The Safest Convertible Car Seats: Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Car Seat for Your Baby with Reviews, Safety Ratings and Expert Tips

by Tom Demers | Last Updated Feb. 10th, 2016

So here’s the thing. In the parenting world, car seat discussions can get heated. And by heated, we mean hot, hot, hot – to the point of boiling over.

But here’s the other thing: as parents, we all agree that car seats should be a hot topic because they’re one of the most important aspects to keeping our kids safe. The average family spends a lot of time in the car: grocery runs and after-school sports and weekend jaunts and, well, all those interminable minutes and hours you spend going to and fro, hither and thither.

Since you’re reading this guide, we already know you want to keep your kiddos safe in the car. We’ll skip the high-horse speeches – you probably hear enough of that in playgroup, anyway – and jump right to the cold, hard facts. Here are three that stand out:

  • Road-related injuries are the leading cause of preventable injury and death to children in the U.S.
  • The good news: Car seats, correctly installed, can reduce the risk of death by an incredible 71%.
  • The bad news: An estimated 73% of car seats are not installed correctly.

Those are the statistics. Here are a few steps you can take on the way to keeping your children safe:

  • All car seats sold in the U.S. are required to meet or exceed Federal and ASTM Safety Standards.
  • Car seats should also be NCAP crash tested, the industry benchmark for evaluating seat performance in the event of a severe accident.
  • Parent Central at SaferCar.gov provides excellent reviews on all U.S. car seats. The site also rates each car seat based on its ease of use – an important consideration, given the above statistic that 73% of car seats are used incorrectly.
  • For all-in-one seats and convertibles that transition to boosters, you can also check booster seat ratings at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
  • Third-party review sites, like Consumer Reports, also offer unbiased comfort and safety reviews.

All that said, we’ll add one more layer to the equation – four additional considerations before purchasing a car seat:

  1. Extended Rear-Facing: You may have heard a lot about rear-facing versus front-facing car seats. Let’s cut to the chase: without a doubt, rear-facing is the safest way for your children to ride. Consider purchasing a seat that rear-faces to 40+ pounds. Remember, just because your child hits the minimum required to front-face (1+ year and 20+ pounds), doesn’t mean she should. Rear-facing saves lives.
  2. Extended Front-Facing: As with the transition from rear- to front-facing, your child will likely hit the minimum height and weight required to transition to a booster before he’s actually ready, physically and developmentally. Choose a seat with a high front-facing weight limit (up to 70 pounds) and only transition to a booster when your child outgrows her car seat.
  3. Check the expiration date: Some car seats have a 5-year life, which means they’ll likely expire before your child has the chance to outgrow them. If you’re buying an extended-use or all-in-one car seat, choose one with an 8-, 10-, or 12-year lifespan.
  4. Never buy used: It’s tempting to spring for a deal on a used seat, but you should know that age, wear, and accidents (even just a teeny, tiny fender bender) can compromise a car seat’s safety features. Unless you are 110% sure of a seat’s history – never been in an accident, never left in a spot where the sun shines brightly, etc. – don’t risk your child’s safety for a discount.

Now that we have that out of the way, here are our recommendations for the most stylish, comfortable and, most importantly, safest all-in-one and convertible car seats for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and elementary kids. Let us know which ones make your wish list!

1. Britax Advocate

Britax AdvocateBritax is one of the biggest names in car seats, thanks to incredible safety ratings and high weight limits. The Britax Advocate is one of the brand’s most popular seats, featuring side-impact cushion technology, as well as other Britax safety features: SafeCell technology, integrated steel bars, SafeCell crash technology, and an energy-absorbing Versa-Tether.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 1+ year; 20-65 pounds
  • Front-facing limit: 49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 4 stars); Consumer Reports (71 points, Very Good rating)

2. Britax Boulevard

Britax BoulevardThe Britax Boulevard is an excellent car seat that will accommodate your newborn (5+ pounds) through her preschool and elementary years (up to 65 pounds). The Boulevard sports all the standard Britax safety characteristics, like the energy-absorbing Versa-Tether, true side-impact protection, SafeCell technology, and steel bars, and has additional comfort features, including a tangle-free five-point harness that never needs to be re-threaded.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 1+ year; 20-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 4 stars); Consumer Reports (71 points, Very Good rating)

3. Britax Marathon

Britax MarathonThis bestseller almost needs no introduction: it’s one of the most popular, talked-about car seats in the U.S. today. It offers full side-impact protection, a solid steel bar frame, SafeCell technology in case of collision, an impact-absorbing Versa-Tether and other seriously advanced safety features, and adds a dose of style with floral, animal print, and colorful covers. It also comes in in the mid-price range, usually under $250 – and that’s for a seat that’ll take you from newborn to 65 pounds. Bottom line: you can’t go wrong with the Britax Marathon!

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 1+ year; 20-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 4 stars); Consumer Reports (69 points, Very Good rating)

4. Britax Pavilion

Britax PavilionThe Britax Pavilion is one of the most popular, adjustable car seats on the market today – and for good reason. With a sky-high weight capacity of 70 pounds, this seat will take you from newborn through elementary school. Even better, the Pavilion upholds Britax’s incredible safety standards and features, scoring top ratings for its side-impact protection, integrated steel bar construction, and SafeCell technology, which keeps your child safe in the event of a crash.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 1+ year; 20-70 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 3 stars); Consumer Reports (71 points, Very Good rating)

5. Britax Roundabout

Britax RoundaboutBritax is known for its high safety ratings and stellar user reviews, but those accolades don’t always come cheap. Enter the Roundabout, which for under $150, delivers on the Britax promise – and represents one of the best deals in convertible car seats today. The Roundabout boasts the same SafeCell Technology, steel bars, and Versa-Tether as other Britax seats, sacrificing only capacity (55 pounds and 46 inches) for the lower price. Be sure to choose the Roundabout G4 model, which is slightly roomier than classic Roundabout 55.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 46 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 1+ year; 20-55 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 46 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 3 stars); Consumer Reports (67 points, Very Good rating; Best Buy award)

6. Chicco NextFit

Chicco NextFitThe Chicco NextFit is one of the best-rated car seats available today, thanks to its easy of use, high weight limit, and superior safety features. We love how simple it is to install and use, with its ReclineSure 9-position leveling system, SuperCinch LATCH tightening, RideRight bubble leveler, 2-position chest clip, and other user-friendly features. And for baby fashionistas, the NextFit comes with a unique, machine-washable zip-off cover that can be easily changed out depending on style and season.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 1+ year; 22-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 4 stars); Consumer Reports (74 points, Very Good rating; Best Buy award)

7. Combi Coccoro

Combi CoccoroThe Combi Coccoro is an ideal choice for parents who want safety and a compact seat: the Coccoro is made especially to fit well in small vehicles, even if you have to double (or triple!) up your seats. Beyond its space-saving features, the Coccoro is a lifesaver, as well: with Tru-Safe® Side Impact Protection, energy-absorbing foam, rear-facing tether, LATCH connectors, and five-point harness, this car seat is both easy to use and very safe. Bear in mind, with a forward-facing weight limit of just 40 pounds, you’ll eventually have to purchase another car seat before your child is ready to transition to a booster.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 3-33 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 19-40 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 20-40 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 19-40 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 3 stars); Consumer Reports (49 points, Good rating)

8. Cosco Scenera

Cosco SceneraIf you’re looking for safety and a great deal, look no further than the Cosco Scenera. Clocking in at under $60, this top-rated value workhorse is LATCH-equipped and features a 5-point harness system with Center Front Adjust and four harness positions. But like the Coccoro, remember that with a forward-facing weight limit of just 40 pounds, you’ll eventually have to purchase another car seat before your child is ready to transition to a booster.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-35 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 19-36 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-40 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 34-43 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 4 stars)

9. Diono Radian®RXT

Diono Radian®RXTOh, be still our hearts. The Diono Radian®RXT (and its sister seat, below at #10) is the granddaddy of incredible car seats. At $300+, you may not think of this as a budget seat – but consider what you get for your money: an infant seat, toddler and preschooler car seat, and elementary booster seat (up to 120 pounds), all in one. And if that weren’t enough, the Radian®RXT is so compact, you can fit three-across in a mid-size vehicle; it also folds flat for travel. Huge bonus: it has a 10-year life, so it won’t expire before your kid outgrows it.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-45 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 57″ pounds
  • Front-facing weight limit: 20-80 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 57″ pounds
  • Booster Convertible: Yes; 50-120 pounds and 40-57 inches
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 2 stars); Consumer Reports (44 points, Good rating)

10. Diono Rainier

Diono RainierIf the Radian®RXT almost brought you to tears (it’s okay, we understand!), then hold onto your seats: the Ranier is even better. Diono’s all-new Ranier adds to the Radian’s offerings with increased weight limits – at 50 pounds for rear facing, it’s the highest in the industry! – extra deep side walls, 12-position headrest, and additional side-impact protection. It even adds two years to the Radian®RXT’s 10-year life – 12 years before expiration, meaning your child really can use the seat from newborn bucket seat to toddler car seat to big-kid booster.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-50 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 57″
  • Front-facing weight limit: 20-90 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 57″
  • Booster Convertible: Yes; 50-120 pounds and 40-57 inches
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 2 stars)

11. Evenflo Symphony

Evenflo SymphonyThe Evenflo Symphony is an all-in-one car seat, capable of converting from infant bucket seat to rear- or forward-facing toddler seat and, finally, to a booster seat for older children. Not only that, but the Symphony features SureLATCH® Technology (60-second installation!), e3 Side Impact™ Protection, and safety-tests at and incredible double the Federal Crash Test Standard. And if that’s not enough to pique your interest, get this: the Symphony is a steal at under $200.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 19-37 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 28-50 inches
  • Booster Convertible: Yes; 40-110 pounds and 43.3-57 inches
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 3 stars); Consumer Reports (67 points, Very Good rating; Best Buy award); Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (Best Bet award)

12. Evenflo SureRide™

Evenflo SureRide™The Evenflo SureRide™ was developed to keep your child harnessed for longer, with a wide range of harness adjustments and high height/weight limits. This made-in-the-USA seat takes safety seriously, with side impact protection, thick adding, a 5-point harness, LATCH system, and a safety rating 2x the federal crash test standard. And at under $100, there’s no better value out there.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 19-40 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 28-54 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 2 stars); Consumer Reports (65 points, Very Good rating; Best Buy award)

13. Graco ComfortSport

Graco ComfortSportThe Graco ComfortSport is a good convertible car seat for families on a budget. At under $100, this workhorse accommodates kids from newborn (5+ pounds) to toddler years (40 pounds, max), and throws in comfort and safety features like LATCH compatibility, EPS energy absorbing foam, an adjustable five-point harness, and installation level indicator. As with similar seats, keep in mind that you’ll probably have to upgrade to another convertible or all-in-one seat once your child exceeds 40 pounds.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-30 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 40 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 20-40 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 40 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Consumer Reports (55 points; Good rating)

14. Graco Head Wise™ 70

Graco Head Wise™ 70Graco’s Head Wise™ 70 is a pretty exciting convertible car seat, given that its weight limits hit the industry floor at 4 pounds (premies and multiples!) and scrape the ceiling at 70 pounds. What’s more, the seat was built with safety in mind and promises to provide the best head protection at both the rear-facing and front-facing stages. Add on features likes LATCH positioning, Graco’s Simply Safe Adjust™ harness system, Safety Surround™ Side Impact Protection, and a solid 5-point harness, and it’s easy to see why this sub-$200 seat is a winner.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 4-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: Until child’s head is no less than 1″ below the red handle
  • Front-facing weight limit: 20-70 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 52 inches pounds
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 4 stars)

15. Graco MyRide 65

Graco MyRide 65Graco’s MyRide 65 is one of our favorite convertible car seats, due to its enviable combination of great price (sub-$125) and extended use. With a weight range of 5-65 pounds, this seat will get you from the hospital through the elementary years – until your child is ready to transition to a backed booster. Graco’s excellent safety features clinch the deal: it exceed U.S. safety standards with EPS energy-absorbing foam, high ratings for side-impact protection, an adjustable 5-point harness, LATCH compatibility, and other keep-your-kiddo-safe features.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: Top of head must be at least 1” (2.5 cm) below the top of the child restraint
  • Front-facing weight limit: 20-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 4 stars); Consumer Reports (64 points, Very Good rating)

16. Graco Size4Me

Graco Size4MeGraco adds another to our list with the Size4Me, an adaptable and well-priced entry to the convertible car seat market. It is incredibly safe, thanks to demanding side-impact testing, energy-absorbing foam, and a five-point harness that earns the seat high safety ratings. We also love that the Size4Me has a low, low weight minimum (just 4 pounds), so even if you’re expecting a premie (or multiples!), this seat will still take you from hospital to elementary school.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 4-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: Top of head must be at least 1” (2.5 cm) below the top of the child restraint
  • Front-facing weight limit: 20-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 4 stars); Consumer Reports (67 points, Very Good rating)

17 . Graco Smart Seat

Graco Smart SeatIf you’re aiming for car seat longevity, you can’t miss the Graco Smart Seat. This all-in-one car seat rear-faces to 40 pounds, front-faces to 65 pounds, and performs as a booster up to 100 pounds. You’ll never need another seat! What’s more, it boasts rigorous safety standards, like SafeSeat engineering, a steel-reinforced frame, side-impact protection, and EPS energy-absorbing foam. And it’s incredibly comfortable, to boot.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: Top of head must be at least 1” (2.5 cm) below the top of the child restraint
  • Front-facing weight limit: 20-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: Yes; 30-100 pounds and 38-57 inches
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 5 stars);

18. Maxi Cosi Pria™ 70

Maxi Cosi Pria™ 70Can I get an ooh-la-la? We’ll admit, we love that the Maxi Cosi Pria™ 70 comes in a rainbow array of colors, from Bohemian Blue to Sweet Cerise to Brown Leather (say what?!). But we also love that this chic convertible car seat values safety even more than fashion: the Pria™ 70 features the FlexTech™ system (multi-directional energy management) and superior side-impact protection, as well as high weight limits (RF to 40 pounds and FF to 70 pounds). Now that’s what we call style and function!

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 9-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: Until baby’s head reaches to 1″ of top of seat
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-70 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 52 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 2 stars); Consumer Reports (62 points, Very Good rating)

19. Orbit Baby G3

Orbit Baby G3Hold. The. Phone! Fellow parents, the Orbit Baby G3 turns the convertible car seat world on its head. Walk with me through these awesome features: Not only does the G3 boast side-impact protection, side impact braces, and a 5-point harness, but it also features non-toxic, Brominated Flame Retardant/BFR-free fabrics and is the world’s first convertible car seat to dock onto a stroller and rocker. Hello, beautiful.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 15-35 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: When the child’s ears are not visible above the top of the headrest when seated
  • Front-facing weight limit: 25-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: Yes/no
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 3 stars)

20. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio ConvertibleYou probably know Peg Perego for its hip, Italian-made strollers, but did you know the brand also has car seats on offer? Excellent ones, in fact: the Primo Viaggio is a highly adjustable, extended rear-facing car seat with top safety ratings and glowing reviews. We love the Primo Viaggio’s safety features – side-impact protection, 10 adjustable positions for safest fit, energy-absorbing foam, shock-absorbing foam, and a quick-release 5-point harness – and love it even more for accommodating children up to 45 pounds for rear-facing and a whopping 70 pounds for front-facing.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-45 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: As long as head is at least one inch below headrest edge
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-70 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: Yes/no
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 4 stars)

21. RECARO PERFORMANCE RIDE

Recaro Performance RideAnother stylish convertible car seat from Recaro, the Performance Ride offers the latest in safety technology with the HERO harness system. With HERO, you can be absolutely sure that you’ve positioned the seat to fit your child’s head, neck and shoulders, without the harness twisting and while ensuring proper chest clip positioning. In other words, it’s the safest, most secure installation ever. Add on breathable mesh, memory foam, a comfort pad, and a bevy of safety features, and you see why the Performance Ride makes our list.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: Less than 22.5 inches, seated height
  • Front-facing weight limit: 20-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: Less than 49 inches, standing height
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Consumer Reports (59 points, Good rating)

22. RECARO PRORIDE

Recaro ProRIDERecaro’s reputation for style, form and function live on with the ProRIDE, a convertible car seat that employs serious safety features: a vehicle belt lock-off mechanism (for use when forward-facing), PUR foam in the head restraint, and racing-inspired side impact protection. And rest assured your little one won’t sacrifice comfort for safety, as the ProRIDE also comes equipped with an ergonomic shell, breathable fabric, and comfortable cushioning.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: Less than 22.5 inches, seated height
  • Front-facing weight limit: 20-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: Less than 49 inches, standing height
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Consumer Reports (60 points, Very Good rating)

23. Safety 1st Able 65

Safety 1st Able 65The Safety 1st Able offers an excellent value: at under $100, this seat rear-faces to 40 pounds and front-faces to 65 pounds. Even better, it meets or exceeds Federal and ASTM Safety Standards, and adds great features like a no-rethread, adjustable 5-point harness, 3-position recline base, five harness heights, and one-hand seat adjustment.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 19-40 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 29-49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 3 stars); Consumer Reports (57 points, Good rating)

24. Safety 1st Advance 70 Air+

Safety 1st Advance 70 Air+If you like the Safety 1st brand and love a good deal, it doesn’t get much better than the Advance 70 Air+ convertible car seat. This versatile workhorse is for families who practice extended rear-racing (up to 40 pounds and 40 inches) and extended front-facing (70 pounds and 52 inches) – or for families with big kids who outgrow seat limits before they’re developmentally ready. And of course, the Advance 70 Air+ meets Safety 1st’s exacting safety standards and meets or exceeds Federal and ASTM Safety Standards.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 19-40 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-70 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 34-52 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 4 stars)

25. Safety 1st All-in-One

Safety 1st All-in-OneAnother addition to the all-in-one car seat category, the Safety 1st All-in-One takes you from newborn bucket seat to toddler (rear-racing to 40 pounds) to elementary school (front-facing to 50 pounds) and, finally, to a belt-positioning booster up to 100 pounds. It’s all the seat you’d ever need – or want, considering this baby has side-impact protection and meets or exceeds Federal and ASTM Safety Standards. Keep in mind its front-facing weight limit (50 pounds) is lower than its competitors (65-70 pounds) – but its price is, too.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 19-36 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-50 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 34-45 inches
  • Booster Convertible: Yes; 40-100 pounds and 43-52 inches
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 2 stars); Consumer Reports (46 points, Good rating)

26. Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite™

Safety 1st Alpha Omega EliteAnother entrant to the all-in-one car seat field, the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite™ is a solid contender. With mid-range weight limits – 35 pounds for rear-facing and 50 pounds for front-facing – and the ability to convert to a booster, not to mention rigorous safety testing and ratings, the Alpha Omega Elite™ is an excellent choice for families seeking value, safety, and extended use.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-35 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 19-36 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-50 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 34-45 inches
  • Booster Convertible: Yes; 40-100 pounds and 43-52 inches
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 3 stars)

27. Safety 1st Complete Air 65

Safety 1st Complete Air 65We seemingly can’t get enough of Safety 1st’s affordable offerings, so here’s another to consider. The Complete Air 65 is a long-lasting, convertible car seat that will take you from 5 to 65 pounds and 19 to 49 inches – that’s a small newborn to a large elementary-schooler! What’s more, the seat meets or exceeds Federal and ASTM Safety Standards, and features Safety 1st’s QuickFit™ harness and Air Protect® advanced side impact protection technology.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 19-40 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 29-49 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 3 stars); Consumer Reports (57 points, Good rating)

28. Safety 1st OnSide Air

Safety 1st OnSide AirIf you’re looking for a well-priced convertible car seat that’ll allow you to keep you child rear-facing for longer, check out the Safety 1st OnSide Air. At under $80, this car seat rear-faces to 40 pounds and piles on safety, with four harness heights and three buckle locations and safety ratings that meet or exceed Federal and ASTM Safety Standards. Keep in mind that this seat forward-faces to just 40 pounds, so when your child hits the upper limit you’ll need to purchase another car seat.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 19-40 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-40 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 34-43 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 3 stars); Consumer Reports (64 points, Very Good rating)

29. Snugli All-In-One Car Seat

Snugli All-In-One Car SeatSnugli’s superb All-in-One Car Seat offers great value and very extended use, converting from rear-facing seat (up to 40 pounds) to front-facing seat (up to 65 pounds) to booster mode (up to 110 pounds) – all for under $200. What’s more, Snugli packs in the safety features, with three layers of side-impact foam, a TruTether adjuster, and SureLATCH installation. All this, and your kiddo is still super comfy: the All-in-One also features temperature-regulating fabric, memory foam padding, and a plush pillow.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-40 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: 19-37 inches
  • Front-facing weight limit: 22-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 28-50 inches
  • Booster Convertible: Yes; 40-110 pounds and 43.3-57 inches
  • Reviews & Ratings: Consumer Reports (67 points, Very Good rating)

30. The First Years True Fit I-Alert

The First Years True Fit I-AlertLadies and gentlemen, car seats have gone mobile. The First Years True Fit I-Alert takes car seat safety into the 21st century with revolutionary, mobile-synced alerts that let you know (via smartphone) when unsafe conditions arise – things like an incorrect positioning angle or when your child unbuckles himself mid-ride. The seat also features an easily adjustable 5-point harness, EPP foam for impact protection, LATCH positioning, and a high forward-facing weight limit (65 pounds) for maximum use.

At A Glance:

  • Rear-facing weight limit: 5-35 pounds
  • Rear-facing height limit: Until head is 1 inch below the top of the seat
  • Front-facing weight limit: 23-65 pounds
  • Front-facing height limit: 50 inches
  • Booster Convertible: No
  • Reviews & Ratings: Parents Central on Safercar.gov (Ease-of-use rating: 5 stars)

Bonus Recommendations: Car Seat Accessories

We’re car seat geeks here at Safe Sound Family, so we can’t help but share some of our favorite car safety and comfort add-ons – all those little things that help us get from Point A to Point B, both safely and happily.

  1. Car Seat Protector
  2. Seat Base Protector
  3. Back Seat/Rear-view Mirror
  4. Backseat Organizer
  5. Backseat Organizer #2
  6. Summer Infant Snuzzler
  7. Kick Mat Car Seat Protector
  8. Car Seat Travel Bag
  9. Sun Shade
  10. Add-on Cup Holder
  11. Car Seat Dry Pad/Piddle Pad
  12. Car Seat Sun Shade
  13. Strap Cushions
  14. Travel Pal Organizer
  15. Lap Tray
  16. Car Seat Foot Rest
  17. Seat Belt Button Cover
  18. Seat Belt Locking Clip
  19. Infant Neck Cradler
 
 
   
  • 2 comments

     
  • NathanMcclaren . 2 years ago

    There are many factors to consider in order to find the best next-level car seat for your baby. As a toddler, your child’s safety needs change from those during the infancy stage. A convertible car seat must meet Federal regulations to ensure your child’s safety, as well as, include these following five important qualities.

    Recaro Bucket Seats

     
  • Nicole Paige . 2 years ago

    Never heard of the Orbit G3 car seat. Seems like it has a lot of great features, but it starts at 15lbs rear-facing which makes it a bit impractible to take baby home from the hospital in. Do they have a convertible with a lower weight limit?

     
 
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