Best Car Seats In 2023: Top 5 Products Most Recommended By Safety Experts

Drive safe! One of the single most important things you can do to protect your little ones on car rides is to purchase and correctly use a car seat. In fact, it’s so important that every state requires parents to have one before leaving the hospital. The CDC says using child car seats, booster seats and seat belts reduces injuries and death by up to 80 percent. That’s reason enough to use one each and every time your child gets into the car. But where to begin? With so many car seats to choose from, it can be difficult to make a decision. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best car seats, according to 13 expert reviews.

A survey of 2,000 American parents with children under five found that 79 percent drive slower with kids in the car. Unfortunately, not everyone takes car safety seriously enough. Another study shows that one-third of parents read texts while driving with their kids, and one in seven checks social media. Yikes! A great way to avoid the temptation is by scheduling Do Not Disturb/Focus time in your phone’s settings. This allows you to really concentrate on your driving without feeling like you’re missing out on anything.

Let’s face it: sometimes (often) kids are not a fan of their car seat. Dealing with installing the car seat correctly, coaxing your child into the seat, and keeping them happy throughout the drive can be a challenge. A new report shows that all of these difficulties can lead to parents taking dangerous shortcuts when it comes to car safety. Instead, follow these tips for a successful outing: 1) Give yourself lots of extra time (we’re talking an extra 15 minutes) to get to your destination. 2) Bring snacks and a water bottle 3) Bring toys! 4) Be consistent — if the car seat is non-negotiable, your child will eventually take it as a matter of course.

Buckle up! Car safety is an important lesson to consistently model to children. Why? Because what they see you doing is what they will do. And when they’re driving themselves years from now, you’ll want them to be wearing a seatbelt. Research shows that two-thirds of pediatric car accident-related spinal fractures occur in adolescents between the ages of 15 and 17, as a result of not wearing a seatbelt while driving.

There’s no question that protecting our children is a top priority for parents. Ensure your child is safe with one of the top five best car seats on our list, based on expert reviews. Have a favorite you think is worthy of an honorable mention? Share with us in the comments which car seat is your go-to for baby.

The List: Best Car Seats, Recommended by Safety Experts


1. Chicco KeyFit 35

This leading car seat continuously ranks in the top five among experts, and it offers new features to make rear-facing comfortable for longer. Good Housekeeping writes, “This is designed for infants up to 32 inches tall or 35 pounds who ride rear-facing, so you can keep your child rear-facing for the first two years. It’s an upgraded version of a GH Institute perennial favorite, now with more headrest height with an easily extendible system, more legroom to stay comfy longer while rear-facing and an integrated anti-rebound bar for better safety and stability in the event of an accident. An often unheralded touch that our testers appreciated: The large, extendable canopy to keep the sun out of your baby’s eyes during rides.”

CNET likes its ease of use: “The base cinches down easily enough using the LATCH (short for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) belt. Once that’s done, you can click the seat in or unfasten it to transfer to a compatible Chicco stroller.”

Bonus: It looks good while passing safety tests with flying colors! “This option has a polished look with a rubbery grip handle and a headrest with a non-rethread harness adjustment. The KeyFit 35 earned better crash-test analysis than most infant competitors and worked well with various award-winning strollers,” adds BabyGearLab.

2. Britax Boulevard ClickTight

The Britax comes with a hefty price tag, but its significant ease of use might just tempt you to come hither. Wirecutter explains, “The Britax Boulevard ClickTight is a stylish and user-friendly seat that stands out for its incredibly easy installation. It features Britax’s innovative ClickTight installation system: You thread the vehicle’s seat belt through a path beneath the Boulevard’s seat cushion and close the seat cushion, and then a built-in mechanism tightens everything securely into place—no grunting, sweating, or swearing required. (You can also use LATCH to install the Boulevard, but Britax recommends the seat belt method, and we agree.)”

The Bump adds, “The 14-position harness easily adjusts to your child’s height without the annoying step of rethreading the straps.”

“The Britax Boulevard ClickTight converts from an infant seat to a toddler car seat in no time. We love that it offers extended rear-facing use for kids up to 49 inches tall or weighing up to 40 pounds, includes two layers of side impact protection, and performed extremely well in the head-impact-criteria portion of third-party tests. To make this car seat even safer, we recommend attaching the anti-rebound bar accessory until your child is old enough to use the front-facing configuration,” says SafeWise.

3. Chicco KeyFit 30

Another Chicco product makes the list! Parenting writes, “Nothing is more stressful than the first time you have to trust your choice of car seats to get your baby home. According to Consumer Reports, the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat is the best car seat on the market, because it has balancing crash protection, easy to use, and is vehicle-fit for infant seats with a 22-pound capacity.”

“The Chicco KeyFit 30 is overall the best infant car seat of 2023 because of its excellent safety score, easiness to install and value for money,” asserts Baby Gear Essentials.

SafeWise touts its safety test results: “Compared to all other infant car seats on our list, the KeyFit 30 performed best in the head-injury-criteria portion of the third-party crash tests.”

4. UPPAbaby Mesa/Mesa V2

Like our top two, the UPPAbaby Mesa also auto-adjusts to your child’s size. We’re starting to sense a trend here. The Strategist writes, “The UPPAbaby Mesa is a top choice among parents, including Mei Ling Starkey of the blog Family Entourage as well as Saxton and Babylist gear editor Jennifer LaBracio, in large part because it’s easy to install even as your child grows up. ‘You don’t have to rethread your harness when your child gets bigger,’ Starkey says. ‘You pull the tabs to tighten it and the harness slides right down until it’s right over the child’s shoulder. You can put a tall child in it one day and get a perfect fit or a tiny, tiny child in it the next day.’”

It’s also a lightweight seat, which is a major plus. “This beautiful black car seat is so light and lean that you won’t have to worry about lugging a heavy baby and car seat around. If you want to make things even easier on yourself, you can grab the Vista 2 stroller by UPPAbaby to complete a travel system. Plus, there’s also the first-ever smart auto-retracting mini latch, combined with a red-to-green tension indicator, which makes handling the seat a lot easier, and, in turn, safer for baby,” praises Best Products.

Baby Gear Essentials says, “We recommend the UPPAbaby Mesa V2 if you can bump up your budget for a premium seat. The extra features are great and we love the natural wool fabric (less nasty chemicals and more breathable for your baby).”

5. Nuna RAVA

Babylist gives this seat a five-star review. “It’s not often that you can describe a car seat (most likely covered in Cheerios) as chic, but here goes. The Nuna RAVA is beautifully designed and packed with thoughtful features for optimum safety and ease of use. It has a high rear-facing limit of 50 pounds and an extendable calf rest that adds two extra inches of legroom for extra comfort. Installation with your car’s seat belt (Nuna’s preferred method) is really easy, and there’s also retractable cup holders, a no rethread harness and breathable knit fabric with ventilation panels. Many parents surveyed say this seat gives front-seat passengers more legroom, which is especially important for a taller parent who doesn’t enjoy being crunched up in the front seat. Car seat experts say it can be tough to get a good fit for newborns.”

It’s also the best choice for smaller cars. “The Nuna RAVA Convertible Car Seat may be more expensive than many other car seats, but it’s an excellent compact and safe option with an all-steel frame that’s easy to install. ‘It takes up minimal space rear-facing when it’s installed as upright as it’s allowed to be,’” says Forbes.

Verywell Family says it’s the best splurge and it allows for rear-facing longer. “Parents can’t say enough good things about the Nuna RAVA convertible car seat, and many are adamant that this high-end model is worth every penny. This car seat is recommended for children 5 to 50 pounds and 49 inches or less in rear-facing mode, and little ones 25 to 65 pounds and 49 inches or less when forward-facing. That means you can keep your little one rear-facing for longer than in most other seats, even if your baby hits growth spurts early.”


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