Memorial Day weekend has arrived and it's time to set summer in motion. ...
Best Cheap Car Seats, Cheap Convertible Car Seats Review
Cheap Car Seats Buying Guide
Rear-facing infant seats are probably the models most often found on new parents' baby shower registries. Many are designed to combine with a stroller, so they can be moved back and forth between the car and the stroller frame or simply carried around while you go about your daily business. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages parents to keep children in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible and the American Academy of Pediatrics revised its policy in 2011 to recommend that children ride facing backward until age two. However, many children outgrow the height and weight limits on rear-facing infant seats before they turn two. That's where a cheap convertible car seat comes in. Convertible models are designed to do double duty by facing either backward or forward, depending on a child's age and weight and on parents' personal safety standards. The weight ranges on most convertible car seats start at about five pounds, making it tempting to buy a convertible seat right away and skip the infant seat entirely. However, government and medical experts caution that convertible car seats are rarely a good fit for newborns.
Convertible car seat prices range from $50 all the way up to the three-digit stratosphere. While you could lay down upward of $200 for a convertible car seat (let's face it -- how do you put a price on your child's safety?) you don't have to spend that much to get a safe car seat. The market is dominated by products from Cosco, Evenflo, Graco, and Safety 1st, all of which offer many good options for less than $100. Beware of models that command higher prices simply for aesthetic appeal and a brand name. Britax is the car seat of choice among parents who are willing to spend more.
Cheap car seats are similar in safety, build, materials, and weight limits and lack the frills found on higher-priced models. Most have a five-point harness, which experts recommend as the safest way to strap a child in. Most cheap car seats also use the LATCH system, which is found in most cars made since 2002 and relies on anchors instead of a seat belt to hold the car seat in place. (LATCH stands for lower anchors and tethers for children.) Additional features to look for when purchasing a cheap car seat include a sturdy, durable body and a removable, washable seat pad. Make sure the seat isn't too big to fit in your car or too heavy to move from car to car. Based on scores of convertible car seat reviews, parents and caregivers appreciate easy installation and comfort. Overall they seem pleased with the value they get for the money they spend on cheap car seats.
The best cheap car seats we found are the Evenflo Titan Elite (starting at $100, Amazon) and the Safety 1st OnSide Air Convertible Car Seat (starting at $64, Amazon), which is capable of keeping young riders facing backward up to 40 pounds. We also like the lightweight yet sturdy Graco ComfortSport (starting at $72, Amazon). All three come with a five-point harness, as well as the LATCH system. One cheap car seat we aren't so fond of is the Eddie Bauer Deluxe Convertible Car Seat (starting at $100, Amazon). It's a bit on the heavy side and gets very poor user reviews.
Best Cheap Car Seats
Evenflo Titan EliteConsumers say the Evenflo Titan Elite is very secure and provides a comfortable ride. It can hold a child up to 50 pounds, exceeding the weight limits of other low-cost convertible car seats by 10 pounds or more. The seat itself weighs 12.7 pounds, comes with a removable and machine-washable seat pad, and uses the LATCH system. The five-point harness offers four shoulder-strap positions and two buckle positions. Read more »
|Not ready to buy?|
Safety 1st OnSide Air Convertible Car SeatThe Safety 1st OnSide Air Convertible Car Seat allows children to remain rear-facing up to 40 pounds, the highest weight limit of any convertible car seat we researched. Kids can also face forward from 22 to 40 pounds. The five-point harness is highly adjustable, with four shoulder-strap positions and three buckle positions. This car seat uses the LATCH system, features washable fabric, and weighs 12.1 pounds. Read more »
|Not ready to buy?|
Good Cheap Car Seat
Graco ComfortSportThe Graco ComfortSport impresses parents with its easy installation and perceived comfort. Weighing in at 12 pounds, it seats children rear-facing up to only 30 pounds and forward-facing from 20 to 40 pounds. It uses a five-point harness with three shoulder-strap positions and the LATCH system for installation. The seat pad is removable and machine washable. Read more »
|Not ready to buy?|
Don't Bother Cheap Convertible Car Seat
Eddie Bauer Deluxe Convertible Car Seat
Installation seems to be a major problem with the Eddie Bauer Deluxe. Consumers gripe that the instructions are complicated and the seat doesn't seem tightly secured. There are also complaints about comfort, with poor head positioning and straps that dig into tiny legs. The five-point harness system is adjustable, although the manufacturer doesn't say how exactly. The seat is equipped with the LATCH system and a removable, washable pad. It's on the heavy side, at 13.8 pounds, but can accommodate rear-facing riders up to 35 pounds, forward-facing passengers from 22 to 40 pounds, and booster-seat riders from 40 to 80 pounds. Read more »
Eddie Bauer Deluxe Convertible Car Seat Review
Graco ComfortSport Review
Evenflo Titan Elite Review
Safety 1st OnSide Air Convertible Car Seat Review
Enjoying the great outdoors can be surprisingly expensive! Take some cues from these eight ways to enjoy frugal camping this summer.
Summertime is almost here and it's time to trade in your spring jacket. Ward off sweat and sunburn with a stylish cheap sun hat!