Our Verdict on the Chicco KeyFit 30 Car Seat
Let’s cut through the chase, shall we? The Chicco KeyFit 30 is hands down the best infant car seat available today if you own a car. Security-wise, the KeyFit 30 has excellent crash test results. But what makes it particularly stand out is its base. Many parents put their baby at risk by not installing their car seat properly. The KeyFit 30 base helps easily address that problem. It’s simply the best system that we’ve tested to securely install an infant car seat.
If you don’t have your own car, however, you might want to look at the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio instead. If you’re often traveling in taxis and Uber, the Chicco KeyFit 30 isn’t our favorite seat. It’s heavier than other infant seats and the attach system without the base isn’t as secure as others (full explanation below).
So, is the Chicco KeyFit 30 right for you? Let’s find out.
Our Rating: 9.8 / 10
- Excellent crash test scores
- Very easy to safely install the base
- Comfortable for baby
- Best overall car seat for that price
- Only the American seat belt fastening is possible without the base
- Canopy is on a small side, you might need extra sun protection
WHO IS IT FOR
The KeyFit 30 is the best infant car seat for this price and will be perfect for most parents. If you’re a regular taxi user, however, we would recommend another car seat that’s lighter and easier to carry around (see alternatives below).
WHERE TO BUY IT
- The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio: the best infant car seat if you can stretch your budget. It comes with a European seat belt lock when used without its base. Perfect if you’re often taking taxis or Ubers ( $299.99 ).
- The Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30: perfect if you already have a compatible stroller from Maxi-Cosi, Cybex, Nuna, Silver Cross or Quinny. Same price than the KeyFit 30 and very similar performances ( Check on Amazon ).
- The Britax B-Safe 35: if you’re looking for a less expensive alternative. Safe, well-built, and particularly good for preemies or small babies ( Check on Amazon ).
Overview: Chicco KeyFit 30 Car Seat
Features: Chicco KeyFit 30 Car Seat
Car Seat Weight
17.15 lbs (7.8 kg)
Car Seat Dimensions
27.5″ x 17″ x 24″
Infant Weight Range
4-30 lbs (2-13.5 kg)
Infant Height Limit
30″ (76 cm)
Base Installation Easiness
LATCH & ISOFIX
Our Hands-on Review of the Chicco KeyFit 30 Car Seat
Every infant car seats sold in the U.S. has to meet the Federal crash-test safety requirements. Most car seats outperform these standards and deliver more safety features that is required. The Chicco KeyFit 30 is one of those. But it goes even further.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 is the best infant car seat on the market today for that price ( $199.99 on Amazon ). It’s not really one particular feature that makes it stand out, but rather the overall package that is beautifully executed.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 is very safe. It’s reassuringly easy to install. And it’s durable and easy to maintain. No wonder it’s the most sold infant car seat in the U.S. at the moment.
It’s simply the best that you can get for that money.
The only car seat that we enjoyed using more than the Chicco KeyFit 30 is the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio. And that’s mostly thanks to the safer way you can install the Peg Perego without its base (check our review to see why). But the Peg Perego is also $100 more expensive than the KeyFit 30 ( $299.99 ) and we don’t think it’s worth it if you have your own car and will be using your infant seat mostly with its base.
Curious to see why we like the KeyFit 30 so much? Keep reading!
KeyFit 30 safety ratings and crash test results
Every infant car seat sold in the U.S. complies with Federal safety standards. BUT, it won’t help you if your car seat isn’t installed properly. It’s unfortunate, but we’ve seen too many parents install their infant seat incorrectly, thus putting their baby at risk in case of an accident.
Often times, parents install their car seat improperly because they can’t tell precisely if it’s at the right angle with the road.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 addresses that problem perfectly. And that’s mostly thanks to a simple but very effective and well-designed car seat base.
The KeyFit 30 base, that comes bundled with the car seat if you purchase it on Amazon here, has a few special features that will help you safely secure it to your car every time.
It starts with the RideRight level indicators. Two small bubble indicators, one on each side of the base, help you see exactly what the proper installation angle should be. It’s simple but very effective. We wish all the other infant car seat manufacturers would include something similar on their own base.
To help you achieve the right inclination level, the RideRight indicators are used the ReclineSure spring-assisted leveling foot. Sounds complex but it’s actually really simple. You just need to press the buttons on each side of the base to extend or shorten the height of the base. This helps you achieve the perfect angle position.
It as simple as that! These two simple features help you make sure that the KeyFit 30 base is correctly installed every time. No need to think twice or worry about it.
One more feature that makes this base really stand out is the SuperCinch Force-multiplying LATCH tightener. Beyond the fancy marketing naming, this system is the best that we’ve tested to easily and securely tighten the LATCH belt. We’ll explain how it works when discussing the installation below (see “Chicco KeyFit 30 installation with the base”).
In addition to the base, the KeyFit 30 also comes with an excellent five-point harness to safely and comfortably strap your baby. We love that the harness is easy to tighten or release with just one hand thanks to its single button chest clip.
The seat itself is also filled with energy-absorbing foam to protect your baby in case of an accident. It also makes for a more comfortable ride.
In terms of crash test results, Chicco KeyFit 30 performed very well. It provides protection than most of the other seats with lower G-force levels in case of an accident. The seat provides significantly better protection than what is required by the Federal safety standards.
We use the official National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ratings and crash test data under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard to determine each car seat safety ratings in our reviews.
Learn more about how we evaluate car seat safety ratings.
How comfortable is the Chicco KeyFit 30?
All the extra padding and protection in the seat itself make for a very comfortable ride for your baby. Add that to the smoothing effects of being driven, and your child should quickly fall asleep if they are anything like ours.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 very comfortable for babies of all size. The area around the neck and head received extra attention with a soft and cushioned fabric. The infant insert is also very soft and cozy. It’s perfect for preemies and small babies from 4 lbs (2 kg).
One thing that we wished Chicco would improve, however, is the length of the KeyFit 30 canopy. It’s about average but, like many other car seats, doesn’t extend far enough to fully cover your baby’s legs. Even with the flip-out visor, it still falls a bit short.
We found the best baby infant car seat canopy on the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30. The KeyFit 30 canopy does, of course, provides UV rays protection as well.
The KeyFit harness is about average in terms of comfort. Nothing wrong with it. But nothing that makes it stand out in our tests either. It comes with three different height positions, so you can extend the belt as your baby grows. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to adjust as a no-rethread harness (see how practical it is in the next section). There is also an easily adjustable forward-facing crotch strap belt.
How practical is the Chicco KeyFit 30?
Carrying the KeyFit 30 around is slightly harder than most of the other seats. It’s a bit on the heavy side compared to other infant seats that we tested. The seat alone, without its base, weighs 9.2 lbs (4.2kg).
The Chicco’s handle is well-built and easy to pull up or down. It’s a bit too close to the canopy for comfort if you want to pass your arm through it, however.
If you plan on carrying your baby in the car seat often, we recommend that you look at the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 instead as it’s lighter and has a better handle.
The bottom of the seat is a bit curvy, so you can gently rock your baby back and forth when the seat is placed on the ground. Perfect when you’re stopping for a quick bite outside.
As mentioned above, adjusting the harness on the Chicco KeyFit 30 isn’t as easy as it should be. There is no slider at the back of the seat to pull up or down the harness and adjust the height of the seat belt. Instead, you’ll need to reach to the back of the seat and pass the strap through the right slot for your baby. It’s not a big deal, but it’s a bit harder to estimate the right height as your baby won’t be sitting in the seat as your change the belt.
Here’s a video explaining how to adjust the harness height on the KeyFit 30:
On the plus side, the Chicco KeyFit 30 is approved by the FAA to be used inside an airplane. The dimensions of the seat with its base are 27.5 x 17 x 24 inch so you should be able to fit two KeyFit side by side on your rear car seat if you want.
If you buy your Chicco KeyFit 30 from Amazon here, it will come together with the Chicco base. We’ll review first how to safely install the car seat with the base, before talking about the installation without the base.
Chicco KeyFit 30 installation with the base
We think that the KeyFit 30 is the best infant car seat to install with a base. Just follow these 5 simple steps:
- Place the Chicco base on your car rear seat.
- Adjust the recline angle of the base appropriately by following the level line indicators on both the side of the base.
- Attach the base with the LATCH connectors.
- Tighten the LATCH strap.
- That’s it. When done correctly, the base should move less than 1 inch from side to side.
The KeyFit 30 base comes with standard LATCH anchors but you can also attach it with your seat belt if your car doesn’t have the LATCH system.
LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. The LATCH system is mandatory for both car seat and vehicles built since 2002. LATCH greatly facilitate the safe installation of a car seat and should be preferred over other installation methods.
Learn more about how to securely install your baby in a car seat.
If your car has the necessary LATCH anchors, we recommend that you use them instead of the seat belt to safely install the seat. Don’t try to use both systems at the same time though. The base isn’t built for it and it won’t make the installation safer.
We particularly like the handy little LATCH clips that safely lock into the anchors. Once attached, you just need to pull the LATCH belt to tighten the strap up as much as possible. The SuperCinch Force-multiplying LATCH tightener is easily accessible when you’re facing the base.
Here’s an instruction video from Chicco that illustrates the whole process:
We also love that the anchors are very easy to detach from the LATCH when you want to take off the base. Some of the other infant car seats that we’ve tested were absolutely terrible in that regard.
Once the base is safely installed, you just need to clip the car seat in it. You’ll hear a clicking sound to tell you that it’s correctly installed, but you should try to pull it out to make sure that it stays in.
When you’re done, you can easily detach the car seat by pressing the release button at the back of the seat.
You can purchase the base separately from Amazon if you want ( $84.99 ). It’s very handy if you want to keep a base in two vehicles at the same time so you don’t need to reinstall it each time your baby changes car.
Chicco KeyFit 30 installation without the base using the seat belt
If you’re taking a taxi or an airplane, you also have the option to attach the KeyFit 30 without its base, using just a seat belt. It’s not as quick and easy as clipping the seat on a pre-installed base, but it’s not very complicated and still complies with all the safety regulations.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 does not come with a European belt path. That means that you’ll need to pass your car’ seat belt only through the front of the seat. The European belt path provides an extra level of safety by also attaching to the back of the seat, so it’s our preferred method, but only one infant car seats in our tests had that option: the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio ( $299.99 ).
Read our guide on how to securely install your baby in a car seat to understand the American belt routing method versus the European belt routing method.
We prefer the European method as it adds an extra connection at the back of the seat, but it isn’t required by the NHTSA in the U.S. at the moment.
Follow these 6 steps to attach the Chicco KeyFit 30 without the base:
- Place the infant car seat rear facing in your car.
- Recline the seat appropriately by following the level line indicator on the side of the carrier. You might need to place a towel between the car seat and your car to achieve the right position.
- Pass the seat belt through the belt path on both sides of the seat and fasten it.
- Pull the seat belt as tight as you can then lock it in (depending on your car’s model, you might have to fully extend the seat belt or give it a sharp pull to trigger the locking mechanism).
- Feed as much of the seat belt back as possible to keep it very tight.
- That’s it. When done correctly, the infant car seat should move less than 1 inch from side to side.
Here’s an instruction video showing exactly how to install the KeyFit safely without its base:
Installing the KeyFit 30 without its base is about average. Passing the seat belt through the belt path isn’t as easy as it should be as extra fabrics might block the space. We also had to use a larger towel than we normally do to achieve the right angle. With a bit of practice, you’ll get used to it. But if you’re often travelling in taxis and without the base, we recommend the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio ( $299.99 ) or the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 ( Check on Amazon ) that are both better options in that regard.
Chicco KeyFit 30 weight limit
The KeyFit 30 has a weight limit of 30 lbs (13.5 kg). It’s below most of the other infant car seats that we tested (except the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 that has the exact same limits) but it doesn’t really matter because your child will most probably reach the height limit before they reach the weight limit.
The height limit of the KeyFit 30 is 30 inches (76cm). That’s 2 inches shorter than all the other seats in our tests, but we don’t think it’s a big problem.
On average, children weight about 22 lbs by the time they’ve reached 30 inches. That’s usually around 14 months old.
When can I remove the Chicco infant insert?
The KeyFit 30 that’s sold here on Amazon comes bundled with an infant insert. The insert is an extra layer of cushion protection for babies who weigh between 4 and 11 lbs (1.8 kg to 5 kg). The Chicco has a headrest that is separated from the infant insert. So you can leave the headrest ever after removing the insert. We recommend that you keep the headrest until your baby’s shoulders reach the top harness position.
Premature babies, in particular, might need to keep the insert for a little longer until they reach the weight limit.
As a rule of thumb, just make sure that your baby is both securely fasten and comfortable with enough room once installed in the seat.
In addition to the infant insert, the Keyfit 30 also includes covers for both the buckle and the harness strap to protect your baby.
Maintenance and washing instructions
The more time your baby spends in the seat, the more often you’ll need to clean it up. That’s why we think that maintenance is a very important factor to consider when buying an infant car seat. If you can’t easily take off the cover to wash it, it will become an ongoing annoyance after a month or two.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 is about average here. The cover’s fabric and the headrest pad are not quite as easy to take off and put back as we would like. The Mico Max 30 was better in that regard. But once you’ve taken them off, you can easily wash them as they are both machine washable and dryer safe.
The harness covers, however, must be washed and dried by hand to avoid damaging the velcro.
What colors are available?
Five different color combinations are available for the KeyFit 30. They range from black and gray to bright green and patterned Lilla:
- Eucalyptus (gray and dark green combination)
- Lilla (light gray dotted pattern)
- Orion (the most popular, black and gray combination)
- Papyrus (another black and light gray combination)
- Energy (gray and bright green combination)
Which strollers are compatible with the Chicco KeyFit 30?
Stroller compatibility is another area where the KeyFit 30 shines. Chicco is a well-established trusted brand, so you’ll be able to use the car seat with most of the big stroller brands. You can use it with more than 20 different stroller models (see the full list below)!
First off, the KeyFit 30 is compatible with all the Chicco strollers. It’s very easy to use. You just need to place the car seat on the stroller and it will safely clip itself on it. Just press the detach lever at the back of the seat to remove the seat from the stroller (the same way you would do to detach the seat from its base in your car).
If you don’t already have a stroller, we recommend that you get one of their a bundle on Amazon to save money.
The excellent Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System is our preferred option. It comes together with the KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat and you can choose between 4 beautiful colors ( $379.99 on Amazon ). You can also purchase the Chicco Bravo on its own if you prefer ( $249.99 on Amazon ).
If you want something more bareback, Chicco also offers a simple yet robust stroller frame called Chicco KeyFit Caddy Frame that’s compatible with the KeyFit 30 ( $99.99 on Amazon ). It’s perfect if you often hop on and off taxis.
When it comes to other brands, you’ll just need to get the necessary adapter to pair the KeyFit 30 with your stroller. It can be tricky to find the adapter that’s right for your car seat, but we’ve done all the legwork for you.
Here’s the complete list of strollers and adapters that are compatible with the KeyFit 30:
Chicco KeyFit 30
|Austlen||Entourage Front||Not compatible|
|Austlen||Entourage Rear||Not compatible|
|Baby Jogger||City Select, City Select Lux and City Premier||Use this adapter|
|Baby Jogger||City Mini and City Mini GT||Use this adapter|
|Baby Jogger||City Mini Double and City GT Double||Use this adapter|
|Baby Jogger||City Tour Lux||Use this adapter|
|Baby Trend||Expedition Jogger, Espy||Not compatible|
|Baby Trend||Snap N Go, Snap N Go Ultra Tandem||Compatible by default but only for the rear seat|
|BOB||Revolution||Use this adapter|
|Britax||B Agile||Use this universal adapter|
|Britax||B Agile Double||Not compatible|
|Britax||B Ready||Use this universal adapter|
|Bugaboo||Donkey Mono and Donkey 2 Mono||Use this adapter|
|Bugaboo||Donkey Twin and Donkey 2 Twin||Use this adapter|
|Bugaboo||Fox and Buffalo||Use this adapter|
|Bugaboo||Cameleon3||Use this adapter|
|Bugaboo||Bee3 and Bee5||Use this adapter|
|Bumbleride||Indie and Speed||Use this adapter|
|Chicco||Bravo||Compatible by default|
|Contours||Options Elite, Options and Curve||Use this universal adapter|
|Cybex||Priam and Mios||Not compatible|
|GB||Zuzu||Compatible by default|
|Inglesina||Quad and Trilogy||Not compatible|
|JOOVY||Caboose, Big Caboose and Caboose Too||Adapters included|
|Mamas & Papas||Armadillo Flip||Not compatible|
|Mamas & Papas||Urbo, Urbo2, Sola and Sola2||Not compatible|
|Maxi-Cosi||Dana and DanaFor2||Not compatible|
|Mima||Xari and Zigi||Not compatible|
|Mountain Buggy||Cosmopolitan||Not compatible|
|Mountain Buggy||MB mini and Swift||Use this adapter|
|Mountain Buggy||Terrain and Jungle||Not compatible|
|Nuna||Demi Grow, MIXX2, PIPA and PEPP||Not compatible|
|Peg Perego||Book Pop-Up||Not compatible|
|Phil and Teds||Navigator, Dot, Classic and Sport||Use this adapter|
|Phil and Teds||Promenade and Smart Lux||Use this adapter|
|Silver Cross||Wave||Not compatible|
|Stokke||Xplory, Trailz and Scoot||Use this adapter|
|Quinny||Moodd||Use this adapter|
|Thule||Urban Glide 1, Urban Glide 2.0, both single and double||Use this adapter|
|UPPAbaby||VISTA and CRUZ||Use this adapter|
You can check our ultimate Car Seat and Stroller compatibility guide for more details.
How long is the Chicco KeyFit 30 Good For?
Wondering how long is your Chicco KeyFit 30 is good for? Just check the back of the seat to find its expiration date, it’s stamped on the actual seat.
The KeyFit 30 is good for 6 years from the manufacturing date.
Important to know
Infant car seats have an expiration date. You should never use a car seat that is passed its expiration date as the safety of your child will NOT be guaranteed.
Always check the label on your seat to make sure that it’s still good to be used. You can also read this article to understand why infant car seats expire.
Chicco KeyFit 30: What’s in the box
Wondering what’s in the box? Here’s everything that will be included in the Chicco KeyFit 30 package on Amazon:
- 1 x Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat
- 1 x Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat LATCH base
Chicco KeyFit 30: Accessories
The KeyFit 30 has a range of accessories from Chicco and third parties:
Chicco KeyFit 30 Price
You can buy the Chicco KeyFit 30 for $209.99 . That’s the best deal that we’ve seen online.
- Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip if it’s cold where you live. It’s the same system than the Chicco KeyFit 30, but it comes with a warm cover as part of the seat ( $229.99 on Amazon ).
- Chicco KeyFit 30 Magic same as above but with a velcro blanket instead of the zipper ( $209.99 on Amazon ).
From other brands:
- The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio: the best infant car seat if you can stretch your budget. It comes with a European seat belt lock when used without its base. Perfect if you’re often taking taxis or Ubers ( $299.99 on Amazon ).
- The Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30: perfect if you already have a compatible stroller from Maxi-Cosi, Cybex, Nuna, Silver Cross or Quinny. Same price than the KeyFit 30 and very similar performances ( $169.99 on Amazon ).
- The Britax B-Safe 35: if you’re looking for a less expensive alternative. Safe, well-built, and particularly good for preemies or small babies ( Check on Amazon on Amazon ).
Chicco KeyFit 30 Car Seat: Most Frequently Asked Questions
- Question: Does it come with the Chicco KeyFit base?
Answer: Yes. This model comes with the base in the package. You can also purchase the car seat and the Chicco base separately if you prefer.
- Question: Do you have to use the base with the Chicco KeyFit 30?
Answer: No. You can also install the Chicco KeyFit 30 without its base if needed. Just the seat belt as described above. The base will make it more secure and convenient if you’re installing the seat in your own car, however.
- Question: Can the Chicco KeyFit 30 be installed on an airplane seat?
Answer: Yes, the Chicco KeyFit 30 is FAA approved. You can install the seat on a plane seat using the lap seat belt. You can check that your car seat is FAA approved by looking for a sticker that says “This Restraint is Certified for Use in Motor Vehicles and Aircraft.” Flight attendants are trained to look for these stickers when someone is boarding the plane with an infant or toddler car seat.
- Question: How much does the Chicco KeyFit 30 weight without the base?
Answer: The Chicco KeyFit 30 weighs 9.2 lbs. without the base. It’s on the heavy side compared to other infant car seats that we reviewed.
- Question: Can I attach the Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat on a grocery cart?
Answer: No, and you shouldn’t try to do that with any car seat. Placing an infant carrier on top of a shopping cart can be very dangerous. The safest place would be in the cart itself, facing towards you and reclined appropriately for your child to be comfortable.
- Question: Has the Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat ever been recalled?
Answer: For recall information, call the U.S. Government’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.NHTSA.gov.
- Question: What is the Chicco KeyFit 30 warranty?
Answer: The Chicco KeyFit 30 comes with a standard one year warranty. We recommend you contact Chicco if you experience any issue with your model after purchase. You can call them during normal office hours or email their customer support team. Their response time is relatively quick.
- Question: What is Chicco’s customer service number?
Answer: If you’re calling from the US, you can contact Chicco by phone: 1-877-424-4226. You can also email their support team. Their email support center should get back to you within 24 hours.
Chicco KeyFit 30 Manual and User Guide
You can download the Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat user manual from here. You should also be able to find one stored within the car seat base.
Chicco was founded in 1958 by an Italian inventor named Pietro Catelli. After the birth of his son, Mr. Catelli expanded his work into the world of baby products and dedicated himself to creating better solutions for parents and babies.
Since then, Chicco has grown into a global brand with a presence in 120 countries, offering everything from baby gear to nursing, toys, apparel, shoes, and baby care products.
Further reading recommendations about Chicco and infant car seat safety
We’ve used several authoritative sources to help with our review of the Chicco KeyFit 30. We recommend that you read them if you want to learn more about car seat safety in general. These are also great resources if you want to understand a particular aspect of child safety or want to stay up-to-date with the latest research.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Child Passenger Safety Board have excellent in-depth resources on car safety for children. We recommend you start there:
If you want to explore car safety even further, we recommend the following resources that were used when writing this article:
Our rating: 9.8 / 10
Summary: The Chicco KeyFit 30 is the best infant car seat on the market today for that price. It’s not really one particular feature that makes it stand out, but rather the overall package that is beautifully executed.
Reviewed by: Samantha Woodworth
Last updated: January 2, 2019
Images by Baby Gear Essentials and Chicco.