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When it comes to traveling with your child, safety should be the first concern. The safest and most reassuring way to travel with your baby is by using a car seat and placing in on the backseat of the car.
If you own a car and plan on taking the baby with you on holidays or even on a trip to the grandparents’ house, investing in a good convertible car seat should be at the top of your priority list. But those seats come in so many shapes and forms. How would you know which one ensures the maximum level of safety for your child? This guide will teach you what to look for in a convertible car seat, as well as show you some of the best options on the market.
What to look for in a convertible car seat?
People commonly mistake convertible car seats with infant car seats, but there is quite a big difference between them. While infant car seats are only used for children up to 40 pounds and are rear-facing only, convertible car seats carry children up to 65 pounds (some even 80) and are both rear and forward-facing. Convertible car seats can be used for both infants and toddlers and are a much affordable option for parents who don’t want to invest in an infant seat and then change it once the baby grows. If you are looking for an infant car solely, check out the guide from https://www.hmhb.org/best-infant-car-seats/.
When buying a convertible car seat, make sure to pay attention at the following:
- Ease of use: The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has a 5-star rating system, with 5 being the easiest seats to use. The rating takes into consideration how easy the chair is to install, its safety and clarity of the instructions.
- Side-impact protection: some convertible seats are provided with a special energy-absorbing foam, to ensure the protection of your baby’s head and chest in case of a side-impact car accident.
- Easy adjustments: your child is going to grow quite fast, so you need to be able to adjust the harness and straps as they get bigger.
But what are the best options from convertible car seats?
If protection is your biggest concern (and it should be), then this seat is exactly what you need. It provides superior safety by having two layers of side-impact protection, a sturdy steel frame and a base that reduces the force of a collision.
As your baby grows, this seat will protect them just as good. It has a harness with 10 adjustable positions, which allows it to grow with your child. But as safety comes with a price, the seat does weigh quite much and your car’s backseat will only be able to fit one more person besides it.
The seat ranges from 5 to 50 pounds in a rear-facing position and from 10 to 65 in the forward-facing position, so it will be able to keep your kiddo safe until they get about 4 years old.
Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Car Seat
If you are on a budget and are looking for a seat that can hold your kid until they can use the seatbelt themselves, then this is the best option for you. It starts out as a rear-facing seat that can hold your infant up until 2 years old, then it can be flipped and face forward for toddlers up to 65 pounds. This is where it gets interesting. The seat can then be converted into a booster seat with a high back belt-positioning seat for kids up to 100 pounds and a backless belt-positioning booster seat mode for kids up to 120 pounds.
The chair has a 6-position recline and a harness with 10 adjustable positions. On top of that, it features two cup holders, to make sure water and formula are always within reach. The seat covers can be washed in the washing machine so you don’t have to worry about the mess your little one makes.
Chicco NextFit Zip Max Car Seat
If your kid needs a little bit more legroom and you want to keep them in a rear-facing position for a bit longer, the Chicco NextFit is the best option for you. Your baby has room to stretch out safely and the chair has 9 recline positions, to make sure it fits in a wide variety of cars. On top of that, a zip-off seat pad that allows you to simply throw it in the washing machine as soon as the baby has made a bit of mess.
The energy-absorbing foam and rigid shell ensure maximum protection, along with a steel-reinforced frame.
Clek fllo Convertible Car Seat
With only 17 inches in width, the seat is sleek, narrow and perfect for small cars or if you need a little extra room on the back seat. Pediatricians recommend to keep the baby facing the rear side longer and this seat is perfect for this. It has a 50-pound weight limit for rear-facing and an extra-tall seat and can accommodate children up until 4 years old.
To ensure the baby’s safety, the chair has deep side wings, energy-absorbing layers made out of foam and an adjustable headrest, all for advanced side impact protection. We all know how messy babies can get, so the seat is made out of GREENGUARD Select Certified Crypton Super Fabric, to ensure protection against stains, moisture, and bacteria that can cause bad odors.
Another option for parents looking to get a bit more use out of a convertible car seat, the Go and Grow model from Safety 1st is built to transform as your child grows. The rear-facing stage holds up to 40 pounds, the forward-facing one up to 65 and the belt-positioning booster will protect your baby until he is about 100 pounds. The harness and headrest are easily adjustable and the harness holders keep the harness in an open position, so it’s easier for you to get the baby in and out of the car.