Best Convertible Car Seats
The seats that provide the best balance of safety and ease of installation
A convertible seat is a must for parents to stay in step with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation to keep a child rear-facing for as long as possible; she should stay there until she has reached the height or weight limit of the rear-facing seat.
Once a child outgrows her infant car seat, a convertible seat is the next step up. This seat can be installed in both rear- and forward-facing configurations, and it’s likely to be the one a child sits in for the longest period of time.
Most kids will outgrow an infant or rear-facing-only seat because of their height first, rather than their weight. Based on our recent tests, Consumer Reports recommends that parents transition their children to a rear-facing convertible seat by age 1.
Using CR’s Car-Seat Ratings
Consumer Reports’ crash test evaluates the ability of a child seat to reduce the risk of injuries in conditions that simulate the inside of a car, and the forces that would be encountered in a crash. Each convertible seat is crash-tested in all its configurations and installation methods with age-appropriate child-sized dummies.
Our fit-to-vehicle ratings reflect the differences between using LATCH (the anchors that are built into a car) and using the standard three-point seat belt, with separate ratings for the different orientations and installations. Overall Scores take into consideration regulations regarding the 65-pound weight limit (seat plus child) for LATCH lower-anchor use. This means that with heavier seats, you may be limited as to how long you can keep the seat installed using LATCH connectors and when you must switch to installing with a seat belt.