Although I bought the Britax Boulevard CS convertible car seat and it probably can be used in rear-facing position for infants, I heard that it is more convenient (and possibly safer) to use a dedicated infant car seat like Graco SnugRide. So before our son was born, I got a Graco SnugRide car seat with a base and a stroller (a combo also known as a travel system); Graco Alano Classic Connect Travel System
The use of the seat required reading the manual since I never used one and didn't know how to install the base in the car, adjust the level of the seat, adjust the straps or attach/remove the seat from the base.
The base can be installed either using LATCH or using the seat belt. I would have liked to be able to use the LATCH, but our 2007 Honda Accord only has LATCH in left/right positions of the back seat and not in the middle. Since middle is the safest part of the car, I resorted to installing the base in the middle using the seat belt.
Base installation was easy. Adjusting the seat recline was a bit cumbersome since you have to do it on the base and it requires that you remove the base and then put it back for each adjustment. Still, the indicator on the seat makes confirming the correct recline adjustment easy.
The seat itself can be used without the base, using the seat belt to attach it to the seat. This is something I have yet to try but I might have to do it some day since the base stays in my wife's Accord and my 2004 Infiniti G35 doesn't have the base installed, so I could attach the seat there with the seat belt.
Like the base, the seat itself is sturdy, well-made and features easily-cleaned materials. The latches and straps are very sturdy and the 5-point harness has a very strong buckle. The buckle requires a lot of force to latch and I tend to worry that I don't pinch my child while latching it so I usually place my hand between him and the latch while latching.
The seat is a bit on the heavy side. I realize that it needs to be strong to be safe and it does feel very rigid. But I wish it was lighter. I carried my son in it for extensive distances and it is a good workout since the seat is moderately heavy and carrying position is uncomfortable - your arm is pretty far away from your side.
Placing the seat into the base in the center of the back seat is challenging because it (plus the child in it) is heavy and you have to bend and tilt your torso to reach the base. I might move it to the right back seat position to avoid having to go through this exercise.
The seat fits well in the Graco stroller and it fits in the Graco swing as well. The canopy is sturdy and works well but tilting the seat's handle sometimes closes the canopy because there is little clearance between the two.
The seat is obviously supposed to be safe. It is used in the reversed position. The child is snug in it and the belts fit well. I find it that my son sleeps very well in this seat so it must be comfortable. He prefers sleeping there more than on a flat surface (e.g. his crib or out mattress).
Moreover, I feel that this seat is very safe in side impacts, as was demonstrated by Consumer Reports testing. They erroneously tested rear-facing infant car seats at over 70-mph side impact, thinking they were simulating 38 mph. Although the test results were withdrawn after NHTSA alerted them that their test was very severe, it wasn't before they faulted a bunch of seats completely, only recommending two seats, one of which was Graco Snugride.
Although lately Consumer Reports also gave this seat mediocre ratings in frontal crash test, some of the reasoning was based on the alleged difficulty installing the seat, which I find not to be the case at all. Furthermore, most car seats will be quite safe in a frontal collision, but a side impact is something I fear more, especially when the seat has to be installed in a left or right position of the rear seat of the car. And in side impact, this seat excels.
The seat can be used with infants of 5-22 lbs or up to 29 inches. The base can be mounted using LATCH or seat belt and the seat itself can be attached to the vehicle using the seat belt.
At below $150, the seat is not cheap, but it works well and is safe and sturdy.
Pros: Comfortable, easy to use, sturdy, supports LATCH and seat belt installation, can be used without base, safe in all collisions including side collisions
Cons: Not cheap, could be lighter
This Graco seat is comfortable, sturdy, safe and not unattractive. I wish it was lighter, but that would probably mean using more expensive materials/technology (I am sure it can be made of super-light carbon-fiber at an astronomical cost). I am glad I bought it and highly recommend it. Graco Alano Classic Connect Travel System