There is no safer way to ensure that your baby enjoys a car ride than strapping him/her into a convertible car seat. These car seats are designed to not only protect the baby at all times but also to provide them with a comfortable, luxurious ride for them to enjoy. Now, we should point out that the market has an awful lot to offer when it comes to convertible car seats and understandably so considering how inexpensive some of them are. To give you some pointers on the matter, we decided to put together a list of the ten best convertible car seats the market has to offer and what characteristics to look for when buying one.
Best Convertible Car Seats Of 2018
10Evenflo SafeMax Nico
This great infant car seat that features a SafeZone Base that integrates an anti-rebound bar for absorbing and also dissipating crash forces to protect your baby. The SafeMax allows you to travel peacefully knowing your baby is well secured. Moreover, its lightweight design provides easy portability and use. It is also ideal for 4 to 35 lbs children, but feel free to adjust the car any other way you want if your baby is slightly larger.
9Chicco KeyFit 30
The top-rated KeyFit 30 by Chicco is designed with revolutionary features to make it one of the best, easiest infant car seats out there, especially given its simple, accurate, and secure installation. To comfortably fit newborns, its carrier has soft ergonomic head and body supports which are easily detachable to accommodate growing babies. Its 5-point harness with an easy tightener keeps the baby secure. Moreover, the carrier has EPS energy-absorbing foam shell lining for advanced impact protection and an easy-adjust canopy that offers a great amount of sun protection.
8Britax USA Advocate
This is one of the most improved convertible car seats out there. Made by Britax, this convertible car seat features an innovative ClickTight Installation System that leaves you fully satisfied that it is correctly, safely, and comfortably installed. Moreover, it integrates a proprietary 3-layer side impact protection and an impact absorbing base, recommending it as one of the safest car seats for children use.
Graco’s Extend2Fit is another top-performance car seat that boasts a 4-position extension panel for providing 5 inches of more legroom to offer your child a safer rear-facing longer ride. Rear-facing, it can be used by children from 4 to 50 lbs; forward-facing from 22 through 65 lbs. Its harness and headrest height is adjustable as the child grows up, while an InRight LATCH ensures a split-second installment.
6Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Flex 120
The new Peg Perego’s Primo Viaggio is a premium-grade convertible car seat you can trust. It features EPS side foam integrated into the head panels and in the shell for great side impact protection to your baby. This feature is simple to adjust, even when the baby is in the seat. This wide-padded seat also has a detachable cushion for infants and a functional quick-release 5-point safety harness.
5Safety 1st Grow and Go
From the maiden ride together coming from maternity hospital to their soccer day car spins, this Grow and Go car seat provides your little one with a more comfortable, safer ride. Adjustable to comfortably transition with the growing child, it is a convertible car seat whose design supports your needs all impeccably. It has a harness holder for keeping the harness in an open position, ensuring your baby easily gets in and out of the seat. Furthermore, both the seat’s harness and comfortable headrest are easily adjustable.
4Disney APT Mouseketeer Minnie
Travelling with your baby is all fun when you enlist the comfort and versatility of Disney APT Mouseketeer Minnie. It offers your child a cozy and safe rear-facing ride up to 40 pounds and/or 40 inches tall. And when you want an equally safe and comfortable seat for your taller toddler, Disney Minnie will aptly convert into a forward-facing position to accommodate them in style and great comfort.
3Evenflo Symphony Elite
With an all-in-one design, the Evenflo Symphony Elite convertible car seat comfortably fits children of 5 to 110 lbs, and it is another great choice for rear-facing, forward-facing and also booster purposes. Its unique auto-retracing LATCH connectors make it a breeze to install in your car. It features a 5-point harness that slides easily to adjust for a custom fit for your child’s comfort. It also boasts a proprietary e3 Side Impact Protection feature that alleviates impact forces significantly to protect your baby.
2Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1
The Guide 65 by Safety 1st is a high-quality convertible car seat that offers ideal fit in smaller cars or leaves even greater space in larger ones. It helps you ensure your child is securely comfortable in either rear or forward-facing positions. Rear-facing, Guide 65 offers them comfort up to 40 pounds, then you can easily change it to the forward-facing position to provide them a snug fit in its 5-point harness until they are 65 pounds and more.
1Graco 4Ever Matrix
This is considered a highly loved car seat by popular opinion, one that is convenient for you and comfortable for your kid since it easily transitions from a rear-facing infant seat to a forward-facing five-point harness seat, to a high-back belt positioning booster and then to a backless belt-positioning (booster). For a superb fit, an integrated adjustable harness system plus 10-position headrest allows you to easily adjust the headrest and harness together without rethreading. Interestingly enough, the seat is multi-reclining for added comfort and it is also fairly easy to install.
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Convertible Car Seat Buying Guide
Given the sheer variety available, you might run into certain obstacles when choosing a convertible car seat to best fit your baby, especially if you lack the time to educate yourself on what characteristics best describe a quality seat to begin with. One thing to consider is that all of these seats are built to meet specific standards and safety regulations set by car manufacturers and governmental bodies. With this in mind, you should perhaps figure out what type of car seat to purchase before getting into the specifics.
Types of Car Seats
Although we’re mostly focusing on convertible car seats, we should point out that there are also infant car seats that you can use and they differ ever so slightly. There are also booster seats that you can use and these seats are designed to lift your child to some extent. Of all car seats, however, convertible seats seem to stand out as the most popular due to how convenient and easy to install they are.
Infant Car Seats – These seats are intended for newborns and babies of up to at least one year of age. They are rear-facing and have a weight limit of between 22 and 35 lbs, meaning that you should use them for less than a year until the baby grows enough to warrant a new seat. Most of the time, these seats allow for a head positioning pillow to be installed along with a detachable base and carrier that allows you to move the child with ease when they’re sleeping.
Convertible Car Seats – With convertible car seats, the baby can be positioned either rear-facing or forward-facing depending on the design of the seat. These seats have a weight limit that goes between 40 and 70 lbs, a lot more than infant car seats. We should also point out in this respect that rear-facing car seats are much safer overall and that they also sometimes benefit from a 3-in-1 design that allows them to transform into a booster seat.
Booster Seats – Once the child grows over 40 lbs in weight, you should consider investing in a booster seat. These seats have a weight limit that goes far over 40 lbs and can accommodate not only toddlers but children as old as four. Furthermore, these seats are designed to lift your child to the point where the vehicle lap and shoulder belts fit just as they would fit a grown adult. It also has to be said that booster seats can be high-back or backless depending on the manufacturer.
Convertible Car Seat Parts
Latch – The term ‘latch’ in this context is an acronym and refers to the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. This is the part that enables you to install the car in any direction onto the car seat. The purpose of the latch is to make the seat belt installation as safe as possible and to ensure that the convertible car seat stands firmly in place at all times. We should also point out that cars made after the early 2000s usually possess LATCH points on the outboard seats to facilitate the installation of convertible car seats.
Top Tether – The top tether is built into the LATCh system and involves a metal hook point to tighten its grip on the car seat. For the most part, the top tether is used for any forward-facing child seat in a 5-point harness to prevent forward movement in the event of a collision. As of lately, even back-facing convertible car seats tend to involve a similar contraption, although slightly different in shape.
Head Support With Side Impact Protection – This part provides additional side-impact protection and is usually built into the convertible car seat. Furthermore, the bottom of the head support feature is usually positioned above the child’s shoulders and should always be set up as such to provide an optimal head protection. If possible, you can also choose to reinforce this protection feature with additional accessories.
Harness Slots – Harness slots are supposed to fasten the child safely and comfortably inside the seat at all times. While some seats have no-rethreaded harnesses, some feature adjustable harness slots that you can change as the child grows. The harness is intended to distribute force across the child’s body during the ride and to protect the child by reducing the shock of any traffic collision.
Recline – The purpose of a recline is to help with the convertible car seat’s storage and installation. For the most part, the recline is only intended for safety rather than to be used as a comfort feature. We should point out that the seat should be in a reclined position when the seat is rear-facing and in an upright position for forward-facing installation types; while you may adjust the convertible seat to best suit the inside of your car, you are advised to always set up the seats this way.
Release Button – A release button has the intended purpose of tightening or loosening the child into the car seat. By pressing the release button or lifting the flap, you can loosen the straps in order to allow your child to climb in and out of the seat safely and easily. In order to tighten the grip, you have to pull the strap that hangs from the button or flap until the straps are in a snug fit.
Retainer Clip – Most American car seats have retainer clips, especially the newer models. The purpose of a retainer clip is to secure the child at an armpit level to minimize the child’s balance during the drive and to reduce the damage of any sudden turns or accidental events. You will also find that some manufacturers refer to a retainer clip as a chest clip for obvious reasons.
Infant Insert – We should point out that most convertible car seats come with infant inserts that are sometimes adjustable to fit your baby’s needs. The designated purpose of an infant insert is to load and unload the baby as easily and as comfortable as possible. Some of these inserts can be attached to carriers and tend to be fan-shaped to ensure a proper airflow and by keeping the baby in a comfortable position at all times.