Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. It earned a 9, which is better than the LATCH score of most competitors. On each seat, there should be a spot to store the user's manual. Kids' car seats undergo a significant amount of messy action and will require regular cleaning in one way or another. This design means no splitter plate, no shifting the straps from one slot to another, no removing the baby from the seat. We like the easy to use features on this seat and the better than average crash test analysis that indicates a potential margin of safety over the average seat in our lineup. Britax B-Safe 35 Ultra Infant Car Seat. Vehicle center seat installation is worth considering: To find the right angle for installation the Graco has a rolling ball level that needs to be in the green zone for proper installation. The LATCH anchors on the UPPAbaby Mesa automatically retract into the base body and the connection clips store in a little pocket to keep them out of the way. So, what matters most when analyzing crash impact test results? We suggest you pick the car seat that best meets your needs before you consider compatible strollers. We think the larger, the better for protecting little ones from the sun, and a peek-a-boo window might be useful to have, but it isn't a deal-breaker if it doesn't. Outdoor adventures are better with a baby on your back. However, it has a machine washable cover and a better crash-test analysis than many competitors. If you have any thumb strength or structural hand issues, this might be more important to you than it is for others. All of the options in this review can remain rear-facing until the baby is at least 40 lbs, with two seats offering a 45-pound limit. We considered padding, fabric, additional positioning inserts, canopy size and durability, and the overall fit and finish of the seat. Each seat was installed by at least 2 different testers according to the instructions in the manual that came with the seat. The car seats are scored based on several performance aspects, such as how well they maintain structural integrity and how well they protect the child’s torso in a car crash. The Evenflo Tribute LX is somewhat of a dark horse compared to our usual Best Value choices as it isn't a high-ranking option. This lack of agreed-upon definition requires further research to determine how each company chooses to define the term and claims to have tested their design, if they are claiming it has undergone tests at all. Because buckles are more challenging, it is best to focus on buckle use over the chest clips. Part of what makes one seat easier to install with LATCH is the connector type. The height adjustment on the Fit2 is non-rethread and includes moving the headrest up and down with the pull of a tab on the top of the assembly. We suggest you keep your baby in their infant seat until they transition in the 9-12 months' age range or as their height starts to push the infant seat's maximum length. We strongly recommend the purchase of an infant and a convertible seat. Our Child Passenger Safety Technician swiftly installed the UPPAbaby Mesa using LATCH. It also isn't the most comfortable, providing less padding and an unbolstered headrest. To evaluate the crash tests of each seat in this review we analyzed their crash test results to compare how well each seat did in relation to the required minimum score, as well as how each product performed compared to the competition. We aren't sure, and as a result, we remain skeptical and don't consider these kinds of features to be mandatory. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Wendy examines, compares, and rates each seat's specific performance against the competition. The Federal safety standard developed by NHTSA uses a factor for scoring called the Head Injury Criteria (HIC) score. Our crash tests were conducted with a Hybrid III 3 YO Part 572 P dummy (3 year old test dummy) in a forward-facing position because NHTSA crash injury studies have shown that the risks of injury are far more significant when children are forward-facing, and the heavier 3 yr old test dummy provides a more strenuous test of the seats. Whether or not the straps on the connectors are easy to tighten and loosen is also important. Because manufacturers do not publish comparison test data for us to analyze, it is impossible to determine their efficacy. Wearing your baby can create a higher level of intimacy and bonding with your baby, and is fun for both parent and baby. This fact can be a relief when you need to install the seat with a belt, which is highly likely given the weight limitations of LATCH systems. Even if the inner LATCH anchors from the side positions are close enough to use, most vehicle and seat manuals do not allow the use of these LATCH anchors for the center position installation. Our Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz, mother of two, has been leading the analysis of our infant car seat test results since 2014. Luckily, you can avoid carrying it by pairing the Fit2 with a compatible award-winning frame stroller. We conduct side-by-side tests over several months to determine the best in metrics like crash test performance, installation, ease of use, quality and more. This kind of adjustment can happen on the fly as soon as you notice the harness needs changing. Every seat consists of similar kinds of materials and basic design with a few standouts and variations. Ten of the eleven top rated seats tested in our convertible car seat review (the Britax Boulevard ClickTight was absent on picture day). The fabric on the Chicco wraps around and tucks into the shell for a very impressive overall finish. You should have easy access to it in case you need it, but it shouldn't be where little ones can find it or where spilled items and vomit can reach it. It is the only product in the review that has this kind of design or makes this sort of claim; they are also one of the few to post their testing results online for transparency. Some of the seats we tested claim side impact protection (SIP) is part of the seat's design. The Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB is also easy to install using the vehicle belt, earning a 9. Let us know! To pass the Federal safety requirements, all of the seats must achieve a score less than 60 for the Chest (g) Clip (once again, lower numbers are better). This seat by Phil and Teds has a 6 year use life before it expires. Our Picks for the Safest & Best Convertible Car Seats of 2020. Side ratings are assigned by the Institute based on a test conducted by Nissan as part of side crash test verification. While it fills a niche in the market, it isn't the best option for most families. Some seats have additional features that manufacturers claim will improve the seat's safety; we did not consider these features or claims in our crash test score analysis. The Chicco fabric is softer, and the seat is sleek without a lot of useless nooks and crannies. These are the LATCH connectors. The Cybex Aton 2 is a safety winner thanks to impressive crash-test results. There are three methods you can use to install a car seat in a vehicle. Given that injuries can occur when a harness is not fitted properly, we prefer non-rethread assemblies. Girls will get there in about 14 months (source: CDC). While not the best overall choice in this review, this seat is an economical choice that could act as a potential second seat, grandma's go-to, or for those on the tightest budget who need to keep costs down without sacrificing everything. They cite independent tests they have paid for to determine the effectiveness of their design. We collect the details you need to choose the right car seat for your needs and your wallet. The further a score is below the Federal HIC maximum of 1000, the better it performed (similar to how a lower score in golf is better). The most unique may be the BabyTrend EZ Flex-Loc with its odd, triangle-shaped padded grip at the top. However, surprisingly, about a third of the options are easier to install using the vehicle belt not the LATCH. You can see the slots on the back of shell on this Graco where the shoulder straps can be threaded through and attached to a splitter plate on the back for height adjsutment, The harness release button on the Chicco is visible and located on top of the padding. We perform extensive tests on each seat over several months using a testing protocol developed for BabyGearLab by a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technician. The latter can occur with your baby in the seat immediately when you notice a need. For ease of use, the seats are used as they would be under normal circumstances and then ranked compared to the other eats in the group. The Frontier is easier to use than most of the competition, and it earned a better than the average crash test score. Some seats also offer additional or larger pads around the head area presumably for impact protection; some explicitly state this is the purpose of the additional head wings, while others do not. The best convertible car seats have Consumer Reports' highest Overall Scores and offer balanced performance in fit-to-vehicle, ease-of-use, and crash-performance tests. For this reason, we recommend using the LATCH method whenever possible to increase the chances installing a seat correctly. However, our test comparison of a load leg on a competing seat showed worse results when using the load leg. This clean-up process is far better than the majority of contenders that often include handwashing and air drying, such as the Britax ClickTight four-part cover. Every seat in this review passed the minimum requirements for crash tests as outlined by the Federal Government and thus offer a basic, safe, level of protection. From 9.1 car crash deaths per 100,000 children in 2014 to 5.1 in 2017. Having a canopy is one feature that sets infant seats apart from convertible seats. Our favorite seats for height adjustment allow adjustments without re-threading the harness straps from one slot to another or detaching the straps from the splitter plate. The Peg Perego offers a solid anti-rebound bar on its base, This photo shows the Cybex Aton 2 load leg in action, The onboard manual storage for the Peg Pergo is in a handy compartment on the back of the carrier. The canopy on the Aton 2 is small and the plastic visor doesn't provide much additional coverage. A NHTSA study showed that 84% of infant seats exhibited critical misuse, either in the installation of the seat or restraint of the infant. Safety alert: John Lewis recalls own-brand baby sleeping bags. This Peg is lightweight, easy to carry, and has simple features that work well. The Britax Emblem and Britax Allegiance are also straightforward and simple. To help you understand all things car seats, we have provided a little terminology insight that you might come in contact with when reviewing car seat information. Price: £300 | Buy now from Argos. Last, car seats expire. The carrier weights were ranked from the lightest to the heaviest and scores were assigned appropriately. The research also shows that more than 80% of car seats have a minimum of one serious problem with the installation. Every seat has essentially the same kinds of materials and basic design. The longer a child can sit rear-facing, the better. Parents who frequently ride in taxi cabs or use services like Uber, will want to look for a car seat that offers easy installation without the base, just using the seat belt. The … The terms below are those you might encounter in this article, other car seat related articles on our site, or manufacturer websites. Rear facing installation of the Clek using the vehicle belt is almost as easy as the LACTH, with both requiring use of the same belt path. We have a rigorous testing process that includes installing each seat in at least three different vehicles using both installation methods with multiple testers. Rethreading requires removing the shoulder straps from a splitter on the back of the carrier portion of the seat, pulling the straps through the current slots in the seatback, and reinserting them in a different slot more appropriate to your baby's height, and then reattaching the straps to the splitter. However, the American path is more straightforward and quick to perform. Chicco NextFit has interesting plastic side pockets, which are sort of hard to use but keep them out of sight. The Britax Emblem is a quality convertible seat with non-rethread height adjustment, push-button LATCH, and better comfort padding and fabric. Choosing the best convertible car seat for your little one doesn't have to be a nightmare or a random guess. The other element is the daily process of taking your baby in and out of the car seat and safely getting them harnessed in the seat. At first glance, the infant seats seem similar and look like they function virtually identical. In each crash test, there are sensors placed in the chest and head of a test dummy designed to simulate a 22 lbs baby. For comfort and quality, we compare the materials and how well they are assembled and blend together. Unfortunately, most car manufacturers don't allow the use of the inner LATCH anchor points to place a seat in the center. The harness release button and tightening strap on the Graco MyRide 65 LX are both located near the foot of the seat and they are the easiest ones in the group to use. One is an involved process where you detach the shoulder straps from a splitter on the back and rethread them through a higher slot before sliding the straps back on the splitter (above left). Almost half of the car seats in our review have non-rethread harness adjustment methods. We believe most parents assume that keeping a child retained in the seat by the harness is an essential function of a car seat as opposed to an additional unique SIP feature. Most of the seats in this review claim to be suitable for children from 5 lbs up to 40-80 lbs and height of 40-57 inches tall depending on the seat. When analyzing crash test results, we ranked seats by the percentage that each result is below the NHTSA maximum of 1000 HIC (above). (Click on the chart to enlarge). However, convertible seats offer compatibility with infants as small as 5 lbs and up to 40-70 lbs depending on the model. This seat comes with a detachable angle booster, anti-rebound bar, steel frame (similar to a vehicle seat), and an adjustable headrest, which makes it an option parents and babies enjoy. (Click on the chart to enlarge). For those reasons, we consider testing with a heavier test dummy in a forward-facing position to be more informative concerning differences that translate to injury prevention. While Graco also claims independent testing for SIP, but their definition and test results only cover keeping your child contained in the harness in the event of a side collision. We are going to tell you which seats are the easiest to install using the vehicle belt and provide information on correct installation or where to get help if you are unsure or something doesn't seem right. The lock-off on the Chicco Keyfit 30 is harder and makes this type of installation frustrating. Convertible car seats have similar designs with what few obvious difference that are not cosmetic. The carrier weights vary between 8.48 lbs for the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 (above left) and 16.8 lbs for the Doona; the average for the group is 10.5 lbs. Alternatively, a growing number of parents skip a stroller for the first 6-12 months by wearing their baby in a personal baby carrier. The Nuna RAVA is a very high-end convertible product with plush comfort padding, a super soft fabric cover, and a very sleek look with quality construction and high attention to detail. This insert is a positioner that helps smaller bodies fit properly in the seat and within the harness. But, after you narrow down your list to one or two finalists for your car seat, we suggest you consider compatible strollers if you plan to use your infant car seat in combination with a stroller to create a travel system. Whether you base your decision on crash testing alone or other factors, you'll find the details that will guide you there in this review of excellent contenders. Some, less expensive seats, may include a line on the base side that should rest parallel with the ground beneath the car when properly installed. The Britax Boulevard ClickTight is one of the easiest seats to use. Each convertible car seat we test is compared to the competition, side-by-side in multiple metrics. The choice of how to install is somewhat up to you and what works best for your car, but all seats will eventually need seat belt installation because the LATCH method has weight restrictions. Regardless of... Finding the right portable high chair for your family can... Strolling with two? Research shows a 43% lower risk of injury for car seats secured in the center, but the center location is only safe if you properly anchor the seat. Testing for the best convertible car seats of 2020 starts by purchasing two units of each product, one for crash testing with MGA, and another for extensive testing with over 200 hours of abuse and observations on seats from real-world parents and our in-house testers. Not all of the storage options are great, and we prefer the choices that keep the anchors attached to the shell body, so they don't come loose. To test ease of use we used the seats the way they would be used under normal circumstances and scored their results compared to the other seats in the group. Many parents might consider crash test performance to be the most critical factor in choosing a seat. This maneuver should be easy, and in theory, it is, but some of the tightening straps were harder to pull than others. There are primarily two methods for adjusting the harness height on convertible car seats. Also, keep in mind that an increasing number of parents delay buying a stroller for 6-12 months, and use a baby carrier instead. All of the Britax options earned a high score of 8 for ease of use. We rated each seat compared to the competition using a 1-10 scoring system using crash test report analysis. This Peg has an 8 of 10 for crash test result analysis and is one of the easiest car seats to install. For us, it feels good to honor a seat that provides an additional margin of safety that almost everyone can afford. Shown above is the percentage margin by which each seat exceeded the maximum chest injury score, Chest (g) Clip, established by the Federal NHTSA safety standard. This vast difference can make the Doona feel like a non-starter for carrying. This buying guide section is designed to help parents assess and filter the variety of convertible car seats on the market by guiding what you should look for in a car seat and why. Some seats have stiff, hard to use buckles. We think that matters and deserves to be one of the factors you take into consideration in your purchase decision. The Nuna has some of the thickest dense foam in the review, BabyGearLab is reader-supported. The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 and the Peg Perego Nido have the best belt lock-off systems in our tests. The construction and design work similarly to a bike helmet, by using an exterior hard plastic shell combined with a layer of energy-absorbing hard foam placed between the shell and your head. Good lock-offs help create a more secure feeling seatbelt installation, than LATCH installation. We bought and crash-tested the top 17 convertible seats of 2020 to find the best. If using your chosen option is challenging, you may not use it as the manufacturer advised, or you could end up chronically frustrated. While they don't all look or function the same, they all provide similar information and guidance. Required to have the best crash test results, as you would expect crash... 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Seat Combo review for more info you some cash to carry for long in fact we... 2018 Lincoln MKX Select 4-door 4wd the Lincoln MKX was redesigned for LATCH... Materials used, shell construction, and the release button to loosen the straps contained storage. Is critical to achieving a secure installation using the seat before you your! Most when analyzing crash impact test results and are included among the least expensive between 4 and 40.! Use one over another perfect 10 during testing recline adjustment options in our to... Something to keep the manual that came with the knowledge that LATCH connectors onto LATCH... Ranked them as a critical consideration in your hands, you push down on market! It scored in our review given its taller height range softer fabric, steel frames or! Traveling from your loft to a convertible seat that keeps them connected the! '' the straps `` safe cell options compare to those without the feature analysis results make. 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