"Right off the bat, I noticed the vibrant Emerald color of the head support and padding, a perfect gender-neutral color—and exactly how it was pictured online. I also noticed how much padding there was in general, way more than our other car seat and so much thicker and softer, too!"
When I got the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip car seat in the mail, I took it out of the box, and I soon as I laid eyes on it I knew it was going to be wonderful. Right off the bat, I noticed the vibrant Emerald color of the head support and padding, a perfect gender-neutral color—and exactly how it was pictured online. I also noticed how much padding there was in general, way more than our other car seat and so much thicker and softer, too! But my favorite feature that I noticed right away was the zipper! Ridiculous, I know. When it comes to the safety of your tiny, precious baby in a car, the last thing you should really be worried about is the zipper on your car seat. But, I’ll get to more of that later!
When it came to actually installing the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip, it was a new experience for me because although we had a car seat already, my husband was the one who installed it. (My very pregnant self was not too excited to crawl around the backseat of our car when installation day was upon us!) So, reading all the little details in the manual was very necessary. Luckily, the wording (which is also available in Spanish) in the manual is very simple and straightforward. Important words are highlighted and pictures accompany each step of directions. What makes it better is that Chicco uses red coloring on their black and white illustrations to show first-timers, like me, exactly what piece I need for that step. I know sometimes manuals can make life a little more difficult, but you definitely do not have to worry about that with this one.
There’s no assembly required for the base or the seat. Just take the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip out of the box, grab the manual and head straight to your car. This seat is only rear-facing, so if you’ve never installed a car seat before make sure to take a quick look at the manual before you start. There are a few different ways you can install the base, and each way is spelled out in the manual. You can install it via your vehicle belt or use the LATCH system that most cars feature these days. It can also be installed without the base, using only the vehicle belt. We used the LATCH system, and thank goodness for Chicco because they make it super easy. Even the first step of adjusting the angle of the base was so simple—just make sure your car is on a level surface before doing this or your angles will not be correct.
There is a bubble level indicator on both sides of the base that you can look at to make sure it is in the perfect position. Tightening the LATCH belts (which can take some pretty strong muscles!) was way easier than I imagined. All the levers and straps move so smoothly. And, (BONUS) when you are finished with the LATCH pull strap, there is a small compartment you can put it in for storage. So, when I finished installing the Chicco base in my car, I tried to install our other brand car seat base into my husband’s car, and it was much more difficult. The leveling system did not move fluidly and trying to tighten the LATCH pull strap took way more muscle than the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip. It is simple things like this that make the KeyFit 30 Zip so much better. (If you need to buy a second base, they cost $85 and are available online.)
So I know safety and installation are really important when it comes to a car seat, but your baby has to be comfortable in it, too, right? This takes me back to one of the first things I noticed about the seat– the padding! It’s everywhere, and it is so soft and thick. I have not seen a more comfortable looking car seat yet, and our baby seems to love it, too. It comes with adjustable and removable head support for different heights of babies, which is super easy to adjust (via slots where your baby’s back rests) when your baby grows.
It also has a canopy to protect your baby from the sun or rain. The canopy does have a small mesh vent to peek through, so you can check on your baby. There is an extra visor that connects to the canopy that provides extra protection from the elements. It’s easily removed by a zipper, too, if you do not need it. The straps that hold in your baby transition very easily from loose to tight, another feature that is so nice compared to our other car seat.
When life happens (aka your baby makes something messy and a part of the fabric needs to be cleaned), it is a cinch. All you do is remove the dirty piece and either spot clean it with soap and water or throw it in the washing machine. Make sure you do not dry the pieces, though—only air dry them. The seat as a whole is much more comfortable to carry than our other model. The rubber handle seems to fit in my hand better, and it is less bulky.
If you are looking for compatibility with strollers, the KeyFit 30 Zip fits with many Chicco strollers and works with other brands of strollers as well if you buy the adapter that matches. I recommended our old car seat to my friend who is expecting her first baby in October, and just this past weekend I told her to switch to the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip. It’s too great not to recommend!
Our baby weighs about 15 pounds, so she is the perfect size for this seat as it fits babies from 4-30 pounds. If your baby is on the smaller side (4-11 pounds), the KeyFit comes with a thickly padded infant insert to make their rides around town more comfortable and supportive. The car seat also has side-impact protection and comes with a storage compartment on the front of the base, giving you easy access to it from the front seats of your car.
Something our other seat also lacked was a boot. So, when I pulled it out of the box I had no clue what to do with it. But, just like everything else, it took one quick look at the manual, and I was set. All it takes is a quick flip of a Velcro tab on each side of the boot, and your baby is protected from the cold, wind, rain or snow. And, if you would rather not remove the entire boot to get your baby out of the seat, just use the zipper to open it up and get her out. So easy! And, speaking of the zippers (I told you I would get back to them!), this is probably my favorite detail of the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip. Each zipper on the seat is an eye-catching array of different colors. It’s so pretty and compliments the emerald color so well. I love it! I comment on the zippers so often that I think my husband is starting to think I am ridiculous. These details that Chicco thought to incorporate into this seat make it so awesome.
If I could give one main reason as to why I think this car seat out-shines any others, it would be because Chicco simply made the point to pay attention to the details. Given that the company has been around for more than 50 years and having been given the chance to use their products, I would say they have mastered the art of keeping our babies safe and happy—and how could I not support that?!
Weight limits: Rear-facing, 4-30 pounds Price: $230 Where to buy: babiesrus.com
Still unsure? Read more of our car seat reviews here.
Emily at pnmag.com
Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip
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