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Best Infant Car Seats
Updated on
April 3, 2024

Best Infant Car Seats

By Jen LaBracio | Fact Checked by Rebekah Kimminau
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Best Infant Car Seats.
Best Infant Car Seats

An infant car seat is one of the most important items of baby gear that you’re going to need as a new parent. If you plan on ever taking your little one along in your car, a car seat is a must-have—and if you’re driving home from the hospital, most hospitals won’t discharge you without a car seat, though that can be an infant car seat or a convertible car seat (and if you’re considering any of our picks for the best car seats, just make sure it works for newborns before lugging it to the hospital).

But there are a myriad of car seat brands and countless different models of seats, a long list of intimidating terminology you’ve likely never heard before and what can feel like some pretty weighty safety factors to consider. The decisions may feel daunting: is an all-in-one stroller best for you? Do you also want a jogging stroller? Figuring out the best infant car seat for your family (and your budget) feels like a big, stressful decision—and rightfully so.

We’ve consulted real parents, our own team of baby gear experts and a Child Passenger Safety technician (CPST) to help you figure out what you need to know about infant car seats across a range of budgets and styles to make the best—and most informed—decision.

Read This First

  • An infant car seat is a car seat that’s made specifically for younger babies.
  • Infant car seats always face the rear of a vehicle.
  • The majority of infant car seats attach to a base. The base stays installed in your car and the seat clicks in and out. Some infant car seats can be used without the base; in that case, you’ll use your vehicle’s seat belt or built-in connectors called LATCH to install the seat and keep it in place.
  • Infant car seats can be used from day one until your baby reaches the seat’s height OR weight maximum, which for most seats is anywhere between 30-35 inches or 30-35 pounds.
  • All infant car seats sold in the US must pass the same federal safety standards.
  • Bookmark the Infant Car Seat Gear Glossary; it breaks down all the technical car seat terminology you may want to learn about while doing your research like LATCH, anti-rebound, load leg and more.

Babylist’s Picks for the Best Infant Car Seats

Best Infant Car Seat Overall

The Scoop
  • Parent and car seat safety expert favorite
  • Slim profile, works well three-across
  • Good LATCH install but tough to install with seat belt
What Our Experts Say

From excellent safety features to ease of use, the KeyFit 35 is a fan favorite. It’s an upgrade to the also popular KeyFit 30, with the same look and feel—but the KeyFit 35 has the added benefit of accommodating your baby even longer. The KeyFit35 works up to 35 pounds and 32 inches, versus 30 pounds and 30 inches with the KeyFit 30, which means you can safely rear-face your little one even longer.

The base of this seat is simple to install and has just one tightener in the middle that pulls it securely in place. A built-in, easy-to-read level indicates when it’s been correctly positioned—plus you’ll always hear the trusty “click” sound when the carrier is properly inserted into the base.

Other much-loved features include an anti-rebound bar (to prevent extra movement in the event of a crash), a no rethread harness, a removable, washable cover and a narrow profile that can work well in smaller cars or three across. The KeyFit adapter works on most strollers, so you can go from the car to running errands without disrupting your little one’s snooze.

What’s Worth Considering

Installation without the base can be tricky (not ideal if you plan on using your seat in ride shares or for air travel), and getting the right fit for some infants can be challenging.

If you’re in the market for a GREENGUARD Gold Certified car seat (which means that the product is certified for low chemical emissions), check out the KeyFit 35 Zip ClearTex Infant Car Seat. The fabric contains no added chemicals. But there’s another huge bonus of this seat: it’s one of the easiest to clean infant car seats around. The seat pad zips off in seconds and is machine washable.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Safe, easy to use, highly recommended by Consumer Reports, affordable.” -Claire M.

Additional Specs
Child Weight/Height Guidelines 4-35 lbs, up to 32”
Car Seat Carrier Weight 10.1 lbs

Best More Affordable Infant Car Seat Overall

The Scoop
  • Popular + well-priced pick for Babylist families
  • Anti-rebound bar and good side impact protection
  • Headrest + harness adjust together
What Our Experts Say

Part of Graco’s SnugFit line, this rear-facing infant car seat is easy to install and another popular pick among Babylist families, all at an affordable price point.

There are more than a few things to love about this seat. The headrest and harness can be adjusted together while your child is in the seat, making getting just the right fit much less of a struggle than with other similar car seats. There’s also a low weight limit (four pounds, which is great if you’re bringing home a preemie or a smaller baby), four recline positions, and extra protection built in to help absorb impact in case of a crash, including an anti-rebound bar, a nice perk at this price point.

What’s Worth Considering

If you’re willing to spend a bit more, check out the same seat’s DLX model. Upgrades include a one-hand adjustable handle, better head support and side impact protection and a five-position adjustable base, among other features.

There’s also the brand’s SnugRide 35 Lite LX seat, which weighs a little over a pound less than the SnugFit 35.

What Babylist Parents Say

“We bought this for our newest baby and I couldn’t be happier with it. Love all the features and the feel of the fabric. Great car seat.” -Niki

Additional Specs
Child Weight/Height Guidelines 4-35 lbs, up to 32”
Car Seat Carrier Weight 8.5 lbs

Easiest to Install Infant Car Seat

The Scoop
  • Rigid LATCH for quick, secure install
  • Lightweight
  • Modern design + extra safety features
What Our Experts Say

When it comes to car seat safety, a properly installed car seat equals a safer car seat. Which is one of the (many) reasons we love the Nuna Pipa Rx. With a super secure, foolproof installation system that takes just seconds, you can feel confident that this car seat is safely anchored to your vehicle in the event of a crash.

Quick pause for a car-seat-safety-nerd moment. The Nuna Pipa Rx is one of very few seats on the market that uses something called rigid LATCH to connect the car seat’s base to a vehicle. (LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren, a way of securing a car seat to a vehicle.) “Rigid” means that the metal connectors that protrude from the Pipa’s base attach directly to the metal lower anchors of your vehicle—no straps or hooks involved. Why is this a big deal? Because rigid LATCH connections are the most secure, meaning your car seat will move the least in the event of a crash. Rigid LATCH also makes for a fast, easy and foolproof installation—and a properly installed car seat equals a safer car seat.

For added safety, a fold-down stability leg, which extends from the base of the seat to the floor, is designed to absorb impact in an accident. Parents also rave about the quality materials and the extendable Sky drape canopy that provides full coverage from the elements, as well as the many different strollers the seat is compatible with the use of an adapter. For those who frequently take ride-shares or taxis, the Pipa Rx is a breeze to install in any car without the base.

What’s Worth Considering

When it comes to cleaning, it’s a pain to remove the seat cover for the Pipa because you have to unthread the harness. Some parents also find the magnet closures on the canopy tricky to maneuver.

Looking for an even lighter seat? The Nuna Pipa aire rx + Pipa Relx Base clocks in at only 6.2 pounds without its canopy and inserts, but it will cost you more.

What Babylist Parents Say

“We absolutely love our Pipa Rx! What sold me were the extra safety features (anti-rebound bar and load leg) as well as the fact that it’s lightweight! It truly makes such a difference. It’s beautifully made and I love that they use high-quality materials without flame retardants. I couldn’t recommend this car seat more!” -Laura D.

Additional Specs
Child Weight/Height Guidelines 4-32 lbs, up to 32”
Car Seat Carrier Weight 7.6 lbs

Best Lightweight Infant Car Seat

The Scoop
  • Lightest car infant car seat on the market
  • Extra safety features
  • Easy installation
What Our Experts Say

UPPAbaby’s newest addition to their car seat lineup does not disappoint and is our top pick if you’re prioritizing weight (and safety) when shopping for an infant car seat. Weighing in at just under six pounds without the canopy and inserts, the Aria is the lightest infant car seat on the market. Why is that important? For about a year, you’re going to be doing a lot of lugging around your baby + their car seat: up and down from the floor, in and out of the car and more. It’s not easy on your arms, shoulders or back, and even a few extra pounds can make a huge difference. This seat’s weight plus the ergonomically designed handle make all of this schlepping just a little bit easier.

Safety-wise, this seat shines. There’s an anti-rebound panel and a load leg, both of which help with stability, energy absorption and forward rotation in the event of a crash. The seat is GREENGUARD Gold Certified and free of fire-retardant chemicals. And it’s also super easy to install thanks to LATCH and visual indicators that turn red if something’s not right.

We also love the smart, thoughtful features throughout. It’s a narrow seat, so it works well in more compact back seats. The canopy is huge, and the no-rethread harness makes fit adjustments easy. The seat comes with two infant inserts, one that goes under baby’s bottom and one for behind the back; they help with positioning, support and fit for the first few months. The European belt path makes using the seat without its base simple and secure. There’s venting built right into both the canopy and the bottom of the seat itself. And the Aria works with both the Vista and Cruz strollers without any adapters.

What’s Worth Considering

If you want to use the Aria as part of a travel system, you’ll need to stick to UPPAbaby strollers—the seat isn’t compatible with other stroller brands. (You’ll also need to add adapters if you want to use it with UPPAbaby’s Minu or Ridge strollers.) The seat has a slightly lower height and weight limit than some other infant car seats.

Additional Specs
Child Weight/Height Guidelines 4-30 lbs, up to 30”
Car Seat Carrier Weight 6 lbs (excluding the canopy and infant insert)

Best Affordable Infant Car Seat

The Scoop
  • Affordable
  • Features load leg for extra support
  • Works for very small babies
What Our Experts Say

The LiteMax is our clear favorite for an infant car seat that’s both extremely safe and extremely affordable. The load leg, a safety feature often found in much more expensive seats like the Nuna Pipa or Clek liing, is an impressive addition considering the seat’s price. This seat is also one of the lighter on our list and has the lowest weight allowance on the market at three pounds (with physician’s approval, per Evenflo), making it a great choice if you’re bringing home a preemie or a smaller baby. Other features to love include an adjustable headrest, no rethread harness and LATCH install.

What’s Worth Considering

It can be a little tricky to get a safe, secure install with this seat so be sure you read the directions carefully. Evenflo also offers one-on-one video installation support with a certified car seat tech (US and Canada only), free of charge.

Looking for an even more affordable seat? Check out the entry-level model of this seat, the LiteMax 35. There’s no load leg, but at a little over $100, it’s still a reliable, safe option and a really good deal.

What Babylist Parents Say

“This car seat is SO much lighter and easier to transport my infant in and out of the car… and that makes a big difference when your child is 18 pounds at 3 months old! Installing was fairly easy, the angle indicator was easy to read and the adjustable base with load leg makes me feel as though my son’s weight is evenly distributed and the car seat is secure in place. The look is sleek and I love that the cover says it’s machine washable, since some seats are spot clean only. My favorite feature is how easy it is to thread and loosen the harness to get my son in and out easily from the seat, compared to another name brand you had to really tug/pull to tighten effectively. Overall, we love it and think it’s a fabulous, light weight seat and would recommend for a budget friendly option!” -Cgolzer

Additional Specs
Child Weight/Height Guidelines 4-35 lbsm (3-35 lbs with physician approval), up to 32”
Car Seat Carrier Weight 8.7 lbs

Best Infant Car Seat and Stroller Combo

The Scoop
  • Car seat + stroller hybrid
  • Perfect for city dwellers and frequent travelers
  • Will need a second stroller as your child grows
What Our Experts Say

The Doona is the first of its kind: an infant car seat that instantly transforms into a stroller with the click of a button. When it’s time to get in the car, stroller legs and wheels pull up and fold under the car seat.

Why is this a big deal? It makes the Doona the ultimate, all-in-one system for frequent travelers. It’s also ideal for city dwellers who need to quickly get in and out of public transportation, parents who live in an apartment complex and have a long way to walk between their apartment and their car or if you’re in and out of the car a lot dropping off older siblings and don’t want to disturb your sleeping baby.

What’s Worth Considering

Once your child outgrows this rear-facing car seat, you won’t be able to use the stroller anymore. The sleek design doesn’t have any storage space for a diaper bag (or anything else, really). Most babies tend to outgrow it sooner than other infant car seats. And the handle on the Doona is fairly low, so it can be awkward to push if you’re taller.

After years of dominating the market, there’s finally a competitor in sight: The Evenflo Shyft DualRide. Like the Doona, the Shyft is a car seat and a stroller all rolled into one. But there are some key differences between the two. You can use the Shyft for babies as small as three pounds (the Doona’s weight minimum is four pounds), a nice perk if you have a preemie or smaller baby. The seat on the Shyft detaches from the wheels, so you can use it as a standard infant car seat carrier, which isn’t an option with the Doona. And there’s an integrated SensorSafe technology that alerts you if the seat’s chest clip comes unbuckled, the temperature is too hot or cold, your baby is seated too long or if you’ve left your baby behind accidentally.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Since we don’t own a car and live in a city this stroller is perfect as it allows us to easily take Uber/Lyft or use friends/family cars without having to take both a carseat and stroller. Perfect for navigating small restaurants and stores as well as travel.” -Francesca

Additional Specs
Child Weight/Height Guidelines 4-35 lbs, up to 32”
Car Seat Carrier Weight 14.3 lbs

Best Infant Car with Extra Safety Features

The Scoop
  • Packed with safety features
  • Slim profile, works well in small cars
  • Eco-friendly fabrics
What Our Experts Say

One of the most common anxieties for new parents is around car seat safety. If you’re looking for an infant seat with all of the safety extras, the Clek Liing shines. Like the Nuna Pipa, the Ling uses rigid LATCH, ensuring the tightest (and easiest) installation and minimizing the chances your seat will shift in the event of a crash. A metal load leg built into the base reduces crash forces. You’ll also be able to choose from 7 different seat recline positions (15 degrees) after the seat is installed. This is important because it helps you achieve the best positioning for your little one regardless of the angle of your vehicle’s seat, ensuring they’re in the proper (and safest) position.

The Liing is also a great pick if you have a small car of if you’re looking to fit multiple car seats across your back seat. It’s compact front-to-back and one of the narrower options in the world of infant car seats.

What else do we love about the Liing? There’s a giant canopy that provides almost full coverage with SPF 100+ protection. There’s also a two-stage infant insert that gives snug support for newborns, GREENGUARD Gold Certification and three eco-friendly fabric options.

What’s Worth Considering

There’s no getting around the price of this car seat—it’s expensive. But it’s built to last. The Liing has a nine-year expiration date so you can definitely use it for multiple kiddos.

Clek also makes a baseless infant car seat in this same product line called the Liingo. The built-in LATCH connectors attach the seat directly to your vehicle, so there’s no need for a base. It’s a great seat if you’re a city family who relies on rideshares or taxis often or if you’re a family who travels frequently.

What Babylist Parents Say

“This car seat is chemical free and one of the top, safest car seats on the market.” -Nichol

Additional Specs
Child Weight/Height Guidelines 4-35 lbs, up to 32”
Car Seat Carrier Weight 9 lbs

Best Infant Car Seat for Small Cars

The Scoop
  • Slim profile + compact design
  • Lightweight
  • Sensor technology for real-time updates
What Our Experts Say

Finding a compact car seat that works well in a smaller vehicle can be daunting, but Evenflo Gold’s SecureMax seat checks all the boxes. At only 16 inches across, it’s the narrowest seat on our list, making it ideal if you have a smaller car of if you need to fit multiple car seats across your vehicle’s back seat. It’s fairly lightweight (just under 11 pounds), fits a wide range of children and is fairly easy to install.

The safety features of this car seat are also impressive. It features a load leg, something we always look for and appreciate even more at this price point. It also has SensorSafe, a technology that connects to an app on your phone to alert you of unsafe conditions like if your child becomes unbuckled or is left behind in the car. And the seat has been side-impact and rollover tested. Other pros include a no-rethread harness and a large canopy.

What’s Worth Considering

You can install the seat without the base, but there’s no European belt path. Some parents say the SensorSafe app can sometimes be buggy.

What Babylist Parents Say

“We love our Evenflo Gold car seat! It is so easy to install, comfortable for our baby, and the sensory feature gives us a sense of ease. It came recommended by a friend and we are so happy with it.” -Krysten M.

Additional Specs
Child Weight/Height Guidelines 4-35 lbs, up to 32”
Car Seat Carrier Weight 7.6 lbs

Longest Lasting Infant Car Seat

The Scoop
  • Lasts roughly twice as long as most infant car seats
  • Narrow; works well three-across
  • Good choice for city families
What Our Experts Say

Infant car seats excel at convenience, especially if you’re using them as part of a travel system or with a compatible stroller. The ability to seamlessly transfer your baby between the car and the stroller is huge, as is being able to use the seat without its heavy base in a rideshare or for travel. The downside? Most babies outgrow their infant car seats around one year old, if not even sooner. You’ll then have to move onto a convertible car seat, and while there are some lighter seats on the market, they’re nowhere near as light as most infant seats—and they don’t click into a stroller, either. They’re also much more difficult to install.

Meet the Chicco Fit2: a safe, versatile seat that lasts twice the amount of time as most infant car seats thanks to its two-stage infant and toddler design, taking most families up through their little one’s second birthday. This seat is packed with features we love, but longevity is at the top of this list. It shines for city families who don’t own a car and need a stroller-compatible seat and who want to put off having to lug around a convertible car seat for as long as possible. It’s also ideal if you travel often with your baby. 

Don’t fit into either of these categories? You still may want to give this seat a look. It’s narrow, so it works well in small cars and in three-across situations, and features side impact protection and machine-washable fabrics. It’s also easy to install correctly (and quickly) thanks to a leveling foot, bubble levels and a LATCH tightener.

What’s Worth Considering

The Fit2 is heavy, weighing in at just over twenty pounds. (That’s over twice as much as some infant car seats on our list.) It’s also a long seat front-to-back.

Additional Specs
Child Weight/Height Guidelines 4-35 lbs, up to 35”
Car Seat Carrier Weight 20.5 lbs

Other Infant Car Seats Worth a Look

  • If you own a Bugaboo stroller, you’ll want to check out their collab with popular car seat brand Nuna. The Bugaboo Turtle Air By Nuna is a lightweight car seat designed to be compatible exclusively with Bugaboo strollers. (Some will require adapters, sold separately, and others do not.) It’s beautifully designed, sleek and safe.
  • And speaking of Nuna, while this infant car seat is not yet available on its own (you can currently purchase it only as a part of a travel system), the Nuna urbn is turning heads in the car seat world since its release in early 2023. It’s a baseless infant car seat with a rigid LATCH system built right in. Why is that a big deal? It makes installation about as easy as it gets. It’s also an ideal seat for city dwellers who are frequently using rideshares or for families who travel often as there’s no base to lug around.
  • Baby Jogger, known and loved for their amazing one-handed fold stroller (among other things) also makes car seats. The City GO 2 Infant Car Seat features an anti-rebound bar, is easy to install and is on the lighter side. It attaches to all Baby Jogger strollers.

How We Chose Our Best Infant Car Seats

  • We analyzed results from Babylist’s Best Baby Products survey, which polled 6,000 Babylist users and asked them to share the baby products they love the most and why.
  • We utilized insight from the Babylist editorial team, including Gear Editor Jen LaBracio, an expert in the baby space for over six years and a mom of two who has written hundreds of baby gear guides and personally researched and tested hundreds of baby products, including infant car seats.
  • We consulted a Child Passenger Safety technician (CPST) and researched information on infant seat safety and reviews from several leading car seat experts, including Car Seats for the Littles and The Car Seat Lady, as well as information from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • We reviewed customer reviews from hundreds of real Babylist parents.

What Is an Infant Car Seat?

An infant car seat is a seat made specifically for infants and younger babies. These five-point harness seats always face the rear of the car and are designed to attach to a base. The base stays installed in your car and the seat clicks in and out, making it easy to get your baby into and out of your car.

Other types of car seats:

  • Convertible car seats: These grow-with-your-child seats transform from rear-facing car seats for babies and toddlers to forward-facing seats for older children up to about 65 pounds. Some convertible seats can be used from birth, but they’re not designed to be easily popped out of your car and are much too heavy to be carried around so you’ll lose some of that convenience factor if you decide to use a convertible seat from day one. (More on that below.) Here are our top-rated convertible car seats.
  • Booster car seats: For kids at least four years old and at least 40 pounds, boosters do just what the name implies—boost your child up higher in your car’s seat. This ensures that your car’s regular lap and shoulder belts cross over your child’s body at the correct points to securely hold them.

Do I Need an Infant Car Seat?

If you plan to take your baby in the car, you’re going to need a car seat. Whether you choose an infant car seat or a convertible is a matter of personal preference.

Purchasing a convertible car seat means one less piece of baby gear you’ll need to research and buy. Convertibles also have a much longer lifespan than infant seats; many will take you from the baby days well into the preschool years, and some even through elementary school. But while it may seem like purchasing a convertible car seat would be the most efficient, there are a few distinct advantages to using an infant car seat instead.

  • Convertible car seats are heavy, bulky and time-consuming to uninstall and reinstall. If your baby will be riding in multiple vehicles, transferring an infant car seat is much easier—just be sure to purchase an additional car seat base so you can quickly click the infant car seat into the backseat base and go.
  • It’s easier to transfer a sleeping baby from the car to the stroller (or the other way around) if you’re using an infant car seat that’s compatible with your stroller. This is doable if you purchase a travel system—a car seat and a stroller from the same brand that attach to each other—or create your own set using adapters (we also have a guide to infant car seat and stroller compatibility). It’s also much easier to click your infant seat, baby in tow, in and out of your car since it attaches to a base that’s permanently installed.

Infant Car Seat Features

From no-rethread harnesses and adjustable headrests to load legs and anti-rebound bars, there is no shortage of features to consider when you’re researching infant car seats.

Infant car seat safety features

Every car seat sold in the US must meet the same federal safety standards set forth by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. While each individual state may have its own guidelines around car seats (many states, for example, now require that children under the age of two ride in a rear-facing seat), any seat sold in the US must meet the same benchmarks around safety and installation. You can be reassured that spending less money on a car seat doesn’t mean it’s any less safe.

Here are some safety features to consider:

  • Anti-rebound bar: In the event of a crash, a car seat will move toward the point of impact. An anti-rebound bar reduces the movement of a car seat as it moves back into your vehicle’s back seat. It halts the rebound and causes the seat to come to a stop sooner than it would have without the anti-rebound bar.
  • European belt path vs. American belt path: A belt path is how you’ll install your car seat when you’re not using a base. (Think for travel, ride shares, etc.) Both belt paths start by routing your car’s lap belt over your baby’s lap area. A European belt path wraps the belt around the back of the infant seat for extra protection. Car seat safety experts recommend the European belt path as it allows for a more secure installation and decreases crash forces.
  • LATCH: LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. The LATCH system is an alternate way to secure your car seat that uses built-in anchors and tethers rather than your vehicle’s seat belt. The system consists of two lower anchors found in the seat crack of your car that clip or hook onto two lower attachments on your car seat and a tether anchor behind the back seat that clips onto a tether hook found on the back of your car seat. LATCH is not available in every seating position, so you’ll need to consult your vehicle manual. Both LATCH and seat belt installations are safe, but in most cases are not to be used at the same time. There are also LATCH weight limits that you need to be aware of before utilizing this system to install your seat.
  • No-rethread harness: As your baby grows, you’ll need to adjust your seat’s shoulder straps to accommodate the correct fit. A no-rethread harness means you’ll be able to move the straps up and down without having to manually reroute them through the back of the seat.
  • Safety indicators: Some car seats come with built-in leveling systems and indicators to signal they’ve been correctly installed. (Most safety issues with car seats stem from them not be installing correctly. Here’s info on how to get a safe install.)
  • Stability leg (load leg): A stability leg, also called a load leg, helps to reduce the amount of force on a car seat and reduce the rebound of a seat in the event of a crash.
  • Safety extras: Some car seats include additional shock absorption, padding and higher quality materials.

A safety note on new versus used car seats. Used car seats might be damaged and may not be up to snuff when it comes to current safety regulations. While we recommend new car seats, if you do end up selecting a used car seat, get it from someone you trust. Be sure to look up the seat’s expiration date and research if that particular car seat model has ever been recalled. If the seat is dirty, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s strict rules around how to clean it. Each car seat has a specific set of rules about how to clean it while maintaining its safety and integrity.

Infant car seat convenience features

While they don’t impact the safety of your seat, convenience features are also important to think through when you’re deciding on an infant car seat.

  • Canopy: A canopy is the extendable piece of fabric found at the top of a car seat. Canopies extend and retract to provide shade, protection from the elements and privacy for your baby.
  • Ease of cleaning. Babies are messy. Not all car seats have removable seat fabric for cleaning, and of those that do, some are easier to pop out and wash than others.
  • Fabric: Besides looking for a style of fabric that matches your taste, consider its durability and how easy it’ll be to wash when messes happen. You also may want to consider an infant car seat with GREENGUARD Gold Certification, a certification that means both the item and its manufacturing process was tested and reviewed for over 10,000 chemical and VOC emissions.
  • Fit.: Car seats range in size and shape. The way a car seat fits in your specific vehicle is both a convenience feature (especially if you’re on the taller side or prefer to recline your seat) and a safety feature (a safe car seat is one that fits properly in your car’s back seat and can be secured properly).
  • Peekaboo window: A peekaboo window is a small opening found in the fabric of a car seat canopy. It’s often made of mesh or another type of sheer fabric and lets you get a quick peek at what your little one is up to without having to retract the canopy or sneak around the side of the seat.
  • Stroller compatibility: You can snap infant car seats into many strollers or stroller frames. You can buy a prearranged set, like a travel system, or mix and match brands as long as they are compatible via car seat adapters.

For more details about car seats, read our How to Choose a Car Seat guide.

Infant Car Seat Frequently Asked Questions

How long do babies stay in infant car seats?

Infant car seats can be used from day one until your baby reaches the seat’s maximum height or weight limit (usually anywhere between 30-35 pounds, depending on the specifics of your seat).

The “or” is important to remember here. It means that even if your child falls within the height limits of your infant car seat, but has outgrown the seat’s weight limit, it’s time to make the switch to a convertible, and vice versa. Most babies outgrow their infant seat around one year of age or so, but it can also happen much sooner, depending on your baby’s growth.

Where is the best place to put an infant car seat?

The middle of your vehicle’s back seat is statistically the safest place to install your child’s car seat. That’s because many crashes involve a side impact, so a middle position will help to avoid direct impact.

However, not all vehicles allow for a car seat in every spot that has a seat belt. Always check your specific vehicle’s owner’s manual prior to installation. The Safe Kids’ Ultimate Car Seat Guide Installation Tips is a great resource for car seat installation.

Can my baby sleep in an infant car seat?

Yes, babies can fall asleep in an infant car seat, but it’s important to then transfer them to a safe sleep space like a crib or a bassinet, as the AAP recommends against the use of car seats for sleep outside of a car. The AAP also advises that babies have a break from the car seat every 90 minutes.

Jen LaBracio

Senior Gear Editor

Jen LaBracio is Babylist’s Senior Gear Editor, a role that perfectly combines her love of all things baby gear with her love of (obsessive) research. When she’s not testing out a new high chair or pushing the latest stroller model around her neighborhood, she likes to run, spin, listen to podcasts, read and spend time at the beach. In her past life, she worked for over a decade in children’s publishing. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their two boys, Will and Ben.

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