Getting a good convertible car seat is not as hard as it may sound. Thanks to strict legislation; half your worries get to end right there. Standardization tests require all convertible car seats to, at the minimum, pass the crash, impact, harness and design (crumple) tests.
So, when you go buying a car seat, just look up the ‘crash tested’ emblem and that’s it. Moving on, one can never be cautious enough, and therein comes additional safety measures and features. Read on below about the features offered in infant car seats and which are best suited as per your needs.
Top 10 Best Convertible Infant Car Seats Comparison Table 2017
|Graco SnugRide C C 35||4||$$||Rear facing||-Crash tested
-Easy installation dial indicator
|Britax B-Safe||4.3||$$||Rear facing||-Crash tested + reinforced zones
-Easy use 5 point restraint system
-Multiple harness adjustments with dual buckle option
|Graco SnugRide C C 30/ 35 LX Base||4.7||$||Base for (rear facing)||-Easy installation indicator
-Graco CC 30/ 35 seats compatible
-Click Connect installation
|Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30||4.3||$$$$||Stroller + Car seat (Travel system)||-Nylon fabric
-Energy absorbing foam
-Shock absorber wheels on stroller
|Maxi Cosi Mico AP||4.2||$$||Rear facing||-Light weight design
-Convertible to stroller
-Enhanced side impact protection
|UPPAbaby MESA||4||$$$||Up to 35 pounds||-Smart secure technology
-Auto retract belt
-Side impact tested
-Easy installation indicator
|Disney Baby Minnie Mouse Light N Comfy Luxe||4.7||$||up to 29" in height||-Deluxe design and finishing
-Custom foot cover
|Orbit Baby G3||4.3||$$$$||All-in-one||-UV protection shade
- Child friendly fabrics
- Maximum protection design
-Patented easy installation technology
|Evenflo Nurture||4.2||$||Forward + rear facing||-Multiple impact tests certified
-5 point harness
|Evenflo Tribute LX||4.3||$||Forward + rear facing||-Adjustable shoulder strap positions
-Built in body padding (cushioning)
-Exceeds crash test requirements for front and side impact
Types of Convertible Car Seats
Before starting with the features; a brief intro to the different types of car seats is necessary. In case you’re wondering, the classification here is done on the basis of age, weight and fitting/installation as per your vehicle.
Rear Facing Seats
First off is the rear facing seat. This seat is used for children up to a maximum of 3 years and minimum of 1 years; of course depending on the overall build of the child. Rear facing seats face opposite to the windshield and if this seems silly to you then the science behind it won’t.
Rear facing seats are a lot safer as they reverse the impact force created in the event of an accident. Instead of a jerking motion which would throw the child forward (in case of forward facing), the child will be resting against the spine of the seat with the foam and padding absorbing all the energy, the conclusion?
A rear facing seat for children with developing ligaments have less than a 1% chance from getting hurt in event of an accident.
Forward Facing Seats
These are what you find in use most of the time. Convertible seats are forward facing and cover age groups 1 to 7, on the average (the actual test is weight, height and age for determining a good car seat). These come with harness systems, a base, crash tested certifications and so on. You will be using these seats after your baby has outgrown, at max, the Group 1 rear facing seats (up to 18kg).
All In One Seats
All in one seat can be switched between forward and rear facing. This is a good option as rear facing seats are outgrown by children before their first birthday. Of course these are pricey as well so see which options strike you as better.
These are basically multiple cushions designed as a seat to compliment your stock car seats. They allow a child to naturally rest against the seat so that the child is securely seated in as well as not facing any discomfort.
The seat belt plays the key role here so ensure the belt can easily be wound against the seat. You can choose a booster seat if you want a permanent solution and you don’t need your car seat to double up as a carry-able seat.
Features Of A Good Convertible Car Seat
As with all products, manufacturers have not held back on offering extras with their products. The best way to tread here is to make a checklist of your requirements and then move forward. e.g. you need a cup holder, no shade, no extra base and so on. The list will help you decide on the best seat easily without having a plethora of (unnecessary) options flood your brain.
Crash Test Standards Certified
Being crash tested is not an extra; it is a must. A certified logo of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration will be found on the packaging accompanied by ratings out of 5 stars; make sure to spot it regardless of brand. The logo itself it enough; some seats may appear to be fragile but in reality they have expertly fabricated designs which are reinforced at the vulnerable points.
EPS foam is made from special substances which are able to not only withstand but also effectively distribute impact generated energy. This foam is placed strategically to protect vulnerable areas such as the head and shoulders, etc. In case of a collision, the impact created will be absorbed by the foam resulting in lesser (or virtually none) injury to your child.
A clickable base can help tons if you frequently move the car seat. The base acts as a click in base-foundation and makes installation and detachment a breeze. Specific models come with a base so make sure accordingly.
Furthermore base specifications and notches vary from manufacturer to manufacturer so don’t think you can use any base with any brand’s seat. You may end up damaging the base/seat as well as putting your child at risk with an incorrect and unreliable installation. The base feature is also known as LATCH system.
The entire purpose of a car seat revolves around the harness. A harness can come in three, four or five point (average product features). While the variety is endless; a 5-point harness is ideal. It consists of belt (halved) for the waist, one coming in from the center under the legs and two for the either side of the shoulders.
See that the straps are adjustable. This feature will come in handy and you can easily adjust them as per your growing child’s needs or if you use the same seat for different children.
Anti- Rebound Bar
An anti-rebound bar helps by acting as a stabilizer for the seat. Basically it braces the seat. The bar(s) rest against fixed surfaces such as the seat of the car, etc. In the event of impact or any jerk, the impact energy created is distributed evenly through the anti- rebound bar. Instead of the impact energy coursing through the seat, you have the bar keeping it stable.
?Things to Consider while Buying Convertible Car Seats
Following are some important factors to consider while buying a convertible car seat.
You will find ‘infant’ seats which are rear facing. Instead of getting that, go for a all-in-one or rear + front facing seat. This is because your child will eventually outgrow the maximum seat specifications and you’ll find yourself browsing stores for a new replacement. You’re better off with a two way seat hence.
Single Car Use vs. Multi-purpose Application
Consider if you’ll need a seat for the car alone or as a carry-along seat as well. If you arrive at the later conclusion then get a car seat with a base. The reason for this is that such seats can be removed in a jiffy. Think of the base as a docking station; just place the seat in place and you’re set. Same easy process for detachment; the need for a seat belt is eliminated altogether.
Place special emphasis on how strongly and firmly the seat is sitting after installation. It should be such that there is no ‘wiggle room’ even to a minor degree. One of the commonly made mistakes is ignoring the ‘firm installation’ aspect. Another reason for this can be incompatibility issues with your car.
While purchasing, check up with the manufacturer (via phone call or online) if the product you wish to purchase is supported with your vehicle. Know that according to findings of a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; more than 50% seats have been improperly installed.
You need to maintain the seat at a halfway straight or 45 degree angle. If the seat is too high (or has extras such as a canopy) then it may be difficult to use in your vehicle. Check to see that despite the height you can easily recline the seat to an optimum position.
When you have decided on a brand, do ask if they have made any recalls (or that this product is part of a recall announcement). It helps to stay on the safe side and not get entangled in the recall process with a new purchase.
Last but not the least; ensure that the internal frame of the seat will make a perfect (and not less) fit for your baby. This is not only about comfort but also about proper restraint in the event of an accident. If you nestled in properly, only then will he/she remain safe. Otherwise in an imbalanced frame impact energy can lead to injury. Try sitting in your baby while making the purchase.
Keep these things in mind while buying a convertible seat for your kids.
Further Reading on Best?Infant Car Seats
- Top 5 And Bottom 5 Safest Infant Car Seat Revealed
- How Many Different Car Seats A Child Needs Growing Up
- Best Infant Car Seats For Twins
- Best Infant Car Seats For Small Car
- Best Infant Car Seats For Girls
- Best Infant Car Seats And Stroller Combo
- Best Infant Car Seats under $50
- Best Infant Car Seats Under $100
- Best Light Weight Infant Car Seats
- What Are The Laws On Infant Car Seats
- What Is A Convertible Seat And Is It Better
- Do Infant Car Seats Need A Base
- Do Infant Car Seats Have Expiration Dates
- How to Install An Infant Car Seat
- Can Infant Car Seat Face Forwards
- Complete Baby Car Seats Recall List 2014, Must Read Before You Buy Anything
- Best Infant Car Seats For Tall Babies