By peoplestaff225
Updated June 24, 2009 10:00 AM
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The Chicco KeyFit Infant Car Seat can be purchased separately ($160-170 for 22-lb capacity, $180-190 for 30-lb capacity) or as part of the Cortina Travel System ($300).

The KeyFit infant car seat is a breeze to install. After hassling with other brands I recognize the value of a well-thought-out system.

The KeyFit base installs with LATCH or the car’s seat belt. When using LATCH, a simple tug on one center strap cinches the two buckles tight. Two clear-as-a-bell levels show you that it’s installed flat, but be sure the car isn’t parked on a slope! A recline feature in the base makes it easy to get the slant just right.

Wide openings let the seat belt pass through easily and will save your manicure from all the reaching and tugging some seats require. The base even has a storage compartment for the instructions, which should always be close at hand.

Though the seat is available in two weight capacities (22 and 30 lbs), I really cannot imagine carrying a 30-pound baby in an infant carrier. By the time the baby is 18 or 19 pounds, that carrier gets heavy and most parents start to think about moving the child into a convertible (front or rear-facing) car seat but you can stretch the life of the seat by leaving it in the car instead of removing it when you take the baby out.

The seat snaps easily into place and can even be installed without the base. This is a great feature if you’re only using it occasionally in Grandma’s car or when traveling. (It must be strapped in every time you take the child out, though.)

The handle on the carrier is rubberized for comfortable carrying and the base is curved so the carrier can rock. Snap the handle down all the way and it stops the rocking.

The Coventry fabric we tested is a cute pinstripe with pale blue and orange trim. It reminds me of my husband’s business suits. Very sophisticated for a little baby! The seat is well padded and easy to clean.

Like most infant car seats, the sun shade on the KeyFit is poor. It only covers about 10 inches from the top of the seat and doesn’t even reach the handle.

Of course the KeyFit infant seat snaps right onto the Cortina stroller and the two sun shades meet for total coverage.

Pros: Easy install and cute fabrics.
Cons:
Very small sun shade doesn’t cut the mustard for me.

The Verdict: The Keyfit infant seat is easy to install, carry and clean, but you’ll have to put a blanket over this seat when you’re hanging out in the park.

Kristen