Join our social media community of over 170,000 parents and caregivers!

Finding the right car seat just got easier - check out our new FREE car seat selection tool!

menu

Infant car seat selection tool
USA 🇺🇸

Our recommended seats receive the “this one’s great” distinction based on our personal experience with the car seat’s fit-to-child and fit-to-vehicle consistency. Car seats without the “this one’s great” badge are not “bad” car seats; and it also doesn’t mean we wouldn’t ever recommend it: there are situations where a car seat we wouldn’t typically recommend may be the one that works best in a specific scenario. However, we may have found that it’s consistently more challenging for caregivers to install or use some car seats correctly, or we simply may not have had a chance to work with a car seat in enough varied situations just yet.

What's new,
and what's coming soon!

If these tools have helped you, please consider sponsoring my morning coffee ☕️ as I continue onto the most ambitious phase of this project yet: video tours for each seat I can get my hands on.

### July 16/17, 2024 ###

  • [All] It’s Prime Day! Use the Prime Day Deals filter to view what’s on deal during Prime Day 2024.


New features and updates by request
(thank you for your feedback, it benefits us all!):

  • [Infant] Adjusted layout of filters and added expand, collapse and reset buttons. 


### July 13, 2024 ###

New tools 🎉


New features and updates by request
:

  • [Convertible, FF Only and Booster] Updated expiry filters to now be a more fluid range selection. These changes will be made to the Infant tool within the week.
  • [Convertible, FF Only and Booster] Updated price filters to now be a more fluid range selection. These changes will be made to the Infant tool within the week.
  • [Convertible, FF Only and Booster] Adjusted layout of filters and added expand, collapse and reset buttons. 


### June 30, 2024 ###

  • The convertible car seat tools are now live for both US + Canada!
  • Forward facing-only and dedicated booster tools launching by the second week of July.


### May 31, 2024 ###

  • Added this Changelog (lol so meta)
  • Added Features coming soon! section
  • Added Requests and feedback section
  • [All] Video tours for each seat
  • [All] Detailed write-ups on each seat’s View details page
  • [All] Center vehicle seat install with lower anchors compatibility

 

  • [Infant] Filter by seats that allow newborn harness routing (currently available on Convertible tools)
  • [Infant] Filter by seats that have self-retracting lower anchor installation aide feature
  • [Infant] Filter by seats that can be tumble-dried after washing (currently available on Convertible tools)
  • [Infant] Filter by recline/lounge feature

    The best car seat is the car seat that: fits your child, your vehicle, your budget, and that you can use correctly every single ride.

    What features should I consider when purchasing an infant car seat?​

    Infant car seats are some of the hardest car seats to make choices on, specifically because they have such an array of available features to consider. Here you’ll find more information about some of the common features to help your decision making process.

    If you only read one note from the table, please read the first note: “Is a more expensive car seat safer?

    It’s an understandable assumption: if a car seat is more expensive, it must be better, right? Well, “better” is open to interpretation, and honestly… not necessarily!

    Here’s the truth: all car seats sold on the US market meet the same Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS 213). To be more specific, car seats that are sold *legally* are safe to use; please avoid purchasing car seats off discount marketplace websites, or second-hand car seats from someone you don’t know and trust on a personal level. You could end up with a seat that doesn’t meet today’s safety standards, or you could end up with an expired or otherwise compromised car seat.

    What we know for sure: when car seats are installed and used correctly, they can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by up to 71%*.

    Not at all crashes are survivable. However, in a survivable crash: if a car seat is installed correctly, and used correctly (proper harnessing, etc.) it will do its job.

    What’s with the additional safety features, then?

    Well, the car seat’s job is to save a life. The additional safety features are great, and don’t get me wrong: I’m so glad we have them! They could mean the difference between a very minor injury and a more serious one – but our first goal is to ensure that the child survives in a recoverable way.

    When I train new Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs, aka “car seat techs”), I always come back to this point: we don’t get to choose the crashes we have.

    If it’s within budget to get extra safety features, and you’ll see many of those fully-featured seats right on this page, that’s great! If it’s not within your budget to purchase one of the more expensive car seats please hear me and take this to heart right now: you are not risking your child’s life by buying a less expensive seat. What is most important is that you know how to safely and correctly install and use your child’s car seat, and that it is used correctly for every single ride.

    I have publicly stated this many times, and will continue to do so: both my girls have ridden in car seats ranging from $90 to $800. I wouldn’t hesitate to put them in a $90 car seat because I know that if I’m installing and using it correctly, it’s going to do its job. And in some cases, those less expensive seats may be better for certain vehicles because of space constraints, or because you need something more lightweight for travel. Don’t feel guilty for a second: they all pass the same tests.

    *Statistic via https://cps.ca/documents/position/child-and-youth-injury-prevention

    Learn more about car seat recline angles and head slump in this video.

    Why is a car seat’s recline angle important, especially for rear-facing children? It helps to protect the airway! When a baby is born, they lack the tone in their neck to hold up their head. We also know that babies have very small, flexible airways. When they get into a chin-to-chest position, this can block their ability to breathe freely, and poses significant risk to a child without head control.

    For a newborn, the angle should be as reclined as permitted in the car seat user manual.

    The angle requirements may change based on a child’s development, age, or other factors; so be mindful that it may be adjusted over time. Your car seat’s user manual will indicate at what point the angle can or should be changed, typically based on weight, age, or a developmental milestone (ex: head control, sitting unassisted).

    ⚠️ TIP: Always check the car seat’s angle when you’re parked on a flat surface. Many angle indicators rely on gravity and if you’re parked on a slope, even a small one, you won’t get an accurate reading.

    Learn more about load legs in this video.

    For every action, there’s an equal, opposite reaction. If you bounce a ball low to the ground with little force, it will only bounce so high. Load legs limit crash forces in a similar way – the less rotation we see, the less rebound we’ll see.

    ⚠️ Note: Variations we see in vehicles, including the design of the vehicle floor, can limit whether a load leg will be compatible/possible to be used safely. If your vehicle has a “false floor” or in-floor storage (such as “Stow-and-Go”), a load leg may be incompatible with your vehicle.

    👉 Remember: current car seats on the market, certified for use in the US, will all pass federal crash tests. A car seat without a load leg is not a “bad” car seat. Load legs are a fantastic, advanced energy management feature designed to reduce severity of injury; but load legs are not the sole factor in saving a child’s life in a crash. Regardless of a load leg’s presence, in a survivable crash, a current, properly installed and properly used car seat will do its job to save a child’s life.

    There’s a few unique options for families that find themselves on-the-go with baby and their car seat regularly. Whether you’re a frequent flyer, or a city-dweller, getting around with a car seat isn’t always an easy feat. Here are some options to consider:

    “European” belt paths
    Learn more about European belt paths in this video.
    Does this belt path make me look fancy? Some infant car seat seat carriers use a “European” belt path, an alternative way of routing the seat belt when installing an infant car seat carrier without a base. In this method, the shoulder portion of the vehicle seat belt goes around the back of the infant carrier.

    European belt paths offer a form of energy management, decreasing forces on a baby’s head and neck in a crash when the seat is installed without a base. Additionally, they can make getting a secure baseless install easier.

    NOTE: Sometimes your car seat’s handle position may change when it’s installed without a base. Be sure to double-check your car seat manual.

    Car seats that are compatible with travel systems
    This is pretty much a travel system’s full personality: it’s to make your life on-the-go a bit easier by allowing the carrier portion of your infant car seat to easily click into a matching stroller. Alternatively, this can be achieved in many cases with adapters, but not all strollers and car seats are compatible (hence the filters above!)

    As a personal aside, I’m a very petite 5’1″ mom who found getting the stroller in and out of the vehicle to be too cumbersome. I eventually gave up. It’s best to always consider your lifestyle, vehicle and physical ability when you’re making a decision that involves a stroller.

    Car seats designed specifically for travel
    Relatively new to the car seat game: the Nuna PIPA urbn and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 Urban Mobility. They join the clek liingo in a unique category of car seats designed specifically for travel.

    These specialty infant car seats are sold without a base. Instead, the lower anchor connectors are integrated into the carrier itself, to make quick taxi or ride-share trips a breeze. 

    The PIPA urbn is currently only available for purchase as part of a travel system, while the Primo Viaggio 4-35 Urban Mobility can be purchased as a stand-alone car seat. Additionally, caregivers can purchase a separate base for the Primo Viaggio 4-35 Urban Mobility if they want to have a base for a vehicle, as well. This is not currently an option for the PIPA urbn.

    Car seat/stroller combinations
    Nope, I didn’t already write about this. This is a whole different category! These are infant carriers that have the stroller wheels and chassis attached all as one cohesive, standalone unit.

    There are currently two main products on the market that achieve this: the Doona, and the Evenflo Shyft DualRide.

    This product category can offer up a simple solution for  families who find themselves frequently in-and-out of the vehicle with a stroller in tow.

    However, it’s worth considering that this product will likely be outgrown in the first year-ish of a child’s life, at which point you’ll need a new car seat AND stroller.

    Let's find you a car seat!

    Use the filters to help find a seat that best fits your needs. Your results will update in real-time.

    Prime Day
    Price
    Infant car seats: price range

    note: the price range filter is based on each seat's regular retail price -- sale prices may be lower!

    Infant car seats: size and weight
    Infant car seats: safety technology
    Infant Car Seats: fabrics and fit
    Infant car seats: convenience features
    Infant car seats: install features
    infant car seats: expiry

    Most seats expire a defined number of years from the seat's date of manufacture (the number of years is typically outlined in the seat's user guide, or indicated on a label on the seat itself). However, some manufacturers base a seat's expiration date off the date of purchase of the seat, provided the owner maintains proof of purchase (receipt).

    Adapter available for stroller/wagon brand: