What is the best convertible car seat for babies/toddlers?

Whitney - posted on 09/26/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I have been looking for a convertible car seat before my daughter outgrows her infant seat. She is 8 months old and weighs approx 15 and a half lbs. So I need a convertible seat that will easily fit rear-facing in a Hyundai Sonata. I have read lots of reviews on some seats, but a lot say they are hard to almost impossible to install rear-facing and still have room for people in front seats. I have been looking at some of the car seats on BabiesRUs.com and I like the Safety 1st ones....Are these a good choice or what should we choose? Please help!

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User - posted on 09/27/2009

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I'm a certified CPST...the seats that I like right now are: Britax Marathon, Roundabout50, or Boulevard, The First Years TrueFit, Sunshine Kids Radian (65 or XT), Graco MyRide65, Evenflo Triumph Advanced, Safety 1st Complete Air. If you need a "cheap seat", then I'd go with a Cosco Scenera or Safety 1st Avenue. (Those won't last you as long, but are cheaper.)



We use a Marathon & a TrueFit for my DS. If I were buying a new seat myself right now, hands down I'd buy a Radian.



Honestly, I would skip any convertible labeled as a "3-in-1" or "last seat you'll ever need". I've yet to see one of those seats with harness slots tall enough to actually keep a child until they can SAFELY use it as a booster (meaning beyond the bare legal minimum since we really want to keep them in a harness until age 5-6)...and most of them make crappy boosters anyway. Don't be seduced by the arm rests & cup holders...there are just much better seats available for the money. (NOTE: There are some decent 3-in-1 type FF harnessed seats, like the Nautilus or Frontier...but those are FF only types and not what you're looking for here.)



Your LO can stay RF for a good long while, so I'd really suggest something with a high RF limit & good tall harness slots. Remember, convertibles usually take up less space (even RF) than an infant seat. As long as LO has good head control, you don't actually need to install the seat with the full 45 degree recline that you need with an infant. Most seats allow you to install as much as 30 degrees from vertical...which will generally buy you a few more inches for the person in the front seat. You are also probably just going to have to try several seats in your car and see what fits best for you. Remember, the best seat is going to be one that fits in your car and that you can use properly every time.



You also might check out www.car-seat.org. There is lots of good info there and their message boards have many CPSTs who can give more options and ideas too!

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Jessica - posted on 09/26/2009

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alpha omega elite is a good one, its a 3 in 1 so it will grow with your baby and you will not have to buy another one.

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wal mart has one for about 40 dollars. it goes 5 to 85 pounds.....i think its a safety first....we use it for our youngest. it goes rear facing then front when its time....

Shannon - posted on 09/26/2009

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I don't remember what the answer was, but I did a ton of research on car seats and amazingly enough the best, safest ones were not the way expensive ones. They were the moderately priced ones. I wish I remembered, but I googled carseats and read from consumer report and talked to firemen and police officers I know while I was pregnant with my now 4 year old. She is now in a 5point harness booster seat.

Melissa - posted on 09/26/2009

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You could possibly go with Graco or Saftey 1st. We personally use Graco, just mostly because they are well known.

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