The Chicco KeyFit 30 is a well-thought-out, well-designed, well-constructed infant carseat and that’s why it’s been on our list of Recommended Seats for over a decade!
The original KeyFit model (aka, the KeyFit 22) is often sold with a stroller as part of a “travel system”. Just be aware that this version in the “Encore” fashion has a maximum weight rating of 22 lbs. while the KeyFit 30 model is rated up to 30 lbs. and 30″ tall. The KeyFit 30 can be paired with any compatible Chicco stroller (see table below) to create a travel system, if desired. The Chicco KeyFit Caddy is a great option if you want a snap-n-go type stroller frame that has many of the same great qualities found in a full-featured stroller.
|Chicco strollers compatible with KeyFit 30|
|Corso; Corso LE|
|Bravo LE; Bravo Primo; Bravo For 2|
|Mini Bravo Plus|
|Chicco KeyFit Caddy (stroller frame)|
|Cortina Together (double stroller)|
Current models of both the KeyFit and KeyFit 30 utilize the same base. Extra bases are available separately if you want to purchase additional bases for other vehicles.
The review sample I have features a cold weather “boot” cover, which is easy to snap on and off. If you’re having a fall or winter baby, I would highly recommend a KeyFit model that comes with a cold-weather boot.
All KeyFit and KeyFit 30 models come with a newborn insert, a head support insert, and harness strap covers.
The newborn insert that comes with both the KeyFit and KeyFit 30 models is used for babies who weigh between 4-11 lbs. The insert provides additional support, as well as a secure harness fit for smaller infants. It should be removed once the baby weighs more than 11 lbs. It’s worth mentioning that the head support cushion can still be used, if desired, even when the newborn [body] support cushion has been removed. The head support pillow may be used until the child needs to use the top harness slots. The velcro attachments that secure the head support to the shell of the seat must be threaded through the unused harness slots above the ones currently being used for the child. Therefore, once the child needs to use the top slots for the harness – there’s no safe place to attach that head pillow anymore.
Harness slot heights with newborn insert (approximate): 7”, 9”, 11”
Harness slot heights without newborn insert: 8”, 10”, 12”
Fit to Child:
The combination of the bottom harness slots and the newborn insert helps the KeyFit and KeyFit 30 models to fit newborns of all sizes and even small premature babies very well. On the opposite end of the spectrum – the KF30 model can accommodate many babies up until their 1st birthday, or even beyond that – although obviously there are no guarantees. My youngest son would have reached the 30” height limit by 9 months old but he was way above average in both weight and height as a baby.
“Key” Features of KeyFit models:
- 5-point harness with nice straps that aren’t prone to twisting
- Energy-absorbing EPS foam
- Standard buckle (nothing funky or difficult to use)
- Premium “push on” lower LATCH connectors
- Unique, single strap, one-pull LATCH strap adjuster
- Built-in lockoff for lap/shoulder seatbelt installations
- Smooth-bottom base won’t damage vehicle leather or upholstery
- FAA-approved for airplane use
- Can be installed without the base
- 6-year “lifespan” from date of manufacture
The KeyFit and KeyFit 30 models have all the important bases covered when it comes to features. In addition to everything mentioned above, these seats also have the following comfort & convenience features:
- Handle can be left up while in the vehicle
- Well-padded, machine washable covers (cold water, delicate cycle, mild detergent – hang to dry)
- Easy to attach and detach carrier from base and from compatible Chicco strollers
- Super-smooth harness adjuster makes it easy to tighten and loosen harness straps
- Easy to rethread harness straps to different height positions
- Extended canopy
- Cold-weather boot (on certain models)
2022 KeyFit 30 Fashions: Iron, Lilla, Nottingham, Oxford
KeyFit Installation Comments:
The KeyFit instruction manual is clear and well-written with plenty of good diagrams. The manual is English on one side & Spanish on the other. As long as you read and follow the instruction manual carefully – the KeyFit and KeyFit 30 models are generally VERY easy to install properly regardless of whether you are using your vehicle’s lower LATCH anchors or the seatbelt. FYI – use only one method of attachment. Do not install the carseat with both LATCH & seatbelt. Use of lower LATCH anchors in the center seating position with non-standard spacing between the anchor bars (more than 11″ apart) is prohibited.
The base has a spring-loaded “foot” that adjusts to several different heights in order to achieve an appropriate recline angle in a wide variety of vehicle seating positions. Adjust the foot on the base until the bubble in the level is positioned somewhere between the black lines with the base installed tightly.
If using the vehicle’s lap/shoulder seatbelt, thread JUST the shoulder belt portion of the belt through one of the lock-offs on the base.
If installing the carrier directly (without the base), use the red line on the sticker label to guide you in achieving an appropriate recline angle. Make sure seatbelt is locked (see vehicle owners manual for details).
The handle can be in any locked position when the seat is in the vehicle. If it’s more convenient to just leave it up, then leave it up. If you’d rather put it down – that’s fine too.
Chicco prohibits the use of most additional add-on products not made specifically by them for this carseat. Items such as Bundle-Me style sleeping bags, additional head-support cushions, toys that hang from the handle, etc., are all currently prohibited.
These aren’t necessarily problems, but I list them here to inform potential consumers of specific KeyFit issues.
- It’s made in China. Unfortunately, almost all infant carseats are currently made in China. Despite its geographic origin, the quality and components are high-grade. Nothing about the KeyFit seems cheap, flimsy, or lacking. If you want to avoid buying a car seat made in China, consider the Chicco Fit2 which is made in Italy.
- Carrier weighs 9.6 lbs with the infant insert and head support (according to my digital bathroom scale). This is average for an infant carseat. It’s not lightweight but it’s not what I would consider heavy either. Spare your back and arms by using a stroller or invest in a good sling/baby carrier.
- Removing the cover to wash it can be a little cumbersome. The main issue in the removal process is getting the fabric out from under the plastic adjuster cover. What worked best for me was to pull the bottom portion of the cover loose and then start at the top of the adjuster cover and work the fabric free from that point down. When putting the cover back on – start by sliding the openings in the cover over the seatbelt guides on the shell (where you would thread the seatbelt if you were installing without the base), first. Then work the fabric back under the plastic adjuster – again starting at the top and working your way down. It takes a little bit of work but isn’t too complicated. The rest of the removal/replacement process is simple if you follow the instructions in the manual.
Finally, an important disclaimer: If this is your first carseat, it may spoil you and make other future carseats seem difficult and annoying to use by comparison. Consider yourself warned! 😉
CarseatBlog Experts Rating
Editors’ Pick Midrange Category: KeyFit 30
Also Recommended: KeyFit 35
I bought a keyfit30 and it was opened yesterday at a shower.
Unfortunately, the manufacture date was 2 years old (2015)!!!!! I purchased this
last month. Beware!!!!
I have the KF30 for my 7 month old. I like the car seat but I have one issue with it. When my baby turned 5 months and his legs got long enough to reach the plastic strap adjuster, I noticed he was hurting the back of his little feet, (above his heel) every time he kicked. He actually made his little foot bleed once from kicking so much. Has anyone else had this issue? I had to put the headrest on the bottom to prevent his feet from touching the plastic adjuster. I don’t know if it’s necessarily safe but it stops him from hurting his feet. I would appreciate your input. Thanks.
My Son is 20 pounds, and I’m thinking in the next two months or so he will hit 30 inches long. If he meets the length at 30 inches but not the weight, am I suppose to change him out of his car seat?
I purchased this because it had great reviews everywhere saying it was very safe but when we were rear-ended this weekend her carseat popped out of the base…now I have no idea what to buy because I liked this one.
Some body know how much is the WEIGHT of the car seat and the base together???
/\ Carolina the seat with the base altogether is about 14 lbs. The seat weighs about 9.4 ish pounds. Overall this is one of the easiest seats out there to use. When i first saw this seat I was surprised at how one can basically just drop it into the base and it Clicks. I like the Peg Perego seats too since they’re made in europe. . . but if you’re set on a Chicco seat I would check out.
just out of curiosity what was it that got you focused on the Chicco car seat to begin with? it seems to be the most popular from most of the consumer reports blogs i’ve come across. best of luck!
To be honest I hate this car seat. I got it as a gift from my mil. It was great the first 3 weeks. Then it started becoming annoying. The canopy wont stay up and is so small. Its also hard to move when the handle is pushed back. The fabric is NOT breathable at all and my 3 month old drips in sweat and gets super mad and fussy. He hates it. I’ve stopped using the carrier in the travel system and just using the stroller. My boy is very tall so he isn’t so squished and doesn’t get nearly as sweaty. Yes, its easy to install and snap in and out of the stroller and base but I wouldn’t recommend it to someone else nor would I buy for another child. My son was 24 inches at 2 months so I highly doubt we would be able to use this seat even if we wanted to for up to 6 months. I wish I started with a convertible. I am purchasing one in 2 weeks and can’t wait to get rid of my keyfit. Oh, and I forgot to mention the straps twist and have to be fixed every time, the chest clip always falls, and the strap covers always rub my baby’s skin leaving it raw because of the material.
Agreed on the canopy not being large enough to keep the sunshine out. I’d pull it forward to cover her face, but then sun would come from the back onto the top of her head.
best feature of this carseat is it fits preemies without rolling up blankets etc to try to make it work… for any mom who has bought and returned multiple car seats looking for a good fit (you have to buy it drag it to nicu for the test then return and start over each time. If you are looking for a carseat for your preemie this is the one right here, I 100% recommend it
I recieved a KeyFit 30 from my brother, who recently retired two of them (twins!) for convertibles. In the hectic life of twins, I think they misplaced the newborn insert – or at least didn’t give it to me with the carseat. From your photos in the review, it doesn’t look like it ads a ton of extra support – do you think it’s completely necessary for a newborn to be safe in this seat? I have read that you can purchase a new insert from Chicco – but if I can only use if for a week or so (I’m expecting a big baby) I’m not sure it makes sense to. If you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them!
Hi, do you know if keyfit replacement cover fits on keyfit 30 models?
I have read in the past about chicco keyfits having some kind of “anti rebound” protection, but can not seem to find that info anywhere anymore…. When I install seat using the base i can not seem to “flip” it back towards the seat tho…. Do you have any input about the rebound of this seat? I know it is a secondary force therefore it is not that much of an issue to some, but when we use it in our dodge pickup in the back seat it is a concern for us. It would put our babies face at the glass of the back window. Also do you know what speed they do their crash test at? I think that it is the standard 30-35 mph (?) but just to check… We drive the highway around here at 65 mph. One more question (last one :)) We have the new majic keyfit, the manual says that ine infant insert can only be used for babies 11 pounds and under, but all the immages and some of the text reffers to the standard infant insert. The insert in the magic one is different shaped, do you know what the specs are on that if the company said they are changing the specs of using the infant insert? Thanks so much in advance! 🙂
CAM – Unfortunately you found out the hard way how awful British Airways is when it comes to flying with infants and toddlers. What they told you is not EU law, it is BA policy. You can read more about their ridiculous policies on flying with small children here: http://www.britishairways.com/travel/child/public/en_gb
Since there is no safe way to secure your KeyFit infant seats in the forward facing position and since BA does not allow rear-facing seats to be used on their flights (even though EVERY US Carrier would allow this) it seems that your only realistic option would be to request two of their infant seats (that they claim to offer) and hope they’re available. Or complain, demand a refund and travel home on a US carrier.
Hi Heather, We had the bulkhead so they gave us sky cots for while the seat belt signs were off. Apart from that we had to hold them.Fortunately our two year old was ok in her seat.
The flight was on BA to London so I guess they are regulated by the British or European rules rather than the FAA. I think the marketing of the seat should be more explicit if it is not universaly accepted. We have spent way more on the unused airline seats than the cost of the whole travel system.
@cam, you’re giving me palpitations! Jennie addressed this very issue in her blog: https://carseatblog.com/8037/guest-blog-flying-with-a-car-seat-know-your-rights. The KeyFit is an infant-only seat, which means it can ONLY rear-face. There’s no possible way to install it forward-facing, no matter what the flight attendants want you to do. On US airlines with flights originating in the US, you have the right to use the carseat as it is intended; in your case, that’s rear-facing only. I would like to say YAY for you for taking your seats on board with you! What did you end up doing with your twins on your flight there?
We have the keyfit30 for our seven month old twins. One of the reasons we chose it was that it was “approved for use on aircraft” however just prior to our take off, we were told that only forward facing seats could be used. Our return flight is next week. Is there a way to secure the seat forward facing?
We have this car seat and love it. However, I’d like to note that we were told NEVER to leave the handle up while driving. This info came from our local police department who inspected the car seat installation for us. They said that in the event of an accident, the car seat would be designed to rock a bit, toward the front of the car intially and then rebound toward the back of the car and seat back, and if the handle were up, there would be a sudden impact which would injure the child. It seems to me this could cause the type of whiplash that you want to avoid–the reason why babies can’t face forward in car seats.
That information is obsolite. A decade ago, many infant seats did not allow the handle to be upright. Today, most do allow it, but not all of them. The only way to be sure is to check the owner’s manual. The Chicco KeyFit is one that does allow the handle to be upright, according to the instructions. This blog might help! https://carseatblog.com/6156/infant-seat-handle-positions/
Hi. First time dad. 🙂
We are going to get the Chicco KeyFit 30. I know it comes with one base, but we need to get two extra bases (one for mom’s car, dad’s car and grandma’s car). Now I believe this is the right base:
My question is, once our baby outgrows the infant seat and we have to move to a convertible seat, are there any brands that will work with our existing bases (bases say they go up to 50lbs, yet Chicco does not make car seats that go up to that weight I believe).
Basically, will we have to purchase all new bases?
Thank you very much.
We, too, have a KF30. We have it installed in the middle of the backseat of my Chevy Malibu, a mid-sized car but not huge – and a ’98 model, so not new, either – and you can still fit two (under 200 lb.) adults in the back on either side. My daughter is nearly ten months old and almost 28″ tall. We’re in the market for a new carseat, but aside from the fact that she’s nearly hit the height limit, even at just over 20 lbs., she fills up the seat; there’s very little (if any) room on either side of her shoulders. I’m not sure how a thirty pound baby would ever fit in here, but we’ve loved it. We had to tighten the seatbelt several times to keep the base in place, but we’ve loved the carseat. Soon, on to bigger (not necessarily better) things!
Hi Kecia, I am contemplating using my keyfit30 for a trip to Hong Kong in December – do I need the base to install on the plane? my baby is a year old and not yet 30 lbs or 30″ tall, so hoping I can get away with travelling with this seat instead of a cumbersome Britax. can you let me know.
JAMIE – Congrats on expecting twins! Yes, both the KF22 and the KF30 models weigh the same and currently both models share the same base. The new “Chicco Cortina Together” double stroller accepts 2 KeyFits and is definitely worth consideration: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003ANXD9Y/?tag=carseatblog-20
However, the BabyTrend Snap ‘n Go double stroller frame is probably the most lightweight option that also accepts 2 KeyFits. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000LEI82W/?tag=carseatblog-20 Obviously, it’s useless once the babies outgrow their infant carseats but its weight and convenience factors can be priceless for that first year or so. Good luck!