Top Five Best Convertible Car Seat Reviews 2013-2014

by Katie Sanders

While traveling with your child, it’s important to have them safely and securely fastened in your vehicle with the proper car seat. Many parents are choosing to purchase a convertible car seat since they adapt and convert as your baby grows older. They save you money since you won’t have to buy a new car seat once your baby becomes a toddler.

Knowing which one is right for you depends solely on what you’re looking for in a car seat. Do you want one that is comfortable? Is price an important factor to you? Are you looking for a specific brand or model? If you’re completely lost or just trying to see which one’s are out there – below I have outlined the top 5 best rated and safest convertible car seats of 2013.

Diono RadianRXT Convertible Car Seat

Diono RadianRXT Convertible Car Seat

  • As my absolute favorite choice for 2013, the Diono RadianRXT Convertible Car Seat is probably the highest quality choice currently available with plenty of features that are sure to impress any mom or dad.
  • Featuring an adjustable head support system with 12 different positions, expandable sides, infant body support cushions, and a longer seat bottom for maximum comfort and leg support – it’s not surprising that it’s rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com by nearly 300 consumers.
  • Rear Facing: 5-45 lbs. Forward Facing: 20-80 lbs. Booster Mode: up to 120 lbs. or 57 inches tall.
  • Built with a steel alloy frame and energy absorbing EPS foam to protect your child from injury.
  • Memory foam padding gives a ‘custom-like’ feel that children enjoy – making those long road trips more bearable.
  • Backed by a 1 year limited warranty.
  • Available in 8 different color options.

Britax Marathon 70-G3 Convertible Car Seat

britax marathon 70 g3

  • Another great option is the Britax Marathon 70-G3 which utilizes several safety features designed to keep children up to 70 lbs. as safe as possible in your vehicle.
  • The base of the seat is made using ‘Safecell Technology’ that compresses in the event of a crash. This lowers the center of gravity and literally counteracts the forward rotation of the seat that can normally cause the unit to push forward into the front seat.
  • Built with steel bars for maximum structural integrity that reduces forward flexing motion during impact.
  • 5 point safety harness that will never tangles and provides plenty of cushion for your child. Using the specially designed ‘HUGS’ (Harness Ultra Guard System), the Britax Marathon 70-G3 resists forward movement with high impacts.
  • Protected from side impacts with deep side walls that are lined with EPP energy absorbing foam to help distribute crash forces evenly.
  • Available in 5 different color options.

Recaro ProRIDE Convertible Car Seat

Recaro ProRIDE Convertible Car Seat

  • The Recaro ProRIDE Convertible Car Seat is a top rated choice that utilizes side impact protection to protect all 5 vulnerable areas of your child including their torso, pelvis, face, neck, and head.
  • Use as ‘Rear Facing’ for children who weigh between 5 and 35 lbs. and are less than 37.5 inches tall. Use as ‘Forward Facing’ for children who weigh between 20 and 70 lbs and are under 50 inches tall.
  • Very easy to install and adjust as needed. Thanks to the easy-adjust turn dial, parents can get a comfortable and effective fit without any hassle.
  • Integrated 5 point safety harness with ample padding on the shoulders to keep them cozy on long car rides.
  • EPS energy absorbing foam is used throughout the constructions to lessen the impact in the event of an accident.
  • Available in a wide range of 9 different color options to best suit your style.

Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat

Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat

  • Features 3 different positions that face forward to allow the safest and most comfortable ride possible and to fit a wide variety of children of different ages.
  • The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat is available in 3 different color options. Garent, which is of a dark gray color and trimmed in red. Matrix, which has black, light gray, and red accents. Valerie, a perfect choice for girls since it is pink and gray.
  • Made from a special kind of energy absorbing foam known as EPS which is re-enforced with a steel frame. This helps keep your child safe during their ride.
  • Tested multiple times in crash scenarios to determine that it’s a safe product that meets or exceeds US safety standards.
  • Children are fastened in with a 5 point safety harness that converts to a belt or a backless booster depending on their size and age.

Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat

Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat

  • 3 in 1 features 3 different uses for the growing weight of your little one. Rear facing is ideal for 5-35 lbs. Forward facing is ideal for 22-40 lbs. Belt positioning seat is ideal for those from 40 to 100 lbs.
  • The Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat reclines to various different positions allowing for optimum comfort by selecting the right angle you desire.
  • Cup holder can be removed if you don’t have any use for it.
  • Built in arm rests pivot so they can be out of the way while not in use.
  • Head is supported with a large, plush pillow that can be removed if desired.

More Convertible Car Seats…

Have Any Questions? Not Sure Which Car Seat to Buy?

I know it can be very difficult to decide which convertible car seat is the best choice. If you’re unsure or have any questions about any particular car seat, leave your name and email in a comment below and I’ll try my best to get back to you as quickly as possible!

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Rating: 3.5/5 (39 votes cast)
Top Five Best Convertible Car Seat Reviews 2013-2014, 3.5 out of 5 based on 39 ratings

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Stace February 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Convertible car seats are probably one of the most important purchases I’ve made for my children. They’re really the most practical thing to buy if you’re in the market for a car seat since they can grow with your baby instead of just stay one size forever. I was surprised that their prices were similar to an infant car seat that doesn’t even convert as your baby grows into a young child. The Graco Nautilus is by far my personal favorite!

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Jen Stevenson February 8, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Hello Katie!

Thank you so much for posting these reviews of the top convertible car seats for the year. I had a lot of trouble deciding which one to go with, but after reading this I decided to go with the Graco Highback TurboBooster.

I ordered it just now and apparently it’s expected to arrive in 2 days! How exciting! It was a really good idea to place my order on Amazon since they had the best price.

I’ll write back in a few weeks to let you know how my baby likes it! Thanks again! Take care!

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Katie Sanders February 9, 2013 at 12:28 am

No problem, I am very glad I could help :)
Please do write back to let me know how you like the Graco Highback – I’m sure you’ll love it!

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Janelle February 9, 2013 at 7:03 pm

What is the minimum and the maximum weight recommendation for the Britax Frontier 85?
By the looks of it, it looks large so I’m assuming it will fit my 2 year old.

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Katie Sanders February 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm

When it faces forward, it fit children who weight up to 85 lbs. In booster mode, it has a maximum weight recommendation of up to 120 lbs. and/or 65 inches in height. Hope that helped!

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Jess453 March 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

My husband and I decided to go with the Britax Frontier 85. It’s very nice quality and incredibly soft so my baby naturally LOVES it since shes addicted to things that feel nice :) I was happy with the color selection that I had when I ordered it – a nice variety to choose from!

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Kelar March 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Thanks for these suggestions. I’m just trying to figure out which one will look the best in my car with a brown interior. Hmmm….

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Joanna March 20, 2013 at 8:53 pm

What are your thoughts of the diono radian rxt? I’m a safety nut when it comes to my children and all over family members when there children aren’t properly buckled in the car. we are in the process of getting a second vehicle and I’ve compared and researched a lot of seats.

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Katie Sanders March 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm

The Diono Radian is a really good car seat to buy. It’s on the list of IIHS ‘Best Bets’ for 2012 so I would definitely recommend it. I did a short overview of the Diono RadianR100 last month here: http://babyexcellent.com/top-five-best-booster-car-seats-reviews-2013/

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Elizabeth Pierre March 31, 2013 at 6:52 pm

My 5 month old is already 19 pounds and 30 inches. He’s almost out grown his Britax infant seat. I love Britax and need to switch to a convertible car seat. Since my son is still only 5 months old, what Britax seat is the best to get?

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Leah April 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm

so excited to see the radian rxt as your #1. I am selling my carseats i have now to get them. I have a 2.5 year old and a 6m old… and i have convertible seats now TFPs and i love them, but i want something that turns into a booster eventually. I want nothing but the best for my boys and i dont care what i have to do to get it!!

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Ashly April 30, 2013 at 5:09 pm

How do u like the radian rxt for a newborn ? & do u prefer it to the new Chicco nextfit ? Thanks !

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Katie Sanders May 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Hi Ashly! I actually really like the Diono Radian RXT for a newborn baby. As long as your child is over 5 lbs, the car seat should fit really well. My sister used the Radian RXT from infancy to toddlerhood and had no complaints about it. I prefer it over the new Chicco Nextfit, hands down.

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D May 8, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Hello Katie – thanks for your post, it’s really helped me to narrow down my decision. I was wondering if you or anyone posting has experience with the Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat? Thanks!!

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PATRICIA May 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Hi Katie,
Just wondering if this was still your rating as far as convertible car seats or if it’s changed any.
I’m in the process of picking one out as a “second” one for my husband’s car (I have the Britax Advocate 70CS in my car currently) so I didn’t want to spend A LOT of money on it but also not spare on quality and of course, safety!
Thank you for any updates you may have to this article from November. :)
Patricia

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Katie Sanders May 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Hello Patricia! Thank’s for leaving your comment!

Although this article was originally published in November, I last updated it about a month ago. If you are looking for a secondary car seat for your other vehicle, I totally understand not wanting to spend a lot of money… These things can be expensive! If you like your current Britax Advocate 70CS, a similar and cheaper choice that I would recommend would be the Britax Roundabout 55 – take a look at it here: http://amzn.to/16m9DPl

It’s similar in design but less expensive than Britax’s most popular models such as the 70CS. If you’re not looking to spend over $100 another good option may be the Safety 1st OnSide Air Protect Convertible Car Seat – http://amzn.to/15QEbbL … It’s much cheaper and currently rated 4.3 out of 5 stars by over 100 consumers on Amazon. It might be worth looking into another brand?

I know it can be hard to decide on which one, but it’s good that you’re doing your homework! Let me know if I can be of further assistance!

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NL May 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Hello,

Thank you for your post! I’m looking to buy a Diono but I own an Acura TSX and I am not sure if it would fit rearfacing… It is not available in any store were I live so I cannot really try it before I buy it…

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Katie Sanders May 16, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Hello, Yes I am nearly positive that it will fit in an Acura TSX… I have a Honda Accord which is about the same size as the TSX and the Diono Radian RXT fits just fine if I install it rear-facing. Let me know if you have any more questions :-)

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Liz May 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Hi Katie! Thanks for all the helpful information. I was wondering if there are any convertabile carseats that have extra bases available like some do with the infant carseats. My daughter travels in at least 4 different cars and I can’t imagine having a seat for each one!

Thanks again!

Liz

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Brittany May 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm

When my daughter outgrew her infant carrier I started researching many car seats and we decided to go with the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat in red. My daughter is now 3 and the car seat is still just as good as the day we bought it. Spills and messes happen and we found out it was easy to take apart and reassemble. It is a bulky car seat but when it comes to our daughters safety that it the least of my worries. It has the metal clamps that hook in to the cars so changing the car seat in and out of vehicles doesn’t take much time or effort. We are expecting our second child and are going to get another Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat for him. Absolutely love it!

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Victoria May 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I just ordered a Graco Headwise 70 convertible car seat and I wish I would have done a little more research prior to my purchase. Have you been able to review this seat? My daughter is almost 9 months and 22 pounds. Thank you in advance.

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Julie May 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Hello Katie!
Thanks for taking the time to put this list together. When I first began shopping for our baby’s car seat I didn’t really know where to start. With your advice, my Husband and I picked out the Diono Radian RTX.

We bought it on Amazon and it arrived within about 5 days which seemed pretty fast, but had me excited when I arrived home from work one day and it was at the doorstep. Upon opening the package it was easy to recognize the quality of the product. It seemed heavy duty, not cheap and inexpensive. The assembly was very minimal – took us about 5 minutes to get the whole seat up and running. We installed it in our car and it fit perfectly!

It’s only been about 2 weeks since we bought it. So far, so good! I will leave another comment in a few weeks if I have anything to add :)
Thanks again Katie!

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Jennifer May 29, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Thanks for this list! We have an 8 year old daughter, and I was a total car seat nut with her! She rode in the biggest Britax I could buy :) That was then and now we are expecting our 2nd child… I trying to keep all of our purchases to a minimum since I felt like we were swimming in baby gear with our 1st. I really want to buy a convertible seat suitable for a newborn and up but all of my friends use the infant seat first, then move to a convertible seat (we did too with our first). No one wants to pick up the baby/wake them up when getting in and out of the car…am I nuts to consider forgoing the infant carrier?? Have you done this and did it work for you?

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Erin May 31, 2013 at 5:42 am

We currently use a Chicco KeyFit 30 for our 9 month old son, but he’s 30″ long now so we’re looking to transition to a convertible car seat that will grow with him for years. My main complaint with our current car seat is that our son sweats profusely when he is in it for any length of time over about 15 minutes. Do you know if any of the car seats you’ve recommended have nice breathable fabric? I don’t want to make the same mistake when picking the next car seat we buy.

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Eva June 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I have this SAME exact problem! Would love to know the answer to this as well. We love Chicco brand but I would be afraid to purchase the NextFit just for this reason.

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Candis June 8, 2013 at 10:30 pm

I have the same problem with our keyfit. Every time I take him out, he is all wet. My baby is 10 months and 30″. Looking for another car seat but there are so many out there. Looking for breathable fabric and comfort for my baby.

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Veronica July 12, 2013 at 12:53 am

Been researching this like a crazy nut! This too is very important to me. After reading so many reviews, the Recaro Proride seems to fit this criteria. You should check it out!

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Katie Sanders July 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Hello readers, sorry for the delayed response! The Recaro ProRide (http://amzn.to/16RuW9a) has some of the nicest breathable fabric that I’ve noticed. The fabric around the back rest has a ‘light’ feel to it with plenty of ventilation to allow ample breathability.

As for the Chicco NextFit (http://amzn.to/198kdtS) – it’s a really nice convertible car seat with excellent consumer reviews. Every feature seems to be top-par with some really nice adjustment features. As for breathability – it’s lacking. I took a quick look at some of the reviews and noticed a couple that mentioned this was the only downside to the NextFit.

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Jessica June 13, 2013 at 8:56 am

Thanks so much for all the info. Really having a hard time deciding between the Britax Advocate, the Diono Radian RXT, and the Recaro ProRide… Safety is my number one concern. I like what I read about the Advocate features, the Recaro surpasses European safety standards which are higher than US standards, and you mention the Radian being your favorite. I believe they all use steel bars to some extent. The advocate and proride both tout superior side impact protection, but when looking at the radian it doesn’t appear to have much side protection… So confused- just want the safest possible! Need two seats, one for Honda odyssey and one for Honda accord. Any thoughts would be so appreciated. Driving myself crazy with this and need new seats ASAP!! I have a 14 mo. little guy who’s too tall for his Chicco Keyfit.

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Michelle S July 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

Can you Please answer the Above question? I AM Interested in the SAME 3 car seats and have the EXACT questions that Jessica Has? Our child is in the Britax Chaperone and is going to be 14 months in less than a week, she fits weight wise but height is just about right at the limit. She is a little taller (85%) than most kids but weight is only 18ish pounds. And I also want to Rear face as long as possible, but concerned about side Impact protection. Please help US decide……Thank you

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Katie Sanders July 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Hi Jessica and Michelle! I’d say that the Recaro ProRide (http://amzn.to/16RuW9a) would be the one you should go with. You’re right on about the fact that it surpasses European Safety Standards, but it also is designed in a way that protects the head, neck, face, torso and pelvis in the event of a traffic accident. Additionally, it’s rear-facing so it seems to fit your criteria quite nicely.

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Jessica June 13, 2013 at 9:00 am

I should’ve added that I’m interested in rear facing till at least the age of 2 or longer. Thanks :)

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Sarah July 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Hi!
I’m so glad that you posted the top rated car seats. My daughter is 9 months old and out growing her infant car seat. We’ve been on the hunt for a convertible car seat, and I’m overwhelmed as what is best for my daughter. I’m looking into the S1 by Safety 1st 3 in 1 Air Elite 80. I was wondering your thoughts on it. I haven’t really seen much reviews on it which I believe it’s so new. I drive a 2005 Chevy Impala. Thank you so much for your help.

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Katie Sanders July 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I haven’t fully reviewed that specific car seat, but Safety 1st tends to make budget-friendly products so don’t expect the same kind of quality as a similar car seat that costs 2 or 3 times as much.

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April July 15, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Any review on The first years true fit premier? It’s the highest rated on the national highways admins list. Torn between that one, britax marathon, safety first air and diono radian rtx.

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Katie Sanders July 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I’m always quick to tell people that the Diono Radian (http://amzn.to/10aiGv1) is an ideal car seat if it’s within your budget. I’m a believer and fan in every feature it showcases since I have been using this specific model for over a year now. I haven’t had any issues with it and it’s been good for me!

A couple months ago I wrote a review on a car seat that’s very similar to the one you mentioned – The First Years True Fit SI C680. I really like this one too, it’s hard to pick a favorite though! Read my review of it here: http://babyexcellent.com/the-first-years-true-fit-si-c680-car-seat-review/

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Sarah July 16, 2013 at 12:45 am

Hi. Safety is my number one priority. I have twin boys and I am leaning towards the radian rxt but I have two questions: 1. I also wonder about its side impact rating, is it not superior in this category? 2. How do you think it compares to the new Chico nextfit? Thanks!

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Katie Sanders July 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Hello there Sarah, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Safety is probably the most crucial thing to consider when shopping around for the right car seat. Both the Chicco NextFit and the Diono Radian are top choices. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of Diono’s Radian (http://amzn.to/10aiGv1) Convertible Car Seat since I’ve been an owner of it for over a year. Maybe I’m a bit biased, but I know you’ll be happy with it. It has aluminum reinforced sidewalls that are padded with EPS energy absorbing foam which gives me plenty peace of mind.

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Heidi July 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Thanks for this, Katie! Good info! I’m wondering if most convertible carseats have a “recline” option? You didn’t mention that specifically that I saw, except for the Safety 1st seat. Just starting to do research and really want it to recline in a forward-facing position as we do quite a bit of travelling.

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Katie Sanders July 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Hi Heidi! Thanks for the comment! Not all convertible car seats have a recline feature. If reclining is an important feature, I would recommend going with the Chicco NextFit (http://amzn.to/198kdtS). It’s highlight feature is called ReclineSure which enables you to accurately and securely adjust it to 9 different angled positions. Additionally, it’s easy to adjust and can be used either forward-facing or rear-facing. Hope that helps!

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Liz July 22, 2013 at 8:02 am

Hi, I was hoping you could help me did the perfect convertable carseat for my daughter. She is about to turn one and is VERY tall for her age. She was already 32″ at 10 months. She is also rather skinny, so I am never as concerned about the weight limits as I am with the height limits. My husband and I would each need a seat since he takes her to daycare and I pick her up. Therefore I’d like to keep the cost somewhat lower. We drive a Camry and a corolla so I would need seats that fit in smaller cars. I was impressed with the evenflo symphony dlx since it eventually converts to a booster, but I haven’t heard anything about it. Help!!!

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Maribel August 12, 2013 at 11:27 am

Im looking for a Great Convertible car seat for my daughter. Shes pretty tall for her age(looks & at times is taller than a 1yr) she weighs 20.2 lbs & is only 7months. i am wondering which would be the safest, comfortable/stylish somewhat, yet afforadable car seat for her?

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Andi September 5, 2013 at 7:28 am

Hey Katie, I have a lightweight 20 month old (19#) so looking for a convertible seat. I also have 4 other kids so am looking for a narrow one for more seating options. As well as ease of use since my 18 year old as well as 70s grandparents may need to do some installing.use. I am also looking into the more affordable route, since we do have the bigger family. What suggestions do you have? I really could care less about cupholders and color.
We currently have a combi shuttle 33 that is working ok, but kind of a hassle since the handle needs to be in the upright position and the anti-rebound bar gets in the way a little since she is bigger and we are leaving the seat in the car more. Other note about the combi is that it mats up her hair(baby fine blonde) even on short jaunts. I contacted the company and they say they have never heard of that problem. i can hardly believe it since we have had that problem since we brought her home!
Thanks for any input!

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Ashley Nelms October 1, 2013 at 9:15 am

Hey Katie! I bought a graco nat for my one year old and it doesn’t recline very well. I’m thinking of getting another seat all together, any suggestions?

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Wai October 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm

We have been searching for a convertible seat for our daughter who 18 months and 33 inches. We would like to keep her rear facing as long as possible but the problem we have is our car is small. She’s currently used the Graco snugride 35 and this infant car seat just fitted in our car without any extra space left.
Most of our friend suggested us change my daughter to forward facing and get a regular car seat, but since we drive on the highway every day with long distant to daycare, I think it’s safer to keep her rear facing for as long as we can.
Which one of the 5 that you mentioned above you think will fit in my car?
Thank you for your advice.

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Amber December 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Are all of these choices rear and forward facing according to weight? And do they all have breathable material so baby doesn’t sweat? Which is the cheapest? What is your suggestion on buying a car seat that doubles as a carrier? Thank you!!

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