Chicco KeyFit 30

Last updated date: September 18, 2019

DWYM Score
9.8

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We looked at the top 1 Infant Car Seats and dug through the reviews from 11 of the most popular review sites including Consumer Reports, BestReviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Top Ten Reviews, Baby Gear Lab, The Nightlight, The Bump, Car Seat Blog, Best Car Seat Hub and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Infant Car Seat you should buy.

Overall Take

With versatile installation options, and crash test results that are on par with more expensive options, the Chicco KeyFit 30 is a safe and budget-friendly pick. It is highly recommended to comfortably cradle preemies and we like that it comes with easy-leveling features built right in. In our analysis of 107 expert reviews, the Chicco Chicco KeyFit 30 placed 1st when we looked at the top 13 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note September 18, 2019:
Checkout The Best Infant Car Seat for a detailed review of all the top infant car seats.

Expert Summarized Score
9.2
11 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.4
298 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
One of the best seats overall for balancing crash protection, ease-of-use, and vehicle fit.
- Consumer Reports
Superior safety rating and ease of installation. Comes equipped with every safety feature imaginable. Accomodates infants up to 30 lbs.
- BestReviews
The Chicco KeyFit 30 performs as well as or better than pricier seats and is measurably safer and easier to use than less expensive ones. Installation is generally a bigger problem for people than seat safety, and the KeyFit 30 is easier than competitors to install, with or without a LATCH system. It consistently ranks among the safest infant car seats in government front-impact crash testing.
- New York Times Wirecutter
August 21, 2017 | Full review
The Chicco KeyFit 30 is great for premature infants, and many neonatal intensive care unit nurses prefer this car seat.
- Top Ten Reviews
Crash test results and ease of install with a nice price make it a good choice for most families
- Baby Gear Lab
After extensive test fitting and measuring, our choice for the best infant car seat was the Chicco Keyfit 30. The seat fits children starting at 4 lbs, up to 30 lbs or 30-inches tall with a 7-inch bottom harness height, making it an excellent choice for preemies or low birth weight infants...It was the easiest to install, and fit into both center and outboard positions in each car.
- The Nightlight
If you’re in search of an easy-to-install infant car seat you don’t have to think about, one that works as a travel system with your stroller and will carry baby through to toddlerhood, the Chicco KeyFit 30 will fit the bill.
- The Bump
Let me preface this review by saying “Finally, something that Consumer Reports and I can agree on!” In case you missed it – they recently rated the KeyFit and KeyFit 30 as the two best overall infant carseats among the models they tested. Now, if you follow this blog, you’ll understand how unusual it is for me to completely agree with Consumer Reports on anything related to child restraints. However, the KeyFit is a well-thought-out, well-designed and well-constructed infant carseat and CR was right to load heaps of praise upon it.
- Car Seat Blog
Overall, this is one of the best infant car seats on the market today, and we think it has a lot of great things going for it, at a very reasonable price.
- Mommy Hood 101
I have twins and they were smaller at birth and the Chico KeyFit 30 is good for smaller babies.It’s easy to click in and take out of the base and also clicks in to my stroller. It is comfortable and my babies love being in their car seats for longer rides and such! It is a little heavier than some other car seats.
- Baby List
A top-rated infant seat from a well-known company. Good fit for preemies and very small babies that otherwise might not fit well in other models of car seats. Several features designed specifically for right the first time installation – bubble levels, adjustable recline angles and one-pull latch tightener. Sized for smaller vehicles, no mini-van needed. Removable, machine washable covers. Conforms to FAA regulations; clicks on compatible strollers; relatively lightweight.
- Best Car Seat Hub
What experts didn't like
Secure installation of carrier without base is difficult to achieve.
- Consumer Reports
Fabric can make babies sweat if they are heavily bundled.
- BestReviews
The cushions do not breathe, so your baby might sweat during prolonged use.
- Top Ten Reviews
Coarse fabric, heavier, hard to install with a belt
- Baby Gear Lab
Even though the Chicco Keyfit 30 was our winner, there are a few things about it that we’d like to see changed. The fabric on the Chicco is nice, but it isn’t nearly as breathable as the fabric on the Nuna or Cybex seats that we tested. In addition, the installation without the base took much longer than it did on the other seats that we tested.
- The Nightlight
On the heavy side.
- The Bump
The canopy is not as big as some other carseat models but the extended visor on the KeyFit 30 model does help. plastic adjuster - cover removal. Removing the cover can be a little cumbersome.
- Car Seat Blog
However, the canopy is much smaller than some others, making it harder to fully cover the baby. This was one of the bigger drawbacks of the Chicco, as we tend to use the canopy quite a bit: for sunny days, for napping, and for rain or snow.
- Mommy Hood 101
The canopy on top is small, it would be nice if it covered a little more, especially when it’s very sunny.
- Baby List
Fabric on interior may not be breathable enough; watch for overheating and excessive sweating, especially in hotter months. Less sun protection – Canopy may not stretch far enough to cover baby for complete sun protection. Strap tightness – Some reports of difficulty tightening the straps.
- Best Car Seat Hub

From The Manufacturer

The #1-rated Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat is engineered with innovative features that make it the easiest infant car seat to install simply, accurately, and securely every time. The KeyFit 30's stay-in-car base has a ReclineSure leveling foot and two RideRight bubble level-indicators to help achieve and verify proper angle in the vehicle seat. The base is also equipped with premium LATCH connectors and a SuperCinch tightener for a secure fit with a fraction of the effort! For alternate installation with the vehicle seat belt, clear belt routing and integrated lock-offs make it easy to position, tighten and lock the belt into place. A smooth underside helps protect vehicle seats from damage.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Chicco KeyFit 30
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 11
2. Peg Perego Primo
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 10
3. UPPAbaby Mesa
Overall Score: 7.6
Expert Reviews: 10
4. Graco SungRide 35
Overall Score: 7.6
Expert Reviews: 10
5. Evenflo LiteMax 35
Overall Score: 7.2
Expert Reviews: 7
6. Maxi-Cosi Mico NXT
Overall Score: 7.2
Expert Reviews: 4
7. Chicco Fit2
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 8
8. Baby Trend Inertia
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 3
9. Evenflo Advanced SensorSafe
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 6
10. Cyber Aton
Overall Score: 6.8
Expert Reviews: 8
11. Recaro Performance Coupe
Overall Score: 6.7
Expert Reviews: 5
12. Baby Trends EZ Flex-Loc
Overall Score: 6.6
Expert Reviews: 5
13. Britax B-Safe 35
Overall Score: 5.9
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On Infant Car Seats

You’re probably already nervous about your first ride home with your tiny bundle of joy. On top of that, you have to try to pick the best infant car seat from a seemingly endless array of options. From the ease of installation to fabric comfort and whether or not it works with your stroller system, it can be overwhelming, to say the least. It’s simple to break down the basics of what you need in an infant car seat so you can find the right infant car seat for your growing family.

Take your time before making a purchase, as this is a significant investment in your baby’s safety.

“This is one of the most important purchases a parent will ever make,” says Dr. Niket Sonpal, a doctor based in New York City.  “This is not the time to seek out a budget item. Buying quality can literally save your infant’s life.”

Infant car seats — sometimes called bucket or pumpkin seats — are rear-facing and made for infants and toddlers up to two years old. The height and weight requirements vary from seat to seat but they typically work for babies from around 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches in height. Some seats, like the Chicco KeyFit 30, are preferred for preemies but only go up to 30 pounds and 30 inches. The seat usually clicks into or attaches to a base that stays in the car.

Many infant car seats have a carrying handle and an adjustable shade. They also have various types of cushions and inserts that can be used for the smallest infants and then taken out as your child grows.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that children stay rear-facing at least until two years old or when they reach the height and weight limit for the seat. According to the CDC, using a car seat reduces the risk of injury in a car crash by 71 to 82 percent. Overall, kids may end up using a car seat or booster up to the age of 12, based on their height and weight.

Knowing that their child will be using a car seat for such a long time prompts many parents to opt for a convertible car seat. Unlike the infant car seat, a convertible car seat starts rear-facing and can change its configuration to a front-facing car seat and then finally a booster. They are just as safe as an infant car seat and must meet the same standards. While this option can certainly be budget-friendly and you may be able to keep your child rear-facing longer, there are some trade-offs.

For some, the biggest deal-breaker is giving up the ability to easily transfer a sleeping baby in and out of the car while still in the seat. Since convertible car seats are meant to stay in the car most of the time, they also don’t typically work with strollers and don’t have carry handles. And, since they’re larger to accommodate a growing child, they may not fit well in all vehicles. You’ll want to make sure to consider how you’ll be using the car seat and if it’s important for you to be able to keep your child in the car seat when you’re out and about. Many infant car seats work with a complimentary stroller or travel system, like the UPPAbaby Mesa, and you may save money buying this as a package deal.

The most important part of any car seat purchase is safety. Each car seat uses different materials and features, but they all have to meet the same federal safety standards. Some may choose to do additional safety testing, like the Evenflo LiteMax 35, which is rollover tested. There are a few things you’ll want to look out for, such as a five-point harness and a base that clearly indicates when the seat is attached and positioned correctly with a color change or a bubble level like the Chicco KeyFit 30.

Actually installing and using the seat the right way can be stressful for any new parent, so the easier it is to do, the better. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains an ease-of-use rating system to help parents find seats that have clear instructions and are easy to install and use. Anything rated 4 or 5 tends to be more intuitive.

Be sure to take the time to thoroughly and properly understand the installation instructions for your car seat, says Dr. Sonpal.

“A poorly installed seat leaves a child vulnerable in a crash,” he says.

All cars are now required to have a LATCH system (which stands for lower anchors and top tethers) that allows you to attach the car seat with clips near the seatbelt base and behind the headrest or seat. It can sometimes be a struggle to make the connectors the right length so the UPPAbaby Mesa self-retracting option may be a major plus if you have to take the base in and out more frequently. 

Finally, it’s important to consider overall comfort, for you and for baby. Look at features like the weight of the car seat, the ergonomics of the carry handle and quality or type of fabric. Infant car seats can vary widely in weight. For example, the Evenflo LiteMax 35 is only 16 pounds, while the UPPAbaby Mesa is 25.5 pounds. That can make a big difference if you plan to tote the seat any distance with your little one inside.

If you live in a warm climate you may want to look for a cooler fabric like breathable jersey found with the Peg Perego Primo car seat.  The UPPAbaby Mesa features moisture-wicking merino wool which is also naturally flame retardant. While buying online can be the most cost-effective and convenient, you may want to go to a store where you can compare the feel of the fabric and other materials.

DYWM Fun Fact

As of 1985, all states finally have laws requiring the use of car seats on the books. But in 1987, only 80 percent of people were using them. It wasn’t until 2003 that all cars we required by federal regulation to be manufactured with LATCH systems (lower anchors and top tethers) for car seats. This helped promote usage by making it easier and more consistent to install car seats.

Still, according to the CDC, car accidents and related injuries are the leading cause of death among children (ages 0-12) in the United States. They also found that in one year, 618,000 children did not use a car seat or booster seat at least some of the time. While there are a number of factors that cause injury in car accidents, the NHTSA did a study that found that 46 percent of car seats and booster seats are misused in some way. Front-facing car seats are the most common misuse, at 61 percent.

The CDC urges the use of car seats as the best way to reduce the risk of injury. In addition to following the recommended stages for car seat use, you can also find a certified child safety technician in your area to get installation instruction and tips one-on-one. The bottom line: it’s better to use a car seat or booster as recommended than not and there are resources to help you install and use your seats correctly.

The Infant Car Seat Buying Guide

  • Any parent or caregiver who has cleaned a car seat mess will tell you how important easy-to-clean fabric is. Even better, look for car seats that allow you to remove the lining or pad entirely and toss it in the washer, like the Evenflo LiteMax 35.
  • If you travel frequently or live in a city where you may need to use your car seat in a taxi or rideshare you may want to opt for an infant car seat like the Peg Perego Primo. It can be used with or without its included base, giving you more flexibility when on the go.
  • You are not alone when it comes to learning how to install a car seat properly. The NHTSA offers free car seat inspection locations (usually at local fire stations) with trained technicians who can show you how to install it and use it.
  • Believe it or not, car seats expire. That’s why it’s not recommended to purchase a car seat from a yard sale or online reseller or reuse one from a friend. Most infant car seats expire in five to six years. Some convertible car seats last up to 10 years. You may be able to find the expiration date on the car seat itself or in the owners’ manual. If you can’t find a date, note the model number and call the manufacturer. Most car seats do end up looking kind of beat up, but the real risk is caused by plastic getting hot and cold repeatedly over the years. This may cause hairline cracks or brittleness that aren’t easy to see, and are very dangerous in a crash.
  • Once you’ve chosen the perfect seat, you also have to make sure you’re strapping in your little one correctly. Straps should be at or below the shoulder without any looseness or slack. Your child may protest but you should only be able to fit a couple fingers behind the strap. The chest clip should be at armpit level in the middle of the sternum. If it’s too high, it could cause neck injury and if it’s too low, your child could be thrown from the car seat.
  • As an added safety precaution you can add a luggage tag or label to the side of the seat with emergency contact info. Include details like your child’s name, parents name, address and phone numbers, pediatrician name and any medical conditions. This way, first responders can find valuable information quickly, in case the parent or caregiver is injured or unable to speak.