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.
We’ll start by having a look at the official promotional video by Chicco here:
- Important Specifications of Chicco Keyfit 30
- What Makes Chicco Keyfit 30 The #1 Rated Infant Car Seat?
- What Are The Differences Between Keyfit 30, Keyfit 30 Magic, and Keyfit 30 Zip?
- Which Strollers Are Compatible With The Chicco Keyfit 30?
- Where Is It Made?
- What Is The Expiration Date?
- How To Clean The Seat Cover?
- When Do I Remove The Infant Insert, If I Used One?
- What Could Chicco Have Done Better?
- Where To Buy Chicco Keyfit 30?
- CAUTION, Before Placing Your Order (For Amazon.com)
- My Verdict
Important Specifications of Chicco Keyfit 30
- For infants 4 – 30 lbs
- Less than 30” in standing height
- Number of harness slots (pair): 3
- Car seat dimensions: 22”(H) x 17”(W) x 24”(D)
- Car seat weight: 9 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. I also don’t fully believe a single source, since there’s bound to be a debate on the evaluation methods and criteria.
All I know is, this is an exceptional infant car seat, which is very popular and well loved by a majority of their users.
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. 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.
Let’s briefly talk about the 3 different installations you’ll be using:
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:
- 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.
What Are The Differences Between Keyfit 30, Keyfit 30 Magic, and Keyfit 30 Zip?
To put it simply, Keyfit 30 is the base model, while the Magic and Zip are loaded with additional features.
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 Keyfit 30 Magic costs a little more and features a better or more ‘luxurious’ seat cover fabric. It also comes with an infant boot for cold weather protection. The infant insert and the shoulder pads are reversible, meaning you can switch between the soft fabric or a more breathable mesh. The main draw of the Magic though, is the canopy. It is more generous than the base model, and it has an extendable mesh panel that offers more coverage while being more breathable.
The Keyfit 30 Zip, on the other hand has the convenience of parents in mind. It features zippered canopy, Sun visor, as well as the infant boot. This is the most expensive option among the 3 Keyfits.
Which Strollers Are Compatible With The Chicco Keyfit 30?
This is a one of the most commonly asked question, because many parents already have a stroller as gift, or planning to buy one that’s going to last after the little one outgrows the infant seat.
Here’s a list of the Chicco strollers that fit the Keyfit 30:
- Caddy Stroller Frame
- 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.
If you already have a stroller from other brands, or intending to get one, you’d need to purchase the adapter separately.
The good news is, this popular car seat is almost compatible with every stroller under the Sun… This means that you can customize your Chicco Keyfit 30 travel system with your favourite stroller:)
Be sure to factor in the cost before making your buying decision. Many people will 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 Expiration Date?
The car seat is designed to expire after 6 years from the date of manufacture, which means it can be passed down through several LOs, as long as it has not been involved in an accident.
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.
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 Do I Remove The 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 more, or when the baby fits the seat snugly without the insert, whichever comes first.
What Could Chicco Have Done Better?
- 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.
- Tiny 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 Magic, which has a larger canopy for the little rider.
- Product Details On Corporate Website and Listing
Personally, I don’t like the presentation of the product page on the Chicco corporate website.
While doing research, I want to have all the specifications available in one place so that I can make notes and do my comparisons. There’s some information that I wanted which cannot be found, without digging deep into the page, or by searching for other websites.
For example, you will not find the weight and dimensions of the car seat anywhere on the official website nor the listing page on Amazon, until you go through the customer’s questions section.
Fortunately you’ve come to this website as I’ve compiled all the essential questions and information all in one place for you:)
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 variations on the same listing, which I find rather messy and misleading.
The design of the listing page changes from time to time as they constantly split-test their pages, but you’ll likely find the color variations to be the first option to be selected on. And this is where it gets interesting…
Some of the color variations are sold by Amazon, while some are sold by third party. You’ll likely notice that some colors are discontinued too. There’s nothing wrong with buying from third party sellers, as long as their seller feedback rating is excellent. But for fancy colors, I’d highly recommend that you actually take a trip to the store to check it out first, because the images on the listing may not be a true representation of the actual product due to the lightings, touch-ups, and adjustments.
And special mention for the color OMBRA, this car seat is actually Chicco Keyfit (the one with weight limit of 22 lbs.), instead of the Chicco Keyfit 30, which I have been reviewing throughout this article. You can see the title change when you click on the different variations.
That is not all. You have another dropdown (or grid) for styles, with the option to select only the car seat, or bundle it together with a caddy stroller frame. Some color variations will be greyed out and not available to select when you select the bundle (most likely the colors offered by third party sellers). To get around this, to be able to purchase the greyed out color, you’ll have to select the car seat only option, and purchase the caddy separately.
But if you choose the option with the caddy included, another special mention must go to OMBRA (AGAIN)… Notice the title indicates Keyfit 30, but we already know that this color is for Keyfit. This might be a glitch at this moment when the article is being typed out, and may be fixed in the future, but do take note of this and check it before paying, to be sure.
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.