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I have a Peg-Perego 30/30 it is not a travel system and set us back about $300. This car seat has one of the highest safety ratings on the market... It comes equip with the "LATCH" system (So nice when it comes to install and switching the base from one car to another). Even the lady who did the first install and inspection at the hospital said it was the easiest/ nicest car seat she has ever installed. You can also install the base the traditional way with seat belts. Another awesome feature of the car seat is you can actually use the car seat without installing the base. there are seat belt groves on the seat. it has an emergency release so that you can get the baby out of the seat fast if needed and several different adjustment levels for the shoulder straps. the best part is you don't have to "re-strap" the carseat to change the shoulder strap height. There is a lever in the back that simply slides the straps to the desired level. There are impact head supports that are also adjustable. The car seat comes with a canopy that is removable.. all of the padded fabric is removable as well. The interior of the carseat is leather.. Sounds extravagant, but really a wise choice because it's so easy to clean when they spill/ spit up/ diaper explosion) just simply remove the padding and toss in the washer and wipe the leather down.... The car seat is compatible with all Peg strollers, but I didn't buy the stroller because honestly by the time i was ready to use one with my daughter she no longer needed to be in the car seat while using the stroller, and it too was about $300... Instead I decided to invest in the Instep Grand Safari (Yellow) jogging stroller. I'm still waiting on it's arrival, but i'll be sure to post my thoughts on it for anyone who would be interested in the same one. I would recommend not going with a travel system because most of the strollers that come with them are cheap... I came to this conclusion when researching and hunting for a decent stroller. Anyway this is the one we have and we love it... The only negatives are that you can not remove the impact head supports as they are permanent fixtures of the car seat (You can remove the cover to wash though). And that there are some reports that babies tend to sweat in it a lot. When you see it you'll see why (It's decked out with padding). By daughter does get warm in it, but not sweaty. She regularly falls asleep while in it. I also have issues finding shopping carts that the latches on the car seat will hook to. It's hit and miss so sometimes she has to ride in the bucket. overall we love it though and would buy it again and again.
I have a lot of friends who love Graco car seats and I've ended up using Graco as well. I'd say, more than brand, is to go to the store and play with the car seats. Do they buckle easily? Securely? Are they light when you pick them up? Does the handle easily fold down for you? Check out the online reviews for it as well to make sure there are no major recalls but I tended to go based on my comfort level with a car seat. After the infant car seat, we went with a forward facing seat that can also eventually be used for my son's booster seat needs. Good luck!
There are so many great car seats out there. I have had Graco and loved them and now I have Britax and love them. Consider checking with consumer reports so you can choose one with a good overall safety record. Good luck!
I was looking pretty hard myself. After reading the consumer reports and the little info the crash test reports give, I narrowed it down between the Evenflo Triumph 65 and the Britax Marathon 70. They both have a high safety rating and the Evenflo is tested at twice the limit of the standard crash test. I ordered the Evenflo which came to 150$ cheaper and so far have no problems. It is a convertible car seat, highest rear seating along w/ the Britax at 40lbs which is the safest for your child. Hope this helps.