While we fully acknowledge the disparity between the standardized FMVSS213 test bench and some aspects of the real world, the Consumer Reports test bench is not an FMVSS213 approved bench.  All car seats sold today are designed and tested around this FMVSS213 test bench.  They’re not designed around Consumer Reports’ setup or methodology.  Or around any other well-intentioned organization that may choose to develop their own test setup and methodology.  They’re designed around FMVSS213 and they pass or exceed all criteria for FMVSS213.
Price: Speaking of price, infant car seats vary widely in quality, style, and (importantly) price. You will notice that some car seats sell for under $100, whereas others are upwards of $300. There are usually very good reasons for the price differences. In general, the more expensive car seats tend to be plusher, softer to the touch, more user-friendly, use higher quality parts (snaps, handles, hinges, clips, fabric, stitching), lighter parts, and come in a more stylish array of color and pattern options. Are more expensive car seats safer? No, when used correctly all car seats are safe and must meet the requirements of the NHTSA. However, some of the less expensive brands may meet NHTSA minimum requirements whereas others go beyond those standards. A good example of going beyond NHTSA requirements to increase safety is using an anti-rebound bar to reduce rotational forces due to accident impact, or double and triple side-impact protection. Overall, expect to spend under $150 for a good quality car seat, between $150-250 for a high-quality car seat, and over $300 for a fancy seat with extra safety and convenience features. It's nice to know, however, that you can get one of the best infant car seats on the market for only about $150 and rest assured that it is a safe option for your baby. Though we haven't done a full review of it yet, this would be a good point to mention the relatively new Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat, that's only about $150 and has some pretty nice features for the price, complementing their Baby Jogger City View convertible car seat.
Today’s baby car seats come with an attachment system that keeps them in place using built-in anchors and tethers in your car. However, most seats can still be used with the vehicle belt alone. Car seat manufacturers usually recommend using one or the other (with the exception of a booster seat). So always read your user manual or consult a local car seat technician to make sure you’re using the correct attachments.
All car seat models, convertible and otherwise, are subject to state laws regarding their safe use. Before car seat installation, parents and other caregivers must understand the regulations that apply to their state. What follows is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a great place to start. After all, nothing is more important than the health and safety of your precious cargo.
Features: 4-50 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward-facing; 4-position legrest extension panel for rear-facing only, no re-thread harness with 10 height positions; 2 buckle positions; base has 6 positions; EPS foam; push-on LATCH connectors; harness storage pockets to hold harness out of the way during loading/unloading; infant insert; dual integrated cup holders.
Our comments: A niche product. Great for travel, carpooling and tight 3-across situations. We recommend only for older kids who weigh at least 40 lbs., don’t sleep in the car and are mature enough to sit properly in a booster. Newest models have updated lap belt guides which are easier for kids to use. The BubbleBum has a Best Bet rating from IIHS. See our BubbleBum review here.
We pride ourselves in having an ad-free website - that means no annoying pop-ups or banner ads for you. But it also means no advertising revenue for us! Instead, Mommyhood101 participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com. Complete terms and conditions.
Features: 5-50 lbs. rear-facing; 22-65 lbs. forward-facing and at least 1 year old (2 years old is suggested); 10-position headrest with no-rethread harness; 2 buckle positions; innovative “true tension doors” for ease of installation with seatbelt (preferred installation method); 10-position base; energy-absorbing EPS foam & side impact protection (SIP) pods; smooth harness adjustment; extension panel that can be used rear-facing for increased legroom or forward-facing for additional thigh support.
In general it's best hold off on using a booster seat and keep your child in a forward-facing, convertible car seat for as long as possible - as long as the child is still within the car seat's height and weight limits* and fits correctly. Car seats are safer because they help spread the force of a sudden stop or impact across the strongest parts of your child's body. So when your child outgrows their current car seat and even if they exceed your province's or territory's guidelines, you can try looking for a larger car seat that still fits. There are car seat models that go all the way up to 30kg (65lb).

A backless booster seat is a basic model that boosts your child up but doesn’t offer any side or back support. Since the car’s own seat provides back support with this kind of booster, it’s not recommended for use in cars with low back seats and/or no headrests. Backless booster seats are great for older kids who wouldn't fit comfortably in a high-back model. They're also much more affordable than high-back booster seats.


Shopping is not easy for newcomers. However, there are certain factors to focus on while shopping for the safest infant car seats. Start with your lifestyle. Do you live an active lifestyle or a more relaxed lifestyle? Active lifestyles require a travel system for versatility and convenience. That way, you can go from your car to the stroller in an instant. On the other hand, an all-in-one car seat is more than enough for any slow-paced lifestyle!
The Graco ComfortSport is a good convertible car seat for families on a budget. At under $100, this workhorse accommodates kids from newborn (5+ pounds) to toddler years (40 pounds, max), and throws in comfort and safety features like LATCH compatibility, EPS energy absorbing foam, an adjustable five-point harness, and installation level indicator. As with similar seats, keep in mind that you’ll probably have to upgrade to another convertible or all-in-one seat once your child exceeds 40 pounds.
The Britax Advocate scores major points with us because it is one of the easiest convertible seats to install. Latch connectors make the process simple and quick, and the seat can be just as quickly uninstalled with the push of a button. The Britax is a larger seat that takes up quite a bit of space in rear-facing position; potential buyers should note the size of their backseat bench before purchasing. 
It’s been extensively crash tested, most notably for Evenflo’s side impact standard for structural integrity, which is almost twice the federal crash test standards. Most newborns will fit into the seat from the start thanks to the easy to adjust harness, head and body pillow, and plenty of strap positions. The multiple recline angles can be easily adjusted with a button on the front of the base.
We began by examining online customer reviews and existing media coverage, including BabyGearLab and Car Seats for the Littles. We also spoke with industry representatives at the 2018 Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association baby show in Washington, DC. That left us with a list of over 40 booster models, including those that convert from high-back to backless and those that are high-back or backless only.
Julie Mansfield, a research engineer with the Injury Biomechanics Research Center at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, found that though frontal impacts are the most common type of car crash, side-impact collisions have a higher percentage of injuries. “The way cars are designed, there isn’t as much protection in a side impact,” said Mansfield. “You see a lot of intrusion that comes into the door.” In the case of a frontal-impact crash, more of the car stands as a protective barrier between the passengers and the collision. 

Features: 5-point harness from 2 years old AND 25-90 lbs.; booster to 120 lbs.; innovative ClickTight installation system; easy no re-thread harness height adjuster; HUGS harness pads; 3 buckle positions; SafeCell technology in base; dual integrated cup holders; armrests; Pinnacle 90 model has additional energy-absorbing “Side Impact Cushion Technology” bolsters on sides for increased protection in side impact crashes
Graco 4ever ​All-in-One Graco Extend2Fit Britax Marathon ClickTight Graco Milestone All-in-One Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Diono Rainier All-In-One Clek Fllo Evenflo Symphony Elite All-In-One Britax USA Boulevard Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max Graco Size4Me 65 Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible Chicco NextFit Britax Advocate ClickTight Evenflo Triumph LX
Features: 5-point harness from 2 years old AND 25-90 lbs.; booster to 120 lbs.; innovative ClickTight installation system; easy no re-thread harness height adjuster; HUGS harness pads; 3 buckle positions; SafeCell technology in base; dual integrated cup holders; armrests; Pinnacle 90 model has additional energy-absorbing “Side Impact Cushion Technology” bolsters on sides for increased protection in side impact crashes

There is no one set way to install a car seat. You should always thoroughly read the manual before doing anything. Good manuals will have clear directions in many different languages as well as models and diagrams that you can use. If you’re still having trouble installing the seat, look for tips and installation videos on YouTube or the manufacturer’s website.

But here’s the other thing: as parents, we all agree that car seats should be a hot topic because they’re one of the most important aspects to keeping our kids safe. The average family spends a lot of time in the car: grocery runs and after-school sports and weekend jaunts and, well, all those interminable minutes and hours you spend going to and fro, hither and thither.
We spoke with experts on car seat safety, policy, and installation, and looked closely at the results of government testing conducted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Association, the federal agency charged with road safety. We also looked at the findings of BabyGearLab, which also conducted independent laboratory crash-testing of several booster seats.
Our comments: Both Nautilus models offer a no-rethread harness. Both are generally easy to install and use correctly although the new Nautilus SnugLock model has a nifty tensioning and locking feature that makes it super easy to achieve a secure installation. Use seatbelt plus tether to install if child weighs more than 45 lbs. Since the original Nautilus models lack a lockoff for seatbelt installations you must read your vehicle owner’s manual to determine how your seatbelts lock in order to properly install that model with seatbelt. The original Nautilus models and the Nautilus SnugLock DLX have a Best Bet rating from the IIHS when used in highback mode.
×