Best Infant Car Seats in 2020
Best infant car seats are one of the most important purchases you will make as a new parent. In our testing, we consider Ease of Use, Baby Weight and Height Ranges, Safety and Car Size Types.
|Group||WEIGHT||APPROXIMATE AGE (should not be used to choose the type of seat)|
|0||Up to 10 kg||up to approximately 9 months|
|0+||Up to 10 kg||best Infant car seats: up to approximately 15 months|
|I||From 9 to 18 kg||from about 8 months to 3 or 4 years|
|II||From 15 to 25 kg||Best Infant car seats: Approximately, from 3 to 7 years old|
|III||From 22 to 36 kg||Car seats: from 6 to 12 years old|
Height is another determining factor, being even more important than weight. All child restraint systems approved under the ‘i-Size’ standard are based on height.
The weight is, in any case, more important than the age. Since it is the weight that determines the resistance. That the best infant car seat must offer (that is, if the child weight a lot, in case of an accident the structure of the chair could not endure the effort and break).
Currently, we find small chairs for children: from 40 to 85 cm and from 45 to 105 cm.
In the coming years and as the following phases come into force. The number of seats that will be governed solely by height will increase.
- Below is a more detailed description of each type of seat:
- GROUP 0 or 0+ / From 40 to 85 cm and from 45 to 105 cm (i-Size)
- GRUPO I for best infant car seats
- IMPORTANT NOTE:
- Group II for best infant car seats
- Group III for best infant car seats
- The best infant car seats 2019 can save your life.
- How consumers help our new test
- Our overall scores are still based on 3 main factors:
- The right seat at the right time
- Seat calendar for a car by age and size
- Best Infant Car Seats 2019 facing backward
- Best Infant Car Seats
- Lift seat for belt placement
- Important safety strategies for proper installation and adjustment
Below is a more detailed description of each type of seat:
GROUP 0 or 0+ / From 40 to 85 cm and from 45 to 105 cm (i-Size)
For babies of 0 to 10 kilos of weight (normally up to nine or twelve months of age, although age is a guiding criterion and the important thing is the aforementioned weight), in the case of group O.
And for babies up to 13 kg (usually up to twelve or fifteen months of age, although, we insist, age is a guiding criterion and the important thing is the aforementioned weight), in the case of group O+.
If we take into account the approval ‘i-Size, we find seats from 40 to 85 cm (up to 1 year approximately) and from 45 to 105 cm (from 6 months to 4 years approximately)
The seats of this group, in turn, can be of two types: baskets or cuckoos, first, and baby seats, in second. Carriers, also known as “baby carriers”, are less common. But some are also approved for use in the car(it is very important to check in their instruction manual that they are actually approved for such use).
The baby travels lying down, in a very natural position. But in some chairs of this type is only subject with a belt located on his belly. So that, in the event of a side impact, the baby is less subject.
(although in the market there are and models of baskets with harnesses or belts in the shape of “Y” that significantly improve the protection in case of lateral impact)
Baby chairs are the most common type. Often they are popularly known as the trade name of “Amazon” (actually, the name of a manufacturer of seats and children’s products). Best Infant Car Seats should always be installed facing backward.
• IMPORTANT: the rear-facing baby seat.
• NEVER: must be installed in a seat with a front airbag, unless the airbag has been previously deactivated.
GRUPO I for best infant car seats
For children from 9 to 18 kilos
(normally between one and three years of age, although age is an indicative criterion and what is important is the aforementioned weight)
They consist of seats that are fastened to the vehicle with the safety belt. Or with the new ISOFIX system and where the child normally travels attached to the seat with a safety harness. And looking either forward (which is the most usual) or backward (as is common in the Nordic countries).
In a young child, the relative weight of the head with respect to the body is greater than in an adult. In addition, the neck is not fully developed. For all these reasons, it is advisable to use as much time as possible a system oriented backward.
Group II for best infant car seats
From 15 to 25 kilos (normally between three and seven years, although age is a guideline and what is important is the aforementioned weight).
They consist of a cushion and a backrest that is normally placed on the seat of the vehicle. The child sits on the child seat and fastens the seat belt of the vehicle. This type of child seats “elevates” its occupant so that the seat belt of the vehicle fits correctly. Passing through the most resistant areas of the child’s anatomy (hips, sternum, and clavicle).
Group III for best infant car seats
From 22 to 36 kilos (between six and 12 years of age, although age is an indicative criterion)
They consist of a cushion, in some cases, with backrest, which is normally placed on the seat of the vehicle. As in the previous group, the child is placed on the child seat. And the seat belt of the vehicle is fastened. This type of child seats “elevates” its occupant so that the seat belt of the vehicle fits correctly to the body of the user. Passing through the most resistant areas of the child’s anatomy (hips, sternum, and clavicle).
The next regulatory changes advocate the use of the lift on all lifts (only approval of these CRS)
It is worth remembering that some seat models serve several weight groups. Thus, it is common to find seats of groups 0 / I (which can be used from birth until the child reaches 18 kilos). And seats of groups II / III (from 15 to 36 kilos). As a seat covers more weight groups. It is increasingly difficult to guarantee the same level of safety for all of them.
For this reason, it is common for many of the safest seats to be those that serve only a single weight group. Parents should, therefore, decide whether to acquire a seat for each stage or one that serves several.
The best infant car seats 2019 can save your life.
A year ago, Consumer Reports launched a new crash test protocol to evaluate best infant car seats; a test that, we believe, measures the potential relative safety of best infant car seats in conditions. That better represent the actual interior of a vehicle.
The current batch of baby seats was included in the first round of evaluations with our new test. And the best infant car seats 2019 are currently being tested. We will expand its use to other types of seats in the coming years.
We take this starting point because the federal standard for child seats is more than 30 years old. Specifies a frontal crash test at 30 mph with equipped dummies that simulate being a baby or child. But since it is an evaluation with only two modes: pass or fails, it is not very useful for consumers looking to compare a series of brands.
Consumer Reports began conducting its own crash tests for child seats in the 1970s and used the government standard as a basis since the 1980s. But best infant car seats 2019 evolved faster than the norm. So we did some modifications. We set out to determine which seats offer an additional margin of safety when evaluating conditions that were more real.
How consumers help our new test
In some aspects, our new test procedure is not so different from our traditional tests. The best infant car seats 2019 is still mounted on a sled on rails, which simulates the seat of a vehicle. An onslaught hits the bottom of the sled, initiating the “shock” event. But our new test represents an improvement over the old protocol in terms of some points:
- We changed the cushion of the seat where the best infant car seats 2019 is mounted, and we adopted one with dimensions and a level of firmness more similar to the seats of contemporary cars.
- We raise the impact speed from 30 mph to 35 mph. This increases the impact energy by approximately 35% and better reproduces the behavior of vehicles during frontal crashes.
- We incorporate a surface that mimics the backrest of the front seat. Research shows that children are injured more frequently in frontal crashes because they hit their head against the backrest of the front seat or some other object that is inside the vehicle.
Our overall scores are still based on 3 main factors:
ease of use, vehicle fit and crash test performance. The first two factors are those of greater weight because they are fundamental considerations that affect the daily life of the consumer. If the caregiver of a child cannot connect the restraint device correctly, the best infant car seats 2019 can not provide optimal protection, regardless of its performance in the crash test.
The protection against shocks in our new test is qualified with a scale of 3 points: Basic, Best, and Superior. The ratings are based on the following: the injury criteria for child-sized dummies, whether there was direct contact between the dummy head and the simulated front seat back, and whether the best infant car seats 2019 remained intact during the course of the test.
They were assigned the Basic protection rating to the seats with which the number of injuries was significantly greater than that measured in other models evaluated or that had some structural failure. Seats with a Basic rating offer much better protection than a lack of a seat, but a Better or Superior seat provides a greater margin of safety.
The right seat at the right time
Waiting for the mother to start labor is too late to make a decision about the infant seat. Not only will you need one to take your newborn from the hospital to your home, but in the first years of your child’s life, you will also need a series of seats designed for different ages and sizes. Even experienced parents may be confused about the correct seat type and when to change it for the next one.
Below is a guide about the different types of seats, a useful calendar for the time of your child’s transition to the next seat and the main ratings of each. And since the installation of the seats for children can be a problem, we add practical tips so you can do it well.
Seat calendar for a car by age and size
These calculations, based on good practice and the height/weight limits of the child seat, are our recommendations regarding the minimum number of seats you will need until your child is ready to use only the vehicle seat belt.
It is important to use the correct type of seat to ensure that it remains safe and comfortable and that it has a good fit for your child. If you spend more, you will not necessarily get the seat with the best performance, but may offer you more features.
Many intermediate price models have a performance equal to or better than that of more expensive models. The seats can be reused, but have an expiration date. And you must stop using the seat after a crash or if you suffer any damage.
Best Infant Car Seats 2019 facing backward
$ 55 to $ 300 (for children between 4 and 40 pounds). The baby seats have a removable base, a feature of great comfort. Because it allows parents to load the child or place the seat in a compatible stroller. Our tests show that they also offer the best fit for the smallest babies.
While these seats are designed to fit babies weighing up to 40 pounds, most children stop using them for height first. This means that you will need a convertible seat to keep your child looking back until his second birthday.
Best Infant Car Seats
$ 40 to $ 450 (rear-facing for children between 5 and 45 pounds, forward-facing for children between 20 and 70 pounds). Convertible seats can be used in two directions: forward or backward. It is recommended that children continue to look back until their second birthday.
While you may be tempted to use convertible seats for newborns, most do not offer a good fit for small babies. And you lose the comfortable option of having the detachable boot that baby seats bring. Once the child reaches 2 years of age or the height or weight limit to be placed facing backward. The seat can be placed in the forward facing position. Many have limits of 65 pounds or more.
Lift seat for belt placement
$ 14 to $ 300 (for children between 30 and 120 pounds). When your child is too big for the front-facing harness seat, he will still need an elevator that allows the seat belt to sit correctly on his body. The elevators are designed to elevate the child to the height needed to properly seat the vehicle’s safety belt.
They are necessary until the child is tall enough to wear only the belt. Usually when he reaches a height of 57 inches and is between 8 and 12 years old. Elevators with high backrest are a better option because they include some lateral reinforcement. As well as a guide for a better positioning of the belt on the shoulders.
Important safety strategies for proper installation and adjustment
The seat of your child should be adjusted not only to your child but also to your car. If you can not test the seat adjustment before buying it, make sure you can return it or exchange it. Visit Safe Kids USA to get dates and places where they can verify your installation. Here are some tips to help you achieve a correct fit:
- Read the car and seat manual carefully.
- Check the recline of the seats facing rearward. This is essential, especially for babies. A too-straight seat can allow the baby’s head to fall forward, obstructing his breathing. Most seats have an integrated level indicator.
- Child seats can be installed using the seat belt of your vehicle. But it is often easier to get a secure fit with a BUCKLE.
- Attaches and reinforces the upper belt for all forward facing seats installed with BUCKLE or safety belt.
- You may need to remove the headrest from the back seat to allow the forward-facing seat to fit properly against the backrest.
- To make sure the harness is tight. You should not be able to pinch more than 1 inch of fabric at the child’s shoulder.
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