What is a Convertible Car Seat?
A convertible car seat is exactly as it sounds – it’s CONVERTIBLE! So what does that mean? Well, essentially, it’s a car seat that serves multiple purposes and grows with your child. Convertible car seats allow you to install it rear facing from birth (5 lbs) until usually 40 – 45lbs, and then they switch to forward facing for children from 20 to 65 lbs. These seats cover a wide range of ages and sizes so your child will most likely spend the most time in this seat versus any other type of seat.
Many families will opt to purchase a convertible car seat for their newborn, eliminating the need for a rear-facing infant seat all together. This is 100% OK!! The only real downside is that convertible seats are not portable, like rear facing infant seats are. When you arrive at your destination, only baby comes out of the seat/vehicle instead of being able to keep baby asleep in their bucket seat. For some parents, that’s a deal breaker, for others, it’s a great way to minimize the car seat expense and it promotes baby wearing! It can also give you a bigger budget for your convertible seat since you’re not buying an infant seat first.
Components of a Convertible Car Seat
Convertible car seats are composed of two major components: an adjustable base and the actual seat. In this case, the entire car seat is one unit. These seats can get quite bulky since they are designed to accommodate a large variety of sizes and ages. For this reason, they are a pain to transfer from one vehicle to another. I HIGHLY recommend you purchase two seats if you have more than one vehicle in your family.
The base is highly adjustable since it will recline far enough back to safely carry a newborn yet can be moved to an upright position for the older children. They typically have 5-10 recline positions with guides that let you know which position is best for your child based on age/weight/etc.
All the Bells and Whistles
There are many convertible car seats available and it can be really tough to narrow down the options. It is important to note that although all seats have to pass strenuous testing procedures, some seats just meet the safety standards while others exceed all testing scenarios. Here are some features that you may find in your convertible car seat.
FEATURES OF A CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT:
- Reinforced with steel
- Harness tightness indicator
- 1, 2 or 3 layers of side impact protection
- Newborn insert
- 5-point harness
- Cup holders
- Made of energy absorbing foam
- Clicktight installation (Britax only)
- Belt lock-offs
- Impact absorbing base
- Spring-assisted harness covers (Maxi Cosi)
- No-rethread harness
So, now what?
Ok, now you’re fully versed on the world of convertible car seats! Need help deciding what seat your child should be in? Check out our blog below!