Selecting a car seat can be daunting. There are so many options on the market, you have to decide if you want an infant car seat, a convertible car seat, how big or how small, what colors, what bells and whistles are essential, what strollers it's compatible with, and most importantly if it is safe or not!
I can safely say I’ve spent over 60 hours researching various car seats at every stage. So while I am no expert, I thought I’d share some of my research and insight, highlight my top two choices at every stage. Based on various price points, my personal preference but most importantly safety here are my top picks!
Infant Car Seats We personally went with the Chico KeyFit 30 Magic Infant Car Seat for several reasons.
It topped the list on Consumer Reports for Infant Car Seats. Really don’t need to say more. Safety was our first priority for Emerson and it checked all the boxes with the highest rating.
It was the right price point at around $200. We didn’t want to spend anymore as we knew we would transition to a convertible car seat when she got big enough. Thus, we didn’t want to break the bank on an infant car seat.
Compatibility. It was compatible with our Bugaboo Cameleon 3 Stroller which meant we could buy the adapters and plop the car seat on the stroller base. Very convenient when carting a newborn around!
Easy to use! I feel like this is the dad category when it comes to car seats. Nate was concerned with how light weight it was and how easy it was to install. The Chico KeyFit 30 is one of the easiest to install car seats on the market. Making it an easy sell to Nate!
My alternate pick for an infant car seat be the UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Car Seat. It has a sleek design, also got good reviews on Consumer Reports, compatible with UPPAbaby strollers if you go that route, and has a smart, easy to install design. It is a bit higher of a price point around $300 but comes in a plethora of colors.
Convertible Car Seat
I just went through the motions of purchasing a convertible car seat for Emerson several months ago. I was torn between two car seats in particular and went with the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Car Seat simply due to the Consumer Report reviews. I was deciding between the Maxi-Cosi and the Nuna RAVA, however the Nuna RAVA hadn’t been on the market long enough to establish Consumer Report reviews. And since safety is our number one priority for Emerson we decided to go with something that had been tested and rated. The Maxi-Cosi boasts the highest weight range of any convertible car seat. It also takes up as little room as possible in your backseat which was important to us. Important so we had more room for alternate passengers like our dog Taylor, and important when considering baby number 2 might be coming along and we will have up to 2-3 car seats in the backseat as our family grows. It has a sleek, modern design which I love! Finally, the fabric is machine washable and dryer safe. Very important as I am learning that is very difficult to keep that back seat clean with an almost toddler thrashing toys and snacks around!
We haven’t entered into booster land just yet, but again via my diligent research I have my eye on the Nuna AACE Booster Car Seat. It has a chic design, is lightweight and portable making it the top of my choices. The CYBEX Solution Q2-Fix High Back Booster Car Seat is also at the top of my list. It has strong ratings on Consumer Reports and while I personally don’t think it looks as sleek as the Nuna it does have a lightweight and compact design.
No matter what route you decide to go with on car seats just make sure you make your list of priorities and factor in which of these options are important to you and your family.
Size and weight – If you have multiples you will want to make sure that both or all three car seats can fit in that back seat together at the same time. Something to factor in even if this your first and you know you will add to your brood someday.
Compatibility – if you are selecting a car seat brand that is different than your stroller. If you were seamless integration, it is always good to select the same brand of car seat and stroller.
Safety – this really is the first factor you should consider. When you’ve narrowed down brands be sure to look up reviews on Consumer Reports to make sure they check all those safety boxes and have no recalls.
Design – if design and esthetics are important to you know that you might sacrifice a higher price to get some of those design features you are looking for.
I hope this post helped and provided some good context for selecting your next car seat! Happy shopping :)