Car Seat Buying Guide – How to Best Car Seat Combo from 0 to 12

If you’re new parents who are looking for the best car seat for your newborns and also need some information about the best child safety seat solution to grow with your littles from 0 to 12 years old, luckily you’re here.

We all know that a car seat is one of the most essential and important investments that your child should travel with since their birth. Even before your baby’s birth, you should learn about this item and find the best choice to fit the newborn baby and go through their toddler and teenagers, until they’re ready to use the vehicle seat belt like an adult.

Dozens of car seat brands and hundreds of car seat models on the market make it a bit difficult for us parents to find the best option. It takes time and energy to list all the perfect models that can be used along with your child’s growth. So we take this hard job and prepare these solutions to accommodate a child from 0 to 12 years old for you to make the final decision with ease.

There are four stagesrear-facing, forward-facing, booster, and seat belts. So the solutions should be able to ride your child going through these four stages, actually only the first three stages need a car seat for riding safely.

 

Good-cheap price, bad-disturb the child’s sleep, you need to take them out of the stroller and put them in the car seat.

Before starting to introduce the best solutions for fitting your child from newborns to teens, you may be interested in knowing some basic information about car seat buying guide tips.

Why is Car Seat so Important?

First and most important of all, the car seat is required for your child’s safety sake, just like the seat belt is necessary to keep the adult safe while driving. On the other hand, the hospital won’t allow you to leave if there is no travel car seat installed properly in the automobile.

Many states and cities have laws that require your child to travel by a car seat before they’re 12-13-year-old, that is the age when they’re ready to use the vehicle seat belt like an adult. It’s important for you to know that, as your child grows, their car seat needs will change as well. That’s why there are different types of car seats for children of different ages, and also sizes.

If you don’t know where to start to buy the right car seat, just have a quick look at the tips and guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Then you’ll get an overall impression and some basic guidelines about selecting the best car seats for infants, toddlers, and big kids. Things always develop, so do the car seat rules, so check with your local laws first, then follow the AAP guide.

General Car Seat Guides from the AAP as of 2021:

  • Use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible after that.
  • Children should be in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are 8 – 12 years old, 57 inches tall, and until the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belt fits them properly as it would an adult.
  • Children should ride in the backseat of vehicles and use lap and shoulder seat belts for optimal protection until they’re 13 years old.
  • A new car seat is the best option. If you absolutely must get a used car safety seat, check the expiration date (usually 7-10 years from the production date) both on the label and in the manual.
  • Never buy a used car seat with cracks in the frame. It may have been damaged in a crash.
  • Never use a recalled car seat or any car seat with missing parts.

Based on the above advice and the common categories in the stores like Amazon, in order to help you make an easier and quicker decision, we will summarize the best car seat solutions in relation to the stage, type, and age. If you know the whole details about this topic, please check another post – Car Seat Guidelines about the stage, types, age, weight, and height limits.

6 Things to Know before You Buy a Car Seat

Know your child

It’s your child who needs a car seat. So it’s the first thing to know your child’s age and size, i.e the weight and height. You need to pay special attention to your kid’s height as the height limit always comes first, especially when they’re in their toddler’s time. Age information is easy to get, but the weight and height change quickly as your kids’ grow.

Choosing a car seat to go with your child’s growth is the best option. Some all-in-one car seats are good considerations, for example, the Graco Ever4 DLX is worth trying.

Know your car

The car is where the seat is installed. You should check these two things – the vehicle’s manual and back seat width.

Check your car’s manual to find the essential child-safety features like LATCH, belts, and seats. LATCH provides an excellent way for parents to install the car seat properly without using the vehicle belts.

Automobiles manufactured before September of 2002 might not have the LATCH and parents need to use the vehicle’s seat belt for installing the car seat. Cars manufactured after 2002 very probably have at least two lower LATCH anchors and one top tether.

Back seat width is not a necessary factor for checking. But you should know that bulky car seats may not fit well in small cars and some fit-3-across models like the Diono Radian 3R are good for consideration.

Know your budget

Car seat prices vary from less than $100 to almost $600, depending on the types and quality. The all-in-one and combination car seats are good money-saver with long-lasting for up to 10 years of usage if you’re on a tight budget.

But if you have enough budget for this safety thing, there are plenty of great car seats for choice, and you move to the next part for choosing a perfect solution for your child from birth to youth.

Know your lifestyle

If you travel or commute a lot and need to frequently switch your car seat from one vehicle to the other, a car seat that allows seamless switching is preferred. However, it’s most cases that a family may have several vehicles for moms and dads, even grandparents, then cheap and expensive, single- or multi-stage used solutions are worth considering.

Know how to install a car seat properly

Correct installation is fundamental to make sure your little one’s safety in the car seat. Make sure you have read the car seat and vehicle manuals before starting. Then follow the manual steps to properly install it.

You can watch the YouTube installation videos and call the manufacturer for help if you have trouble.

Choose something easy to clean

You won’t have much time in handwashing the car seat pad and covers, so car seats that are made of machine-washable fabrics and materials are more appealing. All the car seats we recommended in this buying guide can be washed in the machine.

Check the detailed post of 7 things you need to know before purchasing a car seat.

Best Solutions of Child Car Seats from 0 to 12 years old

The best combination of car seats will help protect your child from birth to youth going through the four stages – rear-facing, forward-facing, booster, and seat belt. Generally, the last stage uses a backless booster installed with the vehicle’s seat belt.

Travel System + Convertible + Booster

This is the basic combination that goes through three stages. A travel system includes a stroller and infant car seat that can be installed rear-facing for the first stage to ride newborns and small babies around their 8-9 months. The convertible car seat is generally used for the second stage for toddlers. The booster in this combination is typically designed for big kids.

Advanced tips: Use a convertible car seat with a higher weight or height limits that can accommodate a baby in rear-facing for longer.

Best Travel Systems - Car Seat and Stroller Combo

Travel systems typically include an infant car seat and a stroller. The car seat is used rear-facing only for Stage 1, while the stroller is friendly to fit big kids.

Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller

Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller Combo

$499*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Doona combines an infant car seat with a stroller and can be used for babies between 4-35 pounds and up to 32 inches in height. It can be used rear-facing only.

The weight and height limits are relatively low compared to those convertible car seats. We’re impressed with its unique car seat and stroller combo design. It’s ultra-portable for busy parents to take a taxi/uber and on a bus or train.

Safety. The Doona car seat meets or exceeds the highest safety and quality standards. The handle can be adjusted to work as an anti-rebound bar when used in the car seat mode. It features three layers of side impact protection to give confidence for the safest ride. More than fit an infant in the car, it’s also TUA and FAA aircraft approved for travel.

Comfort. Doona infant car seat and stroller combo are made of baby-safe materials and breathable textiles, giving a premium and expensive impression. But your little one should be cozy in the car seat, no matter inside a car or outside as a stroller. The included inserts and head support let your baby stay comfortable in it.

Installation. This car seat can be installed with the vehicle seat belt. There is a base included in the package, but you can install it with or without the base. It can be easily installed correctly and securely, but make sure you have read and followed the manual to practice before putting your baby in it for a ride.

Care. The seat pad and sunshade are removable and machine washable with some warnings in drying. You may follow the maintenance instructions on the washing label to keep it clean and durable.

Graco Modes Pramette Travel System

Graco Modes Pramette Travel System

$319.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

Graco Modes Pramette Travel System delivers great convenience for both parents and children. It contains the SnugRide 35 Lite DLX infant car seat to ride babies from 4-35 pounds with a maximum length of 32 inches, and a toddler stroller that can be used for years until your child approaches the weight limit of 50 pounds.

The SnugRide 35 Lite DLX infant car seat not only works well to ride small babies rear-facing in the automobile, but it is also able to snug to the stroller for a parent-friendly easy, and baby-friendly comfortable strolling.

The transition from a travel system to a separate car seat and stroller is simple and smooth. After you detach the car seat and install it into the base for traveling, you can effortlessly fold it with one hand and store it in the trunk.

It provides a third way to use the stroller – a real infant bassinet, which is better and more comfortable for little babies to lay in a flat.

This car seat and stroller combo come with a few extra accessories, including head/body inserts, child’s tray with cup holders, large canopy in both stroller and car seat, and harness cover, to make your little stay safe and comfortable, no matter in the car seat, bassinet, or stroller.

It’s also friendly for parents with an extra-large storage basket to hold child and parent essentials wherever you go. The peekaboo window in the canopy allows you to check your baby status at any time. And the parent cup and phone holder allow you to easily get your phone.

Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System

Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System

$379.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The included Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat makes the Bravo Trio one of the best travel systems. There is no doubt that the KeyFit 30 is one of the most popular baby car seats. But this does not mean the paired Bravo stroller is not as good as other common strollers.

This Bravo Trio car seat and stroller combo are good to ride babies from 4-30 lbs and below the 30-inch height in the car seat and stroll toddlers lighter than 50 pounds. Both work together to be a great travel system to seamlessly transition from car to stroller in seconds without disturbing the sleeping babies.

The stroller will work as a perfect car seat carrier to steadily carry the KeyFit 30 thanks to the easy click-in compatibility while it can be folded effortlessly thanks to the one-hand smart folding design. Besides the KeyFit 30, the Bravo Trio stroller can be paired with all Chicco infant car seats via the included child tray with no adapter needed.

Taking the littles’ safety and comfort into consideration, the Bravo Trio is designed with a few great features. The Canopy is large and made of UPF-rated fabrics to protect your baby from rain and sun harm. The Large wheels come with an all-wheel suspension that ensures smooth strolling, while the one-touch linked rear brakes provide efficient stopping power for parking.

The Chicco Bravo Trio travel system has a big and easy-access storage basket to carry all the parent and child essentials. But you don’t need to worry about any mess or it’s difficult to find and get something in easy touch. The built-in organizer pockets allow you to put all things in great order.

Best Convertible Car Seats Options

Convertible car seats can be used in both rear-facing and front-facing. They are friendly to allow toddlers between 2-4 years to face back for a longer time, then switch to face front for preschoolers around 6-7 years old.

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

$211.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

Graco Extend2Fit is our favorite convertible car seat to be used for Stage 2 riding. It has a lot of impressive features that make it one of the best car seats for toddlers.

The Extend2Fit allows your child to stay in a rear-facing harness for longer. It was designed with a higher weight to limit up to 50 lbs when facing the rear, along with a 4-position extension panel that will offer up to 5-inch of extra legroom. This perfect higher weight and height limits combination works well for safely riding your littles rear-facing as long as possible, even for 2-year-old toddlers.

Tips: If you’re living in a state that requires a 2 year old child to be accommodated in a rear-facing car seat, this one is worth considering.

It is also the latest and most advanced technology that Graco developed for new models. This car seat is Graco® ProtectPlus Engineered™ to help protect the littles in frontal, side, rear, and rollover crashes, along with the help from a steel-reinforced frame that provides strength and durability for 10 years of use. The 10-year expiration is the longest-lasting of the car seats, just responding that it’s a car seat to grow with your child.

Other features include No-Rethread Simply Safe Adjust™ Harness System for easy adjustment. InRight™ LATCH for a one-second LATCH attachment ensures easy and accurate installation. Fuss-free harness storage pockets to store rear or forward-facing harness when not in use. 10 positions headrest and harness adjust and 6-position recline work well for getting the safest fit and most comforts as your child grow.

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

Chicco NextFit Zip

$299.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The NextFit Zip is able to ride children between 5-40 pounds and up to 43 inches tall in rear-facing mode and 22-65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall in forward-facing mode, making it one of the best convertible car seats for babies and toddlers.

Key Features

For safety: DuoGuard offers two layers of head and torso protection with a deep rigid steel-framed shell and EPS energy-absorbing foam;

For comfort fit: A removable newborn positioner provides a proper fit for small babies between 5-11 pounds while ensuring their safety in the car seat. Just take it away as the infant grows and can be accommodated with the 9-position headrest and padded and no-rethread harness to preschool. 9-position ReclineSure leveling system allows finding a perfect position to provide the greatest comfort along with your child’s growth.

For installation: It allows for installation in two ways – LATCH or vehicle seat belt (NOTE: these two methods can’t be used at the same). It’s easy to achieve a tight and secure fit thanks to its unique SuperCinch force-multiplying tightener and LockSure belt-locking system. Easily adjust for a comfortable fit with a one-pull harness tightener!

For care and maintenance: Zip-off designed seat pad is machine washable for easygoing maintenance while giving a comfortable ride. The cup holder is dishwasher-safe, saving your time and energy to clean the kid’s mess.

Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

Britax Marathon ClickTight

$299.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Britax Marathon is designed for children from 5 to 40 pounds in rear facing and between 20-65 pounds in forward facing, with a maximum height of up to 49 inches for both modes.

Key Features

Safety. It comes with one layer of side impact protection to protect the littles where it is most needed around the neck. Along with a steel-reinforced frame and impact absorbing base, the Britax Marathon guards the littles well for riding in both rear- and forward-facing.

Comfort fit. Featuring a 14-position harness and 2-position buckle, the Marathon car seat allows you to get a perfect position to accommodate the toddlers. The 7-recline positions add points to its fitting performance.

Installation. The patented Click Tight technique makes it easy to install the car seat stably and securely for the safest riding, just as simple as buckling a seat belt.

Best Booster Sar Seats

Booster seats can be installed forward-facing only and are good for big kids at least 4 years old. 

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

$24.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Graco TurboBooster backless booster seat is designed to ride big kids from 40 to 100 pounds in weight and from 43 to 57 inches in height. Like all the booster seats, it also requires the toddler to be at least 4 years old to use this car seat.

Safety. It provides extra protection by raising your child up to the proper height for the seat belt.

Comfort fit. The breathable cushions are comfortable to stay in, no matter in summer or winter, while the padded armrest is good even for long car rides. The armrest is adjustable and friendly to your child’s growth.

Installation. Installing a backless booster seat might be the simplest. Make sure an accurate installation with the vehicle seat belt by following the Graco TurboBooster product manual.

Care and Maintenance. Don’t stress the mess. The car seat is friendly for parents. Just remove the seat cushion for machine washing.

Graco Affix High Back Booster

Graco Affix Highback Booster

$84.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Graco TurboBooster backless booster seat is designed to ride big kids from 40 to 100 pounds in weight and from 43 to 57 inches in height. Like all the booster seats, it also requires the toddler to be at least 4 years old to use this car seat.

Safety. It provides extra protection by raising your child up to the proper height for the seat belt.

Comfort fit. The breathable cushions are comfortable to stay in, no matter in summer or winter, while the padded armrest is good even for long car rides. The armrest is adjustable and friendly to your child’s growth.

Installation. Installing a backless booster seat might be the simplest. Make sure an accurate installation with the vehicle seat belt by following the Graco TurboBooster product manual.

Care and Maintenance. Don’t stress the mess. The car seat is friendly for parents. Just remove the seat cushion for machine washing.

Diono Cambria 2 XL

Diono Cambria 2 Booster

$99.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Diono Cambria 2 is suitable for children from 40 – 120 lbs (18-54 kg) and up to 63 inches tall. This booster seat can be used in two modes – high back for toddlers and backless for big kids. A seamless transition is available to grow with your child.

Safety. The detachable high back provides full back coverage to ensure your child’s safety in the car seat, while the seat base is used to raise your child to a proper fit with the vehicle seat belt. The 6-position headrest provides protective head support for your child with reinforced side impact protection where it needs most.

Comfort fit. With an upgrade to keep your child secure and comfortable, the Diono Cambria 2 has a roomy space for your child’s stay and growth. It’s a wide booster with an ergonomically contoured seat that prevents slipping and has extra length for better leg support.

You can see this from its upper weight limit of 120 pounds and height limit of 63 inches tall. The 6-position headrest adds bonus points to Diono Cambria’s performance in fitting the littles.

Installation. This highback booster comes with a LATCH system, combing its front adjusters for an easy and secure connection between the booster seat and your vehicle. Vehicle seat belt installation is still available. Just follow the product manual for the Cambria 2!

Care and Maintenance. Mess is not inevitable but doesn’t need to stress. The cover is removable and machine washable for safe dry. If you find it dirty in the shell and components, spot clean is effective to keep the booster seat clean and comfortable for the toddlers.

Bonus. An extended 36-month warranty is available and you can easily get this by registering with the Diono post-purchase on its official site.

Travel System + All-in-one Car Seats

All-in-one (3-in-1 or 4-in-1) car seats are able to ride the kids throughout the first three of the four stages – rear facing, forward facing, and booster. So it’s normally a good alternative for the combination of convertible and booster car seats. Because of its multiple functions, this type of car seat is reasonably more expensive than the other types, but still a great money saver instead of purchasing two car seats.

The best travel systems are listed above, and we mainly focus on introducing the best 4-in-1 car seats in this part.

Best All-in-one Car Seats

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat

Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat

$309.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 car seat is designed to ride a child from birth to big kids. It supports a seamless transition from rear-facing harness (4-40 lbs) to forward-facing harness (22-65 lbs) to high back belt-positioning booster (40-100 lbs) to backless belt-positioning booster (40-120 lbs).

The details of the weight and height range follow these rules:

Rear-Facing Harness: 4-40 lb, the head must be at least 1″ below handle; Forward-Facing Harness: 22-65 lb, up to 49″; Highback Booster: 40-100 lb, 43-57″, at least 4 years old; Backless Booster: 40-120 lb, 43-57″, at least 4 years old.

Safety. This 4 in 1 car seat is ProtectPlus Engineered, a unique technique used in most recent Graco models, to help protect your little one in the frontal, side, rear, and rollover crash. The steel-reinforced frame provides strength and adds points to its safe performance. The 10-position headrest enhances side impact protection to protect the little one where it is needed most.

Comfort fit. The packaged plush head and body inserts are used to keep small babies being cradled and comfortable. It’s removable when your infant can sit well in the car seat. The 10-position headrest and 6-position recline allow you to adjust the car seat for a perfect fit as your toddler grows.

Installation. The Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 car seat provides two installation ways – LATCH and vehicle seat belt. It features Graco’s exclusive InRight LATCH system that offers an easy one-second attachment with an audible click. Both work together to ensure your installation is accurate and secure enough. Installing the vehicle seat belt is also as easy as a piece of cake, thanks to its newly upgraded integrated belt lock-off. It’s recommended to follow the manual guide and check if the car seat is steady or not without swapping more than 1-inch before and after, left and right.

Care and maintenance. Keeping the car seat clean is always a big thing for parents, especially when you need to take the cover off for washing. Not this case now for Graco’s 4Ever DLX. The snap-on-and-off designed Rapid Remove cover can be removed from the car seat in one minute, getting it ready for machine washing can’t be easier!

Bonus: The third point of the upgraded Graco 4Ever DLX is the harness storage design. As you transfer the car seat from harness to booster, the rubberized fuss-free harness storage compartments behind the seat are great for a no-slip grip to get your child in and out.

Graco Grows4Me 4-in-1 Car Seat

Graco Grows4Me 4 in 1 Car Seat

$309.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

Grows4Me is another 4 in 1 car seat from Graco and is suitable for children from 5 to 40 pounds and a height requirement that the infant’s head must be at least 1″ below handle in rear facing; After changing to forward facing, the car seat fits children from 22 to 65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall with the harness. As your child grows, it works as a booster to accommodate big kids from 40-100 pounds in highback and 40-110 pounds in backless with a height range from 43-57 inches. The toddler should be at least 4 years old to ride in the booster mode.

Safety. Featuring Graco’s exclusive ProductPlus Engineered technology, the Grows4Me is designed to deliver full protection from frontal, rear, side, and rollover crashes. The headrest provides extra protection where it needs most, while the steel-reinforced frame delivers strong strength to ensure safety and keep the whole car seat from falling to piece.

Comfort fit. The included plush inserts are great for keeping small babies cradled and comfortable while it’s removable when your infant grows bigger. The adjustable 10-position headrest and 6-position recline allow the parents to find a perfect fit for a growing child.

Installation. There is a level indicator for finding the right position for accurate installation – no matter installing with LATCH or vehicle seat belt, which ensures optimum safety to ride a toddler in the car seat. 6-position reclines help fit your little one in the right position based on the modes, rear or forward-facing, highback, or backless booster. You can find the details in the product manual.

Care and maintenance. The seat pad is machine washable. But it’s not as easy as taking the cover off like the Graco 4Ever DLX. It does not feature the Rapid Remove design. The harness storage compartment is available to hold the harness straps when not in use for the booster mode.

Maxi-Cosi Pria All-in-1 Car Seat

Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1

$289.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Maxi-Cosi Pria is a 3-in-1 car seat to fit children from 4-40 pounds and from 19 to 40 inches tall in rear facing, from 22 to 65 pounds and 29 to 49 inches tall in forward facing, from 40-100 pounds and 43 to 52 inches in booster mode.

Safety. The Pria is backed by the company’s 30+ years of European engineering and exceeds all federal standards. Cushion padded headrest provides excellent side impact protection with cells to protect your child’s head where it’s needed most in a side-impact crash.

Comfort fit. The QuickFit shoulder harness will automatically raise the harness and headrest height to fit a growing child. This not just keeps safety performance but also lets your little one stay comfortable in the car seat. Made of soft cushions and premium fabrics and padding, the Maxi Cosi Pria delivers supreme comfort and cozy. 3-position recline is relatively less than other car seats, but still, allow you to find a correct fit for growing children.

Installation. Installing it with the LATCH system can’t be easier. The one-click design ensures an easy click-in for better and safer installation.

Care and maintenance. The light-colored seat pad and the cover are much easier to get dirty. But don’t worry! The covers are easy to remove, machine washable, and dryer safe.

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

Chicco Fit4 4-in-1 Car Seat

$349.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Chicco Fit4 is a 3-in-1 car seat suitable for children from 4-40 pounds and up to 43 inches tall in rear facing and between 25-65 pounds and up to 54 inches tall in forward facing, plus the fit for the third stage of 40-100 pounds with a height range between 38-57 inches.

Safety. The Fit4 features the company’s unique DuoGuard that provides excellent head and torso protection in case of a crash. The steel-reinforced frame adds points to its security performance by offering to strengthen and durability for a long time of up to 10 years.

Comfort fit. The 10-position headrest gives not only extra protection but also a great comfort. It’s adjustable to fit perfectly along with your little one’s growth. So do the included inserts and supports. The FitKit system, which consists of an infant positioner, toddler pad, and FitKit core, and deluxe shoulder pad, combines the safety and comfort to ride your child from birth to big kids.

Even featuring a slim and compact design, the Chicco Fit4 is still comfortable with enough space for big kids, thanks to the removable CupFolders that can be detachable when needed. You can always find the right position to accommodate the littles by adapting the 9-position ReclineSure leveling system.

Installation. The Chicco Fit4 can be installed in two methods – LATCH and vehicle seat belt. Both will get additional support for the manufacturer’s exclusive techniques. The SuperCinch LATCH tightener helps effortlessly install with LATCH connectors, while the LockSure seat belt locking system confirms your installation is tight and accurate. The RideRight bubble levels ensure a correct installation for the best safety.

Care and maintenance. The seat cover is easy to remove and made of machine-washable fabrics. Save your time and energy even when it gets dirty. Don’t be afraid of a mess anymore!

Bonus: The company provides a transition guide for the Chicco Fit4. You may access it via Fit4Stages.com to check the details.

Britax One4Life ClickTight All-In-One Car Seat

Britax One4Life 3-in-1 Car Seat

$364.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Britax One4Life is actually a 3-in-1 car seat to grow with your child from 5 to 120 pounds and up to 63 inches tall.

It can fit children between 5-50 pounds and up to 49 inches tall in rear-facing and between 22-65 pounds and the same 49-inch maximum height in forward-facing harness. It allows a seamless transition from harness to a booster for growing children between 40-120 pounds and 44-63 inches.

Safety. You can count on the Britax One4Life for its safe performance, thanks for the contribution of the high-strength steel frame combined with the crumple zone and V-shaped tether that work together to absorb crash energy. Plus, 2 lays of side impact protection surround the little one’s head, neck, and torso for extra safeguard.

Comfort fit. The 15-position adjustable headrest increases not only the safety but also the coziness. It’s a bit bulky overall, but the space inside the car seat is roomy to offer the growing child the best fit.

Installation. Most Britax car seats come with the company’s unique ClickTight feature that is used to help parents install the car seat correctly with ease. There are color-coded belt paths to show you where to route the seat belt in both rear- and forward-facing installation modes. The easy-to-read indicators add confidence to help you find the correct recline angle matching your child’s age and size.

Care and maintenance. The seat cover is made of machine-washable fabrics and is safe to machine wash and dry when it gets dirty. After all, time is really precious to be moms and dads.

Travel System + Combination Car Seats

2-in-1 Harness Booster

KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster

KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat

$149.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The KidsEmbrace is a 2-in-1 harness booster car seat to ride toddlers between 22-65 pounds and 29-49 inches tall with a 5-point harness in forward-facing mode. It supports the seamless transition to a belt-positioning booster for big kids between 40-100 pounds and 38-57 inches in height.

Safety. The KidsEmbrace car seat meets or exceeds all applicable requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 to be safe to ride your little one. Of course, all the other car seats also pass these basic but strict standards that are required from the officials.

Comfort fit. Additional excellent features are not the objective of the company to design the KidsEmbrace car seats. The superhero-subjected cover and appearance are. The manufacturer wants to ride your child with safety, comfort, and fun. So you’ll find this 2-in-1 booster only features a 3-position headrest adjustment. But this does not affect it to provide protection and comfort for growing children.

Installation. This car seat is easy to install with the seat belt or with LATCH lower anchor belt with the adjuster and push-on connector. The top tether helps keep the car seat stable and not shake much in a crash.

Care and Maintenance. The company did not indicate if its cover is machine washable or not in the product description. Maybe the company thinks it’s not easy to find the dirty spots on the car seats for its deep-colored cover. It seems that the car seats from this company are outsourced and manufactured by Safety 1st. We know that Safety 1st car seats are made of machine-washable fabrics.

Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster Seat

Graco Atlas 65 2 in 1 Harness Booster Car Seat

$137.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Graco Atlas 65 can be used forward-facing to ride toddlers between 22-65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall and allows for a smooth transition to a highback booster for big kids between 40-100 pounds and 38-57″ in height range and make sure your child is at least 4 years old to use a booster.

Safety. This car seat is engineered and rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed the US standard FMVSS 213 and other necessary safety standards, meaning it’s safe to ride your child in it. It also was side-impact tested for adding safety performance with the built-in 5-point harness system. That’s why you’ll see a warm tip that keeps your child in the harness as long as possible until they outgrow the harness height or weight limits.

Comfort fit. The Graco Atlas 65 features only a 5-point headrest, but it is still good enough to fit growing children with excellent safety and comfort. The harness straps ensure safety and comfort in the 5-point harness mode and can be removed and stored in the harness storage compartment, extending the inner space of the booster car seat for the best comfort for big kids.

Installation. The Graco Atlas 65 only allows installation with the vehicle seat belt. Luckily, the open-loop belt guides are included to help you find the proper position for installing with the vehicle’s seat belt. Remember, keep the seat belt flat and smooth with NO twists along the path.

Care and maintenance. It is not evitable that your little one messes the car seat but you don’t need to worry much about it. The seat pad, harness, and buckle covers are machine washable. You can keep them clean and comfortable with less time.

Chicco MyFit Harness Booster

Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat

$199.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Chicco MyFit is designed for toddlers between 25-65 pounds and up to 54 inches tall with an age at least 2 years old in forward-facing harness mode. As your little one grows to be at least 4 years old and weighs between 40-100 pounds and between 38-57 inches tall, you can switch it to a booster seat.

Safety. Featuring Chicco’s unique DuoGuard that delivers two layers of protection with a rigid shell and EPS energy-absorbing foam that surrounds the head and torso, the MyFit offers its best safety performance to protect your little one from toddler to big kids. The seat shell is also reinforced with a steel frame for superior impact protection.

Comfort fit. a 9-position headrest accommodates your child’s growth throughout both harness and booster modes and supports perfect fit posture along with a 4-position recline. An extra-deep ErgoBoost® seat with dual-density foam padding is sloped and contoured for superior comfort.

Installing the Chicco MyFit is easy with the built-in LATCH connectors and a LockSure lock-offs and wide belt routing that ensures a tight and secure fit no matter which way you prefer – LATCH or vehicle seat belt. The four-position ReclineSure leveling system and RideRight bubble levels help achieve and confirm a right angle and position.

care. Washing the seat pad can be a challenge for all parents. The good news is that the Chicco MyFit has an easy zip-off backrest and seat cushions that can be easily removable for machine washing. The CupFolders are dishwasher safe. No need to hand wash the cups anymore. That’s nice!

Britax Grow with You ClickTight Harness 2 Booster

Britax Grow with You ClickTight 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat

$309.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

Britax Grow with You ClickTight is a 2-in-1 seat for children between 25-65 pounds in the height range from 34-49 inches tall in forward-facing harness mode and between 40-120 pounds with a height range from 44 to 63 inches tall in highback booster mode.

Safety. This car seat features two layers of side impact protection with an energy-absorbing shell and foam-lined headrest that surround the head, neck, and torso, where they need most. Plus, the safe cell impact protection designed in the base will create a crumple zone that helps absorb crash energy to protect your little one in a crash.

Comfort. The 9-position harness and headrest provide not only extra protection but also great coziness by allowing to find a perfect fit for growing children. They stay put and soft pads keep your child’s neck from rubbing against the harness strap for comfort. Made of cool flow mesh fabric, the Britax Grow with You ClickTight harness booster seat lets your child stay cool and comfortable in the car seat by improving airflow. This feature adds points in hot summer or hot areas.

Installation. From its name, you know this car seat comes with the company’s unique ClickTigh function for easy and secure installation, which can be completed in just 3 simple steps: open the seat, thread and buckle the seat belt, click it closed. You’ll hear a confirmation “click” sound.

Care. It’s a pity that the Britax Grow with You ClickTight was not made of machine-washable fabrics. This means that you need to spend more time washing the seat cover by hand. It’s not friendly for parents. The Plus version adds this feature with machine washable made at a more expensive price.

3-in-1 Harness Booster

Graco Tranzitions 2-in-1 Harness Booster

Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat

$109.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

Graco Tranzitions is suitable for toddlers between 22-65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall in forward-facing harness mode and big kids between 40-100 pounds within the height range between 43-57 inches tall and at least 4 years old in both high back and backless booster modes.

The back support is removable for a smooth transition from a high back booster to a backless car seat when your child is ready.

Safety. The Tranzitions 3-in-1 car seat is Graco ProtectPlus Engineered to pass through the most rigorous crash tests to confirm that it helps to protect your little one in frontal, side, rear, and rollover crashes. But you should know that the side-impact test for occupant retention is verified with the built-in 5-point harness system. That’s why the company recommended you to follow the NHTSA’s suggestion to keep your child in the harness for protection as long as possible until they outgrow the harness height or weight limits.

Comfort. The 8-position headrest can be adjusted for a perfect fit as well as an extra safeguard as your child grows. The built-in two cup holders keep your child’s drinks and snacks close at hand, letting them enjoy a cozy ride from being hungry and thirsty.

Installation. It can be installed in two ways – LATCH and vehicle seat belt. The open-loop belt guides help parents properly position the vehicle’s seat belt for a correct and secure installation. Make sure the seat belt is flat going through the car seat without twists.

Care. Getting dirty should not be a big problem for parents. This car seat pad, body support, and harness covers are machine washable. It’s approved for airplane use in harness mode. The 20-pound lightweight car seat is more portable than those bulky convertible car seats.

Stroller + Convertible Car Seat + Backless Booster Seat

This is our best-recommended solution to ride a child from birth to youth until they’re ready to use the vehicle seat belt like an adult.

Backless Car Seats

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster LX

$36.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

Diono Solana 2 Latch Backless Booster

Diono Solana 2

$39.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Diono Solana 2 is suitable for fast-growing kids from 40 – 120 lbs. (18 – 54 kg) and up to 63″ (160cm). It’s a backless car seat for big kids at least 4 years old.

It can be easily installed with integrated LATCH connectors, along with the front adjusters for a quick tightness to keep the booster to the vehicle seat steadily and securely.

The Diono Solana 2 is wide to provide kids roomy space for comfortable rides, whether you’re taking them to school, a playdate with a friend, or an overnight visit with grandparents. It’s also ergonomically contoured to prevent slipping and provides extra length for better leg support as your child grows.

Weighing only 6.6 pounds, the Diono Solana 2 is lightweight for carrying. It’s also portable to transfer between vehicles, thanks to its easy-to-release LATCH system.

Made of machine-washable fabrics, the seat cover is easy to remove and machine washing for quick cleaning to keep your child comfortable and save the parents time.

Two swivel cup holders are located on both sides of the seat bottom, so you can store drinks and snacks within reach to keep your little ones happy while they see the world.

GoFit Plus Backless Booster

Chicco GoFit Plus Backless Booster Car Seat

$49.99*

*Price may change on the eCommerce platform due to sale promotion or discount.

The Chicco GoFit Plus is designed for big kids between 40-110 pounds and 38-57 inches tall at the age of 4+ years old.

It combines the child’s safety and comfort with the parent’s convenience. The car seat is equipped with a quick-release LATCH system for an easy and secure installation, along with the integrated alp belt guides and shoulder belt clip. The quick-release design allows parents to remove the car seat with a simple pull of the release handle and switch it for installing in another vehicle. There is a built-in carry handle for grab-and-go convenience.

The Chicco GoFit Plus is a contoured ErgoBoost seat with double-foam padding and gives your child great comfort for rides. Two CupFolders flex and fold out of the way to save space and are easy to remove and also dishwasher-safe. And, all fabrics are also removable and machine-washable, including the armrest covers.

Frequently Asked Questions about Buying a Right Car Seat

Generally speaking, your kid should stay in a car safety seat from your baby’s birth till he or she can have a seat belt for safety. Babies and toddlers under 2 years old should be kept in the rear-facing position, both infant car seats and convertible car seats support this mode. Older children also must be properly secured in a child restraint system. Each state in the US has its own laws on specific ages, you can read our car seat laws for detailed information.

There are basically four stages of car seats as most experts suggest: rear-facing, forward-facing, booster, and seat belt. The stages are divided based on the car seat weight limit and height limit, and the kid’s age is also an important consideration to pick up one stage for your child.

> Rear-facing: generally under 2 years old, better for 3 years old toddlers

> Forward-facing: as long as 7 years old

> Booster: for children under 12 years old

> Seat belt: for children under 13+ years old

Remember that you should purchase an appropriate car seat based on your kid’s weight and height. For newborns, the infant car seats provide the best protection; But if your kid outgrows an infant car seat weight limit (generally 35 pounds) or height limit, consider a convertible car seat or 3-in-1 car seat for a higher weight limit; When your kid grows out of the convertible car seat weight limit, the booster car seat is the next stage for consideration and it usually has the highest weight limit up to 120 pounds. If your child is ready to have the seat belt for safety, just stop using a car seat and use the built-in seat belt for safety as an adult.

It’s NOT recommended to rush to a booster seat if your child is not ready. You should keep your child in a harnessed car safety seat for as long as possible before they outgrow the weight or height limit of their forward-facing harnesses, which is typically between 40 and 65 pounds. But you can turn to a booster seat if they are at least 4’9″ and between 8 and 12 years old.

Yes, you can but it is NOT recommended. A booster car seat is not appropriate for 3 years old kids, which requires harness slots for tightness and safety. For children under 8 years old, it is recommended to use a convertible car seat or 3-in-1 car seat.

It’s the same as the fourth question. Children between 8 and 12 years old can stay in a booster car seat.

The prices of car seats vary a lot, from under $100 to over $500, depending on the types, functions, and composition materials. The infant car seats have average and affordable prices, while the convertible car seats are generally the most expensive type for their multiple uses in both rear-facing and forward-facing positions. The booster car seats have the average lowest price. But this price trend is not the final, even the price varies for different models from the same company.

Different parents have different opinions on the best car seat, and it always depends on your needs. For parents who care a lot about safety in a car crash, the car seat that has the highest score in a crash test might be a great option. Of course, all the car seats are good enough to ensure your kid’s safety. If you don’t have a lot of budget, an affordable car seat with a budget price is much appealing.

The same question is where to put the car seat. The safest place to put your car safety seat in the car is the center of the back seat. A study from Pediatrics indicates that it‘s 43% safer for children under 3 years old to stay in the center rear seat than sitting on both sides in the back.

However, the rear passenger side is the most common location in the vehicle for a car seat, about 41% of parents put the child’s car seat here. Perhaps this is for ease of getting the child in and out of the car on the pavement side.

No matter which side you put the car seat on, make sure you can install it correctly with the LATCH system, which is placed at the two side seating positions in the back seat. If you’re not sure, check on the car manual or ask the manufacturer for help.

According to the four stages of the child restraint system, the booster car seat is the last stage for your kid to use a car seat for safety. If they outgrow the weight limit of a booster seat, it means that they are ready to use the built-in seat belt just like an adult.

It seems only the infant car seats can fit in strollers, the convertible car seats and booster car seats are too big to fit well in a stroller. And most traveler systems often include the stroller and infant car seats for a perfect fit.

Yes. According to most states’ laws in the US, children under 13 years old should be kept in a car seat until they are ready to use the car’s seat belt for safety.