Things To Consider When Purchasing A Convertible Car Seat
A car seat is one of the most important purchases you will make for your child. As a parent, it’s important to get this purchase right because you are essentially choosing their safety and comfort while they are in the car. A convertible car seat can be used from infancy through toddlerhood so that your child won’t have to switch seats as he or she grows older. If you’re looking into buying one, keep these factors in mind!
What is a convertible car seat and what does it do?
A convertible car seat is designed with stages in mind; it can be used as a rear-facing infant seat, then as a forward-facing toddler seat, and finally as a booster. A child’s age determines how it is to be used for that stage of their development. The straps are connected to the plastic cover that goes over the point of attachment (the middle section) on the car’s backseat; this varies depending on whether your car has anchors or tethers. Infants must face toward the front of the car during movement to make sure they don’t hit their head against something like an airbag (this only applies if you live in America). Babies should not travel without being secured unless they are using a baby carrier or stroller (or in the arms of an adult). Children under the age of one should be secured in a rear-facing car seat. Most convertible seats can accommodate children weighing up to 40lbs, but some go up to 45lbs or 50lbs; check your manual for limits on weight and height.
Usually, converting from forward-facing to booster is done by removing part of the cover that goes between the legs so long as there are no crotch strap attachments. If you have tethers, you will have to unfasten them before putting them onto a booster seat. The straps are pulled through slots at the back so they fit around your child’s waist when they are older. You can still get out of it into their pre-K and kindergarten years, but not without practice.
When your child is big enough to use a car seat belt (which usually means when they are 4’9″ or taller), remove the cover and use it as a booster until they weigh 100lbs (45kg) or can pass the 5-step test. If you want to go out of state/country with your child’s convertible car seat, check that it meets its standards before doing so; sometimes, there are differences between states and countries (check the manual before packing). Converting from a rear-facing infant seat to a forward-facing toddler seat may require removing parts of the plastic shell: head support(s) if present, armrests, shoulder strap holders.
A convertible car seat can be used as a booster by using the tethers to secure it. If you don’t have those, devise ways to tie down your child during travel: use the straps and the back of the seat or just put them in an unused passenger’s lap (if they’re not too big). The law states you must restrain your children until eight years of age and/or 80lbs, so if this is how it has to be done, so be it.
What is the difference between a convertible car seat and a booster seat for kids?
The Difference Between a Booster Seat and a Convertible Car Seat
There is quite a bit of difference between a convertible car seat and a booster seat. Most people wouldn’t dream of using a booster without first having their kids try out a convertible car seat — so you might be surprised at how many different types there are! The main difference between them is quite simply what they do: a convertible or 3-in-one car seat does everything that a child needs from the time he comes home until he’s ready to ride without any additional safety equipment while in the car. A booster seat only gives your child something to sit on while you drive him around; it does nothing but helps keep him upright to prevent head injuries if you should get hit by another vehicle or someone slams into the backseat where your child sits.
A booster seat does nothing to stop a side-impact collision, though it might help to cushion the blow a little bit.
A convertible car seat is meant to last for years and should be used from birth — with an infant attachment if necessary — until your child is around 4 or 5. This means that you can save money on both space and time by not having to upgrade him every year as he grows bigger. A good choice for safety will have belt guides, pads, anti-slip material, leg restraints, higher weight limits than most boosters do, and most importantly of all: the top rating for crash test standards put out by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The NHTSA rating is “Ease of Use,” and the IIHS rating is “Good” for ease of use, so both are excellent marks.
What Makes a Convertible Car Seat So Different?
These last two ratings are what make these seats so different from their booster counterparts. A booster seat isn’t tested in much more than anti-slip measurements to see if it will keep your child from falling out, and they don’t worry about whether or not your child can get in or out of them on his own because the car’s belt already holds him up in place once you secure it in. However, with a convertible car seat, you have to be able to do all this plus hold up your young baby while buckling him in, as well as release him easily from the harness if he should be in an accident.
This is why a convertible car seat has storage pouches that you can use as a blanket or as a cushion for your child before his head rests comfortably on the built-in pillow, and it’s also why there are 3-point belts instead of lap belts to hold up your kiddo safely inside the vehicle. A booster only has a lap belt — another reason not to put younger children in them! It’s also why convertible seats have adjustable backrests so your child can sit upright against the seat until they’re ready to start leaning forward into the harness — which must still be adjusted properly for their height and weight even when they’re older.
What are the different types of convertible seats, and what are their pros and cons?
A convertible car seat is designed to accommodate your growing child over several years. They start rear-facing, they can be turned forward-facing after a couple of years. Some new ones even allow you to turn the seat into a booster when they’re older!
To rear face your child, their legs must either touch the back of the vehicle seat or there has to be room for them to grow so that their legs can bend at the knee and go up onto the vehicle’s seat without slumping way down in it. There should also still be room for two fingers between their collar bone and shoulder harness straps. When my daughter was little, I always put my hand on her leg when she was in the car seat to make sure it hadn’t crept up onto the vehicle’s seat.
Ease of use: Rear-facing is what you’re going to want for all naps or whenever they fall asleep in the car because there’s no way to prop them up. Traveling with a rear-facing toddler is also much easier as their little body is taking most of the weight, and not out towards your arms where it hurts after a while! Also, my daughter used this position for pretty much all her naps until she was about a year old. Most children fall asleep more easily when they can look around at what they find interesting (other vehicles passing by, trees blowing in the breeze, etc), so being able to see outside the car is good for them.
Pros: So many! Your child can stay rear-facing until they weigh 35 pounds (and up to 40 pounds in some cases). That’s the most important thing. The longer they’re able to stay in a position that keeps their head, neck, and spine aligned, the better. Rear-facing them also gives you more room between their legs for groceries or whatever else you need to carry, because often your trunk will be filled up with all of their stuff! It’s not an option for everyone, but I preferred it over forward-facing even for grocery store trips since I could load my daughter’s car seat into the shopping cart rather than balancing her on one hip while holding on to all of the grocery bags in one hand. I could always put her in the cart if I needed to load up groceries, but my child was required to be held while shopping because carts are not car seats.
Pros: Not many! If you’re looking for just a quick trip into the store, forward-facing makes it easier to get out of the car and carry your child into the store with you (rather than having them sleep or sit in their seat). Many of today’s cars have very comfortable seating so they almost seem like little lounge chairs, so it’s more pleasant for them when they can see outside their window rather than being bent at an odd angle on their tummy against your vehicle’s seat. Plus children usually get excited about being able to see where they’re going, so forward-facing is a good way to keep them from being restless in the car.
Convenience: It’s easier for parents to turn their children around when they start asking to be forward-facing, as well as getting them out of the seat with less hassle. If you have a child that falls asleep easily in the car, this option allows your child’s head and neck to fall into a natural slant. You can also prop pillows against their seats if you want them slightly propped up without having their necks bent at an uncomfortable angle. And since they’re closer to the vehicle’s seat belt buckle, it’s much easier for them (and you) to unbuckle themselves!
Pros: The rear-facing position gives your child’s neck, head, and spine the best support possible. This is especially important for children who are not yet old enough to properly support their heads (most toddlers can’t do this until around 2 years old). Because of this, rear-facing offers the best protection against spinal cord injuries during an accident.
Rear-facing is best! But what you prefer for your family depends on so many different factors. If you travel a lot or go on long car rides where they definitely will fall asleep in their car seat more than once, I would choose forward-facing because it’s easier to get them out of their seat and fly through all of your errands without waking them up if they’re already comfortable with forward-facing. Be sure to check your car seat’s maximum weight before deciding on the rear or forward-facing position, as well as read the seat’s instruction guidelines for re-positioning.
Which type of harness should I use with my child’s convertible car seat?
Parents worry about their child’s safety when they use a car seat, especially if it is not already installed in the car. A common question that parents ask is what type of harness to use with their child’s convertible car seat.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should ride rear-facing as long as possible because up to 80% of all injuries to infants and toddlers can be prevented by using an appropriate infant or convertible restraint system.
There are three types of harnesses found on most convertible seats for older children: lap belt only, traditional (no-rethread) high back (maximum height 19 inches), and no backup at all. No one recommendation is best; the style selected may depend on vehicle type, seating position, and the child’s size and development.
If a lap belt only is used, it should be routed through the appropriate path on the seat pan. If a high back style of harness is used, the top tether may also be attached to help minimize head excursions in a crash. However, some vehicles do not have anchors for this strap so it is important to review vehicle and manufacturer manuals before installing car seats to determine which type of harness configuration will work best in your vehicle.
In addition to the harness style, car seat manufacturers also offer different types of chest clip positions to choose from. One type of chest clip position is a traditional (no-rethread) high back, and the other is the frequent use of a no-rethread upright belt path. The traditional (no-rethread) high back should be used for children who weigh more than 25 lbs and are over 1 year of age while the upright belt path should only be used if the child weighs less than 25 lbs or younger than one year old.
Both high back positions provide additional support in case of a crash. However, if an upward angle can be achieved by using the upright belt path option then this would provide optimal support because it mimics the natural upright sitting position that children use in a car seat.
If a no back is used then the harness straps should be crossed over the shoulders using a 5-point harness system. In addition, if a lap belt-only style of harness is selected it should not pass over the shoulder but instead, cross under both legs and go up to three inches below the abdomen depending on the child’s height and weight.
Children who weigh less than 40 lbs or shorter than 40 inches tall can ride in either a rear or front-facing car seat for optimal protection. All children, regardless of their age or size, must sit at least 10 inches away from any frontal airbag when riding at all times. Children who weigh more than 40 lbs may also use their convertible seat with an active head restraint available on most vehicles. And the height of the head restraint should not exceed 5 inches above the top of the child’s head while he or she is seated in his or her booster.
If your child weighs more than 40 lbs and is over 1 year of age then it may be best to forward face him or her for optimal safety. For heavier children, they need to sit farther away from an airbag which means that a larger seat with more space between the back of the vehicle seat and front passenger seat can help provide this distance safely.
Convertible car seats are very safe when used correctly, but there are many questions about what type of harnesses should be used with them. No matter how you decide to use your convertible car seat, remember that proper installation is key so be sure to consult your vehicle and car seat manuals.
Things to consider when purchasing a convertible car seat
Is it safe? Is it easy to use? Will my child be comfortable in it? How much does it cost? These are just a few of the questions that can run through your head when you’re in the market for a convertible car seat. Here is some information and advice about safely picking out and using one.
Car safety technicians insist that parents follow certain guidelines when choosing a convertible car seat:
1) Check your vehicle’s manual to see if there are specific guidelines or restrictions for installing a car seat in your automobile. If not, then look at Consumer Reports for any recent changes in their recommendations.
2) Your vehicle’s manual will likely recommend rear-facing until your child is at least 20 lbs. Weigh your child before you leave the hospital so you can be sure to follow this recommendation.
3) Keep in mind that the average height and weight of a one-year-old are 25 lbs., so look for seats designed for children up to 30, 35, 40, or even 50 lbs. Some high-end seats will support much higher weights than others. Otherwise, start shopping for an additional seat when they reach about 2 years old.
4) Any car seat must hold your child snugly enough that his head doesn’t flop forward while he sleeps, but not so tight that breathing becomes impossible (and it should never be installed facing rearward). Test it when it’s installed in your car.
5) While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping a child rear-facing until age 2 or more, convertible seats are still useful when it’s time to switch to a forward-facing seat with shoulder straps. If you have twins, according to AAP guidelines, they should stay in the same seat until age 2. But most parents cannot afford this option. So serious safety experts recommend that even if your children are under two years old when you purchase an infant/toddler convertible, you can start using it with them facing forward after about 6 months of age. A typical weight range for these seats is 15-30 lbs.; some go up to 35 pounds and beyond. According to Consumer Reports, “While 25 pounds is a common limit due to strength and balance, children may be ready for a booster seat at this point.”
6) Once you’re done using your convertible car seats for infants and toddlers, you can turn them into a high-backed booster seat. Just get the right belt-positioning clips from the manufacturer or from stores that sell used child safety products. This will allow it to meet booster guidelines of 50 lbs., 40 inches tall, and ensure proper shoulder strap fit. According to Consumer Reports, “If not correctly installed, belts won’t protect children in crashes by coming out of their retractor slots or sliding around the wrong areas of their bodies.” So make sure to have your child sit in your vehicle’s backseat while you try the belt to see if it’s too loose or too tight.
7) Some parents use rear-facing convertible car seats in strollers when they go out walking. But Consumer Reports warns that this is not safe because the straps aren’t long enough and there’s no way to secure a child who can walk during a ride.
8) When you’re ready to install your car seat, test its security by trying to push it from side to side or up and down. The seat should be tightly held in place without movement at all. After you have installed the car seat, don’t forget to remove it before driving so children won’t ride in the backseat unattended. Or take the time now together with a refresher course for emergency professionals at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
9) Make sure you have the right straps to anchor your child’s car seat properly in your vehicle. Look for a label that says “LATCH-compatible.” LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. A high percentage of seats now come with this feature, but if you can’t find it, don’t worry — just keep reading about installation guidelines later in the article. Otherwise, use any other available means of anchoring the car seat to your vehicle or secure it with both these methods combined. You want to be able to tighten all belts simultaneously so there is no slack left when they are tightened as much as possible.
10) If you have any questions or difficulty understanding the instructions, contact the manufacturer of your car seat.
11) Even though you have installed your car seat correctly, make sure to check it every time before using it.
12) For the little ones who are ready for a booster seat but still can’t sit properly on their own, try this new product that would raise them at the appropriate height without sacrificing safety.
13) Remember that after any collision of front or side impact with serious damage to your vehicle, even if it hasn’t affected the child’s safety in the car seat, contact emergency professionals immediately if there has been no damage or injuries. You may want to have your car checked out further at a mechanic’s workshop rather than take unnecessary risks. And if you have had an accident of any kind while traveling, always inform local authorities. And please, follow all the above tips to get the most out of your convertible car seat.
How much does a convertible car seat cost?
This is a question that most parents can relate to and can be quite puzzling.
When it comes to the price of a convertible car seat there aren’t many choices between $100 and $300, but sometimes you may find some models even more expensive than that. The prices range from $50 to $400, depending on what will work best for your family and child or if you need extra features such as rear-facing tethering or cup holders. Many factors play into the cost of a convertible car seat, so below are some details about these seats.
This type of car seat can be forward-facing and then later converted to rear-facing. The seats are built with a weight limit for the child.
The main difference between these types of seats and other ones is that you don’t need to buy two separate car seats (one for the rear and one for the front). With this option, you can get away with buying just one.
Car seats come in different colors, shapes, and sizes; however, convertible car seats are specially designed to not only look good but also work well while traveling on the road. More than often they have high backs and weigh about 20 pounds or less. They can cost anywhere from $50 to $400 depending on how safe you want your child to be.
The safety ratings are different for each seat, with some having more protection than others. This is something you will want to look into before making your purchase.
You can find information about how safe convertible car seats are on the internet or at your local library, but it is best if you drive around town and check out a few in person before making your final decision. You can read reviews on any products you are thinking of buying online to make sure they are worth the money spent. Some people don’t think it’s necessary to spend so much money on one compared with other types of car seats that cost less, but these have different features that may work well in certain situations. Also, keep in mind that children need to be in a car seat until they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall. Safety is number one when it comes to your child’s seat, so never skimp out on the amount you spend.
Where to purchase a convertible car seat?
There are several places where it is possible to purchase a convertible car seat. This post will discuss the pros and cons of purchasing this type of car seat from each place.
The first place that people should consider purchasing a convertible car seat is from their local Walmart, Target, and Kmart stores. These stores typically have low prices for these types of seats and can easily be returned if needed. They also offer free shipping on many brands online so one does not necessarily need to go into the store to get their product. Additionally, they can often be found with coupons or promotional discounts which allow them to get an even better price than what they would receive at full price. While all of these factors make these stores ideal places to get car seats, there are a few downsides.
The first downside would be that it is difficult to find any brand of the convertible car seat at these stores. That means if one particular brand meets the needs of a person’s family better than another company’s product, they might not be able to purchase it from this type of store. Additionally, selection within a single store tends to vary greatly between different locations and seasons so depending on where a person lives and what time of year they go shopping, they could potentially find many types of seats or just a couple of popular brands.
Another place that people often shop for car seats is an online site such as Amazon or eBay. These websites typically have discounts throughout the year that allow customers to save money on their purchases. They also frequently offer free shipping which further helps people save money. There are also products available on these sites that are delivered directly to the customer’s house so one does not need to worry about having to make a trip to pick up their seat once it is ready for them.
To help you make the best decision possible for your family, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider when purchasing a convertible car seat. Whether you are looking for something that will last through childhood or just need an affordable option until then, this is meant as a general guide. The most important thing about any type of car seat is safety first and foremost so please do not compromise on quality! If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact us anytime. We look forward to hearing from you soon!