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Infant car seats: Which one is right for you?

Christina Holt is a blogger and freelance writer who lives in Southern California with her husband and three boys. Christina uses her love of design, adventures in parenting and teaching background as inspiration for her writing on numer...

The infant car seat showdown

Shopping for car seats can be a little overwhelming. There are so many options for infant car seats that do the same thing -- but do they? Check out some great car seats to see which one is right for you and your baby.

Summer Infant Prodigy

  • Height limit: 32 inches
  • Weight range: 4 - 32 pounds
  • Price: $180

Stroller compatibility
Summer Infant Upstart Stroller, Safety 1st Clic It Infant Seat Carrier

Installation
The Prodigy stay-in-car base includes a one-of-a-kind SmartScreen Technology. The SmartScreen guides you through a simple three-step process, while the unique belt tightening system allows for easy and secure installation. There's no need to climb in the rear seat of a car and struggle with installation with this car seat base.

Features
The Summer Infant Prodigy has a removable full coverage newborn head and body support, fully adjustable canopy, 5-point harness, 3-position carry handle and a unique SafeGuard 1-Adjust harness system. This no re-thread harness system automatically adjusts to fit your baby every time you use the car seat -- no more re-threading or manual adjustments as your baby grows. Every time you place your baby in the seat and tighten the straps, the seat automatically places the safety belt at the proper height.

Summer Infant Prodigy Car Seat

Chicco KeyFit 30

  • Height limit: 30 inches
  • Weight range: 4 - 30 pounds
  • Price: $180

Stroller compatibility
Chicco KeyFit Caddy Stroller Frame, Chicco Cortina, Chicco S3, UPPABaby, Phil and Teds, BOB, Baby Jogger, Mountain Buggy, Bumbleride, Baby Trend Snap N Go, Safety 1st Clic It Infant Seat Carrier, Bugaboo, Joovy, Britax, the Cybex Ruby, I'Coo, the Inglesina Zippy, Jeep, Stroll-Air Zoom and Contours

Installation
The stay-in-car base has a spring-assisted level foot along with two precision level bubbles and center-pull LATCH to ensure that the base is properly installed with a tight and secure fit. The built-in level and center LATCH pull make for a quick and easy installation.

Features
The Chicco KeyFit 30 comes with a two-piece removable newborn insert, thickly cushioned seat pad, energy absorbing foam, easy to loosen/tighten 5-point safety harness and seamless insert and removal from the stay-in-car base.

chicco key fit car seat

Britax Chaperone

  • Height limit: 32 inches
  • Weight range: 4 - 30 pounds
  • Price: $230

Stroller compatibility
Britax B-agile, Britax B-ready, Britax B-scene, Britax B-nimble and with the use of the Britax Adapter Kit (included with the purchase of a Britax Chaperone), the Chaperone infant car seat can also be used with BOB, Valco Baby, Chicco, the Peg Perego Pliko 3, the Maclaren Techno XLR, the Cybex Ruby, I'Coo, the Stroll-Air Zoom, Tike Tech, Joovy, Jeep and the Baby Trend Snap N Go.

Installation
The stay-in-car base features easy-to-read level indicators, height adjustment knob, lower LATCH connectors and built-in lock-offs to ensure a tight installation with minimal effort.

Features
The Britax Chaperone has a unique anti-rebound bar on the stay-in-car base that provides stabilization by minimizing forces associated with front and rear collisions. The Chaperone also has a tangle-free 5-point, quick-adjust, no-rethread harness, which eliminates disassembling the harness and ensures proper placement of the straps as your child grows. A removable newborn foam insert ensures a snug strap fit for babies 4 to 11 pounds and the seat has a built-in energy absorbing foam liner and built-in true side impact, which absorbs and distributes crash forces and keeps the head, neck and spine "in true" or aligned, to limit injury.

britax-chaperone-car-seat

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 30-30

  • Height limit: 30 inches
  • Weight range: 5 - 30 pounds
  • Price: $330

Stroller compatibility
Peg Perego Pliko Switch, Peg Perego Pliko 3, Peg Perego Skate, Peg Perego Vela, Peg Perego Aria Twin, BOB, UPPABaby, Bugaboo, Stokke, Baby Jogger, Phil and Teds, iCandy, Inglesina Avio, Valco baby, Britax B-Ready, Micralite, Trends For Kids, Contours and Tike Tech

Installation
The Primo Viaggio stay-in-car base includes an indicator level to ensure proper installation and the seat can be easily installed with or without the LATCH equipped base.

Features
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 30-30 has an adjustable headrest with Side Impact Protection (SIP), which adjusts easily in five vertical positions. The headrest and car seat fabrics are made of a soft 'comfort dry' microfiber allowing proper ventilation for baby. The carry handle has four easy-adjust positions and the quick release 5-point harness has a fail-safe buckle. The Primo Viaggio also includes a removable newborn seat insert to properly position baby.

peg perego car seat

Cybex Aton

  • Height limit: 30 inches
  • Weight range: 4 - 32 pounds
  • Price: $230

Stroller compatibility
Cybex Callisto, Cybex Onyx, Cybex Ruby, Cybex Topaz, Baby Jogger and when paired with the Maxi Cosi adapter, the Cybex Aton is compatible with Bugaboo, Valco Baby, Mamas and Papas, Micralite, Bumbleride, iCandy, Trends For Kids, UPPABaby, Mutsy, Maxi Cosi, Phil and Teds and Quinny

Installation
The Aton has a unique tensioning system that makes installation quick and easy for use with or without the base. The Aton seat slides back and down to attach directly to a metal chassis within the base. A unique indicator confirms the correct attachment of the carrier to the base.

Features
The Cybex Aton is one of the lightest infant car seats, weighing in at 8.8 pounds (car seat weight is without the base attached). The Aton grows with your child, as it comes with a newborn inlay as well as an infant insert to help properly position your child. The Aton is made of breathable and washable fabrics to ensure maximum comfort for your baby. The integrated designer canopy provides sun coverage and easily slides behind a protective cover when not in use. Contrary to most other infant car seats, the Aton requires the carry handle to be in the up position while in drive mode.

cybex aton car seat

Orbit Baby

  • Height limit: 32 inches
  • Weight range: 4 - 30 pounds
  • Price: $400

Stroller compatibility
Orbit Baby G2

Installation
The Orbit base has a StrongArm mechanism that allows you to securely install the base in 60 seconds just by turning an attached knob. The circular SmartHub on the car seat base, allows you to dock your Orbit car seat at almost any angle -- making it easier on your back.

Features
The Orbit Baby infant car seat comes complete with a full coverage sunshade -- a UV protective Paparazzi Shield for coverage and privacy. The soft ergonomic carry handles store easily and allow you to carry baby close and comfortably. The Orbit infant seat is made of a soft micro-fiber material and is certified by Oeko-Tek to ensure that all the materials and fabrics that come in contact with your baby are free of harmful substances and chemicals. All materials are also made with baby-safe flame retardants. The deep cradle design of the infant car seat has built-in side-impact protection and the stay-in-car base has multi-directional impact protection.

60 Percent of 2011 infant car seats contain toxic substances >>

orbit baby car seat

Graco SnugRide 35

  • Height limit: 32 inches
  • Weight range: 5 - 35 pounds
  • Price: $180

Stroller compatibility
All Graco strollers, BOB, Cybex, Valco Baby, UPPABaby, Bugaboo, Inglesina, Jeep, Mutsy, 4Moms, Britax, Baby Jogger, Tike Tech, Trends For Kids, Baby Trend, Micralite, Bumbleride, I'Coo, Contours, Mamas and Papas, Mountain Buggy, Phil and Teds, Teutonia, Joovy and Stroll-Air.

Installation
The Graco stay-in-car base is LATCH-equipped and has a one-hand dial adjustment, level indicators and built-in belt lock-offs to ensure a simple and proper installation.

Features
The Graco SnugRide 35 comes complete with GracoPedic luxury foam for comfort, energy absorbing foam for impact protection and a removable infant head support. The easy release -- from the base -- and convenient adaptability to most strollers continue to make the Graco SnugRide 35 a mom favorite.

graco snugride car seat

More about infant car seats

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Should you use a car seat when flying with young children?
Top 10 car seat safety tips

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