- Keeping toddlers rear-facing until they’re two years old.
- Keeping kids in boosters until they’re 4 feet 9 inches (between 8 and 12 years of age).
- Kids under 13 should ride in the back seat.
That means some of you may have suddenly found yourselves in the market for a new seat. Here are a few tips to help you choose:
Choosing a Convertible Seat
We’ve seen several new high weight limit convertible car seats hit the market over the past year or so, and these new recs will no doubt encourage car seat makers to release even more models. The following sites offer recommendations, ratings and reviews of convertible seats:
- The NHTSA gives the following rear-facing convertible car seats an overall Ease of Use rating of 4/5 stars: Britax Advocate 70, Britax Boulevard 70, Britax Marathon 70, Evenflo Momentum 65 DLX with SureLatch, Evenflo Momentum 65 LX with Quick Connector, Graco MyRide65, Recaro ProRide. The The First Years True Fit Premier and the The First Years True Fit Recline are the only seats to get 5/5 stars.
- CarSeatSite.com likes the Combi Coccoro and the Cosco Scenera 40RF, Evenflo Triumph 65, and the First Years True Fit
- CarSeatBlog.com recommends the Britax Advocate, Cosco Scenera, Graco MyRide65, Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL, Safety 1st Complete Air 65 LX, First Years True Fit, Evenflo Triumph Advance 65 and a few others.
Seats that we see on multiple lists AND cost less than $200 include the budget-friendly Cosco Scenera 40RF ($63; rear faces to 35 lbs), Graco MyRide65 (lists for $159, rear faces to 40 lbs), Evenflo Triumph 65 ($140, rear faces to 40 lbs.), and First Years True Fit Recline (currently $152.84 at Amazon, rear faces to 35 lbs). The Britax Marathon 70 has gone below $200. It usually hovers around $220 (rear faces to 40 lbs).
Choosing a Booster
- For boosters, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives a”Best Bet” rating to the following boosters: Cosco Juvenile Pronto, Britax Frontier 85, Clek Oobr, Graco TurboBooster Crawford, Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR, and Recaro Vivo. You can see the complete list here.
- The NHTSA gives a 5-star Ease of Use rating to boosters including Chicco KeyFit Strada, Compass B505, The First Years B570 Pathway, Magna Clek Oobr, Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR, Evenflo Big Kid Amp, Eddie Bauer Auto Booster (No Back).
- CarSeatBlog.com’s list of recommended high back boosters include Britax Parkway SG, Clek Oobr, Graco TurboBooster, and others.
- Some forward-facing only combination seats offer extended 5-point harnessing for older kids. Popular models include Graco Nautilus ($135, 5-pt harnessing to 65 lbs., and Britax Frontier (currently $209.99; 5-pt harnessing to 85 lbs.).
There is no perfect seat for every child. Ultimately, the seat that’s best is the one that fits your vehicle and your child well. For more info on car seats, check out Car-Safety.org’s “basics” page. CarSeatData.org lets you check the compatibility of your car with various seats.
What do you think of the new car seat safety recommendations?