10 Best Safety Rated Newborn Car Seats

A newborn car seat is on the shopping list of every expectant parent who uses an automobile. Because this is a crucial piece of equipment, there are many brands and models available to consumers. You’ll need to do your homework when it comes to finding the car seat that you feel is best for your child. This article contains information on ten of the safest newborn car seats for sale. Although there are some variations in the look and feel of these seats, the focus is on their tested safety. There aren’t many more important investments in the early years of your parenthood, so choose wisely.

Comparison Table

What Makes Some Car Seats Safer then Others?

Newborn Car Seat

Image by Pam Simon from Pixabay

There are several factors that go into the design of a newborn car seat. Some manufacturers focus more on the aesthetics of the seat while others emphasize safety. These designs all rely on the correct usage and installation of the seat as well. The more secure seats on the market are intended to be rear-facing and installed in the back seat of the vehicle. The safer seats typically include a four to five-point harness, as opposed to the less desirable three-point systems. Higher rated newborn car seats will also have multiple anchor points for the base and the detachable carrier. This ensures that your child will move around less and have a greater chance of avoiding injury in the event of a crash. The safer seats also include deeper, more protected seating areas with energy-absorbing padding. When you consider the different options available for your baby, the strongest emphasis should be on support and stability.

10 of the Safest Newborn Car Seats

While there are many choices available to fledgling parents, not all car seats are created equally. Dozens of car seats go through rigorous testing and only a fraction of them receive the highest safety ratings. Although some parents think that a more expensive car seat means a more secure car seat, there are safe products available to several budgets. These ten options can provide peace of mind at various price points.

The Easiest Infant Car Seat to Install

Pushing button to recline car seat

Simply

ReclineSure® leveling foot

push button of car seat

Accurately

RideRight® bubble level-indicators

checking car seat for safety

Securely

SuperCinch® LATCH tightener

Chicco Key Fit 30 Zip Infant Car Seat, Serene
  • Quick remove seat pad that is machine-washable for easy cleanup
  • Seat interior lined with EPS energy absorbing foam for improved impact protection
  • Infant insert for smaller babies from 4 to 30 Pounds

This car seat can be found for about a high priced, depending on which options you choose. It’s rear-facing and uses a latched base which attaches to the carrier. This product uses upgraded latch connectors, energy-absorbing foam, and even has a bubble level for improved installation. Although this seat has a smaller canopy than most others, it also has wider should straps which reduce twisting. This newborn car seat is rated as one of the best seats overall and you will see why if you purchase it.

Unmatched Protection

Unmatched Protection:

A deep shell lined with energy-absorbing foam shields your child from front and side impacts.

Smart Design

Smart Design:

The contoured shell takes up little space in your vehicle and minimizes side-to-side movement to maximize protection.

Safe and Easy Installation

Safe and Easy Installation:

Correctly securing the car seat is easy with center-pull straps and quick, push-button, lower Latch connectors.

Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat, Black
  • Check out our all new B Safe 35 Infant Car Seat (B07BRMC7BY)
  • Surrounded in safety: A layer of side impact protection, steel frame, and impact absorbing base
  • Easy installation: Use Safe Center LATCH or built in seat belt lock offs to secure the infant car seat

The Britax B-Safe is a bit pricey, depending on the retailer and style options. This car seat is one of the top sellers and you can’t go wrong with the safety reputation of Britax. The B-Safe is American-made and gives you the option to use a latch or the car’s seat belt for installation. This product has several adjustable components as well which means the fit and function will be just right for your child. Installing and adjusting the B-Safe is easier than several other models. This car seat features a deep cradle, a large canopy, and impact-resistant foam along the sides. Along with the safety of this newborn car seat, you’ll have a one-year warranty for added peace of mind.

Latch and Level

Latch & Level

The SnugRide Classic Connect 30 comes equipped with a LATCH-equipped stay-in-car base, for extra-easy installation of all Graco Classic Connect infant car seats. The base also features a handy and easy-to-read level indicator, which takes the guesswork out of installation—it helps make it easy to know that your car seat is installed properly.

Infant Car Seat Base

Infant Car Seat Base

With the included and convenient stay-in-car base, you can install it once and then just connect your car seat with a moment’s notice. You can also pick up a second stay-in-car base for another parent or caregiver to install in their vehicle.

Rear Facing for Infants

Rear-Facing for Infants

All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat, as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. 

Graco SnugRide 30 Classic Connect Infant Car Seat, Metropolis
  • Snugride classic connect 30 infant car seat, in metropolis, helps protect rear-facing infants from 4 - 30 pounds and up...
  • Top rated by leading consumer magazines and publications
  • Rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed U.S. Safety Standards

This manufacturer is one of the most well-known names in baby carriers. While this reputation doesn’t guarantee the safest newborn car seat, it does mean a lower price point. For one of the more affordable options, the SnugRide provides comfort and security with fewer bells and whistles.  

SAFE Technology

SAFE Technology

A Shock Absorbing Foam Element (SAFE) device located below the shell crumples upon impact, reducing stress on child’s neck and shoulders in the event of a crash.

AdjustableSide Impact Protection

AdjustableSide Impact Protection

Side Impact Protection (SIP) protects child’s head, neck and spine. Easily adjusts to 10 different positions, even with child in the seat, ensuring one of the best and safest fit. Energy-absorbing foam, Expanded Poly Styrene (EPS), in shell and head panel protects child’s head and torso from impact forces.

Energy Management System

Energy Management System

A contoured steel back plate minimizes flexing and reduces forward movement upon impact. Steel pins collect energy and dig into base of the seat to reduce the stress felt on child.

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible Car Seat, Atmosphere
  • Made In Italy. Reversible-can be used rear facing for children 5 to 45 pound and forward facing for children 22 to 65...
  • Side impact protection protects child's head, neck and spine, easily adjusts to 10 different positions, even with child...
  • Energy-absorbing foam, EPS throughout the seat protects child's head and torso from impact forces, a shock absorbing...

This newborn car seat weighs in as one of the highest priced. Although this one is more pricey, it’s with good reason as there are several unique options on this seat. The Primo Viaggio boasts adjustable side impact padding, a very comfortable handle, an easily adjustable five-point harness, a decent sized canopy, impact absorbing foam, and Italian-made quality. This seat also includes an advanced safety feature called an anti-rebound bar. Although not required in the US, this technology is now standard in Europe.

Maxi-Cosi Mico AP Infant Car Seat, Devoted Black
  • Rear-facing from 5-22 pounds and up to 29"
  • Lightest premium infant car seat available
  • Air Protect superior side impact protection and stay-in-car adjustable base included

This car seat is more moderately priced, and is one of the most comfortable options for children. The materials used are not only cozy for your baby but also easy on your eyes. Much like the Primo Viaggio, this model has an anti-rebound bar and EPP (upgraded from EPS) impact-absorbing foam. The plush fabrics used on this seat are easy to clean or remove for machine washing. Similar to the other newborn car seats on the list, the Mico is very comfortable and definitely safe. It’s also advertised as the lightest premium infant seat on the market. This car seat is an outstanding combo of style, safety, and versatility.

Safety 1st Onboard 35 Air+ Infant Car Seat, St. Germain
  • Air Protect advanced cushion system protects your child's head, where it's needed most
  • GCell HX patented foam with hexagonal shapes inside the seat provides superior body protection
  • Machine washable seat pad and 4 harness heights and 3 buckle locations to accommodate your growing child

The OnBoard car seat is reasonably priced. This car seat emphasizes safety and versatility, with less focus on aesthetics. The OnBoard is the first seat to utilize an air cushioning system which acts like airbags or pillows surrounding your child. Energy-absorbing foam and a five-point harness are also safety highlights of this one. The ample padding and fabric are also easy to remove and clean. This newborn car seat is compatible with several different stroller systems and has an adjustable harness as well, making it more versatile than some other models.

2018 UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat - Henry (Blue Marl) Merino Wool...
  • NEW! 2018 MESA Infant Car Seat
  • FIRST AND ONLY car seat to pass federal safety standards without the use of fire retardant chemicals.
  • SMART Secure system installs in seconds. Dimensions(Inches) - Infant Car Seat - 25.8 L x 17 W x 23 H. Car Seat on Base...

The Mesa is priced a bit higher than other newborn car seats. One reason for this price tag is how easy this seat is to install and use; it beats out many other options in this area. The materials and technology involved here are second to none as well. This seat even includes an infant insert, geared toward the safety of premature children. All of the standard safety features are available on this car seat, too. For added convenience, all of the components are covered in fabric that is easily removed for cleaning. The Mesa’s red to green tension indicator is an innovative new feature that helps ensure your child is positioned just right.

Bucket Pockets

Buckle Pockets

Neatly and smartly tuck the buckle tongues away—making it easier and safer to get the child in and out of the seat without worrying about burns from hot buckles.

Surfsafe Installation with LATCH Guides

SureSafe Installation with LATCH Guides

Advanced LATCH technology with LATCH Guides for a secure installation in seconds.

Seat Belt Lock OFF

Seat Belt Lock Off

Belt Lock-off for easy and accurate install with the seatbelt every time.

Evenflo SafeMax Infant Car Seat, Noelle
  • This Rear-Facing Infant Car Seat fitting newborns and babies from 4-35 pounds includes a stay-in-car convenience...
  • The SafeMax Infant Car Seat is the FIRST rollover-tested car seat offering extended safety combined with a lightweight...
  • The SafeMax is equipped with Sure Safe Latch guides that make proper installation easy in cars equipped with lower latch...

When it comes to safety, Evenflo can be trusted to diligently test and improve their products. This newborn car seat is the first to go through rollover testing and it features an anti-rebound bar for even more stability. The whole interior is lined with impact-absorbing foam and the harness system couldn’t be easier to use. This model also has different settings for height and width, meaning it can grow along with your child.

Baby Trend Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat, Vanguard
  • For weights between 5 and 30 pound (2.2 and 13.6 kg.) heights of 30" or less (76.2 cm)
  • 5-point harness; easy one-hand harness adjustment; and push-button release
  • 4-position push-button height adjustable base with level indicator for proper installation

Although this model isn’t quite as high-quality as the others, it is very affordable and perfectly safe. Most of the other newborn car seats mentioned here are easier to use and install, but this seat has all of the standard safety features. The harness system, leveling function, impact-absorbing foam, large canopy, and soft handle make this product a great option at a low price point. It’s compatible with multiple strollers as well, for added versatility and convenience.

CYBEX Aton 2 Infant Car Seat, Black Beauty
  • Lightweight carrier: Easy to carry around
  • Energy-absorbing shell: Provides outstanding crash protection
  • Adjustable Load Leg: Prevents seat from rotating forward in a crash, protecting the spine

Last but certainly not least, this car seat has almost everything you could want for your little one. You may find it well worth the price though, as many parents have described it as easier to install and use than other seats. Aesthetically the Aton 2 comes in some vibrant colors with a sleek design. This doesn’t overshadow the exceptional spinal protection afforded by this seat’s padding and harness system though. Consumer Reports rated this seat as one of the best in its crash test rankings.

Proper Installation and Use

Like almost any product, user error can negatively affect the intended results. The proper installation and use of a newborn car seat are no different in that regard. To get the most security from your seat, you will want to make sure you know how to install and use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, there are tons of relevant videos on YouTube and your local police department may even be willing to provide a demonstration. When installing the seat you’ll want to make sure you read the instructions provided, position it in the back seat, secure it tightly, connect the tether, and level the car seat. After you get the basics down, you can tweak things according to your baby’s preferences.

Conclusion

Ultimately your newborn car seat purchase should evoke peace of mind and satisfaction. You’ll want the seat that you can feel confident hitting the highways with, while looking stylish at the same time. Give some thought to your budget, your vehicle(s), safety ratings, and installation requirements. Some design features are mandatory for security purposes, while others are simply a matter of visual preference. There are many choices to consider, but only one or two will be the best for your family.

Featured Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay