Best Forward Facing Booster & Convertible Car Seats 2015
Upgrading Your Child's Car Seat
So your baby has graduated to a forward facing car seat. Upgrading to a good forward facing car seat may not seem like a big deal, but it's very important to the safety and well-being of your child.
As a Mother of four children I've gone through my fair share of transitions. Some were good and some were, of course bad. Below I'll give you a list of a few forward facing boosters and car seats I recommend as well as some other important information for the transition.
Do the Research Before you Make the Switch:
Before you make the switch to forward facing I recommend you research the car seat requirements for your state or local area. Many of these have increased the age and weight requirement over the last couple of years to conform with data that shows that your child is better off in a rear facing position for as long as possible.
Despite state requirements you may also want to follow the advice that pediatricians are giving here as well.
Features to Look for in Forward Facing Car Seats and Boosters
An Easy-to-Buckle System is Ideal:
Especially for Moms with more than one child I highly recommend an easy buckle system.
This would mean that pressing the buckle is not only easy enough for you to do, but also impossible for your child. I also recommend that you get a crotch buckle which is adequately positioned.
If it's too far back your baby will be sitting on it uncomfortably. You may also want to get a buckle system that has a few different positions so it can grow with your baby.
Make Sure it's Simple to Adjust the Straps:
The last thing you want to do on a cold day is stand outside trying to adjust your child's straps. Find a car seat that has a conveniently located button you can press to both loosen and tighten the straps. It makes puffy coat day a whole lot easier!
Consider a Reclining Seat:
A reclining feature is also something that I look for in every car seat I purchased. Not every car seat reclines, or reclines very much, and it can make a sleeping baby so much more comfortable without their head falling forward.
Find a Seat with Side Impact Safety:
The last thing I recommend you keep your eye open for is a deep shell with wide side wings. This will ensure that your baby is more protected during a side auto collision.
What brand of car seat have you used and would you recommend?
The 5 Best Convertible Car Seats and Boosters for Toddlers 2014
A Good and Safe Convertible Car Seat Under $200
1. Britax Boulevard 70-G3 Convertible Car Seat
Speaking of side impact safety, this first car seat is a great option. If you have the money to spend, this Britax Boulevard 70-G3 Convertible Car Seat will not only give your child the safety he needs, but from a company that has a very good reputation for car seats.
So, needless to say, it offers very large wings on the sides, yet there is also extra protection in alongside your child's head on the inside. This is not only for car crash safety but more comfort while sleeping in the car seat.
This one has a very deep shell which also helps cradle your child to keep them safer. Keep in mind that this is a rear facing and forward facing car seat only, it cannot be used as a booster.
I've used this car seat with my last two children and can't recommend it enough. It has all the convenience features I mentioned above, is reasonable priced, and has a high safety rating.
A Good Forward Facing Convertible Booster Seat Under $150
2. Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Forward Facing Car Seat
A bit lower on price point is this Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Forward Facing Car Seat. This can be used as a booster as well. I absolutely love that the headrest is adjustable for many different positions.
I have very tall children as is, and as they have grown this car seat has allowed them to be safe no matter how big they have gotten. As mentioned earlier, this wonderful seat has a crotch strap that that can be positioned in a couple different places.
Something else that I appreciate about this seat is that it is quite lightweight around 19.5 pounds. If you find you need to move the car seat from car to car for daycare or whatnot, this won't require you to have lots of muscles.
The padding seems adequate though I will say it isn't quite as soft as the Britax. This car seat is actually quite highly rated for safety and usability as well.
A Budget Forward Facing Car Seat with Safety Features:
3. Cosco Apt 40RF Car Seat
If all you need is a forward facing seat, this Cosco Apt 40RF Car Seat is inexpensive, yet effective.
It has nice side wings for protection in side crashes, but it does not feature extra head protection like the Britax.
You get four different positions for shoulder heights on the harness for added safety.
I love the dual cup holders since driving around with toddlers can be kind of hard if they aren't distracted with snacks.
I recommend this as a secondary seat for another vehicle. For instance, I suggest using a more integrated seat for your primary vehicle and this one for your spouse, or a car takers car.
2 Good Value Convertible Toddler Boosters for the Money 2014
4. Evenflo Tribute Convertible Car Seat
The Evenflo Tribute Convertible Car Seat seems to be pretty good in terms of strap positioning options, but the shell is not quite as deep as some of the others we've discussed.
The head pillow is small but it seems to do the trick.
5. Evenflo Chase Lx Booster Car Seat
You might also consider this Evenflo Chase Lx Booster Car Seat that is in the same price point as the Tribute, but comes with better head support in my opinion.
It also comes with better cup holders.
What is the difference between a convertible seat and a regular seat?
A regular forward facing car seat, which actually is kind of hard to find these days anyway, strictly has your baby facing forward. They cannot be used facing the rear, or used as a booster.
Convertible car seats are the best in my opinion because you can not only use them rear facing and forward facing, but as a booster as well. This kind of investment will last you through many stages of development.
A booster portion of a car seat is used without the harness and instead incorporates the seat belt of your car across the shoulder and lap of your child to buckle normally.
New Car Seat Technology
More manufacturers are realizing the importance of temperature control in the fabric of car seats. Many car seats don’t breathe well which can create hot spots and eventually chilling in your child.
There are only a few companies looking into this right now, but keep your eyes open over the coming year as car seat technology helps babies be even more comfortable and safe.
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© 2014 Brandon Hart