Infant car seats have to be a lot of things, but above all, they should be safe to use. Since we’re committed to helping out the parents who are prospecting the market but are failing to find the right product for their needs, we have gone through a lot of info regarding the best and safest car seats of this year. We have analyzed multiple factors, ranging from the owner feedback, the value offered for the price, the sales figures, as well as how these items performed on social media. What’s more, we have looked at the expert review sites and decided whether or not the most popular models out there are worth every penny. Eventually, after several months of researching the topic and the most acclaimed products, we came to the conclusion that the Graco Milestone All-in-1 is the unit can buy. For one, it’s made for different ages, which is why it allows owners to utilize it for children whose weight is between 5 and 40 pounds. When used as a forward-facing system, it can accommodate children up to 65 pounds. The second best product we came across was the Graco Snugride Click Connect 35, so be sure to check it out if you have no way of getting or prospecting the Graco Milestone All-in-1.
Products we recommend
|Model||Price||Minimum weight recommendation||Maximum weight recommendation||Intended for||5 point harness||Rating||In depth information|
|Graco Milestone All-in-1||$$$$||5 pounds||100 pounds||all ages, from infant to early childhood (100 pounds)||yes||A+||Amazon|
|Britax Frontier 90||$$$$$||25 pounds||120 pounds||early childhood||yes||A||Amazon|
|Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35||$$$||4 pounds||35 pounds||infants||yes||A||Amazon|
|RECARO Performance Ride ||$$$$||5 pounds||65 pounds||all ages, from infant to early childhood (65 pounds)||yes||B+||Amazon|
|Evenflo Symphony Elite||$$$||5 pounds||110 pounds||early childhood||yes||B+||Amazon|
|Chicco Keyfit 30||$$$||4 pounds||30 pounds||infants||yes||B+||Amazon|
|Diono Radian RXT||$$$$||5 pounds||120 pounds||all ages, from infant to early childhood||yes||B||Amazon|
|Evenflo Embrace LX ||$$$||4 pounds||35 pounds||infants||yes||B||Amazon|
|Safety 1st Backed Store 'n Go||$$||40 pounds||100 pounds||children weighing from 40-100 pounds and 43-57 inches in height||no||C+||Amazon|
What is the best baby car seat in 2016
A car seat is designed to protect a child during an automobile accident, and it is required by law that all models meet state and federal safety guidelines. While this does ensure that the construction of the car seat is safe and able to protect your child, it still might not be safe in your vehicle. There are several other aspects to consider to ensure that you find the safest car seats in 2016 to protect your child.
Choosing the Right Baby Car Seat – Features Described
To start with the beginning, you should always look for the most important safety features that are now employed on car seats for children. After everything is checked, you can move forward and see if there are other details that can convince you to purchase a certain model.
A five point harness is today one of the most ubiquitous features to find on a car seat advertised as the safest baby car seat. Back in the days, a three point harness with a T-clip was considered good enough for protecting the child in case of a car crash. However, the five point harness represents an important upgrade from old models, because it manages to protect all the vulnerable areas of the child’s body. Due to the force of impact during a traffic accident, the car occupants can suffer severe injuries. A child is the most vulnerable, and they must be offered superior protection. A five point harness not only keeps the baby in place, but it also ensures that they do not suffer injuries due to the shock.
Anti-rebound features are important, as well. In case of accident, car seats tend to move forward and then snap back, which can itself be a cause of injury. Car seats, as they are designed nowadays, often come with an anti-rebound bar that cushions the force of the blow. This is important for preventing head and neck injuries, which are the most vulnerable, along with the spine. Other models have a special type of foam that absorbs the energy of the crash, limiting the impact.
Always look for a model equipped with a strong base. It is preferable to get one made of sturdy steel, since this makes the seat heavier and less likely to move too much during an accident. Also, when you are taking a closer look to the model you intend to buy, see if it comes with a stay-in-car base. This helps with moving around the baby and the seat, without having to run through the same installation process over and over again.
Last, but not least, search for a model that comes with LATCH. This tether system ensures proper installation, and all the vehicles manufactured after 2003 have LATCH points installed. This does not only help the parents get the installation process right, but also contributes to safety.
Many of the safest car seat reviews recommend checking the weight and height of your child before choosing a model. All car seats have a listed height and weight limit and you want to make sure that your child is not over these numbers. Most infant car seats are designed to support up to 22 pounds, while models designed for toddlers often have a weight limit of 80 pounds.
The rear facing position is recommended for kids weighing under 20 pounds and aged under one year. However, more recent recommendations increase the age to 2 years old, and the weight limit to 40-50 pounds. This way, the best protection is ensured for the baby.
Once the baby grows, a forward facing model can be used, again until the child grows tall enough for a booster seat. Make sure that you always abide by the weight and height recommendations to avoid any mishaps.
The age of your child might also influence your decision, but it is extremely important that you follow the height and weight guidelines for the car seat, as showed above. Car seats for kids are split into categories, based on the child’s age. You will therefore find infant car seats, toddler car seats and car seats for older kids, since there are models that can accommodate kids aged up to 12 years old. Of course, if your child is taller than average, they may not need a car seat up to the age mentioned earlier, but these are the general guidelines you can take after when you are shopping for such an item.
Extra care must be paid for infants, since they are the most vulnerable of all. You will notice that the design of infant car seats is different, and it is geared towards ensuring that the baby can even sleep inside it.
Car seats for toddlers have their own set of specifications. Most parents recommend others to get a convertible car seat that can be adjusted as the baby grows. The safest car seat for toddlers must come equipped with the required safety features mentioned earlier and it must also be comfortable.
Is convertible better?
If you want to get the safest car seat on the market, you will have to do a lot of shopping around. You will notice right away that there are models geared towards the child’s age, as showed above, and there are also convertible models that basically grow with your kid. These models come with different configurations and they can be modified slightly, to accommodate your kid at any age. The biggest advantage offered by these models is that they are a one time investment for parents, so they can save you money. The good news is that the most reputable car seat manufacturers create and sell convertible models that meet and even exceed the federal requirements for child safety when inside a vehicle. Be aware that convertible car seats may not be the best choice for an infant, since they are not designed to accommodate babies this small.
When you are unsure what to get, check the safest convertible car seats popular with consumers and reviewed by consumers’ websites and the like. You will learn more about all the features employed on a particular model and thus, you will know whether it is a good fit for your kid or not.
Even if safety comes first when you are shopping for a car seat for your kid, this doesn’t mean that you should neglect their need for comfort. Actually, you will have to deal with their loud protests right away if something is not right. Today, manufacturers invest quite a great deal of research into making more and more comfortable car seats. The safest infant car seats are usually the most comfortable, as well; they come equipped with a special type of padding that makes the seat cozy and comfortable for the baby. Keep in mind that small children have to be offered extra protection and the models that look like cocoons in which the babies are kept safe are usually the best you can find.
When it comes to comfort, the quality of the padding is just part of it. You also need to pay attention if the harness is not holding your child too tight or too loose. The straps of the harness should not be easy to become entangled and the connection points should not cause any discomfort, either.
Your child’s comfort could be increased by the presence of extra features. Some models offer the possibility to keep a cup nearby, so that the child does not become dehydrated during long rides by car. Others have comfortable head rests that also increase the level of comfort. All these are aspects to consider if you want the best of the best, and they may tip the balance in favor of some models, when you are running a safest car seats comparison.
Booster seats for older kids
As your child grows, their needs will be different, including those regarding how they travel by car. A regular car seat may no longer be a solution, because the child has grown quite a lot and they can no longer feel comfortable in their old car seat. When that happens, you will have to move to a booster car seat. You can get a new one, or, if the car seat you already have is a convertible model, now it is the right time to convert it into a booster.
A booster uses the seat belt of the car, and it is basically just a way to make sure that the growing child sits comfortably and is provided with the needed extra safety. The role of a booster seat is to raise the child so that the seat belt can be used properly, since the child is not tall enough to use the seat belt in the same manner as an adult.
When you are shopping for the safest booster car seat, do not forget that there are basically two options: backless and high back. As you can surely imagine, a backless model is just a cushion that raises the kid, without too many bells and whistles. This one gets the job done, and its main advantage is that it is highly portable. However, you need to be aware that they are considered to be less safe than high back models that pretty much resemble the standard type of car seat you are used to.
The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a booster is to make sure that your child will be properly protected. This means that when installed in the seat, the belt will fit correctly, going over the chest and the center of the collarbone. If the seat belt goes over the child’s neck, it means that something is not right; whether your kid is not yet ready for a booster, or you have to go for a different model.
Different car seats work best in certain vehicles, and you want to make sure that the model you choose fits in your car. It should slide easily across the car seats, and it is important it is securely fastened. New model automobiles feature safe and secure small Isofix points underneath the cushioning, and are ideal for attaching car seats.
Other vehicles offer the additional safety of top mounts for tethering the car seat more firmly in place. The type of mounting system will help determine which car seat is safest for your vehicle, though it should be mentioned that the top mounts are generally considered safer. You also want to consider the placement of the air bags in your vehicle, since this safety feature can actually harm your baby. If you do have front passenger or side air bags, you will want to look for a model that will fit in the center of the vehicle’s back seat.
While safety is always the first priority, there are other features to consider. The top safest car seats of 2016 will not only protect your child in the event of an automobile accident, it is also convenient and easy for you to use. Car seats with quick release buttons make it easy to get infants in and out, and you also want to consider whether the model is compatible with other vehicles that you might use.
Some of the newer and safer car seats include features for attaching tethers, which adds more stability and security than using the vehicle’s existing belt system. If the car seat is going to be frequently switched between vehicles you will also want to choose a lightweight and easily portable model. The design of the car seat will not only help to determine whether it is right for your vehicle, but also if it is safe when it is properly installed.
Our top choices – Reviews
The best rated baby car seat 2016 helps ensure that your child can ride with you in complete safety in your car. Baby car seats have to meet or exceed set standards to make sure they are engineered for safe riding of young children and can protect the young rider from injury in emergency situations.
Made for different ages, the Graco Milestone All-in-1 Car Seat offers versatile functionality. It transforms from one orientation to another, enabling it to grow as your child does. From the rear-facing orientation for children from 5 to 40 pounds, the car seat can change to a forward-facing travel system for riders from 20 to 65 pounds. When your child is between 30 and 100 pounds, the car seat can become a belt-positioning booster.
Adjusting the height of the harness and headrest is effortless and can be achieved in one motion thanks to the Simply Safe Adjust Harness System. This innovative flexibility ensures that the young passenger is consistently strapped in during the ride.
Engineered for safe child travel, the Graco Snugride Infant Car Seat is made ultra-lightweight to facilitate problem-free transport from the vehicle to a stroller or simply anywhere you will go. This is an exceptional first car seat for baby, as it allows you to travel with your child resting in a rear-facing position from 4 pounds till 35 pounds.
The Click Connect system offers a single-step secure installation on all Graco Click Connect strollers to produce an impressive child transport system. The unit has been SafeSeat engineered and subjected to crash testing to ensure it meets or surpasses safety standards for products in this category in the USA.
Constructed of plastic and polyester, the Evenflo Embrace LX Infant Car Seat is made for small babies due to its 4- to 35-pound harness rating. This has been nationally recognized by safety proponents to be ideal for babies with low birth weight. Made 25 percent lighter than other infant car seats in its class, the Evenflo Embrace LX enables easy carrying while ensuring the same level of protection for baby.
The auto base is adjustable and comes with a central pendulum level indicator that lets you know if it’s properly reclined. The three-point harness delivers a better fit while ensuring longer use.
The Safety 1st Backed Store ‘n Go Booster is a belt positioning unit that accommodates older children from 40 to 100 pounds who can no longer use a forward-facing car seat. The booster car seat has an adjustable headrest so it grows with your child. Keeping your child’s gear within reach is easy with the drawer under the seat and the cup holder and other item holders on both sides of the car seat.
The child-friendly latch keeps the bottom drawer closed. The backed booster seat can easily transform to a backless booster when your child becomes old enough to use a regular car seatbelt.
Usable both as a rear-facing and forward-facing car seat, the Recaro Performance Ride is equipped with Cloud Comfort Memory Foam, ensuring a consistently comfortable ride for your child. It boasts temperature adjusting fabrics of rich texture and feel supplemented with the Dual Air Flow comfort system, which is characterized by the CoolMesh air ventilation and integrated shell vents, so your child stays comfy and happy during the trip.
The racing-inspired Side Impact Protection system is engineered to shield each of the five vulnerable sections of your child’s body when a side impact crash occurs. The HERO harness technology is made to resist twisting, ensuring effective protection and utmost comfort.
What are the best brands in the business?
When it comes to the safety of their children, parents spare nothing to ensure that they offer their beloved kids the best. Car seats have become the norm for transporting babies and children during car rides, and these have greatly improved the figures regarding child injuries and fatalities caused by traffic accidents. Several car manufacturers have proven over the years to be worthy of staying on top of the competition, due to the high quality of their products. If you are looking for the safest child car seat, you will most probably find one signed by one of these manufacturers.
Graco has gone a long way from its first baby steps that took place in 1942, when two men from Philadelphia created Graco Metal Parts, a company specialized in making car parts. The necessity to create their own line of products lead to the idea of creating products for babies and this is how the first wind-up swing for babies was created, more than a decade from the creation of the company. From that point forward, Graco focused on creating more innovative products for children, and it was just a matter of time until they started to create car seats. By acquiring Century Car Seats in 1998, they increased their focus on child safety, and they are best known for the TurboBooster® SafeSeat™ for children.
Evenflo is another well known car seat manufacturer that draws their roots from a company specialized in making baby products. When the company was founded, it was called Pyramid Rubber Company, and it was making baby feeding products. They are especially known for their baby bottles and other breastfeeding items, but their car seats also enjoy a great reputation. There are plenty of parents who consider Evenflo the creator of the safest newborn car seat on the market. Knowing that most small babies are not riding inside a car, the company came up with innovative designs to remedy this problem.
While there are car seat manufacturers that also specialize in other types of juvenile products, Recaro is among those companies with a clear focus on safe seating. They are known for drawing their inspiration from other automotive industries that put safe seating on top of the list, such as the racing industry. Their car seats are often listed as the safest they can be found on the market, due to the innovative designs they employ, the high quality materials used, and the cutting edge technologies they research in order to make the best car seats for kids. The company has been around for more than a century, during which they collaborated with important names in the automotive industry, such as Porsche and Volkswagen. While they focused most on creating safe and comfortable seats for automobiles, today, the company is making seats for airplanes, as well as some of the safest models of child car seats available.
With a focus on family well being, Britax is another name to keep in mind when you go shopping for a car seat for your baby. With a history of over 70 years of making products geared towards child safety, Britax has been famous in Europe for most of its existence; more recently, since 1996, Britax has also earned a great reputation in the US, as well. Among their most innovative technologies, a few should be mentioned, such as the ClickTight installation system that ensures that car seats are always installed correctly, the EPS special foam protection capable of absorbing the energy generated during a car crash to minimize injuries, and the special side impact protection system.
Dedicated to child safety, Safety 1st hardly needs an introduction for most US consumers. While they have a wide range of car seats for ensuring the best conditions for children riding in cars with their parents, their care for kids’ well being expands far beyond that. From home safety, that includes all kinds of locks and protectors for making sure that babies do not get hurt while inside, to revolutionary strollers and infant grooming, their most important mission is to make sure that children receive the best care in the world. As their name indicates, safety always comes first and this is what this company strives to do all the time, with each product they launch on the market.
Chicco is considered the largest brand with a focus on kids in Europe and it is also highly appreciated in the US. Present in 120 countries and 6 continents, this is a brand with a focus on wellbeing of kids. Founded more than 50 years ago by Pietro Catelli who named the company after his son Enrico he loved to nickname Chicco. The company is part of a larger group that focuses on a holistic approach to lifestyle, producing cosmetics, medical supplies and baby feeding systems among many other things. They are especially famous for products such as the Chicco Keyfit 30 that reaches the perfect balance between crash safety, easy installation and comfort for newborns. Chicco is particularly known for catering to the needs of children up to 3 years of age, so their car seats are also focused on providing the best conditions for kids within this age range.
An Italian brand much loved all over the world, Peg Perego started as a small enterprise but grew to be one of the most reputable brands in the world for making baby products. In 1949, when the current president of the company, Lucio Perego was born, his father, Giuseppe Perego came up with the idea of a new baby carriage made with rubberized materials for more comfort. The same creative mind introduced the first convertible carriage to stroller model to the world. All the Peg Perego car seats are known for their outstanding safety features, but also for their very stylish appearance. Whether you want to get a safe car seat or a stroller for your baby, you will have no regrets if you choose Peg Perego.
Baby car seat regulations
Choosing the right car seat for your baby is a very important challenge for parents, especially since there seem to be so many rules to abide by. To make sure that you always get the best for your baby, get a car seat that complies with the federal guidelines for automotive safety for children. This way, you will not be able to go wrong.
Depending on the child’s age, weight and height, there are different recommendations regarding the type of car seat that should be used.
For infants and toddlers, the required model of car seat should be rear facing. You can choose between models that are particularly designed this way, and those that are convertible, which means that can be turned into forward facing car seats, as the baby grows. This is the recommended way of transportation for kids that are younger than 2 years of age. In regards to weight and height, each car seat manufacturer has slightly different recommendations depending on model that you have to take into consideration.
Toddlers and preschoolers who are older than 2 years of age must travel in a forward facing car seat with a harness. This setup must be used for as long as possible, until the limits for weight and height set by the car seat manufacturer are reached.
Children who are ready to go to school will have to be accommodated by booster seats with proper seat belt positioning. A harness is no longer needed, but the seat belt of the vehicle must be able to properly protect the child. This is recommended for kids aged 8 to 12 years old, who have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height.
For older children, regular seat belts are recommended.
Securing the child inside a car seat is one thing, while securing the car seat inside the vehicle is another. Proper installation is a must and the good news is all the newer vehicles come with LATCH points already installed. LATCH is a tether system that ensures that the car seat will remain inside the vehicle in case of accident, therefore reducing the risk of an accident. The car seats for children sold on the market also come with a LATCH system, so they can be connected with the anchor points found inside the vehicle.
Of course, there can be other considerations that may prevent proper installation, such as the fact that a certain car seat is not a good fit for the type of vehicle you are driving. Always make sure to check such important aspects before you actually pay for a car seat for your kid.
There are now many various car seat models on the market, and choosing only one may seem like a daunting task. Keep in mind to always read the manufacturer’s instructions, as well as the above regulations, as these are the most important. Purchase a type of car seat that is appropriate for the child’s age, and make sure that proper installation is easy and headache free. Any additional safety features are more than welcome.