Best convertible car seat for tall babies of 2018 & Buying guide
Convertible car seats are a lot different than regular baby seats, for quite a few reasons. Despite this, a lot of parents are still in the dark regarding their benefits and qualities. Buying a car seat for your child is an important decision and there are a lot of factors to consider – especially if your baby is taller than the average boy or girl their size.
We’ve compiled a ton of research on the topic and hope that we can provide enough information for you to make a safe decision regarding your purchase of a convertible car seat. Being tall doesn’t mean your baby can’t be comfortable!
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70
Diono Radian RXT All-In-One
Graco Head Wise 70
Why choose a convertible car seat?
There are a lot of reasons one might consider getting a convertible car seat – finances, long-term planning, comfort, ease of adjustment. Convertible car seats can be easily adjusted to accommodate your baby at most stages of its growth and can even be used for up to ten years, if they have a long enough lifespan.
First off, convertible car seats can be ideal for travelers.
Carrying a regular baby seat with you when you’re trying to get onto a plane is just a bad situation, and is likely to make things uncomfortable for the passenger next to your baby (not that sitting next to a baby, seat or no seat, is ideal for fellow passengers.)
Fortunately, lightweight, foldable convertible seats are a popular alternative to the regular option and can be easily moved, unstrapped, re-strapped, and loaded into different vehicles. Or planes.
If you go on long road trips then having a convertible car seat with you is great because they can adjust into different positions, and some can even be used to either put in a stroller or can be converted into a carrying device so you can walk your baby around.
(Lightweight) convertible car seats are great for families with multiple children.
If you’re going to buy a convertible car seat, you open up a lot of options. If you live in a family or shared housing with different babies then you can all share the same seat, given that no two babies need a ride to the same place at the same time.
Since they’re heavily adjustable they can be used for newborns all the way up through childhood until about twelve years old, if that’s necessary. This prevents the need to buy another baby seat if your child takes longer to grow comfortable with the idea of being in a booster seat or facing frontwards.
Baby seats are for babies. Convertible car seats can accommodate your child as it grows.
Baby seats tend to get outgrown quite quickly; convertible seats do not have this same problem. They generally accommodate a heavier weight and height, which is ideal if you have a tall baby. They can also be adjusted from rear-facing to front-facing units.
If you’re intending to keep the seat around throughout your child’s growth and development, consider the following factors.
- Rear facing limits. Children are often transited from rear-facing seats to front-facing ones too quickly and can become anxious during the process. Especially if you have a tall baby, you’re going to want to consider one with an extended rear-facing height and weight limit. That way you can comfortably seat your child while it grows mentally and physically to the point that it can face the front.
- Front-facing limits. Again, if your child is tall, you’re going to want a seat with an extended front-facing limit. Even children of average height can outgrow their seats before their parents are ready to buy a new one, so extended front-face limits are ideal.
- Expiry dates. Though baby seats don’t go bad like fruit and breed carnivorous baby-hungry flies, they’re made with expiry dates that indicate the period of which you can safely use them. If you’re buying a convertible seat, that means you most likely intend to use it throughout your toddler’s growth, so buying one with a short expiry date isn’t ideal.
- If you decide to have more children then you’ll still be able to use a convertible seat, so consider getting one with a lifespan between eight and twelve years.
- Used car seats should simply not be considered. There are too many safety factors that could be neglected or broken when buying off a friend or local seller, even if they seem trustworthy. It’s always good to buy your baby seats fresh from the manufacturer.
Ensuring that you get the safest product possible
Safety’s important, always. It’s more important when you’re carting a child around in a high-speed vehicle, so you need to make sure that you’re up to speed with baby seat safety protocol before you even consider buying one.
The United States requires that baby seats meet – or go beyond – the requirements for Federal or ASTM Safety Standards. The standards are quite detailed and too complex to get into detail here, but rest assured that if your seat is stamped with a seal of approval for ASTM or federal safety, then you’re putting your baby into good hands. Or onto good cushions.
On top of being certified, they should also be crash tested. NCAP regulates crash testing in the States and if your seat isn’t certified by them then you’re never going to find out how it’ll do in a car crash unless you have one.
Proper installation of your seat is crucial! An estimated 73% of baby seats are installed incorrectly and, believe it or not, correctly installing them reduces the chance of death in an auto accident by up to seventy percent.
If you have to buy a budget car seat, look to make sure it’s going to keep your kid safe. This means:
- Two shoulder straps, two waist straps, and a fifth strap to go between their legs.
- Side impact protection, meaning that there should be an extra layer, or at least extra thick, foam on either side of your baby’s head.
All in all, one of the most important things to do is get your installation process checked by a professional. No parent intentionally wants to uninstall their baby seat wrong, but the shocking statistics indicate that it happens all the time. Getting a professional to overlook your work can easily remedy this. (Be prepared for a bit of embarrassment.)
So what baby seats are suited for my tall toddler?
We’ve sorted through lots and lots of models to find the best ones suitable for tall toddlers. Fortunately, a lot of these models tend to be made for continued use, so they can follow your toddler as it grows into a child and preteen (if you need it for that long) without requiring that you buy a new one.
1. Diono Radian RXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat
Now here’s a beast of a baby seat to start off the competition. The first thing we’ll mention is the exceptional height limits in all setups of this vehicle. The average car seat has a rear facing height limit of 49 inches and a weight limit of around 40 pounds. This beast supports up to 57 inches rear-facing and continues to improve as you adjust it for your toddler’s growth.
There’s an infant seat, a toddler seat, a booster seat and a preschooler seat all combined into this one beautiful unit. That said, the price isn’t cheap, but if you consider how long this is going to last you and your child then you’ll probably be saving money in the long-run.
In its most ‘mature’ form it can support 120 pounds. All these features and you’d figure that this would be a huge seat, but it’s not – you can fit three of them side by side in the average backseat of a car.
- Great extended rear and front facing height limits
- Great weight limits
- Can be adjusted all throughout your child’s growth
- Comfortable and made with great material
- Side-impact protection
- Little bit on the expensive side
2. Diono Rainier
Another Diono seat makes the second entry, and for good reason. It features everything in the previous entry with a bigger weight limit and a different color of material. It’s got the highest rear-facing weight capacity in the industry at fifty pounds.
It’s extremely adjustable, not just for your child’s development but also for their comfort. The headrest adjusts into twelve different positions, there’s a ton of extra side-impact protection and cushioning for comfort in general. On top of that it adds two years to the already-impressive lifespan of the Diono Radian RXT – twelve years, instead of ten.
Of course, this means the price tag’s a bit bigger, but you can also use it for a significantly longer time than the previous contender, making the difference in price negligible.
- Highest rear facing weight capacity in the industry
- Extra side impact protection
- Made for comfort – thick, soft cushioning and adjustable headrests keep your kid comfy
- Has an extremely long lifespan of twelve years
- Adjusts into many different forms to accommodate your growing child
- Even more expensive than the first entry
3. Graco Head Wise 70 Car Seat
“Head Wise” should be a good indication that this seat is suitable for tall children, and that it is. While it may not be as luxuriously accommodating as the prior two entries, it still stands above other competing car seats with a front-facing height limit of 52 inches compared to the average of 40-49.
On top of that, it broke records for the weight capacity and the minimal weight for two different sections: front-facing capacity can reach 70 pounds max, and there’s an unbelievable 4 pounds minimum for rear-facers.
There’s a lot of bonus safety features included.
- LATCH positioning system allows you to easily and safely position the seat comfortably
- Graco’s own Simply Safe Adjust system ensures maximum safety when changing positions or settings
- Their trademark Safety Surround side impact system ensures a maximum of head protection for your child
- This car seat takes safety as its main priority
- It’s certified
- Has a lot of interesting and convenient adjustment contraptions
- Highest front-facing weight capacity in the industry
- Can be converted all through your child’s growth
- Not great for kids who aren’t tall or big
- Takes a bit of finesse to properly install
4. Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat
For those seeking style, this is a great convertible seat that’s compatible with tall children. It comes in a huge variety of different colors so you and your baby can pick out their favorite one.
The height limits are, as required, higher than the average seat, though not by any record-setting significance. The company advertises ‘revolutionary’ side impact protection which makes use of a timed release of air in the chance of a collision.
It’s very adjustable and the mechanisms involved to do so aren’t very complicated. On top of all this it’s a lot cheaper than the other competitors.
- Cheaper than most convertible seats for tall kids
- Has a huge variety of colors
- Easily adjustable
- Despite the instructions a lot of people have difficulty tightening the straps
So which one’s the best?
Budget aside, it looks like the best seat for a tall child is Maxi-Cosi Pria Convertible. It may not be as flashy as some of the other options but the incredible amount of consideration that’s been given to its safety features makes it a sure winner.
It might be a bit more expensive, but when it comes with several trademarked safety systems that you can’t find on models made by other brands, the price becomes almost irrelevant. Plus, it`s cheaper than the first two contenders.
Safety`s not the only concern that the developers of this seat took to heart – they really went all-out in terms of making it adjustable for your baby’s comfort – in all conversions. This means that your child will be comfortable up until the point that it doesn’t need a baby seat anymore.