Portable, Convertible Car Seat

Updated on July 02, 2009
L.S. asks from Chicago, IL
18 answers

We're in the market for a new car seat for our 15 month old daughter who is 29.5 inches tall and weighs just over 20 lbs. I'd like to get a convertible seat so we can keep her rear-facing for a little longer.

The only tricky part of this equation is that we don't own a car. We regularly use I Go cars (a car sharing program). So we need a seat that is relatively portable as we generally have to walk at least two blocks to get to the car when we're taking her somewhere. I've seen seats in the airport that have wheels in the base and a handle up top (very much like a wheeled suitcase), but can't seem to find out who makes them. Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

UPDATE 6/30/09:
Thanks, everyone, for your feedback! I've been looking at the Radian and will also look into the car seat back packs.

For those who have expressed concern about keeping her rear-facing, I'm following guidelines recommended by federal safety agencies and Consumer Reports. She is tall but not that heavy and really isn't ready for front facing yet.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much, everyone, for your great advice! We just ordered the Evenflo Triumph Advance (mostly since it was one of Consumer Reports top picks) along with a GoGo Kidz Travelmate - the detachable wheelie thing I'd been seeing in airports. I think between the two we'll be in good shape for a few years.

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N.T.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Lisa, we have the Radian 65. Got it at Target. It's very portable--folds to about a foot wide. Good luck!

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D.B.

answers from Decatur on

I think One Step Ahead sells what you are talking about (with the wheels) in their catalog and online. As for a regular convertible car seat I highly recommend anything from Britax!!

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S.M.

answers from Chicago on

It is best to keep her rear-facing as long as possible and feet touching the seat back is not considered dangerous and is generally not considered a reason to turn a child forward. If you want confirmation, talk to a licensed car seat technician.

We use the Radian 80 which is a super compact and portable convertible car seat. It's a little less compact in the rear facing mode than forward. It's the only 'foldable' car seat I've seen. It is heavy (steel rather than plastic) but has a travel bag that can be worn as a backpack. Essentially, the seat bottom folds up against the back making it flat. In rear facing mode there is an additional plastic part that snaps on to get the angle correct. It can be rear facing up to 35 lbs and forward facing up to 80 lbs (although I've heard that many outgrow it in height before the 80 lb mark). It's made by sunshine kids.

The sit and stroll is the wheeled seat you've seen in the airports. It is widely available as the other replies have noted. It will go up to 30 lbs rear facing and 40 lbs forward facing.

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J.B.

answers from Chicago on

Try the Tote-a-tot system for a transportation system on wheels. Or a sit-n-stroll.

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R.S.

answers from Chicago on

Lisa,

What you've seen is probably a base w/ wheels that attaches to the bottom of your carseat to convert it to an airport stroller. It sounds like it would work well in your situation (assuming you have an elevator!). I know that One Step Ahead sells them -- www.onestepahead.com

They also sell a case for your carseat that has wheels.

We really like our Britax Roundabout -- its not as large as the other Britax carseats and is easy to use.

Best,
R.

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V.G.

answers from Chicago on

Try One Step Ahead website. I have seem those seats in their catalog.

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K.R.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Lisa -
You can find the Sit 'n Stroll on ebay for a lot less than retail ($275) if that's what you're interested in.

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J.P.

answers from Chicago on

I think what you have seen is called a sit and stroll. I am not sure how they are rated in terms of safety. We have a Britax Boulevard and love it. It is safe and very easy to install. You can always buy a Cheeky Monkey Pac Back which is a car seat carrier. You just attach the car seat to it and carry it like a backpack. We use one for traveling and love it. Good luck!

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D.N.

answers from Chicago on

I think what you've seen is a car seat "carrier". I have seen them online though cannot recall where. BRU or maybe Diapers.com might have them. You can also get a number of sites if you google car seat +wheels

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

I believe one step ahead has that kind of car seat. Good Luck!!

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R.K.

answers from Chicago on

The Sit-N-Stroll converts from a car seat to a stroller. My daughter is 4 and we have had one since she was 9 months old. We travel a lot and needed something easy for the airports. It is very easy to use and you can convert it while the child is sitting in it.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Here is the website: http://www.sitnstroll.com/

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D.B.

answers from Chicago on

It's very dangerous to have a child that large rear facing in a car seat. I'm sure her feet touch the back of the seat when the seat is rear facing. If someone ever rear ended you,(#1 cause of accidents) her legs will go right up in to her stomach. This could cause severe internal injuries. Please reconsider and face her forward. She is not ready for a booster but she needs a regular car seat. Go to www.onestepahead.com they have the travel car seat that you are looking for.

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E.B.

answers from Chicago on

Check out One Step Ahead... it is a catalog of all things baby. They have a cart for car seats.... I think it is about $80, but they advertise it for airport use and claim that the cart folds up to fit in an airplane luggage bin and works with most car seats.

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N.T.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Lisa, we have the Radian 65. Got it at Target. It's very portable--folds to about a foot wide. Good luck!

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M.M.

answers from Chicago on

Hi L.

There is a carseat that I swear by. It is convertible, has great safety ratings, and grows with your child until they are out of a car seat/ booster seat completely, so it's the only one you'll ever have to buy. It's called the Alpha Omega Elite. Unlike its pricey comparibles even if you don't shop around, it's still under $200. (If you live near a Big Lots or other kind of close-out store, Marshall's, etc. you may catch it for $100 like I did!) Now for the portable part, you can get a removable add-on for $85, go to www.theportablebaby.com
So in total you'd have a great carseat and a removable wheel base attachment for less than $200! Currently www.babyage.com has the Alpha Omega Elite on sale for $99

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M.P.

answers from Chicago on

Try albeebaby.com. They have the carseat/stroller combo that you are looking for. nOt sure if it can be used rear facing though. Good for you for keeping her rear facing. I cringe when I see babies forward facing! BRU makes a stroller type thing for the car seat too. I don't know which ones are compatible with it it though. Britax seats are supposedly the most user friendly to install which is very important in your situation. You don't want to have to waste too much time taking it in and out.

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T.L.

answers from Chicago on

you can buy a car seat transporter at onestepahead.com

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D.B.

answers from Decatur on

I think One Step Ahead sells what you are talking about (with the wheels) in their catalog and online. As for a regular convertible car seat I highly recommend anything from Britax!!

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