≡ Menu

How To Pick The Best Convertible Car Seat For Cheap

In this article we will give you all the information you need to make an educated decision on the best convertible car seat to buy without breaking the bank. You will find frequently asked questions, information on safety, and what factors you should consider when picking out a convertible car seat.

You don’t have to buy the most expensive car seat in order to get the features you want and feel that your baby is safe. However, you shouldn’t take this purchasing decision too lightly. You should at the very least make some effort to figure out which car seats are the best for particular situation. If you are absolutely hell-bent on not reading the rest of this article we have some quick recommendations for you below.

Quick Recommendations

These are the two convertible car seats that we found to be the best. The ARB is the best all around car seat and the Essentials is the best one when considering cost.

Britax Boulevard ClickTight Anti-Rebound Bar

This car seat stands out because of it’s quality build materials and comfort features. The safest car seats are the ones that are easiest to install. This fact that this car seat is so easy to use makes it safer than most alternatives.

See The Current Best Price

Essentials by Britax Emblem

This classic will give you the best bang for your buck. It is easy to install it also has excellent convenience features and it did well in crash tests. If you’re looking to buy a car seat that is cheap without having to worry about whether or not it is safe then this is the car seat for you.

See The Current Best Price

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Convertible Car Seat?
Can You Use A Convertible Car Seat For An Infant?
What Kind Of Car Seat Should My Child Be In?
What Is The Height And Weight Limit For An Infant Car Seat?
What Age Do You Typically Switch To A Convertible?
When Can You Turn The Car Seat Forward?
How Long Should A Child Be In A Five Point Harness?
Where Is The Safest Place To Put A Convertible Car Seat?
What Is The Height And Weight Limit For An Infant Car Seat?
How Do Convertible Car Seats Work?
Is An Infant Car Seat Safer Than A Convertible Car Seat?
Should I Get A Convertible Car Seat Or An All-In-One?
Do You Need A Base For A Convertible Car Seat?
Is A 5-Point Harness Necessary?
Is Added Side Impact Protection Necessary?
Should I Buy My Car Seat Second-Hand?
How Much Will A Convertible Car Seat Cost?
How Long Should My Baby Stay In The Rear Facing Position?

What Is A Convertible Car Seat?

Some car seats are just rear facing or forward facing. A convertible car seat can do both and some can even become a booster seat when your child is ready for one. A convertible seat can carry a newborn and some convertibles will carry a child as heavy as 80 lbs..

And all-in-one or (3-in-1) type of convertible can be converted into a booster seat. A booster seat raises a child up so that they can fit the seat belt better and it gives them some side-impact protection. Back To The Top

Can You Use A Convertible Car Seat For An Infant?

Convertible car seats usually come with an infant insert that can accomodate newborns that are at least 5lbs.. When you are buying a convertible car seat just make sure that the car seat has an insert. Back To The Top

What Kind Of Car Seat Should My Child Be In?

Infants and toddlers should ride in the rear facing position until they are at least two years old. Once the child has outgrown their rear-facing weight and height limits then you must move them to the forward facing position.

Most rear facing car seats have a weight limit of 40 pounds. If you can, try and find a car seat with a rear facing weight limit of 45-50 pounds. The rear facing position is the safest way for your child to be situated in a car seat so it is best to keep them in that position for as long as they don’t exceed the height and weight limits.

Once they meet the height and weight limits for the forward facing position then some convertibles can be converted into a booster seat.

Usually a child can be taken out of the booster seat when they reach the height of 4 foot 9 or they reach the age of 12. Back To The Top

What Is The Height And Weight Limit For An Infant Car Seat?

Most infant car seats only have a weight limit of 22 pounds. Don’t confuse this limit with that of the rear-facing convertible which is usually much higher.

Back To The Top

What Age Do You Typically Switch To A Convertible?

People typically switch from an infant car seat to a convertible when the child reaches the age of 9-18 months old. Back To The Top

When Can You Turn The Car Seat Forward?

You can switch to forward facing starting at 2-years old, but most experts recommend keeping your child in the rear facing position for as long as they don’t exceed the weight and height limits of the of that particular car seat.

Back To The Top

How Long Should A Child Be In A Five Point Harness?

Once they reach the weight of 80 pounds and a height of 4 foot 9 then they are ready to move on to the booster seat and out of the harness. Back To The Top

Where Is The Safest Place To Put A Convertible Car Seat?

The center of the back seat is the safest place convertible car seat positioned both the rear facing and forward facing positions. If you have two car seats then don’t worry too much about which one to place in the center. The younger child is the most vulnerable, but children are 5 times safer in the rear facing position. If you are going to have your older child sitting at one of the window seats then look for a car seat that has “side-impact” protection. Back To The Top

How Do Convertible Car Seats Work?

After your baby no longer needs the infant insert you take it out and place the baby in the normal convertible car seat, rear facing. Once your baby is too big for the rear facing position you would simply turn the car seat forward since convertibles are capable of being placed in both positions. And finally when your baby is ready for the booster seat you typically have to take remove something called the splitter plate and the five point harness so that the booster can then use the regular seat belt. Back To The Top

Is An Infant Car Seat Safer Than A Convertible Car Seat?

A convertible car seat is actually safer because if your child is a year or older they get more protection from the convertible than they do the infant car seat. In fact, crash tests have shown that a child’s safety is somewhat compromised even before they reach the weight and height limits of their particular car seat. So the fact that a convertible car seat is designed to accommodate a heavier and taller child makes it safer than the infant car seat. Back To The Top

Should I Get A Convertible Car Seat Or An All-In-One?

An all-in-one is actually a convertible, but not all convertible’s are all-in-one. Basically not all convertible car seats have booster seats, but most do. If the convertible car seat happens to have a booster seat, and it has all the other features you want, at the right price then you should probably get it.

Back To The Top

Do You Need A Base For A Convertible Car Seat?

No, a convertible car seat does not come with a base. You are thinking of a infant car seat which has the infant carrier and a car seat base. Back To The Top

Is A 5-Point Harness Necessary?

A 5-point harness is absolutely necessary. All new car seats have 5-point harnesses. Unless you are using a used car seat then you probably won’t see any car seats with a 3-point harness. The 5-point harness has been proven in crash tests to be much safer than the 3-point harness. In fact, no car seat manufacturer makes car seats with 3-point harnesses any more. The entire industry seemed to think that it was absolutely essential to have 5-point harnesses.

Back To The Top

Is Added Side Impact Protection Necessary?

It’s important, they just don’t have a general standard for the protection feature just yet. Just know that a car seat manufacturer can’t lie to you and tell you they have side impact protection when they don’t. If they advertise side impact protection that means that it has been proven by rigourous third party testing that the side impact protection does indeed make your child safer. Back To The Top

Should I Buy My Car Seat Second-Hand?

Using a second-hand car seat can be a risk to your child. You can sue a retailer if they sell you a previously recalled child seat, but a random person running a garage sale might not know that the car seat was recalled and is not obligated to find out. You have to trust that they are willing to do their due diligence on your behalf.

In fact, they have found that there were sellers on eBay selling car seats that have been recalled. So it’s not just people selling used car seats in person that you have to worry about.

As plastic gets worn down over time it actually loses a lot of its strength. So it might not hold up as well in a car accident after years of continued use. Another thing that you should be concerned with when buying a used car seat is the new standards. Manufacturers no longer make 3 harness car seats and now use 5 harness car seats because they have been proven to be much safer.

If you absolutely must use a second-hand car seat then make sure that it hasn’t been in any accidents, hasn’t been recalled, and try to get one that isn’t too old.

Back To The Top

How Much Will A Convertible Car Seat Cost?

At the low end they start at around $60 but the top of the line models can run you $400. The ones that cost more are usually a little safer because they are designed to accommodate heavier and bigger kids. The closer your child gets to the height and weight limits the less protection they have from a crash.

There are car seats that cost more but there is no real reason to pay more than $400 for a car seat. Back To The Top

How Long Should My Baby Stay In The Rear Facing Position?

You should keep your child in the rear facing position for as long as you can. It is much safer for the child than the forward facing position. Most convertible car seats have a rear facing weight limit of between 40-50 pounds.

My Articles From The Convertibles Category:

Back To Car Seats