on later [for comfort] when baby(s) are bigger.
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.
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 already 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.
For general tips on installing your infant seats, please go here.
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….
$ — Evenflo Embrace Select ~ $80 — Economy Pick — Nationally recognized by Safety Advocates as a good car seat for low birth-weight babies
$$ — Safety 1st onBoard 35 & onBoard 35 Air ~ $129 & $159 — Great for preemies, but not compatible with many of our favorite strollers for twins
$$ — Graco SnugRide 35 LX ~ $149 MSRP / $101 on sale through Amazon — For twins and preemies, this is the favorite for a few reasons: no re-thread harness with 15 height positions; three crotch buckle positions; seat comes with lower body positioning insert
$$ — Britax B-Safe 35 & Britax B-Safe 35 Elite ~ 199 MSRP / $169 on sale through Amazon & $299 MSRP / $189 on sale through Amazon — Very safe, but can only be used with BOB Duallie or another Britax or BOB stroller
$$ — Chicco KeyFit 30 ~ $199 — Great mainstream value, compatible with most strollers
$$$ — UPPAbaby Mesa ~ $299 — Top notch “American” luxury seat, pairs with UPPAbaby strollers, which are fab; also very easy to install
$$$ — Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 ~ $249 MSRP / $189 on sale through Amazon — “Euro” Favorite #1 — 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
$$$ — Nuna Pipa ~ $299 — “Euro” Favorite #2 — Lightweight luxury seat, great safety features, pairs with Nuna strollers; uses rigid LATCH connectors, so best for installing in a window seat
$$$ — Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 ~ $299 — 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
Evenflo Embrace Select ~ $80
A good economy pick; this seat, which fits babies 4-35 lbs, offers a great preemie fit and premium protection for normal and low birth-weight babies. This seat is super lightweight (under 8lbs!), which parents of multiples (or anyone who has to lug more than one car seat around) will certainly appreciate. It also has an ergonomic handle, which makes carrying the seat more comfortable. Other nice features include: three harness slots to accommodate your growing babies, a full coverage canopy and a removable head pillow. It’s also nationally recognized by Safety Advocates as a good car seat for low birth-weight babies.
Note: Evenflo also makes the SafeMax (~ $180) and LiteMax (~ $70-$150). In addition to the above-mentioned details, SafeMax also offers SafeZone™ Base, a safety feature which helps to absorb crash forces. Some of the LiteMax car seats feature SensorSafe™ Technology, which alerts drivers if children unbuckle their chest clips while the car is in motion.
Safety 1st onBoard 35 & onBoard 35 Air ~ $129 & $159
Safety 1st is made by the Dorel Group, who also makes Maxi Cosi (both tried and true). This seat 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.
In addition to the onBoard 35 and onBoard 35 Air, Safety 1st now also makes the onBoard 35 Air 360. This car seat, which is also great for preemies, includes all the features of the onBoard 35 Air as well as “360 Protect” — an additional five layers of safety, which include: Air Protect, GCell HX patented race car foam to absorb crash energy, reinforced handle for stability, deep seat structure to help shield child and soft foam throughout the seat for additional safety and comfort. It is also one of the few car seats to pass the new European standards for Rollover.
Graco Snugride 35 LX ~$149 MSRP / $101 on sale through Amazon, 7.5 lbs
Remember there are seven (or so) different SnugRide models and the LX is the “Cadillac,” if you will. These are all the newer “Click Connect” models (Classic Connect models were discontinued in 2015). They’re mainly designed to be used with other Graco Click Connect strollers.For twins and preemies, this is the favorite for a few reasons: a no re-thread harness with 15 height positions will make it easy to adjust the harness height as your babes get taller; there are three crotch buckle positions; there’s a built-in lockoff for seatbelt installations (vs. locking the seatbelts manually); the seat comes with a lower body positioning insert, which is very helpful for preemies. Again, the perk of this seat is the adjustable harness, which doesn’t require you to remove your seats and rethread the harnesses manually, especially since you have to do it x2 (I’ve got your back, MOMs and DOMs ;-)).
This car seat takes up a lot of space in the back seat, so I don’t recommend it for compact cars. Again, this seat will go seamlessly with Graco Click Connect strollers. It’s also compatible with the Baby Jogger City Select (one of my faves), and some (but not all) others. Bottom line: For about $10 more than the KeyFit, I’ll admit, it’s nice to have the nicer adjusting harnesses (what we call a “no re-thread harness” in the CPST world).
Britax B-Safe 35 & Britax B-Safe 35 Elite ~ 199 MSRP / $169 on sale through Amazon, 10 lbs & $299 MSRP / $189 on sale through Amazon, 11.5 lbs
If you’re not familiar with Britax, they are one of the best car seat companies in the world. Their bread and butter infant seat is the B-Safe 35 (and Elite). 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.
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 easily.
New for 2017: Britax just released their latest seat, the fancy-pants Britax Endeavours (review pending).
For $299, 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.
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. If you’re a real fancy pants, 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. This seat can be installed without the base by wrapping the seat belt around the infant seat (this is called the European Belt Path) — more on that in a bit.
Though more spendy (~ $279), this seat is super unique in that it has two rear-facing positions (infant and toddler), so kids from 4 lbs all the way through 35 lbs can continue to ride safely (and comfortably) rear-facing! Yes, you’re buying two, but they’ll last you much longer than a traditional infant car seat would.
UPPAbaby Mesa ~ $299 – 9.9 lbs (2017 version)
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. See my full review here.
*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!
Please read about the different types of infant seats here.
Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 ~ $249 MSRP / $189 on sale through Amazon — “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 [and 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. The Maxi-Cosi/Bumbleride combo is super sweet for twins, not gonna lie.
ALSO!! (Breaking news)…. this car seat was made to go with the only double umbrella stroller on the market that takes two infant car seats, the Maxi Cosi Dana for 2.
Nuna PIPA ~ $299, 7.9 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” (read the full review and see my demo video here).
This seat is lightweight at 7.9 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. Please see full review here. Bottom line: If this is compatible with the stroller of your choice, get it!
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 ~ $299, 9.5 lbs
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, 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).
Additionally, it has what’s called a “load leg” — a “leg” that pops down from the car seat base, which minimizes “rebound” and transfers crash energy to the floor of the vehicle and away from your baby.
The Aton Q also offers an EPS foam-lined shell and head cushions for extra safety and comfort.
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).