Best infant car seat for your baby
What is the Best Infant Car Seat You Can Buy?
You Asked and the Mom’s Panel Answered
You Can’t Really Judge a Car Seat Unless You’re Wearing Mickey Mouse Ears
Not too long ago, at the request of several readers, we ran an evaluation to decide what the best convertible car seat on the market was. It didn’t take long for expectant moms and moms with newborns to tell us they wanted us to do the same for infant car seats.
Well, our Mom’s Panel and our readers were all over it. We got hundreds of votes from moms who had a lot of opinions about which car seat was “The Best Infant Car Seat You Can Buy”. Three brands of infant car seats came up over and over, so we narrowed it down to three: The Britax Chaperone, the Chicco KeyFit 30 and the Graco Snugride 35. After another week of debating back and forth, we had a winner…..and this is when I got really excited. You want to know why?
Because three weeks earlier, I had spent two days carting my new granddaughter around Disney World in that exact same car seat! Not only did I know the car seat very well, but I also knew that our moms were right-it really is “The Best Infant Car Seat You Can Buy”.
Believe me, you have not tested an infant car seat until you’ve spent a weekend with it (and a nine-week-old) in the Magic Kingdom.
So which car seat did our moms (and Mickey and I) vote as “The Best Infant Car Seat You Can Buy”?
It was the Chicco KeyFit 30.
Our moms love it. My daughter loves it. I came to love it. I think Cinderella seemed pretty impressed, too.
So, since I had just gotten back from a serious road test, I decided that instead of just listing all of the reasons our moms voted for the Chicco KeyFit 30, I would tell you about my experience with the Chicco KeyFit 30 in the “Most Magical Place on Earth”.
First of all, let me explain that it was my daughter’s anniversary. We had all driven down to South Florida for a family reunion and the kids decided they wanted to spend their anniversary weekend at Disney World on the way home. My husband and I decided that we would go along so that Katherine and Steven could have some time alone.
Steven’s parents had given the kids the Chicco KeyFit 30 Travel System as a shower present and we had it with us. (The travel system is the KeyFit 30 infant car seat and the Chicco Cortina stroller.) During the reunion, I hadn’t really had a good chance to look at the KeyFit 30, because some other relative was always hogging the baby.
However, during the two days Matt (my husband) and I took Abigail around Disney World, the KeyFit 30 became one of my very closest friends.
Here’s a picture of the Chicco KeyFit 30 with the Chicco Cortina stroller, which is awesome, by the way. I may do a separate review on the Chicco Cortina another time.
Day One: The Chicco KeyFit 30 Rides the Monorail, sees the World and Meets Mickey Mouse
We arrived at Disney World on Friday evening, took it easy for the night and then hit the park in the morning. Our plan was for Katherine and Steven to sleep in, go play golf and then meet us in the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon, so Matt and I took the baby (and the Chicco KeyFit 30 Travel System) to see the Magic Kingdom.
We were staying at the Grand Floridian, which is on the monorail line, so we took the monorail to the park. This was the first time I fell in love with the Chicco KeyFit 30.
First of all, it was very cool to be able to just pop the car seat off of the stroller, fold the stroller (one-handed folding-my engineer husband loved folding and unfolding it just for fun), get on and off the monorail and then just pop the car seat right back on.
You can position the Chicco KeyFit 30 as either rear-facing or forward-facing on the Chicco Cortina Stroller. Here’s a pic of it in the rear-facing position, which we used most of the time.
The other thing I loved about the Chicco KeyFit 30 on that first leg of the journey was that it was very comfortable to carry on the monorail. It’s surprisingly lightweight and the handle has several positions that you can change up depending on whether you’re carrying it in your hand or over your arm.
Once we got inside the Magic Kingdom, we popped the car seat back onto the stroller and took off. Throughout the morning, I came to love several more things about this car seat.
First of all, I had no worries about Abigail’s comfort. The padding on the Chicco KeyFit 30 is abundant and the fabric is very soft. It comes with a removable infant insert, which gave Abigail extra support and an extra layer of cushioning. Her head didn’t roll into any uncomfortable positions when she napped, which was most of the time.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 comes with an adjustable canopy, but Katherine had also bought the Sun Cover, which was an awesome thing to have.
It not only protected Abigail from the sun, but it also kept her from getting drenched when we had a quick rain late in the morning. It’s not a rain cover, but it did help keep her dry until we could duck into a nearby shop.
The Five-Point Harness is Extremely User-Friendly
We went through three diaper changes before my daughter and her husband joined us in the afternoon, and I was extremely grateful that the five-point harness was easy to lock and unlock.
The last two car seats I owned with my youngest kids could be a real pain to get the baby in and out of. With the Chicco KeyFit, it’s a breeze. The shoulder straps are long enough to stay out of the way when you’re putting a baby in and the latch mechanism is easy to use, even with one hand.
With a monorail ride, several miles of walking and three times in and out of the car seat, the Chicco KeyFit 30 made a wonderful impression on me that first day, but the next night was the real proving ground.
Day Two: The Real Test-The Chicco KeyFit 30 in the Car
On the second evening, after all of us spent the day at Epcot together, Matt and I took the baby with us to have dinner with some friends who live in Orlando while the kids went out for a romantic dinner alone. This was when the Chicco KeyFit 30 really won me over.
Safe, Secure and Easy Installation
With five kids, my husband and I have had our fair share of frustration installing car seats. The Chicco KeyFit 30 was a whole new experience.
It took us less than ten minutes to take the car seat base out of Katherine’s car and install it and the car seat into our car. One of the great features that made it so easy was the level indicator, which has three little sections to tell you when the car seat base is installed properly and where it needs to be adjusted.
This gave me so much more peace of mind than any of my old car seats, where you just jiggled and leaned and adjusted until it felt right. It’s easier to read than many of the bubble level indicators that are on some of the good newer car seats.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 also has integrated lock-offs, so we had it installed nice and securely without having to mess with locking clips. My husband really appreciated the rubber on the underside of the base, which not only protects your car’s upholstery but also makes the base more stable.
It was also very easy to pop the seat into the base and back out again when we got to the restaurant.
All of this is on top of the fact that the Chicco KeyFit 30 is the highest rated infant car seat when it comes to safety. It has extra foam inserts to protect your baby from a side-impact collision and has consistently rated very highly in crash testing.
I wouldn’t have traded that two days at Disney World for anything, but I am really, really grateful that we had the Chicco Keyfit 30 Travel System with us and I agree 100% with our Moms panel and our readers: the Chicco KeyFit 30 really is “The Best Infant Car Seat You Can Buy”.
Where can you find the best deal?
The best prices we’ve found for the Chicco KeyFit 30 are on Amazon, where we’ve seen it for as low as $154, with free shipping to boot. Amazon also sells the Chicco KeyFit 30 with the Cortina stroller as a package deal, which is what Katherine has. If you’re shopping for a stroller, too, you’ll want to check that out. The pricing is great and you can’t beat it for convenience.