Shopping for an infant car seat feels a little like the first real test of parenthood. The stakes are high—your baby’s safety—and the options are numerous. The pressure is on to get it right. But what exactly is right?
Every car seat sold in the US needs to pass Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213, so if you’re looking for the “safest” seat, you’re out of luck. They’re all safe in theory, but the car seat needs to be used properly in order to protect your baby, and roughly 85% of car seats are not used properly.
That’s why car seat manufacturers have made ease-of-use a big priority, and they’ve incorporated new technology and features into their car seat designs. The newest infant car seats are easier than ever to install, which is a boon for parents, grandparents and caregivers.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 is a great basic car seat that surpasses the required standard and was the first seat to offer an easier installation. It has become one of the most popular infant car seats in America. The Chicco Keyfit has a unique “center pull” feature and intuitive seatbelt lock-offs, both of which make installation simple and straightforward.
The UPPAbaby Mesa has an innovative feature called Smart Secure. There is a built-in retractor in the car seat base that enables you to do a proper installation in under ten seconds. Just push down on the base, and watch for the indicator to turn from red to green—easy.
The Nuna Pipa is bringing a couple of European safety features to America. The Pipa uses Isofix (or rigid LATCH), so there are no straps to tighten, and you can install the base in mere seconds. It also has a load leg, which is a metal support that is part of the base and secures the seat even further in a crash.
The Cybex Aton Q will be coming out this Spring, and in addition to being beautifully designed, it has innovative side impact protection. It will also have the flattest lying position, which is great for babies with lower birth weight.
The car seat innovation trend is going to continue in 2014 because even more infant car seats are expected to come out this year that are going to incorporate new technology in their design and engineering. If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment below, and I’ll be sure to answer.