Last Update October 27th, 2016 A rear facing convertible car seat has been found to be the best and safest convertible car seat according to many organization such as Consumer reports and safecar.gov. Many of us do not know when to switch to a convertible car seat given that the carry on carrier seems so convenient. A recent report by Consumer Reports which were carried out in accordance with state laws and new safety guidelines recommends that it is advisable to purchase a convertible car seat by the time your child is one.
Results Favor Rear Facing
According to the results of the study which is the second phase of tests to be done on rear facing infant car seats, many car seats in the market reflect expected levels of compliance with the new rating standards.
The objective of the tests were aimed at determining the capacity of different seats to protect the kid’s head in the instance of a crash. The test is different from that carried out by governmental agencies that do not include tests for car seat safety when the child comes into contact with parts of the seat during a crash. Head injuries are a critical component of safety and hence this report analyzes this aspect in terms of what happens when the child interacts with the back of the seat in a rear facing position.
Consumer Reports crash tested rear facing convertible car seats and infant car seats using a 22 pound dummy in place of a one year infant. Only one seat of the 25 seats tested had the dummy banging their head against the back of the seat. 24 seats were tall enough and had enough room between the child’s head and back of the seat and hence the head never touched the front seat back.
The report also analyzes the seats according to ease of installation and use since as they assert that the even the best baby car seats in 2017 will not be fully effective in protecting your child in a car crash if they are not installed properly.
Implications of the Results
- Height of Car Seat is Critical. It was established that since many rear facing only and infant car seats weigh in at 30-35 pounds a parent may believe that these seats are adequate till the child exceeds that weight range. Nevertheless many children will be taller than those seats before they exceed those weight limits. As such the child should be on a convertible car seat by the time they reach one year to prevent such a scenario.
- There is a Need for one anyhow. A convertible car seat is essential if you are to keep your child rear facing until they attain the age of two. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Consumer Reports recommend children ride in rear facing mode until they are two.
- Best Safety for the child. The results of the report shows than an infant car seat is inferior as compared to a convertible car seat in protecting the head of the child.
- Safety Outweighs the Inconvenience. Most of use feel bad losing the portability and convenience of the infant carrier. However, with a growing child, the portable carrier becomes progressively heavier making it less appealing. The Journal of pediatrics established that letting a baby sleep in an infant car seat outside of the car is dangerous. As such we should not feel bad when we have to wake up the child to take them out of the rear facing seat since this is for their safety.
- Make the Switch ASAP. In order to benefit from greater head protection offered by a convertible car seat it is better to switch to a rear facing convertible car seat at no later an age than one.
A boon about this report is that it does not tell us to buy more seats but rather tells us to buy sooner what we will need further along anyway.
The Britax Marathon Clicktight and the Chicco NextFit were the top rated convertible car seats from the report.
While these are high end convertible car seats that are quite pricey, the report recommends the Cosco Scenera NEXT and the Evenflo Sure Ride as the cheaper best convertible car seats.
To ensure that you have installed your car seat properly, visit safekids.org for car seat checkup events near you.
Check out our comprehensive convertible car seat reviews and comparison chart.
Check out the Consumer Reports Video Tests