The easiest way to install a car seat, and thus the method we recommend, is the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system. The number of positions and which positions are allowable for driving varies from seat to seat (see your manual), but the operation is similar. The height adjustment on the Fit2 is non-rethread and includes moving the headrest up and down with the pull of a tab on the top of the assembly. Nearly every car seat, and most vehicles manufactured since September 1, 2002, have the LATCH system. It also functions as the rethread slots for harness height adjustment. Alternatively, Graco claims SIP and independent testing, but their definition of SIP means the harness will keep your child in the seat in the event of a side collision. This option has an easy to use LATCH system and unique features that help make installation as straightforward as it can be and parents love that this potentially translates to an overall safer riding experience as statistically many crash-related injuries are a result of errors in installation or use. The most comfortable handle is the UPPAbaby Mesa. Not presently, though all child restraints sold in this country are required to comply with the dynamic testing requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. We suggest consumers remain skeptical about these SIP claims as there is no set standard on what it means for a seat to have SIP, and the term means different things to different manufacturers. Both can be used with infants and have some similar features and functions, but they are not the same. Shown above is the percentage margin by which each seat exceeded the maximum chest injury score, Chest (g) Clip, established by the Federal NHTSA safety standard. The further below the Federal HIC maximum of 1000, the better (lower numbers rule here). Whether or not the straps on the connectors are easy to tighten and loosen is also important. While the jury is still out on whether or not an anti-rebound bar or load leg really offers additional protection, physics seems to support the general idea and claim that they do. With so many potential safety seats on the market, the one thing we can all agree on is there isn't one product that can meet the needs of every family. The Chicco Fit 2 is one of the easiest seats to use with straightforward features. For ease of use, the seats are used as they would be under normal circumstances and then ranked compared to the other eats in the group. Our tests give you the information to determine which products make this process a breeze. To pass the standard, each seat is subjected to crash testing in a facility designed to simulate collisions using a sled and crash test baby dummies. Buy now £ 189.99 , Amazon Overall, we didn't factor these features or claims in our analysis because there is little to no real-world or test data available to support or analyze the claims or features. If you have any thumb strength or structural issues whatsoever in your hands, you might want to avoid Graco. Our favorite seats for height adjustment allow adjustments without re-threading the harness straps from one slot to another or detaching the straps from the splitter plate. Consumers can generally assume the following about a restraint when examining its individual category ratings: N/A = This child restraint does not contain any features that require a rating in this category. With the information and details we have, we can't account for the difference in efficacy from seat to seat and leg to leg. Is a seat that receives the highest rating safer than a seat that receives the lowest rating? This problem is most prevalent in the Graco seats, though the Peg Perego Nido also struggles. You are heading south on a two-lane road, while another vehicle is driving north on that street.The driver in the other vehicle starts to fall asleep at the wheel and veers into your lane. However, our test comparison of a load leg on a competing seat showed worse results when using the load leg. So, you can see from CDC data that your baby is likely to exceed the height limit long before they exceed the weight limit. We love this Chicco, but it might not be the best option for families who live in the city or may need to carry it for longer periods. Because this type of installation can be more challenging, we'd suggest urbanites consider the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 and the Doona, both of which are easy to install without the base. This simple addition has helped Cybex earn an ingenuity award, and it potentially helps absorb external forces generated by a side collision before they reach the seat, thereby, creating something of a crumple zone in the event of an accident. Once you switch, your little one will be in their convertible car seat until they reach those limits, as well. Every seat has essentially the same kinds of materials and basic design. You might be wondering, why do I care about installing the seat without the base? Luckily, you can avoid carrying it by pairing the Fit2 with a compatible award-winning frame stroller. The foam used for crash impact absorption protection has a shelf life, and after a certain period, should be destroyed and no longer used as a car seat. The average baby boy will reach 32 inches and 26 lbs at 18 months age, and the average baby girl will reach 32 inches and 25 lbs around 19 months. Analysis of child auto crash injuries shows that head and chest injuries present the two highest risks for serious or fatal injury. All Graco models we've tested (past and present) use the same buckle, and we feel it is much stiffer and harder to push than most of the competition. There aren't large differences between the seats in this regard, with all of them having a hard plastic shell with a dense foam padding as the second layer. The UPPAbaby and the Chicco Keyfit 30 both lack these features and still managed to rank highly with relatively high crash test scores. At the outset of testing, we engaged with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technician to help us develop a set of comprehensive tests on infant car seats. The safest location for an infant car seat is in the center seat, as accident research shows a 43% lower risk of injury for seats placed in the center. On May 23, 2005, NHTSA released a Notice of Final Decision on its pilot testing program (comprised of simulated crash situations as well as New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) tests) designed to determine how well child restraints and vehicles protect children. These hiccups make this Chicco less than ideal for those who use public transportation or frequently commute. They also have a load leg on the Cybex Aton 2, but our crash test results using the leg and not using the leg indicate that the leg use for this product potentially improves safety for the baby. The word "convertible" comes from the ability to use the seat in a rear-facing position initially, and then later flip the seat around to "convert" it to a forward-facing seat. Alternatively, a growing number of parents skip a stroller for the first 6-12 months by wearing their baby in a personal baby carrier. As with the HIC score, we focus on how large a margin of protection each option provides below the federal maximum Chest (G) Clip score of 60 in their crash test. It is essential to utilize this storage location as intended and to keep the manual where it is supposed to be. With so many seat options and a variety of features to choose from, the task of buying a car seat can feel overwhelming. Unfortunately, this safety seat isn't compatible with very many strollers outside of the Peg Perego brand, which more or less locks you into Peg products or babywearing (which we love and is a viable option). Most of the handles in this review are similar and unremarkable. Facebook According to a 2016 report from the NHTSA, 49% of car seats and booster seats are used improperly. You can check out our review of the best performing baby carriers, with detailed ratings and information. The most challenging harnesses to adjust for height are those that require you to "rethread" the straps. If a seat is easy to adjust as your baby grows, then there is less chance for error or avoidance. The Cybex Aton 2 is a safety winner thanks to impressive crash-test results. While we can see that this seat will work for a longer time than the average infant car seat, it is unlikely to last for 2 years for most children as only babies at or below the 50th percentile will reach 2 years old and still be under 35 inches. The Keyfit 30 is somewhat more challenging to install without-the-base, though it isn't a chore. In a product group so heavily regulated, it can be difficult to tell one seat from another or decide why one is better than the last, without looking at the features and functions that help them get ahead and stand out in a crowd. This Peg has an 8 of 10 for crash test result analysis and is one of the easiest car seats to install. We found the Cybex load leg was very effective in significantly improving crash test performance. According to NHTSA, over 60% of parents place their infant car seats on the left or right side. Weight is important because you might be carrying baby and seat from place to place, or will need to lift baby higher than your waist for some SUVs and trucks. Copyright © 2020 BabyGearLab LLC This style of an indicator is best used from a distance and on a level surface comparing the line to the vehicle bottom not the ground (see your user manual for specific details). Some of the seats are significantly easier to install using a vehicle belt than others, and the "lock-off" features are why. Also, the term is filled with ambiguity. Next, they either have softer comfort style padding and/or a fabric cover, and some of the seats also offer additional inserts to help position baby more comfortably or safely. You can get car seats in variations of these groups. Part of what makes one seat easier to install with LATCH is the connector type. This seat also has one of the highest prices in the competition, which potentially makes it a non-option for anyone on a tight budget. Download the Ease-of-Use logo (ZIP, 4 MB) Ease-of-Use Ratings … However, convertible seats offer compatibility with infants as small as 5 lbs and up to 40-70 lbs depending on the model. Wendy has examined, compared, and rated the detailed performance of more than three dozen competing safety seats. Every seat in this review passed the minimum requirements for crash tests as outlined by the Federal Government and thus offer a basic, safe, level of protection. Credit: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, The Chicco Keyfit 30 base has a single center pull strap that tightens the LATCH anchors to pull the base firmly against the vehicle seat back. As you would expect, crash tests play a key role in the basic performance of car seats and also in differentiating products. The UPPAbaby Mesa received a 9. In each crash test, there are sensors placed in the chest and head of a test dummy designed to simulate a 22 lbs baby. Overall, we feel the Keyfit 30 is a budget-savvy standout that is hard to beat if finances are an influencer, and even if they aren't. There is no chance these straps will impinge on the carrier's ability to attach to the base. Overall, the seats with superior comfort with attention to detail are top performers for comfort and quality. The Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Chicco Fit2 carriers are the easiest to attach to the base with a 9 of 10 in our tests. But, the center location will only be safe if you can properly anchor the seat securely. These are the LATCH connectors. It isn't the best choice for all families, but if you want the absolute highest crash-test score, it is a good choice. Unlike most other manufacturers, Graco documents in their manual that their seats can be LATCH-connected in the center position so long as your Vehicle Owners Manual allows use of the center seating position and the anchor spacing is 11" or greater between the inner LATCH connectors on the left and right side. The middle of the foot portion on the Chicco Fit2 has the SuperCinch pull strap unique to the Fit 2 that makes tightening the LATCH anchor straps efficient and easy. Some, less expensive seats, may include a line on the base side that should rest parallel with the ground beneath the car when properly installed. A NHTSA study showed that 84% of infant seats exhibited critical misuse, either in the installation of the seat or restraint of the infant. Using the Car Seat Finder, just enter your child’s age, height and weight, then click on “View Detail” in the “Ease-of-Use Ratings” column next to the car seat brand, model and mode (position). We'll give you an overview of each and the most common reasons to use one over another. We consider details such as padding, fabric, and canopies, and how these translate to comfort, use, and longevity. Also, there are no agreed-upon definitions for most of the terms batted about in the industry, nor are there universally accepted tests to investigate the claims and features. This adjustable knob moves the recline foot up and down on the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35, Many of the seats we reviewed offered a belt lock off to help secure the base of the seat to the vehicle seat belt. As with all of our reviews, the car seat test plan and testing process are reviewed and overseen by Dr. Juliet Spurrier, our founder, mother of two, and a board-certified Pediatrician. Infant car seats should have safety features like absorbing shock, being made of high-quality materials and also having an extra padding. Lower cost seats use clips, but the easiest-to-use products provide click-in push-button style connectors (both are safe, just different in ease of use). Designs that limit or prohibit efficient and correct seat installation lost points. We think it is smarter to stick to the crash test data analysis when comparing the potential safety of each seat instead of buying into an unsupported or unexplained claim. LATCH connectors are only the first part of the strap equation for infant car seat installation. While a plan for possible side-impact testing of car seats is in the works, there is currently no universal standard or test available to determine the safety of side impact features. The Flex-Loc is a straightforward option that is easy t install using two methods including installation sans base, which is good since it is also lightweight, and therefore, a potential contender for travel or commuting. This Peg is lightweight, easy to carry, and has simple features that work well. The car seat selection is frankly a more important decision to ensure your infant's safety, and you are not likely to paint yourself into a corner when it comes time to pick a stroller. The Aton 2 is also compatible with several impressive strollers, and we suggest selecting an option that clicks in place instead of being strapped in place. Our Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz, mother of two, has been leading the analysis of our infant car seat test results since 2014. The top performer for ease of use, the Doona, offers impressive performance with an 8 of 10, but it is relatively weak in other areas, finishing below average. The Chicco Keyfit 30 has a good overall score and a budget-friendlier price than much of the top-ranking choice in this review. There should be a location on each seat where you can store the user manual for easy access. In the end, If you don' t use the seat correctly, it won't matter how safe it is. Similar results were obtained when the restraints were subject to NCAP testing. The video below, by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, provides an excellent overview of the role infant car seats play in protecting your infant, as well as safety tips on proper installation. Choosing the right car seat is a more important decision than choosing a stroller. This highly-functional design makes this product a standout for those living an urban lifestyle using taxis, Lyft, and Uber. We narrow down all the options in our Editors' Picks list to help you choose the most appropriate child safety seat … Infant car seats are specifically designed to suit your itty-bitty baby’s needs like a snug, contoured seat that keeps them in place in case of an accident. The load leg on the Cybex Aton 2 (shown here) is similar to that found on the Cloud Q. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35, Chicco Fit2, and UPPAbaby Mesa all have nicely designed non-rethread harness systems that a breeze to adjust. 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