Every new parent wants to know: What's the safest infant car seat? While all car seats are considered safe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is another answer to that question: the ones with load legs.
In crash testing by Consumer Reports, load legs reduced the risk of head injury by 46 percent. That's why all infant car seats with load legs earned the organization's "best" rating in crash protection.
A load leg is a metal support that extends from the base of the car seat to the floor of your car to provide additional stability and energy absorption in an accident.
In a front collision, the car seat will continue traveling forward until snapping back at the point of impact. Without a load leg to stabilize it during the crash rebound, the car seat can tilt up and slam into the seat back. The motion can cause the child to slide upward in the seat, hitting her head and neck.
In addition to preventing the car seat from moving and rotating, the load leg also absorbs energy from the collision, helping the car seat do its job: protecting your child from harmful crash forces.
Watch this video from Consumer Reports to see how the load leg inhibits the car seat's movement during a crash test.
Because load legs are height-adjustable, most cars can accommodate a car seat with a load leg. You may not be able to use the load leg in your car's middle seat if the ridge in the floor is too high. But in many cars, the load leg can still be used even with the hump in the floor.
Other exceptions may include minivans with foldaway middle rows, as the floor in that section of the car may be hollow. Check your car's manual for load leg information.
Since debuting in Europe, the load leg remains a relatively rare feature on car seats sold in the United States. Infant car seats with load legs include:
All of the car seats with load legs tested by Consumer Reports have earned a "best" rating in crash protection. (Some car seats are too new to have been tested).
Each car seat, besides the GB Asana 35 DLX, is also compatible with numerous strollers to create a travel system.
Shop Strolleria's collection of infant car seats with load legs below.