Best Car Seat

Updated on October 12, 2010
M.W. asks from Elkridge, MD
14 answers

Getting ready to upgrade from infant carseat to something my little girl won't feel so scrunched in. She's only 9 months old so it needs to be one that can face rear and then face front later on. Any suggestions of best models? Would like to stay under $200 but if I Hear an overwhelming response about britax I might change my price ...

Most of you are recommending the britax. My question is what is the best and SMALLEST convertible for a compact car? And the easiest to move from car to car? I really don't want to have to get multiples...

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answers from Provo on

HANDS DOWN A BRITAX. I went onto ebay and got one for $170 with free shipping AND BRAND NEW. Anything britax and you can not go wrong! I love my marathon and can move easily from car to car. If you have any questions about them, you can personal message me.

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answers from Minneapolis on

The best car seat is the one that fits your budget, fits your child, and fits your car. Britax is nice, but their competition has beefed up their seats in the last two years and there are a few now that I prefer over the Marathon, which was my choice seat for 8yrs.

Sunshine Kids Radian (200-$300), Evenflo Triumph Advance ($130), First years TrueFit ($250), Graco MyRide 65 ($150) are all excellent choices that will allow you to rear face your child until at least age 3 adn then forward face until the child can use a booster (at least age 5 and 40lbs). These are all within your budget. If you want a Britax, look for the Britax Roundabout 50, which is the same shell as the Marathon, but harnesses to 50lbs instead of 65 forward facing, and 35ls rear facing. Its $160 at Target and a great seat, plenty of weight for the average child.

The easiest to install would be a Marathon, however moving the car seat daily will be a pain in the rear, I would recommend getting her a good comfortable carseat for the main vehicle and then getting a Cosco Scenera or two for the other vehicle's she's in often. The Scenera is $50 at Wal Mart and it will rear face to 35lbs, forward to 50lbs. ITs a good base model car seat, safe and easy to install, and good for a second vehicle.

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answers from Charleston on

once you know what the best is (Britax, no question), you can't really go back can you? Another $100 or so dollars seems a small price to pay for your child's safety. I always thought, "god forbid I buy the lesser seat and something happens, that $100 dollars I saved will REALLY seem stupid." No pressure--haha! I love our Britax Boulevard--it goes up to 80lbs and is the last seat we'll ever need!

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answers from Seattle on

Britax!! You can easily find one on eBay (make sure it's "new in box" or NIB!), or there's always good deals at babies r us and We got both of ours for around $200. We were in a fatality car accident, my daughter was rear facing in a britax marathon at 13 months old, and was uninjured. We have bought nothing else since! Yes do not get the frontier, you need her backward as long as possible (they now recommend 2years old!). Check britax's website to see which seat you want, then search for the best price on the three websites I mentioned. The marathon forward faces to 65lbs, my big 5.5 year old still fits in it! The marathon is super easy to install, and not small but should fit. Babies r us and several other stores will let you try the seat IN your car first.

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answers from Washington DC on

the britax roundabout is a little smaller and less expensive than the other britax models and it fit great in my tiny volvo s40. when my daughter needed a bigger seat i bought a britax frontier with which i was not at all impressed. i ended up giving it away a purchasing a recaro child seat (not booster) which goes to some ridiculous height and weight and feels incredibly safe but it is a little tall for my car. anyway, still would have purchased the roundabout first. i loved that carseat.

oh, and danica's post wasn't completely accurate. the ratings are often for ease of use which is super important since often when car seats don't work it is because they are installed incorrectly. this is also important for you since you want to move it from car to car.



answers from Detroit on

Britax.... hands down. You won't regret it and it will last you a long time. My daughter is almost 5, and still comfortably in her Britax Boulavard.



answers from Washington DC on

We have used to get the ratings of carseats each time before we have purchased one. We just had to buy two new ones because ours were about to expire and I found that had the best prices out there.

Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

We have the Britax Roundabout and absolutely love it! No complaints at all and our daughter loves riding in it. I believe I used a 20% coupon at Babies R Us and also bought it when they were offering free shipping online, so it was only about $180. It's smaller than the Marathon, which is nice for compact cars, but still a great size. My daughter is 2 1/2 and still fits in it comfortably!



answers from Seattle on

You're definitely right that you want a seat that can rearface (RF), then forward face (FF) - those are traditionally called a convertible seat. You do NOT want a Britax Frontier - they only FF and children should RF until at least age 2 unless they outgrow the seat before that. RF is 5x safer than FF.

If it were me, I'd go with the Graco MyRide - it RF to 40lbs, then FF to 65lbs.

Check out for great info.



answers from San Francisco on

Spend the money on a Britax! You won't regret it and you won't have to ever buy another car seat. Get the Britax Frontier and you can 5 point harness her to 85 pounds and then it turns into a belt positioning booster until 120 pounds. I promise you will love it!



answers from Richmond on

I would go with the Britax Marathon - great Britax quality in a smaller size (and smaller price). Try They frequently have prints that are being discontinued on clearance for A LOT less. I just looked quickly and they are having a sale for at least 20% off. WELL WORTH THE $$$!!!!



answers from Washington DC on

Hi M.,
This is such a tough thing for parents and they want their child to be as safe as possible!
Let me tell you that any car seat is going to have met all safety regulations. When I was having the "best car seat at the time" installed into my car, the police officer installing it told me that there is not a car seat on the market that is not a great car seat. The difference is the bells and whistles. The analogy he used was buying a car. They will all get you from point A to point B, but the Toyota Tercel will cost you a lot less than the Mercedes. Same with car seats..the more expensive ones have more padding for comfort and designs and bells and whistles but are still safe and will protect your beloved child in an accident. Hope this helps! :)



answers from Washington DC on

I like my Eddie Bauer convertible. My first dd used it, and my second went into it as soon as I could get her sister out of it and into a booster. Here's a link to what it generally looks like:

Some models have had recalls on the harnesses and straps for some reason, but not this model. It's a great price too, just over $100 brand new.
It's good up to 100 lbs too. My first dd would still be in it if I didn't have another dd! : )

Good luck.

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