11 Best Infant Car Seats For Small Cars In 2024

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Babies who can’t sit upright need to be taken in an infant car seat for a comfortable and stable ride. Some of the best infant car seats for small cars are compact, convertible, and comfortable and give the proper protection. Sometimes with an unreliable infant car seat, it is difficult for the parents to find the correct adjustment angle leading to a stressful ride.

Choosing the right car seat for your baby is tricky and that’s why you should read our carefully chosen list of the best infant car seats.

Choosing the right car seat for your baby is tricky and that’s why you should read our carefully chosen list of the best infant car seats. Read on

In This Article

Safety Features To Look For When Buying An Infant Car Seat

Before determining which car seat is the best for your little one, consider its safety features.

  1. Side impact protection: Look for thick foam protection on the side of the car seat. It absorbs energy caused by sudden impact and uniformly distributes the force, ensuring that the balance of the head, neck, and spine is not compromised.
  2. Impact protection shield: It is bar-shaped and placed near the chest and the midsection. It disperses impact away from the baby, minimizing the likelihood of injury.
  3. Chest pads: Chest pad protection ensures that the baby is held tightly and does not lurch forward during jerks or unexpected impacts.
  4. Lateral headrests: The cushioned lateral headrest keeps the head protected and in the central position.
  5. Multiple harness slots: It’s essential to ensure the harness is snug enough to keep the baby safe. It should not be too tight nor too loose. You should change the harness slot according to the safety rules as the baby grows.

11 Best Infant Car Seat For Small Cars

1. Best Safe:Safety 1st Infant Car Seat

4.6
Safety 1st Infant Car Seat Image: Image: Safety 1st

This premium car seat has advanced safety features for keeping children safe while traveling. The sides of the Safety 1st infant car seat are made of energy-absorbing materials to provide high-impact protection. This safety-tested car seat also offers additional head support and body protection to ensure maximum safety.

It can accommodate children weighing four to 35lb, thanks to its four adjustable harness heights. You can adjust the travel car seat’s base to suit your vehicle’s height. The car seat pads are machine washable, and the lightweight feature of the seat makes it easy to transport. You can check out this video review for more information about the product from a tester’s experience.

Color: Monument | Item Weight: ‎14.99 pounds | Product Dimensions: ‎15.75 x 18 x 30.5 inches

Pros

  • Easy-to-remove and dryer-friendly seat pad
  • Compatible with any quick click-equipped stroller
  • Meets ASTM and JPMA safety standards
  • Backed by a one-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Clamps may not be tight enough

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With over 6,264 reviews on Amazon, this product is a winner.


protip_icon Point to consider
Babies should not spend too much time in a car seat as it can limit the baby’s movements and opportunities for stimulation (1).

2. Best Easy-To-Install:Graco SnugRide 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

4.8

The Graco 35 elite infant car seat features the SnugLock technology for secure attachment and has a simple three-step installation. The adjustable base helps give the right fit to your car. This expert-approved car seat has four recline positions, a weight limit of 35lb, and a height limit of 32in.

This multi-position recline car seat has a rotating canopy with a window and visor to provide shade. The energy-absorbing materials in the safety center absorb the impact of frontal clash forces. The removable seat covers make cleaning a breeze. Check out a review video of this to get more information.

Color: Oakley | Material: Metal | Item Weight: ‎18.8 pounds | Product Dimensions: ‎18.31 x 29.09 x 16.22 inches

Pros

  • Can be cleaned using soap and water
  • Quality harness system
  • Easy-to-read bubble level indicator
  • Adjustable base
  • Meets FMVSS 213 safety standards

Cons

  • Seat may not be bleach-friendly
  • Some may find the seat to be heavy

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This car seat is a practical option with its user-friendly features. I love the no re-thread harness and the versatile sunshade, and the fact that it fits my growing baby makes it even more worthwhile."


3. Best Breathable:Britax One4Life ClickTight All-in-One Car Seat

4.8

The All-in-One Car Seat by Britax, a trusted brand, has built-in cooling channels and a breathable mesh cover, increasing ventilation and making your child’s journey more comfortable. Besides the adjustable headrest, it has a nine-position quick-push recline to give your car and the child the right fit and an easy-to-adjust harness to accommodate your child comfortably as they grow. The car seat has a maximum weight limit of 120lb and a height limit of 63in. It also features a strong steel frame and a G-shaped tether to minimize jerks and become a safe and effective option.

It provides a high-impact cover for your child thanks to its deep sides and energy-absorbing materials. The unique design helps support a child weighing between five and 120lb. This breathable car seat can be switched from rear-facing mode to front-facing mode for long-term use with a high-positioned back seat for grown-up children. You can check out this review to learn about this portable car seat via a tester’s experience.

Color: Oakley | Material: Metal | Item Weight: ‎18.8 pounds | Product Dimensions: ‎18.31 x 29.09 x 16.22 inches

Pros

  • ClickTight installation
  • Multiple recline positions
  • Suitable for machine wash
  • Cover is flame-retardant
  • Cup holders are dishwasher-friendly
  • Two layers of side-impact protection

Cons

  • May have a peculiar odor
  • Harness straps may be uneven
Safety 1st Infant Car Seat
Best Safe
Graco SnugRide 35 Elite Infant Car Seat
Best Easy-To-Install
Britax One4Life ClickTight All-in-One Car Seat
Best Breathable
Color Monument Oakley Cadet
Weight ‎14.99 pounds ‎18.8 pounds ‎30 pounds
Dimensions ‎15.75 x 18 x 30.5 inches ‎18.31 x 29.09 x 16.22 inches ‎20.5 x 19.5 x 25 inches
Material- Metal Alloy Steel
Rating
Reviews6,2642,9654,878
Price$99.99$224.99$399.99

4. Best With Super-Cinch Latch:Chicco KeyFit Infant Car Seat

Britax All-in-One Car Seat

Image: Courtesy of Britax

The Chicco KeyFit infant car seat is designed to fit a child weighing four to 30lb and provides a secure fit for newborns and smaller infants. It comes with a head and body support that can be removed as the child grows older. The car seat is easy to install, thanks to the super-cinch latch, and has a weight limit of 30lb and a height limit of 30in. You can also change the base height according to the size of your car.

The fabric and shoulder pads are machine-washable, making maintenance a breeze. The five-point harness car seat uses energy-absorbing EPS foam for enhanced impact protection, while the harness offers a better fit for your child at all stages of growth.

Color: Oakley | Material: Metal | Item Weight: ‎18.8 pounds | Product Dimensions: ‎18.31 x 29.09 x 16.22 inches

Pros

  • Bubble level indicator for easy attachment
  • One-hand release makes it easy to remove
  • Two-position carry handle
  • Removable canopy
  • Washable seat pad

Cons

  • May be heavier than expected
  • May not be stable enough

5. Best Ergonomic:Evenflo LiteMax Infant Car Seat

4.7
 EvenfloLiteMax Infant Car Seat Image: Evenflo

The LiteMax ergonomic car seat by Evenflo, a trusted brand, is light and easy to carry. It has four shoulder harness positions, a weight limit of 35lb, and a height limit of 32in. The car seat is easy to carry with its ergonomically designed handle. The integrated belt-locking mechanism guarantees your child’s safety. Besides, the tried-and-tested travel car seat includes a full-coverage canopy to keep the child safe from the sun, wind, and rain.

Color: Knoxville Gray | Material: Polyester | Item Weight: ‎8.17 pounds | Product Dimensions: ‎28.5 x 19 x 24 inches

Pros

  • Accommodates growing infants
  • Separate stay-in base for easy installation
  • Indicator for proper installation and leveling
  • Available in four colors and two styles

Cons

  • May not be easy to tighten the straps
  • Cushion may not be easy to remove

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It's no wonder that this quality product has earned over 2,516 positive reviews on Amazon.

6. Best Adjustable:Baby Trend Tech 35 Infant Car Seat

4.5
Baby Trend Tech 35 Infant Car Seat Image: Baby Trend

This is an easy-to-use and adjustable car seat featuring flexible latch connectors with built-in storage. The Baby Trend infant car seat comes with a five-shoulder harness and a push-button release, which can be adjusted single-handedly. The energy-absorbing EPS foam provides high-impact protection, and it also comes with removable inserts that can be changed according to the weight and height of the growing child. This car seat has a weight limit of 35lb and a height limit of 32in.

The ergonomic multi-grip carrying handle makes the latch-equipped car seat easy to carry. The replaceable seat covers are machine-washable and keep your baby’s seat clean. When used in strollers, the three-panel canopy shields your child from the sun and heat.

Color: Lavender Ice | Material: Metal, Polyester, Plastic, Foam | Item Weight: ‎18.13 pounds | Product Dimensions: ‎16.5 x 16.25 x 28.5 inches

Pros

  • Suitable for children aged up to 24 months
  • Built-in belt lock for installing in vehicles
  • Boot provides extra warmth and comfort
  • Available in three colors

Cons

  • May not be front-facing
  • Base may not be easy to tighten

Our Reviewer's Experience

"The comfy padding and user-friendly handle on this car seat make my son's travels cozier. The washable lining and the weather cover make it a good value overall, but the buckle system could be more user-friendly."


Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The 1,552 positive reviews on Amazon are proof that this product meets customers' expectations.


protip_icon Quick tip
Do not wash car seat inserts using abrasive detergents or bleach, as it may damage the material and cause fading or discoloration.

7. Best Lightweight:Disney Baby Minnie Mouse Light n’ Comfy Infant Car Seat

This attractive infant car seat with baby-friendly Minnie Mouse print has a weight limit of 22 lb and a height limit of 29in. The safety-tested lightweight infant seat is convenient to carry and has a five-point harness and five-height adjustment with easy-to-release buckles to meet Federal and ASTM safety requirements.

The flexible latch connectors come with a built-in storage system. This side-impact protection car seat with adjustable stay-in-car base allows easy transportation of car seats in and out of the vehicle.

Color: Mickey Silhouette | Material: Polyester, Metal | Item Weight: ‎14.74 pounds | Product Dimensions: ‎27.5 x 17.25 x 25 inches

Pros

  • Built-in canopy offers protection from heat
  • Soft interiors
  • Offers a snug fit
  • Available in four colors
  • Backed by a one-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Head support may not be sufficient
  • Children may outgrow it quickly

8. Best With Five-Point Harness:UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat

4.8
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat Image: Uppababy Mesa

The infant car seat from UPPAbaby can fit in babies weighing four to 35lb. It is made with advanced technology and has a tightness indicator. The green light indicates the seat is correctly installed. This quick-installation car seat has a weight limit of 35lb and a height limit of 32in, and comes with self-retracting latch connectors to ensure correct fit. The finished bottom with a low-profile base prevents damage to the vehicle.

It has a five-point harness with an adjustable headrest for a secure ride. The headrest is reinforced with energy-absorbing EPA foam to provide complete protection to children, and the extendable canopy offers an additional heat shield for the infant. The mom-tested Mesa car seat is compatible with the mini strollers with a reversible seat feature.

Product Dimensions: 28"D x 17"W x 25"H | Color: Charcoal melange | Material: Wool | Item Weight: ‎18.7 pounds

Pros

  • Washable seat cover
  • UPF 25+ canopy
  • Adjustable harness and crotch strap for preemies
  • Attaches to strollers without adapter

Cons

  • May not have proper ventilation
  • May have a peculiar odor

Our Reviewer's Experience

"The car seat has been a convenient choice for traveling with my baby. The installation is easy, and the easy-clean fabric is excellent. It's a good buy overall, although I wish it were universally compatible."


Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Over 2,607 satisfied customers have left positive reviews about the product on Amazon.


protip_icon Did you know?
Did you know? Most rear-facing, forward-facing, and convertible seats can be used on airplanes to securely fasten children weighing less than 40 pounds (4).

9. Best With Air Protect Technology:Maxi-Cosi Mico Max Plus Infant Car Seat

Maxi-Cosi Infant Car Seat

Image: Courtesy of Maxi-Cosi

Maxi-Cosi infant car seats are ideal for babies weighing four to 30lb. The proprietary air protect technology offers superior side impact safety, and the car seat is compatible with more than 50 stroller systems. The integrated belt lock-offs make installation straightforward, safe, and effective, while the retractable buckles do not cause a hindrance while removing the infant from the car seat. It has a weight limit of 30lb and a height limit of 32in.

You can quickly remove the seat pads to clean the car seat, making it mommy-approved. The ergonomically curved handle enables faster transportation, while the self-wicking fabric provides comfort and head and neck support. This easy-to-clean car seat also comes with a retractable canopy for added coverage and safety.

Color: Nomad Black | Material: Fabric,Plush | Item Weight: ‎18.74 pounds | Product Dimensions: ‎28 x 18 x 15.5 inches

Pros

  • Has a zipper for added ventilation
  • Contoured soft grip for easy carrying
  • Anti-rotation stability leg
  • Compatible with most strollers

Cons

  • Seat may be larger than expected
  • May be slightly wobbl

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This car seat's durability and ease of use are commendable, and it seems to be pretty comfortable and cozy for my child. I also like that it is lightweight and spacious and fits various strollers."


10. Best With Built-In Belt:Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat

This infant car seat from Baby Jogger is crash-tested to meet safety requirements, ensuring that your child has a comfortable ride. It has taxi-safe belt paths, allowing for safe and straightforward installation without using a base in taxis. The car seat has a weight limit of 35lb and a height limit of 32in. Also, this crash-tested infant seat has a built-in belt lock-off with a push-button latch for securing the vehicle’s seat belts.

The rear-facing infant safety seat can accommodate babies weighing four to 35 pounds. Its car pad is machine-washable and dryer-safe. When attached to the stroller, the built-in canopy provides extra sun protection for the infant, adding to its baby-friendly quotient.

Color: Pike | Material: Polyester | Item Weight: ‎23.2 pounds | Product Dimensions: ‎28 x 18 x 18 inches

Pros

  • Anti-rebound bar for added safety
  • Soft and textured fabrics with leatherette handle
  • One-hand adjustable headrest
  • Suitable for air-travel

Cons

  • May not help in even posture for baby
  • Head cushion may be small

Our Reviewer's Experience

"My little one dozes off in this seat. Although a bit heavy, it is sturdy and offers a snug fit while allowing for recline adjustment. The seat is compatible with my double stroller and has a large canopy, making it very convenient for our family outings."


11. Best Stable:Peg Perego Base Primo Infant Car Seat

4.7
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Infant Car Seat Base Image: Pegperego

The Peg Perego infant car seat base is equipped with user-friendly functions and safety features. It comes with color-coded belt paths to help you adjust the seat belt, and the round bottom makes for a gentle and safe fit with any seat upholstery.

This compact infant car seat can quickly get dad-and-mom-approved as it is compatible with any mode of transportation. The tri-zone level indicator function helps you find a proper seat angle based on your child’s growth, while the innovative right-tight system allows secure installation and locking of the base for additional stability.

Color: Grey | Material: Plastic | Item Weight: ‎0.01 ounces | Product Dimensions: ‎21.6 x 14.6 x 11.5 inches

Pros

  • Can be installed without adapters
  • Infinite recline knob ensures perfect recline position
  • Anti-rebound bar for added safety
  • Suitable for children weighing between four and 35lb

Cons

  • May require extra effort to move the handle
  • Instructions may not be easy to follow
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Things To Consider When Choosing An Infant Car Seat For Small Cars

Before choosing the right infant car seat for small cars, consider the following factors.

  1. Usability: A rear-facing car seat is usually the best choice. However, if you intend to use the seat for a long time, choose a convertible seat.
  2. Installation: Choose a car seat that is easy to install and uninstall so that you can effortlessly shift it to any vehicle.
  3. Portability: An infant car seat should be light and easy to transport and install.
  4. Safety standards: Buy a car seat that complies with all safety standards and offers side impact protection.
  5. Compatibility: If your budget allows, it is always a good idea to buy a car seat that is compatible with a stroller.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What type of car seats are ideal for a newborn?

Infant-only car seats are ideal for newborns. These car seats are designed to protect your infant from birth until they attain 35 pounds (1).

2. How long does my baby stay in an infant car seat?

Your baby is safe to use the infant car seat until they reach 35 pounds. If your little one has outgrown the infant car seat, you should switch to a convertible car seat that goes in rear-facing seat installation. You can continue them until they reach two years (2).

3. Are newborn seats and infant car seats the same?

No, newborn car seats allow your tiny tot to sit up, while infant car seats are used in cars to prevent mishaps. Newborn seats should not be used in the transportation of infants (3)

4. At what age can a baby start using a car seat?

Your baby can start using the car seat right from birth, begin with infant car seats, switch to convertible seats and forward-facing seats, and finally move to booster seats as they outgrow (4). Babies need special protection in cars while traveling.

5. How long does the two-hour car seat rule apply?

Manufacturers recommend that your baby should not be more than two hours in a car seat a day. Prolonged sitting in the car seat may cause breathing issues and frustrate your child due to restrictions.

6. Is an infant car seat necessary?

Yes, it is the best way to protect your little one from mishaps. Infants’ skulls, bones, or muscles are fragile, and they need extra protection, especially when they are traveling in a car.

7. What’s the difference between an infant car seat and a convertible?

Convertible car seats are bulkier than infant car seats. They are not equipped with carrying handles or an independent base. In addition, unlike infant car seats, convertible car seats can not be carried (4).

The Bottom Line

Investing in the best infant car seat for small cars can ensure hassle-free road trips with your little one. An infant car seat is primarily installed to keep the little one safe while traveling. Therefore, choose the one that is easy to use, manufactured conforming to safety standards, and durably built to offer ample protection. We suggest you select the Graco SnugRide 35 Elite Infant Car Seat that comes with SnugLock technology, the Chicco KeyFit Infant Car Seat that features a super-cinch latch, and the UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat with tightness indicator. These seats are built to be compact and convertible and help little ones stay safe and comfortable while they travel. This translates to a lightweight seat you can carry around and install in your car whenever needed.

Infographic: How To Use An Infant Car Seat?

Apart from investing in the right infant car seat, it’s also essential to use it in a stipulated manner to prevent unnecessary accidents and injuries. So, check out the following infographic to learn more about the precautions you must take when using an infant car seat.

Dos And Don'ts Of Using An Infant Car Seat (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team


References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Car Seat Safety
    https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/auto-baby-toddler.html
  2. Car Seat Safety: Newborn to 2 Years
    https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/car-seat-safety-kids/car-seat-safety-by-age/newborn-2-years
  3. Choosing Safe Baby Products: Infant Seats & Child Safety Seats
    https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/products-seats.html
  4. Car Seats: Information for Families
    https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx

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Why Trust MomJunction?

Vibha Navarathna is a product writer for baby, pregnancy, and nursing mothers. Her knowledge of the topic and numerous articles have made her familiar with people’s needs and necessities regarding baby safety and requirements. In this list of the best infant car seats for small cars, the products are comfortable, easy-to-install, portable with heightened safety features. She has described each one in detail and added a buying guide to help you select the safest car seat for your little one.

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