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17 Convertible Car Seats With Extended Rear Facing

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics now advises parents to keep toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age two, or until they exceed the height and weight limit for the car seat, which may be well past the second birthday. The reason for the new guidelines? Rear-facing is five times safer than facing forward.

    Most convertible car seats let kids stay rear-facing up to 35 pounds, which will take many kids through the age-2 guideline (check the back of the seat for the specific weight and height limits of your model), but if you want to rear-face longer, you’ll need to choose the right seat. We’ve rounded up car seats with extended rear-facing capability up to 40-45 pounds.

    But, the upper weight limit isn’t the only factor to consider. Seated height (where the child’s bottom sits to the top of the car seat) is also important, because kids should have at least one inch of room between the top of their head and the top of the car seat when rear-facing. And because some kids will shoot past the height limit long before they surpass the weight limit, we’ve also included a few suggestions for car seats that offer more room to grow in seated height, although they have a rear-facing weight limit of 35 pounds.

  • Alisa Baer, M.D., a pediatrician in New York City and nationally certified child passenger safety instructor (who’s also known as The Car Seat Lady), suggests that parents of babies look at where their child falls on the growth charts for weight and height to help predict whether a seat with higher limits is needed. To see where your child hits on the growth curves—and what he’ll likely weigh at 2 or 3 years of age, check out these growth charts from the World Health Organization (birth to 2) and the Centers for Disease Control (2 to 20 years):

    Finally, not all car seats fit all cars equally well, especially when rear-facing. To help determine how a particular car seat will fit in your ride, check out CarSeatData.org, a database of car seat measurements that have been gathered by members of car-seat.org. We’ve used their internal seating heights on all our picks.

  • Amazon.com

    Britax Marathon 70 Convertible Car Seat
    Consistently one of the top-rated convertible car seats on the market, the Britax Marathon 70 is also one of the most expensive—but it may be worth it to you in terms of quality and safety (among other features, it’s got steel bars that stiffen the frame of the seat).

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 40 pounds (If it’s too roomy for your small infant, Britax also sells a foam infant positioning insert, $15)
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 70 pounds
    Height maximum: 49 inches
    Internal seating height: 23.5 inches

    The Britax models Roundabout 55, Marathon 70, Boulevard 70, and Advocate 70 all share the same basic shell. Additionally, all Britax seats have a unique top tether (“Energy-Absorbing Versa-Tether”) that works when the seat is forward- or rear-facing (most tethers are designed to be used forward-facing), and is designed to release slowly in a crash to minimize the movement of the car seat, thus lowering the risk of a head injury child. Note: the Britax Marathon 70 may be simply too big for a smaller car, especially in the rear-facing position.

    Britax Marathon 70  from amazon.com, $223.99

  • Amazon.com

    Sunshine Kids Radian65SL Convertible Car Seat
    A good option for taller kids, the Sunshine Kids Radian65SL comes with a steel alloy frame, aluminum-reinforced sides and protective EPS foam—all of which means excellent side impact protection. It’s a more compact model than some, so parents can fit three across in a mid-size car—although if all three are used rear-facing, there may be quite limited space for the adults in the front seat, especially in compact cars. Additionally, it folds flat for travel and storage, and comes with five shoulder and three buckle positions.

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 40 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 65 pounds
    Height maximum: 53 inches
    Internal seating height: 25.5 inches

    Sunshine Kids Radian65SL from amazon.com, $223.36

  • toysrus.com

    Graco Smart Seat All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
    Only want to buy one car seat? The Graco Smart Seat All-in-One takes kids from 5 to a whopping 100 pounds. First, the seat can be used rear-facing until 40 pounds, then it can be turned forward-facing until 65 pounds, and finally, as a belt-positioning booster up to 100 pounds. The stay-in-car base can be used for both the rear- and forward-facing positions, but not for the booster seat. Additionally, it offers a 6-position adjustable headrest and a 5-position recline. Note: because of the degree of recline at which the seat must be used, it may not fit well rear-facing in many cars.

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 40 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 65 pounds
    Booster seat weight capacity: 100 pounds
    Height maximum: 50 inches
    Rear-facing internal seating height: 23 inches
    Forward-facing internal seating height: 28.5 inches

    Graco Smart Seat from babiesrus.com, $299.99

  • babiesrus.com

    Cosco Scenera 40RF Convertible Car Seat
    The most affordable of round-up, the Cosco Scenera 40RF (different from the Cosco Scenera, which only can be used rear-facing until 35 pounds) offers four harness heights and three buckle locations. Given its lower height and weight capacity, it may be a better choice for smaller children.

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 40 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 40 pounds
    Height maximum: 43 inches
    Internal seating height: 23 inches            

    Cosco Scenera 40RF from babiesrus.com, $64.99

  • Amazon.com

    Orbit Baby Toddler Car Seat
    Orbit Baby’s convertible Toddler Car Seat can be used in a few different configurations in the car: rear-facing on the Orbit Base (not included), rear-facing with the Side Impact Braces (included), or forward-facing with the braces. It includes a sunshade you can also use when the car seat is docked on the stroller base.

    Rear-facing weight range: 15 to 35 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 65 pounds
    Height maximum: 50 inches
    Internal seating height: 25 inches

    Orbit Baby Toddler Car Seat from amazon.com, $360

  • Amazon.com

    Britax Roundabout 55 Convertible Car Seat
    This convertible seat is the entry-level option into the “next generation” line from Britax, but still offers the major safety features, like integrated steel bars and rear- and forward-facing recline, of other seats in the line (among other differences, their “classic convertibles” can only be used rear-facing up to 35 pounds).

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 40 pounds (If it’s too roomy for your small infant, Britax also sells a foam infant positioning insert, $15)
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 55 pounds
    Height maximum: 46 inches
    Internal seating height: 23.5 inches

    Britax Roundabout 55 Convertible Car Seat from amazon.com, $159.99

  • babiesrus.com

    Evenflo Triumph 65 LX Convertible Car Seat
    One of the standout features of the Evenflo Triumph 65 LX is its “Infinite Slide Harness,” which allows parents to adjust the harness without rethreading the straps. It also comes with a removable, washable seat pad, body pillow and infant head pillow.

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 40 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 65 pounds
    Height maximum: 50 inches
    Internal seating height: 23.5 inches (courtesy of car seats measurements database)

    Evenflo Triumph 65 LX from babiesrus.com, $149.99

  • Amazon.com

    Recaro ProRIDE Convertible Car Seat
    The maker of seats for auto companies like BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Honda and Toyota as well as the ones you find in racing cars, Recaro also knows a thing or two about car seat protection. The ProRIDE has an ergonomic shell and the highest weight capacity available today when using a 5-point harness in a convertible car seat.

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 35 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 70 pounds
    Height maximum: 50 inches
    Rear-facing internal seating height: 22.5 inches
    Forward-facing internal seating height: 50 inches

    Recaro ProRIDE from amazon.com, $269

  • Amazon.com

    Sunshine Kids Radian80SL Convertible Car Seat
    This seat from Sunshine Kids is a great option for parents committed to keeping their kids rear-facing for as long as possible, since it’s got the highest rear-facing weight limit on the market at 45 pounds. Additionally, it offers side impact protection, and sits low on the vehicle’s seat, which makes it easy to get kids into it. Like the other Sunshine Kids car seats, it fit three-across in a mid-size car, and folds flat for storage and travel.

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 45 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 80 pounds
    Height maximum: 53 inches
    Internal seating height: 24.25 inches

    Sunshine Kids Radian80SL from amazon.com, $220.29

  • gracobaby.com

    Graco My Ride 65 Convertible Car Seat
    The Graco My Ride 65 is a solid performer in crash tests and available at a moderate price point. It fits well in a variety of vehicles and offers good side impact protection.

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 40 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 65 pounds
    Height maximum: 49 inches
    Internal seating height: 24 inches

    Graco My Ride 65 from amazon.com, $129.99

  • Amazon.com

    The First Years True Fit Recline Convertible Car Seat
    Similar to the First Years True Fit and True Fit Premier (the latter comes equipped with an anti-rebound bar to keep the rear-facing seat from flipping forward in a crash), the True Fit Recline offers an easy-to-adjust, no-rethread harness, and color-coded belt paths for easy installation. It  can also recline either forward- or rear-facing.

    Rear-facing weight range: 15 to 35 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 65 pounds
    Height maximum: 50 inches
    Internal seating height: 19.5 inches to red line/26.5 inches to top of removable headrest

    The First Years True Fit Recline from amazon.com, $199.99

  • Amazon.com

    Britax Advocate 70 CS Convertible Car Seat
    At the top of the Britax line of convertible car seats, the Advocate is similar to the Roundabout Marathon, and Boulevard, offering safety and security for your little one—albeit with a few more safety bells and whistles, like Side Impact Cushion Technology—basically air-filled cushions on the outside to further protect both the child (and possibly any nearby passengers) in a side crash.

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 40 pounds (If it’s too roomy for your small infant, Britax also sells a foam infant positioning insert, $15)
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 70 pounds
    Height maximum: 49 inches
    Internal seating height: 24 inches

    Britax Advocate 70 CS from amazon.com, $295.99

  • Amazon.com

    Safety 1st Complete Air 65 LX Convertible Car Seat
    A great option for taller kids, the Safety 1st Complete Air 65 LX is one of the tallest rear-facing seats available. Through its “QuickFit Harness System,” it allows parents to conveniently adjust the harness height from the front without having to uninstall the car seat. It also offers a 5-position adjustable headrest, a 3-position recline and three crotch strap positions.

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 40 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 65 pounds
    Rear-facing height range: 19 to 40 inches
    Forward-facing height range: 34 to 45 inches
    Internal seating height: 27.5 inches

    Safety 1st Complete Air 65 LX from amazon.com, $189.69

  • buybuybaby.com

    Evenflo Momentum 65 DLX Convertible Car Seat
    The Evenflo Momentum 65 DLX is incredibly easy to install, thanks to its SureLATCH system (only available on the DLX model, not the LX), which is even easier to use than the LATCH system. Additionally, the “Infinite Slide Harness” allows parents to avoid the hassle of rethreading seat straps. Finally, the car seat pad is easily removed (no harness rethreading required) and machine washable.

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 40 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 65 pounds
    Height maximum: 50 inches
    Internal seating height: 24.5 inches   

    Evenflo Momentum 65 DLX from buybuybaby.com, $199.99

  • Amazon.com

    Sunshine Kids RadianXTSL Convertible Car Seat
    In addition to the features of the Radian65SL and Radian80SL, the Sunshine Kids RadianXTSL also offers a height-adjustable headrest and deeper side-impact protection.

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 45 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 80 pounds
    Height maximum: 53 inches
    Internal seating height: 25 inches

    Sunshine Kids RadianXTSL from amazon.com, $274.36

  • Amazon.com

    Britax Boulevard 70 CS Convertible Car Seat
    Like the Marathon and Advocate, the Boulevard 70 CS offers a removable cover with additional height-adjustable side-impact padding and an infant body pillow. And, like its more expensive counterpart, the Advocate, the Boulevard offers True Side Impact Protection and the “Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator.”

    Rear-facing weight range: 5 to 40 pounds (If it’s too roomy for your small infant, Britax also sells a foam infant positioning insert, $15)
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 70 pounds
    Height maximum: 49 inches
    Internal seating height: 24 inches

    Britax Boulevard 70 CS from amazon.com, $263.99

  • Amazon.com

    Britax Marathon Classic Convertible Car Seat
    The Britax Marathon Classic offers a smaller contoured base than the others, allowing it to fit in compact cars its roomier siblings may not be able to. However, it’s not equipped with the integrated steel bars or SafeCell Technology that comes standard with the Roundabout 55, Marathon 70, Boulevard 70 or Advocate 70.

    Rear-facing weight range: 15 to 35 pounds
    Forward-facing weight capacity: 65 pounds
    Height maximum: 49 inches
    Internal seating height: 24.5 inches

    Britax Marathon Classic from amazon.com, $199.99

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