01 of 07
Recommended Convertible Car Seats for 2016
Convertible car seats can be used both rear-facing for infants and toddlers until at least age 2, and then forward-facing for older toddlers and children. Convertible car seats have a 5-point harness built into the seat to secure the baby.
The weight limits for rear- and forward-facing vary greatly by car seat model. Most convertible car seats allow rear-facing to at least 30 pounds, and some can be used rear-facing up to 50 pounds. All convertible car seats in the U.S. allow forward-facing to at... least 40 pounds, and some allow forward-facing up to 80 pounds. The exact weight limits for each car seat model are listed on the car seat labels, usually found on the car seat sides.
Convertible car seats have two separate belt paths where the vehicle seat belt or LATCH belt can be threaded through the car seat. One of these paths is to be used when the car seat is rear-facing, and the other is to be used while forward-facing. A few car seats have a separate belt path for the LATCH belt. Double check your car seat manual and the labels on the side of the car seat to be sure you are using the correct belt path with your convertible car seat.
Weight ranges vary on these car seats, so consider your child's height and weight before buying a car seat. All car seats in the U.S. meet minimum safety standards, but the car seats shown here are known for their easy installation in many vehicles, durability over time, and easy to adjustment for proper harness fit. All of these car seats have high rear-facing weight limits so you can keep baby safely rear-facing to about age 2, or beyond.
Heather Wootton Corley is a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructor.Continue to 2 of 7 below.
02 of 07
Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat
If you're installing with LATCH, the Chico NextFit makes a tight fit quick and easy thanks to the addition of a force multiplier. This nifty gadget is built into the LATCH belt, and when you pull up on the end of the belt, it cinches the car seat down in a snap with very little effort on your part. This car seat also has a no-rethread harness, several recline positions, adjustable head wings, and a very cushy padded cover. The two-position chest clip gives an ideal fit for rear- and... forward-facing. I also really like the built-in lock-offs for seatbelt installations. Rear-facing 5 to 40 pounds. Forward facing from 2 years to 65 pounds.
The NextFit Zip has all of the same awesome features but has a zip-off cover that's easy to remove for washing.Continue to 3 of 7 below.
03 of 07
Graco MySize 65 Convertible Car Seat
The MySize 65 is a phenomenal convertible car seat from Graco. It costs less than $200, but it has lots of great features that are often only found on pricier seats. The head wings and harness height are adjusted together by squeezing a button at the top of the frame and just sliding the whole headrest up or down. The premium push-button LATCH connectors are also a nice feature. Rear-facing 4 to 40 pounds. Forward-facing to 65 pounds.
Graco also makes the Fit4Me, HeadWise 65, and... Size4Me 65, which are the same car seat with different covers and names to meet the needs of various retailers. Any of these options would be a good choice.
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04 of 07
Evenflo Symphony DLX Convertible Car Seat
The SureLatch connectors make LATCH installation so easy - just click each connector onto your vehicle anchors, then push down on the car seat. The built-in retractors in the SureLatch system tighten the car seat down for you. If you're installing forward-facing, you'll need to add one more step - attaching the top tether. There's a no-rethread harness system with bright red tabs at baby's shoulders to remind you to slide the straps for a perfect fit on every ride. The head wings... also adjust up and down for a great fit. Rear-facing 5 to 40 pounds. Forward-facing to 65 pounds. Booster mode up to 110 pounds.
The Evenflo Platinum Symphony DLX has all of the same features of the regular Symphony DLX, but adds Outlast temperature control fabric.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat
If price is a concern for you when selecting a convertible car seat, you'll be quite pleased with the value of this car seat. Scenera Next offers simple harness adjustments and a removable seat cover for easy cleaning. The five harness heights and three buckle positions help the Scenera Next fit a wide range of babies and toddlers. As on many inexpensive car seats, the harness straps may twist a lot and should be smoothed with each use to keep baby safe. The LATCH connectors are very basic... and not always easy to use, but this is to be expected on a car seat that costs less than $50. The Scenera Next also makes a great, lightweight car seat for airline travel. Rear-facing 5 to 40 pounds. Forward-facing from 2 years to 40 pounds.
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06 of 07
Diono Radian R100 Convertible Car Seat
The Radian R100 car seat has a smaller footprint than most other high-weight convertibles, which means it can fit together with other car seats a little easier when you need to fit three-across. You can expand the sides to make it more comfortable for your child, and the longer seat (front to back) gives a more comfortable ride for taller kids. You can use the top tether in rear- and forward-facing positions, and the Radian R100 becomes a booster seat, as well. There are 5 harness positions and... three buckle slots, plus there's a recline option to help the car seat fit properly on sloped vehicle seats. 5 to 40 pounds rear-facing. Two years to 65 pounds forward-facing. Booster 50 to 100 pounds.
Diono's other convertible car seats are also very nice options for your baby. The Radian RXT adds more color choices, higher weight limits, a 12-position height-adjustable head support, and infant body cushions for about $50 more.Continue to 7 of 7 below.
07 of 07
Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
The ClickTight system makes Britax seats the easiest convertibles to install with the seat belt - hands down. ClickTight is available on the Boulevard (shown here), and also on the Marathon (slightly smaller seat with top harness 1.5" lower, $40 cheaper) and the Advocate (adds large air-filled wings to the sides for extra crash protection, $40 more). All you have to do is open the "lid," which is the seat portion of the car seat, buckle the seat belt in the open portion, then shut... the lid like a car trunk. When the seat portion locks back into place, it tightens the seat belt and holds it tight. The Boulevard ClickTight also has a no-rethread harness, true side-impact protection, premium push-button LATCH connectors, a luxurious cover, and thick harness webbing that resists twisting. 5 to 40 pounds rear-facing. Up to 65 pounds forward-facing.