If you have a small child or grandchild, one of the most challenging aspects of traveling can be ensuring they are safe with proper car seat or booster seat use. Previously. it was easy to go to Babies R Us and find multiple quality options for the child you are shopping for, but now, with most Babies “R” Us (and most baby related retail stores in general) out of business…it can be difficult to shop for quality child and infant car seats and boosters, especially so on-line. As a result, here at Brightbulb, we have taken it upon ourselves to find the very best of the best when it comes to car seats across multiple considerations.
Our upmost consideration was obviously the safety of the child, so we ruled out car seats that had any whispers or mentions of recalls or malfunctions in any of the research or reviews we came across. Beyond this, we kept an open mind and tried to create a pretty comprehensive picture of some of the best car seats and booster seats depending on your specific needs and priorities. What follows, is our agreed upon list. As always, let us know in the comments if you think we missed any, or if you have any specific thoughts about any of the car seats we selected.
Anyways, without further ado, here are the best seven car seats in no particular order:
1. The Best Value We Could Find
The Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible Car Seat
As we said, in conducting our research, safety reigns supreme and according to the reviews, this car seat has literally saved lives. As one reviewer relays in her review along with a picture of a brutal accident that has both cars totaled: “I owned the same model for 2 years already. My son learned how to fasten himself when he turned 3. Easy to clean, very comfortable. Buying a new one because I got into the accident. A drunk driver rear-ended my parked car on 50 miles an hour. My son seated in this car seat got the least damage from my family although the hit was on his side.”
Another reviewer had a similar story, noting: “Had this car seat before saved all 3 of my children’s lives in a roll over accident everyone came out without a scratch. The police even said normally kids and most adults dont survive roll overs like ours where we went over a retaining wall and a guard rail. Police said it was the car seats that saved the kids.”
With multiple stories of reviewers who claim this seat saved the lives of their children, there’s literally no value you could ever place on this, and yet this affordable ultramodern convertible car seat adds plenty to be impressed by. First of, it fits in most family-size vehicles and is approved by FAA for air travel. Its 5 shoulder and 3 buckle positions, expandable leg rests, and a nonslip rubber base are for your children’s maximum safety. With its hard-built full steel structure, your children’s security will be ensured with guarantee. Around 75 percent of Amazon reviewers rated the Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible Car Seat five stars. Many use phrases such as “easy to clean, very comfortable”, “big leg room”, “easy to assemble”, etc. More critical reviewers note that their are easier seats to clean and install or remove, and some weren’t crazy about the price, but for the combo of saving lives and being durable alone, this convertible car seat easily takes high praise from our team.
2. A Brand-Tested Favorite
The Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
In-case you are unfamiliar, Graco is a well-known brand for Baby and child products and safety with over 60 years of experience. While you would think this brand awareness would come at an extra price, Graco actually offers pretty affordable options, all safety tested extensively. The Graco Convertible Car Seat also provides an extra 5-inch leg room when compared to other car seats in the market. With its Graco ProtectPlus Engineered program, crashes from all angles and possible accidents such as extra car interior temperature will be prevented to ensure your children’s safety. Astonishingly, 84 percent of Amazon reviewers rate it five stars. Phrases such as “Big seat that fits in small spaces” and “very easy to assemble” appear frequently in the reviews.
A review titled “Saved my baby’s life when hit head on!!!” even said that, “This seat saved my 11 month olds life in a serious collision…When I pulled my baby out of her seat and saw that she was completely unharmed…not even a bruise I just kept repeating “the car seat did it’s job! It did it’s job!” Over and over. I am impressed. I am thankful. I will be buying this seat all over again to replace the one we just lost.”
Another reviewer raves “My Wife and I don’t do the best at planning ahead. So when our kid was upgraded to a convertible car seat, we were extremely worried. My wife has a small coupe and we weren’t sure if we would be able to find one that could fit. So when we went looking for car seats, we looked for the following:
1) we wanted something budget friendly because we are already spending an arm and leg for diapers.
2) we wanted something to keep our son cool. We have three digit temperatures where we are located at
3) something that could fit in a toyota corolla and the passenger didn’t have to move their seat to the point where they were kissing the dash
We were able to get all three elements taken care of. This was a very budget friendly convertible seat and the fact that it grows with the kid makes it that much better of a financial investment. The fabric allows a lot of breathing room for our son during the hot days. He does get a little sweat still on his back but that is normal with all car seats. I know he isn’t bothered by the seat with the fact that he always passes out with each car ride. Lastly, we were able to still move the front passenger and driver seat all the way back with the baby seat in the middle. I am 6’0 and enjoy any little leg room I can get. We highly recommend this seat for your child.
I don’t think I could have said this any better myself, as this convertible car seat is one of our favorite “Brand Name” options.
3. Disney’s Best For Your Child As They Grow
Safety 1st Disney Baby Grow & Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
Every little child loves Disney, and most parents do too, for good reason. While Disney is better known for their movie and brand prowess and their attempts to take over the entertainment industry, they also have a stake in car seats. This specific option is designed for a comfortable ride for your children, featuring two grow-with-baby pillows and a quick fit harness for easy adjustment for both harness and headset in one simple step. Its 3-to-1 adaptability allows rear-facing protection for babies, forward-facing for toddlers and belt-positioning booster. 71 percent of the 3,400 reviewers give this convertible car seat five stars. One review titled “She slept through a car accident!!” noted that, “If that headline doesn’t get your attention, I’m not sure what will. BUT, seriously, my child slept through a pretty significant fender bender tucked safely in this car seat.not a single bruise, not a hair out of place. I find that impressive. Safety 1st, did just that – kept my most precious “cargo” safe. To say I recommend this car seat would be an understatement.”
Another reviewer had positive things to say about the actual practical usage of this car seat “Really happy with this purchase.I bought it for a long 9 hour road trip for Christmas. We have arrived safe and sound. My 2 year old only slept for 3 hours out of the 9 hours and he was very happy and content for the rest of the time.
I give this car seat the credits because he cried for a whole hour last time using our old cheaper version of safety first- the seat is not cushioned. I almost bought the maxi cosi 75 then switched to this one because I want two cup holders (3 would be ideal… one for drink, one for snacks, one for toys.). So happy I did. I found everything I desire about a carseat and saved $100. I put my 28 pounds toddler forward facing at position 2. He sleeps without his head hanging down like when he sits in other car seats. I place his car seat in the middle seat on the back seat for 1) I was told that is the safest spot in the car 2) the child can look straight out and won’t be bored too quickly during the road trip.”
4. A Great Value Pick
Graco 4Ever 4 in 1 Convertible Car Seat | Infant to Toddler Car Seat
This 4-in-1 Graco car seat can have a lifespan of 10 years and is suitable for kids up to 120 pounds. It features four levels of harnesses for different sitting positions; 4-40 pounds for rear-facing harness, 22-65 pounds for forward-facing harness, 30-100 pounds for highback booster and 40-120 pounds for backless booster. With its Graco ProtectPlus Engineered program, crashes from all angles and possible accidents such as extra car interior temperature will be prevented to ensure your children’s safety. 82 percent of Amazon reviewers give this 4ever 4-in-1 Graco car seat five stars. Phrases most frequently mentioned in reviews include “Best car seats, save my child’s life” and “highly recommended”.
5. An Great Value Stroller/Car Seat Combination
Graco FastAction SE Travel System
This car-seat stroller combo allows a one-second fold to provides moms with the ultimate convenience. The stroller only weighs 22 pounds which makes it one of the light-weighted strollers in the market. With its multi-position reclines, your children can find the most comfortable position for their rides. Front swivel wheels with suspension provides extra maneuverability for your kids and with all parents’ favorite– the large storage basket, you can have all the essentials close-by. Nearly 75 percent of five stars speaks for this car-seat stroller combo itself! A review titled “love, love, love!” noted, “I love love love my travel system!! I was so stressed about this particular purchase, but…Tall enough for us both. Car seat is easy to maneuver. And we love the color and design.”
6. An Affordable Favorite
Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat, Saturn
For only $64.99, you can easily take this Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat home! Featured with multiple shoulder harness positions, it suits kids up to at least two years old. Side impact tested, it exceeds all federal safety standards and its structure integrity level is double the federal crash test standard. With your children’s safety guaranteed, this car seat also is the comfortable choice with its integrated body cushions and head pillows installed. One reviewer’s grandchild was saved by this car seat in a horrible accident, “My daughter and my 2 year old were in horrible crash… the car flipped over, slide across the highway landing upside down! The car seat saved her life! Just some red marks from the straps!!! Amazing!!!”
7. A Trusted All-Around Option
Britax Frontier ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat – 2 Layer Impact Protection – 25 to 120 Pounds, Vibe
This grow-to-go harness-2-booster car seat adjusts with your children’s growth from toddlers to big kids. Its Patented ClickTight eases the process of assembling while makes the installation more secure. Your kids will be surrounded by safety with its 2 layers of side impact protection, steel frame, impact absorbing base, and forward movement reducing v shaped tether. Around 80 percent of Amazon customers rate it five stars. Many reviewers said that this car seat protected their children from car accidents. Among them, one noted that, “My kids, ages 5 and 7, both harnessed in Britax Frontiers, walked away scared but completely unhurt. When I had to replace the accident car seats there was NO question what would replace them. These car seats protected my kids and allowed them to walk away from a serious accident. I cannot express how thankful I am for this company and their car seats.”
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