Best Newborn & Infant Car Seats Compared & Reviewed

Bringing your child home from the hospital is one of the most exciting moments of life. It can also be one of the most scary, especially if you are a first time parent. One of the most important things you will need when leaving the hospital is a newborn car seat that can safely and securely hold your little one on their journey home. Thankfully, there are plenty of excellent newborn car seats on the market today that can hold even the tiniest of newborns.

To help you make your decision, here are the 10 best newborn car seats on the market today. We’ve also got a lot of other helpful information and FAQs for you so that you can feel totally confident when making this important decision.

Our Top 3 Picks

Safety 1st
  • Safety 1st
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 3 In 1
  • Price: See Here
Evenflo
  • Evenflo
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Advanced
  • Price: See Here
Graco
  • Graco
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Safety
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Newborn Car Seats

 

1. SAFETY 1ST GROW AND GO 3-IN-1

1. SAFETY 1ST GROW AND GO 3-IN-1
Finally, our number one pick is another seat from Safety 1st, this time their Grow and Go seat. If you are looking for a convertible car seat that you can use with your newborn all the way until they are older and able to use a regular seat belt, this is the seat for you. This seat adjusts as your child grows and is likely the only car seat you will ever need. Combined with a more reasonable price, we easily selected this as our number one choice.

3 STAGES OF USE

This seat truly grows and adapts to your child as they grow up. First, use this as a rear facing seat for babies weighing between 5 and 40 pounds. Convert to a forward facing seat and use while your child weighs between 22 and 65 pounds. Finally, use as a belt positioning booster when your child weighs between 40 and 100 pounds.
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FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

Convertible car seat to be used rear facing, forward facing, or as a belt positioning booster for children weighing between 5 and 100 pounds
Side impact protection
Harness holders make it easy to take your child in and out of the seat without them getting caught
QuickFit harness is easily adjustable and also adjusts the headrest at the same time
Seat pad is machine washable and safe for the dryer
2 integrated cup holders
Provides extra leg room for parents when using rear facing (up to 7 inches of additional room)

DECISION TIME

There you have it! These are the 10 best newborn car seats on the market today. All are great options, but depending on features like price, and if the seat is convertible or not, you will be able to make the decision that is right for you. If you need more help, here is some additional information and answers to some frequently asked questions.
Pros
  • This is likely the only seat you will need to use with your child ever
  • Easily machine washable and dryer safe, which is incredibly convenient
  • Fairly affordable
  • Plenty of safety features
  • Cup holders are great especially on long trips for drinks, snacks, and toys
  • Great for smaller cars or taller parents, as you get additional leg room that you might need
Cons
  • Cannot remove and use seat with a stroller

2. EVENFLO SYMPHONY DLX

2. EVENFLO SYMPHONY DLX
Landing in our top two is yet another great car seat from Evenflo, this time the Symphony DLX. This seat is likely the only seat you will ever need for your child. That’s right! From a newborn all the way to older children, this seat converts to fit your needs. The price is elevated, but when you consider this is the only seat you need, it doesn’t seem expensive at all.

ALL-IN-ONE

This convertible seat is truly unique, as it is rare to find a seat that can work with newborns and with older children. This seat starts out as a rear facing seat for babies weighing between 5 and 40 pounds. It then converts to a forward facing seat for children weighing between 22 and 65 pounds, and finally converts to a harnessed booster seat for children weighing between 40 and 110 pounds. The weight range on this seat is truly spectacular.

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FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

Convertible car seat to be used rear facing, forward facing, or as a booster seat for children weighing between 5 and 110 pounds
sureLATCH connectors make installation quick and easy
5-point harness that can be adjusted to any height to ensure the right fit
E3 side impact protection provides 3 layers of protection
Made in the US
Meets or exceeds all federal safety standards
Energy absorbing foam seat liner
Adjustable headrest
Removable body pillow for small babies
Multi-position recline
Machine washable seat pad
Integrated cup holder

PRICE/VALUE

As we said, this is an expensive car seat, but considering it is the only car seat you will ever need, it is an incredible value for the money and is a worthy investment. If you can find a way to afford this car seat, it is worth it. In the long run, you will likely save a lot of money by not having to purchase any additional seats.
Pros
  • This is the ultimate convertible car seat and is truly the only car seat you would ever need to purchase for your child
  • Advanced safety features including increasing side impact protection
  • Removable and adjustable elements ensure you have the perfect fit for your child no matter their size
  • 6 unique color options
  • Cup holder is a great option especially for longer road trips- can hold a drink, snack, or toys
Cons

Concerns about the fit

3. GRACO SNUGRIDE CLICK CONNECT 35

3. GRACO SNUGRIDE CLICK CONNECT 35
Graco is well-known for their car seats, and this SnugRide model is a perfect first car seat to have for your baby. With a lightweight design, you can easily take this seat in and out of the car with you, and best of all, it works with any Graco Click Connect stroller. With numerous safety and comfort features, this is a car seat that will make everyone happy.

CLICK CONNECT TECHNOLOGY

Graco is known for their Click Connect system, which makes install in the car or in a stroller incredibly easy. Simply put the car seat into the stroller or into the stay in car base- once you hear the click, you know the seat is in place! This couldn’t be easier or quicker- which is great for busy parents.

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FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

Rear facing car seat for children weighing between 4 and 35 pounds
Lightweight design (only weighs 7.5 pounds)
Click Connect system for easy install in the car to the base or in a Click Connect stroller
Meets or exceeds safety standards
Stay in car base is LATCH equipped
EPS energy absorbing foam for safety and comfort
Removable head support for small newborns
5-point harness
Privacy canopy
Removable “boot” which covers the child’s feet and legs to provide additional comfort

PRICE/VALUE

This is a more expensive car seat, but given all of the great features, it is a worthy investment and a good value for the money. The Click Connect system itself is worth the money and will make life so much easier for parents when using the seat in the car and with a stroller.
Pros
  • Click Connect system makes it so easy for parents to move between the car and the stroller
  • Numerous safety features give you confidence your child will be safe, even as a small newborn
  • Head support and boot give your newborn the most comfort
  • 5 unique color options
  • Super lightweight- carrying your child could not be easier than with this car seat
Cons
  • Expensive

4. MAXI-COSI PRIA 85

4. MAXI-COSI PRIA 85
If you are looking for the ultimate car seat that both you and your child will love- this Maxi-Cosi seat is the one for you. A higher price is totally worth it for this product, considering all of the amazing features including safety, convenience, and comfort features. This is sure to be a favorite seat for everyone.

REAR AND FORWARD FACING

You can’t always find a seat that can be used both rear and forward facing, but this one can be. Best of all, there are extended weight ranges for both uses. Use this seat rear facing for babies weighing between 14 and 40 pounds, and forward facing for children weighing between 22 and 85 pounds. The weight range on this seat is incredible and isn’t something you will find with the majority of car seats.
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FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

Rear and forward facing seat for babies weighing between 14 and 40 pounds (rear facing) and between 22 and 85 pounds (forward facing)
Air Protect air cushion system keeps your child’s head safe in the event of an accident
FlexTech helps provide energy management by spreading it in numerous directions
Harness adjusts with 1 hand
Seat pad and harness covers are easily removable and machine washable (no re-threading required for the harness)
Harness holders keep the harness out of the way until baby is safely in place
Integrated cupholder
3-position recline

PRICE/VALUE

This is an expensive car seat, but when you realize that you can use this seat until your child is 85 pounds, you see that it is actually a pretty great value for the money. This is an investment car seat that you will be able to use for years to come. With so many great features, the price makes sense and is worth it for any parent who is able to afford it.
Pros
  • Can be used both rear and forward facing and for an incredible amount of time- until your child weighs 85 pounds!
  • Numerous safety features including the Air Protect system to keep a child’s head and neck safe during an accident
  • Very convenient that seat pad and harness covers are easily removable and can be machine washed
  • Cup holder is perfect for holding a drink, snack, or toys, especially on long road trips
  • 11 color options
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Won’t work for small babies/newborns who weigh less than 14 pounds

5. EVENFLO NURTURE

5. EVENFLO NURTURE
Another Evenflo car seat has made it onto our list, this time the Nurture model. With plenty of safety features and adjustable elements to fit even the smallest of babies, this is a great choice for any parent. Best of all, the affordable price of this car seat makes it an option for the majority of parents, without the fear of losing out on safety features.

MACHINE WASHABLE PAD

Newborns will have their fair share of accidents while in the car, and that is okay. With this seat, you can easily remove the entire car seat pad and throw it right in the wash. This may seem like a small feature, but once you are busy with your child, you will realize how much of a lifesaver it is to be able to throw it in the wash instead of having to hand wash it.
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FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

Rear facing car seat for children weighing between 5 and 22 pounds
Stay in car base makes it easy to transfer in and out of the car
5-point harness with 3 shoulder positions
2 crotch buckle positions
Can use this seat with our without the base
Privacy canopy
Energy absorbing foam
Exceeds federal crash testing standards
Ergonomic handle for easy carrying
Seat pad is removable and machine washable
Made in the US

PRICE/VALUE

This is a very affordable car seat. It is an incredible value for the money, especially considering you are getting a quality Evenflo seat that you know has plenty of safety features. If you are on a limited budget, this is a great option for you to consider.
Pros
  • Harness and crotch buckle are both adjustable so you can get the perfect fit for your child
  • Energy absorbing foam ensures safety and provides additional comfort for your child
  • Plenty of convenience factors like the stay in car base and machine washable seat pad
  • Very affordable
  • 8 fun color and pattern options
  • Numerous safety features ensure your child will be completely safe
Cons
  • There is a more limited weight range for this seat, you can only be rear facing until your baby weighs 22 pounds

6. CHICCO KEYFIT INFANT CAR SEAT AND BASE

6. CHICCO KEYFIT INFANT CAR SEAT AND BASE
This next car seat from Chicco is sure to be a favorite option amongst parents. Known for its easy installation, you do not have to worry that you will accidentally install your child’s seat incorrectly. Numerous features help ensure the seat is installed and ready to go. Best of all, you can also use this seat with several Chicco strollers and still easily get back into the car thanks to the stay in car base.

EASY INSTALLATION

Chicco claims this is the easiest car seat to install- and it makes sense why! There are plenty of built in features that will help you get the seat installed correctly each and every time. Featuring center-pull adjustment, a spring adjusted level foot, and bubble levels, you will have complete confidence that the seat is installed correctly.
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FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

Rear facing car seat for children weighing between 4 and 30 pounds
5-point harness that can just adjusted with 1 hand
Removable body insert for smaller babies weighing between 4 and 11 pounds
Spring adjusted level foot, center-pull adjustment, and bubble levels for easy install
Compatible with numerous Chicco Keyfit strollers
EPS energy absorbing foam
Multi position privacy canopy
Removes from base with one hand
Stay in car base makes using in and out of car easy (and base won’t damage vehicle seats)

PRICE/VALUE

This is a more expensive car seat, but if you have the money, it is a great investment. This seat is not only full of safety features, it also makes it easy on you to install the seat and to use it outside of the car with a stroller. It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind and convenience, especially for busy parents!
Pros
  • This seat is incredibly easy to install, which is one of the most important parts of car seat safety
  • Energy absorbing foam makes the seat comfortable and more protected in the event of an accident
  • The stay in car base and compatibility with Chicco strollers makes this super convenient for parents on the go
  • 5 color options
Cons

Very bulky

7. SAFETY 1ST LIGHT ‘N COMFY ELITE

7. SAFETY 1ST LIGHT ‘N COMFY ELITE
As their description so perfectly says, this car seat from Safety 1st is perfect for the first ride home. Plenty of safety features give you peace of mind as you take your newborn home from the hospital. Featuring side impact protection, a removable insert, an ultra safe harness, and a stay in car base, this seat has everything you would want and need from a newborn car seat.

SECURE HARNESS

Your baby will be kept safe thanks to the secure harness on this seat. Not only is it a 5-point harness, it has 4 height positions so that it will properly fit even the smallest of newborns.

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FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

Rear facing car seat for babies weighing between 4 and 22 pounds
Lightweight design
5-point harness with easy up-front adjustment to 4 different height positions
LATCH equipped
LATCH storage if you prefer to use seatbelts for install
Side impact protection
Removable insert for smaller babies
Privacy canopy
Stay in car base for easily using the seat in or outside of the car

PRICE/VALUE

This is another very affordable car seat. It is a great value for the money and is a great option for parents on a more limited budget that want something they can feel confident with when taking their newborn home from the hospital.
Pros
  • Baby insert is useful, especially if your baby is likely to be very small when first born
  • Adjustable harness ensures the fit will always be correct, which helps ensure safety
  • The base stays in the car, making it easy to use this seat as a carrier outside of the car as well
  • 2 color options to choose from
  • Plenty of safety features including side impact protection
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Smaller weight limit- you can only stay rear facing until your child weighs 22 pounds

8. EVENFLO LITEMAX 35

8. EVENFLO LITEMAX 35
Here is another seat from Evenflo, this time the LiteMax 35. Complete with a lightweight design (only weighing 16 pounds), easy carrying handle, privacy canopy, and numerous safety features, this is a great newborn car seat that you will love to use in and outside of the car.

MACHINE WASHABLE PADS

Let’s face it: accidents are going to happen with your children, especially at this age. Whether it is a diaper emergency, an illness, or just a case of spilling food or a drink, the car seat is going to get dirty. Thankfully, this seat features easily removable pads that can be removed and machine washed.
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FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

Rear facing car seat for babies weighing between 4 and 35 pounds
Stay in car base for easy transfer between inside and outside of the car
Side impact and rollover crash tested
Lightweight design makes for easy install and easy to travel with
Padded ergonomic handle
4 recline options to ensure ultimate comfort for baby
Easy and secure installation
Removable head and body pillows
Machine washable pads
Full privacy canopy
Buckle pockets easily hide buckle tongues away

PRICE/VALUE

This is one of the more affordable car seats on this list, but given the safety features, it is an incredible value for the money. You are not sacrificing safety just to save some money when it comes to this seat. If you have a more limited budget, this is a great option to consider.
Pros
  • Superior crash testing and safety features
  • Stay in car base makes it easy to take the seat in and out of the car
  • Very convenient that the pads are removable and machine washable
  • Recline options ensure your child will be comfortable, even on longer car rides
  • Comes in 3 different colors
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Can only be rear facing, does not convert to a forward facing seat

9. EVENFLO SAFEMAX

9. EVENFLO SAFEMAX
Next on our list is this rear facing seat from Evenflo. This seat is packed with features that will keep your child safe, and make things easier for you! Complete with an ergonomic handle and an easy installation setup, you will love how easy this car seat makes things for you. With plenty of safety features, this seat is equally good for your child. It’s a win-win situation with this seat!

TEMPERATURE REGULATING FABRIC

The fabric on this car seat helps ensure that during hot summer months your child is staying cool and keeps them nice and warm during the cooler months. Your child will be super comfortable in this seat, ensuring you’ll have a much easier ride to your destination.
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FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

Rear facing car seat for babies weighing between 4 and 35 pounds
Sturdy SafeZone base that absorbs impact and can stay in the car
Rollover crash tested to ensure optimum safety
Lightweight design makes it easy to travel with
Sure Safe latch guides make installation easy
Temperature regulating fabric
Padded, ergonomic handle

PRICE/VALUE

This is a fairly expensive car seat, but the abundance of safety features make this a great investment purchase and is a great value for the money. Your child is most vulnerable to injury at this young stage, making it critical that you find a seat with adequate protection, which this seat does.
Pros
  • Super strong crash testing, including rollover testing makes you feel confident your child will be completely protected
  • Easy installation saves you time and gives you peace of mind that you did things correctly
  • High upper weight limit for a rear facing seat
  • 2 color options
Cons
  • Can only be used rear facing
  • Expensive

10. BRITAX B SAFE 35

10. BRITAX B SAFE 35
Last on our list is a Britax model, the B Safe 35. Plenty of safety features ensure that this car seat will keep your newborn safe while riding in the car. Best of all, you can also use this seat as a stroller, as it is made to connect to any Britax stroller. Your baby will be good to go wherever you need to take him or her.

SAFE CELL IMPACT PROTECTION

You know your child is safe with the Britax line of products, as they have a major focus on safety. This seat features their safe cell impact protection which involves numerous safety features that protect your child above and beyond safety standards. This includes the sturdy, impact absorbing base and steel frame that helps keep your child safe in the event of an accident.
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FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

Rear facing car seat for babies weighing between 4 and 35 pounds
Safe cell impact protection
Impact-absorbing base that can be left in the car
Sturdy steel frame
Compatible with any Britax stroller
Made in the US
SafeCenter latch makes installation easy
Removable body pad for smaller babies
Seat lined with energy absorbing foam

PRICE/VALUE

This is a fairly expensive seat, although it is not the most expensive on this list. Overall, you will find it is a great value for the money because of the numerous safety features that will keep your newborn completely safe.
Pros
  • This has a high upper weight limit, ensuring you can keep your child rear facing for longer
  • Plenty of safety features- including a steel frame, energy absorbing foam, and a sturdy base
  • Incredibly convenient that you can use this with a Britax stroller as well and easily move between the stroller and the car
  • Easy install helps ensure you will do it correctly
  • 5 different color options
Cons
  • Cannot be converted to a forward facing seat, can only be used rear facing
  • Fairly expensive

5 Tips to Know Your New Born Car Seat Functions Well

  1. Make sure the seat is installed correctly: One of the most important things you can do is not to just purchase a safe car seat, it is to make sure it is installed correctly. A safe seat installed incorrectly can end up being a safety hazard. If you aren’t sure how to install your seat, consult a friend or family member for help. Look online for additional guides or tutorial videos to help you out. Finally, if you aren’t sure it is correct, hire an expert that will come out and do it him or herself. It is not worth the risk of the seat being wrong, so be sure to take the time to do it right.

  1. Decide if you want a convertible seat or not: The one major downside to a convertible seat is that it typically cannot be removed and used as a baby carrier or used with a stroller. For some parents, you might prefer the car seat to stay in the car at all times. For others, they enjoy the convenience of using the seat in and out of the car. Decide what you think fits your lifestyle better and make that decision. If your car seat does not remove from the car, you will have to purchase an additional carrier and stroller, which is something to keep in mind, especially for parents who are on a tight budget or who do not have a lot of space to store additional items.
  2. Check the weight limit for your seat: This goes for both the minimum and maximum weight limit. These seats are made for newborns, but make sure the limit is low enough to accommodate your child, especially if they are premature or do not weigh a lot. Make sure you select a seat that has a weight limit as low as 4 pounds to accommodate for even the smallest of babies. Finally, check the upper weight limit and make sure you do not exceed that weight, as the seat will no longer be safe at that point.
  3. Stay rear facing as long as possible: Rear facing is the safest position for a child (which we will discuss below in the FAQs). For this reason, consider a seat that has a higher weight limit for rear facing (many seats today can remain rear facing until a child is 35 or 40 pounds). Go ahead and keep the child rear facing as long as possible. Just because you can switch to forward facing earlier than that (typically when a child is around 20 or 25 pounds) doesn’t mean that you have to.
  4. Learn to properly adjust the various elements: Newborns are incredibly small and susceptible to injury. Car seats are made to help keep them safe, but you also have to do your part to make sure they are properly secured in the seat. Make sure all elements like the harness, crotch buckle, and headrest are properly positioned so that you child is comfortable and safe. Most of these elements are adjustable, so learn how they work so that as your child grows they are still getting the right fit.

Product Criteria of Evaluation

Price

Price is an important factor when selecting newborn car seats. Car seats are some of the more expensive items you have to purchase for a child, so making sure there are some affordable items on the list (that are still safe) is important for us so that even parents with a more limited budget can find a seat that is safe to use with their newborn.

User Ratings

We always consider user ratings when making our selections. We want items that are not just supposed to be great- we want to know they are great. If parents are happy with their carseat and share that it kept their newborn safe, then we feel confident sharing the seat on our list.

Manufacturer’s Reputation

There are few brands that have a great reputation when it comes to the baby industry, especially car seats. We typically select brands that have a long reputation of being very safe. This is why you will see numerous seats from brands like Evenflo and Safety 1st. Especially when it comes to newborns, safety is incredibly important, so we stick with brands that have produced safe car seats for many years.

Ease of Use

Finally, we have already mentioned several times that it could not be more important to make sure your car seat is installed correctly. Unfortunately, that can sometimes be a bit of a problem as some car seats are very hard to install. Instead, we try to pick seats that are very easy to install and that come with helpful features like levels or clicks that help parents feel confident the seat is safely and correctly in place.

FAQs

What are the benefits of a rear facing car seat?

There are numerous benefits to rear facing car seats. At first, they seem like they would be inconvenient because you cannot as easily monitor your child while you are driving. However, the rear positioning of the seat makes the seat much safer in the event of an accident. Should you get in an accident, the force of the crash is more evenly distributed along a rear facing seat. Also, a child’s head and neck are far less likely to snap when sitting in a rear facing seat.

Are convertible car seats safe?

Yes! Some parents think that a convertible seat means that each mode of the seat is less safe. However, this is not true. While there are certainly bad convertible car seats on the market, there are also bad rear facing car seats on the market too. Convertible car seats are not inherently bad or unsafe, in fact, they tend to be incredibly safe and also save parents a lot of money. Do your research before purchasing, but there is no reason you should be afraid of a convertible seat. On our list, you can choose from the Safety 1st Grow and Go or Evenflo Symphony DLX seats, which are both convertible.

When can a child stop being rear facing?

A child should not start sitting forward facing until they are at least 2 years old. However, that is just a minimum. It is in your best interest to keep your child rear facing as long as possible, as it is a safer position for them. Check what the maximum weight limit is for your specific car seat and obviously do not exceed that weight. If you have not yet purchased a seat, consider one with a higher rear facing weight limit (say 35 or 40 pounds).

Can all newborn car seats be used with a stroller?

Not necessarily. Many newborn seats that are just rear facing seats do work as a car seat and as a carrier that can be used with a stroller. However, oftentimes a car seat will only work with certain strollers that are from the same brand. For example, the Graco Click Connect only works with Graco Click Connect strollers. If you want to use your seat with a stroller, you most likely do not want to purchase a convertible car seat. Instead, select a rear facing seat that comes with a stay in car base and purchase a stroller that you have checked is compatible with the seat you have selected.

Where do you position newborn car seats?

A lot of people ask this question and aren’t sure if you are supposed to position newborn seats differently than other car seats. However, this isn’t true. You will put your newborn in a rear facing seat, meaning they are facing towards the back of your car. However, you do not have to position it in the middle of your car like some people think. Instead, position it behind either the driver or passenger seat just as you would with any other car seat.

Decision Time

There you have it! These are the 10 best newborn car seats on the market today. All are great options, but depending on features like price, and if the seat is convertible or not, you will be able to make the decision that is right for you. If you need more help, here is some additional information and answers to some frequently asked questions.