Trying to decide which car seat to purchase for keeping your newborn safe and sound is a big decision and not one that should be taken lightly. Couple that with the fact that you have a small car and you realise that the task isn’t quite so easy. Do you go with an infant carrier, or a 3-in-1? What about a convertible car seat? It is important to understand exactly what each type of car seat offers before making your choice, especially since the risk of injury during a collision is greater when you are in a smaller car.
In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look at convertible car seats for use in small cars.
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|Diono Radian RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat, Shadow||16" x 17" x 28.5"||9.9 / 10|
|Graco Milestone All-In-One Convertible Car Seat, Gotham||26" x 21" x 17.5"||9.8 / 10|
|Diono Radian R100 All-In-One Convertible Car Seat, Black Mist||28.5" x 17" x 16"||9.8 / 10|
|Diono Rainier All-In-One Convertible Car Seat, Black Mist||28.5" x 18" x 16"||9.7 / 10|
|Graco Size4Me 65 Rapid Remove Convertible Car Seat, Finch||26" x 22.3" x 19.3"||9.7 / 10|
|Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat, Glacier||18.5" x 22" x 23.4"||9.7 / 10|
|Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Car Seat, Black Gravel||22.8 x 21.2 x 29.5||9.6 / 10|
|Britax USA Marathon Click Tight Convertible Car Seat, Verve||18.5" x 23.5" x 23"||9.6 / 10|
|Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat, Saffron||19" x 29.2" x 21"||9.5 / 10|
|Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible, Atmosphere||26" x 21" x 18.6"||9.4 / 10|
|Evenflo Tribute Sport Convertible Car Seat, Maxwell||27.6" x 18.5" x 19.7"||9.2 / 10|
Convertible car seats are something of a cross between infant carriers and 3-in-1 car seats. Like with infant carriers, convertible car seats can be used with babies from birth when secured in the rear-facing position. Most tend to have a removable infant body support cushion to make them suitable for smaller babies. Also, like with 3-in-1 car seats, convertible car seats grow with your child and can be used up until at least 5 years of age.
Some convertible car seats can last until your child is around 10 years old, depending on the height and weight of your child, as well as the height and weight limits of the car seat. Unlike most infant carriers, convertible car seats do not click in and out of a base that is secured on the seat for ease of transporting your baby from the car into the house. Instead, they are permanently fixed into your car until you decide to remove them.
Most convertible car seats now adopt the LATCH system which means that they are tethered directly to the frame of the seat instead of being secured using the seatbelt. However, they can normally still be attached using a seat belt if you prefer that method or have an older car that is not compatible with LATCH. Convertible car seats have a top tether strap and lower anchor straps that secure them directly to the frame of your car using the LATCH system. Some manufacturers may recommend not using these straps when the car seat is in the rear-facing position or your baby is under a certain weight.
Some people argue that 3-in-1 car seats and convertible car seats are one and the same, but this is not the case. 3-in-1 car seats are not rear-facing, which means they are not suitable for babies and, therefore, are not classed as convertible.
There are numerous benefits to owning a convertible car seat, as long as it is compact and can therefore fit in your smaller-sized car, and they include:
Things to consider before buying a convertible car seat
There are a number of things to consider before purchasing a convertible car seat for your small car and they include:
Risks and Warnings
Obviously, the most important thing to be aware of is the need to ensure that the car seat is correctly and safely installed in your car. You can use the instruction manual to do this, but it is worthwhile getting an expert to check that it is safely installed. Local police departments and car servicing centres will often have someone who is qualified to offer advice on the correct installation of car seats, with some being able to install it for you.
It is also important to remember that the car seat you select needs to be capable of holding your baby in the seat itself. For example, the straps need to be tight enough, the baby’s head needs to be properly cushioned and it needs to be set at a 45-degree angle for newborns.
If you are buying a second hand convertible car seat, make sure that it is in good condition and comes from someone you trust because there is the risk of it being damaged in a way that is not visible. Plus, if the car seat is a few years old, the plastic may have started to weaken, which would render it useless in an accident.