Updated: May 9, 2015
Infant Car Seat Reviews:As new parents you need to protect your infant and make sure that riding in a car is safe and comfortable for them. For this reason alone, buying an infant car seat is a decision that should not be taken lightly. DO NOT buy a used car seat for your newborn in an attempt to save money. Models like the Graco SnugRide are literally $80 and one of the best investments you can make for your new baby. Infant car seats are designed to protect your newborn while traveling in vehicles and even on airplanes. If you are not familiar with these type of car seats, you have probably seen woman (or men) carrying them around on their arm. The infant car seats have a carrying handle in the middle that allows you to tote them around or you can put the carrier on a stroller and save your strength for other things. The vast majority of those that buy infant car seats also get a "base unit" where the car seat snaps onto. All infant car seats are designed to be rear facing for safety reasons. This means you will not be able to see your child's face when you look into the back seat as they will be facing away from you.
When looking for infant car seat reviews online take a look at About.com in their Baby Products section. They cover safety, features, and price along with top rated models. Epinions, Target, and Babies R Us websites all have consumer reviews posted online that are informative and give you a perspective of which models actually live up to their marketing. Our most trusted source of infant car seat ratings has always been those done by Consumer Reports magazine and they usually publish an update once a year or so. The latest testing they did include over 10 of the top selling car seats for infants and it's no surprise that Graco was near the top of the list for safety, comfort, and ease of installation. Another resource we can't say enough about is Amazon.com with literally 100's of owner, unbiased reviews that get posted in their product pages. You can read all the pros and cons for each car seat and see which ones are worth the money and really make a good buying decision. Top brands include Graco, Britax, Maxi Cosi, Chicco, Cosco, Peg Perego, Evenflo, Kolcraft, Baby Trend and Combi. The Peg Perego infant car seats are some of the priciest you will see yet they don't get the best reviews. The Evenflo Discovery and Chicco Keyfit are two models worth considering since comments by experts and owners are very positive. The Discovery infant car seat is under $60 while the Keyfit is closer to $180 and somewhat of a premium name brand. When considering features, go with a 5-point harness system for the best safety. Buy the infant car seat base about $50 so that you can easily transfer the baby in and out of the car without having to unbuckle the actual car seat. Most parents end up buying multiple base units so they have one in each car. If you have never carried a baby in an infant car seat be prepared for a workout. The average weight of infant car seats are 6 to 12 pounds and then add another 20+ pounds for the baby. You are talking a good 30 pounds suspended from your arm - there is no easy way to carry these things. Also, make sure you read the installation instructions as many injuries to small babies in car accidents are due to improper installation of the car seat. It may take a few tries, but once you have the base unit buckled in, the car seat just snaps on the top and it's easy to detach it when you want to take it out of the car. Many of the infant car seats are designed to go with an accompanying stroller so you don't have to carry the car seat everywhere. You can browse the most popular infant car seats online here.
Best Infant Car Seat:RECOMMENDED - There is no contest here as experts and consumers have overwhelmingly voted the Graco SnugRide Infant Car Seat as the #1 car seat on the market. First, it comes in a variety of colors and patterns (great for boys or girls). The 5-point harness system will keep your infant safe and secure while you are driving. The 180 degree rotating canopy comes in handy when trying to provide shade when the sun is out. Installation is a breeze and I definitely recommend buying the adjustable base for the extra $35. The SnugRide is a great infant carrier that goes with the majority of car seat strollers on the market. Lots of first time parents go with Graco since their name is reputable and the SnugRide has such a solid following. .
Budget Infant Car Seat:Not all infant car seats are going to break your bank account to buy them. The Evenflo Discovery 5 Infant Car Seat is less than $60 and rates quite well amongst parents. The handle is ergonomic so that parents can carry the car seat when it's not in the car. Comes with a five point harness, energy absorbing foam liner, and you can purchase the stay in car base if you want. It's rear facing and supports infants from 5 to 22 pounds. Parents that want their baby in a rear facing car seat up to 1 year but have a child that weighs more should consider the Graco product below. Check out all the Evenflo infant car seats here.
Car Seat for Infants that are Heavier:Lots of parents complain that their infants (soon to be toddlers) outgrow the rear facing car seats well before they are 1 year old. These same parents want to keep them in a rear facing car seat until they are 1 for safety reasons. The Graco SafeSeat Infant Car Seat is the perfect solution. Holding babies up to 30 pounds instead of the typical 22 pounds and it also accommodates up to 32" tall. The SafeSeat from Graco is a well designed baby car seat. The only legitimate complaint we could find online for this model was that people had a hard time finding a 2nd base for the seat.
See our buying guides for all car seat types below: