An infant car seat insert provides additional head and body support for babies while they are riding the car seat. Infants and young children, after all, lack the neck muscles needed to hold up their disproportionately large heads. At the same time, they are often too small and may not fit securely into the car seat. An insert – also called head and body support – can address these issues, helping keep your child safe and snug at all times.

Most infant car seats, fortunately, already include an insert. If not, you might need to buy it separately – preferably from the same brand. While you can also get it from other manufacturers, be aware that doing so comes with a few caveats. At any rate, before buying anything, make sure that you have done your homework and you know what to look for.

With that said, here are some of the best infant car seat inserts in the market today.

The Best Infant Car Seat Inserts

Before getting started, there is one thing you should know. The best infant insert is still the one that comes with your child’s car safety seat. Meanwhile, the second-best option is an insert from the same brand as the car seat.

The thing is, the above options are not always possible. For some reason or another, you might have to buy an infant insert from another manufacturer. If so, make sure to research thoroughly beforehand. Check the customer reviews to see other parents’ experiences with it, especially when used on branded car seats. More importantly, assess your baby’s specific needs and ensure that the insert is compatible with your car seat before buying.

1. Noggin Nest Head Support by Boppy

The Boppy Noggin Nest Head Support is ideal for newborns and babies up to four months old. It boasts a patented cut-out design to elevate and cradle your precious one’s head while helping relieve pressure. Even better, it is extremely versatile and suits both three- and five-point harness systems. Beyond a car seat, it can also be used on strollers, bouncers, and swings.

2. 3-Piece Head Support and Strap Covers Set for Car Seats by Travel Bug

The Travel Bug Head Support and Straps Covers Set is an instant winner with its adorable animal-inspired designs. It features plush padding and ultra-soft fabrics for maximum comfort and uses plastic snaps to hold the cushion in place. To sweeten the deal, it is multi-functional and fits most car seats. Specifically, it is compatible with both three- and five-point harness systems and includes reinforced opening to accommodate seatbelts.

3. 2-in-1 Head Support by Diono

The Diono Head Support features a unique nested design to shelter your little one’s fragile head, shoulders, and torso. The velvet-touch fabric provides ultimate comfort whether your baby is in the car seat, carrier, or stroller. This insert also grows with your child and can safely hold up to fifteen pounds. You can even remove the inner cushion to control the amount of support your child gets.

4. Upgraded 3-in-1 Baby Head Neck Body Support Pillow by COOLBEBE

The COOLBEBE Body Support Pillow is perfect if you want a durable infant insert that can be used on all seasons. Featuring ultra-soft, hypoallergenic velour fabric, it delivers all-around comfort and support for newborns and larger babies alike. It also employs a smart nested design for superior coziness and mesh liner for enhanced breathability. You can remove the pillow’s inner section during autumn or spring – or keep it attached during the colder months for added warmth.

5. Summer Snuzzler Infant Support for Car Seats and Strollers by Summer Infant

The Summer Infant Car Seat Insert promises a snug fit for all babies – including newborns and preemies. It holds up and reinforces their frail heads while seated in car seats, strollers, bouncer seats, and infant swings, helping avoid injuries. Another standout feature is the customizability. You can, for instance, detach and reposition the head support to properly accommodate your baby’s growing body. Furthermore, it is reversible and features two sides – soft terry cloth and smooth woven fabric – to suit different needs and preferences.
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6. Reducer Cushion Infant Head and Body Support by JANABEBE

The JANABEBE Infant Head and Body Support offers a universal fit for most car seats, strollers, and carrycots. Plush and feather-soft, this insert is made of natural cotton, filled with wadding, and outfitted with breathable outer material. On top of that, it is hypoallergenic, making it suitable even for babies with extremely sensitive skin. It also features a seat cushion to prop up your child’s back, ensuring that it stays at the right posture while on the go.

7. Head and Body Support Pillow by Britax

The Britax Car Seat Infant Insert is designed and crash tested to fit all car seats and stroller harness systems from the brand. It guarantees optimum head and body support for your child and uses soft fabric for unmatched comfort. Even better, it features a reversible design – plush fleece on one side, and dry wicking fabric on the other, helping keep your child cool, dry, and fresh. The head support is also adjustable and detachable to address your child’s growing body and ever-changing needs.

Infant Car Seat Inserts FAQs

Do You Need an Infant Car Seat Insert?

An infant insert is recommended if your baby is still too small to fit in the car seat’s harness. It acts as extra padding, allowing your child to be properly and securely strapped in the seat. On top of that, it prevents your child from wiggling too much and ending up in an unsafe position.

Additionally, an infant insert is also a must-have if your baby’s head tends to bob forward while riding the car seat. Aside from restricting the airways, it could also lead to neck injuries and brain damage. Remember, during this time, they have little control over their movements and need all the support they could get. The insert, in this case, props up your baby’s head and keeps it upright at all times.

Are Infant Car Seat Inserts Safe?

It is important to note that while car seats are tested for safety, inserts and other head accessories usually are not. In other words, they are not regulated by the federal government. Also, it is generally ill-advised to use add-ons – such as inserts – that do not come with the infant car seat. An unsuitable product, for example, could affect the seat’s safety in the event of a crash, potentially resulting in serious injuries instead of protecting your baby. Aftermarket inserts can also void the seat’s warranty. Make sure to weigh in these concerns before getting a support pillow from another brand.

Do not forget the importance of properly installing the car seat as well. Even if you are using head support, for instance, your baby’s head might still flop forward if the seat has not been set at an appropriate recline. So, before you fuss over which insert to buy, make sure that the car seat installation is faultless. Otherwise, you will just be wasting time and effort. If you are worried, never hesitate to reach out to a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

When Should You Remove the Infant Insert from the Car Seat?

Infant inserts are usually taken out once your baby has reached five or six months old. During this time, they will be able to fit snugly in the car seat even without the added cushion. Still, make sure to check the car seat manual. You do not want to take out the insert too soon and deprive them of the support they need. The manual should indicate when to remove it based on your little one’s age or size – and include detailed guidelines on how to do it properly.

If the seat manual does not specify when to remove the insert, you would have to rely on visual cues. You might notice that your baby already looks a bit uncomfortable with the head and body support on. For instance, they might start crying more frequently – a clear sign that they are unhappy or ill at ease. Furthermore, the harness might also start to feel tighter or harder to secure.

In any case, do not stress yourself over it too much. You should be able to tell when your baby is ready to part with the infant insert.

Infant Car Seat Inserts for Superior Support and Comfort

In some cases, a car seat may not be enough to keep your child safe while inside a vehicle. For example, your baby might tend to slump forward or you might struggle to keep them secure in the seat. If left unaddressed, you might compromise your little one’s delicate body and still-developing spine. Luckily, the fix is simple – obtaining a high-quality infant insert that fits your car and caters to your baby’s specific needs. Ideally, you should get one from the same brand as the infant car seat, but there are also reliable products from other brands.