A Carseat Nerd's Blog

A Carseat Nerd's Adventures in Carseats

Chicco Keyfit 30 Overview January 27, 2013

Filed under: Seat Reviews — carseatnerd @ 9:20 pm
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Chicco Keyfit 30 installed in a (very messy) 2003 Honda Pilot

Chicco Keyfit 30 installed in a (very messy) 2003 Honda Pilot

As a CPST, I’m not supposed to have favorite seats. The best seats are the seats that fit your child, your vehicle and your budget and that you can use correctly every single time. The reason I admit to liking the Chicco Keyfit is because I can usually be pretty confident that the only part of that equation that may not work for every family is the budget part. I can be pretty safe in an assumption that the Keyfit will fit most newborns well.  I can be pretty safe assuming that it will fit in the majority of vehicles I will be in. And this has got to be one of the *most* user friendly infant seats I have ever touched. It retails for about $190 for the Key Fit 30, about $160 for the Key Fit 22, and $85 for an extra base.
Chicco produces two models- the Keyfit 22 and the Keyfit 30.  The 22 lb model is rated for babies from 4 to 22 lbs, and is compatible with Chicco Cortina, Cortina Together, Trevi and S3 strollers.  The 30 lb model is rated for babies from 4 to 30 lbs, and is compatible with the same four strollers. Other stroller manufacturers may have adapter kits to make their stroller compatible with both seats.

I have a Keyfit 30 to play with, so my measurements may be different than the 22 lb  model.

Preemie sized doll in a Keyfit30 with infant insert


Infant insert reduces lowest harness height to 6″.

First, the Keyfit’s newborn fit. My doll is somewhere between a preemie and a newborn size. The Keyfit comes with an infant insert, which places the baby in a better position to reduce reflux and provide better support for the spine.  The insert must be removed when the baby reaches 11 lbs. The insert reduces the height of the lowest harness position to 6″ and the crotch buckle depth to a tiny 3″.  My doll’s shoulders were almost level with the lowest harness position.


Infant Insert makes the crotch buckle depth 3″.


Closer view of the lowest harness height.


Doll’s shoulders are almost even with the lowest harness position.

Without the insert, the crotch buckle depth is about 4.75″.


Crotch depth without the infant insert is about 4.75″.

Baby gets about 13.5″ inches of legroom when the seat is installed in my Pilot. Your vehicle’s seat back contours may have different results.


Pilot seat back offers about 13.5″ of legroom with the Keyfit 30.

This picture isn’t particularly clear, but overall shell height is about 19.5″ inches, which means that a baby may have a seated torso height of about 18.5″ before they outgrow this seat.


Overall shell height is about 19.5″.

Without the infant insert, the harness positions are at roughly 7″, 9.5″, and 11.5″.


Harness position heights without the infant insert.

The only “complaint” I’ve had or received about this seat is that the canopy is fairly short, at 15″. Some of the newer models have longer canopies that will shield babies from the elements better.


Barely functional canopy measures only 15″.


Canopy doesn’t offer much protection from the elements.

The seat base is very lightweight and narrow. It fits three across pretty easily in many vehicles.


The level indicators are built in to the base. This is great for installations using the base. On other models, one must install the base, click the seat in to check the level, then removes the seat from the base to make adjustments and replace the seat to check. With the Key Fit, you can make the adjustments even if you left the seat in the house!


Built-in level indicators!

A brief installation process offers easy installs whether you’re installing with the LATCH connectors or the vehicle belt. To demonstrate how easy this seat is, I took pictures of the entire process using both installation methods. Keep in mind that you must choose one method or the other. Never install with the lower anchors and the vehicle belt.

First, LATCH. I’ve only captioned the photos instead of typing everything twice. I did not photograph the actual connecting of the LATCH connectors to the lower anchor bars in my seat. I have simplified things a bit, in that I don’t describe checking or adjusting the seat/base angle.


Step 1: Connect both LATCH anchor connectors to your vehicle’s lower anchors, which are typically located in your vehicle’s seat bight, or crack. Sometimes, they may be hidden behind a fabric flap or a plastic cap. Sometimes, they may be above the seat bight a few inches.


Step 2: Pull the center strap. This strap tightens both LATCH straps simultaneously.


Step 3: Roll up the excess center strap length and stuff it in the storage cavity. Check for less than 1″ of movement in any direction, by grasping the base at the belt path with your non-dominant hand and giving it a firm but polite handshake. The belt path is where the vehicle belt or LATCH straps go through the seat. In this base, you can grasp the pieces that look like handles on the sides.

And the almost as easy and straight forward vehicle belt installation.


Step 1: Thread the vehicle belt through the belt path and buckle. Pull the shoulder portion of the belt to snug the lap portion. I had a very hard time getting a decent photo while also installing the seat, but if you grasp the shoulder portion close to the buckle and PULL STRAIGHT UP, you get better leverage than if you pull across the seat where my hand is in the photo. My hand is here to show the two portions of the belt webbing.
Step 2: Guide the excess webbing across the seat, maintaining a snug lap/ lower portion.


Step 3: Guide the shoulder portion of the webbing into the opposite built in lock-off on the base. These are orange tabs on the bottom of the “handles” on the sides. Do not try to use the lock-off on the seat belt buckle side of the base. Slide the webbing as far into the slot as you can without damaging either the webbing or the base.


It should now look like this. You’re done!


Side view of the belt sections going through their respective spots.Remember to check for side to side and front to back movement by using the method described in the LATCH installation above.

See? You can’t get much easier and straightforward, can you? If I were in the market for an infant seat, I would definitely strongly consider a Key fit!


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