Lightweight Convertible Car Seats For Infants and Toddlers
Getting your kids safely into the car before driving can be tough—especially if you have more than one! And when your kids need a car seat for the ride, things can get even more difficult. There are straps to tighten and adjustments to make, and sometimes, you even have to carry and install the seat itself into the vehicle. This is true for many parents who share a convertible car seat between cars.
So it makes sense that you want the lightest convertible car seat you can find, and that’s where this extremely comprehensive review comes in. I hope you are able to learn a thing or two and find a lightweight convertible car seat that fits you and your family’s needs.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Britax USA Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
- Side impact protection, formed by a deep foam-lined shell, absorbs energy and shields your child from the most dangerous type of collision
- Price: See Here
- 2014 Maxi Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat
- Features air protect revolutionary side impact technology, immediately reduces impact forces through the precise release of air in headrest
- Price: See Here
- Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat, Matrix
- Recline Sure 9-position leveling system provides the most recline options of any convertible seat for an accurate fit in a wider range of vehicles
- Price: See Here
The Benefits of Buying a Lightweight Convertible Car Seat
Contrary to popular belief, a lightweight car seat is not just important for driving around town while you run errands. You also need to ensure that you have a car seat for other forms of travel. For example, these kinds of seats are very much needed on plane rides and on long distance car rides. There are many unique benefits to buying a lightweight car seat!
- They are essential for fitting easily into compact cars and not added a lot of extra weight and bulk to your car load
- Great for families who share a car seat for multiple cars
- Easier to transport on an off planes
- Great when using the car seat to also transport small babies by hand or in a stroller
- Helpful when taking inside for cleaning or repairs
Again, let us mention how important finding the best convertible car seat for travel is as well. We’re talking long distance travel either in the car or a plane. For example, many parents do not understand that car seats are not provided for air travel, so it’s important that you bring your own.
This can come as a shock to some people who have bulky, heavy car seats. You certainly don’t want to have to lug a heavy seat on and off a plane. And additionally, if your baby is seated next to someone else, a large car seat could cause problems. This is yet another reason to opt for a lightweight car seat that is also compact.
Best Lightweight Convertible Car Seats
Of course you want the best convertible car seat for travel, so let’s get you one! Below, you will find a list of the top 5 best travel car seats that are also extremely lightweight and easy to transport. Browse through the list and the specs of each seat to find the model that will best suit the needs of you and your family.
1. Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible
In addition, the Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible car seat features special safeguards that will protect them from severe side impacts in the case of an accident or collision. The expertly made steel frame and impact absorbing base will do the best job at keeping your baby safe. Finally, there are premium fabrics and padding used in the making of this product, and you will get the added bonus of having a removable pillow that is especially nice for newborns and very small infants. These tiny little ones may be slightly small for the cradling of the base, so adding the pillow can help keep them snug inside while you drive. As usual, this car seat can fit rearward or forward in your vehicle.
The Britax Marathon ClickTight can be purchased in several fun color designs, including cowmooflage, twilight, verve, rio, vibe and prescott.
Robust side impact protection made from foam lined energy absorbent shell
Very sturdy and durable
Easy to install Clicktight system
The dial on the Clicktight is too difficult to turn
2. Maxi-Cosi Pria 70
There is also an excellent harness height adjustment system in the front that can be changed with just one hand. This adjustment also allows for minute changes to make the fit of your child perfect. The rear facing adjustments are easy to make as well. One thing that parents were slightly annoyed by with this car seat was the fact that it weighs 18 pounds, which is slightly more than some of the other lightweight models but less than most regular car seats. Some parents also voiced concern about the price.
The 2014 Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 car seat can be purchased in a number of classic color schemes to match your vehicle. These colors include the total black model as well as the walnut brown, steel grey, mineral grey and dress blue models.
Air protect safety system
Excellent harness height adjustment system
Very versatile, can be used both rear and front facing
Hard to thread installation belt
3. Chicco NextFit
Safety features are prevalent on this model as well. There is a SuperCinch LATCH Tightener included in the model, which gives the the tightest and most secure connection of any seat without having to put forth a lot of elbow grease. It is also extremely easy to convert the seat from a rear facing model to a forward facing model. This can be done simply and in only a few steps with the integrated slide path for repositioning and altering the LATCH straps. When installing this car seat, there are 2 RideRight bubble levels to watch so that you can make sure you have the seat at the correct and optimal level and height.
The Chicco NextFit convertible car seat can be purchased in 3 colors, including mystique, purple and studio.
Deep headwings with EPS foam
Designed for all growth stages, can be used both rear and front facing
Simple installation with LATCH system utilizing SuperCinch technology
6 position no-rethread harness
Doesn’t take up a lot of room in rear-facing mode
A bit bulky
4. Evenflo Tribute 5
The Evenflo Tribute 5 is a great little seat that comes at an excellent price for new parents. The seat features the trademark 5 point harness system to keep children securely and safely in place. It also has an upfront harness adjustment that makes it easy to change the tightness of the harness with just one hand.
Parents tend to especially love this seat for the price, and they also like that it grows with children. Even newborns can fit in this seat at 5 pounds, and the seat accommodates children up to 40 pounds. As children grow and you get more use out of this product, you may need to wash the car seat pad. This is easily done with a simple to remove seat pad that is 100 percent washable in the washing machine. The seat is lightweight, coming in at only 10 pounds.
This seat is a wonderful choice for new parents who may be looking to save some money, but there were a few concerns that parents had. First, sometimes, the release button to get the child out of the seat jammed for a few reviewers, and second, a few children had trouble reaching the side cup holder. This latter feature may be something that is just meant for older kids.
EPE registered foam headrest
5 point harness
One of the most affordable lightweight seats on the market
Lacks comfort features
5. Combi Coccoro
Other features on this seat include a strap equipped with a tether connector that can help with installation of the seat when facing to the rear of the vehicle. There is also a great little buckle cue that lets you know visually when you have securely buckled your child in. This is a great cue for new parents who aren’t sure what they’re doing yet or family members or babysitters who may not be familiar with your particular car seat model. This feature ensures the safety of your child every time they go in the car.
The Combi Coccoro Harness can be purchased in a number of fine colors, including grape, cherry pie, chesnut, licorice and keylime.
Compact and lightweight design
Tested to meet all federal requirements
Not compatible with any strollers
Lightweight Convertible Car Seat FAQ
If you still have questions about the best travel car seat or lightest convertible car seat, we’ve got the answers for you! Below, you will find the most frequently asked questions that concern lightweight car seats, shopping for them and using them in your vehicles.
Q: Isn’t a lighter weight car seat going to be flimsy and easily breakable?
A: This is actually a myth. A lightweight car seat is actually a great seat to use in any car for any level of safety. There’s no need to worry about it being too flimsy or unusable because as long as you buckle it into the LATCH system properly, it will be fine. Lightweight car seats have the false reputation of being too light so that they are easily breakable.
What the term lightweight is actually referring to is the fact that the unit does not weigh as much as many of the other, more bulky units. The products used to create the lightweight seats are quality made. They are just lighter and easier to maneuver, which makes them great seats.
Q: How do you know if a car seat will fit into your car?
A: It can be difficult to know the exact size and shape of a given car seat before you even buy it and get it home. This is often especially true when we are dealing with car seats on the internet. Fortunately, you already know that all of the car seats mentioned here are especially lightweight, so you already know that they aren’t too bulky either.
In addition, when you are shopping online for a lightweight car seat, you can always look at the dimensions listed under specs. You can ask other people who have purchased the item as well. Many people on Amazon answer questions readily, and they are happy to offer their advice and input about how the seat might fit in a variety of different cars.
Q: What’s the deal with forward and rear facing car seats? Which way do I face my child?
A: Safety experts say that it is safest to have your child facing the rear of the car. This is because babies have heavy heads, but their necks are very fragile, and the bones in their necks are soft with stretchy ligaments as well. This means that if there is a crash at the front of the car, then their bodies will be kept in the comfort of the safety seat, but their heads will fly forward. It is important to keep in mind that crashes in the front of the car are the most common.
On the other hand, when a small infant or toddler with a heavy head is facing the rear of the car in a crash, their bodies will be protected with the safety harnesses, and their heads will also not be allowed to fly forward.
You need to wait a significant amount of time until you will be able to face your child to the front of the car. This will vary based on how old, big and tall your child is. This change will also vary based on the different car seats that you choose. Each car seat will have a unique stipulation on it that tells you when you can move your child to a seat facing the front. Most of this will matter on the weight of your child, but you should also aim to wait until your child is at least 2 years old before turning them toward the front.
Q: Will a lightweight car seat be sturdy and safe enough if we were to get into a crash?
A: Yes, a lightweight car seat will definitely be able to hold up perfectly fine if you get into an accident or collision. Many parents decide to purchase bulky, heavy car seats because they feel they’re more durable and will help keep their children safer. In some cases, this may be true. For example, if you use a lightweight car seat but do not latch it in properly to the seat bed or you don’t belt your child in the right way, the lightweight car seat may end up flying up in the event of a crash whereas a heavy seat might stay put longer because of its weight. But this is not the fault of the car seat.
Q: Do lightweight car seats work on airplanes? Do I have to have a car seat on an airplane?
A: Yes, lightweight car seats do function great on airplanes, and yes, if you are planning a flight with your child, you should plan on bringing a car seat. Remember, lightweight car seats are just like regular car seats. They just weigh less. In fact, lightweight car seats are much easier to use on an airplane because they weigh less. They will be easier to transport from your car to the plane and from the plane to your destination.
As for the necessity of car seats on planes, according to some safety regulations, the Federal Aviation Administration does not necessarily require 100 percent that car seats be used for babies and children who are flying, but most safety and plane travel experts agree that using a safety seat for small children on airplanes is the best idea. If you don’t use a seat, you will need to hold your baby, and this could be risky for both you and your child. Aside from that, the airline may not let you fly if you insist on holding your child. This depends on the airline and their regulations. It also depends on how old and how big your baby is.
Q: How do you keep a child warm in their convertible car seat? Can you keep their coat on when they’re strapped in?
A: This gets quite tricky because having your child in a coat while they are strapped into their car seat can present numerous problems. First, their coat may get snagged and cause latching problems. Sometimes, you can’t even see the snag until it’s too late. Furthermore, having extra clothing and padding on by way of sweaters, scarves and coats creates extra compression on your child’s chest.
To solve this problem, the best solution is to make sure the car itself has warmed up before putting your child inside. Do not put a bulky coat on along with them. If you have to use a coat, make sure it is a thin one. In addition, you might think about using a fleece blanket over top of your child for added warmth and comfort.
Q: Can infants and toddlers sit in the front seat as long as they are in a car seat?
A: No, infants and toddlers cannot sit in the front seat at all. Each state has their own laws about how old, heavy and tall kids need to be to sit in the front, but basically, kids need to be at least 4 feet 9 inches before they can sit in the front seat. They should also be at least 80 pounds in weight and at least 12 years old. Again, check with your unique state’s guidelines.
Why can’t kids sit in the front seat when they are small? It has to do with the airbags. Small children do not have strong enough necks to withstand the impact of an airbag in the event of a crash. As a result, they might have a spinal injury if they sit in the front and the airbag deploys on them.
Q: Where do I seat my child if I drive a pickup truck?
A: If you drive a pickup truck but still want to ride along with your child, you’ll need to look at the unique model of your pickup to decide where exactly to seat your child. Some pickup trucks have backseats in them, but generally speaking, these areas are way too small to seat a child. This is a risky situation to put your child in as many safety tests have confirmed. Some back seats do face front and are big enough for a car seat. If this is the case, just check with the truck’s manual to make sure that a car seat will be okay in the front. If you absolutely have to strap your child into a seat in the front of your pickup truck, make sure that you turn the airbag off for the passenger’s side of the car.
The best solution to this dilemma is of course to find a better vehicle for transporting your child around. Pickup trucks are not generally safe for children who are not yet old enough to sit in the front seat.
A Summary and How to Make Your Final Decision on a Lightweight Car Seat
When you’re trying to concentrate on the road and you have a child in the back seat, you absolutely need them to be comfortable and happy. To make sure that this happens, you need a quality car seat for your infants and toddlers. But what if you need to move the seat back and forth between you and your spouse’s car? Or what if you need to take the seat out for air travel or for a good cleaning?
No one wants to have a bulky, heavy weight convertible car seat in their car. In fact, most car seat companies aim to make their seats particularly lighter weight because they know they’ll sell better. But finding one can be hard, and that’s why we’ve created this review so that you can find the best lightweight car seat. There are a lot of options out there, and we want you to be aware of all the best ones so that you can make an educated choice when it comes to your car seat.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this listing and that you’ve been able to learn a little about the top lightweight car seats on the market. Here’s one final note. When it comes to making your final purchase, make sure you head to the internet for buying. I’ve done a lot of research on lightweight car seats, and the absolute best deals are going to be online. Sites like Amazon will be your best bet. So have fun shopping, and good luck on your purchase. Thanks for stopping by!