A convertible car seat converts from a rear-facing seat for infants and young toddlers to a forward-facing seat for older toddlers, and small children. Some will even convert to booster seats for older children. Here at Convertible Car Seat Central you will discover how to find the best convertible car seat for your child, along with reviews and things you should look for when purchasing a convertible car seat. Also, check out our Comparison Guide, here you will find a comparison chart to help you decide which convertible car seat is right for your child.
A Look at the Top Convertible Car Seats
The car seats featured below are some of the best on the market. They have safety features that are second to none, and they not only ensure your child is as safe as possible, but that he or she is comfortable at all ages and weights. When a car seat grows with your child, it offers them reassurance in having something routine in their lives, and it saves you money in the long run, too.
Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat
The Graco Nautilus is available in several colors and it is suitable for children from 20-100 pounds and 27-57 inches. The Nautilus is steel reinforced for durability and strength. It has been engineered to meet or exceed all regulations, and crash tested to ensure your child will be as safe as possible no matter their age. The EPS energy absorbing foam offers effective impact energy management, and it can withstand extreme interior temperatures of any vehicle. The 5-point harness helps ensure your child’s safety. This car seat works for infants, toddlers, and young children. Start with rear-facing, move to forward-facing, then use it as a booster seat for older children. It’s the only car seat you’ll ever need to buy for your child. Saving you money, time and energy!
RECARO ProRIDE Convertible Car Seat
The RECARO ProRIDE is available in several colors. It boasts High-Performance Safety and has been tested to international standards. The 5-point harness and intelligent design protects your child during any side-impact incident, and more. The head wings shield your child’s face and head, while the headrest limits neck movement. Other safety features include side, hip, and thigh reinforcements, which all help to stabilize the torso and pelvis areas. You can use this as a rear-facing car seat and a forward-facing seat.
Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat
This safe and comfortable convertible car seat grows with your child and features a 5-point harness, as well as many other safety features. It can recline in 3 different positions, keeping your growing child as comfortable as possible. An easy-to-read level indicator offers a hassle-free installation, so this car seat can be moved from one vehicle to another with ease. Other features include EPS energy absorbing foam, side-impact testing, 1-second latch attachment feature, and more. Keep your child safe and comfortable in the Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat!
Britax USA Advocate Click Tight Convertible Car Seat
The Click Tight convertible car seat by Britax might possibly be the easiest on the market to install. It’s safe and simple! Simply open the front of the car seat, buckle the seat belt across, and click the seat shut. SafeCell Impact Protection includes a steel frame, along with an energy-absorbing base. The V-shaped tether minimizes seat rotation, and stage-release stitches help reduce forward movement during any crash. It also boasts three layers of side impact protection. An audible click aids you in proper tightening of the harness, ensuring your child is snug and secure. The harness can be positioned 14 ways, and the buckle 2 ways, keeping your child safe and comfortable as he or she grows.
What to Look for When Buying A Car Seat
Some things to look for when purchasing a convertible car seat include:
- Ease of Use: Some things to look for include how easy the car seat is to install, and to place your child in at various positions and ages. Look for simple harness adjustments, seat belt adjustments, and whether it’s easy to get your child out of quickly, just in case…
- Installation: Some car seats are difficult to install properly, and they can be very confusing. You might be surprised how many people are driving their children around in an improperly installed seat, unknowingly risking their child’s life. Find one that you are confident you can easily install. Especially if you move the car seat to and from multiple vehicles. You’ll want something you can remove and install easily.
- Securing the Child: Make sure the harness adjusts easily to ensure your child is secure, yet still comfortable. Look for a head rest for infants and toddlers that is comfortable and well cushioned. And consider the side cushions, and type of impact foam used, too. Other things to consider are reclining positions, so the car seat will easily grow with your child. Is the car seat easy to secure your child properly?
- Whether or Not the Instructions Are Easy to Read and Understand: Look at the instructions, if possible, before purchasing any car seat. Are they understandable and easy to read? Look online, if you are unable to view them in-store. You can always have a professional install the car sear if instructions are unclear to you.
- Weight: Consider the weight restrictions on the convertible car seat you are thinking about purchasing. Make sure it will safely hold up to the weight in which you need it. Some car seats convert to booster seats, which will hold older children, some only convert from rear-facing to forward-facing, so decide what you want and need before buying.
- Easy Adjustments: Look for easy adjustments on harnesses, seat belts, head rests, and any other features of the car seat. When it’s cold outside, or when you’re in a hurry, you don’t want to be struggling to properly secure your child, or get them out of their car seat.
- LATCH: Since it is estimated that 3 out of 4 car seats are improperly secured, the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system was developed to help make installation easy without having to use seat belts. Since 2002 nearly all new vehicles have been equipped with the LATCH system. They are required to have anchor points between the seat’s cushion and back in at least two rear seating positions. Car seats have tether straps or rigid connectors that will hook into these anchors, thus eliminating the need to secure the car seats with seat belts. You can still use seat belts to secure the car seat, if you prefer.
- Comfort: Along with safety, you need to ensure your child is comfortable. Comfort will help keep your child happy and feeling good, thus making any car trip more pleasant for everyone involved. Look for cushioning, design, harness construction, etc.
What Does the NHTSA Safety Rating Really Mean?
NHTSA stands for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While tests with car seats often show them flying when the car is impacted, it’s actually not as bad as some of the videos make it out to be. We would be hearing more about it, if this was happening in real life accidents on a regular basis. Crash test videos might be valuable in analyzing car seat performance in a crash, but real life car crash data trumps all the simulations. Of the real world crashes studied, very few infants were injured in rear-facing car seats.
Car seats absolutely save lives. We should keep pushing for higher safety standards, but testing requirements should also be weighed carefully in order to determine what will actually result in safer car seats.
It’s also important to note that some of the crash test videos that show car seats flying, are not the result of poorly constructed car seats, but also include how the car was hit, and the position it was crunched up in, etc. The same car seat in different crash simulations might react differently every time. It might remain intact 5 out of 6 tests, for example.
If you purchase a good quality car-seat with high ratings and durability, and make sure it’s installed properly, you will be helping to ensure your child is as safe as possible. Shop around and be informed, and look for safety features and comfort! You’ll have peace of mind knowing you are doing everything in your power to keep your child safe and comfortable. Finding the best convertible car seat for your child should be easier than ever now that you know what to look for and expect.