Choosing the right car seat for your new baby can be a daunting task--there really are hundreds of highly rated car seats from brands that parents love. There’s so much to take into consideration. Safety, of course — but also installation, size, weight, specific features, price, and how the car seat works with various travel systems. We recommend setting aside a few minutes while you’re expecting to explore which car seat is right for you.
That’s why we’ve made it easy for you. Drawing upon our experience as a business since 1933, Albee Baby features a continually hand-curated selection of the best of the best car seats on the market today. The right car seat can make your days, nights, long days of travel, and quick errands as easy as possible, as well as prepare you for the future when you decide that one is not enough and have additional children.
Infant car seats are made specifically for newborns, and they are required to be able to leave the hospital with your baby. These seats always face the rear of the car (which is safest for baby) and are used from the day you leave the hospital until your baby reaches the seat's height or weight limit (usually around 35 pounds). Babies who have outgrown their infant-only safety seat will need a larger seat that can still be used rear-facing, such as a convertible safety seat, until they are around two years of age.
Convertible car seats, sometimes called toddler car seats, can be used from birth (with an infant insert) until your child outgrows the need for a car seat, or you can choose a combination of an infant car seat/convertible car seat/booster car seat as your child grows. Typically speaking, the convertible car seat will be the seat you use the most (and the longest). You’ll likely use one until your child outgrows the need for a car seat, although some parents (especially those with multiple children) might explore booster seats for those final years as they use the convertible car seat for the next child or look for more space in the car to fit three children across (there are several models of convertible car seats that excel at fitting 3-to-a-row). Convertible car seats can be used in forward-facing or in rear-facing positions, depending on the weight of your child.
Depending on the growth of your child, the room in your car, or other factors, you may want to choose a booster car seat or a harness-to-booster car seat for your child as they outgrow the convertible car seat. Booster seats may have high backs, removable high backs, or be backless. You may choose to use a booster car seat to keep your child in a car seat longer than is required by law, which is highly recommended, as using a seat with additional safety features is always recommended when compared to no car seat.
A “travel system” is the idea of an infant car seat that “plugs” into both the infant car seat base in your vehicle, as well as the stroller you use daily--this way it’s a “plug and play” adventure between using your car seat and stroller, saving you time and energy while adding safety and convenience. Many parents choose the travel system as a means ensuring their purchases get the most “bang for the buck.” Using a travel system also helps grandma and grandpa or anyone else who may want to have a stroller/car seat combo to help with your little one while you’re at work.
The most-used purchase that parents make is their transportation system, and it’s important to choose the one that works best with your everyday needs and lifestyle. From minimalist, sleek designs that are perfect for navigating urban cityscapes to car seats that can click into joggers and go on off-road adventures, we’ve got what you’re looking for.
Installing your car seat according to the manufacturer's guidelines is the most important thing you can do to ensure that safety requirements are met and exceeded by your car seat. We wish it were better-known that in most parts of the USA, you can stop by your local police station and have an officer help ensure that your seat is installed correctly (they are trained in this). While we can’t include instructions specific to every car seat we offer here on this page, we would like to quickly cover the two main ways of installation (both of which are equally safe, provided they are done correctly):
LATCH stands for “lower anchors and tethers for children,'' and many parents find this form of installation easier and faster than using the seat belt to secure the car seat. You’ll recognize this by those metal bars located near the seat belts and just behind the gap in the back seat. There’s also a top tether that will secure behind the seat/headrest. This is something you'll find on most cars today, although this is the “newer” form of car seat installation. Vehicles that have been manufactured after September 1, 2002, are almost guaranteed to have the LATCH system available. Being a newer option doesn’t make it any safer than correctly using the seat belt installation, but it can be quicker and more convenient.
Seat belt installation is exactly what you remember when you were a kid, unless you didn’t use a car seat at all. It’s been the universal method of keeping people safely in their seats since they were invented (the first patented seat belt design was registered by Edward J. Claghorn in 1885). If you ensure that you are locking your seat belt (in newer cars this is done by pulling the seat belt all the way out and then letting it retract to the desired coverage), using the seat belt installation is as safe as the LATCH system for your child.
There are two important steps to take once you receive your car seat but before you take baby for his or her first ride.
The first thing to do is to get your car seat inspected, which you can do by following the link at safekids.org. Through the National Child Passenger Safety Certification Training Program, technicians and instructors are trained to work with new parents to teach them how to safely install and use their car safety equipment. The program offers regional safety events in many areas throughout the US.
If you cannot find a technician in your area, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration keeps a list of inspection stations in your area.
Beyond a wealth of insight and the utmost care, sometimes there are recalls on even the best-selling car seats. It doesn’t happen often, but it can happen. For example, this may happen when a seat belt on a five-point harness doesn’t release correctly (or just “sticks”). By filling out the registration card that comes with your car seat, you’ll get up-to-date information on any recalls that may occur throughout the life of your car seat.
Our selection of infant car seats is made up of the world’s most trusted, award-winning, and best-selling brands that meet and exceed safety standards. We understand that nothing is more important than the safety of your baby, but in addition to the safest car seats in the world, you do want to make sure your baby is comfortable, your fabrics are washable, and the car seat will not only fit in your car, but will potentially last more than a year or two, too! Worry not--our selection of infant car seats is made up of the world’s most trusted, award-winning, and best-selling brands that meet and exceed safety standards.
Our products are always at the best prices that we can offer, so you can enjoy all of the features you want, like side impact protection, breathable materials, one-click installation, safety guides, and car seat accessories that add protection and fun to your outings.