When it comes to car seats, easy installation is one of our very top priorities: as many as 3 out of 4 seats are installed incorrectly, and that means they won’t protect kids adequately. Our goal as a company is to make your life easier, and ensuring your peace of mind by providing you with the best tools to protect your baby is a crucial part of that mission.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat has been part of our selection for many years precisely because the installation is so easy to get right. Sheri, co-owner of Magic Beans, described her first impression of the Keyfit as follows:
“The first time we ever saw a demonstration of that seat, we were amazed. The engineering of the base is ingenious, and it is designed to be nearly foolproof to install.”
That was back in 2009, and a lot of competitors have come up with similar innovations in installation – every infant car seat we sell has a special trick to help you get it right. In that field, the Keyfit may seem old hat, especially compared to flashy newcomers like the Cybex Cloud Q Infant Car Seat, which adds some truly amazing bells and whistles in both safety and function. These two infant car seats are very different, and your decision will probably come down to: simple or deluxe? Let’s go into the details and explain a bit.
- Price: $199.99
- Carrier Weight: 9.6 pounds
- Accommodates: With infant insert, 4-11 pounds; 4-30 pounds total
Because it’s the simplest seat we sell, it’s easy to forget how much reviewers and parents love the Chicco KeyFit 30 – when our reviewer describes it as “the ol’ reliable car seat,” you should read it with the emphasis on RELIABLE. The Keyfit is hugely popular and gets great ratings all around, from some of the most respected sources.
The marquee feature of the Keyfit is the simple installation: the SuperCinch One-pull LATCH Tightener in the base uses force-multiplying technology to get that base installed tightly with so much less tugging. You can also install it with the car’s safety belt, utilizing a built-in lockoff system. The ReclineSure Spring-Loaded Leveling Foot and RideRight Bubble Level will help you get the angle right, too. There’s that foolproof installation and peace of mind that I was talking about!
That’s not all, either: the reviewer at The Car Crash Detective describes the KeyFit as “a seat that was clearly thought out well ahead of time, and that led to a good design and solid construction.” She’s also a fan of the removable and machine-washable covers, the harness adjustment, and the nicely comprehensible instruction manual. The KeyFit is also designed to fit the tiniest babies on their first ride home from the hospital: preemies starting at 4 pounds will enjoy a safe and cozy ride snuggled in the removable full-body insert that’s included. You’re going to have enough on your mind bringing your newborn home for the first time, so why add the worry of trying to position her with rolled blankets?
The carrier on the Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat is also one of our lightest seats, weighing in at 9.6 pounds – since the main reason to get an infant car seat instead of just starting out with a convertible is because it makes it easier to lug the baby around, a light bucket seat is so key, as is the ergonomic handle. And speaking of convenience: the KeyFit is compatible with a huge range of our favorite baby strollers, using an adapter to form your own custom travel system. You don’t have to just use it with a Chicco stroller: our reviewer, Chelsea, especially likes the Keyfit on a Bugaboo!
- Price: $449.99
- Carrier Weight: 13.9 pounds
- Accommodates: 4-35 pounds, up to 30 inches
Cybex is a German brand and fairly recent to the US market, and they’ve really wowed us with this infant car seat and others, plus the glamorous Cybex Priam stroller. The additional safety features that Cybex has introduced to their infant car seats were amazing enough, but the central innovation that makes the Cybex Cloud Q truly special is the lie-flat function.
While babies in the Cloud Q in the car are positioned in a more upright position, laying flat is all-around better for their breathing and development, so it’s not recommended to keep your baby in her car seat for longer than 2-3 hours. But you’re going to be strolling with your infant car seat snapped onto the stroller, right? So the Cybex Cloud Q splits the difference: while the baby is in the car, the seat is positioned for driving, but when you take it out of the car, you can pull a tab to gently recline it for improved z’s for your napping tot. It’s so darn cool!
As for those amazing safety features: like the previous Cybex Aton Q Infant Car Seat, the Cloud Q has a load leg on the base, and the unique Linear Side Impact (LSP) system – little telescoping arms that extend out to the car’s door to absorb the initial force of an impact and channel it away from your baby.
The installation on the Cybex Cloud Q Infant Car Seat is also terrific: it utilizes a belt tensioning plate to get an incredibly tight install. Watch our car seat expert Mike install the Cloud Q here:
It’s downright effortless. So is harness adjustment: when you adjust the 11-position headrest upwards, the no-rethread harness automatically lengthens.
As for stroller compatibility: if you’ve decided on the Cybex Priam as your stroller, you won’t even need to buy separate adapters, since it clicks right onto the stroller frame. Super easy! It’s also compatible with the rest of the Cybex stroller collection, and with all strollers that were compatible with the previous Aton Q model, including popular models from Bugaboo, Baby Jogger, BabyZen, and more.
Finally, it’s worth noting that like the Priam, the Cloud Q looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before – it looks high-tech, futuristic, and totally cool.
So, why would you go with the Keyfit instead, over all of this nifty technology and style? Well, first of all, the Cloud Q only first emerged this year, so it hasn’t had the chance to acquire a reputation on the level of the KeyFit. Initial reviews have been great so far – check out these accolades from the gals at Mother & Baby UK – but this may be something to consider, if you’re the kind of parent who leans heavily towards the tried-and-true.
Second of all, the cool features add weight to your car seat carrier. The Cloud Q carrier is 4.3 pounds heavier than the Chicco KeyFit, and you’re going to be carrying it around with a rapidly growing baby on board. This hasn’t been a problem for many happy users of the seat, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be ok for you. Every family is different!
So, should you buy the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat or the Cybex Cloud Q Infant Car Seat? Or perhaps another infant car seat altogether? Ultimately, it’s going to depend on a lot of factors in your lifestyle, and our car seat experts are trained to tease out those details in order to help you choose the seat that will fit seamlessly into your life. So if you’re not sure: ask us! Come visit one of our stores, or book a free consultation, and we’ll make sure you find an infant car seat that you love to use.