Top 5 Best Convertible Car Seats of 2017

With the introduction of convertible car seats, the need to buy separate rear-facing infant seats, forward-facing toddler seats, and “big kid” booster seats has been eliminated, saving parents time, money, and hassle, and jump-starting a new segment in the car seat market. Today, with its multi-functional convenience, it would be hard to find a parent who hasn’t thought of buying a convertible car seat for their baby.
With so many brands and models of convertible car seats to choose from, it can be pretty overwhelming to make a choice, especially when your baby’s safety is on the line. To help guide you through the extensive amount of information available on car seat specifications and features, here is a list of our top 5 convertible car seats on the market today with safety as the main priority:

Top 5 Safest Convertible Car Seats

Below are detailed reviews for each of our top 5 convertible car seats. See why these models and features impressed us so much.


RECARO is an expert manufacturer of automotive seating technology. The new Recaro Performance Sport is a redesign of an already popular model. This car seat is one of the safest on the market and offers innovative design and exceptional quality. The following are many of the best features of the Recaro Car Seat:  

  •  HERO harness system technology.  This patent aligns the shoulder pads properly, providing optimum protection and comfort for the child. The system ensures ideal chest clip placement and the harness is designed to resist twisting, too.
  • The innovative Recaro Safety Stripe System.  It has a highly -visible white stripe added to the outside edges of the five-point harness.  This makes it easy for parents to notice when the strap is twisted.
  • Side Impact Protection Technology.  This feature is engineered to protect the child in the event of a side-impact collision. The design features metal-reinforced wings that shield the face, head, torso, and pelvis. There is also a headrest that diminishes neck movement as well.
  • Comfortable and breathable fabrics.  This car seat offers Cloud Comfort memory foam and CoolMesh.
  • The five-point harness system.  It is designed to meet all new FMVSS213 safety standards. Also, it can accommodate children from 20 to 65 pounds in forward-facing harness mode. In addition, it also works for children from 30 to 120 pounds in high-back booster mode.
  • Convenient storage pockets for cups, toys, or snacks.

Parents appreciate the sturdy and supportive seat and high safety features of this model.  They like the ergonomic racing style, as well as its easy to set up features. The adjustable straps and headrest also ensure that this car seat will accommodate your growing child from infant to toddler.


Graco Milestone All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

The Graco Milestone All-In-One Convertible Car Seat is a top seller for Graco.   Graco is known for their high quality and superior safety standards.  This smart and practical car seat owes its popularity to its ease of use and affordable price. Other notable features include: 

  • Graco’s Simply Safe Adjustable Harness System.  It allows for easy baby removal or placement with one motion. Just place the child in the seat and adjust the height of the harness and headrest without having to rethread the straps.
  • Effortless one-second attachmen with audible click cue. This is a cool feature that is thanks to their exclusive patented InRight LATCH feature
  • 4-position recline in both rear- and forward-facing modes. This feature ensures comfort for your growing child.
  • Side impact testing which meets or exceeds U.S. safety standards.
  • Washable seat cover.  It comes with a detachable seat cover that comes out without your having to remove the harness.
  • Removable cupholder.  This seat has detachable plush inserts, and harness storage for holding unused straps.
  • Different Seat Positions.  It can be used as a rear-facing infant seat for infants from 5 to 40 pounds. It can also be set in a forward-facing position to accommodate children from 20 to 65 pounds. There is also the high-back, belt-position to change it to a booster seat for children from 30 to 100 pounds.

Parents often swear by the Graco Milestone All-In-One Convertible Car Seat. They love its user-friendly functionality.  It is easy to install, easy to access baby, easy to adjust the harness and headrest, and, thanks to its compact design, easy to transfer from one vehicle to another.


Diono Radian RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat

The Diono Radian RXT Car Seat is the only car seat with a manufactured full steel frame which provides a higher level of safety and durability. This company really prioritizes safety and innovation.  It’s not surprising that this car seat offers unique characteristics.  Parents love the innovative design and think it is perfect for travelling and storage.  It's other features include:

  • Patented Safe Stop energy-absorbing harness.  This feature reduces the effects of an impact in the forward-facing position.
  • Easy and secure installation.  The Super-LATCH system uses a visual indicator and audible click to confirm the safety lock is engaged
  • A full steel frame with  aluminum-reinforced side wings and head support for superior side impact protection.
  • Rear-facing tether to minimize seat rotation during an impact.
  • Extremely compact design.  This allows you to fit up to 3 seats side-by-side in most mid-sized autos
  • Body support cushions for infants.  These are made from plush and durable fabric, and memory foam padding for maximum comfort.
  • Transitions well with your growing child.  It offers rear-facing seating for small infants. There is forward-facing option for toddlers and a booster mode for older kids.

The space-saving shape of the Diono Radian RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat is definitely a winning feature.  Parents like its ability to be folded flat and also the feature that allows you to carry it on your back. This seat meets parents child car seat needs form the newborn stage all the way up through the booster seat stage.


Britax USA Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

 Britax is a well known car seat manufacturer. It always makes the “best of” car seat lists.  And for good reason, the company has a reputation for quality construction and an outstanding safety record, too. They use high standard manufacturing methods. The Britax USA Marathon  model is lightweight for a convertible seat at only 17 pounds and offers many other interesting features as well:

  • Britax’s groundbreaking ClickTight Installation System.  This is the simplest installation we’ve seen. All you have to do is open the front of the car seat, buckle the seat belt across, and click the seat closed for an easy and accurate installation.
  • Their SafeCell Impact Protection technology.  This is an integrated system of safety components. It includes a steel frame, an energy-absorbing base, a V-shaped tether to reduce seat rotation upon impact.
  • Deep, foam-lined shell for side impact protection
  • 12-position quick-adjust harness and 2-position buckle which allow you to easily customize the fit as your child grows
  • 7-position recline for optimal comfort.  This has an automatic level indicator to help you achieve the best installation angle for your vehicle.
  • It accomodates a child from birth up through the preschool years: rear-facing from 5 to 40 pounds and forward-facing from 20 to 65 pounds.

Although the Britax USA Marathon is in the higher price range and has a limited weight range, it is nonetheless a popular choice because of its sturdy construction, ease of access and budge-proof ClickTight installation.


Graco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat

Graco is a brand that is synonymous with high quality and superior safety standards. The Graco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat is no different. You get Graco’s first-rate engineering, affordable pricing, plus a lot of desirable features:

  • Effortless one-second attachment with audible click cue. This allows for easy baby placement and security.
  • Keeps baby in the rear-facing position for longer than other car seats.  When unable to do so any longer, it then accommodates forward-facing child in a 5-point harness. Also, it can be used in this position for children that weigh from 20 to 65 pounds.
  •  Meets U.S. safety standards
  • EPS energy-absorbing foam for effective impact protection
  • Easy-to-read level indicator for easy rear-facing installation
  • Transitions with growing child, thanks to an adjustable headrest and removable body support
  • Machine-washable seat cushion and cover
  • 2 integrated cup holders

The Graco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat is an affordable option for parents looking for simplicity and reliability. We like that it installs easily, stays secure, offers good support, as well as has a gentle recline. This ensures that the baby’s head remains comfortably cradled and doesn’t fall forward while sleeping. 


Choosing the Best Convertible Car Seat

What is a Convertible Car Seat?

A convertible car seat accommodates your child from infancy up to preschool age or older and eliminates the need to buy separate infant seats, toddler seats, and “big kid” booster seats. This type of convertible seat was first released in the U.S. by Britax in the late 1990s. They begin in a rear-facing position for babies and then transition to front-facing when your child meets size and weight requirements. They also adjust according to your child’s size, with features such as adjustable shoulder straps and crotch buckle position, recline/tilt capability, and movable headrest.

Why Buy a Convertible Car Seat?

Convertible car seats save parents a lot of time and money. They no longer need to buy separate infant and toddler seats. Though bulkier and heavier than infant car seats, convertible car seats are still convenient and versatile because of their multi-use functionality. They also cut down on the amount of baby equipment that you would otherwise buy and need to store.

Many parents prefer this type of transition seating. You’ll find that a convertible car seat is an essential component in your baby care arsenal, especially because it keeps your child in a rear-facing position until the recommended age of two years old.

Convertible Car Seat Features to Look For

  1. Ease of use:

    The easier it is to install and secure your child, adjust the straps, and transfer to another vehicle, the more efficient (and enjoyable) your and your baby’s overall experience will be.

  2. Safety:

    A 5-point harness is essential for maximum protection. It is made up of a strap for each shoulder, a strap for each hip, and a strap that is positioned between baby’s legs. This feature should be available on all newer car seats, too.

  3. Side impact protection:

    This is placed in enhanced side wings or specialized energy-absorbing foam, both of which will shield baby’s head and chest in the event of a side-impact collision.

  4. Compatibility:

    Compatibility with the LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system. This has been mandatory for all car seats since 2002. Some car seat makers have implemented their own specialized LATCH technology.   The car seats are  attached directly to the vehicle’s frame rather than just relying on the seat belts to secure them.

  5. Extended Use:  

    For maximum functionality, get a convertible car seat with a large weight range that can last your child for several years. Look for a weight range encompassing 4 pounds to over 100 pounds.

  6. Reclining:

    Look for a convertible car seat with significant reclining capability in the rear-facing position. This will keep your baby’s head from falling forward when they sleep.

  7. Adjustable:  

    Find a convertible car seat with shoulder straps that do not need to be rethreaded when adjusting the harness for height. This is a hassle that some car seats avoid with the implementation of one-handed harness adjustment.

  8. Rear-Facing Capability: 

    Consider buying a convertible car seat with extended rear-facing capability. The current recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is for toddlers to remain in rear-facing position until age two. This is because the rear-facing position is five times safer than the forward-facing one. Though most convertible car seats accommodate rear-facing up to 35 pounds, some will go up to 40 or 45 pounds.

  9. Washable:

    Machine-washable car seat covers are a breeze to clean, as opposed to those that cannot be removed and can only be spot-cleaned with a damp cloth. Also, as a nice bonus, some car seats allow you to remove the seat cover without having to disassemble the harness.

  10. Trusted Brand:

    Buy from a reputable company.  Be confident that your car seat is safe and meets the required safety standards.

  11. Always Buy New:

    Never buy a used car seat. The previous owner may not disclose accidents or even minor incidents, which can still cause weaknesses in the seat. The plastic in an older seat may also become brittle, and therefore be vulnerable in a collision. If you do end up using a pre-owned seat, make sure it’s from someone you trust, and that it is less than five years old. Also, be sure to research possible recalls and check the seat label or owner’s handbook to confirm the seat model’s date of expiry.

Conclusion

Convertible car seats are a must do. They keep baby safe and secure while on the road. The convertible seat is a better choice because you don't need to buy separate car seats for child growth. Take the time to research and investigate all the options available. You’ll be able to choose the right car seat that fits your needs, your vehicle, and your budget when you do a little due diligence.

Frequently Asked Safety Questions

  • How can I find out about my state law?
  • Which child safety seat is the best for my child?
  • What is the best way to keep my child warm in the winter in his seat?
  • How do I securely and safely  install the car seat?
  • What is a LATCH?
  • What is the safest place in the car for the car seat?
  • Why is it important to place child rear-facing?
  • Should I replace my car seat after were in an accident?
  • Should my child use a car seat in an airplane?
  • What age is best for my child to graduate out of the safety seat?
  • Will the car seat fit in my car?
  • How do I know if the convertible car seat is installed correctly?
1 comment
Gemma - May 20, 2017

Before now, driving my baby to the nanny before work is usually full of trouble for me. But with the help of Graco’s milestone convertible, I could completely trust my baby with it while I concentrate on the road.

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