Babble Best Picks:
There might not be a more important baby product that you'll buy than a car seat. You can skimp on hand-me-down clothes, used toys or even second-hand strollers, but experts agree that car seats should be brand new - especially if you don't know the history of the particular car seat.
There are two options for babies: First there's the standard infant car seat, which is fitted more securely for a baby and is also lighter and more maneuverable for parents. An infant car seat can easily transfer between multiple cars, as well as turn into a travel system by hooking onto a stroller or shopping cart. However, infant car seats only face backwards and have a relatively short weight and height capacity, meaning you'll need to buy a bigger car seat toward the end of your baby's first year.
The second option is to just go with a convertible car seat from the jump, saving you money on the infant car seat and multiple car seat bases. Every convertible car seat that we tested can be used rear facing starting with newborns, although they generally don't have the best fit and features for the littlest ones. Convertible car seats are naturally much bigger and heavier than an infant car seat, and aren't as simple to move in and out of cars. Plus, you'll need multiple car seats for multiple cars, rather than just buying an inexpensive base (as with infant car seats).
Yet once your baby hits around 30 lbs., a convertible car seat can last you until your child is 65-100 lbs., possibly making it the last car seat you'll buy. But with so many different features, manageability and price points, it can be hard to tell just which ones are the very best. So to give you a hand, we tested the most popular infant and convertible car seats to fit your lifestyle and budget.
READERS’ CHOICE INFANT CAR SEATS | First Years Via Infant Car Seat
We found a lot of positives about the First Years Via, namely the simplicity to install and adjust, as well as the overall fit of the seat. We also like that there’s an anti-rebound system similar to the Britax Chaperone, except without the bulky added attachment. Instead, the Via’s handle is designed to extend and rest against the back seat, protecting the car seat from rebounding into the seat during a front or rear crash.
However, there isn’t much versatility. It’s not designed to fit on supermarket carts, and it can’t be installed without the base, so it’s not ideal for an urban, taxi-using lifestyle. There are also very few strollers that are compatible with the First Years Via, other than the First Years Wave ($280) and Indigo ($159.99) strollers – neither of which we’ve tested. Also keep in mind that the car seat only accommodates babies up to 22 lbs., and it’s one of the heavier options on the market.
Get it from Amazon, $135.99