Every car seat goes through the same crash and safety testing as regulated by the federal government and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, in recent years, car seat manufacturers have gone above and beyond to provide additional advanced safety features for their customers. One such advanced feature is a “load leg,” which provides many additional crash protection and safety benefits.
The load leg braces the car seat against the vehicle floor and prevents the seat from vaulting forward toward the front of the car in a crash. In doing this, the load leg absorbs a lot of the crash forces. So the rebound — or secondary movement after the collision — is also less severe with this advanced technology. This is a really great feature because the less movement a child’s body experiences in a car crash, the better!
Load legs aren’t always available or usable. A few vehicles, particularly those with hollow floors due to stow-and-go seating, prohibit the use of load legs, so check your vehicle manual! And not all brands currently offer car seats with the load leg feature. So we decided to share a round-up of our favorite car seats that have them! Many of these seats have additional advanced safety tech and convenience features. Which makes them great choices for your next car seat purchase. Here are 5 brands that have car seats with a load leg:
5 Brands With load leg For Car Seat
The Evenflo LiteMax DLX Infant Car Seat is the first seat on our list that features a load leg. There is one version we love that has cooling mesh fabric, called FreeFlow Fabric, that keeps your rear-facing child cool and dry. If your baby runs hot or you live in an extra warm climate, this feature can be really beneficial. And it’s a really great fit for teeny tiny newborns!
The car seat is also easy to tow around since the carrier is only 8 lbs. And fits in several Evenflo strollers. The padding is machine washable and features no-rethread straps. This makes it easy to adjust the car seat as the baby grows. Just be aware that this seat has a very large front-to-back footprint. So it may not be the best fit for small vehicles or tall front-seat passengers.
The best thing about this car seat is the price: it’s the only seat on this list below $200! We love that Evenflo has done such a great job bringing the amazing technology of a load leg down to a price point that’s more accessible for so many families.
See our full review here.
The brand Clek is the one that you go to when looking for a premium car seat. Of course, every car seat must pass the same crash tests. But there are other luxuries some parents look for, like Clek’s non-toxic fabric choices. All Clek fabric options are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants. And the Merino wool + TENCEL blend textile has no flame retardants. This makes it an excellent choice for parents who want to prioritize this feature!
This infant seat has a load leg, of course. But another safety feature we appreciate is the Rigid Latch installation option. A Rigid Latch means that the lower anchor connectors extend from the base on adjustable steel bars, rather than a flexible seatbelt-like strap. This makes for an extra-secure and very easy installation! A Rigid Latch can also act as an energy absorber during a crash, limiting the side-to-side rotation of the car seat. In addition to the load leg, it’s one of our favorite features to see on a car seat!
More features we love:
In addition to these safety and ease-of-use features, we love that the Liing provides an excellent fit on smaller newborns, all the way down to its 4-pound minimum. The Liing is one of the only car seats that lets you adjust the recline after installing the base — unlike most seats that must be uninstalled, adjusted, and reinstalled to achieve that perfect recline — and it’s also very compact front to back. If you’re in a 3-across situation, the Clek Liing infant car seat is a great pick, because it’s only 16.9 inches wide! And, if you’re wondering about a stroller system, Clek doesn’t have its own collection. But the Clek Liing fits in plenty of strollers from other brands. All of these features make a top-quality infant car seat at just over $450.
See our full review of the Clek Liing here.
Install Clek Liing YouTube Video here.
Watch the Nuna Pipa RX vs Clek Liing video here.
The Graco Premier SnugRide SnugFit 35 XT has both a load leg and an anti-rebound bar for advanced safety protection. Another feature of this Graco model we love is the harness strap pockets that give you a place to tuck those straps while you lay baby in, making fastening them into the seat much easier. Our team also looooves the secret zipper pocket hidden away in the cover of this car seat. It’s perfect for tucking car keys and a credit card so you can be hands-free on the go!
The Snuglock installation technology makes this car seat base very easy to install with either a seatbelt or lower anchors (but not both!). It’s also a decent choice for parents expecting a smaller baby or shopping for a preemie, thanks to the supportive infant insert that helps ensure a proper fit. The carrier is on the heavier side. But you can pair this seat with a variety of current Graco strollers. Including options from some premium stroller brands, with the proper adapters. We also like the “silent shade” feature, which lets parents smoothly and quietly adjust the canopy! The price of this seat is around $350.
Read the Graco SnugRide 35 DLX w/load leg Car Seat Review here.
The Nuna PIPA RX infant car seat is definitely light at about 8lbs. But that’s not its only attractive feature. It has a load leg, multiple recline options — which can be adjusted without uninstalling the car seat, similar to the Clek Liing — and an anti-rebound panel. This seat features a supportive infant insert that helps it fit small babies well. Other features include a mesh “sky drape” canopy that comes all the way down and attaches with magnets. The harness straps also have magnetic holders to make buckling easier!
All color options of the Nuna PIPA RX meet federal safety standards without using added flame retardants. In fact, this seat is Greenguard Gold certified organic. And we should mention that premium fabric and foam padding is machine washable. This car seat works with all Nuna strollers and several other stroller brands with the proper adapters. And you can even get a rain cover and transport bag for your seat for additional convenience. This car seat comes in at about $400.
The Cybex Sirona S car seat is truly a unique one on this list and on the market in general: it’s a convertible car seat with a load leg. And it rotates! This car seat certainly made headlines when it was released as the first swivel seat on the US market. And while many other brands now offer convertible car seats with a swivel feature, the Sirona S stands alone as the only convertible car seat in the US with a load leg.
The Sirona S has a 50lb rear-facing limit. Though nearly all children will outgrow this seat rear-facing by height or head clearance (1-inch rule) long before they reach that 50lb limit. It’s also a bit notorious for its difficult installation in many vehicles. However, between the load leg, the rear and forward-facing swivel feature, and the unique ability to adjust the recline without uninstalling the car seat — many parents can work with the challenges that this seat can bring.
Another unique safety feature of Cybex car seats is the SensorSafe system that alerts your phone if your child unbuckles the chest clip, is left alone in the vehicle, or if the temperature around your child is too high. (For more on car seat unbuckling, read this post.)
The Cybex Sirona S retails for about $550.
BONUS: Convertible Car Seats with a rear-facing tether
While the Cybex Sirona S is the only US convertible car seat with a load leg, there are a few convertible car seats with a rear-facing tether feature that serves a similar energy management purpose during a crash. This “Australian” top tether feature (named because it’s seen on Australian rear-facing car seats) allows the top tether strap of a convertible car seat to be routed around the back and side of the car seat shell in a rear-facing installation, then hooked to that vehicle seat’s top tether anchor. Like a load leg, this style of rear-facing tether feature adds a connection point to the vehicle and limits how much the car seat shell can rotate towards the front of the vehicle during a crash. While this feature looks very different from a load leg, it functionally provides a similar safety benefit!
Clek Foonf and Clek Fllo
Clek is known for its commitment to advanced energy management features in its seats. And they live up to this reputation by offering their Q-tether accessory for their convertible car seat lineup! The Q-tether assembly hooks onto the vehicle seat’s top tether anchor. Then wraps around the back of the rear-facing car seat and is secured through the forward-facing lock-offs. While it does route around both sides of the car seat, it’s easy to loosen the tether strap on the loading side of the car seat to remove your child. Then quickly tighten it back up after loading and buckling your kiddo so that it’s not in the way.
The Q-tether must be purchased separately for about $20. But don’t worry, it’s not an unsafe, unregulated accessory like most extra accessories for car seats that you might see out there. It’s specifically designed, tested, and approved for use with Clek’s convertible car seats! And while the Foonf and Fllo are both extremely safe without this added feature, we love that Clek offers this option as an above-and-beyond energy management measure for their convertible car seats.
Clek Foonf review: read here.
How to install Clek Foonf rear-facing: YouTube Video
How to install Clek Foonf forward-facing: YouTube Video
The UPPAbaby Knox convertible car seat is the only US car seat that offers an Australian-style rear-facing top tether option built in! Unlike the Clek Q-tether, the Knox doesn’t require an extra accessory purchase to take advantage of this cool feature, which Uppababy calls the Multi-directional Top Tether. Instead, the normal top tether on the Knox — the same one that’s critical for forward-facing installs — can be routed along one side of the car seat shell and hooked to a top tether anchor. Since the Knox’s top tether is a single strap, there’s no need to adjust when loading or unloading the child. When installing, simply route the tether strap along the opposite side of the car seat from the vehicle door!
The Knox can be a challenging seat to install, and it sits very upright in rear-facing mode. While most rear-facing toddlers and preschoolers appreciate the ability to sit up straight, and parents appreciate the very compact rear-facing footprint that the upright position creates; this configuration can limit the amount of physical space between the car seat shell and the back of the vehicle seat when loading the child. This seat also isn’t designed for newborn use, with a 14lb minimum. But it can be a great option to upgrade from the infant car seat when parents want to take advantage of the multi-directional top tether feature.
A load leg is an advanced safety feature that’s available in several car seat models.
All car seats must pass the same crash testing. But that doesn’t mean car seat manufacturers can’t do even more to keep their little customers safe. Load legs, anti-rebound bars, and L.S.Ps are all fantastic safety features that prevent movement in a crash. Which reduces your child’s risk of head injury, broken bones, and worse in the event of a collision.
We hope this list helps you find the seat you’re looking for. But if not, check out our car seat review page and car seat shopping guides for more Safe in the Seat car seat recommendations. We also have car seat buying kits that help you narrow down your search and find the perfect seat for your family.
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