Top Picks for Safe & Easy-To-Use Car Seats
Don't Misuse Your Car Seat
Even if it's safe in testing, after a car seat leaves the manufacturer, its ability to protect a child in a crash is in the hands of parents and caretakers. And it turns out lots of well-meaning people aren’t using their car seats in ways that actually keep kids safe. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that 95% of families used their car seat incorrectly when taking their newborn home from the hospital. An earlier paper from 2002 concluded that 73% of parents using car seats were “critically misusing” them. That means most parents are doing something wrong with their car seats, the most common mistakes in both studies being installation issues and harness straps/chest clips that weren’t properly adjusted.
Reviews.com researched what makes a safe car seat and what features make a car seat both accessible and easy-to-use, in order to avoid the mistake of using it wrongly. They found the following to be the top options on the market.
Top picks for convertible car seat:
· Chicco NextFit: All the features that make daily use simpler in the most streamlined, attractive package possible.
· Britax Marathon ClickTight: It’s heavier and harder to clean than our top pick. Still, it’s a practical option with superb features and a notably long lifespan.
· Graco Contender 65: Far and away the lightest seat we tested. This one has a couple quirks that make it trickier to install, but it's half the price of our top picks.
Top picks for infant car seat:
· UPPAbaby Mesa: Beneath its high-tech, comfy padding, a no-rethread harness helps you make sure the seat fits your car and your baby perfectly.
· Chicco KeyFit 22: This ultra-lightweight carrier checks all the boxes at affordable price.
Quick note on the difference between convertible and infant car seats:
Both infant and convertible car seats can be safely used from birth and both rear- and forward-facing. Loading and unloading a newborn from a convertible seat does require some jostling that might cause them to wake up, but some parents consider the one-time investment worth that hassle. However, children do tend to outgrow their infant seats between 9 and 12 months old, graduating to a rear-facing convertible seat.