Chicco KeyFit 30 Review | Tested by BabyGearLab
chicco (kee-ko) is the largest baby-focused brand in europe and is part of the artsana group. artsana group is a lifestyle company offering a variety of products including grocery items, baby items and medical supplies. chicco was founded by pietro catelli and provides baby related items for children from pre-birth to preschool age, and its products are now found in more than 120 countries.
in our evaluation of crash test results, chicco showed an extra margin of protection over much of the competition, with lower g-force results than most.
Reading: Chicco keyfit infant car seat reviews
For the head sensor on the crash test dummy, the Chicco scored best in the crash test of the group and can be considered to provide significantly better protection than required by federal safety standards. The chart below shows the head sensor (hic) results for the products we tested.
cybex aton 2 has the best crash test results for the chest sensor with a 44, while chicco got a 51, where 60 is the maximum allowed, and a lower result is better. The chart below shows Chicco’s test results (in black) for the chest sensor compared to the seat with the best crash test scores for the chest sensor (in green). the chart below shows a comparison of chest sensor results across all products.
keyfit has energy absorbing foam for side impact protection (sip) as its only marketing claim for an added safety feature. sip is not a defined industry term and therefore can mean different things to different manufacturers. It’s hard to know if they tested this component or what the company believes contributes to the overall performance of the seat.
ease of installation – latch
the chicco is one of the easiest to install using the latch system.
All of the high-ranking products in this metric offer something unique to latch design, and their ease of installation reflects this attempt to make installation easier.
this chicco also has a unique closure system. the connecting anchors are push type with a hard plastic housing and a red release button. After the latch anchors are attached to the vehicle, a single center strap is used to tighten them. the strap is comfortable to pull on and the seat installation is simple (bottom left).
The bubble level indicator (top right) on the base helps parents find the right installation angle. This base has a level on both sides so parents can easily see if the angle is correct. To help achieve the correct angle, the base also comes with an adjustable foot. we didn’t need rolled towels or pool noodles to level the seat.
ease of installation – belt
it’s a good thing that chicco is so easy to install with the latch method because it’s not as easy to install with the vehicle’s seat belt.
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the chicco is below average for installation using the vehicle belt.
This seat does have a seat belt, but unlike some competitors, the belt path is not color-coded. Threading the belt is more complicated than necessary and the belt lock is more difficult to use. we had trouble getting the strap under the lock without it wrinkling or folding. even when in the correct lock, the base can still ride up the side of the shoulder belt and lean slightly to the side. it’s best with a lap belt, but they’re becoming less common in newer passenger vehicles. we believe the most stable installation is the latch system.
easy to install – without base
chico is more difficult to install without the base than any other method of installation. this difficulty means that the keyfit 30 is a poor choice for parents who use public transport and may need to install their seat without the base.
This seat uses the US belt path and is not a color coded belt path. although the belt is relatively easy to thread, we had great difficulty installing and securing this seat without the base.
we had to use two towels to get the angle right and secure it tight enough. even then the seat felt very wobbly and not something we would want to use with our baby. Since the European method seems more stable to us, we believe that this entry would benefit from this path.
ease of use
chico is easy to use compared to the competition.
This buckle feels less stiff than some of the competition and is easier to work with without the extra padding that surrounds the buckle. the chest clip isn’t the stiffest, but it’s not as easy to press and slide as it could be. some testers had a hard time getting their thumbs caught in the ring around the button, but overall it’s easy to connect and pair the two sides.
adjusting the harness is relatively easy and is tightened via a strap near the wearer’s foot that is pulled to tighten the harness. the harness release button is also near the wearer’s foot above the strap. the button is on top of the padding, making it easy to access.
adjusting the height of the shoulder strap on chicco is a challenge. The seat has three height options and a buckle strap location, and we found the process of rethreading the straps annoying. The shoulder straps come together in a t-style divider plate, and the little loops on the straps make them easier to thread through the slots than some of the competition, but harder to reattach into the divider. We prefer the competition’s seats with unrepeated-style height adjustment. We also prefer car seats with more height variations for the shoulder straps to increase the chances of getting the best fit.
The handle on this seat works by squeezing the levers on either side at the pivot point and turning the handle to the desired position. it has three possible positions, and any of them is allowed while driving. We had a hard time with the handle and canopy rubbing in a few positions, but the handle moves smoothly and works well. It does not have rough edges or a strange design that prevents it from being used or held comfortably.
carrier and base connection
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attaching the seat to the base is simple and the carrier seems to snap into place. It doesn’t have a visual connection indicator, but we didn’t experience any problems during our tests. giving the carrier a good tug can help parents make sure it’s actually attached correctly. squeezing the release handle on the back of the carrier will release the carrier connection from the base. Parents can use the release handle on the back of the seat to help them get the carrier out of the car.
latch anchoring and manual storage
chicco latch anchors tuck into pockets on back of base. While this gets them out of the way and prevents interference with the carrier-to-base connection, the adjustment strap for the latch anchors should be rolled up and stowed to prevent interference with attaching the carrier to the base. To avoid a potential connection issue, we suggest parents take extra time to remove the tether straps during installation.
keyfit 30 is just below average for the products in this review in terms of comfort and quality.
while the chicco padding is thick all around, the fabric that covers it is scratchy and unfriendly compared to much of the competition. The head and body cushion is softer and nicer, but it’s still stiffer than we’d like for rubbing something on baby’s sensitive skin. Also, your baby will outgrow the insert at some point and then get stuck with the thicker fabric underneath. the shell under the padding and fabric is above average and looks like it will hold up over time.
The fit and finish of this product is below average. It doesn’t look as sleek as much of the competition. there’s kind of a undone feel as if the fabric was meant for a larger seat, making it look scruffy. however, we still prefer it to most cheaper options and it suits the price.
The keyfit weighs in at 10.6 lbs., making it heavier for the group. it is lighter than the heavier products, which are closer to 12 lbs.
choosing a seat based on the weight of the luggage rack is not the best idea. While weight may be important, other aspects should rank higher, such as ease of installation and crash test scores. however, if you live in the city, you should consider whether you need to carry your baby in the baby carrier.
This chicco seat is compatible with chicco brand strollers. The Chicco Keyfit Caddy is an awesome frame stroller. However, if you’re looking for the best full-size stroller to match your car seat, the Key Fit has the most compatibility with brands other than your own. The keyfit 30 also works with uppababy cruz v2, bob revolution flex 3.0, uppababy vista v2 and many others.
should i buy the keyfit 30?
yes. With a higher rating and impressive results in tests it counts in like the crash test and latch installation, it’s hard not to love this value-priced car seat. The Keyfit 30 is a favorite among testers and parents alike for its great stroller compatibility and ease of use. While it’s a bit heavy and perhaps not the best choice for those planning to carry their baby in the carrier, we think the Chicco has a lot to offer almost any family.
what other infant car seat should I consider?
the chicco keyfit 35 is like the bigger, cooler brother of the 30. it’s priced slightly higher, but for that, you get easier installation in all methods, lighter weight, larger weight limit and more features for convenience. While you can’t go wrong with either seat, in our opinion we think the 35 is worth the extra money if your budget allows.
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