The 10 Best Car Seats 2022: Crash Tested | BabyGearLab

best baby car seat crash test review

cybex aton 2

the cybex aton 2 is a high quality car seat with some of the best crash test analysis in our review. This seat includes an eye-pleasing design and features for passenger comfort. It has unique safety features like a “side impact crumple zone” and a loading leg. the aton 2 has a latch system which is very easy to install, potentially translating to increased security.

Some of the daily use features of aton 2 are more difficult to use than other competitors. it’s also priced higher, making it a potential non-starter for those on a tight budget. the aton 2 is a great seat if your budget allows it. If higher safety crash test results and easy installation are first on your mind, the Aton 2 (with the charging leg) could be a strong contender.

Reading: Best car seat reviews 2021

read more: cybex aton 2 review

best convertible car seat overall

britax emblem

The Britax emblem has impressive test results for nearly every metric, with performance showing exceptional trim across the board that is virtually unmatched. While some competitors scored higher on some metrics or overall, the Emblem is the only option with above-average scores across all tests. Because it had one of the best results in crash tests and is easy to install at an affordable price, we think it’s an option every parent should add to their favorites list. This Britax features an easy-to-use no-rethread harness adjuster; we prefer it to rethreading styles. It’s comfortable, well made, and relatively light compared to other high-scoring seats.

possibly the emblem is not as easy to install as britax weathertight options and has less padding than more expensive britax options. however, it is an excellent option for all families with a reasonable price good for most budgets.

read more:britax emblem review

best convertible car seat for crash tests

graco extend2fit

graco extend2fit scored best in our analysis of crash test results. Graco had one of the best combined results for head and chest sensors, indicating an additional margin of protection over the competition. This convertible seat has great results for latch installation. Because installation errors have been implicated in injury and death, it is critical to correctly install a car seat. The big advantage is that Extend2Fit can remain rear-facing up to 50 pounds, creating a safer environment for baby.

the extend2fit is below average quality and not as comfortable as similarly priced seats. despite this, this option is suitable for anyone looking for the best crash tests or considering the potential safety aspects of longer rear-facing.

read more: graco extend2fit review

the easiest convertible car seat to install

britax boulevard clicktight arb

The Britax Boulevard Clicktight is the perfect seat for anyone concerned about installing a seat correctly (probably all of us), which is why we like this choice. This convertible seat scored 10 out of 10 for installation with the vehicle’s belt and latching system, making it a standout choice and a product we think is nearly foolproof. This easy-to-use seat offers impressive comfort and quality construction. We think most parents will love the look, feel, and features of this quality competitor.

the clicktight performs slightly above average in crash test results. this data means that it exceeded the federal requirements. Since poor installation often results in more injuries, we believe this seat’s excellent installation performance offsets its slightly above average crash test results to create a seat that’s hard to beat.

read more:britax boulevard clicktight review

great versatile booster seat

uppababy tall

uppababy alta is a quality booster seat with a high back, crash test results and comfort features. We like the rigid latch connection that prevents the seat from free floating, and passengers like the belt retainers and height-adjustable headrest. The Alta offers supportive padding, a slight recline, and a convenient side cup holder. The cover is also machine washable, something every parent will appreciate.

This lift is a bit heavy and may not be the best option for traveling or carpooling. Alternatively, it’s relatively narrow, making it a potential seat if you need to fit multiple car seats in a row of vehicles. This booster will please kids and parents alike with better crash test analysis and a comfortable seating area.

read more:uppababy alta review

premium booster seat

oobr client

The clek oobr is a high back, steel frame booster seat that can go backless for older children or kids on the go. This lift had the highest combined crash test results in our booster test, and is easy to install with a rigid latch system. This booster is similar to your vehicle seat, with an adjustable headrest, armrests, and quality fabric that’s easy to clean.

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This seat is stupidly heavy and difficult to lift and carry, so you don’t want to travel with it or take it very far. however, the back can be removed for occasional travel needs if required. Plus, we think the impressive crash test results and build quality more than make up for the OOBR’s weight. We also like that you can quickly secure the booster in the vehicle, so it stays put in the car when your kids aren’t using it. If you have safety in mind and won’t be moving your seat from car to car very often, the OOBR is a great seat for you.

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read more: clek oobr review

why you should trust us

our car seat testing protocol is intense and highly detailed; We’ve conducted more than 2,470 individual tests to evaluate the more than 70 car seats we’ve tested since 2014. Our tests show that car seats vary significantly in performance. To help you determine which option is best for you, we purchased two seats of each make and model for testing. We do not accept free products from manufacturers to assure our readers that our opinions are completely independent and unbiased.

We ship one car seat to the same professional crash test center the NHTSA uses for testing and keep the other seat in-house for more than 45 detailed scientific tests on each seat . We use the same crash test guidelines and tests to compare and combine our results with those of the NHTSA prior to analysis and qualification. Internally, we use and evaluate every feature and function, from the stiffness of the buckle and how challenging it is to change the height of the shoulder strap to the difficulty of installation for all possible methods. Our extensive, months-long testing process means you can trust our test results and analysis to help you find the best car seat for your family and budget.

car seat testing is broken down into five testing metrics (with some variation depending on the type of car seat):

  • crash test analysis (20% of total weighted score)
  • easy to use installation (multiple methods on multiple vehicles) (35% weight)
  • ease of use (15% weight)
  • comfort/quality tests (15% weighting)
  • weight & size (15% weight)
  • Our extensive testing and qualification process provides the information you need to make the best car seat purchase for your family. the weighted contribution of each metric to the overall score is based on how important we believe it is to the purchase decision. the weighting varies somewhat for each car seat category, as some features or functionality might be more important for one type of product than another.

    With over 100 car seats under our testing belt, it’s easy to tell you’re in good hands with a team of experts in car seats and crash testing. This team is led by our founder, dr. Juliet Spurrier uses his experience as a board-certified pediatrician to select products with safety and fitment in mind, as these are the key factors in creating a safe car environment for little passengers. Bob Wofford, father of 7, Senior Review Analyst and Certified Passenger Safety Technician, leads the in-house test team with extensive side-by-side testing for ease of installation and more. Given our process of testing every seat in at least three different vehicles and Bob’s seven years of seat testing prowess, you can be sure that Bob has more automotive seat and installation experience than probably anyone on the planet. Wendy Schmitz, a mother of two and senior review editor, is involved in scoring analysis as well as hands-on testing and installation with over six years of experience testing seats of all kinds. Abriah Wofford, Senior Review Analyst, rounds out the team, providing another set of hands and alternative experiences to further insight into installation and ease of use. abriah has been testing car seats since 2016.

    types of car seats

    If you’re a new parent, the world of car seats might be a whole new and daunting thing. We well remember wondering what to choose when upgrading to a new seat and why installing them was so complicated. Fortunately, we have the information you need to decide which car seat is right for your little one.

    car seats for children

    Parents should have a secure car seat when leaving the hospital with their new baby. Infant car seats are designed with little bodies and systems in mind. From proper positioning to prevent positional suffocation to narrower shoulder harness straps, serious engineering goes into a safe infant car seat. Infant car seats combine an infant carrier and base to create a system that allows you to install the base in your car once and carry your baby in the carrier to and from the car base or attach to a compatible stroller. Unlike “all-in-one” seats or convertible seats that claim to be infant-friendly, infant car seats are for infants and toddlers only, typically up to about 9 months or 30-35 pounds. We think they’re uniquely qualified to potentially better protect your little one than a seat designed for children from 4 to 80 pounds. Most parents find carriers valuable tools and welcome the ability to let a child sleep while running errands using a stroller or carrier handle.

    convertible car seats

    Convertible seats are for older babies (around nine months) and can last until your little one is between the ages of 3 and 7, depending on the model and the size of your child. the seat starts facing the vehicle seat or rear facing (the safest position for little ones). Based on the manufacturer’s recommendations, it rotates the seat to face forward when your child reaches a certain weight or height range. the “convertible” nickname is related to the rear-facing seat then “converting” to a forward-facing seat.

    car booster seats

    Once your baby outgrows their convertible seat, they’re ready for the big kid’s favorite booster seat. this transition will depend on the manufacturer’s guidelines and the size of your child. pay special attention to weight and height restrictions, as most children outgrow one sooner than the other. Depending on the seat, your child will likely need a booster seat between the ages of 5 and 7, but the child’s size is more of a factor than age. Just as you wanted to stay rear-facing as long as possible, we think it’s wise to stay in a convertible seat as long as the seat’s owner’s manual allows before upgrading to a booster seat. We think the 5-point harness and side frame on convertible seats potentially offer more protection.

    can one product do it all?

    While convertible seats can work for babies from 5 to 50 pounds and up, we don’t think it’s a good idea to choose a one-time seat when it comes to safety.


    Infant seats are designed for the smaller bodies of newborns. These seats are shaped to an infant’s anatomy and provide postural positioning for optimal breathing and protection in a crash. The harness design is narrower and more appropriate for an infant than a convertible seat, designed for older infants and modified for infants. Many convertible car seats have an infant insert to make the car seat more suitable for smaller passengers. We think it’s smart to purchase car seats specifically for each age/size rather than opting for a product that can accommodate an infant but isn’t explicitly designed for infants. If you want to save money on baby gear (isn’t everyone?), we don’t think buying a car seat is the time to do it, given the potential safety implications.

    The other advantage of infant seats is that they are practical. Infant seats have a carrier with a handle for easy portability from one location to another.

    This design allows you to move a sleeping baby from car to stroller or car without interruption. This feature may seem small before your baby is born, but trust us, you’ll do it more than once and you’ll be thankful for the baby carrier.

    Is ease of installation or crash test results more important?

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    While many parents are concerned about crash test safety (as they should be), few realize that improperly installing a seat or not using it as directed is a major cause of child injuries in car accidents. In our research on car seat safety testing, NHTSA safety engineers emphasized that inappropriate use is a more important safety concern than differences in car seat test results. shock.

    in fact, an nhtsa study showed that 84% of infant seats exhibited critical misuse related to seat installation or improper infant restraint, or both. Another study by Portland’s Best Children’s Hospital followed 267 families as they left the hospital with their babies after birth. the study showed that “93% made at least one critical mistake, a mistake that put their baby at greater risk of injury in a crash, when placing their baby in a car seat or installing the seat security in your vehicle”.

    Ninety-three percent is a significant number. That’s why we believe ease of use and installation are critical components of seat safety, potentially more so than crash test results. therefore, while crash test analysis is important, it should not overshadow how challenging a seat is to use or install. Many award-winning seats are easy to install, with at least one installation method. some even have perfect scores and were practically foolproof, or at least as foolproof as possible.

    does lifestyle matter?

    Your lifestyle may be a consideration in your selection process for a new car seat. Suburban parents typically have a personal car and a semi-permanent location to install their seats with limited modifications. Other parents may live in a larger city where they frequently use Uber and taxis, requiring a relatively mobile option with frequent multi-vehicle installs. Therefore, a car seat that is lightweight and easy to install is more critical for urbanites than others. if you don’t carry your seat often, you have more options because weight is less of a determining factor. If you need to transport the seat frequently, a few heavier products may not be enough.

    The weight of your booster seat could play a role in your decision-making whether to carpool or travel. Your child may need a booster seat in some places to participate in shared campouts or carpools with friends from school activities. a heavy steel frame seat like the clek oobr is a beast and not something you want to move very often. it’s a poor choice for carrying or stuffing in a backpack without the back. The evenflo spectrum is significantly lighter and can go without a backrest for even easier carpooling.

    The weight of a convertible seat is a minor consideration for most people because it typically spends most of its life sitting in one place. however, if you need to take a taxi with your seat and baby, you’ll probably prefer the lightest possible seat.

    In the case of infant seats, the weight of the carrier can play a role for similar reasons. baby carriers can be cumbersome when combined with the weight of the baby. If you plan to attach your carrier to a stroller, weight is less critical, but if you plan to hold your carrier or travel frequently, your weight plays a bigger role.

    Are you an urban dweller looking for a baby carrier? Then you need to consider the ease of installation without the base, as you’re more likely to install the seat in an uber without the base than to take the base with you. this style of installation is a safe practice, and the seats have a method for this practice. However, some seats are significantly easier to install without the base than others, so choosing the easier, higher-end option could make your life easier. Alternatively, the doona is fairly easy to set up without the base and includes an attached stroller that takes the weight off you and puts it on wheels.

    what about the weight range?

    infant seats claim to be appropriate for an infant from 4 pounds to typically up to 30-45 pounds; convertible seats also have limits, usually between 5 and 55 pounds (or more, depending on the seat). manufacturers advertise these ranges and make them seem very important. Should this weight range be considered when purchasing? no, probably not.

    why not?

    Despite the manufacturer’s focus on weight, most infants will outgrow the height limits before reaching the weight limit for most infant seats. the same is often the case with convertible seats.

    According to the CDC’s Baby Boys Age and Weight Growth Chart (pdf), a baby boy in the 95th percentile (meaning that one baby grows faster than 94 out of 100 babies) will weigh less than 28 pounds and will measure about 32 inches. on his one year birthday. Depending on height, most babies will transition from their infant seat to a convertible seat between 9 and 12 months. you can see from the data that even the fastest growing child will not exceed the maximum weight of most car seats in our tests, but they could grow too big, meaning a transition to the next style of car seat before their weight hit a change. So while it’s helpful to have a general idea of ​​how long your baby can use a seat, it’s just an estimate.

    In the end, the restrictions have more to do with height than weight. For this reason, we wouldn’t necessarily make weight range a deciding factor in your buying decision, unless it’s under 30 pounds for an infant seat (very rare). Even if your little one is exceptionally tall, they’ll just transition into a convertible seat before other babies of the same age, which isn’t a big deal, is safe, and will happen eventually, no matter what.

    what about travel systems?

    A travel system is a package that includes an infant car seat and a compatible stroller. these combinations are traditionally a default set from the same manufacturer. Alternatively, you can skip the pre-packs to create your own combination where you purchase a seat and compatible stroller separately (which may require purchase of adapters). preset sets (in our experience) often include less impressive options than what you get if you build your own combination, so we prefer to build our own. however, manufacturer’s games may be less expensive.

    Because safety is paramount, we believe you should choose your car seat over your stroller. We think choosing the right infant seat before selecting a must-have stroller compatible with that seat is smart. Most infant car seats are compatible with at least a couple of strollers, with just a few exceptions.

    how to choose

    Narrowing down your car seat selections based on how you plan to use your car seat and ease of installation should result in some of the best candidates. We think you should first zero in on the right type for your baby’s age (infant, convertible, or booster) to narrow down the selection pool. We strongly recommend that you resist the temptation to buy a convertible seat (or all-in-one product) for your baby. From there, you can narrow your search by ease of installation and crash test results or budget (depending on your situation and goals). Lastly, while we understand that budget can be a concern, and some new parents are on very tight budgets, we believe that child seats are not the time to try to save a few bucks. our testing reveals affordable seats are available that are easy to install with impressive crash test analysis results in all categories.

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