best convertible car seats

The Best Convertible Car Seats of 2018

by Brittany Spalding |

Image of the Best Convertible Car Seats sitting on a wood floorMore and more, the market demand has been rising for an all-in-one solution to car seats. No more buying an infant seat, then a toddler seat, and then a backed booster, followed by a backless booster. A multi-functional solution is an enticing long-term option for many parents, financially. Let’s face it, no one prefers going car seat shopping over and over again as your baby grows up. As a child grows, a convertible car seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.

Below, you will find in-depth reviews of the best convertible car seats on the market, today. While no car seat is perfect, there is a perfect car seat for your family. In an effort to provide full transparency, the pros and cons of all car seats have been provided, even to our 5-star, top-rated car seats. This is to help you make an informed decision before purchasing a car seat for your child.

Best Convertible Car Seats Why It Is Best Mom Rating
Chicco NextFit iX Zip Convertible Car Seat Machine Washable. Bubble Level Indicator. High Number of Recline Positions. Flex-Out Harness System. Added Safety Features. ♥♥♥♥♥
Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat Safe. Durable. Easy to Install. Machine Washable. For Use from Infants to 120 lbs. ♥♥♥♥♥
Britax Marathon Click Tight Convertible Car Seat Easy Installation. Machine Washable. Comfortable. Added Safety Features. ♥♥♥♥♥
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat Safe. Machine Washable. Inexpensive. Added Leg Room. Harness Holders. ♥♥♥♥♥
Graco Milestone All-in-One Convertible Car Seat Safe. Machine Washable. Easy Installation. Removable Cup Holder. ♥♥♥♥
Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat Machine Washable. Cup Holders. Safe. Removable Head and Body Pillow. Buckle Pockets. ♥♥♥♥
Maxi Cosi Magellan Convertible Car Seat Accommodates Very Small Babies. Machine Washable. Dishwasher Safe Cup Holders. Adjustable Torso. Maximized Side Impact Protection. ♥♥♥♥
Baby Jogger City View All-in-One Car Seat Space Saving Size. Maximum Safety. Secure Stop Anti-Rebound Bar. Stylish. ♥♥♥♥

The Best Convertible Car Seats of 2018

Chicco NextFit iX Zip Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Chicco NextFit iX Zip Convertible Car Seat, Spectrum 

If you have started researching for the best convertible car seat, you’ve likely come across the Chicco NextFit line of car seats. The Chicco NextFit iX Zip Convertible Car Seat is a top of the line, all-in-one seat that offers the majority of features you’ll find on any convertible seat. I will tell you right off the bat, this car seat is a quality seat. Though it is expensive, it is worth it for the added features.

For use from newborn through preschool, this car seat accommodates both rear (5-40 lbs.) and forward (22-65 lbs.) facing children. The removable newborn positioner supports infants from 5-11 lbs. Both adjustable and comfortable, this car seat helps keep younger children in the rear-facing position until at least age 2. Afterwards, it helps transition growing toddlers to ride in forward-facing position like a big kid. The smooth, one-hand height adjustment with integrated no re-thread harness accommodates your growing little one. This multi-functional car seat is available in 5 color schemes.

Safety

The Chicco NextFit iX Zip Convertible Car Seat is designed to fit your vehicle. Their ReclineSure leveling system provides nine recline options for an accurate fit in a wider range of vehicles. Another particularly useful feature is the Dual Level Indicators. Two RideRight bubble levels accurately indicate seat angle in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes. The SuperCinch tightener helps achieve a tight and secure fit with a fraction of the effort.

With these features, you can rest assured that your car seat is properly installed. The easy pull harness tightener facilitates a secure fit for your child. This top-rated car seat has a steel-reinforced frame and is lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam for superior side-impact protection.

What’s to Love

As a mom that is always on the go, three additional, unique features appeal to me. First, the fabric is easy to remove and is machine washable. Most car seat pads are difficult to remove, but not this one. It simply unzips – no confusing hooks or latches. Just unzip and toss in the wash. Secondly, this car seat is always kid ready. The padded, flex-out harness system holds both sides of the waist belt out of the way for easy in and out. Finally, its safety is top notch.

There really is nothing bad to say about the Chicco NextFit iX Convertible Car Seat. It is a wonderful car seat – loaded with features for both the child and the parent. I do see value in the added safety features. Personally, I’m willing to spend extra money on certain things, and a car seat is one of them. Not only will these features protect your child in the event of an accident, they will also help ensure your child will be secured in their seat correctly for each and every car ride.

Pros

  • Easy to remove, machine washable cover
  • High number of recline positions
  • Bubble level indicator
  • Flex-out harness system
  • Added safety features

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Heavy

Customer Reviews

  • 4.9 out of 5 stars, 51 reviews – Babies R Us
  • 4.9 of out 5 stars, 16 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars, 6 reviews – Target

See Chicco NextFit iX Zip Review for our full, in-depth review of this car seat (and the earlier version).

For a side-by-side comparison of how this car seat ranks with its competitor, see Chicco NextFit vs Britax Marathon – Which Comes Out on Top?

The Nextfit is also often compared to the Britax Boulevard. See the comparison here.

Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Studio 

There is a reason, or a few reasons, the Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat is one of the best selling car seats on the market. This convertible car seat is super safe, durable, fairly easy to install, and machine washable. It  gives you ten years with just one car seat. This parent pick is available in 4 color schemes.

Safety

For a proper fit, the Simply Safe Adjust Harness System and 10-position headrest let you adjust the harness and headrest together, with no re-threading. The 6-position recline keeps your child comfortable, while the FussFree harness makes it easy to get your child in and out. The InRight LATCH system, with one-second attachment, makes installation easy. The integrated harness storage compartment holds unused harness straps while in the high-back belt positioning booster seat mode.

Graco knows that safety is your number one priority when choosing a car seat for your most precious cargo! The Graco 4Ever Convertible Car Seat undergoes rigorous safety testing, so it’s no wonder parents feel confident and secure when it’s time to hit the road.

What’s to Love

Transitioning through four stages, this adjustable car seat is comfortable for your child and convenient for you. In stage 1, the rear-facing car seat secures your small child in a 5-point harness from 4-40 lbs.  Then, in stage 2, the forward-facing car seat secures your growing child in a 5-point harness while forward-facing from 22-65 lbs. In stage 3, the car seat secures your big kid in a high-back booster seat with the vehicle’s belt from 30-100 lbs. Finally, in stage 4, the car seat secures your big kid in a backless booster seat with the vehicle’s belt from 40-120 lbs.

Pros:

  • Tested and passed well over federal safety standards
  • Steel reinforced frame and energy absorbing foam
  • Fairly easy to install
  • Machine washable padding that is easy to put back on
  • 4-in-1 design that lasts from newborn car seat to booster seat, up to 120 lbs

Cons:

  • Not very comfortable
  • Sweaty material

Customer Reviews

  • 4.8, 1083 Reviews – Graco.com
  • 4.8, 2342 Reviews – Babies R Us
  • 4.9, 1215 Reviews  – Target
  • 4.8, 1066 Reviews – Walmart

See Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this car seat.

See how the Graco 4Ever compares with the Extend2Fit in this article.

Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Britax USA Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, Verve 

The Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat is a high-quality car seat toward the medium-upper end of the price range that delivers some benefits you would expect, and more that you don’t expect. This line of car seats is very solid across the board, and much of that is due to safety and usability. The Marathon can be used as both a rear-facing car seat for children 5-40 lbs, and as a forward-facing car seat for kids 20-65 lbs. Available in 13 color schemes, this convertible car seat will leave your little one both stylish and safe.

Safety

There are three reasons this car seat made our list of the best convertible car seats. First, it boasts safe and easy installation, every time. The ClickTight Installation System makes correctly securing the car seat as simple as buckling a seat belt. With one click, you know you’ve accurately installed the seat. Second, the fit and comfort is unmatched. The easy-adjust 14-position harness grows along with your child. Fitting your child in the seat is a breeze – just change the height with a push of a button.

Finally, safety is a priority. SafeCell Impact Protection is an integrated system of safety components available only with Britax car seats. These features include a steel frame, energy-absorbing base, and impact-absorbing tether with staged-release stitches that slow and reduce forward movement during a crash.

What’s to Love

The bottom line is that the Britax Marathon Car Seat is perfect for the mom on the go. Overall, you will have peace of mind in knowing that your child is as safe as possible while you are out. It is easy to operate, and will certainly be comfortable for your child.

Pros

  • Super easy to install without having to thread the safety belt through the back of the car seat
  • Added safety features
  • Comfortable car seat that you can feel good about putting your child in
  • Machine Washable

Cons

  • The crotch strap can be difficult to adjust
  • Recessed bottom release button
  • Must be disassembled in order to be washed

Customer Reviews

  • 4.7 stars, 155 reviews – Google Shopping
  • 4.5 stars, 164 reviews – Target
  • 4.6 stars, 327 reviews – Toys R Us
  • 4.5 stars, 159 reviews – Walmart

See Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this car seat. And here’s a review of the Marathon G4.1 version.

Britax makes several exceptional convertible car seats. Here are comparisons of the Britax models:

  • Marathon vs Boulevard. The Boulevard is a bit more expensive with some minor additional features.
  • Marathon vs Advocate. The Advocate is the top of the line, and has more side-impact protection, but probably not enough to warrant the extra cost.
  • Boulevard vs Advocate. The Advocate is slightly bigger, with more padding, and generally gets better reviews than the Boulevard.

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Blue Coral 

From your first ride together coming home from the hospital to soccer day car pools, the Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat will give your child a safer and more comfortable ride. Featuring extended use at each stage, this convertible car seat is designed to last through all the firsts with your child. This inexpensive favorite is available in 7 color schemes.

This car seat is built to grow with 3 stages of use. Stage 1: For newborns to growing toddlers, it can be used in the rear-facing position from 5-40 lbs. Stage 2: In forward-facing mode (up to 65 lbs), your child is protected in a harness. Stage 3: When your child is ready to use the vehicle seat belts, remove the harness to use the Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat in belt-positioning booster mode (up to 100 lbs).

Safety

Obviously, the biggest concern of having this car seat is safety. And while you might be more familiar with the safety of some of the big-name car seats, Safety 1st lives up to their name. They do put the safety of your child first. That’s why they completely exceed all of the requirements for use in the United States. They have incredible side-impact protection from the unique shape of the headrest. And this isn’t just for the two rear facing and forward facing modes. It’s also for the booster mode. You can rest assured that your kiddo will be completely safe if there is a crash, as many Amazon users can attest to.

What’s to Love

Three features of this car seat make it a parenting win. As your tiny baby grows into a big kid, messes are bound to happen, but this car seat pad makes clean up easy. Both machine washable and dryer safe, the car seat cover is also designed to come off the seat easily, with no need to remove the harness. In both the rear-facing and forward-facing mode, harness holders keep the harness in an open position. This makes it easier for you to get your child in and out of the car seat. No more fishing for the harness and clips from behind your child – they’re right there when you need them. Finally, it is designed to provide more comfort to parents, too. It takes up less room when placed rear-facing, giving up to 7 inches more leg room for parents in the front seat.

You don’t always have to pay big money for a big brand to get a great car seat. This car seat offers safety, convenience, and style at an affordable price.

Pros

  • 3 different modes for years of use
  • Safe and easy with good latch system
  • Easy to adjust harness
  • Washable cover
  • Stylish and cute
  • Inexpensive
  • Added Leg Room

Cons

  • Bulky in back seat, especially when reclined
  • Cup holders in a weird spot and hard to clean
  • Tips around if you don’t get the latch right

Customer Reviews

  • 4.4 stars, 187 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.2 stars, 1,186 reviews – Target
  • 4.1 stars, 34 reviews – Bed Bath & Beyond
  • 4 stars, 119 reviews – Sears

See Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat for our full, in-depth review of this car seat.

Graco Milestone All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Graco Milestone All-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Gotham 

The Graco Milestone All-in-One Convertible Car Seat has received rave reviews for it’s near perfection as a convertible car seat. It has superb safety, a great latching system, a harness and headrest with thoughtful and useful design, unmatched comfort, and the ability to grow with your child. This convertible car seat is available in 2 color schemes.

Safety

The Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the height of your harness and headrest, in one motion, to ensure that your child is always properly secured. It’s simple and convenient because you don’t have to remove and re-thread the harness straps. It’s so easy to use this convertible car seat, and you can make the adjustment with just one hand. The 5-point harness is extended, in order to fit children up to 65 pounds, keeping them harnessed even longer.

Graco’s exclusive InRight LATCH attachment provides an easy, 1-second install with an audio click cue to help ensure secure installation. Installing a convertible car seat has never been easier. Hearing the click will make you confident your little one is secure. Graco knows that safety is your number one priority when choosing a car seat for your most precious cargo. The Graco Milestone All-in-1 Car Seat undergoes rigorous safety testing, so it’s no wonder parents feel confident and secure when they fasten a Graco 5-point harness around their little one.

What’s to Love

A couple of notable features were designed to make a parent’s life easier. Plush inserts keep your infant comfortable in the rear-facing mode and are removable to make room for your growing child. The 4-position recline helps keep your growing child comfy, in rear and forward-facing modes. A removable cup holder keeps your child’s drink close at hand in the forward-facing and booster seat modes. The integrated harness storage compartment holds the unused harness straps while the seat is being used in the belt positioning, booster seat mode, cutting down on the car clutter. The easy to remove, washable car seat cover makes quick work of cleaning. Even when it feels like you live in your car, it doesn’t have to look like it.

This car seat really impressed me. The Graco Milestone All-in-One Convertible Car Seat has all the safety features I want. Add the good features to the cute design and the reasonable price, and this adjustable car seat is a smart buy for any parent.

Pros

  • 3 great stages
  • Safe design
  • Simply Safe Adjust harness with storage space
  • Machine washable padding
  • Reclines
  • Removable Cup Holder
  • Easy Installation

Cons

  • Too big for smaller babies
  • Straps loosen easily
  • Needed to latch and strap it in for security
  • Recline button hard to access in rear-facing position

Customer Reviews

  • 4.8 stars, 194 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.9 stars, 143 reviews – JC Penney
  • 4.8 stars, 160 reviews – Kohl’s
  • 4.9 stars, 100 reviews – Sears

See In-Depth Review of the Graco Milestone All-in-One Convertible Car Seat for our full, in-depth review of this car seat.

The Graco Extend2Fit has the features of the Milestone and has greater weight limits for rear-facing (up to 50 lbs) and forward-facing (up to 65 lbs). We compare the Extend2Fit and Milestone here.

Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat, Charleston 

The Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat is cute. But beyond its looks, it actually has substance! It was artfully engineered to fit babies from 5 to 65 lbs and works in both forward-facing and rear-facing modes. It exceeds all federal safety regulations, and has a fabulous latch and harness system. Kiddos will love the cup holders, padding, and other extras. This multi-use car seat is available in 3 color schemes.

Safety

This car seat has been crash tested to meet 2 times the safety standards for front impact and rear impact. It has Evenflo’s e3 safety engineering, which creates 3 different layers of protection in different zones. This means, according to Evenflo, that it’ll reduce any side impact forces by up to 50%. Plus, it’s designed to withstand both high and low temperatures and still maintain its safety and integrity. There’s nothing unsafe about this cute car seat.

What’s to Love

There is so much to love about this car seat. Buckle pockets protect from hot buckle burns and eliminate digging under your child for lost buckles. The Infinite Slide Harness provides an easy, safe, accurate fit and eliminates any need for harness re-threading as your child grows. Tension Right Adjusters quickly and easily tighten the harness by turning the knob. The up-front multi-position recline button lets you provide optimum comfort for your little one – while asleep or awake. A must for busy parents, the easy-off, machine-washable car seat pad requires no harness re-threading. Finally, a removable head and body pillow allow for additional comfort and support.

The Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat is a great buy for a good price. It’s unquestionable safety and amazing harness system won it a best car seat review by a leading consumer magazine.""

Pros

  • Extremely safe
  • Really grows with child (big weight range)
  • Amazing adjustable harness
  • No rethreading straps
  • Reclines
  • Cup holders
  • Machine washable padding
  • Buckle pockets
  • Removable head and body pillow

Cons

  • Takes some effort to latch in
  • A bit bulky
  • Hard to recline when rear facing
  • Material seems a bit cheap

Customer Reviews

  • 4.4 stars, 23 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.2 stars, 34 reviews – Toys R Us
  • 4.3 stars, 78 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.1 stars, 62 reviews – Target

See Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat: A Mommy Review for our full, in-depth review of this car seat. The Evenflo Symphony Elite didn’t make our best list but is another solid convertible seat from Evenflo.

Maxi Cosi Magellan Convertible Car Seat

 

For every new journey, the Maxi Cosi Magellan Convertible Car Seat has been designed with the utmost luxury, safety, and comfort in mind. The 5-in-1 seating system is your one-and-done solution for children from birth to 10 years (5-120 lbs). There are 5 color schemes to choose from, so your little one will ride in style on any new adventure.

This car seat can function as a rear-facing infant seat, rear-facing toddler seat, forward-facing harness seat, full booster, and backless booster. With 14 height positions to choose from, you are allowed a wider range for correct child fit. This design allows you to move both the headrest and harness heights into the correct position.

Safety

Children grow at different rates, so it’s important to have the flexibility to customize your car seat to ensure that you keep safety where you need it, when you need it. For the first time, you have the ability to adjust the torso up or down to maximize side impact protection. The patented Air Protect is built into the headrest to cushion the impact, and equally important, it also provides a soft pillow of comfort for your child’s every day journey.

Part of the car seat’s job is to keep your child as safe as possible in any type of collision. When a side-impact collision occurs, it leaves your child’s head and chest extremely vulnerable to injury. In a side-impact collision, the shoulders take the impact, jolting the chest and head. To help remedy this, Maxi Cosi’s AirProtect technology instantly protects that which matters most – the child’s neck and head. The air filled headrest absorbs the impact forces of a collision and helps slow down the child’s body as it travels as a result of these forces.

What’s to Love

This adjustable car seat includes a soft to the touch, easy to remove infant pillow system that comforts and cradles your new baby. The car seat features self-wicking fabrics to keep your little one dry and comfortable in those hot summer months, while warm and cozy the rest of the year. The fabrics have been tailored to fit, but in case of those unwanted messes, they’re machine washable and dryer safe. The two removable cup holders are dishwasher safe.

This is one of the most expensive car seats in our list. However, the versatility and longevity of this car seat make it a great investment.

Pros

  • Accommodates very small babies
  • 5-in-1 car seat
  • Machine washable cover
  • Dishwasher safe cup holders
  • Adjustable torso
  • Maximized side impact protection
  • Self-wicking fabric

Cons

  • Large, long term footprint
  • Expensive

Customer Reviews

  • 4.7 stars, 3 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4.8 stars, 31 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 4.9 stars, 35 reviews – Target

See Maxi Cosi Magellan Convertible Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this car seat.

Baby Jogger City View All-in-One Car Seat

Image of the Baby Jogger City View Space Saving All-in-One Car Seat, Monument 

Baby Jogger makes great jogging strollers, we all know that. So when they came out with a car seat, it was intriguing. Now, car seat number two, the Baby Jogger City View All-in-One Car Seat, has us all very curious. Is it as great as their other 5-star rated car seat? Yes. This is the only car seat you’ll need for your baby. It has 3 riding modes, impeccable safety, and a parent-friendly design. Your baby will be comfy, safe, and stylish in this space-saving car seat. This convertible car seat is available in 3 color schemes.

Safety

The Secure Stop Anti-Rebound Bar adds an extra layer of protection when rear-facing by reducing the amount of rearward movement of the car seat during a collision by more than 45%. With large, color-coded belt paths, and a one-second, push-button LATCH system, this car seat installs with ease. The 10-position adjustable headrest moves together with the harness to fit your growing child – no re-threading required. Multiple reclining positions allow you to provide your little one with maximum comfort.

Referred to as the TRUE safety test, this is Baby Jogger’s way of making sure that all aspects of this seat are safe. TRUE stands for Tested to Reality Under Extremes. This means that not only does the City View meet all federal safety standards, but it exceeds them. It can withstand almost double the allowed impact force for those standards. Not to mention, it’s been side impact tested and extreme temperature tested.

What’s to Love

This is a stylish car seat. It looks streamlined and sophisticated, from the double stitching on the sides to the muted color choices. It would compliment any car’s interior, not overtake it. And when it comes to not overtaking the car, this thing is really small. The compact size is one of my favorite things about the car seat. This all-in-one car seat sports a comfortable, narrow design that easily makes room for additional passengers. Whether you’re traveling only with your baby, or have friends and family along for the ride, you’ll be ready for any adventure.

Pros

  • Space saving size
  • 3 ways to ride
  • Maximum safety
  • Easy to install and adjust
  • Stylish
  • Secure Stop Anti-Rebound Bar
  • Multiple reclining positions

Cons

  • Spot clean only
  • Fussy harness
  • Big price tag

Customer Reviews

  • 4.5 stars, 31 reviews – buybuyBaby
  • 5 stars, 2 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • Since this convertible car seat has only been on the market for a couple of months, the reviews are limited. The feedback from early purchasers has been pretty positive, though. Stay tuned for more!

See Baby Jogger City View All-in-One Car Seat Review for our full, in-depth review of this car seat.

Honorable Mentions

While the following all-in-one car seats didn’t make our list of top picks, they are great, high rated products that should be considered.

Britax Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Britax Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, Mosaic 

The Britax Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat has a groundbreaking installation system that leaves you with no doubt the seat is safely and correctly installed. 3 layers of side impact protection, a snug harness indicator, an impact-absorbing base, and steel frame make for the best protection for your child. Typically, up to 75 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly, but the revolutionary ClickTight Installation System is the safest and easiest technology on the market. Just open the front of the car seat, buckle the seat belt across and click the seat shut. That’s all you need to do for rock-solid installation – the seat won’t budge and you can travel worry-free with your child. Parents can choose from 5 color patterns when purchasing this convertible car seat.

Safety

Britax is the only child car seat brand that features world-class SafeCell Impact Protection. This integrated system of safety components provides unmatched protection for your child. These features include a steel frame, energy-absorbing base, V-shaped tether to minimize seat rotation, and staged-release stitches that slow and reduce forward movement during a crash. Side impacts represent 25 percent of collisions and result in the most severe injuries. Britax designed the Advocate ClickTight with these statistics in mind. The seat has a deep, foam-lined shell, quick-adjust head protection, and side cushions, forming 3 layers of side protection – the best protection for your child.

Almost 60 percent of car seat harnesses are too loose. Britax’s patented Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator takes the guesswork out of seating your little one and lets you know that your child’s harness is within range of proper tightness with a click sound. Britax developed the Advocate ClickTight to safely and comfortably hold your child from birth all the way through the preschool years. The easy-adjust harness grows along with your child with 14 different positions. Change the height of the seat with just the push of a button – no inconvenient re-threading necessary.

Something to Consider

The Britax Advocate Clicktight seems like a great car seat. It gets great reviews, although not as high as some others. However, when you begin to dig deeper, you’ll find that they don’t last as long as they say they do. While they do hold up to serious car accidents, it is hard to get past the constant maintenance and the inability to clean it easily. Britax has some great models. However, this one leaves a lot to be desired.

Pros

  • The Britax Advocate ClickTight is easy to install
  • It is comfortable, and there is adequate padding to enable naps on long trips
  • The straps are easy to adjust
  • The height adjustments can be adjusted with one hand
  • High safety ratings

Cons

  • The Advocate has seen quite a few recalls, even if they do offer replacements, it is still disconcerting
  • The straps tangle easily, which make it harder to buckle your child
  • The best features, like the easy click system, are the ones that seem to break first
  • Spot clean only

Customer Reviews

  • 4.5 stars, 133 reviews – Walmart
  • 4 stars, 136 reviews – Babies R Us
  • 4 stars, 145 reviews – buybuyBaby

See Britax Advocate ClickTight Review for our full in-depth review of this car seat.

Britax Allegiance Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Essentials by Britax Allegiance Convertible Car Seat, Static 

The Britax Allegiance Convertible Car Seat is safe and comfortable for your growing child while you’re on the go. Car seat installation is a breeze with push button LATCH connectors and built-in lock-offs. This convertible car seat is available in 4 vibrant color choices.

Safety

Designed with Britax safety technologies, the Allegiance car seat features the patented Britax SafeCell Impact Protection system which includes side impact protection, a steel frame, impact absorbing base, and forward movement reducing v-shaped tether. The Allegiance Convertible Car Seat is made with a strong layer of side energy absorption; a foam-lined shell will shield your child from side impacts in the event of a collision. Plus, foam padding and three recline positions keep your baby comfy and cozy along the way. The 10-position easy-adjust harness and headrest allows you to never have to re-thread again.

Something to Consider

The Allegiance is similar to higher priced Britax models in its safety and ease-of-use features. This convertible car seat features the same Safe Cell impact protection system as other Britax brand seats. The two main differences appear to be the quality of the seat fabric and the amount of side impact protection on the seat. While many Britax models offer two or three layers of side impact protection, the Allegiance only has one.

Parents who want the security and features of the Britax brand at an affordable price should strongly consider the Allegiance.

Pros

  • High safety ratings
  • Easy to adjust harness
  • Comfortable
  • More affordable than other Britax models
  • Easy Installation

Cons

  • Large
  • Bulky
  • Not machine washable
  • Only one layer of side impact protection

Customer Reviews

  • 4.6 stars, 25 reviews – AlbeeBaby
  • 4.6 stars, 32 reviews – Walmart
  • 4.7 stars, 46 reviews – Target

See Essentials by Britax Allegiance Convertible Car Seat Review for our full in-depth review of this car seat.

Britax Emblem Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Essentials by Britax Emblem Convertible Car Seat, Domino 

Like the previous car seat, the Britax Emblem Convertible Car Seat is an all-in-one car seat that can be used for children weighing between 5 and 65 lbs. It can be used in rear-facing or front-facing mode, and can be installed with either LATCH connectors or the vehicle seat belt. The Emblem also has three recline positions to help you correctly position the seat in your vehicle. This convertible car seat is available in 4 color schemes.

Safety

All Britax car seats feature SafeCell Safety Protection, a set of features designed to create a cell of safety around your child. These features include a stabilizing steel frame that absorbs crash impact and provides seat stability; an impact absorbing base that compresses to absorb the impact of a crash and direct impact forces away from your child; and a V-shaped tether that reduces seat rotation and slows forward movement. It features many of the same safety and parental use features as the Allegiance, but does offer an additional layer of side-impact protection over the Allegiance.

Something to Consider

The Emblem is a well-designed car seat that gives parents the security of the Britax name at a more affordable price. However, at this price point, I want to love my car seat. While washability is a minor concern, it’s enough that I’d look at options from other brands if I were going to spend this much on a new car seat. Also, the Emblem’s price point only leaves a forty to fifty dollar difference between it and seats like the Britax Marathon. The Marathon has a similar design to the Emblem, but the Marathon offers more harness positions and recline positions than the Emblem. The Marathon also appears to have a higher-quality fabric than the Emblem. Parents considering the Emblem should do a side-by-side comparison between the Emblem and the Marathon to decide which seat they really need.

Pros

  • High safety ratings
  • Easy to adjust harness
  • Comfortable
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Not machine washable
  • Large
  • Bulky

Customer Reviews

  • 4.8 stars, 31 reviews – Walmart
  • 5 stars, 14 reviews – Target
  • 4.8 stars, 14 reviews – Kohl’s

See Essentials by Britax Emblem Convertible Car Seat Review for our full in-depth review of this car seat.

For a side by side comparison of the Britax Convertible Car Seats, see Emblem vs. Allegiance vs. Boulevard vs. Marathon: Britax Convertible Car Seat Comparison.

Cosco Easy Elite Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Cosco Easy Elite 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat,Keep Your Child Safer During the Ride (Starlight) 

The Cosco Easy Elite Convertible Car Seat has your family covered from rear-facing baby to big kid booster, with a range of 5-80 pounds. The Easy Elite also adapts to your growing family with the ability to fit three seats across the back of most cars. This extended use, 3-in-1 car seat keeps your child safely in the rear-facing position from 5 to 40 lbs, and includes a removable body pillow to give a smaller baby a snug fit.

It can also be used in the forward-facing position for kids 22-50 lbs. In both rear and forward-facing positions, the easy-to-use headrest and harness adjust quickly and at the same time with one simple movement. There’s no need to uninstall the seat or re-thread the straps. When your child is ready, remove the harness to easily convert the Easy Elite to a belt-positioning booster for big kids up to 80 lbs. This convertible car seat is available in 3 color schemes.

Safety

Each stage provides Side Impact Protection to keep your child safer during the ride, and has exceeded all Federal Safety Standards.

Something to Consider

This car seat is easy to care for, too. With kids in the car, messes happen. Thanks to the easy-to-clean car seat pad, there’s no need to stress. The pad comes in a wide range of styles and colors, all of which remove from the seat and are both machine-washable and dryer safe. Overall, the Cosco Easy Elite is a good option for forward facing mode.  If you have an infant seat that your baby is growing out of around age 2, and you’re looking for a seat to last the rest of the childhood, this would be a great option. As a rear-facing car seat for infants and children under 2, the cumbersome installation is a deterrent.

Pros

  • Cost effective
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • No re-thread harness
  • Machine Washable

Cons

  • Difficult installation
  • Not the best choice for rear-facing
  • High shoulder straps make it a poor choice for little babies

Customer Reviews

  • 4.1 stars, 146 reviews – Walmart
  • This car seat is sold exclusively at Walmart and Amazon.

See Cosco Easy Elite Car Seat Review for our full in-depth review of this car seat.

Evenflo SureRide DLX Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Evenflo SureRide DLX Convertible Car Seat, Paxton 

The Evenflo Sure Ride DLX Convertible Car Seat holds a rear-facing infant from 5 – 40 lbs, and a forward-facing toddler from 22 – 65 lbs. It is available in 4 color schemes. (I love the richness of the sugar plum color option on this one.) It’s hard to know exactly what you need, and often harder to stay within budget. This car seat is an affordable, convertible seat, but it may not have all the features you want.

Safety

This car seat meets or exceeds all applicable Federal Safety Standards, as well as Evenflo’s Side Impact Test Standard for Structural Integrity, which uses energy levels approximately 2 times the Federal Crash Test Standard for multiple-shoulder harness positions. The 6 shoulder strap positions and 2 crotch buckle positions on this all-in-one car seat allow it to accommodate growing children longer. The easy to access upfront harness adjustment and buckle release make it convenient for simple harness adjusting. An energy absorbing foam liner provides added safety.

Something to Consider

The SureRide isn’t the most convenient of car seats – it’s harder to install than most. It isn’t super comfortable, and it is bulky. However, it will still do what it needs to do. It exceeds crash test ratings. It is lightweight, so it’s easy to transport. The easily removed machine-washable seat pad allows for simple cleaning, and the plastic and metal parts can be wiped clean with mild soap and water. While I wouldn’t use this as my main car seat, I would use it as a secondary seat. That being said, the Evenflo SureRide DLX is a quality seat, and if it fits in your budget, I would recommend it.

Pros

  • Huge height range
  • 6 harness positions
  • Lightweight
  • Safe
  • Machine washable cover

Cons

  • Hard to install
  • Uncomfortable – insufficient padding
  • Bulky
  • No bubble level

Customer Reviews

  • 4 stars, 139 Reviews, Target
  • 4.2 stars, 40 Reviews, Babies R Us
  • 4.3 stars, 45 Reviews, Walmart

See Review of the Evenflo SureRide DLX Convertible Seat for our full in-depth review of this car seat.

Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat

Image of the Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat, Saturn 

Designed to be compact in size and lightweight, the Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat is perfect for caregivers switching between multiple vehicles, providing a great vehicle fit. This car seat holds a rear-facing infant from 5 – 30 lbs, and a forward-facing toddler from 22 – 40 lbs. This car seat is available in 8 vibrant color schemes.

Safety

The Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat meets or exceeds all applicable Federal Safety Standards, as well as Evenflo’s Side Impact Test Standard for Structural Integrity, which uses energy levels approximately 2 times the Federal Crash Test Standard for multiple shoulder harness positions. The 4 shoulder strap positions on this convertible car seat allow it to accommodate growing children longer. The easy to access upfront harness adjustment and buckle release makes it convenient for simple harness adjusting.

Something to Consider

Honestly, I think this is a great option for a second car seat or traveling car seat. If you are looking for a cheap and lightweight car seat to travel with, or just need a second car seat for the grandparents to keep, the Evenflo Tribute is worth considering. I personally wouldn’t use this as my main car seat just because of the lack of padding and the sharp edges. It does stand up to all federal crash test standards, but I like to see a little more protection to ensure the car seat I have is well above any standards out there. This is a great option for frequent travelers looking for a lightweight and inexpensive infant or toddler seat.

Pros

  • Great for travel
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Machine washable padding
  • Sleek look
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No cloth guards for harness straps
  • Sharp edges on plastic
  • Doesn’t offer enough recline adjustment
  • Not enough padding

Customer Reviews

  • 4.2 stars, 58 Reviews – Target
  • 4.5 stars, 65 Reviews – Walmart
  • 4.5 stars, 4 Reviews – diapers.com
  • 4.3 stars, 23 Reviews – Kohl’s

See Evenflo’s Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat for our full in-depth review of this car seat.

Graco Recline ‘n Ride 3-in-1 Car Seat

Image of the Graco Recline 'n Ride 3-in-1 Car Seat featuring On the Go, Clifton 

The Graco Recline ‘n Ride 3-in-1 Car Seat is really nice, and it’s very unique. The base is strapped down and the seat can be reclined into any of 4 positions each in forward-facing and rear-facing mode. This design allows you to make needed adjustments without taking the whole car seat out. With this convertible car seat, you have the choice of 2 color schemes.

Safety

This car seat meets or exceeds all Federal Safety Standards. In fact, it withstands double the impact force that is required. It is crash tested under the roughest circumstances at Graco’s very own crash test facility in Atlanta, Georgia. To ensure that materials still react how they are supposed to, this car seat is tested at extreme temperatures. Additionally, it is side impact tested to make sure your little one stays safe. Built with a steel reinforced frame, this car seat lasts 10 years from its manufacture date.

Something to Consider

This car seat is big, heavy, and takes up a lot of space in order to work correctly. It is not a great choice for those with small cars. For those of us who have already taken the minivan or SUV leap, it will work fine. The booster is nothing to brag about, but it does its job. Since you won’t have to purchase a new booster seat once your kiddo outgrows the harness, it makes it a really cost effective car seat option.

The extras make parents sigh with relief. There are 2 cup holders for snacks and drinks. It features an easy adjust headrest and harness, in one. The easy off, machine washable seat cover makes cleaning up messes a breeze. Overall, I think Graco made another great car seat, here. It’s safe. It’s easy to use, and it will keep your kid comfortable. This is definitely a great choice if your child rides with you for long commutes and sleeps in the car a lot.

Pros

  • Great, dependable safety
  • Convertible car seat with 3 modes
  • On the Go recline can be adjusted without uninstalling
  • InRight latch and vehicle belt lock offs for ease of use
  • 2 cup holders
  • Machine washable seat cover
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Requires a lot of room
  • Many nooks and crannies to get dirty
  • Heavy

Customer Reviews

  • 4.8 stars, 33 reviews – Graco.com
  • This convertible car seat recently hit the market. We’ll keep checking as more and more reviews start to come in.

See Graco Recline N Ride Car Seat Review for our full in-depth review of this car seat.

Guide to Selecting a Convertible Car Seat

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides us with some astonishing and devastating statistics. Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. However, many of these deaths can be prevented. In the United States, 663 children ages 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes during 2015, and more than 121,350 were injured in 2014. One CDC study found that, in one year, more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat, or booster seat, or a seat belt at least some of the time.

Child safety seats can greatly reduce the risk of a potentially fatal injury, especially for babies, but also for toddlers. Yet, many safety seats are used incorrectly. When choosing any car seat, following some general guidelines will help ensure your child’s safety.

According to kidshealth.org, convertible car seats are designed to protect kids from birth up to at least 40 lbs (18 kilograms) facing backward, and up to 65 lbs (30 kilograms) or even 80 lbs (36 kilograms) facing forward, depending on the model. Convertible seats are the only type of seats that are placed in different positions depending on a child’s age. They face toward the rear until a baby is ready to face forward, when they can be turned around and “converted” into a forward-facing seat.

Safety

Choose a seat with a label that states that it meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. This safety standard governs the performance and some design criteria for child restraint systems for children who weigh up to 65 lbs. The standard includes requirements for restraint crash-worthiness, labeling and instructions, flammability, and buckle and release pressure. In 2014, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) increased the maximum weight limit covered by the safety standard from 65-80 lbs.

All car seats that are available on the market must pass certain crash tests and safety standards. That being said, there are features to keep an eye out for that add a degree of safety to a car seat. Typically, car seats with more safety features are more expensive because they have those added features, but don’t assume all expensive car seats are safer, and similarly, some less expensive car seats do come with additional safety features.


See our Complete Guide on Car Seat Safety


Installation

Once you select a seat, be sure to try it out, keeping in mind that store displays and illustrations might not show the correct usage. It is up to you to learn how to install a car safety seat properly and harness your child for the ride. See the FAQs section below for more information about installing a convertible car seat.

Harness

Decide whether or not you prefer a car seat with a no re-thread harness. A no re-thread harness means that you can adjust the harness level without completely taking the harness out of the car seat. On car seats without a no re-thread harness, you must un-thread the harness straps through the back of the car seat and then re-insert them back into the car seat at the desired harness height.

With a no re-thread harness, you simply squeeze a button at the top of the car seat, and the whole back of the car seat can move up or down until you reach the desired harness height. It may sound like a basic feature, but it is so much simpler to adjust a harness that doesn’t need to be re-threaded. Plus, it reduces the chance of re-threading the harness back into the seat incorrectly. With my oldest children, we didn’t have a no-re-thread harness. However, with our most recent foster child, we were gifted a car seat that featured a no re-thread harness. It may seem like a small feature, but I will be the first to admit that this small feature makes a big difference.

Washability

Most car seat inserts are machine washable, however, some are spot clean only. If you anticipate spending a lot of time in your vehicle, or many potential messes, it is important to consider a machine washable option. Cleaning a car seat isn’t just a great way to make your backseat look (and smell) better, it’s also an important safety factor. Over time, dirt and grime can accumulate and prevent a seat from performing up to the highest standard. It is recommended that you clean the car seat cover and buckle periodically to keep them in their best shape. Here are a few general tips for cleaning your car seat and buckle, but please refer to the user guide that came with your car seat for specific cleaning instructions.

  • Washing the Car Seat Cover
    • Remove the cover from the car seat. The user guide contains instructions for both removing and replacing the cover.
    • Hand wash or machine wash the cover using cold water and mild soap, per the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not use bleach.
    • Lie flat, line dry, or machine dry (only if it is dryer safe) to prevent the cover from shrinking. Do not iron the cover.
  • Cleaning the Buckle
    • Remove the buckle from the seat. The user guide contains instructions for removing and replacing the buckle.
    • Thoroughly rinse the buckle with warm running water. Do not soak the buckle or use soap, household detergents, solvents, or lubricants.
    • Test the buckle by fastening and unfastening each of the buckle tongues for both sides until you hear a click after inserting each buckle tongue. If you do not hear clicks for each buckle tongue, you may need to repeat the cleaning process.
    • Dry the buckle with a towel and re-attach it to the car seat.

Weight Range

Weight ranges vary on convertible car seats, so it is important to consider a child’s height and weight before buying one. Some convertible car seats are rated for children up to 65 lbs, while others are rated for children up to 120 lbs. Please take your child’s size into consideration when purchasing an all-in-one car seat. Below, you will find two charts comparing the minimum and maximum weights of both the top rated and honorable mention convertible car seats featured in this article.

Top Rated Convertible Car Seat Minimum Weight Maximum Weight
Chicco NextFit iX Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 65 lbs
Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat 4 lbs 120 lbs
Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 65 lbs
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 100 lbs
Graco Milestone All-in-One Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 100 lbs
Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 65 lbs
Maxi Cosi Magellan Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 120 lbs
Baby Jogger City View Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 100 lbs

Honorable Mention Convertible Car Seat Minimum Weight Maximum Weight
Britax Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 65 lbs
Britax Allegiance Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 65 lbs
Britax Emblem Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 65 lbs
Cosco Easy Elite Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 80 lbs
Evenflo SureRide DLX Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 65 lbs
Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 40 lbs
Graco Recline ‘n Ride Convertible Car Seat 5 lbs 100 lbs

Budget

The best car seat is not always the most expensive one — it’s the one that best fits a child’s weight, size, and age, as well as your vehicle. Convertible seats are heavy and not very portable. Yet they can be economical because it may not be necessary to buy a separate infant-only seat. Here are the car seats referenced in this article in order by price. However, it is important to keep in mind that between market demands and discounts, prices can vary daily.

Size of Car Seat

All-in-one car seats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you have a smaller car, consider a narrow car seat option. If you anticipate needing to move your car seat frequently, choosing a lighter weight, convertible car seat will be a good choice for you. If you are having twins, this is a really important consideration, since you’ll need to place both car seats in the same vehicle. Check out our Best Car Seats for Twins article to learn more.

Below, you will find two charts with the car seat length, width, height, and weight for each of the top rated and honorable mention convertible car seat featured in this article.

Top Rated Car Seat Car Seat Length Car Seat Width Car Seat Height Car Seat Weight
Chicco NextFit iX Convertible Car Seat 21 in 19 in 29.5 in 25 lbs
Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat 21.5 in 20 in 24 in 23 lbs
Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat 23 in 18.5 in 23.5 in 28.4 lbs
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat 24 in 19 in 23.8 in 18.7 lbs
Graco Milestone All-in-One Convertible Car Seat 21 in 17.5 in 21 in 20 lbs
Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat 32.5 in 20.1 in 18.4 in 23.9 lbs
Maxi Cosi Magellan Convertible Car Seat 24.9 in 19.6 in 24.6 in 25 lbs
Baby Jogger City View Convertible Car Seat 20 in 18.1 in 30.6 in 20 lbs

Honorable Mention Car Seat Car Seat Length Car Seat Width Car Seat Height Car Seat Weight
Britax Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat 23 in 20.5 in 23.5 in 30.1 lbs
Britax Allegiance Convertible Car Seat 21 in 18.5 in 26 in 19.5 lbs
Britax Emblem Convertible Car Seat 21 in 18.5 in 26 in 19.5 lbs
Cosco Easy Elite Convertible Car Seat 23.9 in 20.3 in 27.8 in 14 lbs
Evenflo SureRide DLX Convertible Car Seat 29 in 20 in 20 in 14.5 lbs
Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat 18.5 in 22 in 25.5 in 9.1 lbs
Graco Recline ‘n Ride Convertible Car Seat 21 in 20 in 26.5 in 30 lbs

Buying a Used Car Seat

Accept a used seat with caution. Never use a seat that is more than 6 years old, or one that has been in a crash. Even if it looks okay, it could be structurally unsound. Avoid seats that are missing parts, are not labeled with the manufacture date and model number (you’ll have no way to know about recalls), or do not come with an instruction manual. Also, check the seat for the manufacturer’s recommended “expiration date.”

If you have any doubts about a seat’s history, or if it is cracked or shows signs of wear and tear, don’t use it. If you accept a used seat, contact the manufacturer for recommendations on how long the seat can safely be used, and to find out if it has ever been recalled. Recalls are quite common, and the manufacturer might be able to provide you with a replacement part or new model.

Guide to Car Seat Safety

One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your child safe when riding in a vehicle. Each year, thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. Proper use of car safety seats helps keep children safe. But with so many different seats on the market, many parents find this overwhelming. If you are an expectant parent, give yourself enough time to learn how to properly install the car safety seat in your car before your baby is born to ensure a safe ride home from the hospital. The type of seat your child needs depends on several things, including your child’s age, size, and developmental needs.

  • Rear-Facing Car Seats for Infants and Toddlers

    • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 2 years of age or, preferably, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. When infants outgrow their rear-facing only seat, a convertible seat installed rear-facing is needed. All parents can benefit from getting installation help from a child passenger safety technician (CPST) to ensure that their seat is properly installed.
  • Forward-Facing Car Seats for Toddlers and Preschoolers

    • Always read the vehicle owner’s manual and the car seat manual before installing the car seat. Any child who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for his convertible seat should use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by his car seat manufacturer. It is best for children to ride in a seat with a harness as long as possible, at least to 4 years of age. If your child outgrows a seat before reaching 4 years of age, consider using a seat with a harness approved for higher weights and heights.
  • Booster Seats for School-Aged Children

    • Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing seats. All children whose weight or height exceeds the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 through 12 years of age. Most children will not fit in most vehicle seat belts without a booster until 10 to 11 years of age. All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.
    • Instructions that come with your car seat will tell you the height and weight limits for the seat. As a general guideline, a child has outgrown a forward-facing seat when any of the following situations is true:
      • He reaches the top weight or height allowed for his seat with a harness. (These limits are listed on the seat and also included in the instruction booklet.)
      • His shoulders are above the top harness slots.
      • The tops of his ears have reached the top of the seat.
    • High-back and backless are 2 standard types of booster seats. They do not come with harness straps, but are used with lap and shoulder seat belts in your vehicle, the same way an adult rides. They are designed to raise a child up so that the lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly over the strongest parts of the child’s body.
  • Seat Belts for Older Children and Adults

    • Seat belts are made for adults. Children should stay in a booster seat until the adult seat belts fit correctly, typically when children reach about 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 through 12 years of age. Most children will not fit in a seat belt alone until 10 to 11 years of age. When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for the best protection. All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat.
  • Important Reminders

    • Be a good role model. Make sure you always wear your seatbelt. This will help your child form a lifelong habit of buckling up.
    • Make sure that everyone who transports your child uses the correct car seat or seat belt on every trip, every time. Being consistent with car seat use is good parenting, reduces fussing and complaints, and is safest for your child.
    • Never leave your child alone in or around cars. Any of the following situations can happen when a child is left alone in or around a vehicle. A child can:
      • Die of heat stroke because temperatures can reach deadly levels in minutes.
      • Be strangled by power windows, retracting seat belts, sunroofs, or accessories.
      • Knock the vehicle into gear, setting it into motion.
      • Be backed over when the vehicle backs up.
      • Become trapped in the trunk of the vehicle.
    • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your car seat. If you do not have those, write or call the company’s customer service department. They will ask you for the model number, the name of the seat, and date of manufacture. The manufacturer’s address and phone number are on a label on the seat. Also, be sure to follow the instructions in your vehicle owner’s manual about using car seats. Some manufacturers’ instructions may be available on their websites.

FAQ’s about Convertible Car Seats

  • How do I install a convertible car seat?

    • An infant or small toddler should be placed in the back seat — preferably in the middle — and must be facing toward the rear of the vehicle until 2 years of age, or until reaching the maximum weight and height limits recommended by the seat’s manufacturer. A child who reaches the height and weight limits before age 2 is safest in a bigger convertible seat and kept rear facing. Kids who are small can remain in rear-facing seats even after age 2. (Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for when to turn the seat.)
    • Read the owner’s manual for your vehicle to find out how to use your car’s seatbelts or LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system with a child safety seat.
    • Read the entire child safety seat manual. Be sure to check the recommended angle of recline for the seat when it is forward-facing and rear-facing.
    • Use your knee to push down on the seat as you tighten the car’s seatbelt (lap-only or lap/shoulder) or LATCH attachment belt through the child safety seat’s belt path. The seat should not move more than 1 inch (3 centimeters) side to side or forward and backward on the belt path. If the seat wiggles or moves on the belt path, the belt needs to be tighter.
    • Some seatbelts may require a special locking clip designed to keep the belt from loosening. Locking clips are available from baby product stores, safety seat manufacturers, and some car dealerships.
    • Be sure to check the tightness of the safety seat before each use.
  • Do car seats have an expiration date?

    • Most car seats will have an expiration date imprinted somewhere on the seat. Check the owner’s manual. This will provide you with the useful life of your seat. You will then need to check your seat’s Date of Manufacturer to determine the Month and Year you should stop use. When in doubt, the easiest thing to do is to call the manufacturer and ask them. Be sure to have your model number and date of manufacturer on hand, both can be found on the seat bottom or seat back.
  • How will I know if my car seat gets recalled?

    • Remember to fill out and mail in the registration card that comes with the car safety seat. Each manufacturer places a sticker with the model number and date of manufacture OR serial number on every car seat. This information can then be used to register your car seat. Once your product is registered, your manufacturer can notify you in the event of a recall.
  • Can I use my car seat after a crash?

    • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that car seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. Car seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash. NEVER use a car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • A minor crash is one in which ALL of the following apply:
      • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.
      • The vehicle door nearest the car seat was not damaged.
      • None of the passengers in the vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash.
      • If the vehicle has airbags, the airbags did not deploy during the crash; and
      • There is no visible damage to the car seat.
  • Where should I put my car seat?

    • According to healthychildren.org, the safest place to ride for all children younger than 13 years of age is in the back seat. If possible, it may be best to ride in the middle of the back seat. However, it is sometimes difficult to install a car safety seat tightly in the middle if the vehicle seat is narrow or uneven. Also, many vehicles do not have lower anchors for the middle seating position. It is safest to put the car safety seat in a position where you can install it tightly with either the lower anchor system or seat belt. In some cases, this may be on either side of the back seat rather than in the middle. A child passenger safety technician (CPST) can help you decide which place is best to install your child’s car safety seat in your vehicle.
  • Should my child ride in a car seat on an airplane?

    • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the AAP recommend that children less than 40 pounds be securely fastened in certified child restraints when flying. This will help keep them safe during takeoff and landing, or in case of turbulence. Most rear-facing, convertible, and forward-facing seats can be used on airplanes, but booster seats and travel vests cannot.
    • Read your seat’s instruction manual and look for a label on the car safety seat that says, “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” You can also consider using a restraint made only for use on airplanes and approved by the FAA. Larger children may use the airplane seat belt or continue to use their car safety seat on the airplane as long as it is labeled for use on aircraft, and the child has not exceeded the seat’s weight or height limit.
    • Remember that your child will need an appropriate car safety seat to use at your destination. For more information, visit the FAA Web site or the CARES Airplane Safety Harness for Children Web site.
  • Where can I find more information on car seat ratings?

    • NHTSA’s Car Seat Finder is an easy-to-use tool that lets you compare seats and ease-of-use ratings to find the right car seat for your child. Just fill out your child’s age, height and weight, and you’ll be provided with car seat types that fit your child.
  • Is there anything else I can do to ensure my child’s safety while in the car seat?

    • Once your seat is installed, you still need to place your child into it properly to ensure their safety. Below are specifics for the harness system in both rear and front-facing seats.
      • Remove bulky clothing or unnecessary layers.
      • Place your child so their backside is flush against the seat without arching or slouching.
      • All straps should lie flat against your child without twists or knots.
      • Straps should be snug but not too tight.
      • The chest clip should sit level with their armpits.
      • The shoulder straps should connect to the seat at or directly below their shoulders.
  • What are the car seat laws in my state?

Final Word

Car seat shopping can be overwhelming. My sincere hope is that this article helped alleviate some of your stress. Like I said in the introduction, there are no perfect car seats. However, there is a perfect car seat for your family. Rest assured that all of the car seats featured in this article are safe and stylish. All that’s left for you to do is choose a car seat that fits your car and budget. With any of the options listed above, your little one is sure to experience safe, happy travels. May God bless you on your journey!

Related
Brittany Spalding
Brittany Spalding is a wife, homeschool mom, writer, editor, and food allergy awareness advocate. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, restoring antique furniture, St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and fishing on the beautiful Kentucky Lake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *