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Three Convertible Car Seats That Are Built to Last

These car seats have one very smart trick: They're custom-built to accommodate your kid for years, from baby to toddler.

Trying to figure out how to find the best car seat for your kid as they grow can be challenging. There are some really great infant car seat options, sure, but kids grow out of them, fast. For parents who don’t want to pony up for multiple car seats, get one that can change from rear-facing to front-facing. That’s right: Get a convertible car seat. This seat can face backward(for baby) and forward (for your toddler) and is usually adjustable so they can grow with it.  Even so, it can be hard to know what to look for in a car seat that’s built to last. Here are three solid convertible car seat choices to start with, each of which hosts a variety of different features that might be a good fit for you and yours.

The Diono Rainier All-In-One $315

What’s Good: The All-In-One is practically indestructible, with a sturdy frame and reinforced sides that make it stronger than most other car seats on the market and better at holding its shape even in the event of a crash.

Special Features

  • Steel frame and aluminum reinforcements that can absorb impact from any direction.
  • The FAA-approved seat can fold into itself making it easier to bring along for travel.
  • Narrow enough to fit three of them side by side in a mid-size vehicle.
  • 12 headrest positions to keep your child comfortable as they grow.

Nitpick: Weighing over 28 pounds, the All-In-One’s durability also makes it quite a bit heavier than the other car seats. If you’re going to be moving the seat in and out of the car a lot, this might become a nuisance.

The Bottom Line: This car seat is built like a tank and is reinforced to take and absorb a hit from any direction, meaning your kid will stay safe and unphased on the bumpiest of trips. The headrest can be adjusted, but there are fewer options for adjusting the safety straps according to a growing child’s needs.

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Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit Platinum $350

What’s Good: The Extend2Fit lives up to its name, with ten different height settings for the back and headrest, meaning the car seat won’t need replacing as your kids grow.

Special Features

  • Ten-position adjustable back and headrest.
  • Can recline to six different positions and includes an extendable footrest.
  • Can hold up to 50 pounds when facing backwards, and up to 120 pounds otherwise.
  • Easy to use latch to cut down on installation time.

Nitpick: The lack of padding on some safety straps can be annoying or irritating, especially as kids recline or grow into the seat. The seat also isn’t as sturdy as some others.

The Bottom Line: This is the most expensive convertible car seat on our list, but with good reason. The customizable size and built-in reclining features mean that your kid will stay comfortable (and might actually get some sleep for a change) on the longest of car rides, which can only make your life easier.

Evenflo Stratos Convertible Car Seat $115

What’s Good: The built-in SensorSafe technology can connect the seat to the car and alert you whenever your child is trying to escape or unlatch the car seat. It will also alert you if your child is still in their car seat when you turn off the car and get up to leave.

Special Features

  • Ultralight and portable.
  • SensorSafe technology will keep your kid secure and remind you not to leave them sitting in the car.
  • Five position adjustable headrest and six different harness positions allow the seat to grow with your kid.
  • Low cost for an adjustable seat with SensorSafe technology.

Nitpick: This car seat can be adjusted as your child grows, but the limited options for seatbelt heights may mean that your child has some awkward periods where they’re too tall for one setting but too short for another.

The Bottom Line: This car seat has the most high-tech safety features on our list and costs a fraction of what the other seats do. It’s not quite as customizable as the Extend2Fit Platinum, but still leaves you with plenty of options and flexibility to keep your kid comfortable.

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