Here's my research...in case it helps anyone else...Still trying to figure it out.
Car Seat Recs
The Cosco Scenera® Convertible Car Seat gives you two cars seats in one! Starting as a rear-facing car seat for babies from 5-35 pounds, it easily converts over to a forward-facing seat for children from 22-40 pounds. There are four different harness locations to accommodate your growing child and a 5-point harness system with center front harness adjustment which makes it easy for you to give your little one a snug fit. This car seat also features a removable cup holder which is a handy place to rest a drink or small snack during the ride.
Rear-facing 5-35 lbs.
Forward-facing 22-40 lbs.
5-point harness system with Center Front Adjust
4 harness locations
Removable cup holder
Meets or exceeds Federal and ASTM Safety Standards
True Fit Recline Convertible Car Seat
The First Years Family of Highest-Rated True Fit Convertible Car Seats-Easy for You, Safer for Your Baby!
Looking for a car seat that is easy to install? Did you know if you have a seat that is easier to install there is less of a chance that it will be installed incorrectly? The True Fit Convertible Car Seats have all been awarded high "ease of use" ratings from the National Highway Transportation Administration, NHTSA for short. What does that mean? That after reviewing our seats, our labels, and our instructions it was determined our seats were Easy To Use! The True Fit Rebound (model C670) was awarded Five Stars in both the rear and forward facing modes, the maximum awarded by NHTSA, and our True Fit (model C630) was awarded Four Stars in both the rear- and forward-facing positions. And new to the True Fit of highest-rated car seats is the True Fit Recline (model C650).
Why buy the True Fit convertible seat? Did you know that you can use our seat from 5 to 65 lbs, and during the entire time of use your child will be secured in a 5-point harness. And most Safety Advocates recommend keeping your child in a harness as long as possible! Advocates also recommend keeping your little one rear-facing for as long as possible. We have a removable headrest that really is easy to remove. One finger lifts the release and you are able to pull the headrest off until you need it, usually up to 22lbs. As your infant starts to grow, simply add the headrest back on and you are good to go in the rear-facing position up to 35lbs. And when your infant is ready to watch you drive (at 35 lbs or so) simply make sure that headrest is in place and turn your seat around. And remember, when your child does move to a forward facing position, (around 35 lbs), your child will still be using the 5-point harness.
The C650 model features smaller bottom rails and a flip foot on the bottom---flip it forward for rear-facing installation and flip it back with your move to the forward-facing installation. This seat is fully-lined with EPP foam and has deep side wings that really surround your child.
We have added a center angle indicator in the front of our seat for use when installing in the rear-facing position. This new easy-to-read indicator will help you determine if you have installed your seat correctly. For your infant, it will indicate the advocate-recommended 45-degree angle for installation (without our headrest), and as you keep it rear-facing to 35lbs (with the headrest) you can check for the recommended 35 degree angle for installation.
We have also moved both side LATCH attachments so they are easy to access when you are installing your seat and easy to secure when you remove the seat from your vehicle.
Here's a full list of the True Fit Recline C650 features:
Removable headrest for better rear-facing installation, can be used rear facing with headrest for infants up to 35lbs. Easy-to-read center angle indicator with two position settings Easy adjust, no rethread harness for use to 65lbs Multi-position crotch strap adjustment Easy-off pad, snaps on and off with out rethreading harness Color-coded belt paths for easy installation Built-in lock offs for both rear- and forward-facing installation, external LATCH storage Two-position recline for better installation Deep side wings, side-impact tested to international standards For use with children 5-65lbs and up to 50' tall. Weight: 19lbs.
Graco My Ride™ 70 Convertible Car Seat
My Ride™ 70's extended weight range helps keep your little one secure longer! This seat keeps your child rear-facing until 40lbs. and harnessed forward- facing up to 70lbs. Features such EPS, energy absorbing foam and side-impact tested to harness retention keep baby secure. The dual integrated cup holders, dishwasher safe cup holder inserts, and a reversible infant body support offer features that both parent and child will love.
The American Academy of Pediatricians recommend that children be rear facing until age 2 or until they reach the maximum rear facing height and weight rating for their seat and that child stays harnessed as long as possible
Keeps baby in the rear-facing position up to 40 lbs. Keeps your forward-facing child harnessed up to 70 lbs. Rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed U.S. safety standards Side-impact tested* (*In addition to meeting or exceeding all applicable US safety standards, the My Ride™ 70 has been side impact tested for occupant retention by the harness system.) EPS, energy absorbing foam for effective impact energy management Reversible infant body support keeps your baby comfy and offers two style options LATCH equipped with an easy-to-read level indicator for hassle-free installation 5-point, front-adjust harness helps you get baby in and out Dual cup holders keep drinks within your child’s reach Removable, dishwasher safe cup holder inserts makes cleaning a cinch! Online videos help ensure proper installation.
Weight: 15.8 lbs
Overall Height: 26"
Safety 1st Complete Air 65 Convertible Car Seat
Safety experts agree: Keep children rear-facing longer and keep forward-facing children in harnesses longer. The Complete Air 65 keeps your child well protected through these two separate stages: from 5-40 pounds as a rear-facing infant car seat and from 22-65 pounds as a forward-facing toddler car seat. With Center Front Adjust of the 5-point harness and an easy-adjust headrest, you'll appreciate the convenience features offered by the Complete Air 65 Convertible Car Seat just as much as the added safety.
Rear-facing car seat: 5-40 pounds and 19-40 inches
Forward-facing car seat: 22-65 pounds and 34-52 inches
Air Protect™ Advanced Side Impact Protection: Helps save lives by shielding head and immediately reducing side impact forces through the precise release of air
QuickFit™ Harness System adjusts harness height from the front in one easy step without uninstalling from the car
Harness accommodates children up to 65 pounds
5-position adjustable headrest easily accommodates your growing child
5-point, Center Front Adjust harness
Removable cup holder
Washable seat pad
Rear-facing Weight Range: 5-40 lbs
Rear-facing Height Range: 19"-40"
Forward-facing Weight Range: 22-65 lbs
Forward-facing Height Range: 34"-52"
Side Impact Protection: Air Protect®
Center Front Adjust Harness: Yes
Airplane Ready: Yes
LATCH Equipped: Yes
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H in Inches): 21.3 x 18.0 x 27.0
Carton Weight (lbs): 19.5
Carton Dimensions (L x W x H in Inches): 19.0 x 20.7 x 29.0
The Radian®GTX is available exclusively at authorized juveline retail outlets only (not online). The Radian®GTX is a highly versatile car seat that could be the only seat you’ll ever need. It comfortably seats rear-facing children from 5-45 lbs, forward-facing children from 20-80 lbs in 5-point harness, then converts to a booster for children up to 120 lbs. It’s built for strength and safety with a steel alloy frame, reinforced sidewalls, adjustable head support and our patented SafeStop® energy absorbing harness. EPS foam surrounds the child's head and body to provide complete side impact protection. Our unique SuperLATCH™ system makes installation easy. The Radian®GTX is NCAP crash tested, the industry benchmark for verifying child seat performance in severe accident conditions, and the only car seat rated for LATCH use with a child up to 80 lbs. The Radian®GTX sits low on a vehicle seat for easy child boarding, features memory foam padding and infant support pillows. Expandable sides and a longer seat bottom provide extra room and comfort for your growing child. Two cup holders are included, with the option to add up to 4 cup holders. In addition to all this versatility, it folds flat for travel and storage, has a 10 year life Warranty, has a FREE full-size waterproof undermat for complete protection and offers amazing safety, comfort and convenience your child won’t outgrow.
Rear-facing: 5 - 45 lb Forward-facing: 20 - 80 lbs (and up to 57") in a 5-point harness Booster to 120 lbs Steel alloy frame and aluminum reinforced sides FREE full-size waterproof undermat for complete protection PureFab™ stain resistant fabrics SafeStop® energy absorbing harness Adjustable head support, reinforced for complete side impact safety Energy absorbing EPS foam panels on all sides Rear-facing tether capability LATCH installation up to 80 lb child Deluxe infant support cushions Memory foam padding for superior comfort 5 shoulder and 3 buckle positions for custom fit Expandable sides and longer seat bottom for leg support and comfort 12 height positions for adjustable head support 2 recline positions in forward-facing mode Sits low on vehicle seat for easy child boarding Fits 3 across in a mid-size vehicle and offers more shoulder space Add up to 4 cup holders (2 included) Folds flat for travel and storage Rubber bottom grips for no-slip installation 10 year life
Rear-facing: 5 - 45 lb
Forward-facing: 20 - 80 lbs (and up to 57") in a 5-point harness
Booster to 120 lbs
Steel alloy frame and aluminum reinforced sides
FREE full-size waterproof undermat for complete protection
PureFab™ stain resistant fabrics
SafeStop® energy absorbing harness
Adjustable head support, reinforced for complete side impact safety
Energy absorbing EPS foam panels on all sides
Rear-facing tether capability
LATCH installation up to 80 lb child
Deluxe infant support cushions
Memory foam padding for superior comfort
5 shoulder and 3 buckle positions for custom fit
Expandable sides and longer seat bottom for leg support and comfort
12 height positions for adjustable head support
2 recline positions in forward-facing mode
Sits low on vehicle seat for easy child boarding
Fits 3 across in a mid-size vehicle and offers more shoulder space
Add up to 4 cup holders (2 included)
Folds flat for travel and storage
Rubber bottom grips for no-slip installation
10 year life
Care: Machine wash and dry
Open: 28.5" H x 17" W x 16" D
Folded: 28.5" H x 17" W x 10" D
Weight with base: 28 lbs
Consumer Search Reviews:
Britax Marathon 70
*Est. $290Compare Prices
Best convertible car seat
The Britax Marathon 70 has some of the highest safety scores of any car seat on the market. In part, that's because it includes features such as steel bars to stiffen the frame and internal SafeCells designed to collapse and lower the seat's center of gravity to keep it stationary during a crash. Convenience features include the ability to change the harness height without rethreading the straps, a big plus for parents. Because of its high weight limits (40 pounds rear-facing, 70 pounds front-facing), you'll likely be able to use this car seat longer than you would other models. The downside is this car seat's bulk and heft, which may make it a tight fit for small cars
Graco My Ride 65
*Est. $140Compare Prices
Best convertible car seat under $150
The Graco My Ride 65 is an inexpensive convertible car seat that will take your child from infancy to childhood. It ranks as highly as more expensive models in independent crash tests despite using only the seat LATCH anchors -- it lacks a rear anchor. It offers side impact protection with foam padding. The seat includes a removable insert for a snug fit for infants. Despite the fact that the harness re-thread is in the back, the majority of parents and reviewers find the My Ride relatively easy to install and use. It also comes with built-in cup holders. Unlike most inexpensive car seats, the Graco My Ride 65 accommodates children at the upper end of the weight/height limit -- up to 65 pounds and 50 inches -- making it one that will last.
Diono Radian RXT
*Est. $340Compare Prices
Compact car seat
The Diono RadianRXT gets top reviews from consumers looking for a compact convertible car seat that will accommodate larger children. The Diono RadianRXT uses a steel frame instead of plastic, allowing the seat to maintain a narrower build without sacrificing protection. The slimmer design of 17-inches wide allows parents to fit three of these seats in one row in most sedans. What distinguishes this seat from many others is its ability to carry larger infants and toddlers in the rear-facing position (up to 45 pounds) and larger toddlers and children in the forward-facing position (up to 80 pounds) in a five-point safety harness. After the 80-pound weight limit has been reached, the Diono RadianRXT converts into a booster seat. Another plus is that this car seat folds for travel. However, the seat itself weighs 23 pounds, making it too heavy for many parents to carry around in subways and airports. While the RadianRXT hasn't been around long enough to be reviewed by the experts, its crash test ratings are as high as its predecessors, the Diono Radian 65SL and 80SL
Best Convertible Car Seats: Runners Up
Britax Boulevard 70 *Est. $320
13 picks including: About.com, Amazon.com…
Britax Roundabout 55 *Est. $200
11 picks including: About.com, Amazon.com…
Cosco Scenera *Est. $55
9 picks including: About.com, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration…
Britax Boulevard 70 CS *Est. $340
9 picks by top review sites.
Britax Advocate 70 CS *Est. $380
8 picks including: Amazon.com, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration…
Combi Coccoro *Est. $200
7 picks including: Amazon.com, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration…
The First Years True Fit Premier *Est. $240
7 picks including: About.com, Amazon.com…
Graco Comfort Sport *Est. $90
5 picks including: Amazon.com, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration…
Safety 1st OnSide onSide Air *Est. $80
5 picks including: Amazon.com, Baby Bargains…
First Years True Fit Recline *Est. $170
4 picks by top review sites.
Evenflo Momentum 65 DLX and LX *Est. $140
4 picks by top review sites.
Evenflo Triumph Advance LX Discontinued
3 picks including: Amazon.com, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration…
Evenflo Triumph 65 Discontinued
3 picks including: CarSeatData.Org, Target.com…
Safety 1st Complete Air 65 *Est$180
2 picks including: About.com, Amazon.com…