Monday, September 5, 2011

Product Review: Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat

A few months before Second Son was born, I did a lot of research on infant car seats. We had never purchased one before, always borrowed them, but the ones we had were expiring and I wanted a new one for the baby. I have no problems with infant car seats, but I hate convertible car seats. I find convertible car seats are nearly impossible to adequately adjust in the rear-facing position, at least our convertible car seat is nearly impossible to adequately adjust, so I was much intrigued by the Chicco Ketfit 30 Infant Car Seat which proposed to keep our infant safely tucked into an infant car seat up to 30 pounds. Our babies tended to be big at birth and all of them had outgrown the infant car seat long before six months

We found the Chicco car seat on sale and used an exchange program to get another 25% off. I was hoping to use it for Second Daughter until the baby was born, but at 20 months (or so) she was too long for it.

Soon after Second Son was born, Kansas Dad trudged out in the July heat to install our new car seat in the van. About five minutes later he returned to the birth care center room. At first I thought he needed something else, but no, he was done! This car seat base literally installs in minutes with LATCH. I've personally easily moved it from one car to another.

Second Son was quite snuggly in the new seat for his first ride in the van, going home from the hospital. We only used the infant insert (the gray parts you see around him) for a few weeks since he was already over ten pounds when he was born. It washed up very nicely and was packed away.

Second Son is now 13 months old and around 24 pounds. About two months ago, when he was 11 months old, we moved the straps to the highest setting. Though the seat is really too heavy to carry in and out of the house, Second Son still fits very well in it. Good news, now that the recommendations say to keep children rear-facing until they are two years old. (Those of you who have read the Range for a while know I have doubts about the necessity of expensive car seats for older children -- here and here. I have no such doubts about the necessity of rear-facing seats up to one year, and tend to agree with the recommendations up to two years old.)

One of the things I like best about this car seat is the height limits are based on how the child actually fits into the car seat -- nothing like an absolute number. First Daughter was very tall, but all her length was in her legs. She "outgrew" the infant car seat by height when her ears and head were far below where it would seem to make a difference in her infant car seat. (We moved her anyway as I always hesitate to go against product recommendations and we already had a seat she could use instead.)

We never used this seat in a frame or stroller**, so I can't say how well that feature might work, but in almost all other ways we have been extremely pleased with this car seat. The only disadvantage is how difficult it is to get the cover off the seat to wash it. You'd think no one who designed such things had ever taken a child for a ride. Babies are always making messes! We've been lucky with our cloth diapers and have only had to wash the cover once or twice. (Of all our car seats, only the Britax has a truly easily-removable cover for washing.)

I heartily recommend this car seat to anyone expecting a little one!

For those that worry about such things, this review is my honest opinion. I did not receive a free car seat or any other compensation.

** Sometimes I think this feature would be nice, now that Second Son is so heavy and does still often fall asleep in the van. I doubt he'd stay asleep at home, but it's possible he'd continue to sleep if we arrived somewhere like the zoo and pushed him around in a stroller. Right after he was born, though, I felt like putting Second Son in the carrier was the only reliable way to handle all four children. Second Daughter rode in the stroller with First Son and First Daughter on either side of me. It seemed a shame to buy a new stroller when we had one I loved that functioned perfectly (and still does -- I love my ebay stroller!).


  1. We have a chicco keyfit, but it just goes up to 19 or 23 lbs or something. I wish it went up to 30lbs, Kolbe would still be in it. I really hated facing him forward so soon (I think we turned him around 16 months), but I couldn't get a good fit on our Britax rear-facing in my car with a seatbelt. It fits like a charm in my hubbies vehicle with latch rear-facing, but not so much with the seatbelt, and I figured he was safer front-facing with it installed correctly vs. rear-facing with an unsafe install. I am all for convertible carseats. There is nothing I despise much more than carrying one of those buckets around. I have found my slings and mei tai to come in much more handy for on the go, although I do only have 2 kiddos. Even so, I just find lugging those things around to be a drudgery, plus they take up so much space wherever you take them (grocery cart, church pew, etc.) Not a huge fan. But yes, I do agree, the chicco is a good carseat.

    And good to see you mention the Britax and its washable cover. I was just wondering about ours...Gemma's is so full of body funk after the hot summer that it is just kind of (ok, incredibly) gross. I'll have to see about washing it...

  2. Monica, I agree it's a bear to haul these infant carrier seats around. That's one of the reasons they make so much money on the coordinating strollers.

    I agree Kolbe is safer front facing but installed correctly. That's one of the reasons I hate our convertible car seats rear-facing. I have to admit I haven't tried our Britax rear-facing yet. We might give it a try when Second Son outgrows the Chicco. To tell the truth, I'm not sure what we'll do since Second Daughter is still using it...Sigh.

  3. If you have latch, Britax convertibles are a dream to install rear-facing. I have also gotten a suitable install with a seatbelt in some cars but not others (our cars always worked well, but grandparents' cars not always perfect). And I am picky--it's not secure enough for me unless I can shake the whole car when I grab the car seat at the latch anchor area. :-)

    With how small Gideon is, I think we could keep him rear facing (in his Britax Roundabout 50) until he's about 5! Clover's still got a 5 point harness, but she's almost to tall for it, so we'll probably switch her to a booster soon. I agree with you that the switch from forward facing 5 point harness to properly positioned booster/seatbelt is not a big deal (once they've hit the minimums for boosters).

  4. Hilary, it's good to know the Britax fits well rear-facing. We've never tried it because it's so huge and because we always needed it for a bigger kid. (Kansas law says they have to wear a five point harness until they're four no matter how big they are.)

  5. Yes, the Britax rear-face is an amazing fit with latch. Absolutely true. (We have 2 boulevards).

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