It’s one of the biggest questions that parents want answered when it comes to baby gear — what are the BEST car seats? The answer is not as simple as you’d probably like. There are a lot of variables that go into purchasing a car seat so the best car seat for one family might not be the best car seat for another family. Let’s look at the most important questions to ask when looking for the best car seats.
Safety is king, right? We all want our children to be as safe as possible, that’s why we put them in a car seat! Well, rest assured that all car seats must meet stringent Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to be sold in the United States.
That being said, a car seat is only going to perform it’s best if it is installed correctly. Some car seats are easier to install than others. For example, if you will need to install a car seat with a seatbelt rather than the LATCH system, Britax ClickTight car seats offer the simplest seat belt install on the market.
If you plan to install your car seat using the LATCH system, you’ll want to look at the LATCH connectors on the particular seat you are considering. Not all LATCH connectors are the same or as easy to use.
Age of Child
In many ways, the seat you decide on depends on the age of your child. I personally prefer to have an infant car seat until my baby is about 9-12 months old. Then I switch them over to a convertible car seat where they will continue to rear-face until about age 4. Since I practice extended rear-facing with my children, I look for a car seat that has high weight and height limits for rear facing. I also look for seats that allow me to keep them in a 5-point harness forward facing for as long as possible.
The thing about car seats is that many of them are big and bulky. If you need the ability to fit three people across a seat row, especially if all three will be in car seats, you need to find a trim seat. This will limit your options greatly. We needed to fit three car seats across the backseat of our Honda Odyssey, so we went with the Diono Radian RXT car seats and have been pleased with them.
Car Seat Budget
Another very important part of shopping for the best car seats is looking at your budget. You can find car seats priced from $50-$500. Evenflo and Graco are two brands that make great car seats at affordable prices.
Something else to consider is a seat that will grow with your child – one you can purchase once and then use for 8-10 years, to maximize your dollars.
Height and Weight Specs
As I mentioned when I talked about the age of your child, you want to check the height and weight specs on a seat. If you plan to rear-face your child as long as possible you want to make sure you purchase a seat that they won’t quickly outgrow.
Car Seat Reviews
I have reviewed many car seats on my site over the years! Below you’ll find links to the reviews.
- Graco 4Ever All-in-One Car Seat Review
- Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit 4-in-1 Car Seat Review
- Graco Argos 70 3-in-1 Car Seat Review
- Graco Argos 80 Elite 3-in-1 Car Seat
- Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Car Seat featuring TrueShield Technology
- Graco Milestone All-in-1 Car Seat Review
- Graco SnugRide 35 Click Connect Infant Car Seat
- Graco SnugRide 35 LX Infant Car Seat Review
- Safety 1st
Once you find the perfect car seat, make sure you brush up on these car seat safety tips, to make sure your child is as safe as possible when you’re on the road!