Originally posted on The Mommy Dialogues
Alyssa’s Top Picks: Infant Car Seats
About 300 billion times a day I get asked for a list of my favorite *insert car seat type here*….it’s not always a short explanation, because while I do have my list of seats that *I* prefer…they have their own pros and cons and some will work better for some people and their cars and children. Over the next 4 weeks I will be going through a list of my favorite seats in each car seat category and some Pros and Cons of each type
Full disclosure: This is my own PERSONAL list of favorite seats. That doesn’t mean that other seats aren’t good, or safe…these are just *my* personal favorites.
#1 Nuna Pipa
-I think my favorite thing about this seat is the release mechanism being on the base and not on the seat itself. Because of this, the carrier part of the seat is extremely light compared to most other carseats. The locking mechanism when located IN the actual carrier adds a great deal of weight to the carrier itself. With the Pipa’s entire locking system being located in the base, it leaves the carrier to only weigh about 7 lbs. Which is AWESOME, because if you have ever carried a heavier baby in an infant seat you know how heavy it can get even just after a few minutes of toting that thing around.
-When used baseless the Pipa allows for a European install, which I just LOVE. If you look closely at the photo you can see a blue piece on the back. That is part of the European belt routing path. Basically the lap portion is routed over the seat as you would expect and then the shoulder portion is routed behind the seat, through the blue guide on the back and around. What this does is prevent over rotation of the seat during an accident. It’s a really neat feature that only a few seats allow for.
-As you can see from the photo, the Pipa has a leg that sticks off the back and goes to the floor. This is called a stabilizing leg, or is also referred to as a load bearing leg. The Pipa is only 1 of 2 seats in the US that offers the load bearing leg (which is a pretty standard feature in the UK) and it again prevents rotation of the seat in the event of an accident. I had the privilege to actually be able to see the photos of the crash tests done with Pipa and the seat literally doesn’t move. It stays at the same angle and there is virtually NO rotation at all when the seat is installed with the load bearing leg.
-The stroller release is ingenious. On either side of the carrier, located right above where the handle swivels are 2 little buttons which are pushed in order to release the seat from the stroller. It’s simple, easy and I just can’t imagine why Nuna is the first company to do this!
-rigid latch install is FREAKING AWESOME! Seriously the install of this seat is completely idiot proof with latch, and you get a rock solid PROPER install every time with practically no effort. This should probably have been in the #1 Pro slot, as it’s seriously just such a HUGE pro for me.
-While the load bearing leg is AWESOME! It cannot be used in cars that have fold into the floor seating, which leaves that giant space beneath the floor when the seats are up. Mainly we are talking about Minivans and some of the LARGE SUV’s that have this type of seating. Unfortunately these are the types of cars that the vast majority of parents drive….so the awesomeness of the stabilizing leg is useless in these vehicles because it can’t be used. The seat can be used without the leg, so if you like the Pipa’s other features you can still use it even if you have fold in the floor seats. You just can’t use the stabilizing leg.
-For me this isn’t a Con, but for many this might be. Nuna is Graco. So if your an anti-graco person (I happen to LOVE Graco) your buying a Graco seat if your buying the Pipa.
-Very few color choices. I personally love having a shit ton of color choices available to me…not everyone cares about a pretty or colorful carseat. I however think the brighter the better. So I love when carseats come in outrageous patterns or super bright colors.
-It’s expensive. It retails for $299 with extra bases being roughly $150…so it’s definitely not going to be in everyone’s budget.
#2 Maxi Cosi Prezi
-SUPER narrow. The Prezi is the perfect seat for those seeking a infant seat that will work in 3 across situations. It takes up very little room, and puzzles wonderfully with most seats I’ve tried it with. It’s more narrow over all then even the Diono’s, at 16.5″ total with the base only being 13.5″ wide which is just INCREDIBLE!
-Everything but the fashion/fabric is made right here in the good Ole US of A. The bases are made in Columbus Indiana and it is 100% assembled here in the states
-Do twisted and in the way straps drive you batty when trying to get your kid in the seat? The prezi has an easy out harness system which lifts the straps up and out of the way so you can easily get your child into the seat and the straps stay neatly tucked out of the way until you strap them in. It’s a pretty nifty design element that can only be found on the Prezi.
-The Prezi features many unique safety features to keep your little one safe. The Anti-rebound bar prevents over rotation of the seat and Prezi also features Air Protect Technology as well as their Energy-absorbing G Cell foam which lines the entire upper portion of the shell.
-Fun and funky cover choices with the cushy and luxurious fabric that is pretty much a Maxi Cosi staple
-Will fit preemies
-While the Prezi is very narrow…because of the addition of the anti-rebound bar it is also incredibly long and takes up quite a bit of space front to back.
-The Prezi features a continuous harness. While I personally don’t mind a continuous harness, many people do. What that means is, that the harness instead of being 2 separate straps like in most seats…it has 1 strap that basically makes a giant loop to form the harness. Some people find it’s hard to adjust, and it does pose a challenge when taking the seat apart/putting it back together. I personally never found it to be an issue for myself, but others may consider this a big con.
-This seat is INCREDIBLY heavy. At 11.7 lbs it puts it right up there in the running for one of the heaviest infant seats on the market.
-Many people also hate the canopy design. I personally think it’s RAD, but I know it’s one of the major complaints about this seat. The canopy is not a traditional one. It’s basically a thin piece of stretchy fabric with 2 loops on the top that attach to the handle when it’s up…which creates the canopy. I think it makes the seat look even more futuristic, but many people very much dislike it in fuction.
#3 Britax Chaperone
-It comes in cow print! I know that’s a silly pro, but the cow print is my all time favorite Britax cover choice. Besides the cow print, they have several other cover choices. I guess this could be a pro and a con actually…because while they have the cow print (RAD!) there aren’t terribly many other options for cover choices if you don’t like the cow print (booooo to you!)
– Like the Prezi, the Chaperone also offers an anti-rebound bar for extra protection by reducing the rotation of the seat
-EASY and I mean EASY adjust, no re-thread harness. It really doesn’t get any easier then the harness adjust on this seat
-Lock-offs for easy and secure seatbelt installation. I have always been a huge fan of the Britax lock-offs. They were one of the first companies to provide lock-offs for their seats, and it really does make for a really great install when the lock-offs are utilized.
-ease of use is amazing. Britax has always been known for their easy and smooth harness tightening/loosening mechanism and the chaperone is no exception.
-fits preemies fairly well. The Chaperone comes with an added preemie foam piece that fits under the cover right under babies butt. Even with the Chaperones low bottom harness slot, it isn’t always going to fit very small babies…so the preemie foam boosts those babies up so the harness fits those tiny babies properly
-Again like the Prezi, because of the addition of the anti-rebound bar the Chaperone takes up A LOT of front to back space.
-It’s made in China…which for me is not an issue, but many people try to buy domestically.
-only 1 latch adjuster on 1 side. I find its easier for some parents to install seats when it has the adjusters on either side like they do on their convertibles
#4 Chicco KeyFit
-EAAAAAASSSSSSYYYYY latch install. I mean it’s a snap. Seriously, you can’t really screw it up. The seatbelt install isn’t a hard install either. With the awesome lock-offs on the base (orange parts on the front) its gives the base a really tight install.
-Fits preemies extremely well. If you have a preemie and they are talking car beds instead of a conventional car seat…try the KeyFit first. It gives such an amazing fit for smaller babies and may sometimes be the only conventional seat that is going to fit those itty bitty teeny ones.
-IT COMES IN ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-does not take up a lot of front to back space
-this is a huge Pro for me…it will not “lock” onto or fit snugly onto the top of any shopping cart, so you are forced to put it INTO the cart or wear your baby. YES YES YES!
-If you don’t like orange (there is something wrong with you) the KeyFit also comes in about a bazillion other colors. So you have a wide variety of fabrics to choose from
-smooth bottom on the base so it will not damage your carseats or leave indents
-The canopy doesn’t give the best coverage for those very sunny days
-it’s on the heavier side at 9.6 lbs with the infant insert and head support, not quite as heavy as the Maxi Cosi….but not as light as the Pipa either
-getting the cover off and on can be a bit of the pain around the plastic part where the strap adjuster is located