Rear-facing-only infant car seats are the first seat that most parents use when transporting their new bundles of joy, including that memorable trip home from the hospital. And as such, the new parents are least experienced in selecting a seat that offers the best margin of safety, in terms of crash protection, and has the potential for a secure fit in the family car.

To aid parents and caregivers, we just posted the latest infant seat test results to with 17 new or revised models. The highest-performing seats now include some new top players, underscoring the need to buy based on the latest data, not just reputation.

The seats listed here have performed well in our crash tests, but they also score well for ease-of-use and fit-to-vehicle ratings, increasing your chances of installing and using them correctly. Additional details on each model can be found on their individual model pages. 

Chicco KeyFit and KeyFit 30

Best Infant Car Seats: Chicco KeyFit

$180 and $200
Once again, these two versions of the Chicco KeyFit top our ratings despite the arrival of new products. Not only do they excel in our new crash protocol, but they also remain two of the easiest seats to install using either the vehicle’s LATCH system or the safety belts. These KeyFit seats increase the odds of parents getting a secure fit. The single-pull LATCH tightening operation and the ease with which the carriers click into the bases are just two features that differentiate the KeyFit seats from their peers. Though similar in design, the KeyFit 30 allows use to a higher weight over the KeyFit, which may allow you to use the KeyFit 30 a bit longer especially if you have a bigger baby, but experience has shown that kids are more likely to outgrow the 30-inch height capacity of either model before they reach the weight limit. The weight difference is also the reason that the KeyFits score differently in a crash, with the KeyFit getting “Best” for crash protection and the KeyFit 30 scoring a slightly lower “Better.” As with many other higher weight seats, tests with the heavier 30 lb. dummy in the KeyFit 30 resulted in head contact during the test which lowers the KeyFit 30’s score a tad.

See the complete Chicco KeyFit and Chicco KeyFit 30 test findings.

GB Asana 35 DLX

Goodbaby Asana 35 DLX

New to our ratings, the GB Asana 35 DLX is the first—and currently only—child seat offered under the GB brand. Though costly, the Asana scores a “Best” for crash protection in our tests, meaning its injury values and ability to avoid head contact provide a greater margin of safety in our tests than lower-rated competitors. The Asana is also one of the new seats that incorporates the “load leg” feature, which has shown to improve a seat’s performance in our tests. The Asana also rates highly for both ease-of-use and fit-to-vehicle, increasing your odds of getting it right in your own car. Features like its belt-tightening arm are helpful in tightening either the LATCH or vehicle seat belts.  

See the complete GB Asana 35 DLX test findings.

Combi Shuttle

Combi Shuttle

The Combi Shuttle maintains its position as one of our top-rated infant seats. The Shuttle rates “Better” for crash protection and has easy installation using either the vehicle belts or LATCH. This seat has a 35 lb. weight maximum and a more closely matched 33-inch height limit, meaning your baby is less likely to grow out of it by height before weight. (This seat has a lower weight capacity of 22 lbs. when used without the base.) Based on the performance of infant seats as a whole, we do still recommend moving to a rear-facing convertible on or after a child’s first birthday to reduce the likelihood for a child’s head to contact the vehicle interior, even if they still fit within the seat’s weight and height limits. However, the Shuttle may provide some extra room for taller babies that are younger than one year.

See the complete Combi Shuttle test findings.

Cybex Aton 2 / Aton Q

Cybex Aton 2 / Aton Q

$320 and $370
The Cybex Aton 2 is now joined by its newer counterpart, the Cybex Aton Q. Each achieves a “Best” rating for crash protection, and like the Asana, these Atons include the recommended (but not required) load leg feature, which has been found to improve their crash ratings. Both had excellent ratings for installation when installed with LATCH, using its unique tensioning feature. The tensioning plate feature is best suited to LATCH and can actually make installations using the vehicle seat belts a bit more difficult in some cases, but still secure. All fit-to-vehicle installations were implemented using the load leg to match the crash test setup.

See the complete Cybex Aton 2 and Cybex Aton Q test findings.

Maxi-Cosi Mico AP

Maxi-Cosi Mico AP

Another new seat to the “top-rated” group, the Maxi-Cosi Mico AP scores a “Better” for performance in our crash tests, and is excellent for its ease-of-use and very good for fit-to-vehicle installations. The Mico AP’s 22 lb. / 29-inch capacity means that most kids will outgrow it around their first birthday, but our tests have shown that moving to a rear-facing convertible at that time is a good bet for head protection anyway. Its carrier is light, making holding it and baby at the same time less of a chore.

See the complete Maxi-Cosi Mico AP test findings.

Safety & Price

One thing that's clear is that some of the newest, high-performing models in this group come at a premium price. The Chicco KeyFit at $180 provides the best balance of performance and price, and it carries our “Best Buy” designation. The Safety 1st Onboard 35 at $110, while not in this top group, is also a “Best Buy” and a good balance of value and performance.

Your babies are your most precious cargo. Even though all child seats provide protection in a vehicle crash, some do it better than others. Crash protection is important, but to gain the optimal benefit, the seat ought to be easy to use and fit your vehicle well.

Choosing one of our best performing models increases the potential for your child to be best protected and your odds of getting the seat installed safely and correctly.

To learn more about the various types of car seats and for advice on which one to choose, see our car seat buying guide. Also learn how we test car seats.