If you have been doing any research for a baby seat for your kid, you must have run into research asserting that rear facing is the best position for your child when traveling.
“According to the AAP child seat safety guidelines, you need to keep your child in the rear facing convertible safety seat until they are aged at least two years.”
BMJ (British Medical Journal) even went as far as advocating the use of extended rear facing car seats until the child was four years old.
In fact most states in the US, the UK, and Canada have rear facing car seat laws 2018 on the same.
While nobody plans to get into a car accident, accidents fo happen even if you are the most careful of drivers.
The most common yet most dangerous car crash you could get involved in are frontal crashes. What makes these collisions so dangerous is the fact that they usually take place at higher speeds.
Best Rear Facing Car Seat: Graco Extend2Fit
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible
Out of the Rear facing car seats on this review the Graco Extend2Fit is the best child seat with its superior engineering, longer rear facing for infants and older children, machine washable pad, and easy installation with LATCH.
If you are involved in a frontal collision, physics dictates that all passengers and objects in the vehicle will continue moving forward at the same speed until they are held back by either the harness or seat belt.
If they are not wearing a seat belt or harness, they will be stopped by hitting the front of the car or the object in front of them.
If your baby is older, you can check out some of the best 5 point harness booster reviews on our combination car seats page.
While seat belts and harnesses are always recommended for safety, they cause a lot of strain on the parts of the body such as limbs and heads that are held back when the vehicle comes to a sudden stop.
Given that babies bodies are still developing such stress may result in severe or even fatal injuries to internal organs, spine and neck particularly if they are strapped in the front facing position.
That is why you need to use a rear facing seat as it ensures that there is minimal strain on the baby’s body given that the child will not be thrown forward in the instance of a crash.
Our 2018 Rating of Rear Facing Convertible Car Seats
Safety 1st Grow and Go
Evenflo Tribute Sport
Disney APT Mouseketeer
Eddie Bauer XRS 65
Why Backward Facing Car Seats are Safer
- Ensure the safety of the child by reducing the movement of the head, which significantly reduces the risk of spine and neck injuries
- Prevent the child from banging into objects and surfaces in the car such as the windows and car doors
- Prevent the child from being hit by collision debris such as glass and other parts of the vehicle, as they are encased in a protective shell
- Distribute the pressure exerted by the safety seat and its restraints during collision to the back which is the strongest part of the baby’s body.
Rear Facing Car Seat Laws and Recommendations
In the recent past, child seat seat safety and issues to do with regulations have been hitting the headlines.
“The most important things to check for when buying a safety seat for your kid is to make sure that the child seat is appropriate to their age group. The best ways if ensuring this is buying an all-in-one car seat.”
According to recommendations by government bodies such as the NHTSA, children need to use a convertible car seat or booster until they are age 12 or until they are 4ft 5 inches.
You then have to make certain that the child safety seat is a good fit for your vehicle model or type since some models may be a bad fit, either not installing snugly, leaving very little legroom or only allowing one seat in the vehicle.
You also have to decide what safety systems to go for whether it be Familfix or Isofix. These standards are what are known by different names such as LATCH in the US or CanFix in Canada.
The advantage of such systems is that they make for quick and secure installation of the car seat. All you have to do is plug the child seat base into the car and then click and you are done.
I always recommend that you go for car seats that have LATCH as these are usually safer.
Do your homework particularly with regard to crash test results and safety features of the seat before you buy.
If you are going to be making long journeys, it would be important to look at the comfort levels and aspects such as safety in side, frontal and back impact.
Using the above criteria, we narrowed our original list of 10 down to five top rear facing convertible car seats:
- Graco Extend to fit
- Safety 1st Grow and Go
- Evenflo Tribute Sport
- Disney APT Mouseketeer
- Eddie Bauer XRS 65
Rear Facing Convertible Car Seat Installation
Here are the Best Rear Facing Convertible Car Seat of 2018:
Extended Rear Facing Mode
Graco is the most popular, trusted brand when it comes to baby products for travel as it commits itself to rigorous safety standards that result in safe and durable products, even as they are dependable and practical
When it comes to car seats Graco has a wide range of car seats but none is as popular as the The Graco Extend2Fit. The Graco Convertible Car Seat is the top child seat if you just want to buy just one car seat and forget all about child safety seats for several years.
It has all the features of an infant car seat, a convertible, and toddler seat meaning you can use it from infancy until the child is up to about when they are 5 years old without any issues making it the best extended rear facing options available.
But hold up for a minute, just what is extended rear facing
“Extended Rear Facing is the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation to keep your child in the rear facing mode for at least two years. However best practice is to keep the child in rear facing until they outgrow the height and wight limits of their car seats that usually happens when they are about 4 years old”
- The Graco rear facing car seat has the widest limits of any of the range of Graco child safety seats making it an excellent choice to take the child from infancy and for toddlers in the forward facing mode up to 65 pounds
- The kid gets to enjoy the rear facing mode as they grow given that the safety seat comes with a 4 inch extension panel that makes it easy to adjust the heights of the harnesses for proper fit and comfort
- Even as it comes with storage compartments for the toddler’s toys, ti is one of the most compact of car seats as the storage panels can be retracted and will not take up much space even if you are riding in a small car
- You get to enjoy easy one second installation of the Graco through the easy to use LATCH, easy to read level indicators to ensure proper installation and the convenient simply safe harness
- The Graco car seat provides safety and comfort for the infant with its 10 position headrest and 6 position recline to make for the longest rear facing car seat which make it easy to set the most comfortable and safe position for the newborn that may not have the ability to hold up their heads while in their seat
- Safe durable and practical
- best for extended rear facing
- Compact and lightweight
- checkEasy installation with LATCH
- Square cup holders are terrible
The Safety first is made by Safety 1st the company that first came to the limelight with its yellow “Baby on Board” signs that became a must have for parents in 1984. Over the years Safety 1st has made a name for itself for making innovative, safe and practical baby products
The Safety first Grow and go is the best rear facing car seat for small cars given its small profile that makes a very small footprint even in the smallest of vehicles. Despite its small size, the car seat is consistently among the top rated convertible car seats.
These new brand of safety 1st child seats are also three in one car seat made for all three stages of child growth, meaning this is one seat you can use in both the front and rear facing from infancy, toddler, and finally in forward facing
The car seat offers comfort and safety at each stage and there is nothing better on the market for experiencing those firsts with your child
- A built to grow rear facing child safety seat, the Safety first is made for the child starting from infancy in the rear facing mode, and then forward facing mode before turning into a belt positioning booster when they for older toddlers
- If you have always had an issue getting the child in an out of the car or commute often, then you are in luck as the Safety 1st make it easy to get the child in and out of the car seat as the seat comes with harness holders that keep the harnesses open while you unbuckle the child
- You do not have to worry about the safety of the child as the seat has undergone rigorous safety tests and exceeds federal safety standards. Additionally it has a three position recline and a quickfit harness to ensure you always have a safe installation
- The best rear facing car seat for small cars, The Safety 1st will give you up to 7 inches of extra space in the rear facing mode as compared to other car seats allowing you to ride in comfort even as the child is safe.
- small and excellent for small cars
- 3 in 1 car seat
- Easy to install and use
- checkExcellent safety record
- A bit clunky at 18 pounds
Evenflo Tribute Sport – Best Cheap Rear Facing Car Seat
Evenflo Tribute Sport Convertible
4 Harness Positions
The Evenflo brand of car seat is manufactured by Evenflo a company that is has made a name for itself for more than a century for its commitment to safety, well being and development of children in partnership with the parents
While Evenflo has many car seat iterations, the Evenflo Tribute Sport is the cheapest rear facing convertible car seats you can buy having undergone rigorous testing that have proven it one of the more robust child seats.
Moreover, It compact and lightweight making it awesome for the urban mother who may use taxi services like Uber or one that may be moving from car to car a lot.
With several recline and harness positions, your children will stay in the rear facing position for longer keeping them safe
- The Evenflo provides some easy to use adjust with upfront LATCH system which makes installation a breeze even if you are a first time parent or it is your first time using the Evenflo Tribute Sport
- Even coming at the cheapest price for any rear facing car seat you could ever find in the child seat safety market, the safety seat is remarkably safe and comfortable and your child will definitely love riding in this small beauty
- Adjustment of this car seat is a breeze and coupled with the 2 crotch buckle position, this is an excellent car seat for your growing child as you can adjust and give the kid a proper fit without any fuss.
- Given that we are looking for a rear facing car seats that typically cause all the space issues in cars, the Evenflo Tribute is a perfect fit for your small car as it comes with a small footprint that will fit a whole range of cars
- Cheap and safe car seat
- Lightweight and great for urban parent
- Easy installation and adjustment
- checkGreat fit in a small car
- Very basic car seat
The Disney APT toddler car seat is made by Disney Baby a company that only provides safe baby products but also takes pride in the making of an inspirational experience both for the parent or caregiver and the child.
The Disney APT is the best rear facing toddler car seat that is a cute little car seat with pink and white polka dots works great as an infant rear facing car seat from 5 to 40 pounds and even better as a toddler car seat from 22 to 40 pounds in the forward facing mode.
The child seat does provide great safety and comfort through its various conveniences and comfort features including cup holders, harnesses, and LATCH
As a extended car seat it is great for preemies and infants as it can stay rear facing for longer and can be adjusted as the child grows for ultimate comfort and fit
“All infants and toddlers need to ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 2 years old or, preferably, until they attain the highest height and weight limits of their car seats. When infants outgrow their rear-facing–only child seat, a convertible safety seat installed rear facing should be used.”
- It is a cute little fashionable rear facing car seat that will give your toddler a great experience riding in a car seat even as it keeps them safe in the rear and front facing car seat mode
- It is not only about comfort for the baby as the car seat comes with a mouse ear headrest, premium fabrics and passing which provides a heck of comfort on those rides to grandmas house
- The small dimensions of the car seat and its light weight make it very portable if you are a parent that regularly commutes with their child. Moreover given that it is so small it can easily fit in most back seats and leave a lot of leg room for your other passengers
- The Disney APT toddler seat is an affordable seat given the many features on offer and the fact that it is a 2 in 1 car seat makes this a great steal
- Cute fun and fashionable car seat
- Comfortable and safe
- Affordable child seat
- checkSmall and very portable
- The padding is minimal
Eddie Bauer XRS 65 – Smallest Rear Facing Car Seat
FAA Approved and LATCH Equipped
If you have a small car seat you probably know how much of a hassle it can be trying to install some child car seats particularly in the rear facing mode which tends to take up a lot of space, often leading to the passenger in the front seat being cramped up
Well you do not have to experience that anymore with the Eddie Bauer XRS 65, the smallest rear facing car seat on the market. Made by Eddie Bauer a company committed to making it possible for anyone to experience adventure with no fuss, the Eddie Bauer is one car seat that you will enjoy being out and about with
For the price, the Eddie Bauer has some very good features and capabilities, making it a very good option if you are short on cash. The 2 in 1 rear facing child seat comes with a compact design, ease of installation, great side impact protection and a dearth of features that you may find in any premium car seat.
- Even as the child seat is small it provides most of the best features of other car seats in its class that include a comfortable fit and harnesses that you can adjust as the child grows. For the infant there is the removable infant insert just in case the child is too young to fit in their seat
- The lightweight and compact design of the car means you do not have to worry about it fitting in your small car. You can easily fit three child seats in the back seat of practically any car and not have to deal with cramped legs
- The Eddie Bauer XRS 65 is an FAA Approved car seat which makes it not only a great car seat for small cars but also for travel. Given that it is small, light and portable you can very easily transport it across the airport making your whole commute easier.
- The 2 in 1 car seat is easy to install as it comes with LATCH and up front harness adjustment so that you do not have to fiddle with seat belts which can sometimes be quite a hassle
- Comes with good side impact protection
- Both rear and forward facing seat
- Great car seat for travel
- checkCompact and lightweight design
- checkEasy to install and adjust
- Rear facing belt path is not so evident
Best Rear Facing Car Seat: Graco Extend2Fit
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible
Out of the Rear facing car seats on this review the Graco Extend2Fit is the best child safety seat with its superior engineering, longer rear facing for infants and older babies, machine washable pad, and easy installation with LATCH.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rear Facing Car Seats
I thought I should turn my kid to rear facing at a year 20 months?
That recommendation was made in 2002, since 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you keep your child in a rear facing child seat until they are at least two years old or until they attain the maximum weight and height limits of their seat.
When is my child too big for rear facing mode?
The best indicator of when a child is too big for a convertible car seat is to look at the child safety seat manual for the height and weight limits for the given car seat. With most convertible seats, you can have the child in rear facing mode for up to 40 or even 50 pounds. With regard to height, as long as the child’s head is more than an inch below the top of the car seat, you can keep them in the seat.
My kids legs are touching the back of the child seat?
It is perfectly safe for the child’s kid to be pulled up or to touch the back of the car seat. Children at this age have very flexible joints and will not find it uncomfortable to have to bend their legs at the knees when riding in rear facing mode. I am certain you have found your child sleeping in an uncomfortable position on the couch or with their head on their chest with no problem at all, the same applies with their legs.
What if I have a small car?
If you have a small car it should be no problem at all. Rear facing has been shown to work even with small luxury cars such as Porsches. Nonetheless if you have a small car such as a coupe or sedan check out best toddler car seats for small cars that will fit perfectly in your car.
Arent rear facing child seats too expensive?
Rear facing car seats do not have to be expensive, there are many seats that will be perfect in rear facing such as the Evebflo Tribute LX, the Graco My Ride 65 LX, and the Cosco Scenera that you can find online at pocket friendly prices yet keep your child safe in rear facing mode.
My child is already two years old but has not attained the height and weight limits of their seat, should I keep them in rear facing?
It is always advisable to keep the child in the rear facing car seat as long as possible. If the child is to years old and has not attained the maximum height and weight limits of their car seat, you need to keep them in the rear facing mode until they attain the height and weight limits as set out in the manual.
What do I do if my child has exceeded the height and weight limits of the car seat and they are not yet two?
If the child has exceeded the height and weight limits of their current safety seats, you need to move them to a convertible car seat with a higher weight and height limit. However, if you can, you should buy an all in one or 3 in 1 car seat such as the safety 1st Grow and Go, the Evenflo Symphony DLX, or the Graco 4 Ever All in One which you can use in rear and forward facing up to until the child is a toddler.
What if my child hates to ride in rear facing?
Children hate a lot of things and will throw a tantrum for even the most mundane things such as the color of their cereal bowl. Just because they make a scene does not mean that they hate rear facing, maybe they just hate being restrained and just have to get used to it. However, you can make it easier for the kid by talking to them from time to time to assure them of your presence. For toddlers that may find it boring ensure that you install their child seat such that they can look outside the car window and you should have no problems.