Choosing an infant car seat for baby’s first rides in the car is all about convenience, saving you a boatload of hassle during those early days when sleep is at a premium and you’re still adapting to the new title of Mom or Dad. Infant car seats are custom-tailored to fit teeny little people, and they’re also custom-designed to make your life easier during the first year: that cozy baby bucket lets you transfer your baby from environment to environment without undoing the car seat harness, so you can tote the baby into the house or click the seat right onto your stroller. If you can accomplish that transfer without waking a napping baby, it’s a major victory!
All infant car seats have that one crucial feature – the click-and-go base – but they diverge quite a bit from there. The Cybex Cloud Q Infant Car Seat, in particular, has one very cool and unusual marquee feature: it can extend into a reclined position when it’s not in the car. This makes the Cloud Q an especially good choice if you anticipate doing a lot of extended strolling while your baby is small, because the more upright position enforced by the average infant car seat isn’t ideal for their breathing.
The UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Car Seat is another one of our top picks, and while it doesn’t recline, it has a lot of other great features to recommend it. In particular, it’s compatible adapter-free with the popular UPPAbaby Vista and UPPAbaby Cruz strollers. So while you’re not obligated to choose the Mesa if you’ve chosen an UPPAbaby stroller, it’s a definite perk.
Aside from those two major differentiating factors, the Cloud Q and the Mesa each offer great installation systems, safety features, and convenience features, so let’s go through those one by one.
The average infant car seat can be tough to install – that’s why we don’t sell average infant car seats. Incorrect installation could mean that the car seat doesn’t protect your baby properly on the road, and that’s unacceptable! So we only recommend infant car seats with innovative installation systems that help you get it right every time.
The Cybex Cloud Q infant car seat base gives you two great installation options: you can install it with LATCH connectors or with your vehicle’s safety belt, and either way, the belt tensioning plate gives you a super tight install, no wiggle! You can watch Mike install the base here:
The UPPAbaby Mesa base is also incredibly simple to install, and we love the great red/green indicators that show you when you’ve got it right! You’ll see these handy signals on the level indicator wheel and the tension indicator, too. To install, just click in the self-retracting LATCH connectors, and press down until the tightness indicator turns green, and you’re ready to ride! You can see the installation process here:
Either of these seats will give you a rock-solid installation in minutes, and that’s just so much better for your peace of mind – and ours, too.
The Cybex Cloud Q is a top-tier seat in terms of safety: Cybex loaded it with every high-tech feature in their playbook, providing all-around protection that’s hard for any other seat to beat. A quick run-down:
- Telescopic Linear Side Impact Protection: The little telescoping silver arms on the side of the seat are made to extend out towards the car door panel on either side. This provides the first level of protection in the case of a side collision, beginning the process of channeling crash energy away from your child. With the flexible EPS foam padding and the adjustable EPS lined headrest, you get what Cybex calls “Triple Side Impact Protection.”
- Load Leg: This additional piece on the car seat base extends to the floor to prevent rebound and channel more crash energy away from your baby.
You can read more about these features in our interview with a company rep here, about the previous model, the Aton Q.
The UPPAbaby Mesa measures up nicely with superb Side Impact Protection and great crash test scores: the adjustable headrest is reinforced with EPP foam and keeps the baby’s head stationary in a side impact collision, testing up to 4 times better than other premium brands (based on tests from an independent facility in 2014). When we interviewed UPPAbaby Creative Director Trung Phung for our 2013 Magalog, he told us that the Mesa passed all crash testing criteria on the first round, but the design team didn’t stop there: they tested and refined the Mesa for a total of six rounds!
Like the Mesa, the Cloud Q has adapter-free compatibility with one of our favorite strollers, the Cybex Priam. So if the Priam is your stroller of choice, the Cloud Q is just a natural fit. You can also purchase adapters to click your Cloud Q onto these strollers:
- All Bugaboo strollers
- The Baby Jogger City Mini & City Mini GT (you’ll need to take the fabric off, but it’s not hard)
- The Nuna Mixx
- The UPPAbaby Vista & Cruz
- The BabyZen YoYo+
- The Stokke Xplory & Trailz
The Mesa is only compatible with the UPPAbaby Vista Stroller and the UPPAbaby Cruz Stroller, but considering how popular both strollers are (especially here in Boston), that may be a selling point rather than a limiting factor!
Both seats also have no-rethread harnesses which are easy to adjust for height on the fly; the Mesa has 5 headrest positions, while the Cloud Q has 11. They also both have generously-sized sun canopies, that tuck away into a hard storage flap; the Cloud Q has a more dramatic look, but they’ll both do a great job keeping out the elements.
These are a lot of features to evaluate, so if you’re still not sure which infant car seat is going to be right for you – ask us! Our car seat experts have logged many hundreds of hours helping parents-to-be to evaluate their needs and pick the baby gear that’s best for their lifestyle, and we’ll be quite happy to do the same for you. Visit your nearest Magic Beans store, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or sign up for a FREE consultation, and we’ll find you an infant car seat you’ll love!