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Infant Car Seats 101: What Is a Load Leg?

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So, you’ve spent some time researching infant car seats and you’re more confused than ever.   

We totally get it! 

There’s an overwhelming number of car seats on the market — and an equally overwhelming amount of features to familiarize yourself with. On top of all that, you’ve probably noticed some seats include certain features while others don't! 

During your dive down the infant car seat rabbit hole, you likely have come across the term "load leg." But what exactly is a load leg? How does it work? Do you even need it?  

In this article, we’ll answer all your burning questions about this feature so you can make an informed decision for your family. Let's get started! 

What Is a Load Leg? 

A load leg is a feature found on some infant car seats. It's a telescopic leg that extends from the base of the car seat to the floor of the car. Imagine it as a sturdy stick that offers extra support, much like a tripod for a camera. It's designed to add stability and reduce movement in the event of a crash. 

What Is the Purpose/Benefit of a Load Leg? 

The primary purpose of a load leg is to enhance the safety of your baby's car seat. In a collision, it helps to absorb and distribute the forces away from your baby. This can significantly reduce the risk of injury, especially to the head and neck. Think of it as an extra layer of protection, cradling your little one in a cocoon of safety! 

Is a Load Leg Required for Installation? 

Not necessarily. While a load leg adds extra safety, it's not a mandatory feature for car seat installation. Car seats are designed to be safe even without a load leg. However, if your car seat comes with one, it's highly recommended to use it for that added peace of mind. 

Do Load Legs Keep Babies Safer? 

They sure do! Studies and crash tests have shown that car seats with load legs can significantly reduce the amount of force exerted on a baby during a collision. This means less chance of injury, making load legs a fantastic safety feature for your precious cargo. 

Please note: This doesn’t mean car seats without load legs aren’t safe — all car seats sold in Canada adhere to very strict guidelines.

How Important Is a Load Leg for Car Seats? 

While not a make-or-break feature, a load leg is a valuable addition. It's like having an extra airbag; you hope you'll never need it, but it's reassuring to know it's there. If you have the option, choosing a car seat with a load leg can enhance your baby's safety during travels.

Do All Car Seats Have a Load Leg? 

No, not all car seats come with a load leg. In fact, the majority of them don’t. In some instances, car seats like the Nuna PIPA and PIPA Lite have load legs in America, but Canadian regulations exclude them. 

Regardless, the load leg feature is more commonly found in premium car seat models. It's a relatively new innovation, so it's not standard across all car seats yet. If it’s a must-have feature for you, double-check the seat’s specifications to make sure a load leg is included. 

Can Load Legs Be Used in All Vehicles?  

Load legs are versatile, but they're not universally compatible with all vehicles. The primary reason is the difference in car floor designs. Some cars have under-floor storage or uneven surfaces that might not accommodate a load leg. For this reason, it’s important you check your vehicle's compatibility with the car seat manufacturer to ensure it can accommodate a load leg. 

What Is the Difference Between a Top Tether and a Load Leg? 

Top tethers and load legs are both excellent safety features, but they’re functionally different.  

A top tether is a strap that anchors the top of a forward-facing car seat to the vehicle, limiting the seat's forward movement in a crash. There are some car seats that also offer a top tether for rear-facing as well (ie. the Clek Foonf), but these are few and far between.  

A load leg, on the other hand, supports an infant car seat from the car seat base to the car's floor, reducing downward rotation and movement in accidents. Both are crucial in their own ways for securing car seats and enhancing child safety. 

Primo Viaggio 4-35 Nido Infant Seat



Cloud G Load Leg Infant Car Seat Base



Which Car Seats Have a Load Leg? 

So, which car seats have a load leg? Here at Snuggle Bugz, we carry some superb options from reputable brands!   

Viaggio 4-35 Lounge Infant Seat


Aton 2 SensorSafe Infant Car Seat



Aton 2 SensorSafe Infant Car Seat with XXL Sun Canopy

Sale Price: $423.99

Regular Price: $529.99

Save 20%


The Final Word 

While load legs are not standard in all infant car seats, they're a fantastic feature for those who prioritize extra safety measures. 
As always, the most important thing is to choose a car seat that fits your vehicle, meets safety standards, and is used correctly every time. Safe travels with your little one!