Infant Seats

Infant seats, also called bucket seats or rear-facing only seats, have a stay-in-car base with a removable ‘bucket’ that allows for quick in and out of the vehicle. Currently, all seats can also be installed baseless. Additional bases can be purchased for other vehicles, and multiple strollers are designed to accommodate infant seats.

Infant seats are installed rear facing only, and can fit babies up to 22lbs, 30lbs, 32lbs, or 35lbs depending on the model. The higher weight seats typically also last longer by height. It depends very much on the child whether s/he will outgrow a seat first by height or by weight. Taller or heavier babies may very well be out of the 22lb seats by as early as 4 or 5 months; shorter and lighter children may still fit in the 35lb seats at 2 years. If that seems like a long time to you – well, current recommendations are to rear face as long as possible, well beyond age 2 if you can. This article explains the how and why of that!

Some seats come with the harness adjuster at the baby’s feet (called front adjust) and a few with the harness adjuster at the back of the seat (called rear adjust). If you can afford a front adjust model — and there’s one on this list for $99 — you will be glad you did. Rear adjust seats, when used properly, are just as safe as front adjust, but because it’s harder to use properly every time, it increases the chance of misuse.

It is not necessary to use an infant seat from birth – some infant/child seats do fit newborns well. If you are expecting a small baby, especially a preemie, an infant seat is preferred as it does tend to fit better. More information on infant/child seats, and which ones fit newborns, here.

Please note that the in-car handle position varies from model to model, and for different years of the same seat. All of the seats on this list, for the 2012 compliant brand new versions either require or allow the handle to be UP in the car; older versions of the same seats may have different rules. Always consult your manual to be sure.

If you are buying online consider purchasing from Amazon.ca; a small portion of the purchase cost is directed to our donation fund at no extra cost to you.

In no particular order…

Goodbaby Abri 35 – read our review heregb-abri

  • $249.99 as of May 2017; currently available at Babies R Us in a travel system for $599.99
  • 4-35lbs or 32″ tall
  • very light weight
  • narrow base with straight sides making it a good choice for tight seating situations
  • fits tiny babies very well
  • lock-off for seat belt installations
  • expires 6 years from date of manufacture

 

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 – read our review here

  • ~$250 at Babies R Us, Amazon.ca, Sears
  • 4-35lbs or 32″ tall
  • very light weight
  • narrow base with straight sides making it a good choice for tight seating situations
  • some ‘trim levels’ come with a lock-off on the base, harness pads, and other padding
  • fits small babies very well
  • expires 7 years after date of manufacture

 

Safety 1st OnBoard (previously known as Comfy Carry Elite)

  • ~$110 at Walmart, Sears, BestBuy
  • 4-22lbs or 29″ tall
  • light weight
  • most user-friendly front-adjust seat around $100 (others in this price range are rear-adjust – avoid a rear-adjust seat if at all possible)
  • narrow base with straight sides making it a good choice for tight seating situations
  • fits small babies very well
  • expires in 6 years

Chicco KeyFit 30

  • ~$300 at Babies R Us, Amazon.ca, and specialty stores
  • 4-22lbs or 4-30lbs or 30″ tall
  • very simple base installation with UAS (latch) design
  • built in lock-off for lap/shoulder belts
  • very narrow base with straight sides making it a good choice for tight seating situations
  • fits small babies very well
  • lock-off for seat belt installations
  • expires 6 years from date of manufacture or date of purchase (with original receipt)

 

Graco Snugride 30

  • ~$200 at Babies R Us, Walmart, Amazon.ca
  • 4-30lbs or 30″ tall
  • narrow base with straight sides making it a good choice for tight seating situations
  • fits small babies very well
  • expires in 7 years

 

 

Evenflo Embrace – read our review here

  • ~$120-140 at Walmart, Best Buy
  • 4-30lbs and 30″ tall
  • fits small babies well
  • requires 1.5″ clearance between top edge of seat shell and front vehicle seat
  • handle in anti-rebound position in vehicle (by baby’s feet)
  • some models have “SureSafe” UAS connectors
  • expires in 6 years

 

 

Nuna Pipa – read our review here recommended for UAS installations Pipaonly

  • ~$400 at specialty retailers
  • 4-35lbs and 32″ tall
  • fits small babies very well
  • has rigid UAS
  • expires 7 years from date of manufacture or date of purchase (with original receipt)