A convertible car seat is a seat that can be used rear-facing from when a baby is newborn and forward-facing when it becomes a toddler. The majority of seats achieve this by having a design with two different belt systems to work with the car’s LATCH belt or seat belt. One belt system is used to hold the seat in a rear-facing position and the other for when the seat should be forward-facing.
Some convertible car seats are even designed in such a way that they can become a booster seat as the child grows older.
There are several important benefits to buying and using a convertible car seat for your child, including:
- They are safe – convertible car seats according to Tennessee Department of Safety and Office of Homeland Security’s Sergeant Travis Plotzer, MUST comply with the same federal safety requirements as any other car seat on the market and are perfectly safe for infants.
- Convertible car seats have an expiration date – there are many parents who don’t realize that car seats do have an expiration date. Parents who are planning on buying a convertible car seat will more than likely have to use it for a few years and should therefore check the expiration date to make sure that the seat matches their needs and expectations.
- They are budget friendly – you can use a convertible car seat from when your baby is born, all the way until he/she is old enough to use a booster seat. This is provided that the seat has never been involved in a car crash, in which case it will have to be replaced.
- The higher the weight limit of the seat you buy, the longer you can use it – height and weight limits for each position vary widely with convertible car seats. Buying a seat with a high rear-facing limit therefore, means that your child can be kept in this, the safest position for a long time, until he/she reaches the height and weight limits. Also, choosing a seat with higher height and weight limits in the front-pacing position, means that you will be able to use the five-point harness for a longer period of time.
Important points to remember!
The safest seat is easiest to use – as the name implies, convertible car seats are designed to be adjusted as your child grows. If the seat you buy is hard to install and/or adjust, then there is a good chance that you will delay the adjusting to fit your child or do it incorrectly. If the seat you are thinking of buying is difficult to use, read some online reviews about that particular seat before actually making your purchase.
Not all Convertible Car Seats fit all Cars – probably a shocker for first-time parents, but with the many variables in the configuration of both cars and car seats, the fact is that there are times when the pieces just won’t match up. Parents are therefore encouraged to see a certified inspector to check their car as well as their car seat. It is free service that is provided by many local police departments.