Selecting the Best Convertible Car Seat for Grandparents
If you a have a grandchild, chances are you want to be able to take them out to fun activities to enjoy spending time with them. You may also be one of their caretakers. Taking a child out for a fun day or transporting them to your house requires you to have a car seat, though. Car seats have changed a lot over the years, so finding the right car seat for your grandchild may seem difficult with all of the options on the market. Furthermore, you probably don’t want to break the bank on something that only gets occasional use. This guide will help you make a selection when looking for the right convertible car seat.
Features of a Convertible Car Seat
- 1 Features of a Convertible Car Seat
- 2 All-in-One Car Seats
- 3 What You Should Consider as a Grandparent
- 4 Best Convertible Car Seats for Your Grandchild
- 5 Conclusion
Convertible car seats can be placed rear-facing or forward-facing in your vehicle. They use a five-point harness found within the frame of the seat. These seats usually hold rear-facing children up to at least 40 pounds and forward-facing children up to at least 65 pounds. Examples of a convertible car seat include the Britax Marathon, Diono Radian R100, and the Chicco Nextfit.
Convertible car seats are usually used for older babies and toddlers, typically from around six months old until at least their fourth birthday. Convertible car seats give you the option to keep a child rear-facing as long as possible. This is ideal considering rear-facing seats distribute crash forces more equally throughout the seat and keep a child’s head and spine aligned in a car accident. Toddlers often need to sit rear-facing until they are at least two years old. Some children continue to sit rear-facing past their third birthday, though, depending on their size and comfort in the seat. Some seats are designed to give a child extra leg room so they can stay comfortable in a rear-facing position longer.
All-in-One Car Seats
A closely related car seat to the convertible car seat is the all-in-one car seat. All-in-one car seats are similar to convertible car seats in that children can sit rear-facing or forward-facing, often with similar height and weight limits. These modes also use an internal five-point harness. They come with an additional booster mode, though, for older children who only need a high-back booster. The high-back booster mode has the child use your vehicle’s seat belts instead of its internal five-point harness. Examples of all-in-one car seats include the Safety 1st Grow and Go and the Graco 4Ever.
All-in-one car seats are ideal for older babies, toddlers, and children going to preschool. They often do not accommodate smaller infants as well as infant or convertible car seats. These car seats give you the option to keep a child rear-facing as long as possible, but also give you multiple forward-facing options. With booster limits of up to 100 pounds, a larger three-year-old could use the booster option if they outgrow the forward-facing limits. All-in-one car seats are designed to be the only car seat you’d ever have to purchase for a child. This can depend on what the car seat’s expiration date is, though, as some seats expire before the child is ready to stop using one.
All-in-one car seats should not be confused with combination car seats. While all-in-one car seats come with every kind of seating mode, combination seats are only harnessed booster seats. Combination car seats can only sit forward-facing, so they are only for older children. If you are purchasing a convertible car seat for a baby or toddler, you should not buy a combination car seat.
What You Should Consider as a Grandparent
As a grandparent, you are probably not looking to spend a lot of money on a car seat as it will likely not get as much use. However, you want to make sure you purchase something that will keep your grandchild safe. When buying a car seat, you should look at:
- How much use you can get out of the seat before it expires or your grandchild grows out of it
- Your long-term plans for the seat
- If you need multiple seats
- Its safety ratings
- What materials it is made out of
You may have multiple grandchildren who will use this car seat, so buying something that will last or grow with the children may be important to you. Or, perhaps you only need something for a short time, so you do not need to worry about the longevity of the car seat.
If you have multiple grandchildren needing car seats, you will want to make sure the car seats you buy will fit in your vehicle, particularly if they need to sit side-by-side. Some car seats are made with a wider frame, so they do not fit well next to other car seats. Other car seats are made with a slender frame so you can place three of them across in your back seat.
If you are looking to save money, there are many affordable seats on the market. While all car seats must pass the same market tests in order to be sold, not all seats are created equally. You can buy a car seat that is both affordable and well-made.
Best Convertible Car Seats for Your Grandchild
EvenFlo Sonus Convertible Car Seat
This affordable car seat will allow your grandchild to sit rear-facing up to 40 pounds and forward-facing up to 50 pounds. It has five harness positions so you can find the right fit for your grandchildren as they grow. The EvenFlo Sonus is a lightweight seat that is easy to carry around and simple to install. While it is not as expensive as many other convertible car seats on the market, it provides plenty of protection. The Sonus does more than meet federal guidelines – it is designed and tested to withstand energy levels twice that of the federal crash test standard. It is also designed to withstand side impact and vehicle rollover.
The seat comes with an attachable cup holder so your grandchild can have a drink or snack in the car. It also comes with an air flow ventilation system to regulate the temperature of the seat so it never gets too hot or too cold. It does not, however, come with extra padding for small babies. So, a child using this seat would ideally be an older baby or toddler. With a six-year expiration date and 18-inch top harness slot, your grandchild should be able to use the EvenFlo Sonus for all of their harnessed car seat days. This long-lasting seat can save you a lot of money in the long-run.
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
The Graco Extend2Fit allows your child to sit rear-facing up to 50 pounds and forward-facing up to 65 pounds. This affordable car seat helps keep your grandchild safer by allowing him or her to rear-face longer. It does this by allowing you to adjust the extension panel so you can give them an extra five inches of leg space. Your grandchild can continue growing and sitting in a rear-face position without becoming uncomfortable. The extra leg room is also helpful for giving children more space in smaller vehicles.
The Graco Extend2Fit allows you to adjust the height of the harness and the headrest as your child grows, so you can get the most out of the seat. It also comes with two cup holders, so your grandchild can keep drinks and snacks close by. The seat lasts up to 10 years, so your child will grow out of it before it expires. It could even be used for a sibling after your first grandchild is done using it.
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-In-1 Convertible Car Seat
The Safety 1st Grow and Go is a three-in-one car seat. It allows you to rear-face a child up to 40 pounds and forward-face a child up to 65 pounds in a five-point harness. You can then convert the seat into a high-back booster seat for an older child up to 100 pounds. The booster seat uses the vehicle’s seat belts. This affordable seat is designed to last your child from birth through their car seat days and could be the only car seat they would ever need. It comes with infant support pillows so that even a young baby could use it.
The Safety 1st Grow and Go has an easy adjustment system, so you can continually adjust the harness and headrest as your grandchild grows. It also has two cup holders, allowing your grandchild can enjoy drinks and snacks in your vehicle. This car seat is only 20 pounds, making it one of the lighter all-in-one car seats. The light weight may be useful if the seat needs to be transported between your vehicle and a parent’s vehicle. The Safety 1st Grow and Go has a 10-year lifespan, so it can last your grandchild through his or her car seat years.
Diono Radian R100 Convertible Car Seat
The Diono brand tends to be a bit more expensive than other car seat brands because their seats are made from better, sturdier materials. The Diono Radian R100 is one of the least expensive models within the brand, making it a practical option for your grandchild. This car seat is an all-in-one car seat. It rear-faces a child up to 40 pounds and forward-faces a child up to 65 pounds. It converts to a booster seat for a child up to 100 pounds. The Diono Radian R100 has a full steel frame, making it one of the sturdiest car seats you can buy. It is easy to install with a latch system that lets you know the seat is locked in with an audible click and visual indicator. This will give you peace of mind that you installed the seat correctly and your grandchild is safe.
The R100 folds flat, making it easy to store or travel around with. This might come in handy if your grandchild only sporadically uses your vehicle. It also boasts one of the slimmest designs among car seats. The Diono Radian is one of the only car seats you can place three across in a back seat. So, if you have multiple grandchildren needing to ride in your vehicle, buying this car seat could save you from having to upgrade your vehicle. With 10 years of life, it may be the only car seat your grandchild will ever need.
Purchasing a car seat for your grandchild will greatly depend on how much you will need to use it and how long you will need to use it for. You may buy a shorter-term, cheaper convertible car seat if your grandchild won’t use it much. On the other hand, you may spend a little more money on an all-in-one car seat if your grandchild will be a regular passenger in your vehicle. Make sure you think about these needs as you shop for the right car seat.
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