As I advised previously, a convertible car seat is needed once the baby outgrows the infant car seat. Though I would not recommend it, some people start directly with the convertible instead of spending money on the infant car seat. It starts out as rear facing for the first couple of years and then transitions to a font facing seat which can be used in this form for the next 1-2 years. Most of these seats are big and heavy but should not matter since they will stay put in the car.
Things to consider
- You will need to buy separate convertibles for each car as it is difficult to move around. Should be aware of this before choosing one.
- Look for 50-60 lb limit for the car seats – which should be sufficient for the next 2-3 years. No need to waste time or money looking for higher weight limits as your child is likely to become too tall for the seat before she reaches that limit. So height and not weight will be the limiting factor.
- Use the convertible in rear facing format for the first 2 years. In rear facing format the car seat takes up a lot of space and hence make sure your car is big enough to accommodate your chosen seat. Or rather – you seat is small enough to fit in your car.
- There are car seats available for every budget which are all safe as per federal standards, it only depends on what fits your car and is comfortable for your child.
The problem with convertible car seats is that there is no one size fits all or ever one size fits most solution. It all depends on your budget, your car size, purpose for using and so on.
Best Budget Option
Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat
Best Option for Flying
The only thing you need to consider is the weight(assuming all of them meet the safety standards). The best options are Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat and Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat, Saturn. They are really cheap and can be kept aside just for flying. The fact is that you need something
Best Option for Small Car
The recommended car seat is the Combi Coccoro Harness, Licorice
- Specifically designed for small cars
- The Coccoro’s Euro style belt path and rear facing tether make it easier to install securely in a wider range of vehicles
- Good choice even if you have to move it around different vehicles as it is light and easier to install
Best Option if you need to have two car seats and a person sitting behind.
If you have a large family and just one car, and if you need a person to be able to sit in addition to two car seats go for the Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat which is quite narrow but not one which I would recommend for small cars.
Best Option if you are thinking of ditching Infant car seats and going directly for Convertibles
Not all convertibles have harness levels suitable for infants nor do they have enough comfort-related features.
My top recommendation is the Combi Coccoro. It has the smallest breadth and width of any convertible car seat and hence can only be used for the first couple of years.
- Chicco Nexfit – Easiest to install and fits babies as small as 5 lbs None recline positions and six height positions. Cover can be washed. Only drawback is that it is heavy and needs a lot of space so I would not consider for a small car.
- Britax USA Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat and the Britax Marathon Clicktght are great choices, Marathon is slightly better value – that’s all. The new series of Britax convertible car seats has been branded “ClickTight” and is now an alternative to the existing “G4″ series. They have added their “clickTight” installation system to all newly released convertible seats. This is a much simpler installation system and I recommend this series over the G4. Britax USA Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seatis available for $264 and Britax USA Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat for $296. The Boulevard has a higher height limit and 2 more harness slot height options and extra padding on the adjustable headrest and overall better secondary Side Impact Protection. Basically the only difference between the Boulevard and the Advocate is that the Advocate adds side impact plastic to the outside of the car seat, which provides a third layer of side-impact protection. That’s it. This third layer of side impact protection is a great feature, but it adds onto the width of the car seat. Here is a detailed comparison between the two.
- 2015 Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat, Black Gravel – I would also recommend this one for parents with less space in the back. Beautiful colors make these car seats vibrant and exciting for your child.