When I got the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip car seat in the mail, I took it out of the box, and as soon as I laid eyes on it I knew it was going to be a wonderful addition to our baby gear inventory. I noticed the sleek design, gender-neutral coloring and the plush newborn inserts and padding—exactly how the car seat was pictured online. But my favorite feature 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. I’ll get to more on that later!
When it came to installing the Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat, it was a new experience for me because although we already had a car seat, 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 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.
There’s no assembly required for the infant car seat 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, meaning it’s not a convertible car seat. There are a few different ways you can install the base, though, and each way is clearly spelled out in the manual. You can install it via your vehicle’s seat 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 connectors, and it was super simple—even the first step of adjusting the angle of the base was so easy. Just make sure your car is on a level surface before doing this or your recline and angles will not be correct.
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Using the LATCH SuperCinch tightener to get a super secure fit (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.
There is a RideRight bubble level indicator on both sides of the base that you can look at to make sure it is in the perfect position. Additionally, you’ll find a spring-loaded leveling foot that also helps achieve proper installation in the vehicle seat.
For reference, 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 pull the LATCH tightener took way more muscle than the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip. It’s the simple things like this that make the KeyFit 30 Zip so much better. (If you need to buy a second base, they 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 amazing padding and infant inserts! 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. What’s more, it’s made with EPS energy-absorbing foam for improved impact protection.
The car seat 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 other accessory is the protective boot. All it takes is a quick flip of a Velcro tab on each side of the boot, and your baby is shielded 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!
When messes happen (aka your baby has a blow-out and the seat pad needs to be cleaned stat), it is an easy problem to solve. All you do is remove the dirty fabric and either spot clean it with soap and water or throw it in the washing machine. Make sure you do not dry the pieces in the dryer, though—only air dry them.
One thing to note is Chicco now offers ClearTex fabric as an option with their car seats. This fabric features no added chemicals and has been tested for low chemical emissions, according to their site. The KeyFit 30 Zip is GREENGUARD GOLD Certified, making baby’s air quality a little bit better.
If you are looking to use the car seat, in part, as a travel system, you’ll be happy to know the KeyFit 30 Zip fits with many Chicco strollers and works with other brands of compatible strollers as well. (You will likely need to buy an adapter, though.)
Zippers … and more 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 demonstrates the level of thoughtful product design behind the Chicco brand. 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.
What I Liked About this Product
If I could give one main reason as to why I think this car seat out-shines all others, it would be because Chicco simply made the point to pay attention to the details while also offering top-notch safety features. 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?!
Areas for Improvement
My only complaint is this seat is heavy! As baby grows and adds weight, this thing will feel like a brick. If given the choice between the included design elements and a lighter seat, I would certainly pick the design, but I know my biceps will be taking a hit in the future.
Who Would Enjoy this Product
Any parent would probably appreciate having this product. All babies need a safe car seat. All babies make messes. All moms want machine-washable baby stuff. It’s a win-win all around, and certainly one of the best infant car seats in my book.
Weight limits: Rear-facing, 4-30 pounds
Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip Infant Car Seat, $240