Sometimes small is better. If you have a compact car, you need a small car seat that will fit in your back seat. If your baby is born prematurely, a small seat is a necessity. However, it's surprisingly difficult to find a small car seat. Fortunately, the Chicco KeyFit 30 is a compact and convenient baby car seat. It is recommended by many neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses, and its small proportions make it great for two-door cars.
It does have some frustrating design features, including its sweat-inducing cushions and small canopy. Still, this car seat easily pops in and out of its base and fits several Chicco strollers. Thanks to its many excellent features, the Chicco KeyFit 30 earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
Like all infant car seats, the Chicco KeyFit 30 is crash tested and offers extra side-impact protection. The car seat meets federal crash-test safety requirements. It has a sturdy design and plenty of head and body support.
Many NICU nurses prefer the KeyFit because of its excellent infant cushion insert. If you have a premature or small child, the infant insert offers extra support and keeps your baby secure. When your baby is large enough, you can remove the insert. Although this seat works well with small children, your baby will outgrow it at 30 pounds and 30 inches, so you'll have to upgrade to a new car seat before long.
This car seat is also airplane compliant, so if you do a lot of traveling, this car seat will serve the dual purpose of keeping your baby safe on the ground and in the air. The LATCH connectors on this car seat secure the seat tightly into place so that there will be virtually no movement in the case of an accident.
For many parents, the deciding factor of a car seat is how well it fits in with their lives. The KeyFit 30 carrier fits with several Chicco strollers, including the Cortina. Also, the base is simple to install in any vehicle. The base has a storage compartment for the installation instructions, but you could easily fit wipes or diapers inside for emergency situations.
The seat cushions are tricky to remove, but once you've taken them off the car seat, you can wash them in a standard washing machine. Unfortunately, the padding does not breathe, and your baby will start to sweat if she or he is in the seat for extended periods. You may want to take a change of clothes with you when you use this car seat, especially during the summer.
You can install this seat with or without the base. That way, you can keep the base in your car. If you ever need to drive your baby in someone else’s car, it’s fully adjustable without the base. You will find instructions on how to do this safely in the manual.
This seat includes all of the extra features we looked for. The adjustable base and harness allow the seat to fit your growing baby. The KeyFit's canopy offers good protection from direct sunlight or rain, but it is a little shorter than we like to see. Also, it is difficult to use the canopy with the adjustable carry handle, so you might have to get an after-market blanket to shield your baby when you carry the car seat.
The adjustable head support feature on this seat will ensure that your baby has the head support she or he needs while growing. You can adjust the seat quickly and easily using the center-pull adjustment strap, which adjusts both straps at once with a single pull. This car seat is one of the best on the market, but if you have a smaller budget, you might want to consider the Evenflo Embrace.
The KeyFit 30 comes with a one-year warranty. The Chicco website offers excellent support, including a downloadable version of the instructional manual. You can search for Chicco products in your area with the local retailer search function. If you need more help, customer support representatives are available by phone and email.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 is a convenient baby car seat that will fit several Chicco strollers and nearly any vehicle. Its secure design makes it a favorite for many NICU nurses. However, its cushioning does not breathe well, so your baby might get sweaty during rides. The base is easy to install, and you can safely install it without the base if you are using it in someone else’s vehicle. Still, the KeyFit is one of the best infant car seats for premature and small babies.