The Product: Convertible Car Seat (5-40 LBS)
A Convertible Car Seat is what your child will use from the time they outgrow their infant carrier until they move into a booster seat. Convertible seats are used rear facing until your baby is at least one year old and 20 pounds and then may be used in the face forward position. Check your individual seat for the latest guidelines as they are changing constantly. Most convertible car seats have weight limits in the 40 pound range, but keep in mind that many children will hit this limit at about 2-3 years old.
Recommendation: Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat Review
If you are looking for a quality, safety oriented convertible seat, than you want to buy a Britax car seat. Unlike many other brands, Britax gives special attention to side impact safety and ease of installation. Our children have exclusively used Britax Car Seats since they each outgrew their infant carrier. The Roundabout has been Britax’s best seller for many years now and is considered one of the safer seats on the market. If you are interested in the Roundabout, I would also suggest that you check out it’s cousin, the Britax Diplomat.
Some features that differentiate Britax Car Seats:
- Locking clips which make the seats very easy to install using a regular seat belt in the case that you are traveling or don’t have LATCH in your car.
- An industry first reversible tether (Versa-Tether). When the seat is the rear facing position, the tether is attached using a special clip to the underside of one of the front seats. This feature dramatically improves installation and security. One you see how well this works, you will be surprised that no other companies offers this feature.
- The Britax LATCH clips, which you can see in the picture (above right) are designed like seat belts and are extremely easy to attach and release versus other seats. They also store away inside the seat when not in use.
A lot of parents are looking to understand the difference between buying the Britax Roundabout vs the Britax Marathon (See Review). I will try to help answer that question, because one is not necessarily better than the other. The primary difference between the Roundabout and the larger Britax Marathon is size, although the Marathon also has slightly better side impact protection. The Roundabout is designed for 5-40 lbs (Rear Facing: 5-33lbs Front Facing: At least one year old and 20-40lbs). This means that your child will likely outgrow the Roundabout by the age of 3 and then you will need to make the decision as to whether you want to move them to a traditional booster seat or a booster with a five point harness such as the Britax Frontier or the Sunshine Kids Radian. Many experts recommended that you keep children in a five point harness as long as possible. However, the smaller size does make the Roundabout perfect for airplane travel and it is FAA approved.
If you have a smaller car, you may not be able to even fit one of Britax’s larger seats, especially in the rear facing position, which is when the extra seat height comes into play with the front seats. If you have two cars, you may want to consider purchasing one of each (Roundabout / Diplomat and Marathon / Boulevard). This way you will have one seat that will last longer and another that will fit better in the smaller car and which you can use for travel. This is what we did and what we have recommended to all of our friends. If you only have one car, I would choose the seat that fits best, giving consideration to your airplane travel needs.
Britax is the industry standard for parents who are concerned about safety and want the best and easiest to use car seat. Their seats are worth the premium and you won’t be disappointed.
If you have the room in your car and are only buying one seat, I think you may be better off with the larger seat that your child won’t outgrow too quickly. In this case, the Boulevard or Marathon may be your better bet.
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