Naturally as a parent, you want the best for your child. And when riding in the car, that means keeping them safe, secure and comfortable in their convertible car seat. Each child will need to spend at least a few years in one of these seats, so it’s important to find the model that best fits your needs and keeps them safe and sound every time they’re in the car.
That’s where our convertible car seat reviews come in! Great effort has been put into this painstaking 2016 review to help you find the best and safest convertible car seat. We wanted you to know the ins and outs of each of the top models so that you can choose for yourself which product is right for you.
What Is the Safest Convertible Car Seat?
Below, you will find a list of 10 of the safest car seat models on the market this year. Feel free to browse through our reviews to find a car seat that will fit best for you and your child. But in the mean time, if you are simply in a big rush and are looking for what I consider to be the absolute safest car seat on the market, look no further than the Diono Radian RXT.
This car seat is the safest for several reasons. First of all, it is one of the only types of car seats that has a frame made of full steel. Even though this makes the unit slightly heavier, it also makes it completely safe in the event of a collision or crash. Out of all the car seats available today, this seat is consistently rated as the safest convertible car seat.
Top 10 Convertible Car Seat Reviews
We’ve done the research and put in the time to show you the best convertible car seat options on the market. So without further ado, here is the grand top 10 list.
1. Diono Radian RXT
The Diono Radian RXT is the top rated car seat for many parents. This seat offers many qualities that other car seats do not. These are the only booster plus convertible seats that also offer an entirely full frame of steel. This makes them one of the safest seats on the market today.
It can be used as a rear or front facing seat. As a rear facing seat, it handles from 5 to 45 pounds overall. If you use this seat as a forward facing seat, it can be used for children from 20 to 80 pounds. Finally, if you use this seat as a booster seat for older kids, it can it up to 120 pounds overall. This is a great seat for infant body support as well. It has added comfort in the cushions with memory foam and a headrest that is adjustable and reinforced on the sidewalls.
Product Details and Specifications
The seat has a full steel frame. You can fit rear facing children from 5 to 45 pounds and forward facing children from 20 to 80 pounds. That’s an impressive range all in all, and you can expect to have this seat for up to 10 years. You have a reinforced headrest at the top that’s also adjustable, a cup holder and a harness system with SafeStop energy absorption for comfort and safety.
You already know that I love this car seat because it’s ultra safe. It is in my opinion one of the safest car seats on the market, and when parents ask me to choose the best car seat, I most often choose this model to recommend to them.
If you are really confused by all the ratings and options out there for car seats, just go with the Diono Radian RXT. You really can’t go wrong with this great seat, and kids also seem to love the way it feels when they sit in it.
2. Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat
The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat gets excellent reviews on Amazon. The amazing thing about this unit is that it grows and can be changed along with the child. Keep in mind that you won’t want to use this unit with infants as the minimum weight limit starts at 20 pounds.
When they are from 20 to 65 pounds, they can sit in the seat with a 5 point harness. When they are from 30 to 100 pounds, they can be in the seat as a high back booster, or if you prefer, children from 40 to 100 pounds can sit in the seat as a backless booster. This is great if, for example, you need car seats for 6 year olds.
The seat features an extended 5 point harness for kids and a durable frame that is made of reinforced steel. Use this seat only as a forward facing unit in the back seat of your vehicle. The pad is machine washable.
Product Details and Specifications
This car seat can be used by children from 20 to 100 pounds. It comes in 6 different color schemes on Amazon. Remember that height and weight restrictions absolutely must be met before you transfer your child to the next mode of the seat. If you fail to do this, it could be a safety issue.
This is probably the best deal I have seen for a 3 in 1 car seat that is also very safe and easy to use. It is also a most comfortable car seat for children. I know a few parents who have them and swear by them, so I think if a 3 in 1 type of seat is what you prefer, this is an excellent option.
If you’re looking for a great deal on a seat that will be safe, effective, comfortable and easy to use, this is probably the one you should choose. Because the seat can be used as a regular car seat, a high back booster or a backless booster, you will likely be able to use it until your child is finished needed any added seat protection in your car. In this way, you can really save on having to buy individual items.
3. Chicco Keyfit 30
The Chicco Keyfit 30 is one of the top car seats for newborns and very small infants. It fits babies from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30 inches. Many parents like the look of this seat as it is plain and simple but there are still a number of color schemes to choose from online as well. One thing that is quite unique about this seat is that you can also get it with the car seat caddy. This makes it a great purchase for when you want to be able to use the seat seamlessly as a carrier and a stroller. Your baby won’t have to move from device to device as they would have to do with multiple units of different types.
Product Details and Specifications
I love this seat for how well it keeps babies in place and how easy it is to install. I actually know someone who rolled her car while her baby was inside as well, and the child was completely fine when examined by a doctor. This is definitely the safest convertible car seat to have in that situation.
If you’re worried about how to install a car seat, this might be a great choice. For first-time parents, it’s very easy to install. This is also a wonderful seat for newborns and small babies, but don’t expect it to last years as babies weigh over 30 pounds and over 30 inches.
4. Combi Coccoro Harness
Many users of the Combi Coccoro Harness feel it is the best convertible car seat for infants as small as 3 pounds. Preemie parents love this seat as it provides total cushioned comfort with the patented Combi-tru safe side impact protection. Safety is very important to Combi, so they always get excellent safety ratings for their car seats in test crashes with dummies. In case of a crash, the safety mechanisms and tru-safe cushioning on the sides of the seat will help distribute impact so that it doesn’t focus on the baby’e neck, head and spine. This is exactly what you want in safety and comfort.
This is one of the safest convertible car seats that can be used in the rear facing fashion with the tether connector as well. There is also an indicator on the buckle that can help new parents see whether or not their harness has been buckled up securely.
Product Details and Specifications
You can purchase this car seat in 5 different colors. Use the seat for newborns as well as preemies because a child of only 3 pounds can be seated in it. The car seat accommodates children up to 40 pounds as well. The product weighs 19 pounds itself.
I have actually owned this seat, and I love it for many reasons. It’s very simple, and because of its size, I think it’s the best convertible car seat for a small car. Taking the seat out without the base is also super simple.
This seat got excellent safety ratings, and it has received great reviews from parents and other caretakers on Amazon. The Combi tru-safe impact protection provides great safety for kids of all sizes, especially protecting their head and neck.
5. Britax Pavilion G4
The Britax Pavilion G4 is a top seat for parents. The car seat has a special safecell technology in the fabric for both comfort and safety if a crash were to occur. The safecell technology actually lowers the center of gravity and helps a child stay in place even if the car is rolling or jerking from side to side. It literally hugs the child as the car is in motion.
There is a 5 point harness system in this seat. Extra comfort is available at the head of the seat to help restrain too much motion there. This is also great for when your child falls asleep in the car. You don’t want their head to bob from side to side, so the cushioning adds a lot of neck support. Finally, the click and safe snug harness is actually audible, so it helps you assure that you have your child safely in place with voice cues.
Product Details and Specifications
The seat comes in 2 colors. It can be used for children from 5 to 65 pounds.
I have noticed personally that the audible click and safe snug harness is great for a lot of dads who perhaps do not do too much traveling with their kids in the car. It helps them know how they’re doing when they fit their kid inside so that they can be sure they’re creating the safest convertible car seat.
Definitely this seat if you need help knowing how to lock your child into place in a car seat. The audible click and safe snug harness will tell you how you’re doing.
6. Peg Perego Premium
As far as convertible car seat reviews go, this is one you’ll like. The Peg Perego is one of the best seats on the market overall. It has easy adjustments on all levels from how you lock in the side impact protection to how you move the adjustable latch protectors. Because it can be used either forward or front facing, you have options as your child grows, and it’s perfect for newborns as well.
As you will see from examining this safest convertible car seat, it tends to be a little on the pricier side, so that is definitely something to consider. This seat does not convert into a booster either, so you would not be saving money there by killing two birds with one stone. With that being, said this is still a great seat for infants.
Product Details and Specifications
The seat comes in a number of different colors to fit the color scheme of your car. You can get green, blue, pink, red and a number of other colors. The seat can be used in the rear facing manner for children from 5 to 45 pounds, so it’s okay for newborns and even some preemies as long as you use the insert. If you use the seat as a forward facing seat, children can be from 22 to 65 pounds in weight.
I actually love this seat, but the problem is the price. If money is no object for you and your family, I would definitely recommend this seat. Otherwise, if you are looking to spend a little less on a car seat, consider one of the other models that is equally as durable and safe but not so expensive.
This is a great seat that has some of the top safety and comfort rankings on the market, but it is expensive to say the least.
7. Maxi Cosi Pria 70
The Maxi Cosi Pria 70 seat is a 23 pound car seat that can accommodate children from 9 pounds to 70 pounds. This means that depending on how big your newborn is, this may not be the car seat for you if you have a very little one for the first few months. And keep in mind that you’ll want to be able to safely transport preemies or 6 or 7 pound newborns to and from doctor’s appointments and other things, so never put a baby into a seat that shouldn’t be accommodating their size.
In terms of what people like about this car seat, it’s definitely durable and long-lasting. Parents said it was big in their car, but if you have a large vehicle this certainly will not be a problem for you. Finally, the seat has great safety ratings.
Product Details and Specifications
I have a few parents that I work with who have this seat, and they love it, but they also have bigger cars. Two are SUVs and one is a van. I love this seat for its structure. It looks safe, and you know it is safe. Keep in mind it’s a little more expensive.
If you have a large car, go for this seat! It will fit perfectly into bigger vans and SUVs. Small or compact cars should try another model.
8. Eddie Bauer XRS
The Eddie Bauer XRS is a great seat when you want something durable. It’s a heavy one weighing in at 65 pounds, but some parents like the sturdiness that this weight offers, and if you are going to be leaving it in your car at any rate and not switching it back and forth between multiple vehicles all the time, this should not be a big problem for you.
We love that you can flip the vehicle to the front or back depending on how old and big your child is as well. This car seat meets all of the appropriate safety ratings, and you can see from simply looking at it that it has an immense amount of cushioning at the base and all around up until the head. Take out the cushioned inserts as your child grows for added comfort.
Product Details and Specifications
The Eddie Bauer XRS only comes in one color scheme. The seat can be used facing forward or facing to the rear. When using it as a rear facing seat, the minimum weight is 5 pounds, so this seat is great for little preemies. In the rear facing scenario, the maximum weight is 40 pounds. Babies need to face forward when they reach 40 inches. When using it as a forward facing seat, the seat can be used with children from 22 pounds to 65 pounds and those who are 34 inches to 52 inches. This seat has a higher weight limit than many other car seats offer when in the forward facing position.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: this is the most durable car seat we have seen. If you have a little one who can be rough with their stuff, get this seat for sure. It even has flame retardant.
The Eddie Bauer XRS offers comfort and cushioning to children. It’s probably the best convertible car seat for kids who might scratch, kick or move around a lot because it is so durable. Spills are hard to see as well, and you can wash the covers when necessary.
9. Evenflo Tribute LX
The Evenflo Tribute LX is an inexpensive seat for most parents, which makes it a great purchase for new moms and dads who are spending a lot of money. It is a small and quite lightweight convertible car seat. Part of the reason for this is that it does not convert into a booster seat as other seats that are more expensive often do.
Children from 5 to 40 pounds can sit in this seat, but do not expect a newborn inlay. Some parents like this fact, and other prefer to have this extra cushion. The car seat features an upfront harness adjustment and a quick buckle release so it’s simple to maneuver and adjust according to your car and your baby’s size.
Product Details and Specifications
This seat fits children from 5 to 40 pounds. Remember that you cannot convert this seat into a booster as you can with many other seats. It is strictly a car seat for babies and infants. You can get the seat in a number of different color schemes, including gray, pink, black and turquoise.
I love that this seat is made in the USA, and I’ve seen it in cars. It looks nice and is a compact size, so a lot of parents who have small cars tend to choose this model. The price is also something that I like about this seat.
This would be a good seat for older babies, but it may not be the seat to buy for newborn infants because of the absence of a newborn inlay.
10. Safety 1st Summit Deluxe
The Safety 1st Summit Deluxe is a comfortable chair for kids with pivoting armrests and a cup holder that actually slides out. This seat offers keen side impact barriers for added protection in case of rough driving or a collision of any kind. The see accommodates children who are from 22 to 40 pounds, so it’s definitely for older ones as you can see. But one nice feature is that you can also convert this seat into a booster for kids who reach 57 inches and are 30 to 100 pounds. The booster the seat turns into offers a belt positioning system, which I like. I prefer the boosters that use the seat belts from the car instead of their own. I feel it is safer as many parents do.
Product Details and Specifications
The Safety 1st Summit Deluxe is for children who weigh 22 to 40 pounds as a forward facing seat. If you convert it to a booster seat with a high back, you can use it for kids between 30 and 100 pounds and those who are at least 57 inches tall. This makes this seat the best car seat for tall babies. The car seat has a detailed LATCH system and 3 different positions for the buckle in between the legs. It also as an isofix system. Keep in mind the unit does not recline too much if that is something you are looking for.
I think this is one of the best lower priced car seats on the market, but I do recommend that users think about several things before buying this seat. Remember that some reviewers have said the head rests don’t come far enough out for some kids, and the cup holder might be too far away as well.
This product is great for kids as they get older because it is a convertible car seat that turns into a booster. We love that is has a cup holder but do advise that this seat only be used for kids who would be tall or big enough to reach the cup holder. Otherwise, it is basically advertised for nothing because it won’t be useful if the child can’t even reach it.
Convertible Car Seat Safety Ratings 2016
As parents of children, you certainly want to only be looking at the top safety rated car seats available. “Consumer Reports” has convertible car seat ratings 2016 available because each year, they perform crash tests to figure out what the best car seats are out there. Here are the outcomes based on brand that they have done for 2016. As you can see, some brands are not tested by “Consumer Reports,” but see if you can find the brand of the car seats you are currently looking at on this chart.
Car Seat Brand
Crash Protection Rating From “Consumer Reports”
|Britax||BEST / BETTER|
|Evenflo||BEST / BETTER|
|The First Years||BEST|
|Safety First||BEST / BETTER|
So What Is the Safest Car Seat In Our Opinion?
Again, I am going to say that I truly think the Diono Radian RXT is the safest car seat on the market. It has all the bells and whistles of a great seat that will keep your child safe, happy and comfortable. But of course, the price is not what everyone wants to see. For that reason, I am going to also mention another car seat that I feel is one of the safest car seats on the market but a little less expensive than the Diono Radian RXT.
This is the Safety 1st Onside Air Convertible Car Seat. It is less than half the price of Diono Radian RXT and some of the other seats on the list, and it has great reviews for comfort and safety for children. But keep in mind that even though it is less than half the price of some of the other models, don’t think that this seat is cheap or not well-made. Safety 1st always gets top ratings in safety tests, and people seem to really like their products over all.
You can find the Safety 1st Onside Air Convertible Car Seat seat here on Amazon and read the excellent comments that many parents have made about it.
When Is a Child Ready for a Booster Seat?
It can be difficult sometimes for parents to know when they should switch their child from a car seat to a booster seat. General guidelines tell us that it is safe to switch a child into a booster when two key requirements are met.
First, your child needs to be at least four years of age. Second, they must also be too tall to fit in a car seat or weigh at least 40 pounds.
For some parents, this means that as soon as their child turns four years old, they are switching them from a car seat to a booster seat. Do not do this. By far, keeping your child in a car seat is the best way to keep them safe when driving, but this is only as long as they fit. It is only when a child is at least four and either weighs 40 pounds or more or is too tall for their car seat that they should be taken out and put into a booster. A child is too tall when their shoulders rise above where the strap slots are located.
Keep in mind that you may need to double check with specific laws on car seats and boosters in your state because some states have particular regulations.
What Should You Know About Boosters?
Many people don’t know this, but there’s actually a lot to learn about booster seats and booster seat safety. Making sure that your child is old enough and big enough to fit properly and safely into a booster seat is your first priority when it comes to this car seat device.
Once you are sure that your child is ready for a booster seat, you naturally need to know how to properly install it. Each booster seat is different, so you’ll need to read the manual that comes with your product. In addition, some parents think that because their children are ready for a booster seat, they can sit in the front seat of the car. This is not true.
Children who are four years of age or older are ready for booster seats if they weight over 40 pounds or are too tall for a traditional convertible car seat. But they still must sit in the back seat of the car. They cannot sit in the front seat, or they risk decapitation from an airbag in the event of a collision. In fact, children need to stay in the back seat of the car up until the age of 13 in most cases.
Boosters in the back seat help transition children from car seats to sitting regularly with a seatbelt. Children using booster seats do use seat belts, but they are raised high enough so that the safety belt hits them on bony areas of the body like the hips and shoulders. This is the safe way to have a seat belt on.
One last thing to know about booster seats is that when you are looking to purchase one, you will have the choice between a high back booster. You will learn more about high back boosters and backless boosters in the following sections.
What is a high back booster seat and when one is preferred?
High back booster seats are very similar to regular car seats for children, and that’s why a lot of parents like them. Their main purpose is not to strap the child in with the straps that come only from the seat but with the actual seat belt that is in the car. The seat itself does not even hook into the car. Instead, the seat belt holds the child back.
Many parents and caretakers who prefer the high back booster seats to backless booster seats have cars that have low seats or those that don’t have back seat headrests. In these cases, the high back protects the child’s neck and head while driving.
As you may have read in Graco Affix reviews, high back booster seats are also often recommended by some child and safety experts because they incorporate the car’s seat belt into the booster itself. This is unlike the backless booster that simply sits on the back seat of the car. There are strap slots in the back of high back booster seats that the seat belt from the car can be guided through for better safety and support. These slots also help guide the safety belt so that it hits the proper areas on the child’s body.
One downside to this booster seat model is that children often find it cumbersome the older they get. In some ways, the backless booster makes them feel older as they grow and restrains them less. These seats can also be difficult to transport if you’re planning to move them from car to car on a regular basis between uses.
I wanted to give you what I feel is the best high back booster seat on the market. It’s called the Maxi Cosi Rodi AP Booster Car Seat, and it can be found here on Amazon. You can get it in total black, steel grey or oragami rose.
If high back booster seats are something you’re looking to learn more about, please also consider reading my comprehensive guide on these seats in which I go into detail on several of the top models on the market. You can find it here.
Backless booster seats are just what they sound like! They are similar to a booster seat that you might use at the dinner table at home for your child. This product has no back, but it is simply a comfortable seat that hooks to the bottom of a back car seat. In addition, they often have arm rests on either side for the child.
Backless booster units are especially suitable for cars that have head rests that might otherwise interfere with the top of a high back booster. Smaller cars tend to take them better. In addition, they are smaller in overall size, so if you need to switch boosters from car to car, this may be the booster model for you.
Advocates of the backless booster model like that it is smaller and lighter weight. They also say that the backless models help transition children much better from car seats to regular seating without a seat or booster. On the other hand, some parents and caretakers do not like this type of booster seat for children because it does not incorporate a back and therefore does not have slots where the car’s seat belt can be guided in to better fit around the child.
In my opinion, the best backless booster seat on the market right now is the Evenflo Amp Performance No Back Booster Car Seat, which can be found here on Amazon. Get this backless booster in either red, green, blue or pink. It is a great seat that always gets great reviews on Amazon. People love it. It is also extremely inexpensive as far as booster seats go.
If you would like to learn more about backless boosters and how to choose the best of these seats for your child, you should also feel free to read our comprehensive guide on high back boosters found here.
In addition to high back booster seats and backless models, there are also combination booster seats. Combination seats are forward facing car seats that actually grow along with your children. In this way, they are both car seats for young children and booster seats for the same children as they get bigger and require different seating in the car.
Most of these types of seats have a 5-point internal harness. When the seat is being used as a car seat, the harness holds the child in, and later, you can turn the seat into a booster. As the child gets older and taller, the back of the seat on combination seats moves up, or you may choose to remove the back entirely and create a backless booster if that’s what you prefer.
These combination seats are actually the perfect choice for parents who want to be able to transfer the booster to and from multiple cars. They are also great because they allow you to save money on buying entirely new seats for your children. Remember not to confuse combination seats with convertible car seats. They are not the same thing, and combination seats cannot be faced to the rear of the car.
Multi Mode Seats
Multi mode seats present the epitome of the changeable and convertible car seat for children. These seats can function as car seats for small children and booster seats for older children, and in addition, they can face the front or the rear. Many people think that this is the seat for them when searching for car safety equipment, but there are definitely some other things to keep in mind here.
First of all, these seats seem pretty amazing, and some of them are, but for that reason, they can be rather expensive. In addition, because of all the changes they are expected to make, arranging, adjusting and maneuvering these beasts can be a challenge.
Finally, some experts say that because of the multi-featured nature of these seats, it is not definite that each function is at its best on multi mode seats. In other words, sometimes a seat that was made to be a rear facing car seat for infants and is only to be used for that purpose is better than one that needs to fit many different situations as is the case with the multi mode model.
Luxury Car Seats
Many don’t know this, but yes, there are actually luxury baby car seats for your little ones as well! These seats can cost a pretty penny, but they come with the best bells and whistles. Elite car seats like these are used by the most famous mommies and daddies in Hollywood.
For example, first we have the music artist Gwen Stefani who uses the Brio Zento red and black seats for her two sons named Zuma and Kingston. This is a seat that can be used as soon as your baby is born up until your child is 7 years old. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have a whole slew of children who need to be carted around as well. For them, Zahara and Shiloh used a luxury Graco Junior Mini seat. High end car seats are also available from the brands you use!
The high end car seat that we want to highlight here for you, however, is the seat used by such celebrities as Nicole Richie, Jessica Alba and Halle Berry. These moms love the Orbit Baby G3 Toddler Convertible Car Seat. This model comes in both black and red, and it’s a bit pricey. But the breathable car seat has everything a parent could want for their child.
It comes with a stroller base for easy transition to the stroller, you can side-face your baby when you load, and there is a deep cradle system for maximum side impact protection. All the materials used in the making of this product are also green and totally environmentally friendly. Finally, there is a sleek panel in the back where all dangling and manual straps can be stored away. If you want high-end for your baby, this may be right up your alley!
Rear Facing Car Seat Reviews
Typically speaking, rear facing only car seats are used for small infants who are as big as 22 – 40 pounds. Keep in mind that this will depend in large part on the model of the car seat as well, so you should always read weight limits on the products you examine.
Rear facing car seats tend to have handles that you can carry them by, and they may come fastened to the stroller system too. You should only use rear facing car seats when you travel in the car. Do not use them when a child is sleeping or eating, and never use them when you’re not in the vehicle.
Safety 1st OnBoard Air 35
The Safety 1st OnBoard Air 35 is a great rear facing car seat for children who are from 4 to 35 pounds. This seat is especially great for newborns and even preemies as you can see. There is a front adjustment 5 point harness system on the unit, and a stay in car base that you can also adjust. I love this product because it’s made in the USA, you don’t need batteries or any extras, and it can accommodate a small 4-pounder safely and easily.
Reviewers of this seat even said that you might be able to use the car seat without the base if, for example, you wanted to be able to take the car into a taxi. One downfall potentially is that a few reviewers mentioned the seat getting too hot and sweaty for babies inside. This may mean that the fabric is not ultra breathable for them.
Cybex Aton 2
The Cybex Aton 2 is a comfortable car seat for children. The base has a load leg that is adjustable and helps to disperse energy as shocks do in a car. This helps the baby have a smoother ride and be safer. Side impact padded covers also protect the baby well. This seat also provides a unique canopy that has an SPF protection rate of 50 for your child. You can use it or fold it away.
There is also a great newborn inlay helps fit newborn babies into the seat, and you can remove this as they get older and fit regularly into the seat. This seat is also extremely unique because it actually comes with a method of installation for European cars. If you are going to be traveling overseas or if you go back and forth often, this could be the infant car seat for you.
Cosco Light n Comfy Elite
The Cosco Light n Comfy Elite (Upgraded and re-branded as Cosco Light n Comfy DX) is one of the lightest infant baby seats on the market, and that is one of the reasons that we like it so much. For this reason, it’s a great rear facing seat for when you want to be able to transfer the seat from car to car often. I have some parents I know who use the same car seat between two cars, and they might need to literally change the seat every day. This is great for them as it has an extra lightweight design.
There are also protectors on either side for side impact safety, and there is a 5 point harness. The LATCH system also comes with latch storage. Again, this is a great car seat for little newborns and even preemies because it has a newborn inlay that can help them fit safely and snugly into the cushioned seat. This rear facing seat can accommodate a baby from 4 pounds to 22 pounds, and they can be up to 29 inches tall.
Are Car Seat Covers Safe?
Are car seat covers safe? I get this question a lot. First of all, let’s talk about what exactly a car cover is. There is such a thing called a car seat cover or a car seat canopy as many people describe them. These are very popular devices that it seems almost all babies have on their car seats, and this is especially true in cold climates. The car seat covers are designed to protect the child and keep them warm. They can also shield babies against the elements like rain and snow when they are going back and forth in and out of your vehicle.
But this brings to question whether or not these devices are truly safe for babies. Certainly, if a mom or dad is definitely going to want to cover the car seat as they carry it, a professionally made car cover is better than simply popping a blanket over the top and trying to hold on to the handle of the car seat at the same time. Actual car seat covers are handy in this regard because they have a hole where the hand of the seat can go through and you can hold on tightly.
It is equally important to keep your baby warm during the cold autumn and winter months, and this, a car seat cover can do very well. The worry that most experts agree on, however, is that when a baby is covered like this, it is possible for them to essentially rebreathe their own carbon dioxide. Many professionals think this could lead to SIDs. And unfortunately, it is a silent process. Not being able to see your child through the cover means that you don’t know if they are truly alright or not.
There is also the worry of positional asphyxiation, which can occur if your baby’s head is tilted up too far so that the airway is cut off. With a car seat cover on, you would not be able to see this until it was too late. The best thing to do is to get a breathable fabric and make sure to check on your baby often through the cover or canopy.
How to Clean a Car Seat?
It is important to keep your child’s car seat clean and sanitary. This is for safety reasons, but it is also because car seats that have food or other stains on them can begin to smell and become unsanitary. You don’t want to have to smell that in your care while you drive, and you don’t want your child to be sitting in filth either.
To clean a car seat, first remove the straps. These can be washed in the washing machine along with the seat cover. To remove the seat cover, you will need to take off the strap hole prongs. There are usually four or more of these, and you may need a pair of pliers to get them out. Once they’re off, you should be able to pull the cloth seat cover off and throw it in the washing machine.
Keep in mind that each car seat is different, so it is possible that this procedure may vary from seat to seat. Always follow the instructions given to you by the manufacturer. A video tutorial showing how to remove the straps, strap prongs and seat cover for washing can be seen here.
What is a Belt Positioning Booster Seat?
Belt positioning booster seats are for those children who have a height and weight above the limit for normal forward facing seats but who may not fit an adult vehicle seat belt yet. Typically speaking, most vehicle seat belts will not fit until children are around 8, 9, 10 or 11 years of age. Children usually need to be at least 4 feet and 9 inches before they will fit adult seat belts in cars.
The belt positioning booster seat lifts the child up so that they can use the seat belt that is already in the car, but then the seat also has a way to adjust the seat belt so that it hits the child’s body on key places that are rather bony and would be strong against a collision if that were to occur. These areas are generally where seat belts hit you if you are in the car. We are talking about the shoulder and hip area.
What Is the LATCH System Weight Limit?
You may have heard of LATCH, but what does this stand for? Well, it isn’t simply a term referring to latches. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. This is the system that is used in most cars to hook a car seat up to the actual car itself. Remember that for younger children and babies, the actual seat belts in the car are not being used to help the child stay in place. Instead, the seat needs to be anchored to the car so that the straps from the car seat can hold them in.
It is important to remember that LATCH is not safe than a seat belt, but in the cases of small children, it is what is used most. Never use LATCH and the seat belt in a car together to safeguard a child. Use one or the other. There are a few car seats that use them together, but this is quite rare.
Lower anchors are what you attach the LATCH system to. If you don’t know already, lower anchors are metal bars that are within the seat crack of your vehicle’s seats. These anchors cannot be seen, but there is usually a tag that sticks out to denote the anchors. These anchors have weight limits on them so that you can look to see how much you can attach. Typically, these weight limits will accommodate children in their seats up to 90 pounds, but keep in mind that you must add together the weight of your child and the weight of the car seat itself.
Why Should You Listen to Me?
You may be wondering why you should even listen to me when it comes to what car seat to purchase for your child. Well, I’m a mother. Doesn’t that say it all? Actually, I also have a daycare, so that is even more incentive for me to know a lot about child safety equipment like this.
I have 3 kids, the youngest of who actually just transferred to not needing anything in the car for safety besides an adult seat belt. He’s 10 years old and just passed the 4 feet 9 inch mark. I remember when I had my first child, and I was so scared about riding in the car with him. That was before I started caring my other people’s children with my childcare business, and I had no idea which model to buy for my daughter. I actually bought 3 different seats and tried them all!
This was also at a time when the internet was not as big so finding reviews like this one I am writing wasn’t exactly easy. I did tons of research and called different car seat companies to ask the pressing questions. Since then, I have had other moms and dads asking me questions about car seats almost every week.
I always wanted the best and safest products for my kids, and I certainly want to give the parents I work with the best information, so I do my research! I stay up to date on new technologies for car and booster seats, and I feel like at this pint, I know all there is to know. That’s why I’m writing this review. I wanted to share my knowledge with you.
Convertible Car Seat FAQ
Q: Are car seats needed for airplane travel?
A: On airplanes, children, young adults and adults must all wear their seat belts during turbulence while in plight and during take off and landing, so of course, babies and infants must also be strapped in in some way during these times to ensure their safety.
According to the FAA or Federal Aviation Administration, it is recommended that those babies and infants who are less than 40 pounds have specifically certified infant restraints when they fly. To ensure that your baby seat fits the standards, you should check that the proper FAA label is on the product.
Q: What kind of car seats should preemies be in?
A: Preemie babies do not necessarily have specialty car seats made for them, but you can’t find car seats that are appropriate for their small size and weight. When it comes to finding a car seat that will fit your child, the thing that you need to pay attention to most is their weight.
If your child is very small but can sit comfortably in a reclined or relaxed position, rear facing car seats will usually be best for them. You should test comfortable and safe sitting positions with your baby while they are still at the hospital and under a doctor’s care.
Q: What do I need to know if my child will be riding in the car with someone else?
A: In some cases, such as for nursery school or childcare, your child may need to ride in a car driven by someone else. If this car is not yours, it is certainly possible that you will need to use a different car seat. In that case, it is up to you to make sure that this seat will fit properly and can be used for the size and age of your child.
One thing you can do is check with your childcare provider or school because most of them usually have guidelines that they follow for child transport, and they should have the appropriate seats that you deem necessary for your child.
Where to Buy Convertible Car Seat
Figuring out where you will buy the best convertible car seat for your children can seem like a rather daunting task. Of course, you want to get the best products on the market, so you may be concerned about where you buy the products that have to do with the safety of your children.
Many parents and up going to brick and mortar stores to purchase these types of products, and while there are some options that can be found at these big box stores, you will inevitably end up having to go to multiple locations to find what you’re looking for. In addition, you may not get the best deals that are out there for car seats.
If you really want to find the greatest deals on convertible car seats, the best place to look is on the Internet, and you should specifically look on sites like Amazon who have literally thousands of options when it comes to car seats and other paraphernalia for your babies and children.
One nice thing about Amazon is that you have a lot of options, and you will also be able to read the descriptions of each product along with comprehensive reviews from real buyers who have purchased the items you’re looking at and used them.
When looking for the safest convertible car seat, you will can also get the best deals at Amazon because they always seems to at least price match their competitors or have lower prices altogether. Lastly, most of our readers love Amazon because you can get amazing shipping rates and even free options. This means that if you need a new convertible car seat quickly and you don’t have time to read over tons of convertible car seat reviews, you can get it cheaply in only a few days!
Summary and Conclusion to Help You Make a Final Decision
Figuring out what the best convertible car seat for your child is can be a a lot of work and very confusing! One search on Amazon for children’s car seats can definitely leave you in a daze. You are probably going to get a lot of advice from friends and relatives as well, and that can make things even more confusing for you. We have gone over a lot in these convertible car seat reviews, so it’s possible that you are feeling a little overwhelmed right now in general.
But it’s important not to stress too much about this issue. The bottom line when it comes to purchasing a convertible car seat for your child is that you find one that fits for them. The safest seat for a child is always going to be the one that fits their body the best, fits inside your car well, and can be used according to the directions and guidelines in all situations. Keep in mind that every child is different, and every car is different as well. So this means that just because your neighbor has one car seat model, that doesn’t automatically mean that that model will be right for you and your child too.
I should also note that if you were looking for best compact convertible car seat for a small car and you didn’t find a qualifying choice here, you can check my review written specifically with smaller cars in mind here.
All in all, I hope you enjoyed reading this lengthy review! I put a lot of time and energy in to it, and in addition to all of the research that I did talking to manufacturers, children’s experts and reading online, I also talked to parents themselves. This is because I feel the true test of a car seat is when a parent is able to use it with their kids and see whether it can actually live up to its potential.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read our reviews, and good luck on your search for the best convertible car seat for your child!