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What is the safest car seat?

UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Car Seat InstallationWe wish we had a better answer for this question, but the fact of the matter is: there is no single “safest” car seat on the market. There are so many factors that go into this determination, and few reliable statistics.

 

Every car seat on the market undergoes rigorous safety testing, and every seat does basically the same thing: it keep your child’s body firmly in place to minimize the effect that crash forces have on them, preventing injuries. With that said, there are a few things to consider that can improve your child’s safety in the car.

 

The single most important element when it comes to car seat safety is PROPER INSTALLATION. It doesn’t matter how many expensive safety features your car seat has if it isn’t installed correctly. Make sure it’s done right – find your local car seat inspection station here.

 

Many of our more innovative seats include features that make a proper install easier: for instance, the UPPAbaby MESA infant seat features SmartSecure, and Britax Clicktight convertible car seats utilize an innovative belt-tensioning plate for an easy and speedy seat-belt installation. But even with these cool new systems, get your car seat installation checked out. It’s worth it.

 

Now that we’ve addressed installation (seriously, don’t neglect it), think about some of the cool safety features that come on our more upscale car seat models: for instance, the Nuna Pipa infant car seat features a load leg, a feature that’s unusual in the US but more common in Europe. It’s so simple and so effective – it reduces forward motion by up to 90%. Wow! It’s also nice if your infant car seat is really lightweight, or if it has a quick-release button like the UPPAbaby MESA. Or, if you're going to be strolling long distances with your infant car seat attached to your stroller with an adapter, the Cybex Cloud Q may be your best bet: you can recline it when you take it out of the car, letting your baby lie back in a more comfortable and developmentally appropriate position.

 

Finally: your child should stay rear-facing in her car seat for as long as possible! Doctors recommend rear-facing until at least 2 years of age. For a simple illustration of why, featuring crash test dummies, check out this video. (Warning: Despite the fact that it’s just dummies, this video is not necessarily for the faint of heart.) We're advocates for extended rear-facing - read more about why in our blog!