All kids, at least up to the age of two years old, must ride in rear-facing safety seats. Rear-facing seats are safer than other types of car safety seats. This is because the bodies of young children-especially the neck and spinal cord-can’t easily handle the stress of car travel in other types of safety seats.
Most rear-facing seats can carry kids who are up to 40 pounds in weight. The exact weight and height limits vary between manufacturers, though, so you’ll want to check before buying a seat. While all rear-facing safety seats on the market are compliant with government standards and crash-test regulations, the best seats offer additional features for comfort and convenience. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at five of the best rear-facing car seats available:
Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1
As a rear-facing convertible car seat, the Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 is a value for money purchase. While using it as a rear-facing seat, Graco ProtectPlus engineering ensures top-notch security. There is protection from frontal, side, rear, and rollover crash through the adjustable harness system. Moreover, 6-position recline guarantees a comfortable ride for your child.
The seat accommodates kids up to 40 pounds in weight in the rear-facing configuration. Since this seat comes with a LATCH attachment, it is extremely easy to install it in your car. The cover of the seat can be easily removed and is machine washable.
The LATCH attachment system has a longer strap tether at the top of the seat, while the lower LATCH attachments are located at or near the base of the seat.
- This seat is machine washable, making it easy to clean
- This seat features the LATCH system for convenient installation
- As a convertible, this seat delivers long-term value, since it has both rear and forward-facing configurations
- The seat is somewhat pricey
Britax Allegiance 3 Stage Convertible
The Britax Allegiance 3 comes with the LATCH system, which makes installation quick and pleasant. With its 10-position harness, the seat will never have to go through rethreading, and the seat’s headrest lifts as your child grows. The seat cover can be removed without removing the harness. However, the cover is not machine washable.
The Britax Allegiance 3 Stage Convertible provides solid support thanks to a steel frame that ensures side impact protection. The seat also has an impact-absorbing base, which helps in reducing forward movement during an accident. This seat is a convertible, and while in the rear-facing seat position, it can carry kids up to 40 pounds.
- The seat features a 10-Position harness system, making it easy to accommodate your child as he or she grows.
- This is a more budget-friendly option
- The inclusion of the LATCH system makes installation a breeze
- This seat is hand wash only, making cleanup a chore
Graco SlimFit 3 In 1 Convertible
This convertible seat is a great value option since it is relatively cheaper than the other seats here. It can also be used as a booster seat, extending its lifespan. With the seat meeting US Standard FMVSS 213 crash tests, it delivers an optimal level of safety. While it features fewer recline options, the seat harness is easy to adjust and can be stored away in an integrated compartment when not needed.
As the name suggests, the Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 takes up lesser space in the backseat and is not bulky, so it can be carried along with you as well. The inclusion of the LATCH system makes installation an easy process. Dual cup-holders are a handy value addition to this rear-facing seat.
- This seat meets FMVSS 213 crash test standards, making it secure
- This seat’s integrated cupholders offer added convenience
- This seat is hand wash only so that cleanup can be a chore
- This seat features relatively fewer recline options
Diono Radian 3R All-in-One Convertible
This convertible seat can carry a child up to 40 pounds in the rear-facing position. The design of the seat is such that you will be able to fit up to three of the same seats in the backseat of your car. This makes it a great option for bigger families. A steel frame and dual spine design ensure your child’s safety in the event of a crash.
These seats are moderately priced. However, memory foam cushions are a great value add and ensure extended comfort for your child. The Diono Radian 3R All-in-one has a unique trick up its sleeve, too: it can be folded, meaning the seat can be easily taken with you while traveling by air.
- This seat is foldable, making it easy to transport;
- This seat features a steel frame with a dual-spine design for added security
- The seat is machine washable for easy cleanup
- The reinforced frame makes this seat somewhat heavy
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible
This seat has a higher weight limit than most other convertible rear-facing seats. It accommodates kids up to 50 pounds. The 4-position extension panel ensures that your child is also comfortable by maximizing their legroom. Even with the extension possibilities, the seat is not heavy, making it easy to transport.
This rear-facing seat features Graco ProtectPlus Engineering for optimal safety. While it is on the pricier side, the Graco Extend2Fit features a number of value additions for convenience: You get cupholders, an integrated harness compartment, 6-position recline, and a 10-position headrest. If the price isn’t a concern, this rear-facing seat will offer your child a very comfortable and convenient ride
- This seat features an extended weight capacity up to 50 lbs
- The seat has a large feature set with value ads like cup holders and an integrated harness compartment;
- The seat utilizes Graco ProtectPlus engineering, making it secure
- This seat is on the higher end of the price spectrum
Rear-facing Car Seat Buying Guide
It can be tough to narrow down your options when it comes to car safety seats: there are a lot of options on the market, and many of them appear to offer similar features. However, you must make an informed buying decision when considering car safety seats: you should never have to compromise your child’s safety.
We’ve highlighted the top five best rear-facing car safety seats in this article. This narrows your choices down considerably. But how do you pick the one that’s right for you? This guide here will show you exactly what to look out for when buying a car safety seat. After reading this, you’ll have a better idea about which car safety seat option best suits your needs.
What to look for in a car safety seat?
Here are some key features you should look out for when buying a car safety seat. We factored these in when we made our recommendations:
Does the seat feature LATCH?
Most car safety seats made after 2002 will feature LATCH. However, you should always double-check to make sure that the model you’re considering supports this key feature. LATCH is short for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children and it makes car seat installation significantly easier. Cars manufactured after 2002 are required by US law to have LATCH anchors and most car seats will have the accompanying tethers.
Is the seat reversible?
If you’re looking for a great value option, it’s a good idea to check whether or not your car seat is reversible. Reversible car seats can be placed in a rear-facing position when your child is very young. Once they’ve outgrown rear-facing seats, you can turn a convertible seat right around and use it as a forward-facing seat. This adds years of productive use to your car seat. And since you won’t have to spend on separate rear and forward-facing seats, it’s alright to invest a bit more towards a premium convertible option.
Weight & Size
Car seats come in a range of weights and sizes. You will need to pay attention to the dimensions of a given car seat to make sure that it will fit comfortably in your car. Another factor to consider here is how much weight the car seat supports. Certain models can carry children who way more. This is an important consideration if you have an older or heavier child.
Picking the right car safety seat can be a challenge. It’s important to make sure that you address any questions you might have. We’ve put together a quick FAQ here to cover some of the more common questions people have about convertible car safety seats.
Are car safety seats necessary?
Yes, absolutely! As a matter of fact, they’re a legal requirement in most US states. Young children’s bodies are still growing, and they aren’t built to handle the stress of a car trip. Car safety seats ensure that your children are safe and comfortable throughout the ride.
What’s the difference between a convertible and non-convertible safety seat?
Convertible car safety seats can be used in both rear and forward-facing positions. Non-convertible seats can only be used in one of these positions. While convertible seats often come at a price premium, they off superior value as a two-in-one solution.
What is LATCH?
LATCH is short for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. It’s a system of tethers on car safety seats compatible with standardized anchors on most cars made after 2002 to make car safety seat installation a breeze.
Do I need a rear or forward-facing seat?
It depends on your child’s age, weight, and height. Rear-facing seats are best for infants and toddlers under two. You’ll want to seat older kids in forward-facing seats and then boost seats.