Published On: Wed, Jul 11th, 2018

Infant Safety Seat: What Is the Best 2018 Baby Car Seat?

Each year, car seat manufacturer’s come out with new infant safety seat designs. Some may carry the name of well-known fashion designers, others may feature the latest and greatest convenient accessories, while still others may be redesigns to make them more lightweight or easier to install.

When it comes to infant car seats, manufacturers have to adhere to certain mandatory safety guidelines, while still making a seat that is appealing to the desires and budget range of its consumer base.

photo David Peña via pixabay

There are already plenty of lists that declare the best baby car seat of 2018, but what really makes an infant car seat the best has to do with three main factors.

1. How It Is Built

All car seat manufacturers are required to follow the safety standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for crash performance in a 30 mph crash test. However, some exceed these standards with better crash performance that expands to 35 mph or higher and side impact protection.

Infant car seats are built as rear-facing, convertible, or a travel system. Here’s a brief look at each one:

Rear-facing car seats –They feature a base and a bucket seat that snaps onto the base. This allows you to take the seat out and use it as a baby carrier.

Convertible car seats – Designed as one piece to remain in the car, these start out as rear-facing and convert to a forward-facing seat and then, with some, a booster seat when your child meets the applicable height and weight requirements.

Travel car seat systems – These are a combination infant car seat and stroller. The car seat snaps into a base when traveling in a vehicle and then clips into a stroller when taking the baby out of the car.

All in all, a car seat must be built with:

  • Quality materials that will last until your infant outgrows it;
  • A sturdy frame and comfortable seat;
  • Standard features to improve its safety and performance;
  • Accessories, such as trays, canopies, or removable fabric, to meet your lifestyle;

2. How It Functions

While car seats all have to meet an established safety bar, function is where car seats start to differ. The functionality of a rear-facing infant car seat is paramount because without it, the car seat will not be used properly.

Some car seat manufacturers do a better job with functionality in these four areas:

  1. Vehicle installation features that are well explained and make installation easy;
  2. Ease in securing the child in the seat;
  3. Age, weight and height functionality;
  4. The extent of its functionality.

Infant car seats that snap into a base provide greater functionality because you can simply purchase extra bases for other vehicles in your household rather than buying multiple car seats. Furthermore, you can use the car seat to carry your baby when not in the vehicle or snap the seat into a compatible stroller.

In the end, the infant car seat has to:

  • Fit into your car, so be sure to measure your back seat before buying;
  • Have harnesses, straps and buckles that are easy to operate;
  • Function with other car seats in your back seat;
  • Function with other vehicles of different sizes and different interiors. This is important if there are multiple vehicles in the household, or if your baby will be traveling in other people’s vehicles or in other modes of transportation.

3. How It Performs

A baby car seat can only perform as good as its build and functionality. The best performing infant safety seats are those with a five-point harness, an anti-rebound back that limits movement in the event of a crash, and an easy to use LATCH system to provide a safe ride.

Taking everything into consideration, the car seat’s performance must:

  • Have an easy mechanism for adjusting the car seat’s straps as your child grows;
  • Match your lifestyle and daily travels;
  • Stands up to everyday use, like bangs, spills, etc.;
  • Have removable parts, like padding or fabric, that you can clean regularly.

What Makes a Car Seat the Best?

The rankings of car seats each year are generally based on consumer feedback. After all, they are the ones using them every day and intimately know what’s great and not so great about a particular type, brand and model.

Year after year, these car seat manufacturers consistently land in the Top 5: Chicco, Graco, Evenflo, Peg Perego and Maxi-Cosi. It’s important to note, however, that these lists vary based on who is doing the ranking and their rating method. For instance, Britax, UPPAbaby and Nuna, are among the car seat manufacturers that top other best infant car seat lists.

For the best baby car seat of 2018, the Evenflo SafeMax received the highest rating at 9.6 based on independent research and user reviews. Overall, the best rated in the USA infant car seats today had these characteristics in common:

  • Easy to install, with the instruction manual offering in-depth guidance and support;
  • Compact and not bulky;
  • Comfortable seat;
  • Easy to adjust harness;
  • Compatible for use on airplanes;
  • Offers a good range of options, like different fabric colors, pattern choices, accessories and add-ons.

While there are some standout baby car seats, when it comes down to the best 2018 infant car seat, the ultimate winner is the one that best fits your needs and budget.

Author: Anwar Hossain


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