If you are a new parent and looking to learn about all the ways in which you can ensure the safety of your bundle of joy, you might have figured out by now that one thing you really need is a good, safe car seat!
Furthermore, experts agree that young ones are the safest in the car while strapped down in extended rear facing car seats with the highest rear facing weight and height limits.
However, those are also usually the most expensive and not everyone can afford them.
With that being said, this guide is here to help you find a really great quality baby car seat under $200 that is still more than enough to ensure your bundle of joy’s safety and comfort.
It may sound like an impossible task, but you would be surprised how many options there are, some that you can really trust without breaking the bank.
After all, babies are super expensive as is so there is no reason to spend way more than you need on a car seat as well.
The list we provided features some of the best products, all of which are recommended by experts and which follow safety legislation.
They are all safe and comfortable and made out of great quality materials, all the while being affordable and easy to access and order by only clicking their Amazon links.
But first, here are some more things you should know about baby car seats, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
With that being said, you might want to know that both recommend that kids ride in the car rear facing for as long as possible, which is also referred to as extended rear facing.
The reason why is pretty simple – apparently, it is the safest since it is able to support the baby’s neck, head and spine much more effectively in the eventuality of a dangerous car crash.
This way you will rest assured that you have done everything possible to protect your little one as much as possible, no matter the danger that might occur while on the road together.
Just keep in mind that once your little one reaches the seats’ rear facing height and weight limits, you will have no choice but to turn it to forward facing, but in most instances, that won’t have to happen until they are 4 years old or even older!
You should also know that most American states have passed actual laws that require parents to keep their children’s car seat in the rear facing position until the age of at least 2.
This includes Connecticut, California, Nebraska, California, Louisiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virginia.
The most expensive models on the market tend to be convertible car seats that feature really generous weight and height limits that allow use in the rear facing position for a long period of time and may cost anywhere between $300 and $500.
Thankfully, however, in recent years, manufacturers have been responding to customers’ demands for extended rear facing seats more and more which means that this feature has been getting more and more common at all price points.
Some of them are not only accessible price wise but also allow kids to use them in the rear facing position for a longer period of time than ever since they hold young ones up to 40 to 50 pounds.
What this means is that such a seat can easily hold the average 4 year old which not only makes the experience for your young one as safe and comfortable as possible but also extends the seat’s use for longer, meaning that you won’t need to buy another one anytime soon.
In fact, as soon as your child is too tall and heavy to use the seat in the rear facing position, it is time for you to turn it around in the forward facing position and use the five-point harness until they reach the weight limit of up to 65 pounds depending on the product you pick.
As you might be realizing, this means you’ll get a lot of use out of such a baby car seat which is super convenient, especially at the $200 price point!
It may sound too good to be true but as you will soon find out, there are quite a few such great options on the market that really meet all the needed requirements and safety measures all the while being accessible for any new parent out there.
Check out the list featuring some of the best baby car seats for under $200 in no particular order with links to where you can order them and pick the one most suitable for you and your little one!
Safety 1st Grow and Go All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
The first product on our list, the Safety 1st Grow and Go All-in-One Convertible Car Seat is a product that installs using snaps and can be used in both the rear facing and forward facing positions for a long time.
It measures 31.75 x 19.25 x 28.75 inches and is made in such a way that it grows along with your baby.
More precisely, it is considered to be a 3 in 1 car seat since it can be used through three different stages” rear facing between 5 and 40 pounds, forward facing between 22 and 65 pounds and belt positioning booster that allows your little one to use it while they’re between 40 and 100 pounds.
To make sure it keeps your child as safe as possible this car seat features side impact protection as well.
Furthermore, since this seat is a harness holder, it makes handling it super easy since it lets you take your child in and out of the seat super easily.
The rear facing position’s rear facing height is 19 to 40 inches while you can use it in the forward facing position when the child is between 29 and 52 inches in height.
The quick fit harness also allows you to easily and quickly adjust the harness but also the headrest with just one simple step.
Finally, you don’t need to worry about the cleaning process since the seat pad is not only machine washable but also dryer safe.
The pad also features snaps that make it as easy as possible to take off the seat for easy and quick cleaning and disinfecting without any fuss.
The Graco Extend2Fitis a really new product but it’s already a big success due to the fact that its design has solved one of the most maddening rear facing issues that drives so many parents crazy – the scrunched up legs!
Naturally, most kids are really flexible so they don’t really mind when their little legs are in weird positions but the same cannot be said about parents maneuvering these kinds of products.
That being said, the Graco Extend2Fit solves this problem, allowing the little ones to prop their legs onto the leg rest that slides out from under the seat.
This way, the caretakers can rest assured that their little ones do not end up in weird and dangerous positions while in the car.
Furthermore, this seat has really generous weight and height limits, allowing kids to keep using the rear facing position from 4 pounds to 50 pounds in weight or until their heads are 1 inch or less under the headrest handle.
As for the forward facing positions, kids are totally fine to use this seat from 22 pounds up to no less than 65b pounds or 49 inches in height!
Just keep in mind that you can find seats with bigger height limits for the forward facing position so if your child is really tall already and you suspect they’re just getting taller, you might want to look for another product.
But, of course, if this is not your case, you can rest assured that you’ll get a lot of use out of this seat.
After all, aside from that height maximum, it has everything you could need – it’s 19.2 inches wide but does not look huge and does not occupy your whole back seat like other such car seats might.
At the same time, however, keep in mind that it is a little heavy at 24 pounds so if you are planning on moving it in and out of the car a lot, it could be a little inconvenient.
Baby Trend Cover Me 4 in 1 Convertible Car Seat
The Baby Trend Cover Me 4 in 1 Convertible Car Seat is perfect for the rear facing positions and measures 18.5 x 18.25 x 28.63 inches.
For some extra UV protection, this product has been designed with an integrated adjustable canopy.
Furthermore, for some additional shade in the car, you can also flip out the side visors that will protect your little one from the harsh sun rays on both sides of their head.
The seating system is super convenient since it’s basically four products in one!
More precisely, you can use it as follows:
- Rear facing infant mode that can be used when they weigh between 4 and 18 pounds.
- Rear facing toddler mode, perfect for kids weighing between 18 and 40 pounds.
- Forward facing with harness mode which can be used between 22 pounds and 65 pounds.
- Belt positioning booster mode, which allows use between 40 and 100 pounds!
This product provides kids with comfort and safety and it’s super convenient as well thanks to the canopy that will protect them from the harsh UV rays when they come from all directions during those long car rides.
It also includes an integrated headrest with no rethread harness as well as three positions recline which allows those in the front seat some extra leg room.
The integrated recline flip foot also offers dual adjustment, achieving the right angle for comfort super easily.
At its widest, the Baby Trend Cover Me 4-in-1 Convertible car seat fits three across in most cars so if you have multiples this is a great option!
More precisely, it measures 18.25″ in width.
Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System with OnBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat
The Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System features a 5 point harness type and the maximum recommended weight is 35 Kg.
As the name also suggests, this product is pretty much an all in one travel system that makes for the perfect transition from car to stroller so if you tend to be on the road with your little one a lot, it’s probably one of the most convenient purchases you could make!
The QuickClick technology secures the LATCH-equipped seat to the stroller easily and quickly so you do not have to worry about disturbing your bundle of joy’s sleep at any point.
It is also designed with great side-impact protection as well as exceptional added back and neck support which is the ideal setting for the safety of newborns.
There is also a big canopy with flip-out visor and a peek-a-boo window that will provide your little one with enough shade on those hot, sunny days in the car.
In addition to that, there is also a basket under the seat, which is the perfect storage for all kinds of needed baby items so you have everything in the same place, organized and accessible.
And since it’s pretty much designed with travel in mind, the seat is also lightweight and has a fast, one-hand fold.
Not only that but, when folded, it stands on its own!
The 5-point safety harness is ideal for kids up to 50 pounds in weight when in stroller mode and those up to 35 pounds while in car seat mode.
It also ensures that your child is comfortable, safe and secure thanks to the adjustable harness that allows for a customizable fit.
It is JPMA-certified and exceeds ASTM standards for safety.
In addition to that, upon buying this travel system you’ll be able to enjoy no less than a year of warranty.
Cosco Scenera Next
The Cosco Scenera Next is simple, without too many bells and whistles but still really great quality and safety in addition to being rated for the rear facing position from 5 to 40 pounds and 19 to 40 inches which is truly impressive for such an accessible model.
The only significant downside is that it has a limit of 40 pounds for the forward facing position so as soon as your little one reaches that weight, you’ll have to purchase another car seat to replace this one.
But since it’s super light at around 10 pounds, many parents out there get it as an extra seat for the grandparents’ car for instance.
After all, it’s super portable since it’s so easy to carry around and it is also only 17 inches wide which means it can fit into tighter spaces when compared to other similar seats on the market.
Disney Baby Grow and Go All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
The Disney Baby Grow and Go All-in-One Convertible Car Seat is made out of stainless steel, measures 24.5 x 24.25 x 19.25 inches and can be used in both rear and forward facing positions.
This product is designed to grow with your baby, going through three stages:
- Rear facing between 5 and 40 pounds.
- Forward facing between 22 and 65 pounds.
- Belt positioning booster between 40 and 100 pounds.
There is also side impact protection for some extra peace of mind.
The harness holders make it easy to get your little one in and out of the car when the harness is held back.
The quick fit harness also allows for easy adjustments of the harness as well as of the headrest in only a quick and easy step.
Safety 1st Onboard 35 LT Infant Car Seat
The Safety 1st Onboard 35 LT Infant Car Seat is a latch installation type and is recommended for use in the rear facing position.
It measures 15.75 x 18 x 30.5 inches and it ensures that your offspring has a safe and secure travel every time.
It is perfect for babies between 4 pounds and 35 pounds while in rear facing mode.
The super lightweight construction uses next generation engineering and is really easy to carry around all the while featuring side impact protection.
Furthermore, the head and body inserts will provide your baby with some extra support and comfort.
The four available harness heights are spaced for a better fit in face your child is a little shorter or a little taller than usual for their age.
And all you need to properly adjust the harness is one simple pull!
It is one of the best seats to use on an aircraft for those long travels.
It is also compatible with all quick click equipped stroller and it attaches with just a single click, making things as hassle free as possible for new parents trying to figure it all out.
The seat pad is also easily removable and easy to clean.
All you have to do is chuck it into the washing machine and then in the dryer since it’s safe for use in both.
It meets or even exceeds federal, ASTM, and JPMA safety standards and also comes with a one year long warranty!
This manufacturer has been known to make the best car seats at an accessible price for a long time and Britax Romer is no difference!
In fact, it may just be their best yet at this price point.
This car seat is incredibly comfortable and the buckles and other work more smoothly than the ones on other cheap brands.
It also comes with a handle on top which allows parents and caretakers to move the seat around super easily.
This model allows you to keep the child in read facing position between 5 and 40 pounds or until their head is an inch from the top of the head pad.
As for the forward facing position, it is recommended for use by kids between 20 and 65 pounds or up to 49 inches tall.
Since the height limit is on the lower side when compared to other similar products, you might want to pick another seat if your little one is not that little for their age.
All in all, this option is accessible but feels more high quality and therefore more expensive than it actually is so you’ll get more than enough value for your purchase!
Evenflo EveryFit 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
The Evenflo EveryFit 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is a latch and seat belt installation type car seat and is made in the United States.
This product has been engineered for comfort, longevity and of course, safety!
It accommodates any little one and allows for multiple positions to be adjusted.
It also allows for children beyond 2 years of age to ride in the rear facing position without the need to extend the seat!
Furthermore, since safety is the number one priority, you’ll be pleased to know that this seat either meets or exceeds all of the federal safety standards.
The Evenflo Side Impact standard also means that there is advanced side impact protection in place, a feature which reduces crash forces by up to 30 percent!
Installation is easy as well and the innovative flow Mesh fabric it is made out of will keep your young one from getting overheated and sweaty in the car.
It also keeps them at a comfortable angle and minimizes head slump with 3 rear-facing recline positions and one forward facing recline position.
In fact, the 1 hand, 12 position headrest and the easy to slide rethread harness straps can be easily adjusted without having to uninstall the seat as your child grows.
To keep it like new for a long time, make sure you do not use abrasive cleaners or solvents when you need to clean it.
Speaking of, the fabrics are easy to remove and machine washable.
Finally, there are even dual integrated cup holders and a removable snack tray that will make things so much more convenient for you and your baby while on the road and whenever they need feeding.
- Bombol – Pop-Up Baby Booster Seat with Carry Bag and Seat Cover
The Bombol – Pop-Up Baby Booster Seat with Carry Bag and Seat Cover measures 10.8 x 11.8 x 1.4 inches and weighs 2.5 pounds.
This is one of the most versatile and portable boosters out there and is designed in such a way that it fits nearly all seat designs.
It can actually be used to give your little one a boost at the table as well so they can easily reach their meal.
And when you’re done, you can just put the seat cover back into your bag and take it with you everywhere to provide the child with a comfortable and safe seat cover wherever you go.
That being said, this product not only meets all the international safety standards for boosters but also the standards for adult furniture which means it can easily withstand 75 kg which is the average adult weight.
It’s super clever but easy to use – all you have to do is flick it slightly and it will turn into a three dimensional, sturdy structure instantly.
And since no one really likes to be strapped down, especially little children, the booster was designed with shoulder elastic padding that automatically adjusts to the baby’s movement and measurements to provide them with comfort and safety.
The straps are also removable and so, when it’s time to do some laundry, you can pop everything into the washing machine.
But even in between washes, you can easily clean it by wiping it down with a damp washcloth and it’s as good as new.
This is because it has a stain and odor proof finish.
The backrest pops up smoothly to provide as much back support as possible.
The product is compliant with REACH and CPSIA standards which ensures that it does not contain any harmful substances.
When folded, the booster appears impossibly flat but once open, it’s impressively sturdy and can be used wherever you need to boost your little one’s seat.
Folded, it measures 30 x 27.5 x 3.5 cm, while open, its 30 x 28 x 27 cm.
As for the weight, it’s a mere 1.1 kg.
As for the forward facing position, it can be used between 22 and 65 pounds but it may not be the best option for taller kids since the height limit is 49 inches.
One of the best features of this seat is that it does not take as much room front to back when in the rear facing position as compared to other similar products.
Evenflo Sonus 65
The Evenflo Sonus 65 is an accessible but great quality product you and your little one will enjoy for a long time.
The weight and height limits are quite expansive!
In the rear facing position, your child needs to be between 5 and 40 pounds and between 19 and 40 inches tall.
As for the forward facing position, the limit is around 50 inches which is slightly less than other similar products so the parents with taller kids than the average for their age will have to pick another option.
Of course, if this is not your case, you can rest assured that this is a great product to invest in, especially at this price point.
Furthermore, it is a slender model, measuring only 18 inches wide and super light (10.8 pounds) so it can fit into smaller vehicles and it is easy to carry around.
Just keep in mind that it will, on the other hand, take quite a bit of vertical space while in the rear facing position.
Another great thing about this product is that the sides are low which means that they allow the user to scramble in all by themselves at some point, just like a big kid!
Furthermore, most parents are big fans of the cushy padding.
Disney Light’ N Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat, Minnie Confetti
The Disney Light’ N Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat has a latch installation type and is recommended for use in the rear facing position.
It measures 30 x 17.75 x 14 inches and is made for infants from 4 to 22 pounds, providing a comfortable and safe travel experience for all tiny travelers that meet this requirement.
It comes with an infant insert which is perfect if you have a newborn and takes safety to the next level thanks to the side impact protection.
The design is super lightweight as well, allowing for a convenient and easy travel experience for parents.
Chicco KeyFit Infant Car Seat and Base
The Chicco KeyFit Infant Car Seat and Base is a rear facing model with a latch installation type.
In fact, this is one of the easiest baby car seats to install!
The installation process is accurate, secure and simple every time, featuring two bubble level indicators as well as a spring-loaded leveling foot that ensures the proper base angle can be achieved easily and correctly in the car seat.
The premium LATCH connector makes the attachment super easy as well. Basically, anyone, regardless of their previous experience with parenting and infant car seats can do a great job installing this one without any help, confusion or frustration.
This car seat and base is also compatible with Chicco strollers which means it’s super versatile and practical, making the lives of parents much easier and mostly stress free.
The car seat is designed in such a way that it securely clicks into the stay-in-car base but also into the Chicco strollers.
There is also a two-position carry handle and a one hand release system that makes it as easy to remove as it is to install.
The carrier shell is lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam so it takes protecting your precious baby in the case of an accident to the next level!
The seat includes a removable infant head and body support insert made specifically to accommodate newborns and smaller babies.
It is designed for little ones weighing between 4 and 22 pounds and up to 30 inches in height.
There is even an adjustable canopy and a removable seat pad that is washing machine safe.
The canopy, which is also adjustable and machine washable, will ensure that your baby remains protected from the harsh sun and UV rays while riding in the car with you on those hot days.