Making sure your child is safe while traveling in an automobile is of primary importance. As children grow, how you position a child in a car seat, sometimes spelled carseat, changes. Luckily, a convertible car seat works both facing the rear and toward the front of a vehicle.
In addition to facing forward and backward, a convertible car seat can also safely seat children of varying weights. When researching a convertible car seat, look for the maximum weights that the seat can hold. Maximum weights range from around 45 pounds when configured to the rear to 65 pounds and higher for front-facing configurations, with higher allowable weights of 85 to 120 pounds.
When purchasing a convertible car seat, keep in mind that experts recommend that you purchase it new. This is because car seats have an expiration date and are designed to only provide protection for six to eight years at most. Another reason to buy new as opposed to used is that if the car seat you buy has been subjected to an accident, its ability to protect your child is compromised and might not provide adequate protection in a future crash.
Some of the different nomenclature used when referring to a convertible car seat include a 3 in 1 car seat and an all in one car seat. So, keep this in mind when shopping. Convertible car seats are designed to fit children from birth until they are big enough to sit in a booster. With this in mind, you can peruse the options available in our 10 best convertible car seats list below to find the seat that best fits your needs.
10. Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Special Edition Convertible Car Seat - $329.99
With the ability to seat children ranging from 14 to 85 pounds, the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Special Edition Convertible Car Seat fits comfortably into most vehicles. Its specially designed seat pad comes out for easy cleaning. Its Air Protect Advanced air cushioning system protects your child's head, a feature that is especially important in side impact crashes.
9. Evenflo Platinum SafeMax Car Seat - $219.99
The Evenflo Platinum SafeMax Car Seat has a specially designed headrest that can resist the forces encountered in a rollover crash. In addition, the car seat is designed for children weighing anywhere from 5 to 120 pounds, making the seat useful for bigger children. A true all-in-one car seat, you can utilize the Evenflo Platinum SafeMax in one of the following configurations: rear-facing, forward-facing, and as a booster seat.
8. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Leather Convertible Car Seat - 399.99
Featuring a five-point harness system, the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Leather Convertible Car Seat is for children weighing 45 pounds or less when in its rear configuration and 65 pounds or less when facing toward the front. The car seat's side impact protection helps safeguard a child's head, neck, and spine during an impact, while the energy-absorbing foam throughout the seat provides protection for the torso in addition to the head.
7. Clek Foonf 2016 Convertible Car Seat - $489.99
The Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat uses Rigid-LATCH Energy Absorbing Crumple Technology (REACT) to reduce the forces experienced by a child seated in forward position while in the car seat. The car seat's narrow profile allows you to install up to three-across in a vehicle for larger families.
6. Safety 1st Advance LX 65 Air+ Convertible Car Seat- $189.99
Using a steel-reinforced frame for added stability, the Safety 1st Advance LX 65 Air+ Car Seat uses a unique color-coded belt installation system so you can install the car seat quickly and accurately. The Air Protect system cushions your child's head from impact forces in a crash, in addition to providing superior body protection using patented GCel HX foam technology.
5. Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat - $249.99
Using tried-and-true safety design features, the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat is designed for children up to 40 pounds while in its rear configuration and for children up to 70 pounds when facing forward. Some features it includes are the FlexTech system, designed to distribute the energy from a collision away from your child, and Air Protect Side Impact Protection for added cushioning to protect your child's head.
4. Graco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat - $119.99
Made out of durable metal and plastic, the Graco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat has been designed to protect your child in its rear-facing configuration when they are an infant and then later in its forward-facing configuration as they move into their later years. The special energy-absorbing EPS foam helps reduce the shock of a collision while keeping them snugly in place.
3. Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat - $359.99
With a rear-facing weight limit of 45 pounds and up to 80 pounds while facing the front, the Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat also converts into a booster seat rated for children weighing up to 120 pounds. The strong steel frame protects your child's head and body and at the same time cushions any impact from the vehicle's side.
2. Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat - $299.99
Easy to install in a wide array of vehicles, the Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat converts from a rear-facing model rated for up to a child of 45 pounds to a forward-facing car seat able to hold a child of up to 65 pounds. Secure your child in the car seat with the one-pull tightener of the five-point harness. And as your child grows, the harness strap position widens for maximum comfort.
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1. Britax USA Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat - $439.99
The highly rated Britax USA Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat uses the ClickTight Installation System for fast and easy installation. The Advocate car seat adds an additional three layers of side impact protection for the best in impact absorption. Additionally, the car seat protects your child in comfort using a selection of padding and fabrics.
As you can see, you have many options when it comes to choosing a convertible car seat. You should also make sure to change out your child's car seat if you have an accident or your child outgrows it. If you have any questions about how to properly install a child car seat, Ask a Mechanic for more information.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 10 Best Convertible Car Seats and was authored by Cheryl Knight.