10 Best Premature Baby Car Seats Reviewed in 2020
If you have a preemie or a newborn, then you know of the extra care you must take when purchasing items for their smaller body forms and lighter body weights. A car seat can be a challenge to get for a preemie since most car seats seem to swallow them whole. You need one that has the special cushion insert for their body and head to give ultimate comfort and support. All of these featured car seats are excellent for preemies since most of them accommodate weights as low as 4 pounds.
The harnesses are specially designed as well to be of the correct length to hold the preemie baby securely in the seat without harming them. We address the important criteria of design, portability, comfort, and fit of the best preemie car seats to make your shopping and comparing models easier.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 54 hrs of research
SnugLock technology for installation in 3 steps
Good first car seat for a baby
Ideal for those 4 to 35 pounds
Canopy is noiseless
10 Top Preemie Car Seats Reviewed
1. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX
SnugLock technology for installation in 3 steps
Good first car seat for a baby
Ideal for those 4 to 35 pounds
Canopy is noiseless
Fabric can be a bit slippery
Graco has one of the best technology features with its SnugLock feature that secures the child in the seat whether it is in a vehicle or a stroller as part of a travel system. Preemies need a seat that meets the needs for their light weights and smaller body frames, such as this one from Graco. It has the support and comfort that the itty bitty baby needs for safety and a good fit.Read more
It features the SnugLock technology that uses the seat belt of the vehicle for a simple installation with 3 steps. Perfect for the first car seat for a baby, this fabulous seat is ideal for those 4 to 35 pounds in weight with a rear-facing position in the car. Add it to a compatible stroller for a lightweight travel system.
The canopy is noiseless when adjusted, so it does not wake the sleeping infant. Parents will love the adjustable handle that takes just one hand to operate also. The unique features of this wonderful car seat are fantastic for preemies.
This superb carrier includes detachable support for the body and the head ideal for preemies. The instruction manual and the LATCH connectors store in the special compartment made for them in the seat. This lightweight item is very functional and portable for parents.
Installation is perfect each time in the vehicle or the stroller with the adjustable base that has 4 positions of recline. The indicator level for installation is easy to determine with the included simple technology to help busy parents. You are almost guaranteed a perfect fit every time when you are on the move.
2. Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible
Detachable harness and seat covers
LATCH compatibility for installation
Air Protect technology from side impacts
Can take extra time and effort to get the straps perfect
The Air Protect technology and moisture-wicking material of the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Seat make it one of the best on the market for preemies. Parents will not have to worry about spills and accidents with the special fabric of this incredible seat. It gives the preemie a very comfortable ride with the harness and cushion insert. As if this was not enough, all fabric pieces and the harness can be machine washed.Read more
This marvelous preemie seat sports the Air Protect technology for protection from side impacts and the TinyFit system for the harness with 3 different shoulder heights. There is also the advanced system of cushioning called Air Protect for the baby’s head.
The cushion insert is called a body pillow by the manufacturer which provides a superior ride of comfort. This insert is ideal for preemies to have the comfort and support they need in a car seat. There is one cup holder for the child to use for drinks and cups.
You can detach and wash the harness and seat covers. All pieces are machine washable, and they connect with snaps. The seat can be left in the vehicle when these pieces are taken out for cleaning, plus the material of this item is self-wicking to keep the baby comfortable and dry. Liquids are taken away from contact with the skin.
It can be used in 2 different ways in the vehicle. Facing forward it will support a child of 22 to 70 pounds in weight, and when it faces the rear of the car, it can hold a baby 9 to 40 pounds. With the LATCH compatibility, it is much easier to install in a car than some other models.
3. Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant
Positioning that is rear-facing
Supports weights 4 to 35 pounds
One-step Click Connect feature
The base was difficult for some parents to handle
The Graco SnugRide Infant Carrier has several implemented technologies to comfort and support the preemie while they are riding in the vehicle. Preemies usually are safest when riding rear-facing because of their light body weight and small size. This special seat has the extra padding needed and the small weight of the entire device that parents love.Read more
As a great new seat for the infant, this design has been tested for crashes and meets all standards of safety for the US. It is the SafeSeat Engineered technology that makes this carrier so durable and safe. Weights of 4 to 35 pounds are supported.
The child is shaded with a durable canopy that is adjustable. Included is a cushioned insert for support and comfort especially for preemies. It keeps them firm in a suitable position for rides and trips.
Ultra-lightweight for simple transporting, this incredible preemie car seat has tremendous portability for the parent. It easily goes from vehicle to stroller and back. This is one of the easiest car seats for women to tote by themselves.
Perfect for preemies with positioning that is rear-facing, this car seat secures with the one-step with the Click Connect feature. It can be a part of a quick travel system with Graco strollers that have the Click Connect attachment. Just place it in the stroller and go without waking the child.
4. Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT
Body and head inserts
Four heights to adjust the harness
Compatible with QuickClick strollers
Seat pad is removable and washable
Some buyers had fitting trouble with the bottom buckle
Preemies need a car seat that will accommodate their small body frame and weight like this one from Safety 1st that has a special cushion insert for their head and body. Regular car seats for older and larger babies do not have enough padding for preemies and newborns. Your little one will be so comfortable and supported when traveling with this fabulous car seat made just for them.Read more
This superb carrier is rear-facing in the vehicle and LATCH-equipped for safety. It is best for those with weights from 4 to 35 pounds. The construction is lightweight making it easy for parents to tote anywhere.
Parents will love the easy comfort of cleaning the fabric parts of this preemie seat. The seat pad is removable and washable. It is ideal for newborns and preemies with the body and head inserts.
It is compatible with QuickClick strollers to create a fast travel system and meets the safety standards of JPMA federal, and ASTM. Included is protection from side impacts, plus a secure fit with just one pull.
The adjustable base makes it easier to achieve a great fit in the vehicle than regular car seats. It has a secure and safe fit since the harnesses are ideally placed for even tall or tiny babies. There are 4 included heights to adjust the harness perfectly.
5. Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant
Carry handle is firm and smooth
Energy-absorbing EPS foam
Adjustable base has 4 different positions
EZ Flex-Loc strap technology
Can be too heavy for a few people
What makes the Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat so fantastic are the energy-absorbing EPS foam and the EZ Flex-Loc straps. These features help parents in their duties of placing the child in the car seat and removing them. You know that your child will be very safe and comfortable in this seat for sure. The EPS foam is especially important for preemies and newborns.Read more
This particular seating system provides support for soft heads< and head protection from side impacts with the energy-absorbing EPS foam. In addition, the adjustable base has 4 different positions for height using just a simple push button. These aspects give parents plenty of flexibility in getting the child in right. Comfort
Included is a good-sized canopy for shading the infant when the sun shines into the vehicle on them. parents will like the carry handle that is firm and smooth. It is so simple to tote around with this quality handle.
Featuring the EZ Flex-Loc technology, this terrific car seat makes the base LATCH straps very flexible. The seat release is easy-access and operated with a single hand. It is simple to put the child in and take them out with this modern technology.
The minimum child weight is 5 pounds, and the maximum is 30 pounds. The adjustable safety harness has 5 points. This is perfect for preemies as long as it can be adjusted to their individual size and form.
6. Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air 360
LATCH-equipped for safety
GCell HX foam used in race cars
Harness with 5 adjustable points
Some had troubles with the canopy staying up
With the reinforced handle of this Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air 360 Car Seat, parents will be pleased with the stability of this seat model ideal for preemies. Meeting all safety standards in the US and Europe even for rollovers, this is one of the safest vehicle seats for extra-small babies. There are 4 heights for the harness and 3 location choices for the buckle. This ensures a fabulous fit for safety and comfort.Read more
Included are the patented GCell HX foam used in race cars for absorption of energy from crashes. Also, there is another side impact quality with AirProtect technology. If there is a crash from any angle, the child in this excellent seat will be thoroughly protected.
The interior padding aids the child in remaining safe and comfortable in dangerous crash situations. This preemie car seat has been tested for crashes from every possible angle and even rollovers. Being safe increases the comfort level for parents and kids.
Stability is increased with the reinforced handle. Just grab the handle and release the seat from the base to move the child. The special harness has 5 points and can be front adjusted easily.
Great for rear-facing positions, this Safety 1st car seat is ideal for weights of 4 to 35 pounds. The fit is customized to the vehicle with the base that remains in the car. It is LATCH-equipped for safety and has 5 safety layers for children.
7. Maxi-Cosi Pria Max 3-in-1 Convertible
3 choices for positioning the seat
Double cup holders for the child
ClipQuik chest clip
Out-of-the-Way harness system
Can be difficult to get tight and locked
The Maxi-Cosi Pria Max 3-in-1 Convertible Vehicle Seat is very flexible in how you use it for various ages and weights of babies and toddlers. As the name implies, it can be used in 3 various ways to safely secure the child in the vehicle. Not just for infants, this seat can be used for toddlers and even small kids comfortably. The cupholders and simple functioning features make it fun to have.Read more
There are 3 choices for positioning the seat with this preemie product. Use it for babies from 4 to 40 pounds when facing the rear of the vehicle. For those 65 pounds in weight, it can be forward-facing. Kids that are 100 pounds or less can use this excellent seat as a booster chair in the car.
It comes with double cupholders for the child to use. There is great protection from side impacts for the infant’s head. All of this support cushions the preemie’s newborn’s body and head for the utmost comfort.
The soft cushions and premium fabrics can be removed and machine washed for simple cleaning. Experience easy boarding with the assisted covers for the harness. It is evident that the majority of the aspects of this superb seat increase the portability of it.
The LATCH connectors operate with only a single click for installing. The ClipQuik chest clip is auto magnetic, plus the Out-of-the-Way harness system flips out of the way when the child enters and exits the seat.
8. Britax B-Safe Ultra
Selection of colors and patterns
Mesh ventilated fabric
Install with or without the base
4 safety characteristics
Might not connect well in all models
The highlights of this wonderful car seat from Britax are the 4 included safety features and the marvelous ventilated fabric that is cool and comfy. You know that your child will be well protected in this lovely seat that has plenty of backup aspects for safety. The large canopy, strong handle, and extra interior padding are just extra perks of this exceptional item.Read more
Choose from a few select colors and patterns for the fabric pieces of this incredible car seat designed for smaller babies. The safety qualities include side protection from side impacts in 2 layers, quick-adjust protection for the head, a base that absorbs impacts, and a strong steel frame.
The headrest and the seat are padded for the best comfort, and the full canopy shades the infant in the car or in the stroller when outdoors. Parents will love the strong durable handle that adjusts for various positions.
Comfort is increased with the enhanced airflow from the mesh ventilated fabric. This fabulous vehicle seat can be a part of a successful travel system with the listed stroller models. This gives the parent the flexibility of movement needed when the child is sleeping.
The recline adjustment is spring assisted, and the fit is rear-facing for those babies in the weight range of 4 to 35 pounds. It can be installed with or without the base since it comes with a European Belt Guide.
9. Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip
Installation is simple and quick
Ride Right, ReclineSure, and Super Cinch technology
Material pieces are reversible
Canopy zips off
Possible zipper teeth issues when using it
Enjoy the latest car seat technology of Ride Right, ReclineSure, and Super Cinch when you purchase this KeyFit 30 Zip from Chicco. If those aspects are not enough, then there is also a choice of fabric colors that are reversible for a different look occasionally. The canopy zips off the seat too so it can be washed along with the other material pieces in the wash.Read more
The manufacturer states that this is the best-rated car seat for infants in the US. Installation is simple and quick with the bubble levels of Ride Right, the leveling foot of ReclineSure, and the LATCH tightener of Super Cinch. The material pieces are reversible for a different color to expose.
Body and head supports are removable for newborns and preemies, plus the seat pad can be removed quickly and washed in a machine. Offered in a few color choices, this seat has a good-sized canopy for the best shade protection. It also has high-quality zipper accents.
The base can remain in the car for easy installation when using this terrific preemie car seat. You can zip off the canopy for cleaning and detaching. Use it as part of a wonderful travel system when combined with compatible Chicco strollers.
The handle is strong and flexible on this great preemie seat that is ideal for weighs from 4 to 30 pounds. The bubble indicators on it work as a regular building level to show the incline of the seat in the vehicle. You will get the best fit in the car using this modern technology.
10. Evenflo Nurture Infant
Super-cute pattern in pink shades
Foam liner is energy-absorbing
Auto guides for the belt
Handle has an ergonomic fit
Can be hard to install for some vehicles
The Evenflo Nurture Infant is decked out all in pink with its lovely pink canopy and printed fabric in the seat made of several pink shades. Made for lighter weights of babies whether they are preemies or newborns, this superb carrier is comfortable with its extra padding on the interior. Parents will admire the handle that is easy to use and ergonomic for comfort when toting.Read more
This adorable car seat has a super-cute pattern in the seat decorated in pink shades with a solid pink canopy. It can be used longer with a better fit because of the double positions for the crotch buckle and 3 positions for the shoulder harness. These are all on the harness of 5 points.
Comfort and safety are given with the foam liner that is energy-absorbing. The handle is designed for ease in carrying with the ergonomic fit. Both parents and infants will love this seat that offers the best of both worlds.
Used in a rear-facing position, this preemie item is best for those that weigh from 5 to 22 pounds. The ability to use it without the base makes the moving of the child from car to stroller or home much easier for the parent. It is a lightweight seat for lightweight babies.
Use this incredible vehicle seat with or without the included base. The base can remain in the car for quicker set-up, so the preemie carrier has auto guides for the belt when a base is not used.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Choosing a car seat for a baby can be a nightmare if you do not know exactly what to look for. When you have a preemie or a newborn, the most important quality of a car seat is the weight and size of the infant that it is intended. Regular car seats are made for regular-sized babies that are much heavier and larger than preemies. They lack the special inserts that preemie car seats have.
That is the one feature that all of these highlighted models have in common. They are made with the miniature form of the preemie or newborn in mind and support that particular smaller body frame. Otherwise, these car seats all differ in aspects such as harness types and base forms. If you already have a stroller, you may want to get a car seat that can be used as part of a travel system also with the car seat and stroller combined.
The preemie baby is comfortable in these car seats made just for them because of the added cushion and inserts that hold them snug and in place. These infants need this extra support to take up the extra space in the seat and to hold them upright in the most ideal position while riding. Both the head and the body are cushioned in these seats, so they are perfect for newborns and preemies.
Parents will like that the seats are not heavy to carry and are easy to place in vehicles with the newest technology available. All of these featured models have at least one excellent technology that makes them easier to use or increases the ease with which they can be used.
These lightweight seats are highly portable even for parents who are not used to carrying a heavy item. New moms might be more comfortable toting one of these car seats rather than a regular one that can be quite heavy. Since they are for the lighter weights of infants, the seats themselves are lighter also.
This makes them great additions to the compatible strollers of their same brand to be a travel system for added flexibility on trips. Besides being light, these carriers have fabric pieces that can be easily removed and washed in a machine to keep them clean at all times. Detaching is easy and they go back in with a snap.
Preemie car seats must fit in the car precisely to give the child the best safety and security. If a crash occurs, the child should be protected from side impacts well in these car seats. If the fit of the child is not snug, then extra padding can be added, or another car seat purchased to get the correct fit. Each of these carriers will fit in most vehicles as rear-facing to protect the child the best.
Some of them have different positions that they can be in to conform to the contour of the seats. This gives the baby a better recline during the drive. If you purchase the compatible brands and models of strollers with some of these preemie seats, then you can use them easily as part of a quick travel system.
Preemies need car seats that will not compromise their breathing or cause a problem if they are impacted in the car. The best ones will have a harness of 3 points or one with 5 points that is convertible. Take care that armrests, abdominal pads, and car seat shields cannot come into contact with the child’s face.
If the car seat instructions state that the car seat is best for babies that are 20 pounds or more, then do not use it for a preemie baby. It will not have the protective features needed for a preemie infant nor keep the child in a favorable position.
Other Factors to Consider
Car seats and other products that are used for newborns and preemies must afford the child special support and comfort. These babies have a smaller body frame and weight therefore, they do not fill in a regular car seat well. Because of the extra space in the car seat, these infants are not properly situated for traveling or sitting for long periods.
These preemie-friendly car seats have the needed cushion inserts that preemies need to be secure and safe in the vehicle. The parent will not have to fight with a car seat that is not designed for this smaller size baby. They support the needs of the parent and the child well.
Ease of Use
Putting a car seat in a vehicle can be a daunting task if you are not familiar with the mechanics of how they function and connect. However, those made for preemies and lighter babies can be easier than regular ones that are much heavier and larger. These are lightweight, so parents will have a much easier time transporting and toting them from a stroller, vehicle, and home to where they need to go.
Once the seat is clicked into the vehicle, it is just a matter of putting the baby in and fastening the harnesses around them. As you practice these moves with the seat you buy, it will become much easier and routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do the distances of the harness straps in car seats mean anything special for preemies?
Yes, they do. The crotch strap should be less than 5.5 inches from the seat back to the crotch. The idea is to keep the child from slouching in the carrier. You can always put something in the extra space of the strap to keep the baby straight such as a blanket or diaper rolled up for cushion. You also do not want the strap from the bottom to the top to come into contact with the ears of the child. The distance for this strap should not be more than 10 inches for the best effect for preemies.
q: What is the best position in a car seat for a preemie infant?
A 45-degree angle is the best for these smaller babies with the seat positioned half to the back. Under the child’s feet place a cloth rolled up to make a wedge. Make sure their back against the seat is flat for the best neck and head support. Positioning side rolled blankets can help with this.
q: Should preemies be rear- or front-facing in the car?
You will notice that most of the car seats that are for the lower weights of babies or newborns are for rear-facing in the car. This protects them the best from impacts if they occur.
q: What makes these car seats so special for preemies or newborns?
They all have extra padding usually with an added insert for the body and head of the child. This supports their smaller body frame and keeps them in an upright position while they are in the seat. Without the cushions, the child would be crushed in the harnesses and not have the proper positioning for riding.
q: Are these all unisex car seats?
Yes, they are. The only thing that would make them unsuitable for a girl or boy would be a particular color that the parents may not like for their child. A few of them come in an assortment of colors that you can choose. Most car seats just come in a basic black or gray color if a selection is not offered.
q: What are the troubles that parents are having with these models of preemie car seats?
Most of the complaints about these listed car seats have to do with the mechanics of some of the car seats. Parents often have problems with the base connections or getting them to fasten tightly in the vehicle. The harnesses give some buyers issues too since it may take some practice getting used to them. They may not handle quickly at first but using them often will build experience in operating the harnesses.
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