Forward facing car seats are the next step after rear facing ones, and that’s why you’re here looking for the best forward facing car seat.
However, you have to remember that a rear facing convertible car seat is up to 5 times safer than forward facing and hence as much as possible try to keep the child in this mode until they have exceeded the height and weight limits of their seats.
Forward facing seats are found under many names. Sometimes they’re called harness-to-booster seats, combination seats, or 3-in-1 or 2-in-1 seats.
You can also find some all-in-one car seats that will grow with your child from when they’re an infant all the way to a school-going child. You don’t need these if your child is already a toddler, since you no longer need all the features.
However, if you’re planning for more kids, it’s worth picking one of these up, especially if you expect your first child to have outgrown the seat completely by the time your second one comes along!
The way these seats work is by using a harness system at first, then having an option to remove the harness and use the car’s seat belt with the seat just remaining as a booster.
Forward-facing car seat weight and size
Forward facing car seats are typically lighter and smaller than convertible car seats. That makes it a huge plus point if you have a smaller car.
However, this is not a blanket rule and you may find some car seats that are actually larger and heavier, so it’s best to know the measurements of you car before buying any seat.
If you’re already happy with your existing convertible car seat, you can certainly stick with it for as long as your child is within the weight capacity of that seat.
Then it’s just a matter of buying a backless booster seat to transition them out of the car seat and into a regular sitting position.
Reasons to Switch to a Forward Facing Child Seat
Contrary to popular opinion, you do not have to purchase a forward facing car seat if you have a safety seat with higher height and weight limits that your child has yet to exceed.
As long as your child is within the height and weight limits of their convertible car seats, you can continue to use it until they are ready for a harnessed seat typically when they are approximately 5 to 7 years of age.
However the following are some reasons to upgrade to a forward facing seat:
- You want to hand down the safety seat to a younger child, while the older child is now ready for forward facing. Most forward facing car seats weight and height limits will allow the kid to use it from between the ages of 7 up to 12 when they would be ready for adult eat belts.
- Many Pre-K kids will usually start rejecting to ride in rear facing and will ask for a booster. A front facing child seat is more upright than the convertible, yet still has the 5 point harness booster seat for over 40 lbs and hence by transitioning your child to these seats you can appease the kid while still keeping them safe.
- Forward facing combination car seats are typically very tall and will usually last until the child no longer needs to use a safety seat. As such by using these seats, you can keep the child harnessed for longer than you would in a normal child seat.
Types of Child Safety Seats You Can Use in Forward Facing
- Convertible Car Seat – Include 3 in 1/all in one child seats and can be turned to forward facing when the child exceeds height and weight limits
- Combination Car Seats with Harness – These are seats that you use with a harness if your child weighs in at between 40 and 90 pounds or without the harness as a booster at between 80 and 120 pounds.
- Forward Facing Only Car Seats – These can be used forward facing with a 5 point harness and can never be used facing the back or as a booster. They are safe for children between 40 and 80 pounds.
Best Forward-Facing (Harness To Booster) Car Seats
Our favorite: Evenflo Big Kid AMP
Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Seat
The Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat is the best forward facing child safety seat that comes with superior safety, quick fit harness, ease of installation, adjustable heights and can be used as a backless and high back booster seat.
Compare the Top 5 Best Front Facing Car Seats
- Evenflo Big Kid High Back
- Graco Nautilus 65
- Cosco Finale DX
- Safety 1st Grow and Go
- Britax Marathon Clicktight
5 Best Forward Facing Car Seats
Evenflo Big Kid AMP
One Hand Adjustable Height
A forward facing car seat is a good seat particularly if you are have finished with the infancy stage of child rearing and now have nowhere to go but forward facing.
A forward facing car seat is always a good investment though finding a top quality one is always a challenge given that many safety seat manufacturers pay too much attention to rear facing at the expense of forward facing.
But with the Evenflo Big Kid Amp, you get to have the best front facing car seat that will not only provide safety, but also comfort to your child and convenience for you.
- Comfortable for those long drives while also a very safe car seat, making it excellent for a growing child. All of this is achieved an energy absorbent liner, adjustable height and back positions.
- The Evenflo Amp booster seat is best known for being the best lightweight forward facing car seat. However it gets even better when the child is older as you can remove the back and convert it into the best backless booster seat to make it even lighter
- You can have the child in the forward facing mode for longer given how the manufacturer makes sure your child is comfortable all through through the six adjustable positions for the different stages of child growth
- The kid especially the infants and toddlers will have easy access to drinks as the car seat comes with integrated cup holders for the water and sippy cup. This also ensures that you will not have a messy car.
- Even if the drinks and food does get onto the car seat, you dont have to worry as you can always remove the car seat pad which is machine washable so that you can get all that grime and dirt out
- The Evenflo toddler car seat also provides the best comfort and safety for your kid with its comfortable and energy absorbent liner that will also come in very handy in the instance of a crash
Safety 1st Grow and Go
Looking for a forward facing car seat that is built to grow, then there is nothing better than the Safety 1st Grow and Go car seat.
A built to grow car seat is a car seat that is adjustable according to the height and weight of the child, making the seat last for an extended period.
The Safety 1st Grow and Go is a rear and forward facing car seat that prides itself as a seat that you can use with your child right from infancy at about 5 pounds until they are toddlers topping out at about 100 pounds.
You can use it in rear facing from 5 pounds to 40 pounds and in forward facing as a harnessed seat from 22 pounds to 65 pounds. You can then remove the harness and transition to belt positioning booster that you can use for up to until the child is 100 pounds.
- The Safety 1st Grow and Go is a great car seat not only for you but also for your toddler given its easy installation which makes taking it in and out of the car easy. It is also very easy for the toddler to buckle and unbuckle themselves into
- As a built to grow car seat the Safety 1st makes it so easy to adjust it for the growing child as it comes with a quick one step adjustment harness that you can do with no fuss when the child outgrows their current heights or weights
- The best car seat for small backseat, the safety first grow and go which has a small profile as compared to other forward facing child safety seats, it provides up to 7 inches more of space when installed in front facing mode
- Dont you just hate dirty seats, they can make your car look really old and ugly. Well never have to worry about grimy seats even if you have sloppy toddlers. The safety seat comes with a machine washable pad that you can always remove for a scrub down when they get dirty
- And on that subject of getting the car seats messy, you can reduce those incidences as the car seat comes with integrated cup holders to prevent any spills of water and drink the kid may need.
Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1
2 in 1 Seat
Is it just me or is it that most forward facing car seats tend to be heavy and quite bulky. Manufacturers tend to think that since the child is older you necessarily need a bigger car seat which can be quite cumbersome in some situations
Not so with the Cosco Finale forward facing seat which is a lightweight and slim car seat that can fit in most small cars. With a weight of only 11 pounds it a great car seat to move from car to car.
Made for toddlers up to 100 pounds, The Cosco Finale is a great 2 in 1 child safety seat that you can use for the 5 point safety harness mode and then transition to belt positioning booster
- The kid enjoys a safe and comfortable ride as the Cosco toddler car seat comes with luxurious fabric. Even better, given that the seat is made for toddlers, it comes with a machine washable pad which you can remove and clean to have your seats spic and span again.
- The small and portable car seat will fit in the back seat of most medium size and small cars making it excellent for you if you have more than two children or have a big family
- You can even get more space with the Finale safety seat as unlike other seats, the cup holders can be removed so that you can have more space in the car
- Rest assured that your kid is riding in utmost safety as the car seat has a Best Bet rating from the IIHS. Moreover it is made according to the best manufacturing standards and materials in the United States
Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster
The Graco company is best known for making excellent car seats that combine safety and comfort and hence the Graco Nautilus 3 in one child safety seat is the best forward facing seat if you are looking for a seat with such qualities.
The Graco safety seat provides highest standards of safety with a 5 point secure harness, and given that it is a 3-in-1 seat it can fit children in rear facing from 27 to 49 inches and from 22 to 65 pounds.
You can then use it in the forward facing position as a belt positioning booster when the kid is between 30 and 100 pounds then convert it into one of the best backless booster seat from 40 to 100 pounds and 40 to 57 inches.
- The Graco Nautilus 65 provides extended period of use given that its high height and weight limits mean that you can use this child car seat from when the child at 20 pounds right up to when they start using it as a booster seat at 120 pounds
- You will love the easy installation through the simply safe adjust harness system which not only makes installation a breeze but also makes it easy to adjust the car seat for proper fit to the child when they outgrow their current settings
- For the child the seat offers excellent comfort and safety through accessories that include a five position headrest, storage compartment for their toys, and 5 position headrest
- For you the seat offers several conveniences that include buckle covers so that your toddler will not unbuckle themselves and an easy to remove machine washable pad for when the seat inevitably becomes dirty
Easy and Safe Installation
Have you ever spent an hour trying to get a child car seat installed, called your husband to push a knee onto it and still could not get it installed the way you wanted. Well, I have and I can tell you it is not a pleasant experience.
In the quest for making car seats that have a snug and secure install many manufacturers usually make one that while it fits right when installed correctly is simply too hard to install the way it is supposed to be .
If you have ever been in such a situation, the solution is the Britax USA Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat made by Britax the foremost manufacturers of child car seats known for exceptional safety standards
The Clicktight comes with a range of safety and convenience features that will aid in the installation and securing of the child seat to ensure that your child is safe and comfortable.
In recognizance of its superior standards of safety the seat won an NHTSA award in 2015 so you can be certain that your kid will ride safely in this forward facing beauty.
- The kid will enjoy the best of safety standards as the Britax has proven to the most robust crash safety seat, surviving the most severe of crashes and keeping the child safe through the energy absorbent shell, steel frame, impact absorbing tether and stage release switches
- The best toddler car seat 2018 provides you and the kid with easy installation offered by the Clicktight innovative technology by Britax. With easily accessible lower LATCH anchors, many parents find the Britax the easiest of all car seats to install
- No need to buy several car seats with this safety seat as it comes with the highest number of adjustable harness positions at nine. Nine positions means that you can adjust the harness as the child grows to give them optimum comfort and fit
- The seat is a great fit in most car as it can work in flat back seats and even in bucket seats of models that include popular models such as the Honda Odyssey, VW Passat and Audi among many others
Installation Tips for Forward Facing Child Seats
As usual you need to read and thoroughly understand the seat manual before you install and use the forward facing safety seat. You need to find a child seat that installs securely in your vehicle and has the most snug fit for your kid.
To Switch a 3-in-1 or Convertible to Forward Facing
- Shift the shoulder straps to the harness guides that are above or at your child’s shoulders. Check your car seat manual since some child safety seats are designed such that the top harness slots have to be employed when using the seat in forward facing.
- Using the instruction in your seat owners manual adjust the recline angle so that it fits the age and model of the vehicle you are using.
- If installing using vehicle seat belt ensure that the belt is locked and tightened snugly and that it passes through the forward facing belt path.
- If you are using LATCH, ensure that the toddler weighs no more than 65 pounds. If the kid weighs more than 65, use seat belts as the LATCH is not strong enough to hold the weight of a child heavier than 65 in the instance of a crash.
- As much as you can use the top tether to anchor the car seat more securely on the vehicle. The tether offers more safety as it prevents the seat from moving too far forward or from side to side in a crash.