So what’s the deal with convertible baby car seats? What’s the difference and are they worth the extra money? How long will they last before a new seat is needed? These, along with many other questions regarding convertible seats are often asked so we thought it would be useful to share some knowledge to help parents to find the the best infant car seat reviews. Whilst there are several different types / categories of baby seat available in the masses, we are going to concentrate solely on the convertible seats as we have found time and time again that these provide the best level of safety, comfort and above all else, affordability.
What is a Convertible Infant Car Seat?
So, lets start with the basics. Convertible car seats are those that can be both rear facing and forward facing. Rear facing is the position you child MUST be in until there are between 0 – 18 months old and forward facing is common position used until the child is around 4 years old or big enough to move onto a booster seat. Typically, a rear facing car seat would be positioned in the front of the car, whereas a convertible car seat sits in the rear. If you are travelling solo, you may want to consider a rear facing only seat and then change later down the line when your child is older.
The whole purpose of the convertible car seat is so that you don’t need to change seats once your child gets a little older. With a good convertible baby car seat, you should see productive use out of it all the way up until your child is around 4 years old. All seats will come with an array of adjustments to ensure a perfect fit for your child and will allow for suitable changes to be made to alter the neck and back supports, as your child grows bigger.
NOTE: The safest position for your baby to travel in is REAR FACING so the longer you can maintain this position, the better. But be careful to adhere to the manufacturers recommendations and guidelines regarding this.
You can safely use a convertible child car seat from birth, all the way up to 4 years old. For this reason, they tend to be a little more expensive than rear facing seats but you will get a much longer life span from them. You can be assured that all convertible car seats will have been rigorously crash tested to conform to government guidelines but you should still conduct research yourself to determine which brand is best for your requirements. To remain at maximum safety, you must firstly ensure that the seat is installed correctly and then follow the manufacturers guidelines as to when to switch from rear to forward facing. If you are not confortable in installing the seat, always get advice from the manufacturer or contact a professional.
Size & Weight
Convertible infant car seats tend to be a little bigger in terms of overall size and weight. The overall use for the seat is certainly extended, however, it is difficult to get the seat in and out of the car quickly. If you would like a seat with easy, quick release functionality, you should consider the rear facing only option provided by all leading brands such as Maxi Cosi, Chicco or Baby Trend.
If you are a single parent, you may wish to look at alternative options to the convertible seat for the first year simply due to the fact that a rear-facing seat is lighter and easier to remove from the car.
We took a look at the top selling convertible car seats for 2016 and provided a list of the pros and cons for each. Looking primarily at affordability, durability, top ratings and crash tests, we compiled the following recommendations:
Chicco Nextfit Convertible Baby Car Seat
Top Rated: In our eyes the Chicco Nextfit is a solid all round performer. The overall ease of use and easy fit to the car gave it top marks during our test. This convertible infant seat has push on latch connectors and SuperClinch tensioning technology making latch installations a breeze. Its solid harnesses and no re-thread features mean you can easily adjust the seat and the harness to your child as they grow whilst maintaining the utmost comfort and safety at all times. Cons? The weight of the seat is a little heavy but with the combination of easy to use features we believe it has a rightful place at the top of the charts and gets our vote time and time again which we think you will agree.
Britax Marathon ClickTight
Great Value: The Britax Maraton performed well in all areas, not just safety. Its patented clicktight technology helps for a tight, safe and easy install without the need for any added pressure on the parents part. The ClickTight technology does all the hard work for you and secures you child with ease as does the easily adjustable harness for adjustment as your child grows. Additional side tensioning and impact bars protect your child when facing in both directions which is a massive plus point for us. Cons? It is a little weighty and the straps/harness can get twisted easily so care must be used to ensure its flat at all times. Overall a great seat and a massive thumbs up from us!