Driving a car is always a bit risky, and there can never be too many precautions when it comes to getting involved in traffic. Safety is especially important for parents of young children, who want to be absolutely sure that their children are safe. One of the ways to ensure the safety of your child is getting a quality convertible car seat. Here are the top options available to you on the market.
How to Choose Car Seat for Baby
This decision generally depends on your individual preferences, such as whether you’ll be using the seat for rear-facing for extended periods of time. Apart from that, you need to mind your budget.
Here are the best convertible car seat brands on the market:
- Graco. Graco offers you both all-in-one options and convertible seats.
- Britax. Britax also offers convertible seats famous for their high quality.
- Chicco. Chicco products are famous for their outstanding features, such as thermally insulated cup holders.
- Evenflo. Evenflo also produces both all-in-one models and convertible seats.
- Diono. Diono products boast slim profiles and practical design.
Best Convertible Infant Car Seats
Without further ado, here are the models we consider to be the finest among the competition.
The overall best seat: Britax Marathon
What makes this seat a great investment is a number of effective safety features, as well as being easy to install. You can use it for extended rear-facing for children weighing up to 40 pounds. On the downside, it doesn’t include any cup holders.
The easiest seat to use: Chicco NextFit
Not only is this model easy to install, but it also offers a large number of recline options. It is easy to find the correct seat angle, and it fits without any effort. However, the sides of this seat are relatively high, which can make getting in and out difficult.
The most compact seat: Diono Radian RXT
This incredibly slim design provides the child with great protection on the sides. You can use it for children between 5 and 120 pounds. On top of that, you can normally fit up to three of these seats in a single row in most vehicles. The downside is that it is heavier than many similar models.
The best seat for facing the rear: Graco Extend2Fit
This seat is phenomenal for parents who need seats for extended rear-facing. It provides the child with plenty of legroom while facing the rear and also includes two cup holders. This model has an easily adjustable headrest and a harness. However, it is not the best choice for very small rear seat spaces.
The most economical seat: Evenflo Tribute
This extremely affordable seat is safety-tested and is very practical and compact in terms of size. It is a great option for families on the move. However, it has a 40-pound weight limit.
Best all-in-one option: Graco 4Ever
Four seats for the price of one is what you get with this model. These include a rear- and a forward-facing seat, as well as a booster with a harness and a backless booster seat. The Graco 4Ever also boasts a considerable weight limit. It can withstand weights ranging from 4 to 120 pounds. On the downside, the padding of this seat is nothing special, and the recline angle may not be appropriate for small newborn babies.
Quality for money: Clek Foonf
This model is significantly more expensive than the others on this list, but it comes with enough features to justify the cost. For example, this brand delivers the extra safety of rear-facing even while the child is facing forward. Apart from the safety features, there are many hidden benefits that come with this model. For instance, the upholstery is resistant towards stains and odor-creating bacteria.
The altogether safest seat: Britax Boulevard
Although manufacturers designed all these seats with safety in mind, the Britax Boulevard goes the extra mile to provide even more than they do. Its features include an impact-absorbing base, a steel frame that remains stable upon impact, as well as a double layer of protection from the impact on the sides. Due to having these features, it is large and difficult to transport.
Although those were our top choices, there are a few other models that deserve a mention. For example, the Graco Size4Me is an affordable and practical solution that allows rear-facing for up to 40 pounds and forward-facing for up to 65. Apart from that one, the Graco Milestone is an extremely popular and well-reviewed choice with which you can’t go wrong. It is very easy to adjust and set up, and the seat can face the front and the rear, as well as serve as a booster seat.
General Tips and FAQ
The best place in a car to install a car seat is the rear middle seat. Other than that, the seat should be in the rear, on the passenger side.
Convertible car seats can be used from birth, and you can change them over time to suit your child’s age. Most seats fit children weighing between 40 and 65 pounds, although some models can support up to 120 pounds.
There is a system called LATCH that stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children and is used for securing car seats to the vehicle frame.
Normally, you cannot use convertible car seats with strollers.
Types of Seats
There are three main types of convertible car seats:
- Seats for Toddlers and Infants. These seats allow rear-facing for an extended period of time and are equipped with safety harnesses that you can adjust. You can later turn them around so that they are facing forward. However, they are typically large and take up a lot of room in the car.
- Three-in-One Seats. Just like the infant seats, three-in-one seats are rather bulky and occupy a lot of space. However, they have more functions than a normal infant seat. For instance, they can normally be used for both rear-facing and forward-facing. They can also be used as a booster seat. Overall, you can save money by getting one of those instead of three separate seats.
- Forward-Facing Three-in-One Seats. What sets these seats apart from the previously mentioned ones is that they sit more upright than them and contain a five-point safety harness. They can’t be used for rear-facing, but they fit great in smaller cars.
Why Should I Use a Convertible Infant Car Seat?
A convertible car seat saves you money because you’re not buying several separate seats.
On top of that, they are extremely comfortable thanks to their padding.
Most importantly, however, they meet some rigorous safety standards, making your child exceptionally safe.
Accessories to Look For
While making this list of the best convertible car seats, we focused on our own personal experiences, as well as the numerous reviews of others out there. We mainly focused on safety features and the general level of quality.
However, there are also other things you should look out for when shopping for a seat. For instance, there is a number of additional accessories you can buy and use with your car seat. Here are some you should keep an eye out for:
- Waterproof liners can be inserted in the seat for easy cleaning in case your baby makes a mess.
- Replacement covers are generally something you should keep handy.
- A newborn car seat insert is included with some seats but has to be bought separately with others.
Safety Features to Consider
Although all manufacturers make seats with safety as a priority, it doesn’t hurt to go beyond the legal requirements. If you want an especially safe car seat model, choose one with high ratings in crash tests, impact protection on the sides, and energy-absorbing materials.
Convertible Car Seat Maintenance
Here are a few tips on how to care for your convertible car seat:
- Keep track of the dimensions of the seat and remember to adjust them to your child as they grow.
- Make sure your seat is properly set up by having a car seat inspection.
- Avoid leaving stains by taking off the cover and washing when possible.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you become more informed on the subject of convertible car seats and the leading models on the market. However, the final choice is up to you and depends solely on your personal preferences. Take your time when making that choice to ensure the safety of your child is at the highest possible level.
Don’t be afraid, though, since every model has to meet the minimum safety requirements prescribed by federal standards. With that in mind, opt for a balance between price, safety options, adjustability, as well as additional features. It shouldn’t be too hard to pick a seat that will keep you happy for a long time.