If you have a new baby, or one on the way, then one of the things at the top of your To Do list is probably to find the best car seat possible. But, finding the best way to make your car a safe place for your infant can start to seem overwhelming quickly. Here is a list of the top five car seats for newborns.
Graco Snug Ride 35 (Classic Content), $125
One thing consumers love about this seat is that it can be used for babies 5 – 35 lbs. and up to 32 inches, so it may work for almost the entire first year before you have to replace it. It also scored quite high on safety ratings with reviewers sighting the energy absorbent foam built into all sides which protect the baby if you’re involved in a side collision (1 out of 4 accidents are). It also works equally well with LATCH or seat belts and has a level indicator to let you know when the seat is at the correct angle.
Cybex Aton 2, $300
The Cybex Aton 2 scored higher than any other model in the Consumer Reports crash performance test. It also has a built in feature that we don’t see on many car seats, a Load Leg. This leg reaches all the way to the floor of your car and makes it harder for the seat to rotate in a crash. In the category Ease of Use Consumer Reports found an interesting conundrum. This seat has a tension feature to help you get a secure fit when you use the LATCH system. But, if you use seatbelts instead of LATCH it could make installation harder. Also, the leg isn’t suitable for some cars as the center seat is too high and there is no crash test data at this time without use of the leg.
Chico KeyFit 30, $190
While the Chico KeyFit 30 is designed for use with both the LATCH system and seatbelts research found that the LATCH system was far easier to use. In terms of safety reviewers the Chico is similar to the Graco in its use of energy absorbent foam to lessen the impact of a crash. Reviewers also liked the seats five-point harness that secures the baby at the shoulders, hips and between the legs. Reviewers also loved the machine washable seat cover which makes cleanup a breeze.
Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air, $160
Like the Graco, the Safety 1st onBoard also has a wide size range (4 – 35 lbs and up to 32 inches) which means more time until you have to buy a new seat. It also scored high on crash tests and includes a new feature, Air Protect Side Impact Technology, which helps absorb the energy from a crash and keep your baby safe using air. As far as Ease of Use goes this seat also scores well, it’s easily compatible with LATCH or seatbelts and even can be used on airplanes. There was one big complaint, the seat cover can’t be machine washed, which could make for some less-pleasant cleanups than other seats.
Britax B-Safe, $150
Consumer reports awarded this seat their Top Ten REVIEWS Bronze Award for its use of what they call the 360 Degree Protection technology. This uses side impact protection, steel bars, a five-point harness and a lower LATCH system to maximize the seats safety. Reviewers also noted that the Britax has a very user-friendly design making installation easier. Unfortunately, while the cushions provide impact safety AND comfort AND are removable. Alas, they are not machine washable.