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From taking your newborn home from the hospital to running numerous errands with it, the need for a car seat for your little one cannot be overemphasized. You don’t need just any car seat, but one built with safety and comfort in mind.

If you’re a new parent, finding the right car seat for your newborn can be downright stressful! You’ll be faced with many perplexing questions such as; how do I know it’s safe? Will it be comfortable? Can it fit in my car? Will it become too small for my baby? Can I afford it? All of these questions are valid, and fortunately, we have listed out the top five baby car seats that pass the safety test to help you make the best choice.

Here are the top baby car seats of 2022

Gracias Extend2Fit Baby Car Seat: Great Convertible Option

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When it’s that time to take your baby on car rides, you want to get a car seat that is comfortable and, most importantly, safe!

The Gracias Extend2Fit car seat offers that and more. This convertible baby car seat grows with your child from the forward-facing harness to the rear-facing harness and is engineered to protect your baby against the front, back, side, and roll-over crash. The cushion is machine washable, however, the seatbelt may be tricky to tighten at first.

Key features:

  • This car seat has a six-position recline
  • It features a ten-position headrest
  • It has a steel-reinforced frame
  • It features two modes of use; forward and back facing harness
  • It has fuss-free harness storage
  • The headrest height can be easily adjusted
  • Convertible design

Chicco KeyFit Baby Car Seat: Great For Infants

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This is a terrific car seat to get. One of our Autoblog editors actually owned and used one of these, finding it especially easy to safely secure the base in a variety of cars (though certain cars, such as Mercedes and the Nissan Rogue, just couldn’t fit Graco’s Latch points). It was also easy enough to install with a seatbelt, which is usually what you have to do when installing in the middle of a car. This baby car seat also has a five-point harness with one-pull tightening that keeps your baby secure. The car seat is compatible with the Chicco stroller. It is also suitable for newborns.

Key features:

  • It is easy to install and is travel-friendly
  • Has a smooth underside to protect the car seat
  • It features a removable infant head and body support
  • Can accommodate newborns as small as four pounds
  • Has an adjustable and removable canopy for sun protection
  • The seat pads are machine washable
  • Has a two-position carry handle and one-hand release

Safety 1st Baby Car Seat: Easy Installation

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Are you looking for a car seat that is safe, comfortable, and suitable for your baby?

Then this Disney-inspired baby car seat is the one to get. Available in the Minnie and Mickey Mouse design, this convertible car seat supports both infants and toddlers. It has a three-position incline that makes it fit into your car. You can adjust the harness and the headrest in one simple step. It checks all the boxes when it comes to aesthetics, safety and comfort. It is travel friendly and protects against side impact. This option does not include a stroller.

Key features:

  • Rear-facing feature for infants weighing 5 to 40 pounds
  • The forward-facing feature supports toddlers from 22 to 65 pounds
  • The belt-positioning feature supports children from 40 to 100 pounds
  • The seat pad is removable and easy to clean
  • It has handy harness holders
  • Comes with convenient cup holders

Baby Trend Baby Car Seat: Another Great Option

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This infant car seat will not disappoint when it comes to safety, design and custom fit.

It features a large canopy for sun protection when taking car rides; it has a well-padded cushion that ensures that your baby remains comfortable and calm. It features a no-thread harness system that makes adjusting the shoulder height stress-free. It also ensures safety for your baby’s head with its patented side impact head protection. It has a one-hand easy-access seat release and it features a 5-point safety harness. This option is not suitable for toddlers over the age of 2 years.

Key features:

  • This car features a removable 4-piece grow-with-me insert
  • Hast multi-grip carrying handle
  • This infant car seat can be easily installed
  • It can be reclined in four different positions
  • There is a built-in belt lock compatible with vehicle belts
  • It features flexible latch connectors and built-in connector storage

Evenflo Infant Baby Car Seat: Honorable Mention

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As a new mom or the mother of a toddler, you need a car seat that is comfortable, safe and easy to carry.

With the Evenflo infant car seat, you can comfortably carry your baby because of its lightweight design. It has a comfortable headrest and four recline positions. This one is also easy to install and travel-friendly. This baby car seat accommodates growing infants and can be used for newly born babies and toddlers. It also features a large canopy that protects your baby’s delicate skin from the sun, wind and even the rain. Toddlers above 2 years old will not have enough leg room.

Key features:

  • The product weighs 16 pounds
  • It features an integrated belt lock-off system for safety
  • This infant car seat has an ergonomic handle
  • The cushions are well-padded for added comfort
  • Comes in a beautiful, fun color
  • The seat pads are machine washable

Baby car seats buying guide

According to a renowned pediatrician, “finding the right car seat and installing it correctly are two of the most important things you can do for your baby’s safety,” and we completely agree. Add comfort to the mix, and you have the best baby car seat for you and your precious bundle of joy.

With sensitive life decisions such as what car seat is best for your baby, it can be confusing to pick the right one, especially if you are a first-time parent. Don’t fret; breathe! We’ve got you! We have listed our top 5 car seats for babies in this buying guide, but if you still need more information, you’ll find some useful ones below.

What are the different types of baby car seats?

Rear-facing seat

These are also known as infant car seats, and they are the first car seat your baby will ride in. As the name implies, you can only install this seat rear-facing. This type of seat is recommended for preemies and newborns weighing up to 35 pounds. 

It has some important features that ensure your baby’s safety and protection. This baby car seat usually connects to a base installed in your car and you can easily remove it from the base when you’re leaving the vehicle and, attach it when you get in. Most models have ergonomic handles that allow the parent to carry it around comfortably. 

A rear-facing seat is restricted to preemies and newborns only because it has limited leg rooms required by toddlers and comes with weight and height restrictions. You need to pay close attention to these little details. Once your baby approaches the limit of the seat, it is important you get a new one best suited to bigger babies and toddlers like the convertible car seats.

Convertible seat

A convertible car seat is the next stage for your baby after rear-facing seats. However, some convertible seats have a rear-facing position for a newborn and a front-facing position for toddlers and older babies who have outgrown the limits of the rear position.

However, these types of seats are heavier and you cannot easily carry them around. You cannot attach these seats to strollers and they are meant to remain inside the car. Some convertible seats are all-in-one. This means that preemies, newborns, toddlers and even older kids can use them, because they offer several positions and harnessing features that ensure your baby’s safety.

This type of seat differs from the rear-facing seat because it doesn’t have a base; it uses the LATCH system for installation—a type of system that comes with straps and hooks that attach to your vehicle to keep the seat secure. Some convertible seats support babies and toddlers that weigh between 15-50 pounds, while others can support preemies and newborns that weigh as little as four pounds.

Booster seat

Just as the name implies, a booster car seat helps raise a child to a position where the car’s seat belt can be positioned correctly. They are available in two types; backless and high-back.

The former is easy to install and quite portable, but they only have a seat component and no back. They only provide the height needed to be safely strapped in your precious one. The latter, however, are more popular; they are more comfortable for children to rest their heads against because they have a bottom and a back. The high-back models position the shoulder better, offering some side protection. Irrespective of the type of booster you get, make sure that your child weighs at least 40 pounds or more before using a booster.

What important safety features should I look for in baby car seats?

No-thread harness

You need to adjust the harness of the car seats to accommodate the shoulders as your child grows. Some seats require that you do that manually, which can be a bit tedious.

However, modern car seats have no-thread harness features that can be adjusted with just a click of a button. Make sure to look for that when choosing the right seat for your baby.

Crash test performance

In the United States, every car seat manufacturer is required by the government to carry out crash tests on the seats. The results are not open for the public, so there’s no way to know if one seat didn’t better than another. This obviously is less than ideal. We would recommend seeking out reviews or websites that do their own crash testing and publish results.

Height and weight limits

When it comes to seats for preemies and newborns, toddlers and kids, there are different types of car seats and positions for them. Each seat comes with height and weight limits for newborns down to toddlers. Ensure that you know your baby’s size and weight and use that information to buy a fitting car seat.

Approval for air travel

If you plan on traveling with your baby and intend to use a plane, you need to ensure that the car seat you get is approved for air travel by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Look out for stickers on the back, side, or bottom of the seat. If it is approved for air travel, you should find a sticker on it. Airport officials request to see that sticker before letting you board with your infant or toddler.

While many seats are technically improved, keep in mind the weight and size of your seat. While infant car seats couldn’t be easier in this regard, convertible seats can be a massive (literally) hindrance when lugging them through an airport. 

How do I choose the right baby car seat?

Ease of installation

This is an important feature to consider when choosing the right seat for your baby. For newborns, car seats with a base are recommended, and they should come with clear instructions on how to properly install them. If you are a first-time parent or you’re unsure about how to properly install the seat, you can consider meeting with a local certified child passenger safety technician.

Ease of use

With toddlers, it is rather difficult to stop them from exploring their curiosity. And if the day’s curiosity happens to be the harness buckle of their car seats, then you want to make sure that they’re stiff enough to remain buckled. You also want to make sure that it isn’t too stiff to buckle in and un-buckle your child. You should choose a seat that is easy to use; you don’t want a battle on your hands every time you want to take your baby on car rides.

Comfort

Safety and comfort should be prioritized above all others when buying car seats for babies. You want to make sure that you get one with enough legroom for your growing toddler, one with headrest inserts for newborns and preemies, one that has a soft cushion and is comfortable for your infant to be in

Ease of cleaning

Kids are super messy! It is guaranteed that you’d find smudged snacks lodged into the nooks and crannies of their car seat or stains from where they rub their sticky fingers. You need a baby car seat with a cushion made from water-resistant fabric that can easily be wiped clean. For more difficult stains, a cover that can be machine washed is recommended. Ensure that you’re buying one with removable covers.

Car seat canopy

A car seat with canopies protects your baby’s delicate skin from the glare of the sun, the wind, and rain. Some car seats come with canopies, and others do not, some with water-resistant canopies and others without. Be sure that you look at the features of a seat carefully before you make a purchase.

Baby car seat FAQs

Q: Should my baby’s car seat be at the front or passenger side?

A: Car seats should always be installed at the back. That’s the safest place for your baby inside the car.

Q: When do car seats expire?

A: Generally, car seats for babies expire between 5 to 10 years of manufacture.

Q: Can I put my toddler in a rear-facing car seat?

A: Rear-facing seats are generally made for preemies and newborns that weigh up to 40 pounds. However, different models of seats now accommodate bigger babies and toddlers. Each seat has a limit. If your toddler meets the height and weight requirements of the seat and has enough legroom, then they can be placed in a rear positioned car seat.

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