Your tiny treasure is sleeping peacefully (for once), and the thought of them ever being big enough to warrant a larger car seat seems impossible. Planning for the moment your tiny tot has suddenly grown too much to fit into their infant car seat is a deja-vu milestone in your parenting journey. You already found the perfect infant carrier and suddenly it’s time to do it all over again? But we’re here to help. We’ve got the nitty-gritty details all laid out here to help you find the perfect convertible car seat before your cherub has (another) growth spurt. Read on for our guide on how to choose a convertible car seat.

What is a Convertible Car Seat?

A convertible car seat is one that can be used both in rear-facing and forward-facing mode. A transition seat, if you will. There are two main types of convertible car seats: 2-in-1 and all-in-one. A 2-in-1 convertible car seat is designed to accommodate your little one from infancy until they outgrow a 5-point harness. An all-in-one convertible car seat is designed to be the only car seat your child will ever need – from rear-facing in infancy to forward-facing as a toddler, all the way through a belt-positioning booster.

Height and Weight Limits

All car seats have different height and weight restrictions depending on how long the seat is intended to be used for. While you’re in the research phase, keep your little one’s size in mind. If your family has a propensity for spawning linebackers or if you’re planning on using the same car seat from birth until they’re out of a seat entirely, finding the right throne is essential. Also keep your state’s car seat laws in mind. Some states require specific seats until children reach a certain age or height/weight.

Comfort is Key

Your little one will spend a lot of time in their car seat – daily rides to daycare, holiday road trips, and everything in between. We all know the discomfort that comes with being stuck sitting in an uncomfortable seat for an extended period. Here are the features to look out for: plush headrest, soft fabrics, harness covers, and comfortable buckle and strap placement.

Car Seats Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Because convertible car seats are designed to grow with your child through a variety of stages, they also have a larger physical footprint than infant car seats. Keep your car’s backseat in mind when shopping: How much room is there in your backseat? How many car seats need to fit across? Will there be multiple kids using the same seat? Keep your vehicle’s manual and the dimensions on hand when browsing so you can easily eliminate any seats that are too large.

Safety Features to Look Out For

Keeping your little one safe when your family is out creating memories on the road is the number one job of any car seat. There’s nothing more important than making sure your peanut is as snug as a bug in the back sea. Here are a few safety features to look out for when choosing your next convertible car seat:

  • 5-Point Harness
  • LATCH Installation and Seat Belt Routing Path
  • Increased Rear-Facing Weight Limits
  • Quick Headrest and Harness Height Adjustment
  • Side Impact Protection
  • Easy Installation
  • Multiple Recline Positions
Environmental Impact

Keeping your little ones safe also means taking care of the environment to protect their future. Look for car seats that meet safety and comfort standards without harming the planet. Our PureCosi collection of car seats meets flammability standards through material choices rather than added fire-retardant chemicals. By removing wool and added fire retardant treatments, we’re able to reduce the accumulation of two common types of unhealthy fire retardants (PBDEs and PFAs) in the environment.

Designed for Parents Too

Don’t forget about the comforts that will make your life as a parent easier! Think: Easy to clean crumbs or spills (like our machine washer and dryer safe fabrics). Simple to adjust once your little one graduates to the next headrest height. Those simple delights will change your day.

Now that you’re familiar with what to look for in a convertible car seat, let us point you in the direction of the convertible car seat designed to keep up with your growing family