The Top Ten Baby Car Seats of 2018

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car seats

All 50 states have a car seat law, so if you are planning on traveling with your baby at all, you'll need to invest in a car seat. More importantly, you will want your child to be snuggled in as safely as possible every time you hit the road. In 2014, 167,000 children were injured in auto accidents. More than 1,000 of those children died. Car related accidents are the number one cause of death for children under 9 years old. 

With all those grim facts aside, let's get into today's article. Today we are reviewing the top ten baby car seats of 2018. Each car seat listed has met the safety standards. You can click on the individual product review next to each car seat name for specifications and stats for each separate product. 

Here Are The Best Baby Car Seats of 2018!

Product Image

Product Name

Rating

Reviews


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Britax Marathon G4.1 Convertible Car Seat

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Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster

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Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat

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Evenflo, Maestro Booster Car Seat

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Evenflo LitMax 35 Infant Car Seat

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Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Seat

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Orbit Baby G3 Stroller Seat

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Disney Story Go Backless Booster Car Seat

Types of Car Seats

Rear Facing Infant Car Seats

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This type of baby car seat is designed for infants. As the name suggests, a rear facing infant car seat is made to only face the back of the vehicle. Most babies will outgrow a rear facing infant car seat around 8 months of age. At that time, the recommendation is to purchase a convertible or all-in-one car seat and place it facing the rear. 

Convertible Car Seats

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A convertible car seat can change as the child grows from rear facing to forward facing. This type of baby car seat allows the child to stay in the rear facing position longer than a rear facing infant car seat. 

All-in-one Car Seats

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This car seat can grow with your child. It can go from rear facing, to forward facing, and then can change into a booster seat. This seat, like the convertible car seat, allows the child to stay in a rear facing seat longer. An all-in-one car seat can save you money in the long run, since you'll be set for several years of traveling with your child. 

Types of Booster Seats

Booster Seat with a high back

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This car seat can grow with your child. It can go from rear facing, to forward facing, and then can change into a booster seat. This seat, like the convertible car seat, allows the child to stay in a rear facing seat longer. An all-in-one car seat can save you money in the long run, since you'll be set for several years of traveling with your child. 

Backless booster seats

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This type of booster seat is ideal for vehicles that have a head rest. A backless booster seat does not provide any type of head or neck support. This seat is made to boost the child's height so that the seat belt fits correctly.

Combination seat

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This car seat transitions from a forward facing seat into a booster seat. 

Difference between high back and backless booster seats

  • High Back Booster Seat provides head and neck support
  • Backless Booster Seat provides no extra support

How To Keep Your Child Safe In The Winter

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A child should be in a car seat at all times when a vehicle is in operation.  The number one thing that you can do to keep your child safe in the Winter or any time of the year is to have him or her buckled up properly.

Car Seat Accessories To Consider Buying: 

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Car Window Shades

A car window shade will block heat and UV rays from reaching your baby so that your baby doesn't become too hot.  Window shades can also protect your baby from getting skin problems or other health problems caused by the sun.  Keep in mind that if your car windows are already tinted, you may not need this product.

Car Seat Mirror

A car seat mirror is installed on the back seat so that you can watch a rear-facing child.  This works well with convertible car seats since they need to be installed rear-facing.

Car Seat Travel Bag

If you travel a lot with your children, you may find it helpful to purchase a car seat travel bag.  The interior is padded so that the car seat does not get damaged.  Most car seat travel bags have wheels and a handle.  Some have carrying straps, which means that you carry it as though you were carrying a backpack. There are many different sizes and designs, so make sure the car seat fits in the bag.

 

Commonly Asked Car Seat Questions

What is the NHTSA?

The NHTSA stands for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA works to make it easier for families to select and use a car seat correctly. 

How do I install my baby car seat?

Yes. Most hospitals will send someone out to your vehicle to check how you installed your car seat. They should  also help you install it correctly if it is installed the wrong way. Some stores and also fire departments have certified passenger safety technicians that may help you install your car seat. Safe Kids coalitions have thousands of car sea check up events around the country.

When should you buy a car seat?

Of course it is! In fact, it's a good idea to be ready and prepared. It's also smart to get your car seat properly installed before you go into labor. It will alleviate unneeded stress to get this task completed ahead of time. 

Do Preemies Need Special Car Seats? 

car seats

If your baby is under 5 pounds, then you might need a special preemie car seat. Each state law is different, but the main thing is that you want to make sure your baby is safe when traveling. A regular infant car seat will most likely be too big for a preemie. 

The biggest concern for finding a preemie the right car seat, is if the shoulder strap is tight enough. Most likely the hospital will be able to perform a safety test. They will monitor your baby's heart rate and oxygen levels while he or she is sitting in the seat. 

You can buy padding systems for small children called "head huggers," however these aren't recommended since your baby may suffocate if they turn their head into the hugger. 

What If My Baby Slouches In Their Car Seat? 

car seats

It's important that your baby is positioned correctly in the car seat without slouching. Because newborns can't yet pick up their heads, slouching especially with the head down towards the chest could cause airway issues. 

Make sure that the car seat straps are snug, including the buckle that will keep your baby's crotch in the proper position, so that he or she can't slide downwards. The car seat should be reclined as much as is allowable on the instructions. 

When Is My Child Ready For A Booster Seat? 

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The type of seat that your child will need depends on your child's age and size.  Any movement in a crash will increase the chances of injury or death to a child.  To ride in a booster seat, your child should be able to ride the entire trip sitting up straight  This usually happens for most kids around 5 to 7 years of age.  So, a lot will depend on the behavior and maturity of your child.

never use a car seat that:

  • That is broken, old, or has an unknown history 
  • If you can't find the serial numbers or it has missing labels
  • Check safekids.org to see if a child seat has been recalled
  • Car seats usually only last 5 to 7 years after it as manufactured.
  • Keep In Mind Before Purchasing: 

    Safety

    • Safety should be your top priority when shopping for a car seat. Remember that infants can only sit rear facing or in  convertible infant car seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics( AAP) recommends that parents keep children in rear facing car seats until they are at least two years old.
    • Ideally, children will face the back until they reach the seat's weight and height limits. This normally happens when your child is around three or four.

    Ease of Use

    • Ease of use should also be one of your top priorities when purchasing an infant car seat. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration( NHTSA) uses a 5 star rating system when evaluating baby car seats.
    • The more stars a seat has, the easier it should be to use. The NHTSA also takes into account how easy the car seat is to install.

    Other Things to Look For:

    • If you are looking to save money, you may want to bundle your shopping by buying a car seat and stroller combination. You can check out our product reviews on double strollers for tips. 
    • Make sure the straps are adjustable. Ideally, you will want straps that don't need to be rethreaded.

    Fun Activities To Do With Your Child In The Car

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    Car rides can be boring for children.  Plain and simple, having to sit still can be extremely hard if not close to impossible for some children.  You can make car rides go by smoother by playing some games to keep your child's mind occupied.  I'll go over some fun activities here to play with your child in a car:

    • Sing songs together.  Songs like Old Mac Donald Had a Farm, and The Alphabet Song can make time pass quicker.
    • Look for letters on signs.  Try to go through the whole alphabet by looking for letters in the environment. For example, if your child sees a highway sign with the letter A in it, he or she can cross off that letter and look for the next letter which is a B.  Continue until the whole alphabet has been found.
    • Play "I Spy."  If you see a red vehicle in front of you, say "I spy with my little eye, something that is red."  The child that finds the correct object gets to go next and spy something.

    Basic Tips For Car Installation

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    Since all car seats are different, you will first want to ask the car seat manufacturer how to install it correctly.  Also, make sure to read the owners manual thoroughly.  5 point harness systems need to fit snugly so that there is no movement for the child.  The back of the car seat needs to be secured to the vehicle according to manufacturer's directions so that the seat does not come undone in the event of a crash.

    LATCH System

    Most newer models of vehicles have a LATCH system which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.  What this means is that vehicles that have a LATCH system, have permanent anchors for tethering in a car seat.  If your vehicle has a tethering system, make sure to use the anchors when installing a car seat.  If your vehicle doesn't have an anchoring system, you may want to consider contacting your auto dealership to get a tethering system installed.  A LATCH system is the safest system for a car seat.

    Have Your Installed Car Seat Checked by a Professional

    Most fire departments, police stations, and hospitals will do a courtesy check to see if your car seat is installed correctly.  There is usually no charge for this service.  Make sure to contact your local fire department, police station, or hospital to ask about this.

    How To Dress Your Child In A Car Seat

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    When your child is in a car seat, it's important that the straps fit snugly.  If a child is wearing bulky clothing like a snowsuit, the outfit will get compressed in a crash and jostle your child around.  Any extra movement in an accident can lead to injury or death for the child.  Try to dress your child in a thin layer.  Then if it's cold out, you can put a blanket around your buckled in baby.

    Tips For Getting Your Child Through Long Car Rides

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    Sometimes you have to travel long distances with a child.  It goes against the nature of a  healthy and active child to be buckled in and strained, so trips can be tough for your child and for you.  Here are some things that you can do to make those trips more bearable.

    • Take breaks to get out and let your child partake in some movement including basic exercises.  Let them blow off steam at rest areas.
    • Keep your child occupied with games and activities.
    • Play fun music

    General Car Safety Tips For Any Time Of Year

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    Have Your Child Ride in the Backseat

    If your child is 12 years old or under, have him/her ride in the backseat.  In case you were in a crash, the backseat is the safest place.

    Make sure the harness is snug around your child

    If the harness is attached correctly, you should be able to slide your finger underneath the belt.  If it is any tighter or looser, you will need to install it differently.  Also, make sure the safety belt holds the seat securely in place.  Remember that young children will need a child restraint system.  The seatbelt itself is not enough to protect your child in a crash.  Ask your car seat manufacturer, or read the owner manual about how to properly use the child restraint.

    Infants must be rear-facing in the backseat

    If your child is under one year of age or is under 20 pounds, the car seat will need to be rear-facing.  Once your child is over 20 pounds and over one year old, he may face forward in the car seat.


    Recommended Best-Sellers

    SaleBestseller No. 1
    Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Harvest Moon
    • BUILT TO GROW: The 3-in-1 car seat built to GROW for extended use through 3 stages: Rear-facing 5-40 pounds, Forward-facing 22-65 pounds, and Belt-positioning booster 40-100 pounds
    • SIDE IMPACT PROTECTION: The Grow and Go's side impact protection helps keep your child safe
    • EASY IN, EASY OUT: Harness holders keep the harness in an open position so it's easy to get your child in and out of the seat
    SaleBestseller No. 2
    Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat, Saturn
    • Side impact tested, Meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards and Evenflo's side impact test standard
    • Designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately 2X the Federal crash test standard
    • Multiple shoulder harness positions for better fit and longer use. Age at least two years of age
    SaleBestseller No. 3
    Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster, Jubilee
    • This 2-in-1 Combination Booster Car Seat fitting children from 22-110 lbs. converts from a harnessed to belt-positioning car seat allowing for extended use for your child
    • The Chase LX Combination Booster Car seat helps protect harnessed children from 22-40 pounds and belt-positioned children from 40-110 pounds; Age: At least two years of age
    • This lightweight Combination Booster Car Seat comes equipped for LATCH systems allowing for easy installation and transfer between multiple vehicles
    SaleBestseller No. 4
    Disney APT Convertible Car Seat, Mouseketeer Minnie
    • Designed for children 5 to 40 pounds and 19 inches to 43 inches in height
    • rear-facing 5 to 40 pounds and forward facing 22 to 40 pounds
    • Side impact protection
    Bestseller No. 5
    Evenflo Tribute Sport Convertible Car Seat, Maxwell
    • Compact size for great vehicle fit
    • Up-front harness adjustment for easy access
    • 5-point harness system provides a secure fit

    Conclusion

    I hope that this list of the top 10 baby car seats helps you in selecting the right car seat for your child. Make sure that you click on each individual review above to read a detailed list of each car seat's specifications. Bringing home your baby, or taking him or her out for their first ride, should be a pleasant and safe experience for all involved.  Make sure that you use all resources available to help you install your car seat properly after you have purchased it. 

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