If you’re in the market for an infant car seat, it will be impossible to miss the Chicco Keyfit 30.
The Keyfit 30 is a high-quality, beautifully designed, rear facing infant car seat that has become the seat of choice for many proud parents. Its popularity will be a major plus point for you as you’ll soon find out later on in this article.
Let’s examine the details of the car seat in depth and find out what makes it tick, as well as if it’s worth the investment of not.
Important Specifications of Chicco Keyfit 30
- Weight limit 4 – 30 lbs
- Height limit 30”
- Number of harness slots (pair): 3
- Car seat dimensions: 22”(H) x 17”(W) x 24”(D)
- Car seat weight: 9.5 lbs
- Base dimensions: 15” x 7” x 20”
- Base weight: 7.4 lbs
- Dimensions of car seat with the base: 26”(H) x 18”(W) x 25”(D)
What Makes Chicco Keyfit 30 The #1 Rated Infant Car Seat?
As a disclaimer, I’m aware that Consumer Reports rated the Keyfit and Keyfit 30 as their first choice back in 2014. I don’t know if it’s still the case at this point in time, as I’m not a paid subscriber of theirs.
But, Chicco Keyfit 35 is NOT just highly rated by 1 single source. It is also the Top Pick for the Best Infant Car Seat in a Mar 2020 article by Wirecutter.
Till today, it remains one of the bestselling infant car seats. It is very popular and well loved by parents because of its GREAT VALUE. The car seat is lightweight compared to its peers, crash test results are above average and is one of the easiest to install, yet it is very affordably priced.
Let’s examine the whys in greater detail…
- Ease of installation
Chicco has taken great care to ensure their car seats can be installed easily and correctly. Everytime.
Talk to those who’ve used the Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat and I can guarantee almost all of them will rave about how easy it is to install.
Although many of us detest instruction manuals, it’s really advisable to read the one provided by Chicco prior to installing the car seat, since your most precious cargo is at stake here. And the manual is short, and really easy to understand with diagrams to follow along every step of the installation.
- Excellent safety rating
Needless to say, Chicco scores well in crash tests conducted by different places and their safety features offer better protection than required by the Federal safety standards for sure.
The seat interior is lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam for side impact protection, and the thickly cushioned seat pad has an industry standard 5-point harness.
This is definitely a seat I will not hesitate to put my baby in.
- Great for preemies and smaller babies
The Chicco Keyfit 30 accommodates babies from 4 – 30 lbs and it comes with an infant insert.
You might not know it, but this car seat is actually a hospital favorite! Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurses often recommend this carrier if you have a preemie in order to pass the “car seat test” and subsequently be discharged to bring the baby home.
For a preemie, you’d want an infant carrier with a very low harness slots so that the harness strap is positioned correctly; either at, or slightly below the top of the baby’s shoulder. The Keyfit 30 has a lowest harness height of 6.5” (with newborn insert), which is low enough considering most preemies will do fine at long as it’s less than 8”.
The infant inserts work really well to support smaller babies and to keep the very Little One snug.
- Compatibility with top rated strollers
Due to the popularity of this car seat, almost all the popular strollers in the market have the adapters to receive the Keyfit 30 to create your own custom travel system.
I’ve made a list of the strollers that will fit in a section below, so take a look if you’re interested.
- It is certified for use on an aircraft
This is one of the car seats that are Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved.
If you travel often and can’t bear to leave your baby behind, this model certainly serves your traveling needs.
There’s a section in the manual that shows how to install the Chicco Keyfit 30 on an airplane, but it’s basically the same as installing in a vehicle with a lap belt.
You’ll be using it without the base, and you’ll install it rear facing, just as you would in a vehicle. There may be flight attendants who’ll argue that it should be forward facing, and you need to show them the stickers on the side that indicates that it’s never meant to be forward facing.
How to Install?
There are 3 different installation methods you can use.
Installation With Base Using LATCH system
This is the easiest and my preferred method. Firstly, place the base on the seat and use the ReclineSure system, which is a nine position spring-loaded leveling system to adjust and to get the angle of the base right.
The angle can be checked with the bubble level-indicator situated on either side of the base. It’s called the RideRight system, and it works like a spirit or carpenter’s level; as long as the bubble falls in between the 2 arrows, the seat angle is correct.
Then, you pull out the 2 LATCH connectors and hook it to your vehicle’s car seat’s lower anchors. Simply pull on the strap on the base to tighten the seat and when the base is tightened correctly, roll excess strap and store it in the pocket, and check the bubble-indicator again, just to be sure.
Installation With Base Using Seat Belt
For this method, you’ll position the base and adjust the angle like previously described.
You’ll then route the seat belt through the base and buckle in your seat belt. Once that’s done, you’ll need to secure the seat belt and keep it locked so that the infant car seat stays in place at all times. The base has a shoulder belt lock-off, but don’t use it just yet.
You need to ensure that the seat belt is as tight as it can be, and you do this by applying pressure to the base towards the vehicle’s trunk and pulling on the seat belt at the same time, until the desired tightness is achieved. You then thread the belt into the lock-off and release the seat belt. Check the tightness and angle again.
Here’s a short video showing you the 2 installation methods above:
Installation Without Base
If you’re frequently hopping into different vehicles, such as taxis, Uber, shuttle services, or riding with friends, you cannot realistically have the base with you during your travels.
You’ll have to contend with installing the infant carrier without the base using a seat belt.
First, you need to achieve a proper angle. On the sides of the car seat, there’s a horizontal red line and you need to make sure that the line is level with the ground.
Then, you pass the seat belt through the belt path on both sides of the car seat and buckle it in. The Chicco Keyfit 30 uses an American belt path so the shoulder strap stays over the car seat, and not around the back.
Next, engage the locking mode on the seat belt by pulling the belt slowly all the way out, and let it retract back in. The objective is to get the strap across the baby as tight as possible, so you’ll need to apply pressure to push the seat towards the trunk while at the same time, pulling and retracting the seat belt. Check for tightness and the angle when you’re done adjusting.
An excellent and thorough walkthrough of this method can be seen here:
Chicco Keyfit vs Chicco Keyfit 30
The 2 models differ in the maximum weight limit of the child.
Chicco Keyfit 22 has been renamed as Chicco Keyfit, which has a weight limit up to 22 Ibs. Chicco Keyfit 30 uses the same base for installation, but has a higher weight limit of 30 Ibs.
What Are The Differences Between Keyfit 30, Keyfit 30 Magic, Keyfit 30 Zip and Keyfit 30 Zip Air?
To put it simply, Keyfit 30 is the base model.
All 3 of them use the same base, and the dimensions of the car seats are identical. The safety features are the same for all 3 models
The Magic, Zip and Zip Air are upgraded models loaded with additional features for greater comfort and convenience.
If you are deciding between Chicco Keyfit 30 vs Magic, my honest opinion would be to stick to the base model.
The Chicco KeyFit Magic is costs a little more, which I think is not that worth it considering the few upgraded features and limited color choices. In my view, the Chicco Keyfit 30 Air and Zip are packed with more exciting upgrades.
There are 3 new features in the Chicco Keyfit 30 Magic infant car seat.
The newborn insert and shoulder pads are reversible. This means that you can switch between the soft suede fabric or a more breathable mesh.
The main draw of the Magic though, is the canopy. It is more generous than the base model. A zippered extendable mesh panel is added at the back of the canopy to extend the canopy’s coverage while allowing for increased air flow.
It also comes with a removable infant boot (or foot cover) for cold weather protection. The opening is held together by velcro, so the boot can be opened easily to access the harness or the baby. However, velcro closures are not exactly my favourite as they can be loud.
Chicco Keyfit 30 Magic vs Zip
Similar to Magic, the Keyfit 30 Zip also features the infant boot. But Zip is designed with the greater convenience of parents in mind by featuring zippered accents.
- zip-on sun visor for extended sun shade (instead of the extendable mesh panel in Magic)
- zip-off canopy for easy removal and cleaning
- zip-around infant boot (instead of the velcro-ed closures in Keyfit 30 Magic)
The zippered infant boot is a good to have feature to keep your baby warm, especially if your baby has the tendency to kick away his blanket.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 Zip also comes in more colors compared to keyfit 30 Magic.
Chicco Keyfit 30 Zip Air vs Zip
This Chicco Keyfit 30 Air model is the most high end amongst the Chicco Keyfit 30 infant car seat models.
The key difference compared to the Zip model lies in the seat. The backrest of the Chicco Keyfit 30 Zip Air is made of a breathable 3D AirMesh material with airflow channels for improved ventilation, keeping our little ones comfortable and cool in the car seat.
For greater comfort all year round, Zip Air also features a removable infant insert that you can switch between the reversible knit and mesh fabrics depending on the weather.
What Strollers Are Compatible With The Chicco Keyfit 30?
This is a one of the most commonly asked question. Many parents may already have a stroller as gift, or planning to buy one that’s going to last after the little one outgrows the infant seat.
The good news is, given the popularity of the Chicco infant car seat, it is compatible with most strollers under the Sun… This means that you can customize your Chicco Keyfit 30 travel system with your favourite stroller:)
However, if you are planning to use it with a stroller from other brands, you’d need to purchase an adapter separately.
Chicco Strollers Compatible with Keyfit30
Here’s a list of the Chicco strollers that fit the Keyfit 30:
- Cortina Magic
- Cortina Together
- Liteway Plus
The list above is for strollers that can be used with Chicco Keyfit 30, WITHOUT the need for an adapter.
Single strollers compatible with chicco keyfit 30
Adaptors are available for the following strollers:
- Baby Jogger – City Select LUX and City Premier strollers share the same adaptor for Chicco Keyfit 30. The City mini chicco keyfit 30 adapter, however, is a different one.
- UPPAbaby – The UPPAbaby infant car seat adaptor for Chicco is compatible with Vista/Vista V2 and Cruz/Cruz V2. You can check it out here.
- Joovy – The Joovy Qool car seat adaptors are designed exclusively for the Joovy Qool convertible stroller. Two adaptors can be used at the same time for twins.
Double stroller compatible with Chicco Keyfit
- Joovy – The Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite Sit and Stand stroller comes with a universal car seat adapter that is compatible with the Chicco Keyfit 30.
Jogging strollers compatible with chicco keyfit 30
- Bob – You can check out the chicco keyfit 30 bob stroller adapter on Amazon for both the Single and Duallie Jogging Strollers.
- Thule – Thule also offers a chicco adaptor that is compatible with the Thule Urban Glide, Urban Glide 2 and Urban Glide 2 Double Jogging stroller.
- Joovy – The Joovy Zoom 360 jogging stroller is also compatible with Chicco and the stroller can be folded even with the adapter attached.
Be sure to factor in the cost and your lifestyle before making your buying decision. There are also parents who choose to go with the caddy for the first year, before purchasing a stroller. Others will simply purchase a complete travel system to save the hassle.
Where Is It Made?
Chicco’s infant car seats are made in China.
As much as I’d love to see them made in the U.S.A., Chicco has managed to maintain a high standard in their manufacturing process offshore. You can trust your baby’s safety in there without a doubt.
What is the Chicco Keyfit 30 Expiration Date?
When I was first researching about infant car seats, I still remembered how surprised I was when I learnt that there’s an expiration date for a car seat (well, it wasn’t a perishable food right?).
The Chicco KeyFit infant car seats and bases expire after 6 years from the date of manufacture.
Of course, the car seat doesn’t just dissolve or disintegrate after 6 years. But there are good reasons to have an expiry date, such as technological updates or wear and tear that affects the car seat’s ability to safely protect our little ones in the event of a crash.
Once you bring home or receive your seat, be sure to check the bottom of the seat for the manufacture date and the expiry date. Do check the top of the base as well, as sometimes the base and the seat may have different manufacture dates.
I’d actually jot it down or create a note in Evernote, as it helps in the case of a recall. Be sure to register the product as well to enable Chicco to have means to contact you.
As long as the infant car seat is still within the 6 years lifespan, it is good to use and can be passed down through several LOs, as long as it has not been involved in an accident.
How To Clean The Seat Cover?
Although I’m not a fan of the fabric on the Keyfit, I like the fact that it is machine washable:)
Removing the seat cover (or seat pad as Chicco calls it in the manual) is not exactly the easiest, but you should be able to do it quickly by referring to the manual.
If the stain is easy to remove, you can spot clean the seat using mild soap without removing the cover.
If you’re using the washing machine, use cold water and run it on delicate cycle, with mild detergent. Air-dry it afterwards.
When Can I Remove The Chicco Infant Insert, If I Used One?
The infant inserts are meant to help support a baby from 4 to 11 lbs to achieve a proper fit.
It should be removed when the baby weighs 11 lbs, or when the baby fits the seat snugly without the insert, whichever comes first. However, you can keep the headrest in place until the shoulder reach the top harness position.
How Long Should My Baby Be Rear Facing?
According to AAP, “It’s best to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. This is still the safest way for children to ride.”
The Chicco Keyfit 30 is a rear-facing only car seat, suitable for children up to a maximum weight of 30 Ibs or 30 inches, whichever comes first.
Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat Review – Critiques
- Fabric of the infant car seat
You’ve probably come across this already, but the fabric is the most complained feature of an otherwise perfect rear-facing infant car seat.
The seat cover is on the coarse side, and the breathability certainly has ample room for improvement. While the infant insert is made of softer material, they’ll be removed after a few months.
This is a big concern for those who are in the warmer states, and those who need to travel a few hours in the car regularly. Babies will get hot and sweaty, and your best bet will be to dress him/her up in loose clothing, and to make a stop every hour or so if traveling long distance and ventilate the back for awhile.
- Chicco Keyfit 30 Canopy
A close second to the fabric complaints, the canopy on the Keyfit 30 model is simply too tiny to be able to provide sufficient protection.
On a bright day with the seat facing the Sun, the fully extended canopy only manages to protect the back of the head, leaving the face exposed. The pull-out Sun visor only adds a tad more coverage, which is still not adequate to protect the baby’s face.
This is actually in my opinion, the biggest flaw with the car seat. I’m not so much concerned about the fabric, but for the canopy, you’ll need a nursing cover or a blanket during a sunny day to cover up the unprotected area.
Hopefully, Chicco will address this issue in the upcoming upgrade, which will then make this car seat even more compelling to buy for those who’re still on the fence.
If canopy is a huge concern for you, you’d be better off with the Keyfit 30 Zip or Magic, which has a larger canopy for the little rider.
Where To Buy Chicco Keyfit 30?
Chicco has become a global brand and there are many places that retail their flagship infant car seat.
I do however recommend placing your order with Amazon, due to their customer service and their reliability.
Based on the reviews I’ve read, Chicco themselves do not boast the best customer service team around and if there’s an issue with your order, you can be sure it’s much easier to return and get a refund easier through Amazon than anywhere else.
Having said that, please read the section below because with all the ease of ordering and seamless delivery, there’s a huge caveat that buyers need to be aware of…
CAUTION, Before Placing Your Order (For Amazon.com)
There’s one very important thing to take note of before you checkout, if you’ve decided to purchase through Amazon.
Please triple check your cart and order details before you make the payment. I’m saying this because Amazon has decided to group the different color variations and models on the same listing, which can be confusing at times.
The design of the listing page changes from time to time as they constantly split-test their pages, but you’ll likely find the model and color variations to be the options to be selected on. You can see the title change when you click on the different variations.
Some of the color variations are sold by Amazon, while some are sold by third party. There’s nothing wrong with buying from third party sellers, as long as their seller feedback rating is excellent.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat is a really excellent infant car seat and you can hardly go wrong with one. It’s safe for infants and really easy to install. The ability to fit onto most of the strollers is a major plus point, since most of us will probably own more than 1 stroller anyway.
It’s not the cheapest infant car seat in the market, but it’s definitely an affordable one without breaking the bank, considering the nice features and the peace of mind when your baby sleeps and travels in it.
The bottom line is, if you want a great car seat that looks great and compatible with your favorite stroller, you can invest in this car seat without having second thoughts.