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9 Best Infant Car Seats, According to Experts

Picks to keep your newborn safe and make travel easier.

best infant car seats
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We updated this article in September 2022 to add more information based on extensive testing done by the Good Housekeeping Institute. In addition to our original picks, we've updated two with newer models, the Chicco KeyFit 35 and the Maxi-Cosi Mico XP Max.


Whether you're taking your newborn baby home from the hospital for the first time, transporting them to Grandma's house for a quick visit or driving them to the park for some fresh air, most new parents will start using a rear-facing infant car seat within the first few weeks of their baby's young life. While there are a variety of car seat types, styles and brands to consider, for your earliest rides with your newborn an infant car seat will likely be the best option. Not only are infant car seats generally a bit smaller since baby is still teeny-tiny, they also function as a carrier to help bring your newest family member to and from the car with ease. They are only rear-facing for added safety, use a five-point harness to keep baby secure and recline far enough to be safe for infants who aren't yet able to hold up their head on their own.

The only other safe car seat options for newborns are some convertible or all-in-one car seats, however not all of them can safely recline to the right angle even if your baby technically meets the required weight and height limit if you have a small child. The parenting and product experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute test all of the must-haves for babies, toddlers and children, from strollers to toys, and everything in between. To find the best infant car seats, we evaluate criteria including safety, company customer service and ease of use, including installation, angle and harness adjustments, removal of the carrier from the base and then conduct our tests in vehicles of various sizes.

Our top picks:

This roundup of best infant car seats you can buy is based on Lab-tested picks, category expertise and real-life consumer feedback. Head to the end of this guide to find more information on how to pick the right infant car seat for you and your lifestyle. Looking for a car seat for an older kid? Check out our favorite booster seats. Here are the best infant car seats of 2022:

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1
Best Overall Infant Car Seat
Chicco
KeyFit 35 Infant Car Seat
Chicco
Dimensions 28 x 16.75 x 22.5 inches
Carrier weight 10 pounds
Weight range 4-35 pounds
Height range Up to 32 inches
2
Best Value Infant Car Seat
Graco
SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Car Seat
Graco
Dimensions ‎‎15.6 x 18.7 x 27.4 inches
Carrier weight 7.8 pounds
Weight range 4-35 pounds
Height range Up to 32 inches
3
Best Lightweight Infant Car Seat
Nuna
Pipa Rx Infant Car Seat with Relx Base
Nuna
Dimensions 26 x 25 x 18 inches
Carrier weight 7.6 lbs
Weight range 4-32 pounds
Height range Up to 32 inches
4
Best Infant Car Seat Stroller Combo
Doona
Infant Car Seat & Stroller
Doona
Dimensions 17.4 x 32.3 x 39 inches
Carrier weight 16.5 pounds
Weight range 4-35 pounds
Height range Up to 32 inches
5
Easiest to Install Infant Car Seat
UPPAbaby
Mesa Infant Car Seat
UPPAbaby
Dimensions 27 x 16.75 x 25.5 inches
Carrier weight 9.9 Pounds
Weight range 4-35 pounds
Height range Up to 32 inches
6
Best Infant Car Seat for Small Cars
Clek
Liing Infant Car Seat
clek
Dimensions 27.7 x 16.9 x 26.8 inches
Carrier weight 9 pounds
Weight range 4-35 pounds
Height range Up to 32 inches
7
Easiest to Clean Infant Car Seat
Maxi-Cosi
Mico XP Max Infant Car Seat
Maxi-Cosi
Dimensions 31.5 x 18 x 15.5 inches
Carrier weight 9 pounds
Weight range 4-30 pounds
Height range 32 inches
8
Best Infant Car Seat with Built-in Sensor
Cybex
Aton 2 Infant Car Seat
Cybex
Dimensions ‎25 x 17.3 x 12.3 inches
Carrier weight 9.5 pounds
Weight range 4-35 pounds
Height range 17-30 inches
9
Best Infant Car Seat for Small Babies
BRITAX
B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit+ Infant Car Seat
Britax
Dimensions 26.6 x 17.9 x 25.85 Inches
Carrier weight 11.6 pounds
Weight range 4-35 pounds
Height range Up to 32 inches
How we test infant car seats
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The Good Housekeeping Institute's engineering and parenting pros have reviewed dozens of car seats over the past two years, including infant car seats. We also work with real parents to test on a variety of vehicle brands and sizes to make sure that these car seats work for everyone's lifestyle. First, we ensure that each car seat has passed Federal Safety Standards. Then we perform in-Lab and at-home tests to assess safety, ease of installation, stability, ease of adjustments, ease of getting babies in and out of the carrier, removal of carrier from the base and installation into compatible strollers, and more. To accomplish this, we set up each car seat in a variety of vehicles and strollers and use an eight pound baby "dummy" to simulate putting a child in the car seat and evaluate how easy it is to secure them as well as install the car seats.

What to look for when shopping for an infant car seat

Many convertible car seats are safe for newborns, but infant car seats are designed specifically around the needs of an infant, offering additional targeted support for their neck, head and spinal cord. (Booster car seats, on the other hand, are designed for bigger kids who no longer need the support infant and convertible car seats offer.) Typically, infant car seats are also smaller than convertible options, offering easier access to your baby when getting in and out of the car. Here are some aspects to consider when selecting an infant car seat:

  • Height and weight limits: Every infant car seat will specify height and weight limits. As soon as your child hits the maximum of either, typically up to 32 inches or 35 pounds, it will be time to move on to a bigger car seat.
  • Carrier weight: Many infant car seats have the option to install with a base secured to your vehicle, allowing you to keep your baby undisturbed inside the carrier as you tote them outside of your vehicle and easily clip the carrier back into the base on your next drive. Make sure the carrier is light enough that you’re comfortable lifting it from the base with your baby inside.
  • Stroller compatibility: Carriers are typically compatible with a range of strollers, extending the use of some strollers that can’t be used at birth — making it much easier to get from point A to B with a newborn.
  • Ease of installation: Our experts found the most difficult aspect in tests was securing the car seat to the vehicle. Many seats required a lot of strength, and some seats fit better in certain vehicles. Before purchasing, take note of the size of the car seat and the size of your vehicle’s back seat. Hire a certified car seat professional if you need help with installation.
  • Expiration: All car seats are marked with an expiration date, generally between six and 10 years from the date of manufacture. If you are hoping to use your seat for multiple children, take note of the expiration and never use a car seat that has previously been in an accident.
  • Harness type: When picking out your perfect car seat you'll see two harness options: rethread and no-rethread. If you choose a rethread harness, this means that as your baby grows, you'll need to reach around and reroute the straps through the back of the harness each time you need to adjust the size.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
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The Good Housekeeping Institute provides expert reviews and advice on everything a parent needs, including infant car seats. For more than 15 years, Rachel Rothman, the Chief Technologist & Director of Engineering at the Institute, has put her training in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics to work by researching, testing and writing about parenting products. She leads our efforts in both the auto space and most juvenile products, including carseats, meaning each year she installs over 100 car seats in vehicles. Plus, as a mom to three kids under five, she's personally used many of the products we recommend in real life for longer-term testing with her own children.

In her role as Parenting & Pets Reviews Analyst, Jamie Spain brings years of experience to the Institute, having reviewed a variety of parenting products for Good Housekeeping from tricycles to toy organizers.

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