There are so many baby car seats today, it can be a daunting task to choose one for your child. But as most spend a good part of their lives in the car, it’s important to find a reliable, quality seat for them to ride in. If you’re in the market for a car seat for your child, keep the following qualities in mind:
1. Safety. When looking for an infant car seat for your child, the number one most important thing is finding a safe seat. Beyond that, it’s mostly a matter of features and personal style. But choose a seat that gets high safety ratings, good user reviews, and has a good reputation.
2. Functionality. Do you need a lightweight baby car seat since you’ll be carting your baby everywhere in sight? Are you interested in one that will last for a really long time? What about the size of your car? Do you have multiple seats you need to fit in the back? These are all questions you should keep in mind when shopping for car seats.
3. Value. Car seats can be expensive, and you might want to do some comparison shopping before just picking the most expensive one. The safest seats don’t necessarily cost more; sometimes you’re paying for style or extra features you don’t need. Doing some research before committing to a seat is always a good idea since it’s an investment, and something you may be using for years to come.
Dimensions: 18.9 x 11.8 x 15.6 inches; 16.4 pounds
Get Yours: babyearth.com
Pros: Graco is a well-known name in the world of baby products, but it is particularly popular for affordable, comfortable, and attractive car seats. This Snugride 32, which accommodates baby up to 32 lbs or 32 inches, is a new version of the tried and true Snugride, holding more weight but not adding much weight to the seat itself. But where it matters, it’s the same as the original: simple, straightforward, and above all, extremely safe. A great buy.
Cons: The SnugRide isn’t heavy for a car seat, but it’s not one of the lightest things you’ll carry. The signature “snug” shape also makes it a little bulky and difficult to carry and maneuver in and out of your car.
Dimensions: 20 x 19 x 22 inches; 20.9 pounds
Get Yours: babyearth.com
Pros: This Marathon car seat from Britax is a solid choice for a convertible. It’s easy to use, and the harness is effortlessly adjustable from the front. Their patented “HUG” system (Harness Ultra Guard) cushions the head and neck, and grows with your baby, accommodating children up to 65 lbs. (maybe that’s where it gets its name?). Add EPP technology and great safety ratings and you have all the makings of a good car seat.
Cons: Car seats aren’t cheap, but this Britax model is one of the most expensive on the market. Of course, it’s worth it of you have the money to spend. Also, all those incredible features that help keep your little one safe do take up some space, so if you’re looking for small and compact this isn’t your seat.
Dimensions: 30.3 x 17.6 x 10.5 inches; 25.8 pounds
Buy Now: Walmart.com
Pros: If you are looking for a slim, travel-friendly seat that exceeds safety standards, look no further than Sunshine Kids Radian. And if you have a big (young) family, especially one with multiples, there’s great news: you can actually fit three of these seats across a standard backseat in most vehicles. And it folds flat and comes with a strap for carrying, making it great for airplane or train travel.
Cons: Have you become a pro reading instructions and putting together all your baby gear? Good, because you’re definitely going to need those skills with this car seat. It’s not the easiest seat to install, though after a few successful attempts it does get easier. The upright back also makes it less than ideal for infants and better for older children.
Dimensions: 28.1 x 17.6 x 15.4 inches; 21 pounds
Buy Now: amazon.com
Pros: If you are looking for style and safety, this rear-facing offering from Chicco will wow you. It’s very easy to install, even for first timers, and the shoulder harness has three height positions, so you’ll find a perfect fit no matter what size baby you have (up to 30 pounds, of course).
Cons: You can tell just by looking at this car seat that it’s definitely falls on the heavy side. Again, that’s the downside to the amazing safety features.
Dimensions: 28 x 20 x 22 inches; 20 pounds
Get Yours: Amazon.com
Pros: This car seat from The First Years gets high marks in all the important categories: safety, comfort, and ease of use. It has a removable headrest and boasts a larger inside to better fit your child as he grows—yet somehow isn’t bigger on the outside, which is great if you have more than one car seat in your car. Also great if you have more than one car seat? The value.
Cons: Don’t expect to easily hoist this car seat in and out of the car. It’s somewhat heavy and bulky given all the extra padding.
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