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If you’re not certain on which type of car seat to get for your lovely child, then check out our detailed guide on the best safest car seats for 2023 to help you choose the right type of car seat that will meet your child’s needs in terms of safety, comfort, durability, ease-of-installation and convenience.
We know there are different types of car seats that parents can get for their children depending on the child’s age, height and weight. And while there are a number of features and factors such as comfort, durability, ease of use, ease of installation and convenience that most parents look out for when choosing a car seat for their children, it’s the safety of these car seats that remain to be the most important factor that every parent should pay close attention to. After all, the main reason for buying a car seat for your child is to ensure that he/she stays very safe and well protected in a car crash or collision. It’s for this reason that all car seats are required to meet or exceed federal safety standards in a 30 mph crash test to prove that they can keep your child safe by protecting the head, neck and torso areas from any injuries. But apart from this, it’s still important to note that the safest car seats are those that are installed correctly and securely every time and fit children properly.
With that in mind, here are our top 10 picks for the best safest car seats 2023. Far below the reviews is a detailed buying guide on how to choose the right type of car seat for your child.
Best Safest Car Seats 2023
Being the number one brand in safety technology, britax as a brand manufactures very safe car seats and the boulevard clicktight car seat is no exception. Thanks to safecell impact protection which is an integrated system of safety components only exclusive to britax car seats, it features a steel frame, energy-absorbing base and impact-absorbing tether with staged-release stitches that help to slow and reduce the forward movement of the car seat during a collision. Britax car seats are also known to be one of the easiest to install thanks to the ClickTight installation system. For a rock-solid installation, you just need to open the front of the car seat, buckle the seat belt across and then click the seat shut firmly in place and travel worry-free with your child.
In terms of safety, the boulevard has a deep energy-absorbing shell and a foam-lined headrest that both combine to provide your child with two layers of superior side impact protection during a collision. For parents who are always unsure that the child’s safety harness is within range of proper tightness, the smart design that features the Click & Safe harness indicator will let parents know that they’ve achieved the proper range of tightness. For supreme fit and comfort, the harness can be easily adjusted to 14 different positions to fit your growing child. It’s also a breeze to fit your child on the car seat just by changing the harness height with the push of a button.
When dirty, the boulevard’s cover can also be removed easily from the car seat without having to remove the harness and then machine washed. The removable pillow inserts provide your child with additional support and comfort if needed. It’s also important to note that the boulevard can be used as both a rear-facing car seat for children from 5 – 40 pounds and also as a forward-facing car seat for kids from 20 – 65 pounds in weight.
If you’re wondering whether this car seat has any downsides, you’ll be relieved to know there aren’t any issues or faults we could find on this wonderful car seat from Britax. In fact, this is one of the safest car seats you can get on the market right now.
That said, the Britax Boulevard is definitely a great car seat for any parent to seriously consider since it’s very safe and super comfortable. A good number of parents even find it to be better than the top rated Graco 4ever all-in-one car seat in terms of side impact protection and cushioning for comfort.
The graco nautilus 3-in-1 car seat has been designed to keep your growing child safe and comfortable every time you’re on the road travelling with family. It’s been rigorously crash tested to ensure it meets or exceeds US safety standards and has been side impact tested for occupant retention solely with the built-in 5-point harness system. The whole car seat is reinforced with steel for strength and durability and it features EPS energy absorbing foam for effective impact energy management during collisions.
As a 3-in-1 car seat, it can comfortably be used on children from 20 – 65 pounds, a forward-facing car seat that converts to a belt-positioning booster seat from 30 – 100 pounds, and then to a backless booster seat from 40 – 100 pounds. We really like how the 5-point harness on this car seat has been extended so as to fit children up to 65 pounds in weight to keep them harnessed even longer. This is very important in terms of your child’s safety since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children should use a 5-point harness for as long as possible when riding in the forward-facing position.
Moms really like how the nautilus features a fully adjustable headrest which can be adjusted with just one hand to provide their children with a proper head support and fit. For even more comfort, it comes with wide, padded armrests which are extra-comfortable for your child even as he/she continues to grow physically. You can also recline the car seat to three different positions which makes it simple for parents to get the correct angle for proper installation and optimal comfort. Bigger kids or toddlers will also appreciate the integrated cup holder and storage for games and toys. The open loops at the top of the seat easily position your vehicle’s seatbelt to make it easy and simple for your child to self-buckle independently. The seat cushion can also be removed and machine washed when it gets dirty.
The only issue with this car seat is that it’s not designed to be used for rear-facing position and this is something few parents find to be an issue since you can’t use it on little infants who need to ride in the rear-facing position.
But all in all, this is a great car seat that graco has brought to the consumer market. It’s very safe for your child to use since it is crash tested, and it’s also very comfortable, easy to clean, and built to be sturdy and durable at the same time.
We could easily fill half of this list with car seats from britax since it’s such a popular and trusted brand when it comes to car seats. That said, the britax g1.1 frontier harness-2-booster car seat comes with almost all the same features found in the Britax Boulevard that’s reviewed above with the only difference being that the g1.1 is a booster seat. As a booster seat, it can be used as a harness car seat for children over 2 years and who weigh from 25 – 90 pounds or as a belt-positioning booster for older kids from 40 – 120 pounds in weight.
Just like any car seat from britax, the g1.1 frontier boasts of the safecell impact protection that includes a steel frame, energy-absorbing base and impact-absorbing tether with staged-release stitches for slowing and reducing the forward movement of the car seat during collision. The clicktight installation system provides your child with rock-solid installation while allowing parents to install it very quickly and easily with just one click. It provides your child with 2 layers of superior side impact protection through the use of deep energy-absorbing shell and foam-lined headrest that combine to shield your child from the most dangerous side impacts.
Its smart design makes it versatile enough to comfortably fit smaller children from 25 pounds and then it can be transitioned to a traditional booster once your big kid is ready. For maximum fit and comfort, the harness is designed to grow along with your child since it can be easily adjusted to 9 different positions which also make it a breeze to fit your child on the car seat by simply changing the harness height with the push of a button. For extra comfort and support, there are removable harness padding which can be inserted or removed to meet your child’s needs in terms of comfort and support. For even more comfort, the front-adjust recline easily allows you to alter the seat angle for a customized and comfortable seating position.
And even though very few parents complain that the seat belt tightener has some jamming issues, the ease of installation together with unmatched safety performance you and your child get from this car seat is enough reasons why you should grab this car seat from britax.
The fact that britax also designs, tests and builds their car seats in the US from components sourced from within the US and globally is a solid proof of the quality, durability and safety performance that this car seat provides to its users.
The safety 1st grow and go is also a 3-in-1 convertible car seat that’s been designed to provide your child with a safer and more comfortable ride every time you’re travelling. Designed to provide extended use through 3 stages, it can be used as a rear-facing car seat for infants from 5 – 40 pounds, forward-facing for children from 22 – 65 pounds and also as belt-positioning booster seat for children from 40 – 100 pounds in weight. During a side impact collision, the side impact protection featured in this car seat will help to keep your child safe and protected.
We really like the built-in harness holders found in both the rear-facing and forward-facing modes and which help to keep the harness in an open position. This ensures parents don’t fish for the harness and clips from behind the child since they are right there when you need to use them. The harness holders also make it very easy for parents to get their children in and out of the car seat without any objects in their way. The car seat also provides comfort for both children and parents alike. For your child’s comfort, it features well-padded headrest and armrests for ultimate comfort. Comfort for parents is achieved through the car seat’s design that enables it to take up less room when placed in the rear-facing position to give up to 7 inches of more leg room for parents in the front seats.
For even more convenience, the Grow and Go car seat pad has been designed to make it very easy for parents to clean whenever their child messes on it. This seat pad can easily come off without the need to remove the harness and then quickly machine washed and dried since it’s also dryer safe. Speaking of the harness, you can quickly and easily adjust both the harness and the headrest in one simple step without any fuss at all.
The only issue with this car seat is that few parents complain it’s a bit difficult to install it into the vehicle and the harness is also a little bit hard to loosen or unlock. But apart from those few glitches, there really isn’t anything else to complain about this car seat from safety 1st.
The whole car seat is well built and feels high quality. And at just over 18 pounds in weight, it’s much lighter than most convertible car seats competing in the same league which of course makes it easier to move around.
For those parents looking for a car seat that’s compact enough to provide space that makes 3-across seating to be possible, then the clek fllo convertible car seat would definitely be a great option to consider. Apart from the compacted design, this car seat boasts of features that make it one of the safest car seats you can ever get on the market. It has an advanced side impact protection system that consists of adjustable headrest, deep side wings, inner and outer energy absorbing foam layers and metal substructure that combine to provide children with superior protection and safety during impact.
A steel anti-rebound bar has been included for enhanced safety performance in the rear-facing mode to improve stability by limiting the car seat’s rotation to help protect your child’s head from impact during a collision. This anti-rebound bar also provides for snug installation by nesting into the flat portion of your vehicle’s seat while still offering your child with more legroom. And we’re not yet done with safety features. The automotive inspired EACT (Energy-Absorbing Crumple Technology) technology reduces the forces transmitted to your child during collision by using aluminum honeycomb deformable cores that are integrated into the seat base.
The extended rear-facing position adds even more safety by accommodating your child in the rear-facing riding position until he/she is 4 years old. An integrated flip foot makes rear-facing installation easy and quick. Speaking of seating positions, this car seat can be used in the rear-facing mode for children from 14 – 50 pounds and also in the forward-facing mode for children from 22 – 65 pounds in weight. Parents really like the Greenguard certified crypton super fabrics that provide permanent protection against stains, moisture and odor-causing bacteria. These fabrics are also free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants making them safe and healthy for children.
Its compacted design with a narrow width of less than 17 inches at its widest point makes 3-across seating possible in the back seat of most vehicles allowing parents to get the most out of their vehicle’s back seat. The Diono Radian RXT all-in-one car seat is also another great option for 3-fitting across the back seat of vehicles.
The only downsides to this car seat is that few parents find it a bit difficult to install on their vehicles and it’s also on the heavier side making it a bit inconvenient to move around. This car seat also doesn’t recline to different positions which means you can’t provide your child with a desired sitting angle. But to be honest, it’s the safety features in this car seat that makes it a cut above the competition.
The kidsembrace combination toddler harness booster seat is definitely one car seat that your child will enjoy seating on thanks to its attractive design that’s filled with interesting character from the marvel avengers captain America. But don’t let its attractive design fool you since this is also one of the safest car seats you can get for your child. In fact, it’s been rigorously tested to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS 213) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety “best bet booster” which is actually the highest ranking given. It features a deep headrest with EPS energy-absorbing foam for superior side impact protection during collision.
That said, this car seat can be used as a belt-positioning high back booster for kids from 30 – 100 pounds in weight. Additionally, the 5-point safety harness with 3 harness slots enables it to accommodate your child’s growth from 22 – 65 pounds in weight and 29 – 49 inches in height. This harness system also features energy absorbing technology to help reduce the forces of impact during collision. A 2 position crotch belt provides more safety while providing your child with extra comfort at the same time. The installation process is very easy thanks to the LATCH connectors that are easy to use and install with a quick push-button attach and release mechanism.
Speaking of your child’s comfort, the seat is contoured and has extra padding that provides support and comfort to ensure your child enjoys the ride even on longer trips. Additionally, the headrest can be adjusted to 3 different positions to accommodate your child’s growth and the recline foot rotates to add more comfort for long trips while providing a more precise installation into your vehicle. The seat belt guides that are located on the adjustable headrest allow you to properly position your vehicle’s shoulder belt. We also like the two cup holders integrated into the seat for putting your child’s favorite drinks or snacks and the 2 large armrests for comfort.
The only issue with this attractive car seat is that few parents complain that the straps are slightly difficult to configure since they become extremely twisted which means they have to constantly fix the straps.
And if you have children who get bored and tired of riding in a car seat, then the playful and friendly character on this car seat will make your child happy to jump right in and don’t want to get out even on those long trips around the country.
The graco affix highback booster seat is not only designed with the style and comfort features that your child is sure to love, but it also supports the AAP recommendation that states that children who are 4 feet 9 inches tall or under should ride in a belt positioning booster seat. With this in mind, the graco affix can be used to ride your big kid in high back booster mode from 30 – 100 pounds and from 38 – 57 inches tall. And when your kid gets bigger, it can be converted to backless mode for children from 40 – 100 pounds and from 40 – 57 inches tall. In terms of safety, the affix has been side impact tested to ensure it provides your child with superior side impact protection through the EPS, energy-absorbing foam for effective energy management during impact.
Thanks to the unique one-hand front-adjust latch system, parents can easily and quickly install this booster seat in seconds with just one hand. The latch system also helps to establish a secure connection between the booster seat and your vehicle’s seat thanks to the front-adjust feature that makes it easy for you to quickly tighten the booster seat to your car’s seat for a firm and secure installation. Additionally, the open-loop belt guides will help you to correctly position your vehicle’s seat belt during installation. This secure and proper installation also makes it easy for your child to self-buckle independently both in the high back booster seat mode and in the backless mode.
With your kids comfort in mind, the headrest features multiple layers for maximum comfort plus the full coverage back support provides comfort as your child continues to grow. The headrest is also fully adjustable so you can provide your child with proper fit and keep him/her secure on all of your journeys together. Bigger kids will also appreciate the integrated cup holders which are perfect for holding their favorite drinks or snacks together with the hideaway storage compartment suitable for storing small games and toys.
This booster seat is also lightweight which makes it easy to move from one vehicle to another and yet it’s still well built and very sturdy. It’s also easy to assemble even for first time users since you only need to put the arms, cup holder and back on and it’s ready to be put in your vehicle. And even better, this booster seat has no downsides to complain about yet it comes at a very affordable price.
At just 7 pounds in weight, the graco snugride 30 LX infant car seat is an ultra-lightweight car seat that’s very easy to transport from your car to the stroller and basically everywhere in between. That said, this infant car seat is designed to protect your rear-facing infant from 4 to 30 pounds in weight and up to 30 inches tall. The graco snugride 30 LX is also one of the safest car seats since it’s been side impact tested and crash tested to meet or exceed US safety standards including FMVSS 213. This should make parents feel secure and confident every time they fasten the graco 5-point harness around their little babies.
We like the 6-position adjustable stay-in-car base with easy-to-read level indicator that provides the right position for proper installation together with a convenient latch-equipped stay-in-car base that provides for a hassle-free installation. Just like most infant car seats, the graco snugride 30 LX allows you to create a custom travel system since it attaches seamlessly to all graco click connect strollers that are sold separately with a secure one-step attachment. This click connect technology also provides a one-step secure attachment of the infant car seat to the car seat base.
Your baby is secured safely on the seat using the 5-point, front-adjust harness which also caters to your baby’s growth. The glacier fashion on this car seat makes it the right choice that basically blends with everything. The solid neutrals of black, charcoal gray and pale gray are the best combination to keep your baby riding in style. The carry handle is contoured to make it comfortable for parents to carry the car seat around with ease. The canopy does a good job of shielding your baby from bright sunlight even though it’s not fully extendable.
The cushioning on the seat is just enough to keep your baby comfortable even though few parents would be happy if it had more padding. But to be honest, there isn’t anything to complain about with regards to this wonderful infant car seat from graco. In fact, most of the parents are very impressed and happy with their purchase and they describe the graco snugride 30 LX as being very well made, easy to install and operate and very safe.
The clek oobr is also one of the safest car seats you can get for your child considering it’s been rated a “Best-Bet” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for seven consecutive years. As a full back booster seat, the clek oobr can be used on children over 4 years old from 33 – 100 pounds in weight and when used in backless mode, it can hold children over 4 years old from 40 – 100 pounds in weight. The safety features found in this car seat make it a top pick for any parent who’s serious about their children’s safety when on the road. It’s been designed to revolutionize booster seating thanks to its complete metal sub-structure, energy-absorbing foam layers, structural headrest with deep side wings, rigid-latch system and a unique reclining feature.
The structural headrest with deep side wings is connected to the magnesium frame using steel rods that help to reduce twisting movements and improve head protection during a collision with its energy absorbing foam layers and complete metal substructure. The rigid-LATCH system enables you to lock this booster seat firmly in place using your vehicle’s latch anchorage system for additional stability during a collision. Even better is how the seat back can be reclined by sliding the seat forward using the rigid latch system and allowing the free-pivoting seat back to provide your child with up to 12 degrees of recline for sleeping comfort when on the road.
Designed to grow with your child, the oobr comes with a removable back feature for converting it to a backless booster for your big child. Additionally, the headrest can be adjusted to provide your growing child with custom fit while the padded side bolsters allow for comfortable naps when on the road. Parents will have a very easy time when it comes to cleaning and maintaining this car seat in good condition. This is made possible by the use of crypton super fabrics that are greenguard certified and provide permanent protection from moisture, odor-causing bacteria and stains. These fabrics are also free from any brominated and chlorinated flame retardants.
The only downside to this car seat is the high price and heavy weight that makes it difficult to move it from one vehicle to another. But apart from the heavy weight which is actually a good sign of quality and safety, there isn’t anything else to complain about this car seat from Clek Oobr.
Apart from being one of the safest car seats, most parents like the ease of installation, stain-resistant fabric and great build quality provided by this car seat.
According to chicco, the keyfit 30 is the easiest car seat to install simply, accurately, securely, every time. That said, the keyfit 30 is designed to accommodate infants starting from 4 to 30 pounds in the comfort of its premium, luxurious fabrics. It features the ReclineSure which is a spring-loaded leveling system that provides an accurate fit in a wider range of vehicles. The RideRight feature consists of bubble level-indicators on either side of the base that indicate whether the seat angle is accurate. The base has a smooth underside to protect your vehicle’s seat from damage.
The SuperCinch is a one-pull latch tightener with force-multiplying technology that helps parents to achieve a tight and secure fit with just a fraction of the effort. We like the reversible infant insert that offers both a breathable mesh and cozy suede to create a comfortable and secure environment for your baby’s earliest adventures. Additionally, the large canopy with extendable mesh panel helps to protect your baby from bright sunlight and even heavy rain while still letting in the cool breeze.
Parents can get full access to the baby and harness thanks to the removable all-weather boot that folds open even when it’s still attached to the car seat. The ergonomically designed carry handle with a comfortable grip makes it easy and convenient for parents to carry the keyfit 30 around with ease. And for parents who wish to travel in style can create their own customized travel system since the keyfit 30 is compatible with a number of strollers such as the chicco bravo, cortina, neuvo, liteway plus, activ3, keyfit caddy and TRE strollers.
And even though it’s on the expensive side as far as price is concerned, most parents are happy with their purchase and have nothing to complain about as far as the chicco keyfit 30 is concerned. Most parents like the cushioning, roominess and easy installation provided by this infant car seat.
Car Seats Buyer’s Guide
A child safety car seat is one of the most important things you need to buy for your newborn baby from the moment you take your infant from the hospital until he or she becomes old enough to safely fit into adult seat belts, basically around the age of eight years or older. But even as car seats remain to be very important for the safety of children especially when travelling, it will scare you to know that almost 80 percent of car seats are not installed properly and correctly, and if you didn’t know, a car seat that’s poorly or incorrectly installed makes your child vulnerable during a collision.
All car seats are required to meet or even exceed federal safety standards in a 30mph crash test. Organizations such as the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration carry out crash tests on car seats to check how well a car seat performs in protecting your child in the event of a collision. They also test for ease-of-use, which is how simple it is for people to manage buckles and straps or follow instructions on how to install the car seat. They also test how well the car seat fits into your vehicle. A car seat that gets the highest stars is rated to be one of the safest you can buy for your child. But the fact remains that the safest car seat is one that’s installed properly, correctly and securely every time and fits your child properly.
Types of car seats
There are different types of car seats that you can choose for your child. The type you choose will be determined by how old your child is since you’ll need to transition from one car seat type to another as your child continues to grow. Discussed below are the main types of car seats available:
For most new parents an infant car seat is usually the first they’ll ever buy for their newborn baby. These can only be installed in the rear-facing position and have a convenient, removable carrier that can be connected to a base that’s installed in the car. They can be used for infants from 4 pounds to 40 pounds and they provide the best fit for newborns or smaller infants. Most kids will usually get too tall before they even become too heavy for these car seats. You’ll know your child is too tall if the crown of his/her head is less than one inch from the top of the carrier shell, or when he/she exceeds the car seat’s recommended height limit. Prices for infant car seats range from $70 to $500.
These are usually the next step of transition after your baby outgrows the infant car seat. They can be installed both in the rear-facing and forward-facing positions. Though they do have a harness system similar to those of infant car seats, they have a higher rear-facing weight limit which ensures your child can ride in the rear-facing position for longer and this is something that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends as the safest option. Convertible car seats must be installed rear-facing for children who are younger than 1 year old and weighing less than 20 pounds. Even though depending on the model, they can be used in the rear-facing position on children up to 50 pounds in weight. The AAP recommends rear-facing until your child is at least 2 years old or when the rear-facing position limits the seat. After this, they can be turned and be installed in the forward-facing position to hold children as heavy as 65 pounds in weight. Prices of convertible car seats range from $50 to $500.
Parents transition to a booster seat that uses their vehicle’s own seat belt the moment their children outgrow the height and weight limit for a forward-facing seat’s harness. Boosters are designed to raise your child up in the car to allow the seat belt to fit correctly over the sternum and the collarbone’s center and low across the upper thighs. Booster seats come in two main styles which are high back and backless. The backless versions are easier to install and a bit portable but experts recommend the high back models that provide your kid with some side impact protection and position the shoulder belt much better. Prices range from $20 to $300.
Important features in a car seat
Below we discuss the most important features you’d expect to find in different types of car seats.
LATCH Connectors – a harnessed car seat will usually be equipped with either hook-style, push-on or rigid lower anchor LATCH (Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children). They usually attach to the lower anchors that are embedded in the crease of your vehicle’s seat. Since they have a weight limit, you’ll need to install the seat using your vehicle’s own seat belt if the combined weight of your child and the car seat has exceeded 65 pounds.
Top Tether Strap – forward-facing harness seats usually include a top tether strap that is anchored to the seat of your vehicle and keeps the shell of the car seat secure which significantly reduces the potential for head injuries during impact. Experts recommend securing the top tethers for all forward-facing installations.
Adjustable Harness System – all types of car seats from infant to convertible and all-in-ones as well as boosters have a built-in adjustable harness system. This harness system allows you to adjust the height so as to provide your child with proper fit as he/she continues to grow. Most harnesses can be adjusted by rethreading the straps via slots which are in the fabric and seat shell while others offer an easier option to adjust the harness externally. In the rear-facing position, the harness straps should be at or below your baby’s shoulders while in the forward-facing position, straps should be at or above your baby’s shoulders. In all cases, ensure the chest clip is at the armpit level. If you can’t pinch any strap fabric at your child’s shoulders, then you know the harness is tight enough.
Recline Indicator – a recline indicator tells you when the car seat is installed at the correct angle especially in rear-facing installation. Some car seats have different angles of recline for babies of different ages. This means when your baby is still very young, they start out in a more reclined angle to prevent obstructing their normal breathing and then sits more upright when he/she gets older to provide front seat passengers with more room.
Covers/Pads/Cushions – almost all car seats come with covers and cushions to provide your child with more comfort and proper fit or support. Some of them come with removable padding which can be inserted if your child needs additional support and then removed for more room when your child gets bigger. You should only use accessories that are approved for your particular car seat by the manufacturer of that particular car seat.
As we wrap this monstrous guide on the best safest car seats 2023, it’s important to remember that the safety of your child especially when on the road is something that can’t be overlooked. Car seats have proved to be very important as far as the safety and protection of children during a collision is concerned. And while there are different types of car seats to choose from, the type you decide to settle with will mostly be determined by the height, weight and more importantly the age of your child.
And the fact that all car seats undergo rigorous crash tests to ensure they can effectively protect your child during a collision, it therefore means that any car seat you decide to buy for your baby or child is safe irrespective of the type. But it’s still important to remember that the safest car seat is one that’s correctly and securely installed every time and one that fits your child properly. We hope this guide will make it easy and straight forward for parents to understand most of the things that pertain to car seat safety and be able to choose the right type of car seat for their children.