I am sure you will agree with me when I say that having to pick out a new child safety seat whenever your baby outgrows their current one every few months or years sucks.
It gets really frustrating having to trawl through a whole bunch of child safety seats before you are finished with the safety seat business.
In this post, we'll talk about a better solution and list the best 3 in 1 car seats, as well as the best convertible car seats.
These car seats are great because they grow with your child.
"An average of 46% of child seats are misused where misuse refers to incorrectly installation of the child seat that would make the child safety restraint ineffective in a crash - NHTSA"
If you go with the best 3 in one car seat otherwise referred to as a 3 stage child seat you can avoid all the hassle.
With a these safety seats you can still follow American Academy of Pediatricians guidelines on car seat safety while using only one child seat.
In this article, I will point out the best 3 in 1 child safety seats to ensure that your child rides in comfort from birth until they are ready for seat belts.
3 In 1 Car Seats Comparison Table
Grow and Go
Safety 1st Continuum
Best 3 in 1 Car Seats and Reviews
1. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3 in 1 Car Seat
The Safety 1st 3 in 1 car seat is a top quality top multi mode car seat from Safety 1st, a top child safety seat manufacturers known for excellent safety standards
As is evident from the name the car seat grows with your child as it can accommodate the kid in the rear facing, forward facing and booster seat mode.
The safety 1st all-in- one safety seat is the best all in one car seat with higher than average structural integrity scores in test conducted by Federal authorities
2. Graco Slimfit All In One Car Seat
Given that you most likely will be using a three in one car seat for a long time, you may have to install more than one car seat in the car or just have a child seat that does not have too big of a footprint to be an inconvenience
The Graco SlimFit All-in-One Car Seat is the most popular of the new breed of multi stage child safety seats specifically made by Graco to combat this very issue. As its name implies it is made very slim to make for a small footprint
Similar to other car seats in the revolutionary trend of multi mode safety seats, you can use this seat in all three modes until the kid is 12 years old and transitions to seat belts.
It is also the best 3 in 1 convertible seat that is reasonably priced considering that you will probably use it for over a decade.
3. Graco Tranzitions - Best 3-in-1 Harness Booster
The previous 3 and 1 car seats are car seats that could be used from infancy up to the time your child no longer needs the child seat and shifts to seat belts. However, you may be past the infancy stage with your child hence the need for a more advanced stage seat.
While many top seats are good as 3in1 car seats, the Graco Tranzitions stand out as a specialized harness booster seat that you can use from toddlerhood until the child graduates to seat belts.
The 3 in 1 toddler car seat protects your toddler from 22-65 pounds as a harness booster, 30-100 pounds as a high back booster and 40-100 pounds as backless booster.
4. Graco 4ever All-in-One Best 3 in 1 Baby Safety Seat
Otherwise known as an all in one or 4 in 1 car seat the Graco 4Ever is the Swiss knife of car seats that does everything that you would ever want from a car seat.
You can use the Graco 4Ever for up to ten years in four modes that is; as a rear facing infant safety seat, forward facing as a harness booster, high back belt positioning booster, and finally as a backless belt positioning booster.
With nearly 2000 positive and glowing reviews from parents, the Graco combines extended use, ease of use and installation, high safety ratings, convenience and great looks that you will absolutely love
5. Evenflo Tribute LX - Best Affordable 3 in One Child Safety Seat
If you are going to have a car seat for a long time, you want a safety seat that is both safe yet is not very heavy that you will get tired of it before you or your child are done with it
There are many car seats that promise a combination of these features but none comes as close to achieving this great mix as the Evenflo Tribute LX
The Evenflo Tribute LX is a top rated 3 in 1 safety seat with the highest structural integrity ratings from the Federal Government testing bodies and at only 9 pounds is the safest and best lightweight child seat you could buy
Moreover, it also comes at the most affordable prices, yet provides all the conveniences, bells and whistles such as cup holders and LATCH system installation that you would expect from a premium car seat
6. Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
The Graco 4ever is the most preferred convertible seat by parents for a reason. Coming in a modest price, lasting for some of the longest times and offering superior comfort for the child what's not to love
The Graco 4-in-1 car seat can take children right from when they are born and last up to ten years when they are ready to transition to seat belts or harness boosters
The all in one seat provides utmost safety with its proprietary safety features, that provide for easy installation, child safety through multiple recline positions and parent convenience.
To add to all its great features it is also an FAA approved car seat making it great for travel.
7. Britax Marathon - Best Convertible Car Seat for Tall Babies
Made by Britax a company that promises to make juvenile products that go beyond the legal standards of ease of use and safety standards, the Britax Marathon Clicktight can be used as both a rear and forward facing car seat and is a great seat for babies 2+ years old in both traveling modes
To add to a range of safety and convenience features both for the parent and the child, the Britax is the most trusted brand in the market having been made in the USA with American components and standards
But what makes it the best convertible car seat for tall babies is that it comes with seven recline positions and 14 harness positions so that your child can always find a comfortable fit and position at any age
8. Chicco NextFit - Best Lightweight Convertible Car Seat
The Chicco Nextfit convertible car seat is part of the Chicco top rated car seats that include the number one rated Chicco Keyfit infant car seats. Similar to its namesake, it blows it out of the water when it comes to safety, practical design, portability and ease of use and installation
The lightweight safety seat is made for infants from as low as five pounds with an inserts up to toddlers of up to 79 pounds. As such your child could ride in the safer rear facing mode and then transition to the forward facing mode as an older toddler
It is a great car seat that will be a good fit for your car and most importantly for your child given how easy it is to install and the fact that your child will ride comfortably in the seat from infancy to the time they are preschoolers
Given its small size it can fit in most of the best travel system strollers
Factors to Consider When Buying a 3 in 1 Child Seat
The following are some of the most important considerations when buying these types of child seats:
- Weight, Size, and Fit: before you buy that car seat you need to make sure that it is the right size, fit, and weight for your child and vehicle. Given that rear facing is recommended by experts as the safest position, you need to go for an a child safety seat that can accommodate the child at 20 pounds or more so that they can remain in the rear facing mode for as long as possible.
- Restraint System: Harness systems will generally bet more versatile and safer for your child as compared to the T-bat or older shield restraints. You could also go for five-point harnesses which connect at the kid's shoulders and hips and between the legs as opposed to the three point harnesses that do not have hip connections.
- Check Weight and Size Limits for the Model: Once the child shifts to rear facing they will be safe in a harness if they weight between 18 and 36 kilograms. However, once they weigh more than 80kg you need to shift to a booster or the vehicle safety belt. It is always advisable to find one with a higher weight limit of at least 18 kilograms to ensure the child rides in a harness for as long as possible,
- Given that you are going to be using the seat for a long time, it may be tempting to go a good looking car seat. However, while an attractive seat is desirable, it is also very important to go for a safety seat that is functional and attractive - one that is safe, fits in your small car, and provides comfort for your kid.
Why You Need A Three In One Safety Seat
- While the three in one car seat will always be more expensive than your regular child seat, over the long term, they may make more economical sense. Instead of buying three seats, you can just use one until the child is old enough for seat belts
- The best 3-1 car seats come with significantly higher weight and height limits in both the front facing and rear facing positions. This means the child will stay in the recommended rear facing mode for longer keeping them safer.
- Instead of buying and familiarizing yourself and the child with a new seat every few months or years, this type of safety seat allows you and the child to enjoy a seat you are familiar with from birth until they are 12 years old.
How To Install An All In One Baby Car Seat
Maintenance and Use of All in One Car Seats
Regardless of which safety seat you decide to go for, to ensure that your kid is safe and comfortable, you have to use it correctly.
Read the recommendations and tips offered by safety agencies and most important those of the child safety seat manufacturer.
According to Safecar.gov, rear facing mode is the safest position for your kid to ride in.
Once the kid attains the maximum height and weight for the given model you can turn the seat around to forward facing by making use of the harness's maximum wight limit, then when they outgrow that switch to seat belt or booster mode.
Switch the child to booster mode when they are approximately 144.76 centimeters or 4 foot 9.
Child safet seats that come with LATCH connectors are your best bet. These seats are easier to install thus reducing installation errors and keeping your child safe.
Always ensure that the harness on your rear facing 3 in 1 child safety seat is below or at the baby's shoulder level, it is snug and not in any way twisted.
You can tell that the harness is too loose if you can pinch it away from the child after buckling them in.
If you are using the car seat for travel, ensure that you go for the best all in one car seat that is FAA approved. This means one that is narrower than 16 inches so that it can fit on the plane seat.
Given that you will be using the combination car seat for a long time, in some instances for over 10 years, you need to find a child safety seat that is machine washable, or has resistant colors that will not stain easily
What is a Convertible Car Seat?
It is a car seat that can be used in both the forward facing and rear facing mode. Depending on the child seat you buy children ranging from birth to two years may travel in a car seat.
On the other hand, a 3-in-1/combination car seat is a seat which can be converted from the rear facing to forward facing and lastly into a booster seat for children above two years of age.
At What Age Should I Switch to Convertible Car Seats?
Newborn weighing in at less than five pounds and up to two years can be carried in a bucket seat. While there are different weight recommendations for different seats, it is best to keep your child in a bucket seat until they are two years old regardless of weight or height.
3 in 1 car seats and convertible car seats are definitely much better to use, as they can grow with your child. A one-time purchase can go a long way.
The only downside to these long lasting car seats is that you have to clean them very regularly. Kids can be very messy, and you don't want the car seat to end up as a haven for bacteria and germs!