I am sure you will agree with me when I say that having to pick out a new car seat whenever your baby outgrows their current one every few months or years sucks. It gets really frustrating having to buy an infant car seat, a convertible car seat and then a booster seat before you are finished with the safety car seat business. Well with a 3 in 1 car seat you can avoid all the hassle.
With a 3 in 1 car seat you can still follow American Academy of Pediatricians guidelines on car seat safety while using only one car seat. An all in one car seat can function as both a rear facing car seat, a front facing car seat and a booster car seat all in one.
In this article, I will point out the top rated 3 in 1 car seats to ensure that your child rides in comfort from birth until they are ready for seat belts.
The Best 3 In 1 Car Seats
|Car Seat Brand||Price||Safety Rating||Weight (lbs)||Warranty|
|Graco 4ever All-in-One||4.7 Stars||27.8||One Year|
|Diono Radian RXT All-In-One||4.5 Stars||23||One Year|
|Evenflo Symphony DLX All-In-One||4.4 Stars||23||90 day|
|Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1||$155.00||4.0 Stars||19||Not Indicated|
|Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1||$159.99||4.2 Stars||20.5||One Year|
Why You Need An All In One Car Seat
- While the 3 in 1 convertible car seat will always be more expensive than your regular booster or infant car seat, over the long term, they may make more economical sense. Instead of buying three seats, you can just use one until the child is old enough for seat belts
- A These car seats come with significantly higher weight and height limits in both the front facing and rear facing positions. This means the child will stay in the recommended rear facing mode for longer keeping them safer.
- Instead of buying and familiarizing yourself and the child with a new seat every few months or years, the all in one car seat allows you and the child to enjoy a seat you are familiar with from birth until they are 12 years old.
Factors to Consider When Buying a 3 in 1 Car Seat
With so many choices of 3 in one car seats, selecting the best one for your kid may not be an easy task. The good thing is that once you select the seat you have a booster, forward facing toddler seat and infant seat all in one.
The following are some of the most important considerations when buying all in one car seats:
- Weight, Size, and Fit: before you buy that car seat you need to make sure that it is the right size, fit, and weight for your child and vehicle. Given that rear facing is recommended by experts as the safest position, you need to go for an a car seat that can accommodate the child at 20 pounds or more so that they can remain in the rear facing mode for as long as possible.
- Restraint System: Harness systems will generally bet more versatile and safer for your child as compared to the T-bat or older shield restraints. You could also go for five-point harnesses which connect at the kid's shoulders and hips and between the legs as opposed to the three point harnesses that do not have hip connections.
- Check Weight and Size Limits for the Model: Once the child shifts to rear facing they will be safe in a harness if they weight between 18 and 36 kilograms. However, once they weigh more than 80kg you need to shift to a booster or the vehicle safety belt. It is always advisable to find an all in one with a higher weight limit of at least 18 kilograms to ensure the child rides in a harness for as long as possible,
- Given that you are going to be using the seat for a long time, it may be tempting to go a good looking car seat. However, while an attractive car seat is desirable, it is also very important to go for a car seat that is functional and attractive - one that is safe, fits in your small car, and provides comfort for your kid.
How To Install An All In One Car Seat
Maintenance and Use of All in One Car Seats
Regardless of which car seat you decide to go for, to ensure that your kid is safe and comfortable, you have to use it correctly. Read the recommendations and tips offered by safety agencies and most important those of the child safety seat manufacturer.
According to Safecar.gov, rear facing mode is the safest position for your kid to ride in. Once the kid attains the maximum height and weight for the given model you can turn the seat around to forward facing by making use of the harness's maximum wight limit, then when they outgrow that switch to seat belt or booster mode. Switch the child to booster mode when they are approximately 144.76 centimeters or 4 foot 9.
Car seats that come with LATCH connectors are your best bet. These car seats are easier to install thus reducing installation errors and keeping your child safe.
Always ensure that the harness on your rear facing 3 in 1 car seat is below or at the baby's shoulder level, it is snug and not in any way twisted. You can tell that the harness is too loose if you can pinch it away from the child after buckling them in.
If you are using the car seat for travel, ensure that you go for an all in one car seat that is FAA approved. This means one that is narrower than 16 inches so that it can fit on the plane seat.
Given that you will be using the combination car seat for a long time, in some instances for over 10 years, you need to find a car seat that is machine washable, or has resistant colors that will not stain easily.
Top Rated 3 in 1 Car Seats Reviewed
Graco 4ever is the ultimate of car seats, the Holy Grail of a car seat with the ability to perform multi-functions that any parent would love a car seat to.
You can install and use the Graco forever in the forward facing mode, rear facing and turn it into a backless or high back seat.
There are very few seats on the market that can do the job as well as this seat can.
- Top class all in one car seat that can forward face, rear face and be used as both a backless and high back booster seat
- Easy to install and use in most cars including sedans and small cars given that it comes with the option of seat belts or LATCH.
- Comes with six recline positions and a bubble indicator bubble to ensure the safest and most comfortable incline for your kid.
- It comes with an easy to remove machine washable cover meaning that you can keep the seat clean and presentable
- Comes with a 10 year life expiration period making it very cost effective for the price
- Fits both small babies and tall babies relatively well as it has a high height limits that is almost impossible to overgrow
- The harness can be harder to tighten particularly when compared to other Graco car seats
- It is quite a tall car seat and hence it can interfere with visibility on the rear windows depending on your installation settings.
- Does not offer a lockoff device and this may prove problematic if you are used to installing a car seat with seat belts.
One of those car seats that has to be in any type of convertible car seat list of reviews. When it comes to car seat, the Diono RXT is arguably the Swiss Knife for all the things it can do.
Also one of the best car seat if you have several kids as it can fit several in the back of your cars.
Comes with one of the longest expiration periods which means you can use just the one seat until your child switches to seat belts
- Small enough to carry and can be folded and carried like a backpack making it very convenient
- Comes with a steel frame, super grip harness pads, and reinforced sides to offer maximum protection in the instance of a crash
- Can be used in the rear facing mode up to 25 kgs and in the front facing mode until age 6
- The fabric is 100 percent polyester and machine washable. Moreover the colors (plum, lagoon and black) are unlikely to show stains
- You get bang for your back as the Diono also comes with extras such as super grip harness pads and cup holders.
- Comes with a five point harness and easy to adjust straps for easy installation
- It is quite a bulky car seat due to the steel frame
- While it is a narrow car seat its length may be a problem in small cars and may make the driver and passenger feel cramped
- Has only two recline positions and hence may not be the most comfortable car seat depending on the age of the child
One of the top all in one car seats with the highest structural integrity ratings from the Federal Government testing bodies
Also comes with multiple shoulder harness positions and easy to lock and release buckles for ease of installation and optimal safety
It is also quite a looker and would not look out of place in any vehicle interior
- Very easy to install car seat and can be installed using either a seat belt or LATCH
- Comes with the innovative sureLATCH connectors automatically tighten your car seat installation enhancing safety.
- Comes at a medium range price that will not require you to break the bank to get the car seat.
- Has an easy to remove machine washable cover to ensure the inside of your vehicle remains as clean as you would like it to be.
- Padded with E3 foam for enhanced side impact protection for your baby
- The level indicator is only a line and hence may not be as easy to read as compared to other all in one seats
- May b too big for small car seats
- For the tall baby this may not be the best car seat as they may outgrow it at about age 6 or thereabouts.
One of the top multi mode car seats, the Safety 1st Grow & Go 3 in 1 convertible car seat is one of the top child safety seats from one the top baby car seat manufacturers known for excellent safety standards.
As is evident from the name the car seat grows with your child as it can accommodate the kid in the rear facing, forward facing and booster seat mode.
The safety 1st all-in- one convertible car seat is one of the top rated all in one car seats with higher than average structural integrity scores in test conducted by Federal authorities
- While it comes with a 3 position recline for better comfort and safety for your child, it offers up to 7 inches of extra legroom for your passenger
- Comes with harness holders making for easier installation as you do have to fumble around the back of the seat trying to find them
- Has the convenient Quickfit harness that lets you adjust the headrest and harness in one easy step
- Has a machine washable and dryer safe cover which you will definitely be thankful for as the child grows and becomes messier
- Comes with inbuilt cup holders for even more convenience
- Seat belt installation is not that snug and hence you may have to use LATCH instead
- Installation can be quite a chore though checking out the manufacturer's installation video should get you up to speed pretty fast.
The Graco Nautilus is one of the most popular of the new breed of multi stage car seats.
Similar to other car seats in the revolutionary trend of multi mode car seats, you can use this seat in rear facing, forward facing and booster seat mode until the kid is 12 years old.
It is also reasonably priced considering that you will probably use it for over a decade.
- Comes with an inbuilt five point harness system and has been side impact tested to the best rigorous standards for enhanced safety
- Comes with LATCH connectors which makes it an easy car seat to install so that you will not have to worry if you installed it correctly.
- Easily converts to high back and backless booster and can accommodate your kid until they are 12 with no issues whatsoever.
- The Simple Safe Adjust System makes it easy to adjust the headrest and harnesses to ensure the kid rides in optimum comfort
- Has an easy to remove and machine washable cover, and open loop belt guides that make it easy and safe for independent children to buckle themselves in
- My main gripe with this seat is that it does not have a lockoff for seat belt installations, though your child gets to stay in the harnessed mode for longer
- The LATCH connectors are just the basic hook style
Out of all of these five, I quite like the the Graco 4ever as the best 3 in 1 car seat. I think it has the most value and with one of the longest expiration dates, there is nothing better on the market.
Add to that 6 recline positions, ease of installation and the fact that it works well for both infants, toddlers and older children make this choice a no brainer.
The price point is not bad either, particularly if you are looking for a very durable car seat.