Our In-Depth Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Newborn Car Seat for Your Baby

little girl sits in the car seat

No matter if you’re a soon-to-be new parent or one with years of child-rearing experience, choosing a car seat never really seems to get much easier. Between advances in crash safety technology, the plethora of available models all boasting to be the best, and each brand’s trademarked features, ensuring that you pick the one that will keep your most precious passengers safe can be headache and stress-inducing. We’re here to help qualm your worries with our solid list of top newborn car seat recommendations.

Comparison Table 

[amazon box=”B00YXUVJOO,B0731JTHC7,B06W2KDVK3,B00H8MQ4US,B06VY1DFQN” template=”table”]

Infant Car Seat FAQs: Your Questions, Answered

You likely have some questions as you embark on your search for the perfect car seat for your infant, especially if you’re a brand-new parent treading this unfamiliar terrain for the first time. Read on for the answers to some of the top-asked questions regarding infant car seats.

1

What Is a Newborn Car Seat?

These seats are specially crafted to safely hold babies that weigh as little as four pounds. Newborn car seats typically come with a base that stays installed in your vehicle. The seat then attaches to the base and can be detached without having to remove your child from the seat beforehand. They also serve as a way to carry your child when you’re out and about and away from home. As infants tend to sleep frequently, the seat can make for a convenient place for baby to rest when not at home.

2

Should I Purchase an Infant Car Seat or a Convertible Car Seat for My Newborn?

While many parents prefer to purchase an infant seat for their baby’s first car seat due to the convenience they provide, you can certainly choose to opt for a convertible seat from the get-go. Most convertible models can also be used to transport newborns, though most babies will likely require the use of an infant insert to enhance their fit in the seat. Choosing to use an infant-specific seat provides the perks of being able to easily remove the seat from the car without disturbing the baby, and the advantage of attaching the infant seat to a compatible stroller, neither of which you can do with a convertible seat.

3

How Long Can a Newborn-Specific Car Seat Be Used?

Many seats currently being offered on the market are rated for use for babies weighing between 4 and 30-35 pounds, and around 30-32 inches long. The exact height and weight limits will depend on the specific seat that you choose. The amount of time that your baby will be able to use the seat will be determined by his or her size and how quickly he or she grows, which we all know babies do rather quickly! Many parents will find that they will likely be able to use their infant seats for approximately seven months to sometimes over a year.

Place Your Trust in Our Reviews:Here’s Why

Most simply stated, we’re parents just like you. At some point, we’ve been in the same confusing boat of trying to determine the best newborn car seat to keep our littlest family members safe. We’ve researched some of these seats out of necessity, for our own personal use. We’ve also dug deep to ensure that we’re only recommending the best of the best, and have dedicated hours of time to scout out the opinions of car seat experts and fellow parents alike.

​​The Cost of Purchasing an Infant Carrier
Car Seat

The car seats featured in this overview range from around $90 to $200. With that said, you can find models at all price ranges, and there are certainly some that fall well above that price range, and even a few that fall below.

The 5 Best Newborn Car Seats to Purchase


Here’s our short list of car seats that are well worth your attention as you decide on the seat that’s best for your family.

1. Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat


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If you were to type “most widely purchased infant car seat in the U.S.” into your Google search bar, you would find that the results would return a number of suggestions for popular and highly reviewed models. You would also notice that Chicco’s KeyFit 30 sits at the top of most of those lists, and for a good reason. That’s not to say that any of the other newborn car seat options that we discuss here aren’t equally safe and reliable, it’s just that the KeyFit 30 has long been a popular choice for new parents. The top factor that keeps both experts and parents alike recommending this seat year after year is its multitude of features intended to make installation a breeze. Chicco sets parents up for installation success from the beginning with a leveling foot located in the seat’s included base that’s spring loaded. This ensures that the seat’s base sits at the proper angle during installation. Once you have the base installed in your vehicle, a quick peek at the two bubble level indicators on either side help you easily verify that you have the angle just right. Chicco’s SuperCinch LATCH tightener makes easy work of quickly garnering a secure fit.

We’ll briefly touch on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Ease-of-Use Ratings in our overview of all of the car seats we cover here. While the organization reminds consumers that all of their rated seats meet certain safety requirements and are deemed safe for use in the United States, these ratings point out how easy the seats are to install and use. Proper installation and use are the keys to ensuring that any child’s car seat is safe. The KeyFit 30 has earned a 4-star Ease-of-Use rating from NHTSA, which means that they’ve found that the seat boasts above-average features for this particular category.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Owners note that it feels plush and comfortable
  • feels plush and comfortable
  • Fits well in smaller vehicles

Cons

  • Several parents indicate that the canopy often falls down and won’t stay in place
  • Fabric isn’t very breathable and can make the baby become overly warm on longer trips

[amazon link=”B0731JTHC7″ title=” Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat”]


[amazon box=”B0731JTHC7″ ]

Britax is well-known for their innovative safety features that bring parents needed peace of mind as they strap their littlest passengers in. The brand’s B-Safe 35 infant car seat is no different. Equipped with the company’s SafeCell Impact Protection system, the seat is comprised of a steel frame that provides strength and sturdiness to the carrier and a base that absorbs energy through compression in the event of an accident.

Britax’s B-Safe 35 has earned an impressive 5-star Ease-of-Use rating from NHTSA, which is the highest ranking possible from the organization. This means that they’ve found the seat to have an excellent level of features for its category.

Pros

  • Features a deep cradle that gives a comfortable and safe feel
  • 5-star Ease-of-Use Rating from NHTSA
  • Can be used for children up to 35 pounds

Cons

  • Some owners noted it seemed too narrow for their babies and removing the child could be difficult
  • Seat fabric isn’t very breathable

3. Evenflo SafeMax


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When viewing the various infant car seats that we’ve featured in this review, there’s one feature that is clearly visible when you take your first look at Evenflo’s SafeMax model. The seat is equipped with the brand’s SafeZone base that, through the addition of an anti-rebound bar, dissipates and absorbs forces in the event of an accident. Like the Chicco KeyFit 30, the Evenflo SafeMax garnered a 4-star Ease-of-Use rating from NHTSA.

Pros

  • Features plenty of padding
  • Equipped with an anti-rebound bar
  • Some parents noted that the seat fabric is breathable

Cons

  • Some have experienced difficulty adjusting the seat’s harness
  • Takes up more vehicle space than some other newborn seats

[amazon link=”B00H8MQ4US” title=”Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35″]


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The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 is the seat for you and your baby if you’re in the market for something that’s very lightweight and easy to carry around wherever you go. Weighing only 13.6 pounds, the SnugRide 35 may be light compared to competing newborn car seat models, but that doesn’t mean that it skimps on features. The carrier is crafted with energy-absorbing EPS foam to serve as an extra layer of safety and impact absorption in the event of a crash. The SnugRide 35 earned a 4-star Ease-of-Use rating from NHTSA.

Pros

  • Lightweight and somewhat more compact than many other infant seats
  • Gives audible “click” when properly latched onto base or stroller
  • Affordable option

Cons

  • Some parents noted that the included infant insert provided little support for newborn heads
  • Some experienced difficulty locking the base into their vehicle

5. Evenflo LiteMax 35 Infant Car Seat


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The Evenflo LiteMax 35 proves that you can still obtain a safe, quality newborn car seat at an incredibly affordable price. The lowest-priced option on our list, the Evenflo LiteMax 35 keeps costs low while still coming with the features you would expect to find on most seats, as well as a few extras. It features a level indicator on the reclining base, a belt lock-off feature for when you choose to install the seat utilizing a seatbelt and an easily accessible harness adjustment found on the front of the seat. The LiteMax 35 earned a 4-star Ease-of-Use rating from NHTSA.

Pros

  • Highly affordable at under $$$
  • Parents noted that it felt soft and well-padded

Cons

  • Some owners noted it wasn’t great for very compact vehicles
  • Some have complained that the canopy doesn’t provide much coverage and felt cheap

The Long-Running Favorite

Title:

​Chicco KeyFit 30

Minimum Weight:

4 pounds

Maximum Weight:

30 pounds

Maximum Height:

​30 inches

Weight of Seat:

​16.8 pounds

Prime Eligible:

​Yes

Customer Rating:

​4.5 stars

Price:

​$199.99

Best for:

​Best for Ease-of-Use

Title:

​Britax B-Safe 35

Minimum Weight:

4 pounds

Maximum Weight:

​35 pounds

Maximum Height:

32 inches

Weight of Seat:

20.1 pounds

Prime Eligible:

​Yes

Customer Rating:

4 stars

Price:

$136.34

Best for:

Best One-of-a-Kind Safety Features

Title:

Evenflo SafeMax

Minimum Weight:

4 pounds

Maximum Weight:

​35 pounds

Maximum Height:

32 inches

Weight of Seat:

15.7 pounds

Prime Eligible:

​Yes

Customer Rating:

4.5 stars

Price:

$165.49

Best for:

Best Lightweight Option

Title:

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35

Minimum Weight:

4 pounds

Maximum Weight:

​35 pounds

Maximum Height:

32 inches

Weight of Seat:

13.6 pounds

Prime Eligible:

​Yes

Customer Rating:

4.5 stars

Price:

$119.99

Best for:

Best Low-Price Option

Title:

Evenflo LiteMax 35

Minimum Weight:

4 pounds

Maximum Weight:

​35 pounds

Maximum Height:

32 inches

Weight of Seat:

14 pounds

Prime Eligible:

​Yes

Customer Rating:

4.5 stars

Price:

 $89.99

​Our Final Thoughts on Newborn Car Seats

No matter what’s most important to you when deciding on an infant carrier seat, we’ve highlighted a slew of reliable options that you can count on to keep your little bundle swathed in safety while you’re out and about. If a strong positive track record among fellow parents and experts is key, then we highly recommend the Chicco KeyFit 30. If expert ratings are paramount, then reach for the Britax B-Safe 35. With a 5-star NHTSA Ease-of-Use rating, it garnered the highest rating possible from the organization. One-of-a-kind safety features can be found on the Evenflo SafeMax, the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 provides a lightweight option, and both safety and a great price come together in the Evenflo LiteMax 35. Just remember that all currently manufactured seats built for the U.S. market are tested to meet a certain level of safety standards, so pick the model that will provide you the most peace of mind, and then just sit back, relax and enjoy those baby snuggles.

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