Top 10 Best Car Seats for Extended Rear Facing up to 2 Years or Older [2022 Review]

If you’re looking for the best car seats for extended rear facing rides, you’ve come to the right place.

Rear-facing is the safest for infants and small toddlers. That’s why the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) suggests parents keep a child younger than 2 years old in the rear facing direction unless the boy or girl is approaching the weight or height limit.

The best extended rear facing car seats must feature high weight and height limits to face the rear. The higher, the better!

Most infant car seats may have a 35-lb height limit with a 32-inch height limit. If you want a car seat with extended rear facing, it should have a greater weight than 35 pounds and a higher height than 32 inches

Convertible car seats with extended rear facing are the best options. They are designed with a maximum weight of up to 50 pounds and a maximum height of up to 49 inches, extending the rear facing riding for bigger littles.

Extended Rear Facing up to 40 Pounds

Best Car Seats for Extended Rear Facing with a Weight Limit up to 40 Pounds

40-lb Maximum

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat
Graco 4Ever DLX

$329.99

40-lb Maximum

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat
Chicco NextFit Zip

$299.99

40-lb Maximum

Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
Britax Marathon ClickTight

$299.99

40-lb Maximum

Graco SlimFit LX 3-in-1 Car Seat
Graco SlimFit3 LX

$279.99

40-lb Maximum

Maxi-Cosi Pria All-in-1 Car Seat
Maxi Cosi Pria

$299.99

40-lb Maximum

Safety 1st Grow and Go All-in-One Car Seat
Safety 1st Grow and Go

$179.99

Extended Rear Facing Up to 50 Pounds

Best Car Seats for Extended Rear Facing Up to 50 Pounds

50-lb Maximum

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
Graco Extend2Fit

$239.99

50-lb Maximum

Diono Radian 3R 3-in-1 Car Seat
Diono Radian 3R

$199.99

50-lb Maximum

Britax One4Life ClickTight All-In-One Car Seat
Britax One4Life

$399.99

To make it simple for you to pick the best extended rear facing car seats, we categorized them into two lists.

One includes the best extended rear facing car seats with a 40-pound rear-facing weight limit and the other includes the best car seats for extended rear facing up to 50 pounds – very few models can do this.

40 Pounds Extended Rear Facing

Best Extendable Rear Facing Car Seats

50 Pounds Extended Rear Facing

Best Extending Rear Facing Car Seats

Or, if you’d rather view the best car seats for extended rear facing by its weight limit or height limit, your budget, or by bonus features (e.g. for fitting 3 across, portable for travel, etc), click on either of the below.

By Weight Limit

See Our Top Picks Organized by Size Limits from 40 to 120 lb

By Height Limit

Best Choices Organized by Height Limits from 40 to 63 inches

By Price

See Car Seats Organized by Price (Prices Start at $100)

By Bonus

See Car Seats by Bonus features (e.g. for travel etc)

Best Car Seats For Extended Rear Facing up to 40 Pounds

Chicco NextFit Zip - Best Convertible Car Seat for Extended Rear Facing

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

Chicco NextFit Zip

Key Features
The Good
The Bad

$299.99

Chicco NextFit Zip is #1 of the best car seats for extended rear facing, for its combination of a 40-pound high weight limit and 43-inch high height limit. This is the best because infants and toddlers typically reach the height limit before the weight limit. 

This weight and height combination makes Chicco NextFit Zip the best car seat with extended rear facing for 2 years or older.

It beats most of the other car seats for extending rear facing up to 40 pounds, like the Maxi Cosi Pria, Safety 1st Grow and Go, and Evenflo Everyfit (all are 40 pounds with 40 inches).

Another budget rear facing extended car seat – Cosco Onlook (priced at $74.99, 40-pound weight limit, and 43-inch height limit) is as good as Chicco NextFit Zip. Both are convertible car seats. But the Onlook lacks advanced features for safety performance. The Cosco Onlook is a portable and lightweight car seat for travel. 

It’s a bit less competitive than the Britax Marathon (40-pounds) for the height limit. The latter features a 49-inch maximum rear-facing height, just the same as the forward-facing mode.

Chicco NextFit Zip Install in Vehicle

Safety

The Chicco boasts of NextFit Zip for its DuoGuard engineering for two layers of side impact protection. Along with the reinforced-steel frame and energy-absorbing foam. This extended rear facing car seat ensures optimal protection to ride your boy or girl.

Comfort

Positioning as a high-end convertible car seat for extended rear-facing rides, the NextFit Zip has plenty of padding, providing great comfort to your little one for long road trips. It’s not as well-padded as the Maxi Cosi Pria, which is considered the most padding and most comfortable. 

It’s ergonomically designed to grow with your boy or girl. The infant insert can be used to keep newborn babies steady and safe. It’s removable when he or she grows bigger. 

This car seat features a 9-position headrest and 9-position recline. You can always find a perfect position for the best protection and most comfort.

Install

Installing the NextFit Zip is much easier than we expect. It features a SuperCinch® force-multiplying tightener and LockSure® belt-locking system. This makes it easy for the car seat to achieve a tight fit with LATCH or with the vehicle seat belt.

Bonus

The NextFit Zip features one cup holder. It’s placed on the right side in the right place, within easy and convenient touch for infants and toddlers. It’s dishwasher safe. 

Made of machine washable fabric, the Chicco NextFit is friendly for parents to maintain the car seat in a good and clean condition. What I like most is the zip-off design.

Taking the seat pad off is really a headache for moms like me. This car seat allows you to remove the pad in seconds with a zip. That saves you a lot of time. 

However, this practical feature can only be found in some high-end models. For example, Graco only builds this feature in the 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 car seat

The NextFit Zip is FAA approved for air travel. However, you won’t want to take it for traveling with a car seat via the plane.

It’s not a lightweight car seat, but even a bit heavy and bulky, making it not easy to take the car seat from home to the airport and install it on a narrow near-window seat on airplanes. 

Britax Marathon ClickTight - Safest Rear Facing Extended Car Seat

Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

Britax Marathon

Key Features
The Good
The Bad

$329.99

Britax Marathon ranks top on this list for its great safety features. It’s the safest rear facing extended car seat. 

The 40-pound rear-facing weight limit is very common, compared to other car seats for extended rear facing. But its 49-inch rear-facing height limit outperforms other car seats.

Some car seats do not mention the rear-facing height limit. Default, we consider it as the highest 5-point harness height limit allowed – that’s 49 inches for the majority of the car seats on the market.

Proper installation delivers the best protection. In most cases, parents install the rear-facing car seats with the LATCH for a tight fit. Thanks to the ClickTight, you can now have a much easier installation with the seat belt. 

The steps can be simplified into three steps: first, “Push Dial, Turn & Life”; second, “Thread & Buckle”; third, “Click it & Closed!”. If you want to know more details, check the Marathon user manual. 

With the ClickTight, you can easily install the Marathon with a tight fit for optimal protection. That’s why we recommended it as the safest car seat for extended rear facing.

But this does not mean other car seats are not safe to ride for extended rear facing. Graco Extend2Fit and 4Ever DLX are great options for bonus safety features. They are ProtectPlus Engineered for excellent protection.

The company boasts of a few more features enhancing its safety ratings, like the V-shaped tether for stability, the SafeCell crumple zone and padding for absorbing crash energy, and the high-strength steel frame for reducing the impaction from the side.

You may now know why this car seat is heavy and bulky. The Britax Marathon is FAA certified for air travel. But for the same reason as stated for the Chicco NextFit Zip, it’s not lightweight and portable for carrying on the road to the airport or coming back from the airport.

These heavy car seats (more than 18 pounds) are better for road trips and daily use. Switching them from car to car can be a challenging task. It’s best to place them in a spot until your little one does not need them.

Have you found this or not? The Britax Marathon (and Boulevard and Advocate) does not have a cup holder. This might be the biggest drawback. 

You pay over $300 on this car seat, but without an included cup holder. You need to pay more to get cup holders for Britax car seats. 

It seems only the high-end models for bigger kids have cup holders like the Britax One4Life and Grow with You ClickTight.

Graco SlimFit3 LX-Best Narrow Car Seat for Extended Rear Facing

Graco SlimFit LX 3-in-1 Car Seat

Graco SlimFit3 LX

Key Features
The Good
The Bad

$279.99

The Graco SlimFit 3 LX is #3 of the best car seats for extended rear facing. Its 40-pound weight limit allows extending rear facing riding for up to 2 year olds

The manufacturer does not indicate the rear-facing height limit. You can only find a tip in the user manual on rear-facing harness height – Top of head must be 1” (2.5 cm) below the headrest adjustment lever.

For this case, it defaults considered the rear-facing height limit to be the same as the forward-facing height limit – up to 49 inches. This rule can be applied to other Graco convertible car seats for extended rear-facing, like the Graco Extend2Fit and 4Ever DLX.

So, how long the Graco car seats for extended rear-facing lasts depends on the rear-facing weight limit. The SlimFit3 LX and 4Ever DLX have the same 40-pound while the Extend2Fit performs better at this point – up to 50 pounds.

Graco SlimFit3 X Fit 3 Across

Featuring a very narrow width of 16.75-inch, the Graco SlimFit3 LX is the best narrow car seat for extended rear facing. It’s an upgraded version from the SlimFit3 that is as wide as 18.5-inch. 

The 16.75-inch width makes SlimFit3 LX even narrower than Diono Radian 3R (17-inch), which is a well-known slim car seat for fitting 3 across. Of course, the Graco SlimFit3 LX is a 3-across car seat.

The company boasts that SlimFit3 LX is a lightweight car seat. Weighing 19.2 pounds, it’s not as light as other travel car seats under 15 pounds in weight.

That means, that even though the SlimFit3 LX is permitted to use for air travel in harness mode, it’s not as portable as those lightweight car seats.

The SlimFit3 LX is a premium model from Graco. It features the company’s advanced feature – ProtectPlus that is boasted of protection from frontal, side, rear, and in case of turnover in a crash event. 

It’s an all-in-one car seat and can seamlessly transition to a booster seat when your child outgrows the forward-facing 5-point harness. It also features the Rapid Remove to take off the cover in seconds. 

But it’s much cheaper than the Graco 4Ever DLX, which comes with a fourth mode – backless and has a higher booster weight and height limits. The latter is one of the great 5-point harness car seats up to 120 pounds.

Car Seats Comparison Graco - SlimFit3 LX 3-in-1 Car Seat Graco - SlimFit 3-in-1 Car Seat
Price $279.99 $219.99
Weight limits (lb) 3 modes of use from 5-100 lb 3 modes of use from 5-100 lb
Fits 3 Car Seats Across -
10-Position No-Rethread Harness and Headrest -
4-Position Recline v
Push-Button InRight LATCH -
Breathable AirFlow Mesh Channels -
Rapid Remove Cover -
Integrated Belt Lock-Off for Easy Installation -
Width (in.) 16.7 18.5

Graco 4Ever DLX - Top Rated 4-in-1 Car Seat for Extended Rear Facing

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat

Graco 4Ever DLX

Key Features
The Good
The Bad

$329.99

The Graco 4Ever DLX is a 4-in-1 car seat for extended rear-facing. It is designed to grow with your child from birth to preteen until they don’t need to ride in a car seat.

The 40-pound weight limit is capable of extending rear-facing riding your boy or girl to their 2 years or older. This makes it a great option for families who live in the states that require children to ride rear-facing till 2 years old.

Same as the SlimFit3 LX, it features a 49-inch height limit that requires the top head of your child should be one inch (or 2.5 cm) below the headrest adjustment level indicator, for both rear-facing and forward-facing.

Graco 4Ever DLX is one of the best 4-in-1 car seats. Better than other car seats for extended rear-facing, it supports a seamless transition from high back booster to backless mode. It’s also a 5-point harness car seat up to 120 pounds for the booster weight limit.

Graco 4Ever DLX Installation in Car

To match its name, the Graco 4Ever DLX has a long useful time of up to 10 years – that’s the longest lifespan for a car seat.

As a premium model from Graco, the 4Ever DLX has a few advanced features in safety and comfort. 

It boasts ProtectPlus engineering to protect your littles from frontal, side, rear, and turnover in case of any collisions. 

This feature earns Graco the title of the most popular car seat on Amazon, with a few top selling models. Besides 4Ever DLX, Extend2Fit, SlimFit3 LX, and Tranzitions are best-selling car seats on Amazon with more than ten thousand reviews.

The Rapid Remove is a very practical improvement in Graco 4Ever DLX. It allows parents to take the seat cover off in minutes. This is as convenient as the NextFit Zip’s zip-off design.

Maxi-Cosi Pria - Most Comfortable Car Seat with Extended Rear Facing

Maxi-Cosi Pria All-in-1 Car Seat

Maxi Cosi Pria

Key Features
The Good
The Bad

$299.99

The Maxi Cosi Pria is the most comfortable car seat with extended rear-facing, for its notable padding around the frame. 

Actually, you’ll find all car seats on this list for extended rear facing are well-padded -except the cheapest Cosco Onlook. However, the paddings on Maxi Cosi Pria seem more than others. 

The clean and light color might give us a visual illusion. The Maxi Cosi Pria has colorful seat covers for choice.

Unlike other car seats, for example, the Graco 4Ever DLX and Britax One4Life, in deep and dark unisex colors, the Pria provide multiple bright colors for girl infants, like the Coral Quartz, Peach Amber, Moonstone Violet (purple inserts), and Dewberry Rain – PureCosi (purple seat pad).

Maxi Cosi Pria Plenty of Padding

Plenty of padding delivers the most comfortable riding as well as the best protection. It reduces the crash energy impaction in case of a collision.

But this might turn out to be a drawback if you’re living in hot cities or states, like Las Vegas, Tucson, Riverside, San Antonio, Miami, Houston, Dallas, and Orlando. Your boy or girl might easily get sweaty in the car seat.

The Maxi Cosi Pria is quite a common car seat for extended rear-facing in the weight and height performance. 

The 40-pound rear-facing weight limit is very common, and the forward-facing 65-pound and booster 100-pound weight limits are quite the same as its competitors like the Graco SlimFit3 LX (40-65-100 pounds), Safety 1st Grow and Go (40-65-100 pounds), and Diono Radian 3R (40-65-100 pounds).

If you prefer a higher booster performance, the Graco 4Ever DLX and Britax One4Life are good options.

Safety 1st Grow and Go - Best Budget All-in-one Car Seat for Extended Rear Facing

Safety 1st Grow and Go All-in-One Car Seat

Safety 1st Grow and Go

Key Features
The Good
The Bad

$179.99

Priced under $200 (price when the post is written and published, it may change for sale promotion), the Safety 1st Grow and Go is the cheapest all-in-one car seat for extended rear-facing.

Like others introduced above, it features a 40-pound rear-facing weight limit, great for extended rear-facing riding up to 2 year olds.

The height limit for rear-facing is 40-inch, similar to the Maxi Cosi Pria.

The 40-inch might be the least appealing rear-facing height limit on this list, beaten by 43-inches of Chicco NextFit Zip, and the other 49-inch car seats like the Britax Marathon and Graco SlimFit3 LX.

The Safety 1st Grow and Go Extend ‘n Ride LX is an upgraded sibling with 7 inches of additional leg room in rear-facing mode

Safety 1st Grow and Go features the same harness height limit for forward-facing – up to 49 inches as other convertible car seats for extended rear-facing, including even the premium all-in-one car seats like Graco 4Ever DLX and Britax One4Life.

Safety 1st Grow and Go Install in Vehicle

Made of machine washable fabric, the Safety 1st Grow and Go saves a lot of time. You don’t need to hand wash it. There are very few models that do not support machine washing. Britax Grow with You ClickTight and its entry-level model are the two as far as I know.

It also has two cup holders for holding your little one’s snacks and drinks. A very appealing point is that Grow and Go is designed with multiple colors for girls: Everest Pink and Carbon Rose, Vitamint, and more.

Cosco Onlook - Best Travel Car Seat for Extended Rear Facing

Cosco Onlook Convertible Car Seat

Cosco Onlook (Apt 40)

Key Features
The Good
The Bad

$74.99

The Cosco Onlook is the best budget convertible car seat with extended rear facing. It is designed with a 40-pound weight limit along with a 40-inch height limit for rear-facing. 

This 40-pound and 40-inch size limit enables Cosco Onlook to ride big infants and toddlers at the age of 2, or even older up to 3.

The Cosco Onlook (Apt 40RF on its official site) is a similar alternative to the company’s other model – Cosco Apt 50. Both feature the same design – lightweight and portable. This makes the Onlook the best travel car seat with extended rear facing. 

Weighing only 12 pounds, the Cosco Onlook beats other car seats on the extended rear-facing list. Along with a budget price under $100, it’s suitable for families on the go, especially if you frequently travel with a car seat on the plane.

Cosco Onlook in the car

Due to its lightweight, we reasonably guess that the frame for Cosco Onlook is made of plastic. This does not mean that it is not safe. You can be assured about this because all car seats sold in the US are federally required to pass the crash tests to meet the safety standards. 

It’s obvious that the Cosco Onlook ensures entry-level safety and comfort, with the minimum padding and two cup holders. You don’t ask for this cheapest car seat for extended rear-facing use

The Cosco Onlook lacks advanced features, like the infant insert. It’s not friendly for an infant for air travel. And if you want to travel with a car seat for your baby boy or girl, a portable infant car seat is better.

Best Car Seats for Extended Rear Facing up to 50 Pounds

Graco Extend2Fit - Best Convertible Car Seat for Extended Rear Facing

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

Key Features
The Good
The Bad

$239.99

The Graco Extend2Fit is the best convertible car seat for extended rear-facing up to 50 pounds.

The 50-pound rear-facing weight limit, along with the 49-inch height limit, outperforms most car seats with extended rear-facing on the market, like the same convertible car seats –Chicco NextFit Zip (40-pound and 43-inch), Britax Marathon (40-pound and 49-inch), and Cosco Onlook (40-pound and 40-inch). 

Even the all-in-one models are not as well as Graco Extend2Fit, like the Graco 4Ever DLX (40-pound), Graco SlimFit3 LX (40-pound), Maxi Cosi Pria (40-pound and 40-inch), and Safety 1st Grow and Go (40-pound and 40-inch). 

It seems that Graco Extend2Fit is able to ride your little one in extending rear-facing up to 3 years or even 4 years. But this is not a bad idea, because rear-facing is the safest direction for little boys and girls.

Graco Extend2Fit Install in Vehicles

The Graco Extend2Fit is the top-selling model on Amazon. It’s not as expensive as Graco’s all-in-one models but features the ProtectPlus engineering technique for ultimate protection. 

That means, it offers more than the entry-level safety features, but promises to reduce the chance of crash energy impaction from the frontal, side, rear, and rollover crashes. 

Like other convertible car seats with a 5-point harness, the Graco Extend2Fit is FAA approved for aircraft use.

It’s not a good travel car seat due to the bulky design and heavy body, even though it’s a bit lighter weight than its convertible car seat competitors: Graco Extend2fit (19 lbs) vs Chicco NextFit (25 pounds) vs Britax Marathon (28.5 pounds).

If you insist on taking it for air travel with your little boy or girl, it’s better to contact the airlines to make sure it fits the narrow seat on the plane, before carrying it from home to the airport but finally find it’s not fitting well.

However, for families on the go, it’s better to take a lightweight travel car seat.

Diono Radian 3R - Best Extended Rear Facing Car Seat to Fit 3 Across

Diono Radian 3R 3-in-1 Car Seat

Diono Radian 3R

Key Features
The Good
The Bad

$199.99

Diono Radian 3R is the original 3 across all-in-one car seat for rear facing longer up to 50 pounds. This weight limit means that your little boy or girl can stay rear-facing at 2 years of age, or even older up to 3 years or 4 years. 

The 50-pound rear-facing weight limit beats most of its all-in-one competitors like the Graco 4Ever DLX (40 pounds), Graco SlimFit3 LX (40 pounds), Maxi Cosi Pria (40 pounds), and Safety 1st Grow and Go (40 pounds).

Not just the rear-facing weight limit, the car seat width of Diono Radian 3R (17-inch) outperforms three of the four above – 4Ever DLX (19.5-inch), Grow and Go (19.25-inch), and Pria (19-inch). Only SlimFit3 LX (16.75-inch) takes over the Diono Radian 3R’s position to be the narrowest all-in-one car seat for extended rear-facing. 

More than the extending rear-facing, the Radian 3R is also extendable for booster use, thanks to its 120-pound maximum booster weight

Another extendable point is the warranty. The average warranty for a car seat is 12 months. The Diono promised an extendable warranty of up to 36 months as long as you register it on the official website.

Diono designed the Radian R series with a very slim fit body to fit 3 across. The Radian 3R is the entry-level model with less advanced features, at a budget price (under $200). 

It lacks the newborn protection that is included in premium models like Radian 3RXT, Radian 3QX, and Radian 3QXT, which are more expensive for these advanced features.

Diono Radian 3R Fit 3 Across
Car Seats Comparison Radian 3R Radian 3RX Raidan 3RXT Raidan 3QX Radian 3QXT
Price $199 $269 $329 $369 $399
Weight limits (lb) RF:5-50 / FF: 22-120 RF: 5-50 FF: 22-120 RF: 5-50 FF: 22-120 RF: 4-50 FF: 22-120 RF: 4-50 FF: 22-120
Rear Facing Weights Up to 50lb Up to 50lb Up to 50lb Up to 50lb Up to 50lb
Newborn Protection - - 2-in-1 Advanced 3-in-1 Advanced 4-in-1
Safe+ Engineering - - -
Head Support - 12 Positions 12 Positions Safe+ 12 Positions Safe+ 12 Positions
Cup Holder -
Fit 3-across
Width (in.) 17 17 17 17 17

Britax One4Life -Most Expensive Rear Facing Extended Car Seat

Britax One4Life ClickTight All-In-One Car Seat

Britax One4Life

Key Features
The Good
The Bad

$399.99

The last one is the Britax One4Life. It’s one of the three car seats for extended rear-facing with up to 50 pounds. It’s also the most expensive one, going in the price range of around $400.

This price is even doubled to other budget models like the Safety 1st Grow and Go ($179) and Diono Radian 3R ($199), or at least one hundred more expensive than most all-in-one car seats from other brands – Graco 4Ever DLX ($329.99), SlimFit3 LX ($279.99), and Maxi Cosi Pria ($299.99). 

It seems Britax positioned itself as a high-end brand with all its car seats priced higher than the similar-performance car seats. 

For example, Britax Marathon ($339.99) is a convertible car seat. It is higher priced than Chicco NextFit Zip ($299.99) and Graco Extend2Fit ($239.99) and over four times Cosco Onlook ($74.99).

Britax One4Life Install in Vehicle

If you’re not on a tight budget and prefer seat belt installation over the LATCH, trying a Britax car seat is not a bad idea. 

However, a car seat is one of the essential investments along with your child’s growth. Cheaper alternatives are a good choice for most families, especially growing families with several children.

But this does not mean the Britax One4Life is not worth trying. More than the ClickTight technique to ensure a proper and tight installation, it’s a comfortable car seat on this list that features CoolFlow high-performance fabric

This is very appealing for parents and kids in hot areas. Keeping the little one in a cool car seat means better comfort.

Best Car Seats for Extended Rear Facing by Size Limit

By Rear-facing Weight Limit

Weight Limit Car Seat Price Height Limit
40 pounds Chicco NextFit Zip $299.99 43 in.
40 pounds Britax Marathon $299.99 49 in.
40 pounds Cosco Onlook $74.99 40 in.
40 pounds Safety 1st Grow and Go $179.99 40 in.
40 pounds Maxi Cosi Pria All-in-one $299.99 40 in.
40 pounds Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 $309.99 49 in.
40 pounds Graco Slimfit3 LX $279.99 49 in.
50 pounds Graco Extend2Fit $211.99 49 in.
50 pounds Diono Radian 3R $199.99 49 in.
50 pounds Britax One4Life $399.99 49 in.

By Rear-facing Height Limit

Height Limit Car Seat Price Weight Limit
40 in. Cosco Onlook $74.99 40 lbs
40 in. Safety 1st Grow and Go $179.99 40 lbs
40 in. Maxi Cosi Pria All-in-one $299.99 40 lbs
43 in. Chicco NextFit Zip $299.99 40 lbs
49 in. Britax Marathon $299.99 40 lbs
49 in. Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 $309.99 40 lbs
49 in. Graco Slimfit3 LX $279.99 40 lbs
49 in. Graco Extend2Fit $211.99 50 lbs
49 in. Diono Radian 3R $199.99 50 lbs
49 in. Britax One4Life $399.99 50 lbs

*Price may change on the e-commerce platform due to promotional sales.

Best Car Seats for Extended Rear Facing by Price

Rank Price Car Seat Weight Limit Height Limit Stage
1 $74.99 Cosco Onlook 40 pounds 33 in. 2 stages
2 $179.99 Safety 1st Grow and Go 100 pounds 57 in. 3 stages
3 $199.99 Diono Radian 3R 100 pounds 57 in. 3 stages
4 $211.99 Graco Extend2Fit 65 pounds 49 in. 2 stages
5 $279.99 Graco SlimFit3 LX 100 pounds 57 in. 3 stages
6 $299.99 Britax Marathon 65 pounds 49 in. 2 stages
7 $299.99 Chicco NextFit Zip 65 pounds 49 in. 2 stages
8 $299.99 Maxi Cosi Pria All-in-one 100 pounds 57 in. 3 stages
9 $309.99 Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 120 pounds 57 in. 3 stages
10 $399.99 Britax One4Life 120 pounds 63 in. 3 stages

By Bonus Features

Cheapest:

Lightweight

Best for Travel

Three Across Fit

Transition to Backless Booster

5-point car seat up to 120 pounds

State Laws that require extended Rear facing to 2 Years Old

  • California -“…a parent, legal guardian, or driver who transports a child under two years of age on a highway in a motor vehicle,… shall properly secure the child in a rear-facing child passenger …, unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall. 
  • Connecticut – Any person who transports a child under two years of age or weighing less than thirty pounds … require the child to ride rear-facing in a child restraint system equipped with a five-point harness …
  • Illinois(Updated in 2019) –  When any person is transporting a child in this State who is under the age of 2 years in … properly secure the child in a rear-facing child restraint system unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall.
  • Maine – When a child who is less than 2 years of age is being transported … shall ensure that the child is properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint system or convertible child restraint system properly secured in the rear-facing position in accordance…. 
  • Nebraska –  In addition, all children up to two years of age shall use a rear-facing child passenger restraint system until the child outgrows the child passenger restraint system manufacturer’s maximum allowable height or weight.
  • New Hampshire (updated in 2022) – No person shall drive a motor vehicle on any way while carrying as a passenger a person less than 2 years of age unless such passenger is properly fastened and secured by a rear facing child restraint system.
  • New Jersey – A child under the age of two years and weighing less than 30 pounds shall be secured in a rear facing child passenger restraint system, which is equipped with a five-point harness.
  • New York – which shall be rear-facing whenever the passenger being restrained in such seat is under the age of two except that in the event that the weight or height of such passenger under the age of two exceeds the occupant size and weight recommendations …;
  • Oregon – A person who is under two years of age must be properly secured with a child safety system in a rear-facing position.
  • South Carolina – An infant or child under two years of age must be properly secured in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system in a rear passenger seat of the vehicle until the child exceeds the height or weight limit … .
  • Virginia – Such child restraint device shall not be forward-facing until at least (i) the child reaches two years of age or (ii) the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward-facing child restraint device as prescribed by the manufacturer of the device. 
  • Washington – (a) A child under the age of two years must be properly secured in a child restraint system that is rear-facing until the child reaches the weight or height limit of the child restraint system as set by the manufacturer. 

Why is extended rear facing important?

Rear-facing is the safest direction for riding a child

A rear-facing seat is able to absorb most of the crash force across the back of the car seat, no matter the crashes from the front or side. 

It also supports the child’s head, neck, and spine more safely and stably by limiting the motion of the head and neck. This keeps the child more contained within the shell of the car seat, reducing the potential for the neck injury.

That’s why experts recommend extended rear-facing.

What are the benefits of extended rear facing?

Safety comes first. As rear-facing is safer than forward-facing, keeping your boy or girl in a rear-facing car seat means better protection. 

According to car seat research, a rear-facing car seat will improve the survival chance up to 75 percent to die or sustain serious injury than a forward-facing one, for kids younger than 23 months old.

That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests keeping a toddler less than 2 years old in a rear-facing car seat. 

Some state laws also require the driver (mainly the parents) to use a rear-facing car seat for children younger than 2 years old.

An extended rear-facing up to 2 years or older is good for your child’s safety.

Is extended rear-facing safer?

Theoretically, extended rear-facing is safer. But you should not keep rear-facing when your boy or girl outgrows the rear-facing car seat. It’s not safe to do so. 

If you want to extend rear-facing riding, use a convertible car seat with higher height and weight limits. There are many great options.

Why do babies need to be rear-facing until 2?

Rear-facing is the safest direction for babies and toddlers because it can spread the crash force more evenly and offer the most protection in the event of a crash. 

That’s why the AAP, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NHTSA all say children should stay in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible, better till age 2.

The local laws in some states also make it clear that children younger than 2 years old must ride in a rear-facing car seat.

Extended rear-facing is possible with some convertible car seats. They have greater height and weight limits for a longer rear-facing ride.

How long can I keep the child rear-facing?

According to the AAP and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), children younger than 2 years old should stay in a rear-facing car seat.

But you can extend the rear-facing ride up to 3 years or 4 years old until they exceed the height or weight limit suggested by the car seat’s manufacturer.

Is my child too tall for rear-facing?

Compare the size of your child to the car seat’s top height and weight.

As long as they are within the maximum height and weight limits allowed by the manufacturer’s restrictions, your boy or girl should ride rear-facing. 

If you want to know if your child is too tall for rear-facing or not, measure the height of your little one and check if it is equal or more than the rear-facing height limit of the car seat. 

For example, Chicco NextFit Zip allows a 43-inch rear-facing height. If he or she is less than 43 inches tall, this car seat is suitable for your child to stay rear facing.

How long should you rear face?

The longer, the better.

If you want an extended rear-facing, convertible car seats are great options.

Most convertible car seats have rear-facing weight limits of 40 to 50 pounds, so most kids can ride rear-facing until age three to four.

Should a 4 year old be rear-facing?

It’s NOT required for a 4 year old to be rear facing.

According to the NHTSA suggestion, kids can stay in a rear-facing car seat from birth to 3 years old

Some states require a child younger than 2 years old to ride in a rear-facing child safety seat. (New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington.)

But no guidelines ask kids at 4 years old to travel in a rear-facing car seat.

Can my 2 year old sit forward facing?

It depends. 

If you’re living in a state that requires children younger than 2 years old to ride in a rear-facing car seat, it’s best to follow the local laws – Not put a 2 year old forward facing.

The AAP and NHTSA suggest keeping a child rear-facing as long as possible, better after 2 years old.

Rear-facing is safer than forward-facing.Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer.

Can a 3 year old sit rear facing?

As long as a 3 year old does not exceed the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer’s restrictions, he or she may sit rear-facing for an extended period.

To keep a 3 year old sitting rear-facing, you may need a car seat with a 50-pound rear-facing weight limit. Graco Extend2Fit, Diono Radian 3R, and Britax One4Life are good options.

Is rear facing safer after 2?

Car seat research has shown that it’s far safer to keep them facing the back until age 2

That’s why AAP, NHTSA, and some government regulations suggest riding a child rear-facing for as long as possible until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed. 

That means, as long as your child is within the height or weight limit of the car seat, you can use it to extend rear facing unless your little boy or girl outgrows that car seat.

What's the height and weight limit for rear-facing?

The height and weight limit for rear-facing vary a lot depending on the car seat types.

For example, infant car seats are designed with a weight limit range between 30-35 pounds and a height limit between 30-32 inches tall.

Convertible and all-in-one car seats are suitable for extending rear facing with higher height  and weight limits. They tend to be about 40-50 pounds or 40-49” tall. 

Check our lists of 40-pound extended rear-facing car seats and 50-pound extended rear-facing car seats.

What age can my baby go in the forward facing car seat?

That’s dependable, according to your state local laws on child safety seats.

The common rule is that once your child has reached the weight or height limits for their rear-facing seat – likely sometime after age 2, it’s time to turn them around for forward facing.

If you want to extend the rear-facing ride, you can use a convertible or all-in-one car seat, extendable up to to three or four years old.

You should always follow the local laws and car seat manufacturer’s instructions to use a car seat, whether rear-facing or forward-facing.

Can my 8 month old sit in the forward-facing car seat?

No. The local laws in all 50 US states require that children under 1 year old should sit in a rear-facing car seat

It’s better to use a car seat for extended rear-facing, which is considered safer for kids younger than 2 years old.

What is the best convertible car seat for extended rear facing?

The best convertible car seat for extended rear-facing at 40 pounds range is the Chicco NextFit Zip.

It features a 43-inch height limit to work with the 40-pound rear-facing weight limit, making it suitable to extend rear-facing riding a toddler up to 2 years or older.

This car seat comes with an easy zip-off design. You can effortlessly take off the seat cover by zipping along the edge.

The best convertible car seat for extended rear-facing at an impressive 50-pound range is the Graco Extend2Fit. This car seat even can be used for a longer rear-facing time, up to 3 years or even 4 years. 

The best budget convertible car seat for extended rear-facing is the Cosco Onlook (=Cosco Apt 40). It’s priced under $100, but with the same rear-facing height and weight limits as some all-in-one car seats – 40 pounds and 40 inches.

What are the requirements for rear facing car seats?

First, you should always use the rear facing car seats following the local laws and car seat manufacturers’ instructions.

It’s best to install the rear-facing car seats in the back row. Never place a rear-facing car seat in front passenger seat when the airbag is active.

Rear-facing car seats tend to come with different height and weight limits.

Infant car seats (30-35 pounds and 30-32 inches tall) are good for newborn babies and infants up to 1 year old. 

Convertible and all-in-one car seats (40-50 pounds and 40-49 inches tall) are good for extending rear facing use. Some may be extended up to three or four years old.

How long are car seats rear facing?

It varies a lot based on the car seats weight and height limits. The size of your little one is the leading factor, as kids grow at a different rate.

Infant car seats are typically used for infants younger than 12 month old. If your child grows a bit faster, he or she may outgrow an infant car seat at 9 month or even 6 month.

Convertible and all-in-one car seats can be used for an extended rear-facing, because they have bigger size limits. 

There are a few great car seats with extended rear-facing, like Maxi Cosi Pria and Safety 1st Grow and Go (40-pound and 40-inch), Chicco NextFit Zip (40-pound and 43-inch), Britax Marathon, Graco 4Ever DLX and SlimFit3 LX (40-pound and 49-inch), Graco Extend2Fit, Britax One4Lilfe, and Diono Radian 3R (50-pound and 49-inch). 

They can last for a longer rear-facing ride for your child between two and four years old.

Can i put rear facing car seat in middle

The middle of the back seat in the car is the safest position for installing a rear-facing car seat. It should be your first choice if it’s available for a rear facing car seat.

You should make sure you can install a rear-facing car seat for tight fit in the middle. If not, placing the rear-facing car seats on either side is okay. Proper installation is more important than the placement.

FAQs on Extended Rear-Facing

Why is extended rear facing safer

Rear-facing is safer; extended rear facing is safer as well.

Rear-facing car seats will help absorb most of the crash forces and support your kid’s head, neck, and spine. This reduced the risk of injuries in case of any crashes.

Do you need car seats for extended rear facing?

You should check local laws in your state or the destination state you plan to travel to. Most US states have government regulations on the car seat laws to let parents know the least rear-facing requirement – age, weight, or height.

The most common mentioned age is 1 year old or 2 year old. Some states have a weight or height requirement or both. For example, California car seat laws require a child younger than 2 years old to ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 40 pounds or 40 inches tall.

If you live in a state with the rule for 2 year olds to be rear facing, you may need car seats for extended rear-facing. Chicco NextFit Zip, Birtax Marathon, and Graco Extend2Fit are great options.

What are the best extended rear facing car seats for 3 across?

Graco SlimFit3 LX(16.75-inch width) and Diono Radian 3R (17-inch width) are the best extended rear facing car seats for 3 across.

What are the best car seats for extended rear facing?

The top 10 best car seats for extended rear-facing introduced above have their unique features to rank on this list. 

Chicco NextFit Zip is great for its weight and height limit performance. More importantly, it is easy to zip off the seat cover for machine washing.

Britax Marathon is the safest car seat for extended rear-facing for its ClickTight technology. Britax One4Life comes with this feature as well, but it’s the highest priced on the list.

Cosco Onlook is the cheapest car seat for extended rear-facing. It’s the only one priced under $100.

Narrow car seats for extended rear-facing include Graco SlimFit3 LX and Diono Radian 3R. Both will do three across.

How long do car seats stay rear facing?

Staying rear-facing longer is better and safer.

Some states require the children younger than 1 year old to stay rear facing; some require 2 year olds to keep rear-facing

As per the AAP and NHTSA suggestion, parents should use a rear-facing car seat until the boy or girl reach the top height or weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer’s restrictions.

Where should you place a rear facing car seat

The safest and first consideration is the center of the back seat in the car. It is considered the safest place, far from crashes impact from front or side.

Which is a lightweight car seat extended rearward facing?

The Cosco Onlook is the lightest car seat extended rearward facing among the top 10 list. Weighing only 11.97 pounds, this car seat is very friendly for travel, better for air travel with easy carrying from home to the airport.

When should a child seat be forward facing?

As long as your child is within the weight and height limit of a rear-facing car seat, he or she should keep using it until they reach the top height or weight, whichever comes first.

What is the best baby car seat extended rear facing?

Graco Extend2Fit is the best baby car seat extended rear facing up to 50 pounds. The minimum 4-pound weight limit allows a newborn to take a safe first ride when he or she leaves the hospital. It’s friendly for preemies and big toddlers up to 4 years old to ride rear facing.

What are the best car seats for the littles extended rear facing?

Chicco NextFit Zip is #1 of the best car seats for the littles extended rear-facing. We love its zip-off design for easy taking off the seat cover for machine washing. 

Cosco Onlook is #2 of the best car seats for the littles extended rear-facing. It’s lightweight and portable for travel. It’s also the cheapest car seat for the littles extended rear-facing.

Graco Extend2Fit is #3 of the best car seats for the littles extended rear-facing. Its 50-pound weight limit extends a longer rear-facing up to three or four year littles.

Which car seat for littles extended rear facing is the best?

If you have a tight budget, the Cosco Onlook should be the best option. It costs under $100 but extends rear-facing up to 40-pounds and 43-inch tall. 

If you need to install multiple car seats in your vehicle, a slim car seat that fits 3 across would be preferable. Then you should consider Graco SlimFit3 LX and Diono Radian 3R. They are narrow car seats for littles extended rear facing.

What are the best car seats for rear and forward facing?

Convertible car seats are the best for rear and forward facing. They have higher weight and height limits for extended rear facing rides.

How long are rear facing car seats good for?

Your child should ride in the rear facing car seats until they reach the top height or weight of their car seats – typically 2 years or older.