Best Convertible Car Seats for Every Stage of Growth

Your child's safety in the car should always be your number one concern as a parent. Choosing the best convertible car seat for your child can be challenging due to the abundance of options. Never fear, though; we've rounded up the top convertible car seats so you can quickly find one that works for your developing child. From newborns up to toddlers, we have reviews and details about some of the best products available – perfect for keeping your little bundle of joy safe!

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What are Convertible Car Seats

Convertible car seats are a great choice for families that want to keep their little ones safe and secure from day one. These car seats start out in the rear-facing position for babies, giving them the extra support and cushioning they need as they grow. As your baby grows older, you can then turn the seat forward-facing but still in the same seating position. Some convertible car seats can be converted into a booster seat, providing an extra layer of safety for children as they move from elementary school to middle school. A convertible car seat will keep your child secure in the car until they outgrow it.

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Do You Need It?

One of the primary considerations in determining whether or not a convertible car seat is necessary is the baby's age and size. Depending on your preference, you may choose to switch to a convertible car seat when your little one turns one or when they have outgrown the height and weight maximum of their infant car seat - usually between 9 and 18 months old. Keep in mind that although convertible car seats are much safer than infant car seats, they aren’t nearly as portable or as light since they require installation directly into your vehicle using either the car’s seat belt or LATCH system. So if you’re looking for something that can be easily moved from one vehicle to the other, an infant car seat may be a better choice for your family.

When to Switch

baby in a convertible car seat

There are a few things to keep in mind as you move your baby from an infant car seat to a convertible car seat. The most critical milestone is when your baby's head just barely reaches the top of the infant car seat shell. There are models that claim to be able to support up to 35 pounds, but this is not always the case. To make sure you’re doing what’s best for your little one, refer to your seat's manual for exact height limits and use a board book that is one inch thick as a guide. That way, you can make sure your passenger stays safe at all times on the road.

Best Convertible Car Seats

Graco Extend2Fit  

The Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat is a safe and reliable choice for families looking for a convertible car seat. It can accommodate babies up to 50 lbs while rear-facing, providing added comfort with its extension panel which allows up to five additional inches of legroom. This car seat also comes equipped with Simply Safe Adjust no-rethread headrest and harness that allow one plastic piece to be repositioned instead of rethreading the straps. In terms of safety, the seat is made from steel reinforced materials and features Graco ProtectPlus Engineered technology, guaranteeing optimal protection for your baby at all times. Not only is this car seat extremely practical and reliable but it also has an attractive modern design weighing 19 lbs, making it an ideal choice for any family wanting convenient driving solutions combined with superior safety.

Britax Boulevard Clicktight

Whether you're a first-time parent or need to upgrade your car seat for a growing baby, the Britax Boulevard Clicktight is the perfect choice. Installation is quick and easy with the ClickTight installation - no struggling to get your car seat secure. For parents concerned about safety, this seat's got you covered with a steel frame and SafeCell crumple zone - plus two layers of side impact protection to surround your child's neck, head, and torso in an accident. Enjoy added convenience with machine washable fabric, so no more hand washing; plus there are no added FR chemicals, so you can feel confident that your baby is safe. This outstanding car seat provides all the comfort and safety features you need to keep your baby safe at home or on the go.

Cosco Onlook

If you're looking for an all-in-one car seat that will take your baby from infancy to toddlerhood, the Cosco Onlook is your best bet. This LATCH-equipped car seat ensures maximum safety and comfort for your little one with its five-point adjustable harness and transformable design that can take babies at as little as 5 pounds up to kids of 40 pounds in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes. Moreover, it offers extra protection against side-impact collisions, along with a machine washable and dryer safe car seat pad to make those messy mealtime cleanups a breeze. Ideal for traveling families too, this convertible seat features aircraft certification so you can easily take it  on planes with your baby in tow!

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Additional Considerations

infant being put in a car seat

Choosing the right car seat can be one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent. All car seats sold in the US are required to meet government safety standards, but those aren't all your concerns when choosing a car seat - you want to find one that is safe, easy to install and fits your vehicle correctly. Here are some tips for choosing the best convertible car seat for your family. 

  • Safety Indicators - Most car seats have indicators on them that let you know if they are installed correctly. Look for a car seat with noticeable indicators so you can easily tell if it's installed correctly every time. 
  • Ease of Installation - If a car seat is too difficult to install, chances are it won't be installed correctly every time or used at all. You want a convertible car seat that is easy to install so you don't have to worry about it each time you put your child in the vehicle. 
  • How It Fits In Your Car - Make sure that whatever convertible car seat you choose fits comfortably in your vehicle. Some models might fit better than others, depending on the size and shape of your vehicle's backseat. Check measurements before buying! 
  • Higher Rear-Facing Weight Limits - Many newer models of convertible car seats offer higher rear-facing weight limits than older models, which means your child can remain safer in their rear-facing position for longer periods of time. This is especially important for toddlers who have outgrown their infant car seats but still need extra protection from an accident or collision. 
  • Fabric - Look for fabrics that are easy to clean and comfortable for your child (especially if they'll be spending long hours in their car seat). Some fabrics may even come with additional features such as water resistance or UV protection! 
  • Safety Extras - Some higher end models may include extras such as additional side impact protection or energy absorbing foam padding for extra safety in case of an accident or collision. These extras can give parents peace of mind knowing that their child is riding safely and securely while they're on the go! 

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Deciding on Convertible Car Seats

When it comes to keeping your children safe while on the road, there’s no better option than a convertible car seat. Not only do they allow you to keep your little ones safe at any stage of development but they also save money in the long run since many last many years! Plus, with features like adjustable straps and headrests plus side impact protection, there's no doubt that these types of car seats offer superior safety compared to standard infant models. Start looking today for the perfect convertible car seat—your little one will thank you later.

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