Tag Archives: convertible safety seat

Convertible Car Seats

Newborns can either sit in an infant safety seat or a convertible safety seat, also known as a forward-facing car seat. A convertible seat converts from a rear-facing seat for babies to a forward-facing seat.

The convertible car seat is the second car seat stage, right after infant car seat. When your baby grows too big for his infant car seat, but is too small to face forward, he can use a convertible car seat in its rear-facing position. Although a convertible car seat can face front or back, it’s safer to keep your baby in a rear-facing position for as long as possible. Most experts recommend that children stay in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 2 years old regardless of height.

Some people skip buying the infant car seat and just buy a convertible car seat instead. Although there are benefits of owning an infant car seat, a convertible car seat can be used for longer and tends to be cheaper in the long run.

Unlike infant car seats, convertible car seats stay in the vehicle and the seat is not detachable. This is less convenient because the car seat is not portable, making it harder to transport your baby. Convertible seats are heavy and you cannot easily take them in and out of the car, carry your baby in the carrier, or snap them into a compatible stroller. Instead, you will need to buy a separate travel system if you want to use a stroller.

Buying a Convertible Car Seat

Choosing a convertible car seat for a newborn can be tricky because not every convertible car seat will fit your new baby comfortably.

Infant car seats are meant for newborns so they fit your baby snugly. How comfortably your baby will fit in a convertible car seat will depend on the size of your baby. Many convertible car seats include an infant insert that helps to position the baby in the seat, and provide body and head support. If the seat does not come with any type of insert, you may need to use rolled up blankets around your baby’s body for head and/or body support.

Pay attention to the car seat’s minimum weight and if the seat comes with an infant insert. Although many convertible car seats have a minimum weight of 5 pounds, the Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat starts at 14 pounds. They have a separate infant insert that you can purchase, called Clek Infant-Thingy Infant Insert, which allows the Clek Floo and Foonf convertible car seats to accommodate a child from 5 pounds.

You can also consider buying 3-in-1 or all-in-one car seat, which can change from rear-facing to forward-facing, and then to a booster seat. Note that some 3-in-1 car seats are not for newborns and can only be used as forward-facing. These car seats can only convert from car seat for older toddlers to high-back booster to backless booster. This is why it is important to read the description of each car seat model to see if the 3-in-1 car seat can be used in a rear-facing position. You can read tips on what to look for when buying a convertible car seat.

Convertible Car Seat Installation

Studies show that three out of every four car seats are incorrectly installed. Always refer to your own car seat manufacturer’s instruction manual to see how to install the car seat properly. Below are helpful reminders when installing a convertible car seat:

Convertible car seats have two separate belt paths where the LATCH belt or vehicle seat belt can be threaded through the car seat. One of the belt paths is used for rear-facing position and the other is used for forward-facing. Check the car seat instruction manual to find the correct belt path to use. Some allow different routes through the belt path to offer the best fit in a variety of vehicles.

Convertible Car Seat Weight Limit

Convertible car seats have higher height and weight limits than infant car seats, which allow children to sit in the rear-facing position for longer. Most convertible car seats can fit babies in a rear-facing position from birth to 40 pounds and newer car seat models allow forward-facing up to 85 pounds. It is best to keep your child in the rear-facing position until he reaches the limit specified by the car seat.

The weight and height limit for convertible car seats vary by model, so it is important to check the label on the car seat for limitations, usually found on the car seat sides.

When to Change to Booster Seat

Don’t rush to switch from a 5 point harness to a booster seat before your child is ready. Once your child has outgrown the weight or height limit of their forward-facing harnesses, it is time to switch to a booster seat.

The forward-facing weight limits on many convertible cars has increased in recent years. Parents are advised to keep their children in a harnessed car seat for as long as possible before switching to a booster seat.

Children at this stage are not ready for adult safety belts and should use belt-positioning booster seats until they are at least 8 to 12 years old and at least 4’9”.

To get an idea of average height/weight requirements for convertible car seats, below are five popular car seats and their maximum size requirements. Please remember to check your own car seat’s manual for specific size limitations.

1) Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat
Limits: 5-45 lbs. rear-facing, 20-80 lbs. forward-facing

2) Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat
Limits: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-65 lbs. forward-facing

3) Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Car Seat
Limits: 4-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-85 lbs. forward-facing

4) Britax Roundabout G4.1 Convertible Car Seat
Limits: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-55 lbs. forward-facing

5) Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat
Limits: 14-50 lbs. rear-facing, 20-65 lbs. forward-facing

Infant Car Seat VS Convertible Car Seat

Newborns have the option of using an infant car seat or a convertible safety seat. The below car seat guide will explain the differences between infant safety seats and convertible safety seats so that you can decide what is appropriate for your newborn.

Difference Between Infant Car Seat And Convertible Car Seat

Infant car seats are all rear-facing whereas convertible car seats can be positioned rear-facing or forward-facing.

Infant safety seats fit babies snugly during the first year or so, depending on the seat and size of your baby. Infant car seats typically have a weight limit of 22 to 35 pounds and a height limit of 20 to 32 inches tall. On the other hand, many convertible car seats have a weight limit of 40-50 pounds in a rear-facing position, up to 85 pounds in a forward-facing position, and have a height limit of up to 50 inches tall. The weight and height limits for car seats vary for every model, so it is important to know the limits for your specific seat.

While it may be cheaper to purchase a convertible car seat, buying an infant car seat also has its advantages. A few of the benefits of having an infant car seat includes

1) Infant car seats are portable
Infant car seats have two pieces: a carrier and a base. The carrier can be easily clicked in and out from the car seat base, which is latched and remains in the vehicle. This allows you to transport your baby from one place to another without having to remove the baby from the car seat. This is especially helpful when your baby is sleeping and you don’t want to disturb him.

2) The carrier attaches to strollers
Newborns cannot sit up or lift up their heads. If you plan to use a stroller for your newborn to take him on walks, you can use secure him in a carrier so that he will not strain his neck. Depending on your car seat, there may be a selection of compatible strollers to choose from. You can purchase a car seat and stroller in a matching set, or buy them separately.

It’s important to note that convertible car seats stay in your car, meaning you will have to buy a separate travel system if you want to use a stroller.

3) One seat can be used in multiple cars
If you have more than one car, you can purchase a car seat base instead of buying two car seats. Buying a second car seat base will allow you to easily transfer your car seat from vehicle to vehicle.

4) Infant car seats are snug fit
Newborns fit best in an infant-only seat. Some parents found convertible car seats to be too big for their newborns and had to use head rests, towels, or other cushions to prop their newborn safely until he grows into the seat. Infant car seats are often smaller than convertible seats so your baby can fit more snugly.
One of the disadvantages of infant car seats is that it is quickly outgrown. In addition, many carriers weigh close to 10 pounds, so it can be heavy and difficult to carry when you add the weight of the baby.

Are Convertible Car Seats Safe For Newborns?

Yes, convertible child safety seats are safe for your newborns as long as the car seat fits your child correctly.

When to Switch To Convertible Car Seat

When to transition from an infant car seat to a convertible car seat depends on your child’s growth rate. Infant car seats typically have a weight limit of 22 to 35 pounds. When your baby reaches the weight or height limits set by the car seat’s manufacturer, he will need to switch to a rear-facing convertible car seat.

However, until your baby has reached the weight or height limits, keep him or her rear-facing for as long as possible. This is the best way to keep your baby safe.

Should You Buy an Infant Safety Seat or Convertible Safety Seat?

It’s cheaper to buy a convertible car seat for a newborn instead of buying both an infant car seat and then a convertible car seat when your baby gets older.

If you will be having your first child and predict that you will have more children, then investing an infant car seat might be a good idea. A dedicated infant car seat is the safest place for your newborn to be while in the car. Here is a list of things to look for when buying a car seat.

However, if money is tight and your baby will be riding in just one vehicle, you may consider buying a convertible safety seat. Another reason to purchase a convertible seat is if you have a second vehicle that your baby might ride in, but you do not use as often. In this case, buying a convertible seat may be a better idea than an infant car seat base because your baby will eventually have to use a convertible seat. It may not be worth it to buy a car seat base to use only a few times.

Here are tips on what to look for when buying a car seat.

For recommendations, check out the best car seats in 2017.