Convertible Car Seats 101

Convertible Car Seats 101

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Your little one isn’t so little anymore, are they? There comes a moment for every parent when that itty bitty infant car seat is no longer big enough for their growing kiddo. Whether they shot up like a beanstalk right past the maximum height overnight or they’ve slowly and steadily crossed the line, it’s time for a convertible car seat.  

What Is a Convertible Car Seat?

A convertible car seat is one that can be used in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes. Consider it the kindergarten of car seats – that transitional phase between baby and big kid. Once your child has outgrown the height and weight restrictions of their infant car seat, that’s where a convertible car seat comes in. But some convertible car seats have a lower minimum weight requirement so you can use them as soon as baby is ready to leave the hospital. Think of it this way: Convertible car seats grow with your kid. Sound like a good deal? We agree. 

Infant Car Seat vs. Convertible Car Seat

There’s no right or wrong answer when choosing between an infant car seat and a convertible car seat – it just depends on what you need as a parent. If you’re constantly on the go, jumping in and out of the car, an infant car seat might be the best fit for you. If you’re looking to install it once and never have to think about moving it until your little is in grade school, maybe look more at the convertible car seats. Here is a quick comparison of some of the main differences between an infant car seat and a convertible car seat.  

  • Rear-facing only 
  • Typically up to 30-35 lbs 
  • Detachable base with a removable carrier for baby 
  • Can attach directly to strollers 
  • Additional car seat purchase required when your baby outgrows it
  • Rear- and forward-facing 
  • Rear-facing typically to 40 lbs, forward-facing up to 65-70 lbs 
  • All one unit, nothing detachable to carry kid inside with 
  • One purchase for 2+ stages 
  • Physically larger - takes up more space in the car

Features to Look For

  • Easily adjustable harness
  • Multiple recline positions
  • Easy to install (via belt path and LATCH)
  • Removable fabrics for easy cleaning
  • Cupholders
  • Right size for your vehicle

2-in-1 vs. All-in-One

When it comes to convertible car seats, you might see some different numbers being thrown around, but what do they mean? 

  • 2-in-1 car seats: designed to work from birth until your child outgrows the 5-point harness. 2-in-1 car seats are meant to replace the need for an infant car seat and a forward-facing car seat. 
  • All-in-One car seats: designed to be the only car seat your child will need. All-in-one car seats are meant to work for your child from birth through booster seat years.  

Now that you’re up to speed on all things convertible car seat, might we recommend the most comfortable seat in the car? You’ll love it so much, you’ll be jealous of your kid’s car seat.