Seeking Reccomendations for a Good Rear Facing Car Seat for a Big Baby

Updated on May 07, 2008
C.M. asks from Phoenixville, PA
29 answers

My 5 month old is big for his age (20lbs 28 1/2inches) and is just about to outgrow his infant car seat. Does anyone have reccomendations for a safe, comfortable rear facing car seat for a quickly growing baby?

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M.R.

answers from Philadelphia on

We have the Graco ComfortSport and it's great. Cheap, good, goes to 40 pounds (I wouldn't pay a lot more for a seat that goes higher, the booster seats are really cheap and probably more appealing to an older kid), easy to install. Oh, and the straps are super easy to adjust.

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N.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi C.. You should be able to use any convertable car seat. They are forward facing and rear facing. I just switched my 12 month old to one and she is 20lbs as well. Most of these seats accomodate children up to 40lbs and they can be gotten anywhere.

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A.S.

answers from Allentown on

We bought the Britax Marathons after much research. They went rear facing at 6 months and then are forward facing up to 65 pounds! This will likely be the last seat we have to buy. A good friend, who is very particular about her seats just bought a Nautilus and absolutely loves that, too. They are middle of the road as far as cost, but worth every penny for the years you will get out of them.

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A.F.

answers from Allentown on

Evenflo Triumph! We love ours. It is not too big, very comfy and not very expensive. Best of all worlds. You don't need to break the bank to get a good seat.

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K.N.

answers from Philadelphia on

I was very happy with the britax roundabout...can use up to 40 pounds. We just purchased the britax regent which is the 5 pt booster

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S.K.

answers from Philadelphia on

I love my Evenflo Triumph too.

I got one when my daughter was a baby & we replaced it w/ a brand new one (which had improved even more!) after an accident (which she wasn't in, thank God!).

It is in the top 5 recommendations by Consumer Reports, 3 I think.

Rear facing to 35 lbs & forward to 50 I think?
http://www.evenflo.com/Homepage/ProductList/tabid/203/nav...

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H.W.

answers from Philadelphia on

Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat. My sister loves this seat so much that 3 of her 4 children used one. I will be buying one in the near future. It is reasonably priced and comes in a variety of colors. The only seat that seemed to get better reviews is the Britax.

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L.G.

answers from Philadelphia on

I have used the Evenflo Triumph 5 (the name is slightly different now) for both my kids. It goes up to 50 lbs forward facing and I think 35 rear facing. It is easy to use and very safe. I recently got the updated version because we were rear-ended and I had to replace the seat (per manufacturers recomendation). I was very impressed by Evenflo who asked me all kinds of questions about how the seat was installed and the crash and my sons size and postion in the car. I felt they really wanted to make a great product. It was also top rated by consumer reports. I just remembered the new name. The seat was called the Evenflo Triumph 5 and is now called the Evenflo Triumph Advance. It is even easier to use and now rated above the Britax--cheaper too. The old version went to 40lbs forward facing but the new one goes to 50 lbs forward facing.

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K.D.

answers from Philadelphia on

My son was the same way, at 4 1/2 months he had outgrown his infant car seat! Thankfully his growth has become more stable now! :) After a lot of research we bought him the Evenflo Triumph. I love this seat and he does too. One of the things that I absolutely love about it is there is a flap where he sits that I can lift up and get to the seatbelt underneath to help me in the tightening of it for installation. This is a huge bonus for me b/c my husband in military and gone all the time. The one big downside of it that I didn't think was a big deal at the time I bought it is that the weight limit is 40 lbs. My son is almost 3 and close to the limit so I will be buying a new seat in the near future. Another good option for car seats is the Britax line. All of their seats are awesome but much more pricey. Good luck with your search!

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D.P.

answers from Philadelphia on

Graco has a great line of rear facing, infant carseat/carrier called the Safe Seat which is designed to carry infants up to 30lbs and 32" tall. There are also all kinds of convertable carseats that you can consider that are out on the market, most of which will allow an infant to be rear facing up to 35lbs and 34" tall. It is all a matter of what you're preference is. Do you want to purchase a carseat that is only rear facing or are you willing to by one that you can also use forward facing. some recomendatins of the convertable seats that I believe are great seats and can be used beyond his first year would be Evenflo's Triumph which has an infinte shoulder height, slide system and allows you to keep your baby in the five point harness system up to 50lbs (this seat can be used rare facing up to 35lbs)and sells in the New Castle area starting at $140. Another seat to consider is the Safety First Alpha Omega carseat. It is one seat that serves as three,it is rear facing up to 35lbs, forward facing up to 40lbs and a belt positioning booster seat up to 80 or 100 lbs, depending on which version you buy. And of course there are many other convertible car seats to choose from it just a matter of what you're interested in and what you feel is best for your little angel.

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S.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

The Britax Boulevard! Its the best seat on the market. It is a convertible seat so you can turn it forward when your child turns one, I believe it goes to 65lbs, so you will get a lot of use out of it. The best thing about the seat is that you can raise & lower the shoulder strap w/o taking the seat out of the car. There is a dial on the side that you can turn, so you could change it everyday if you needed to. This is very useful in the winter when bulky clothes become an issue.

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K.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

We bought the MaxiCosi at Babies R Us and love it! I have a friend that swears by the Britax, so you might want to check that one out too. I admit, I got roped into the MaxiCosi after reading about the memory foam padding and all of that, but I can say it's one of the few car seats we saw that would recline with the pull of a lever. And that's huge because our son falls asleep in the car all the time. It's so easy to reach back from the front seat, pull the lever and the seat slides into the reclining postion and his head no longer flops around. You should definitely take your son to Babies R Us, because they have a bench where you can try out all of the car seats yourself. You can strap your son in to see how he fits and how easy they are to work. That helped us eliminate some of the car seats we thought we liked, but in reality they weren't as easy to use.

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L.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Don't make the mistake I did...after the infant seat we bought 2 seats (one for each car) and I loved them, but they only went up to 40 lbs. Then I had to buy another at age 3. We now have a Graco Nautilus and we LOVE it. It has a harness that goes up to 65 lbs (safer) and can be used as a booster up to 80 lbs. Good luck!

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H.

answers from Pittsburgh on

The Britax Roudabout is another super seat. The Britax seats are SO easy to work with. After 4 other seats, we wish we would have started with Britax...they are pricy, but they are top quality too.

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A.P.

answers from Allentown on

Wow, C.! That is one chunky monkey you have!!!! Congratulations!
I have one word for you when it comes to carseats---Britax!!!!!! They are hands-down THE BEST car seats available! They are built to last, are easy to install, easy to use correctly, are comfy & stylish AND made in the USA! I'd say that for your son, the best one to get would probably be the Marathon. It will last till he's 65 lbs & has a VERY high rear-facing weight limit.
We started out w/ a Britax Roundabout for our daughter, but the height limits weren't as high & eventually, she outgrew it. (She won't be big enough to be in a booster, weight wise, for a while still!) so we got a Marathon & we love it!!! They are pricey, but you get what you pay for.

If money is VERY tight, you can go to Wal Mart & get a Cosco Scenera for about $45 that has a rear facing limit of 35 lbs. It's not built nearly as well & isn't as cute & has no bells & whistles, but it's a good seat & is very cheap.

Hope that helps some!!!
A.

PS: Remember to get your installation checked since as many as 9 out of 10 seats are improperly installed or used! You can find a [email protected]____.com

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J.Y.

answers from Philadelphia on

We had to move our daughter out of her infant car seat at 7 months. After much research, we bought a Britax Marathon, are extremely happy with our decision. She is now almost 3yrs and still in that seat. We chose it for a combination of what was important to us: SAFETY, weight limit (65lbs), & plushness. The cost of Britax seats are higher, but as someone put it me, save money in other areas but "don't skimp on safety!" If you're ever in an accident, you want the BEST possible seat to protect your child. As I recall, our second choice was the Evenflo Triumph (which got great safety reviews as well), but after looking at it compared to Britax in the stores, I just didn't like it as much.
Good luck!

C., after viewing another poster's sad, but informative youtube video on the importance of a 5-point harness carseat, I feel compelled to add another comment. I previously didn't mention this because I didn't want to be grim.... but, the reason I would NEVER skimp on safety is that I have friend who lost her 14 month daughter in a side-collision car accident. Her little girl was buckled into her car seat at the time, but it was not enough to protect her from the impact. This happened over 15 yrs ago, but my friend is still devastated by such a loss.

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B.L.

answers from Philadelphia on

Get a convertible! Our son got big fast and we had to change seats around the same time. Then, at one year he was turned around like the rest of us. Good luck.

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K.B.

answers from Lancaster on

We have a Britax Marathon convertible. It converts to forward facing for child up to 60 lbs. It's expensive, but a quality seat.
Good luck!

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J.R.

answers from Allentown on

"keep in mind that the cheapest and most expensive seats must meet the exact same safety ratings in order to be sold."

While this is true...it doesn't really tell the whole story.

With my first daughter, due to finances, we had a Cosco convertible seat--easily the cheapest seat on the market at the time. And I routinely cut myself on the sharp plastic when I was installing it. The straps got twisty REALLY easily, and the rear tether was such a PIA to use.

Later I got a Fisher Price Safe Embrace (no longer made, it was at the time the "second favorite" seat for certified techs, with Britax pulling the lead). "Same safety ratings." But it added in energy absorbing foam (the stuff bike helmets are made of) for protection against side impact crashes. Testing in America does not include side impact even though half of all child deaths in crashes are from side impact crashes! European regulations require side impact protection, and all of their seats require energy absorbing foam. The straps were made of the same webbing that vehicle belts are made of...and just did NOT twist. The tether was super easy to use. Built in locking clips (better than the Britax built in clips), so no more fussing with those little "I" clips. Not a sharp edge to be found. The difference in safety provided by this seat was really easy to see.

Another thing on the *mininum* guidelines...American regulations do not require that chest forces be measured in car seat tests. European regulations do. In Europe "overhead shield" style seats are not sold because they create too much chest force. Kids are literally expected to slam against that bar, and may end up with broken ribs, arms, jaws... Similarly, overhead shield seats do not perform as well in side impact crashes as 5 point harness styles do. When I was a certified tech I would tell people to only use overhead shields if it was the only way they were going to properly buckle a child in (because admittedly, they are a tiny bit easier to use than 5 point seats).

Britax seats were originally designed for the European market, so they meet both European and American standards. I don't have any Britax seats because I just can't afford them (my youngest son who is 4 is in an Evenflo Triumph, older three kids are all in boosters). But just because all seats must meet a "minimum" safety threshold does not mean that they are all created equal.

M.H.

answers from Raleigh on

C.,

I too had a child who quickly was outgrowing his car seat as a rear facer. My husband and I wanted something that would work then and would continue to work until he no longer needed a car seat. We found the Eddie Bauer 3-in-1 and LOVE IT!!! We looked into the Britax, but they could only guarantee up to 50 pounds in the seat. So basically, you spent hundreds of dollars on the seat and then have to buy a booster as well! The Eddie Bauer can be used as a rear facing car seat, a front facing car seat, and a booster. It can be changed so many times that your child can actually be 100 pounds and still use the seat! I have to admit that rear facing instillation was a challenge, but we took it to our local police department and had them install it (everyone should to this anyways for the safety factor), and it worked just fine! My son now uses it as his forward facing seat and loves it to this day! There is a cup holder (which will REALLY come in handy as your little guy gets bigger) and there are arm rests that make my son feel like he is a "big boy." We have not used it as a booster yet, but know that that day will come soon enough. It seems to be very comfortable, and my son has no problems being in it for long periods of time (i.e. 9+ hour trips). It costs about $180 (about the same as a lower end Britax), but will last twice as long! Good luck!

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S.P.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi C.

I was in the same situation that you are. My 5 month old outgrew her infant car seat and I was worried about her being so big and outgrowing other convertible car seats. We wound up getting a Britax Boulevard, it holds up to 65lbs forward facing in the 5 point harness. This was the highest weight limit I could find, so I went for it. That being said, other than being "cushier and prettier" than other car seats, I don't find it any easier or more convenient to use. It works as a car seat should, but I don't really know if it's worth all that extra money, other than the obvious weight limit benefit. That being said, after I purchased it I found out Fisher Price markets a car seat, made by Britax, called the Safe Voyage for cheaper and I think the upper weight limit is 55lbs in the 5 point harness. I think I probably would have bought that one if I had found it first because it was significantly cheaper. Just an FYI in general - every car seat being sold must meet the exact same safety standards. NHTSA only provides an ease of use rating (which I am not knocking, becuase an improperly used seat is not at all safe) but keep in mind that the cheapest and most expensive seats must meet the exact same safety ratings in order to be sold.

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L.C.

answers from Scranton on

Hey! I'm currently in the same situation. My 5 month old is also huge and I've been researching car seats like crazy. I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars though, so I think I'm going to go with the Evenflo Tribute. It's about $55 on walmart.com and has great reviews on walmart, target, and amazon.com. Good luck!

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L.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

My son was out of his infant seat early too and we went with the Britax Boulevard model. It goes up to a toddler seat too and has the side protection pads.

I really like it. It is pricey though. I got mine online much cheaper than at Babies R Us.

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A.N.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi C.,

I was in the same boat with my daughter (my 2nd) and had 2 car seats from my son that I HATED b/c the straps twisted so much. I broke down and went for the Britax Brand and while it is very $$$, it is so worth it - I just LOVE this seat! They have different levels - the Roundabout is the 1st one but if your son is growing quickly as my daughter was, I suggest the Marathon. She is 3 and in the 90th percentile for height and weight still, and this car seat still fits her well and she has more room to grow. It is extremely safe, very easy to use (no straps twisting) and clean, and very comfortable for a child - she has the best seat in the car by far! I tried to justify the cost by thinking it could be passed down to consecutive children - you can always buy a new cover for it down the road. I'm sure there are a bunch of great and roomy seats out there that areen't as hard on the wallet too. I just have experience with this one and haven't had any problems. Also try looking online -sometimes websites offer a discount for ones they are discontinuing b/c they are doing away with that pattern or color (cover) and will ship free and you can get a better deal. Good luck!

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D.K.

answers from Philadelphia on

Britax Boulevard or Marathon...they're a bit expensive but well worth it...our son was the same size as your child at that age and he loves it (he's now 7 1/2 months) (we have the Britax Boulevard)

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S.M.

answers from Philadelphia on

We purchased a Britax Boulevard for our daughter and have used it since birth. I could not be more pleased with this seat. It's super easy to install with the latch system. DD is now 7 months old and 17.5 lbs and has tons of room to grow in it. The day I purchased it, we had my friend's 2 year old (maybe 30 lbs) in it and she also had tons of room.

I've had it in and out of several rental cars with no problems. We've had one blowout so far in the carseat and it wiped up clean with no problem (with Nature's Miracle) and the cover is machine washable. Britax also offers replacement parts through their website for almost everything on the seat - if needed.

One of the things I like most about this seat is that the shoulder harness adjust from 10-17 inches on a continuous slide system. You don't have to worry about which slot is a better fit and moving the harness. All you do is loosen the straps (exactly like you do every time you put them in or out) and then turn a dial to move the straps up or down for the best fit to your child.

Here's the product information from the website, www.britaxusa.com:

The Britax Boulevard® car seat features True Side Impact Protection™ with deep side walls and head support to provide advanced protection in side impact collisions. The easy-turn knob quickly adjusts the headrest and harness height without having to uninstall the seat. Higher forward-facing weight capacity allows children to remain harnessed up to 65 pounds. The tangle-free, five-point harness ensures a snug and secure fit. Premium push-button LATCH connectors provide a quick, simple and tight installation. Unique features include the patented Versa-Tether® for energy management, and rear- and forward-facing recline for child comfort and a body pillow for positioning. The Boulevard fits children rear facing from five to 33 or 35 pounds and children forward facing from at least one year old and 20 pounds, up to 65 pounds. The Boulevard is made in the USA with U.S. and global components.

It is a pricey seat at about $300, but it is worth every penny for our family. I love having a seat that will grow with her until she's ready for a booster seat. We will be getting another Britax when we get to that stage too.

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R.S.

answers from Scranton on

I too have been looking for a larger seat I can keep rear facing for my 7 month-old son to grow with. Through a video my friend sent about a very sad story I am going to be getting the Britax Marathon seat since it is the only seat out there that can be rear facing while going up to a very high weight limit with a 5 point harness. I also found this seat in my trusty "Baby Bargains" book as the top selection for a convertible seat. They are top of the line for safety which is priceless but the fact that they go to such a high weight limit means you can use them longer then most so that. I would especially recommend something like this if your son is growing fast. The only two cons are the price being about $250 and they are larger then some, so if you have a very small car you may have a problem. Hope this helps! I attached the link to the Britax site showing the Marathon seat (they have more options then the cowprint).
http://www.britaxusa.com/products/product_detail.aspx?ID=5

If you are interested here is the video my friend sent, I have to warn you it is very sad but really makes you realize how important a 5 point-harness is!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azgBhZfcqaQ

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J.M.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi C.,

When my son out grew his infant seat, we switched him to the Evenflo Deluxe car seat. It is the "middle" model that Evenflo makes. It got great reviews from consumer reports and will last until your child is 40 lbs or so as it is a convertible seat. My son is 33 months old and is still using it. We love it! It is about $130 at Babies R Us or Toys R Us.

J.

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A.G.

answers from Philadelphia on

Evenflo Triumph seats have the same safety rating as the Britax and are way cheaper. They are a bit bulkier though

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