Infant car seats are created specifically for babies under a year old. They cradle and provide customized support to newborns, and may be the safest option for young babies. Infant car seats can only be used rear-facing and most reach a maximum weight of 20 to 22 pounds, though some may extend to 30 pounds. The seat attaches to a removable base and can be used as a carrier or attached to a stroller. You can purchase extra bases to add to your cars for added convenience. There are many styles of infant seats available, with different sets of features.
Chicco Key Fit 30
The Key Fit 30 is one of the few infant car seats that fits babies up to 30 pounds and 30 inches in height. This car seat offers plenty of features for the price. The Chicco Key Fit 30 is one of the highest rated infant car seats according to Consumer Reports. Combine this car seat’s high safety rating with its affordability and you have a winner. The seat easily clicks into its base, the straps rarely twist and it’s easier to adjust and lighter than other infant car seats. Average price in 2009: $180 – $190.
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 30/30
This car seat from Peg Perego is the ultimate in luxury and high-end design. The seat is ensconced in a soft microfiber material and offers ample amounts of padding combined with the latest safety features. The Primo Viaggio SIP 30/30 was designed in Italy and offers full side-impact protection, especially for older babies, making it a great choice if you’re keeping your baby extended rear-facing. The car seat is heavy and bulky, yet durable. It is FAA certified for use on airplanes. Average price in 2009: $275 – $300.
Being one of the most popular infant car seats ever made, the Graco SnugRide doesn’t disappoint. This car seat earns top safety ratings while maintaining its affordability. The SnugRide is covered in EPS foam, is available in many different fabrics (even a "winterized" one) and features a five-point harness and padded headrest. Babies up to 22 pounds and 29 inches can ride safely in the SnugRide. One complaint with this car seat is the base, which feels a little on the cheap side. It’s the base which keeps the price down, though. Average price in 2009: $80 – $150.
Baby Trend Flex-Loc
The Baby Trend Flex-Loc car seat has a more limited availability than other infant care seats, but it’s worth the search. The car seat has received excellent safety ratings and is a favorite among parents. The Flex-Loc is distinguished by its triangular-shaped handle, which make it comfortable to hold. Before purchasing this car seat, make sure it’ll actually fit in your car model. It fits babies up to 22 pounds and 28.5 inches in height. Average price in 2009: $90 – $120.