Buying your first convertible car seat can be a stressful process, especially considering this is the seat that your child will likely spend the longest number of years in. You want to be comfortable with your purchase and pick something that is safe and that you trust, but sometimes other factors can interfere: for instance, what type of car do you have? Some smaller sedans simply do not work with certain car seats. Or, where do you plan on putting the seat in the car? How many car seats will be in your car? How tall is the driver, and how tall is the front seat passenger?
Our experts at Magic Beans are here to help you find the perfect car seat to match your family’s needs. (And we’ll even test it out in your car to make sure it fits!) Here are a few of our top picks, and you can find all of them in any Magic Beans store.
BEST OLD SCHOOL CHOICE: Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 5/70 Convertible Car Seat
We love this car seat because it fits in most cars AND is fairly easy to use/install! We also love that it is still manufactured in Italy! This specific model has been around for a number of years now, and year after year makes the top of the lists for best convertibles. Not only is the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio attractive to look at, but they even have faux leather fabric options that can match your car’s interior nicely and are super easy to clean (because let’s be real, car seats get DISGUSTING!). The no-rethread harness has nice long straps, and the seat is relatively lightweight.
BEST EASE OF USE/ BEST TRAVELER: Britax Boulevard Clicktight Convertible Car Seat
Of the three Convertible Clicktight Choices, I think the Boulevard is the best of both worlds. It’s not as wide and bulky as the Advocate, but still has great Side Impact Protection, and the Boulevard is what I like to call (no offense Nana!) “Grandparent Proof.” By that I mean that the Clicktight Series makes installation with a seat belt extremely easy, which is super important now that the LATCH guidelines and weight limits have changed.
Britax Convertibles have great value and will fit in most cars (every car has a seat belt!). Another plus with Britax is their removable and machine washable fabrics, and they have a no re-thread harness.
Every Baby Registry should have a convertible car seat on it – because why not? Someone might buy it for you, and you will save a couple hundred dollars. So if you’re going to register for your convertible, this might be a good choice.
BEST HIGH-TECH SAFETY PICK: 2016 Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat
Clek again has outdone themselves with the 2016 Foonf and the similar Clek Fllo Convertible Car Seat. This year’s editions feature new colors, a redesigned seat belt lockoff, redesigned shoulder harness pads (which are now taller and have a snap button open/close feature); and improved stitching and thicker foam on the fabric covers. We already were huge fans of the Foonf before, but these new updates add so much.
The best thing about the Foonf, though, is that it allows extended rear facing up to 50 pounds. Rear facing is three times safer in the instance of a collision, so it’s crucial to keep your kiddo rear facing as long as possible. Also, the Foonf features the REACT safety system, which uses a “crumple zone” inside the seat to slow down the change in momentum, reducing the force transferred to the child, as well as an anti-rebound bar to improve stability and limit rotation. Plus, the Foonf features a rigid steel and magnesium sub-structure, and is NCAP crash-tested. Basically: it does an incredibly good job protecting your child from crash forces. And surprisingly, the Clek seats do fit 3 across in many cars!
MOST VERSATILE: Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat
This Diono seat has an incredibly strong steel frame, and is amazing if you need to fit 3 seats across: it’s only 17 inches wide. It’s made to travel, since it folds in half, but the steel does make it a little heavy. It’s also made to transform: the Radian keeps your child in a 5-point harness up to 80 pounds, and then you can use it as a high-backed belt-positioning booster seat. This means it has incredible value, since it can protect kids weighing up to 120 pounds!
The only issue we see with the Diono Radian RXT is that because it’s a “combination seat,” it’s very tall, which means that it won’t fit rear-facing in some cars. So we’ll want to try it out in your car before you buy.
Still unsure which convertible car seat is right for your family? Come visit me at Magic Beans Cambridge, visit one of our other five locations and talk with one of our Gear Gurus, or make an appointment for a consultation! We are happy to consider all of the options and work with you to find the right fit!