3 Best Convertible Car Seats
Created by: Emma Parker - Bill Hardy - Jennifer Cohen, MD
Last Updated: Sep 13, 2018
When you are buying a car seat, safety is the most important thing to take into consideration. In this hands-on review, we find the safest and best convertible car seats on the market for 2018. Along with crash performance ratings we evaluated each seat for ease of use and installation.
* In this guide, you will learn the basics and be able to check out our award-winning convertible car seat picks.
We pulled together a group of 8 parents and tested 16 car seats, installing them in different vehicles, putting in infants, toddlers, and bigger kids, and testing out all of the key features.
We spilled milk and juice on them, tested their stability during stop-go and twisty-turn driving, tested the head-flop factor during naps, and solicited honest opinions from our testing parents.
Safest convertible car seats that rate well in our tests have features that help you install the seat correctly and make necessary adjustments as your child grows.
What remained after this process was a group of the best convertible car seats we could find: three truly excellent and safe convertible car seats that met and exceeded our expectations.
I'm very grateful to all the car seat experts, pediatricians, and parents who voluntarily contributed to this information guide.
* A buying guide featuring some of the best car seats for babies that meet federal safety standards to provide the best protection for your child.
Out of the 3 choices I'd recommend the Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat when performance and reliability count. With comfort, meticulously tested safety features, ease of use and versatility, it is no wonder why the Graco 4Ever has been such a huge hit with parents. This is a sturdy and easy car seat to use and a true life and money saver!
Some parents just look at the price tag and have the inclination to buy the cheapest one. That's a bad investment and a recipe for disaster. I know many people with many children. I suggest spending a little more money on a car seat so that it will last through the years, and you won't have to keep buying a car seat every time you have a baby.
What makes our guide different from other guides is that we continuously improve our knowledge, and provide the best possible choices available on the market. This page is up to date and I update it as things change. best convertible car seat 2018
WHAT IS A CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT?
A children’s car seat is one of the most important purchases you'll make to keep your baby safe, so it's crucial that you get the right one. We've tested dozens of car seats and found big differences between good and bad ones.
Children’s car seats are split into groups from infant seats to toddler booster seats with each group designed to provide the right protection as your child grows.
A car seat has always been the number one item that parents buy before the birth of their babies. A convertible seat is one that can be installed rear-facing and be converted into front-facing.
They got their name because they start off rear-facing and convert to forward-facing. It's important to remember that the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that all children rear-face until they're two years old.
The convertible car seat can be used from birth to about 60 or 70 pounds. One thing that's really important to remember is that car seats are made of plastic, and over time start to get brittle. Check with the manufacturer how long the car seat should be used.
Accidents can happen anytime. It doesn't matter where you are, while in the car with babies, you have to take all the precautions you can before anything happens. It's also crucial to correctly install it in a car. Always read the manufacturer's guidelines and follow governmental directives. convertible car seat reviews. best convertible car seat 2018
CONVERTIBLE vs. INFANT CAR SEAT
Convertible car seats can be positioned either rear or forward-facing. They have a similar harness system to infant car seats with higher weight-height limits.
Before your baby is born you'll need a rear-facing car seat. Remember that you won't be able to leave the hospital without one. This type of seat provides the best protection for babies and toddlers.
When your child meets the requirements for age, weight, and height, a convertible seat can be turned around and installed in a forward facing direction until a child is ready for a booster.
The main difference between infant and convertible car seats is that an infant car seat clicks into a base in your car. You can remove the car seat from the car with the baby in it, whereas a convertible car seat will stay in your car once you install it.
HOW WE TESTED AND RATED
All of the car seats we tested, and for sale in the United States, have passed federal safety standards for car seats. As a result, those car seats can be considered as providing an extra protection based on their crash test performance.
Babies’ heads are about a third of their body weight and their neck muscles are weak. So if they're facing forward, there's risk of their head being pulled forward by the force of a crash causing severe neck and spine injuries.
With their small size and undeveloped muscle and bone, infants must have a special type of seat that faces the rear of a vehicle to help protect them in the event of a crash.
This footage looks dramatic, but this rear-facing convertible car seat is performing exactly as it was designed to - to protect a child in a frontal crash. The impact on children’s heads in crashes is a major cause of injury and death, which is why we went beyond even the government's standards to develop new crash test methods for children’s seats, which incorporate a simulated front seat back to more accurately evaluate crash protection in a real crash.
Based on customer reports of recent car seat testing we are now urging parents to move older babies from their rear-facing infant carriers to a rear-facing convertible seat sooner rather than later.
This crash test shows you how dangerous it is to hold children or not restrain them properly. We tested infant and rear-facing convertible seats using a 22-pound dummy representing a one-year-old child. In more than half of the infant seats the dummy's head hit the back of the front seat.
Our tests have proven that a seat without side protection will leave your child's head, neck, and body at risk of hitting the side of the car causing serious injury in a crash.
Children's bodies are different from adults’ and far less force is needed to cause serious injury. That's why getting the right children’s car seat to fit their growing body as it changes is so important.
Along with crash performance ratings we evaluated each seat for ease of use and installation. Safest convertible car seats that rate well in our tests have features that help you install the seat correctly and make necessary adjustments as your child grows. You can learn more about how to purchase the right car seat for your child in our car seat buying guide.
•Why do we choose one convertible car seat over another? There are a number of reasons for this, which are discussed below.best car seats 2018 - safest convertible car seat 2018
THE KEY FEATURES
For starters read the owner's manuals for both the vehicle and the seat to understand proper placement in the vehicle and proper placement of harnesses to hold the child in the safety seat according to the manufacturer's instructions.
All car seats have basic safety features that meet the minimum guidelines. When you start getting into premium convertible car seats, you'll see some revolutionary and innovative features. Some of them might feature steel bars or a complete steel frame.
Another thing to look for is a five-point harness. Almost all car seats feature the 5-point harness which ensures that your child has not moved in an accident.
A lot of convertible car seats have additional safety features, such as head support and other things. Make sure that your child will not be moving in an accident.
Another great safety feature on the convertible car seat is the tether. The tether is a strap at the back of a car seat which distributes any force from an accident from the car seat to the car. Not all car seats have a tether that can be used when the seat faces the rear.
The next topic is comfort. When you first start using the convertible car seat for a newborn, your child will be in the flattest lying position. As the child grows, s/he will move into a more upright position. It's a matter of our busy lifestyles, but we really spend a lot of time in the car.
So you want the car seat to be nice and comfortable for your child. Look for a nice plush padding, a comfortable material easy for you to clean in case an accident happens. I highly recommend that feature in a convertible car seat.
Let's talk about convenience. As your child grows you’ll have to reposition the harness correctly on your child's body. Some of the premium car seats allow pulling up on the harness to easily reposition it. That is much easier than having to read through the harness.
Another premium feature is the click and save technology which makes an audible click every time you readjust the harness.
If you're planning on traveling, you might think that you'll never take the convertible car seat with you. Convertible car seats are fabulous to have on an airplane. Check with a car seat manufacturer if they're FAA approved.
Choose the best convertible seat for your baby with lots of safety features. Look for a convertible car seat with side impact protection.
I recommend that you invest in the best option on the convertible market if you possibly can, because those extra additional safety features really can make a difference in an accident.
You will use this piece of baby gear for many years, so it's a decision you want to make carefully. Choose a sturdy one! best convertible car seat 20
best car seats 2018 - safest convertible car seat 2018
Here are our award winning safest convertible car seat picks and what they provide. convertible car seat reviews.
Out of the 3 choices I'd recommend the Graco 4 Ever when performance and reliability count. So I decided to give it a closer look. Here is our award-winning convertible car seat described.↓
CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT REVIEWS
Here are my favorite features and all about the Graco 4Ever Convertible Car Seat.
It takes your baby from newborn to 10 years of age.
This is a car seat that grows with your child and is good for up to 10 years with respect to the adjustments that you can make as your child grows. It goes from a car seat with a child insert for newborns to a backless booster for children up to a hundred and twenty pounds.
The Graco 4Ever is an easy-to-install car seat, which is always a good thing. It installed nicely in rear-facing and forward-facing modes in the vehicles I tried it in (2014 Honda Civic and 2013 Toyota Corolla) with the seat belt and with LATCH.
I’m really quite pleased with Graco 4Ever All-in-1 Car Seat with safety surround side impact protection! I love that you only have to make one choice, one purchase and you’re DONE, your child is set for the rest of their car-seated-life. It’s easy to install, easy to use and has great functionality. It’s sure to be a happy 10 years with this seat!
The 4Ever includes a total of six recline positions, and the recline is easily adjusted by pulling an adjuster on the front of the seat. Very big on the safety features, especially the side impact, Graco 4Ever is a seat that I feel very confident to put my child in and know that he will be safe.
Graco 4Ever convertible seat has an infant insert that is very easy to clean. it's removable, so you can slide it out once your baby is bigger. It has a couple of cup holders, which are great for smoothies that your baby loves.
Will the 4Ever last “forever”? Is it the only seat a family will ever need? That depends, but in general, I’m going to say yes. It will fit most newborns well, and will certainly move with a child through most rear-facing, forward-facing and boostering needs.
Its very convenient handle allows you to adjust the height of the seat up and down very easily, of which which I like the convenience.
Graco goes above and beyond with the 4 in 1. This convertible car seat in engineered and crash tested past federal standards and side impact tested and it performed over two times the car seat standard peak crash force as per the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), thanks in part to its 5-point harness system.
Overall I really like the Graco 4Ever Convertible Car Seat. I love that it has a reinforced steel frame which has a 10 years’ life. The reclining options are amazing for ensuring a comfortable ride for the child and also perfect fit in various sizes of vehicles. And it's worth the price!
When you are buying a car seat, safety is the most important thing to take into consideration.This is a sturdy and easy car seat to use and a true life and money saver!
What makes Graco 4Ever different from other car seats on the market? It’s a 4 in 1 seat that fits well and correctly at every stage.
The 4Ever is FAA approved for airline use *with the harness*. It has a 10-year lifespan, and it must be replaced after any crash.
With comfort, meticulously tested safety features, ease of use and versatility, it is no wonder why the Graco 4Ever has been such a huge hit with parents.
It's a bit heavy
best car seats 2018 - safest convertible car seat 2018
I like the Britax Marathon car seat, made in the USA, and it has a ClickTight system that allows for quicker and secure installation.
When you turn the little knob, the flap opens and you can put your seat belt right through it and secure it while it's closed. You can install it easily by using a seat belt.
The seat has a soft pliable memory foam. There is a cup holder that you can attach on either side. Kids love cup holders.
Wherever you read about car seats, Britax Marathon is one of the best rated for safety. This is exactly why I like this car seat.
Another reason I love it is that it's really easy to install. Extremely convenient and highly recommended!
It has side impact protection. The quality of the fabric makes it easy to clean. It’s really great for positioning your infant to the right height and for comfort as your baby gets bigger. One of the great features of Britax is the integrated steal frame which will absorb a lot of impact during a collision.
Britax marathon is suitable for children from birth to 65 pounds. It will rear face up to 40 pounds and you can face it forward one year and 20 pounds. Top rated convertible car seat.
Parents want the safest car seat possible for their children, and Britax is a name you can trust. Their award-winning safety and designs are something parents have counted on for years.
High rear facing height limits
Short crotch buckle
best car seats 2018 - safest convertible car seat 2018
Diono Radian is one of the best and safest convertible car seats on the market!
The first thing I noticed about this seat is the quality. It is extremely durable and sturdy.
It features a latch system, energy-absorbing foam, and a steel frame. It very easily folds for transport or storage.
The Diono Radian car seat grows with your child from infant to 120 pounds and is usable as a forward-facing booster seat.
It's very stylish and the material is machine washable if dirt does not come off by spot cleaning with soap and water. It cleans very easily and most of the material is stain resistant.
Another thing I like is that it has adjustable height and harness.
Its removable seat pad is looks amazing.
The Diono Radian convertible car seat is great for travel, FAA certified for air travel, and NCAP crash tested, which is a crash test that is about twice the strength of the standard crash test, so it is very durable and safe.
It is excellent for toddlers and babies! It offers ease of use and comfort throughout the growth of your child.
So it's definitely a worthwhile investment that you will use for a very long time. The Diono Radian is a convertible car seat that will bring you peace of mind while you’re on the road.
Feels very solid & sturdy but is still comfy
It's a bit bulky
best car seats 2018 - safest convertible car seat 2018