- What is a convertible car seat?
- How to choose a convertible car seat?
- 15 best convertible car seats
- Tips for convertible car seat usage
Whether it is a visit to the park, the grandparents’ house or the pediatrician, your baby is likely to travel by car sooner or later. A car seat is an essential baby accessory that you need in such cases since the car’s inbuilt seat belt is not sufficient to support their little frames.
One of the many options that parents stumble upon when browsing car seats is the convertible car seat, which is extremely useful to keep the child safe.
What Is A Convertible Car Seat?
A convertible car seat is a two-in-one car seat for infants and toddlers. It works as a rear-facing car seat for an infant as well as a forward-facing car seat for a toddler (1). The most significant advantage of such seat is that you do not have to buy a new car seat once your baby outgrows the rear-facing seat.
Some car seats work as a rear-facing seat, forward-facing seat, and a booster seat for older children. A booster seat helps improve the height of the seated toddler on a car seat thus making it easier for them to wear the seat belt.
[ Read: Checklist For Travelling With A Baby ]
How To Choose A Convertible Car Seat?
Here’s what you must remember when shopping for a convertible car seat:
- The baby’s age and weight: Each convertible car seat is unique and made for babies of a specific age and capacity. Babies aged under two should only sit in rear-facing seats, while older toddlers can sit in a forward-facing seat (2). The age limit to sit in a forward-facing car seat is about eight years, but can depend on the manufacturer’s weight limitation set on the seat. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and choose a seat that best works for you and your baby.
- Check compatibility with your vehicle: Some convertible car seats may work with specific models of cars or are designed to work only with sedans. Find out if the car seat attaches easily to your car’s seat and does not warrant any additional modifications to your vehicle.
- Adjustable harness strap and clip: Experts state that a convertible car seat should have both a harness strap and clip (3). A clip helps hook the straps together for a snug fit. The belt should be adjustable so that it is not too tight for the little one when he or she transforms into a toddler.
- Check if the baby fits securely: Have a trial run right at the shopping center. Not all babies of the same age and weight will have the same body structure. Your baby could sit comfortably in one brand but struggle to fit in another.
- Check for any recalls on the seat: The manufacturer could have recalled some car seats or a government regulatory agency could have flagged some due to faulty design or failure to adherence to standards. Make a background check on the car seat and avoid if it falls under a banned or a recalled category.
Now that you know how to pick a convertible car seat for your baby, keep reading for a list of the best convertible car seats for babies and toddlers.
Top 15 Convertible Car Seats
1. Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
- Can be used as a rear-facing seat, forward-facing seat, booster seat, and seat base for older children.
- Can be used for up to ten years of the child’s life and suitable for kids weighing between four and 120lb.
- The forward-facing seat can support weight up to 65lb (30kg), and rear-facing seat can support a baby with a maximum weight of 40lb (18.1kg).
- The seat is tested for crash safety. Meets the US standards for car seat safety and also meets the safety standards set by the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).
- Made from non-toxic materials.
- An easy clip that attaches with a single click. The “click” sound reassures that the harness is secured correctly.
- Comes with six recline options and ten headrest positions.
[ Read: Best Strollers For Babies ]
2. Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
- The seat uses the patented ClickTight technology to buckle the seat securely, with just a push of the button.
- The harness can be adjusted to 14 positions to best suit your baby and toddler.
- The seat contains an internal steel frame, an impact absorbent base, and special side pads for side impact protection.
- Maximum weight for the forward-facing position is 65lb (30kg), and rear-facing position is 40lb (18.1kg).
- Approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
3. Evenflo Tribute Sport Convertible Car Seat
- A convertible car seat with a five-point harness that provides a snug fit and also ensures safety.
- Two crotch belt positions allow for a comfortable fit as the child grows from a baby to a toddler.
- Tested for impact during a crash, meets all federal safety standards.
- Easy reclining ability allows for an ideal rear-facing seat usage.
- The seat supports a maximum weight of 40lb (18.1kg) in both forward and rear-facing positions.
4. Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat
- Features nine reclining positions that you can pick from to fit in a variety of vehicles and keep the child comfortable.
- A bubble level indicator helps parents determine the correct angle of the seat position.
- A secure latch that quickly switches from rear-facing to forward-facing position.
- A six-position headrest that is adjustable, wide and comfortable. Also, comes with a chest strap, which can be adjusted to two positions.
- The infant insert for younger babies is removable so that older toddlers can sit comfortably in the seat.
- Supports a weight up to 65lb (30kg) in the forward-facing position and 40lb (18.1kg) in the rear-facing position.
5. Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat
- The rear-facing mode can support up to 40lb (18.1kg), and forward-facing position can support a maximum weight of 70lb (31.75kg).
- Advanced safety and cushioned headrest provide essential protection against side impact.
- The seat pad and harness are entirely removable and machine washable.
- The entire seat is well-padded to make even the longest rides comfortable for the baby. The armrest features an integrated cup holder.
- The inner infant seat insert is removable so that an older toddler can sit comfortably.
[ Read: Newborn Baby Needs Checklist ]
6. Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat
- The seat has a maximum weight limit of 40lb (18.1kg) for both rear-facing and forward-facing position.
- The seat features a five-point harness with an easy adjustment feature so that babies and toddler of all sizes can fit into it comfortably.
- The harness is adjustable to five height positions, and the central buckle can clip at three places.
- Comes with an integrated cup holder.
- The seat pad is machine washable and dryer safe.
- It meets the US federal safety standards for car seat safety. The seat weighs only 10.4lb (4.7kg), which makes it one of the best lightweight convertible car seats available.
7. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
- It can be used as a rear-facing seat, forward-facing seat, and a booster seat for older children.
- The rear-facing seat supports a maximum weight of 40lb (18.1kg), forward-facing has a limit of 65lb (30kg), and booster seat has a limit of 100lb (45.3kg).
- Features two removable cup holders, one on each arm of the seat.
- The seat pads are removable and washable. They are washing machine-friendly and also dryer safe.
- The harness straps stay attached to the front side of the seat, which makes them easy to access and strap.
8. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible Seat
- The convertible car seat can be adjusted at four places: the headrest, the upper backrest, the side wings, and the seat itself.
- The side impact protection adjusts to ten positions and offers protection to the child’s spine, neck, and head.
- The set features a steel back plate attached to the base with steel pins. These reinforce the structure of the car seat, which help reduce the stress on the child in case of an impact.
- The headrest cushion absorbs moisture. It is also removable and washable.
- The seat is cushioned from inside with energy absorbing foam that absorbs shock during an impact.
- Folds completely for easy carrying and storage.
9. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
- Comes with multiple shoulder-harness points for a comfortable and convenient fit for the baby. Also features two crotch-buckle adjustment points.
- Tested for impact from the front, back and sides; Meets the US federal safety standards.
- Contains an integrated body cushion for maximum comfort for the baby and convenience to the parents.
- Removable head pillow makes long car journeys comfortable for the baby.
- Supports a maximum weight of 40lb (18.1kg) in forward-facing option and up to 30lb (13.6kg) in the rear-facing option.
10. Diono Radian RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat
- You can use it as a rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seat for the child.
- Features a five-point harness that allows for a comfortable fit for babies and toddlers of all sizes.
- Compact size allows the seat to fit in the middle seat of the back row of most vehicles.
- Has a maximum weight bearing ability of 45lb (20.4kg) for the rear-facing feature, 65lb (30kg) for the forward-facing option, and 120lb (54.5kg) for the booster seat mode.
- Folds flat for easy carrying and storage. The manufacturer sells a travel bag separately, for carrying around the car seat with ease.
[ Read: Baskets For Babies ]
11. Evenflo Symphony DLX All-In-One Convertible Car Seat
- Special latch connectors allow you to fix the seat quickly, in just a minute.
- The design features three-layer protection to ensure that the baby is completely shielded during any impact.
- The three-in-one seat can be used for newborns up to children aged eight years. Maximum weight is 40lb (18.1kg) for the rear-facing option, 65lb (30kg) for the forward-facing option, and 110lb (50kg) for the
- booster seat.
- The pads are removable and machine-washable.
- The five-point harness slides to multiple positions, allowing you to fit it snugly to a baby, toddler or an older kid.
12. Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Seat
- A convertible car seat with a maximum weight bearing capacity of 40lb (18.1kg) for rear-facing mode and 50lb (22.67kg) for the forward-facing option.
- Removable, machine-washable seat pad. Also includes two integrated cup holders.
- The front harness has an easy-to-use buckle and is adjustable in five ways.
- The three buckle locations on the front harness make it easy to adjust the strap as per the baby’s height.
- Provides side-impact protection.
- Makes an excellent travel seat for airplane travel with a baby or toddler.
13. Britax Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
- The harness can be adjusted for 14 positions for the perfect fit for the baby or child. A harness indicator lets parents know if the seat is safely and snugly fit.
- It has an internal steel frame with a special impact-absorbent base. Three-layer padding ensures maximum impact protection.
- Supports a maximum weight of 40lb (18.1kg) for rear-facing mode and 65lb (30kg) for the forward-facing mode.
- The head pillow/pad is removable to make extra headroom for older toddlers.
14. Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max Convertible Car Seat
- The seat can support a maximum weight of 40lb (18.1kg) in the rear-facing mode and 85lb (38.5 kg) in the front-facing mode.
- Magnetic chest clips snap in place in one go and stay secure.
- The seat uses Air Protect advanced cushioning technology to absorb impact and keep the baby safe.
- Seat pad and harness covers are removable and are machine-washable.
- Harness holders let you keep the harness out of the way when they are not in use.
- Headrest and harness can be adjusted according to the child’s height.
15. Disney Baby APT 40RF Convertible Car Seat
- A latch equipped, five-point harness that wraps around the infant or toddler with ease.
- It supports a maximum weight of 40lb (18.1kg) in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes.
- The two integrated cup holders make it convenient to carry the baby’s bottles and snack jars on long trips.
- Comes with extensive side impact protection.
- While the features of the car seats are more or less similar, some may be suitable for your child and also fit inside your car while others may not. So check the car seat’s features as well as its compatibility with your vehicle and then invest in it.
Tips For Convertible Car Seat Usage
The following tips can help you use the convertible car seat safely and get the most out of it:
- Read the seat manufacturer instructions: Different car seats have to be assembled differently, so always read the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting to install the car seat in the vehicle.
- Check your vehicle’s instruction manual: It is essential to check your car’s instruction manual on how to fix a car seat. Some car manufacturers may not provide a car seat anchor where you expect it. Check with the manufacturer or the manual to identify the right place to fix the seat, for your child’s safety.
- Do not place bedding or padding: Placing a pillow, blanket, or a pad at the base or back of the seat can make the baby uncomfortable. Extra padding prevents the child from being secured snugly in the seat, thereby posing a risk of injury in case of an impact or sudden stopping of the vehicle.
- Always make the child sit in the back seat: A child should only sit in the back seat until the age of 13 years. The force of a deployed airbag may cause injury to a young child when seated in the front seat.
- Car seats have an expiry: Car seats come with limited longevity, which is usually around six years. So make a note of it and do not use a convertible car seat longer than it should be.
- Discard a car seat if it is damaged in an impact: Car seats have a limited rigidity, which is affected in the case of an impact. A broken or damaged car seat cannot absorb the shock of an impact to protect the child. So, for your child’s safety, always replace a damaged or impacted car seat with a new one, even if it will be used only for a short period.
[ Read: Are Baby Carriers Safe? ]
Car seats are essential to ensure the safety of your little one during a car ride, whether it is a long ride along the highway or a short trip to the supermarket. Always use the car seat when taking the baby in the car, even if you are in a hurry. Also, remember to inspect the car seat regularly to check for any damages or changes in the seat that could put your baby at risk.
What convertible car seat do you use for your baby? Share your opinions and suggestions in the comments section below.
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2. Car Seat Basics; Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning
3. Ultimate Car Seat Guide; Safe Kids Worldwide
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