Rear Facing Convertible for Small Car?

Updated on March 05, 2010
R.O. asks from Albuquerque, NM
6 answers

My 18lb, 29inch daughter will be 13 months old on Saturday. We are aware of the recommendations to now keep children rear-facing as long as possible and plan to do so. The problem we are having is that we have a small Kia. Since she has outgrown the height limit of her Graco Snugride at 29 inches and our convertible is too large to fit behind the seat in the rear-facing position, does anyone have a good suggestion for a small/trim/less bulky convertible that will work rear-facing for a while? I'm hoping to find a new carseat versus having to buy a new car! I really want to keep her rear facing for as long as possible but it just isn't working with the seat we have.

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answers from San Francisco on

We have the Britax Roundabout, its the smallest/shortest Britax out there and the least expensive of them too. A lot less than a new car. =) Once forward facing they can last in it for a long time. If you go to Babies RUs they have let me take the car seat to my car (with one of the associates) so I could test fit it in the car. That helped me make the decision on what to buy the first time.



answers from Phoenix on

I used the Graco SafeSeat for my kids, which is basically a rear-facing infant carrier that's a little larger and holds babies up to 30 lbs and 32" tall. So, depending on her weight, this should cover you for another several inches of growing. This might not be very cost effective for you, since you'll still need to buy a forward facing seat somewhere down the road...but it sure beats buying a new car!

Here's the link:



answers from Tulsa on

If her feet or head are out of the seat she needs to be turned around. We faced this with my oldest grandson and we got rather chewed out at a carseat check and were given a front facing 5 point harness seat. Her weight isn't distributed equally, if you were in an accident her body weight would not be centered right and she would flip towards the seat and could get really hurt. Call the fire department and ask them where you can get a carseat evaluation and see what the evaluator/person says.



answers from Tucson on

I suggest a Britax Turnabout. It's the smallest model for this brand and you can beat the safety ratings. I bought two of them for my son on Craiglist for $60 and $70. Sometimes they are available for slightly higher prices, but I would recommend this car seat brand over any others. Just make sure the one you pick up is no older than 2006. I bought a '03 or '05 model and the feature to loosen the strap is not a button. Look for one which allows you to loosen the strap with a click of the button. Good luck.



answers from Des Moines on

we have the graco myride. i have had it in numerous vehicles without any space issues smallest was a 98 VW jetta. it sits more upright and the child is deeper in the seat my son is 30lbs and 34inches and still doing very well rear facing! the my ride looks huge but i was surprised at how compact it seemed in the car. you could always try it and return it buy the seat (whatever you choose) install it in the parking lot and if it doesn't work take it back right away!


answers from Minneapolis on

I would suggest you try and install the seat more upright. What convertible do you have that you are trying to install? The 45 degree angle is for babies, but since your daughter is older, she can have her seat installed as upright as 35 degrees. That will give you alot more room to install the seat. Also if you can fit an infant seat in the car, you can get a convertible in as they don't take up as much room since you can install them more upright.

If I can fit a rear facing Britax Marathon in the back seat of a chevy Aveo subcompact without having to adjust the front seat at all, I'm sure you can get your convertible into the back seat!

You can have the car seat touching the front seat, as long as its not braced (pushed up against tight) the front seat.

Also you can find a tech at, a CPST to help you install hte seat properly.

Good for you for keeping her rear facing as long as possible! This is a great decision, doing everything you can to keep her as safe as possible!

EDITED TO ADD that while I know the original poster knows Gamma G's answer is wrong, many may not. A rear facing car seat is outgrown when there is less than one inch of hard shell above the childs head, or the child goes over the rear facing weight limit. Feet touching the seat is NOT a problem and no reason to turn a child around as there has never been a documented case of broken legs in a rear facing child. On the contrary, one of the more common forward facing injuries is broken legs.
A rear facing child is 500 times safer in the car than a forward facing child, as in a crash the seat keeps the childs body aligned, the head and neck supported, and the body is cradled into the car seat instead of thrown violently forward.

Rear facing is recommended by every car seat manufacturer, NHTSA, and the AAp recommends children remain rear facing until they reach the limits of their rear facing convertible car seat, or at least 2yrs and 30lbs.

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