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Best car seats for keeping baby safe and comfortable


Congratulations, you've got a baby on the way. Amidst all the excitement and emotion that comes with awaiting the arrival of the newest member of your family comes the realization that you're going to need the right baby gear, and fast. That means starting with a car seat. 

Finding the right car seat is mandatory. Some hospitals will require a car seat test to make sure an infant's car seat is installed correctly before releasing the child from its care. And as your baby gets bigger, you'll need to swap out that infant car seat for a convertible car seat that covers both your infant and toddler needs.

A lot goes into choosing the right car seat for babies or toddlers. We're here to help cut through the car seat clutter and help you find the best one for your family's needs. Keep reading for our top car seat picks of the year.

Best car seats for babies in 2024

Car seats can be broken down into two categories: infant car seats and convertible car seats. Infant car seats are designed for newborns and can usually be used until your baby is anywhere from 30-40 pounds (depending on the seat). An infant car seat is designed to be placed rear-facing, which is the safest way for a baby to be placed in the car.

A convertible car seat can be used in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes and is generally suitable for children from birth to about four or five years old. Unlike an infant car seat, a convertible car seat is designed to stay in the car.

While some parents skip the infant car seat stage entirely, we recommend using one. Infant seats are safer and don't require you to remove your child (who could be sleeping) from their seat when exiting the car.

Best infant car seats in 2024

State laws differ, but in general babies should be placed in an infant car seat until they are at least nine months old -- unless the baby weighs over 40 pounds. Children are required to be placed in a rear-facing car seat until they are about two years old. Check your state's car seat requirements for more details. 

Best infant car seat: Clek Liing Infant Car Seat


One of the safest infant car seats on the market, the seat's base installs with the car's Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system or a seatbelt-tensioning system for cars without a LATCH system. A two-stage body support system makes this seat a terrific choice for small babies (and babes who arrive early), while the seat is compatible with most top stroller brands.

The real star of the show here is this seat's extensive safety features, including advanced side-impact protection and an adjustable load leg that increases the seat's stability and reduces crash forces by 40%. 

The Clek Liing infant car seat is available for $500 at Amazon.

Pro: This car seat had as us at all those safety features. We also like the space-saving design, which makes this a better fit for small cars than most car seats -- and makes 3-across seating possible for families with bigger kids still in boosters and car seats.

Con: It's pricey!

Best infant car seat runner up: Chicco KeyFit 35


The Chicco KeyFit 35 is one of the easiest to use infant car seats on the market. This seat fits with most cars' LATCH systems and features a spring loading-leveling foot on the base that ensures proper installation every time. 

The five-position headrest raises with the harness. The seat's anti-rebound bar provides added stability and leg room as baby grows. It offers a removable infant head and body support insert, which can be used for newborns 4-11 pounds. It easily moves from the car seat base to compatible Chicco strollers.

The Chicco KeyFit 35 is available at Amazon for $184, reduced from list price of $230.


  • It's easy to use and to install. The newborn support and the extended headrest make this seat usable from birth until baby is 32 inches tall.


  • This seat is only compatible with Chicco strollers.

More top-rated infant car seats in 2024

Best convertible car seats in 2024

Some parents choose to get one seat, called a convertible car seat, for both the infant and toddler stages. Convertible car seats can sit both rear-facing and front-facing. 

Convertible car seats are not stroller compatible, however, and are not as safe for an infant as an infant-designated car seat. Purchasing one convertible car seat in lieu of an infant car seat will save you money. But because a convertible car seat isn't stroller compatible, you'll often be taking a sleeping baby out of the seat to put them in their stroller. 

Best convertible car seat: Britax Poplar convertible car seat


Britax's Poplar convertible car seat boasts easy installation thanks to 
its ClickTight technology, which features clear seatbelt paths and labeled access with seat belt thread or buckle options offered.

While other convertible car seats can be clunky, this 17-inch seat is designed to fit three-across, making room for siblings, other car seats or other passengers in the back of your car. The seat also features two dishwasher-safe cup holders.

The seat features a 14-position harness and headrest, which when adjusted together can help mom and dad find baby's perfect fit. The seat frame is made from steel and features a "crumple" zone to help absorb crash energy.

This Amazon best-selling carseat is listed for $300, but is currently on sale for $240.


  • This seat is easy to install and to clean.
  • It's available in eight colorways (price varies by color).


  • This seat isn't great in rear-facing mode for an extended period of time as it doesn't provide much legroom.

Best convertible car seat runner up: Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 convertible car seat


Convertible car seats rarely come with an easy installation, but the Graco 4Ever DLX convertible car seat does just that. The seat fits with a car's LATCH system and features an integrated lock system. The seat grows with your child by offering six recline options and a 10-position adjustable headrest.

The seat offers two cup holders, a baby seat insert and a belt tensioning plate to ensure your little one is secure in his or her seat. It can be used rear-facing (4-40 pounds) and forward-facing (22-65 pounds). The seat can even be used as a highback belt-positioning booster (40-100 pounds) or a backless belt-positioning booster (40-120 pounds), guaranteeing you'll get your money's worth here.


  • This seat is easy to install and usable up to 120 pounds.


  • The cover can be challenging to remove for cleaning.

More top convertible car seats in 2024

When to switch your car seat

While each state has different car seat requirements, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your child in a car seat for as long as possible, noting that with each car seat transition comes less protection for your child in the event of a car accident.

In the United States motor crashes are the leading cause of death for children under four years old. Making sure your child's car seat is properly installed and safe for your child could be the difference between life and death. That means keep your child in some sort of car seat or booster from birth to adolescence.

  • Infants are required to be in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the maximum height and weight requirement established by the car seat's manufacturer.  That means you'll switch your child out of their rear-facing car seat anywhere from nine months to two years old (recommended).
  • Babies and toddlers should be in a forward-facing car seat once they've outgrown their rear-facing car seat until they are at least four years old.
  • Children need to use a belt-positioning booster seat once they outgrow a forward-facing car seat, until they are at least eight years old. 
  • Lap and shoulder belts are required for children who have outgrown a booster seat.
  • Children are recommended to sit in the back seat of the car until they are at least 13 years old.

Can I use a car seat after a car accident?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) advises that any car seat involved in a moderate or severe car accident be replaced. That's because the force of a car accident can damage the structural integrity of the car seat. If a car seat is involved in a minor crash, one where the car could be driven from the crash site, no one was injured in the accident, the car door nearest the car seat wasn't damaged, air bags were not deployed and the car seat shows no visible damage, it may not need to be replaced, but should be inspected by a certified car seat expert.

Many car insurance companies will cover the cost of car seat replacement following a car accident. 

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