Best Convertible Car Seat For Small Cars 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

I already tackled how to keep your little one cool in the car seat before which is an essential know-how for every parent.

This time, let’s talk about the best convertible car seat for small cars because let’s face it, not everyone drives an SUV or vans which offer plenty of space for everyone.

Besides, I’m a fan of tiny cars because it’s compact and it makes finding parking spaces easy at least for me.

So if you’re in the same situation and don’t want a gear that won’t fit right in your backseat, then read on, and you might just find the exact product that suits all the criteria you’re looking for in a car seat.

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Top 5 Best Convertible Car Seats For Compact Cars

Diono Radian RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat

Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat

Britax USA Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat

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Rating

Price

$299.99

from $185.00

$169.99

$284.99

$299.99

Shipping

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Amazon.com

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AlbeeBaby

Amazon.com

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Age Range Description

Less than 18 months

Less than 18 months

Less than 18 months

Less than 18 months

Less than 18 months

Color

Shadow

Matrix

Bohemian Blue

Circa

Saffron

Item Dimensions

17 x 10 x 28.5 in

21.5 x 20 x 24 in

18 x 30.5 x 17 in

18.5 x 21 x 26 in

20.5 x 19 x 26 inches

Item Weight

22 lbs

23 lbs

23 lbs

24 lbs

25.1 pounds

MMWR (*)

120 lbs

120 lbs

70 lbs

65 lbs

65 Pounds

MWR (*)

5 lbs

4 lbs

9 lbs

5 lbs

5 Pounds

Strap Type

All in one

All in one

All in one

All in one

All in one

MMWR: Maximum Manufacturer Weight Recommended, MWR: Minimum Weight Recommended

1. Diono Radian RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Diono Radian RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat

This car seat can fold flat when you bring it on travels, and it can fit mid-sized vehicles. It has an adjustable headrest, infant body support insert, energy-absorbing harness system, and is filled with EPS foam linings as an additional safety measure.

It can also transform into a booster seat for kids weighing 50-120 lbs.

PROS

  • It can accommodate infants 5-45 lbs in a rear-facing position and has a five-point harness for their safety.
  • It may be exceptionally slim, but it has a full steel frame and aluminium reinforced sides to ensure strength and durability.
  • It’s firm, sturdy and comfortable for the baby. It’s something that will give you the confidence and peace of mind while driving even on long road trips.
  • It’s a bit cumbersome though but it’s no problem since you’re not going to take it out of the car and put it back regularly.
  • It’s so narrow it can fit in Honda Accords and Fit models and even on an aeroplane. It leaves enough space for someone to sit beside it.
  • It has spacious leg room.

CONS

  • It takes a while and a lot of patience to put it together and install in your car.

2. Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

This car seat doesn’t just accommodate kids from 4-120 pounds, but your little one can also use it up to 10 years from manufacturing date.

The harness and headrest are adjustable to ensure that child is safe and secured.

It also has an audio click cue which means that you have correctly installed it.

PROS

  • It’s easy to clean and wash the seat cover, and there’s no need to remove the harnesses.
  • It provides plenty of padding especially for smaller babies – it’s soft and feels comfortable.
  • Setting it up doesn’t take up plenty of time.
  • It has a recline feature which is a bonus for kids who want to take a quick nap.
  • It’s spacious and relatively easy to put the child in it and take them out.

CONS

  • The fabric, however, isn’t breathable, so you have to make sure it doesn’t get too hot in your child’s car seat and also regularly check if they’re sweating.

    Try not to cover them up too much especially during humid days.
  • Although it’s narrow, it’s still big and bulky.
  • The harnesses are pretty tricky to loosen up at first. It takes a while getting used to but it eventually gets easier to adjust.

3. Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat

Best Compact Convertible Car Seat

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat

For rear-facing, it can accommodate babies from 9-40 pounds for the rear and 22-70 pounds for the forward-facing position.

It features an advanced air cushion system to help in protecting the baby’s head upon impact during a crash.

It fits well in compact cars and can still allow passengers to sit comfortably on the same row.

PROS

  • The colour scheme and patterns look cute and adorable.
  • The cup holder isn’t flimsy and is attached to the seat.
  • The fabric is soft, plush and very comfortable to sleep in. It washes up nicely in the dryer. It looks pretty shiny and can resist tiny crumbs of food.
  • It keeps the kids snug but doesn’t cause excessive sweating even during summer. It will keep them cool.
  • It’s easy to snap all the buckles, loosen and tighten the straps.
  • The child’s head doesn’t have much room because it’s well-padded, but that’s a good safety feature. It won’t make them uncomfortable, though.
  • It’s well-designed, and you can tell it’s sturdy and high-quality.

CONS

  • Installation is challenging. You might need an extra hand to help you out.
  • The buckle straps are thin and frequently tangle which is a pain if you’re always on-the-go.

4. Britax USA Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

Britax USA Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

It features a ClickTight installation system which makes it easy to install: just buckle the seat belt and click it shut.

It also has a SafeCell Impact Protection that includes an energy-absorbing base, steel frame and a V-shaped tether to help minimise any forward movement in case of a crash.

PROS

  • It has a deep, foam-lined shell to help absorb shock during a collision. It helps shield and cushion the child but still keep them comfortable during the ride.
  • You can hear an audible ‘click’ which serves as a cue that you have correctly tightened the harness. It’s also quite easy to ensure that it fits snugly and securely. It saves you time and is pretty handy.
  • The fabric is cool, doesn’t snag and is easy to wipe off. Installation is foolproof and straightforward too.
  • It’s notably more cushioned than the Graco and keeps kids comfortable – it’s suitable for those who enjoy long road trips and travels.

CONS

  • Like every other car seat on this list, this thing is massive and though installing it is a breeze, you might need an extra pair of hands to hoist it up and put inside your car.
  • It doesn’t convert to a high back booster seat.

5. Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat

Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat

It has a six-point headrest position with an integrated harness adjustment which makes it easier to accommodate growing kids.

The slide path also ensures that repositioning the LATCH strap is hassle-free especially when you’re trying to convert from the rear to the forward-facing position.

It even has a Two Ride Right bubble level to guide you if the seat angle is correct.

PROS

  • It has nine recline positions for a better fit in your car and maximum comfort and protection for the child.
  • It has a removable infant insert and extra padding for babies weighing five lbs.
  • It feels durable and sturdy and is easily adjustable. Getting the kid in and out of it doesn’t require every inch of your strength and patience – this is always a big plus when you’re always on-the-go.
  • The seat covers are soft to the touch and easily come out for machine washing.
  • The instructions are easy to follow and understand.
  • The straps are tight enough, and it gives you the confidence that your child is comfortable and secure.

CONS

  • It’s large and is bulky sideways – if you’re driving a tiny car, only a regular size adult can sit comfortably beside it.
  • The seat cover fabric might snag over time.

Perks of Convertible Car Seats

Best Convertible Car Seat For Small Cars

Compared to the traditional infant car seat, which you can carry around and take out quickly, the convertible ones tend to be heavier and bigger. After your baby graduates from infancy, this is what you need to use.

Saves money in the long run

Of course, this is provided that you didn’t buy the infant car seat before using the convertible type.

And most products can accommodate kids up to 40 pounds (some even go for 80 lbs), so you know, it will grow with them.

For most parents, this is a good deal.

You can opt for the rear or front-facing position

For the traditional ones, there’s only a rear-facing option which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for children up to two years old. For the convertible, there’s a variation.

And again, it saves you some serious cash because you don’t have to purchase another one if your child is old enough for the front-facing position.

Safer for your baby

One study recently found out that convertible car seats provide additional safety for your child’s head because of its shape and shell.?

There are downsides to using this type and the two most significant include the following:

  • Neck support: Infants who cannot yet sit on their own will find it hard to stay in a convertible car seat, and you need to purchase a separate insert for it unless it's already part of the package.
  • Naptime: This is another thing you should take into consideration. When you have an infant car seat, a sleeping child is no problem since you can carry him out and into your home.

Source: http://www.consumerreports.org

With the convertible, you have to wake them up and also, sleeping isn’t exactly that comfortable because it doesn’t lie flat.

Best Convertible Car Seat For Small Cars

Safety Reminders

  1. Double check if you strapped all the straps or harnesses snugly. Remove excess items like a pillow, stuffed animals, coats or any unnecessary clothing before buckling.

    It is to avoid extra fluff which may end up with the straps getting loose at some point.
  2. Know that there’s expiration for car seats. Okay, before you start questioning on what I said about huge savings with convertibles, let me first make it clear that this expiry refers to the plastic used for the baby gear.

    Typically, it takes around six to eight years before they expire, so you need to be mindful about it and not use the car seat after that period because it’s no longer safe. Over the years, the plastic can get brittle and may no longer withstand a crash.

    Also, this is yet another reason why I’m not a huge fan of taking hand-me-downs or buying second-hand stuff like this. It’s alright when it comes to clothes or other things but keep in mind that you don’t know how much beating it took from the previous owner and whether it already has some safety issues.

    If, by any chance, you do get something that’s not brand new, always check the following information: model number, manufacturing date, if it’s more than six years old or if the company has recalled it.

    It’s nice when you can save on these items but please, not at your baby’s expense.
  3. The safest spot is the centre of the backseat: Think of the worst case scenario. If there’s crash, and your child is in the front seat (whether in a rear or forward-facing position), the air bag could inflate and hit your kid’s head.

    It could lead to serious injuries and even death. If your car only has one row, you can deactivate the airbags, so they won’t deploy when a crash happens.

    Keep in mind that if they’re in the backseat, do not place the car seat near the door to minimise any possible injury should the inevitable happen.
  4. It’s not about which one’s more expensive: I mentioned earlier that though price plays a factor when deciding which we should buy, in the end, it’s not the priority. We tend to have this misconception that the pricier an item is, the higher the quality.

    Well, guess what? That’s not true. You need to make sure that the car seat fits your child’s size and your vehicle.

    And always check if you have installed it properly before putting your kid on it and driving away.
Best Convertible Car Seat For Small Cars

Conclusion

I have to say that all of these products are good buys – some may be a tad expensive but still worth every penny. They do the job they’re intended for – keep your baby safe, secure and comfortable.

Those are the three reasons why we buy car seats in the first place. Also, even if you own a compact or small car, it doesn’t mean you should compromise anything including space in your vehicle.

Overall, I’d say the clear winner for me among these five is the Diono Radian RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat. It has everything you need and more.

The only downside is the installation but then again, we do that only once and for me, that’s not much of a deal-breaker.

Have you decided which one suits you best?

Nancy Shaw
 

Hi. My name is Nancy. I am a nurse by profession and a writer by passion and ever since I became a mother, I’ve become very active in sharing useful and important information about basically anything under the sun and a full-time mother to a 21-month old boy. Read more about me here.

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