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Car seats

What's behind our car seat Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 125 models in car seats to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Overall score is based on crash protection, ease of use, and fit to vehicle, using LATCH and lap/shoulder belts.
  • Crash protection
    A rating of the potential for each seat to limit injury and movement of a child in a crash based on simulated frontal crash tests using child sized dummies.
  • Ease of use
    Our judgment of how easy each seat is to use including the clarity of labels and instructions, adjustments of clips and buckles, the transition of the seat from rear facing to forward facing and installation features such as LATCH connections and top tethers.
  • Rear facing fit-to-vehicle
    A rating of how easy it is to securely and correctly install each seat using both the vehicle belts and LATCH in a variety of vehicles in a rear-facing orientation and how well they fit each vehicle once installed.
  • Forward facing fit-to-vehicle
    A rating of how easy it is to securely and correctly install each seat using both the vehicle belts and LATCH in a variety of vehicles in a forward-facing orientation and how well they fit each vehicle once installed.

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Car seat user reviews

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Recommended car seats

Recommended car seats are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
A child should be restrained in a car seat from the moment you take your baby home from the hospital until she grows into adult seat belts, typically around the age of 7 or 8. Every state requires that kids up to 4 years old ride in car seats; most require booster seats for older children. If you're looking for information about car seats, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ car seat reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our car seat buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased Ratings and car seat reviews to help you choose the best car seat for your needs.

Recently reviewed car seats

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Inertia
Inertia infant seats are offered by Baby-Trend in addition to the Flex-loc and a variety of other baby products.

Car seat buying guide

There are several types of car seats available, and as your child grows you'll buy several to maintain a consistently safe and comfortable fit. Of all the things you'll buy for your baby, a car seat should be at the top of your list.

Your first choice will be whether to put your newborn in a dedicated infant seat or a convertible seat. We think an infant seat is the safer choice; our testing has found it provides a better fit for a newborn. Get an infant car seat well before your baby arrives so you have plenty of time to make sure it fits your car. Learn to install it properly and get comfortable with how it works.

Selecting and installing a child seat correctly can be challenging. About 80 percent of parents and caregivers experience some level of misuse when using seats that include a harness, so it's important to carefully read the owner's manual for both your vehicle and your child's car seat. (Learn more in the study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.) This buying guide, especially the Types section, will help you gauge when it's time to trade up to the next version. (See our videos for how to install an infant car seat, how to install a convertible car seat, and how to install a harnessed booster or belt-positioning booster car seat.)

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