Do you remember when you were a kid how LONG nearly every car ride felt? We lived maybe 5 miles from the nearest grocery store, but to me, it felt like we were in the car for hours every time that we would go! Lengthy road trips were much worse, especially if I was uncomfortable!
This is why I’ve found it very important to make sure that my kids are comfortable on a long trip and the best way to do that is to make sure they are riding in one of these most comfortable car seats for long trips. It not only helps them power through it (and even sleep through it) but also helps me keep my sanity while I’m in the car with them!
What is a convertible car seat? It is a car seat that serves as both a rear-facing and a forward-facing harness with just a few simple adjustments. Some of them even serve as booster seats. Let’s talk about the convertible car seats that I have found to be the most comfortable ones for my kids.
It’s Important To Have the Most Comfortable Car Seats for Long Trips
“Are we there yet?!” This is the question that you are bound to hear dozens of times from your kids on a road trip, especially if they are uncomfortable. This is one reason why it is important that they have a comfortable car seat for long trips.
In addition to just making the experience more pleasant for them, a comfortable seat could help them relax and sleep during the ride, and can even help keep them from getting car sick! Keep in mind that each child has different preferences. Does your child want something soft or firm? Does your child like extra legroom? Does your child typically get really hot or really cold on car rides? These are all things to consider when choosing their car seat for road trips.
How Car Seats Play A Role In Keeping Toddler Happy On Car Rides
A comfortable car seat is a crucial thing to have for a toddler on long car rides. No one will enjoy a car ride if they are not comfortable. If you start reading reviews for different car seats, you will notice that kids’ entire demeanor in the car will change based on their comfort level in the car seat!
Not only will you want one that is comfy, but also one that is safe. You may even want added features like cup holders to keep your toddler happy. Like adults, when toddlers are comfortable they can relax. A relaxed toddler equals a happy toddler (and happy parents)!
10 Most Comfortable Convertible Car Seat for Long Trips
Let’s compare some of the most popular convertible car seats and their features. Keep in mind that your preferences and your budget will play key factors in determining which seat is best for your child.
Nuna Rava Convertible Car Seat
Features: Simply Secure Installation, an extra 2” of legroom and extra support, energy-absorbing foam pads for added security, steel frame and reinforced belt path, 10 different reclining positions, weighs 27 pounds, the size limit is up to 65 pounds (50 pounds for rear-facing), removable head and body inserts, breathable knit fabric with ventilation panels. When purchased direct, it comes with a 2-year warranty.
Pros: Many reviews say that children were much more comfortable when they switched to this car seat. It is available from many popular retailers. There has been extensive attention to detail and there are a lot of added extras for comfort. It has a 10-year expiration. If you have it in your budget, the consensus seems to be that this car seat is a winner for both comfort and convenience.
Cons: It is definitely more expensive than the others, usually costing around $500. Some reviewers say that it is hard to get into some of the cracks of the seat to thoroughly clean it. It is very heavy which may make it a hassle if you move it from car to car. Because of the size (it is 19” wide), you would not be able to fit 3 seats across, so this may not be a convenient option for growing families.
Features: It has 9 different reclining positions, 9 different headrest positions, a one-pull harness, a level indicator, easy-to-remove fabric, a removable infant insert, and is space-saving. It has cooling, ventilated fabric, a cup holder, and a full recline. When purchased directly, it comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Pros: It’s more affordable than the Nuna Rava, averaging around $350 (and it’s sold at many stores that often have coupons). This is a good choice for kids who run hot, as the fabric is very breathable. It is frequently reviewed as very “plush and soft”. It has an 8-year expiration. It is not very heavy, making it a good option if you move your car seat from one car to another very often.
Cons: This one does not give the child as much legroom as some of the other options. Several reviewers say that the straps are shorter than those on most car seats, making it more difficult to take the child out of the seat. While the high sides may make this seat comfortable, they also make it difficult for children to get in and out on their own.
Features: It includes a newborn travel wedge so that they are properly positioned, it has 6 layers of protection on the sides, it has a removable 2-in-1 padded positioning liner, a steel core frame, and it folds for travel and storage. When purchased directly, it comes with an extra 2 years of warranty and free shipping if you spend over $200. You also get free virtual consultations to help you install it.
Pros: This car seat is more affordable than some, ranging from $250-$400. This is a good choice if you have a compact car or have multiple children. Their website states that 3 of these seats can fit onto one bench. As far as comfort, reviewers say that it is very cushioned and comfortable. The sides fold down to give more seating room. It has an 8-year expiration. It comes in many different color options.
Cons: Because it is so compact, it may not be as comfortable as larger seats. Some reviewers state that it can be a little wobbly and that the fabric is not very durable. It is complicated to install. It may be a little big for newborns. It has a lot of extra parts. The biggest con of this seat seems to be how complicated it is to install and to use.
Features: Anti rebound bar, a visible belt path for secure rear-facing installation, a REACT safety system that absorbs energy from a collision, a steel and magnesium structure, 2 layers of energy-absorbing foam, 3 recline positions, a foam-lined headrest, and it is less than 17” wide.
Pros: It is packed with safety features and is comfortable for kids who prefer something more firm rather than plush. It has a lot of accessories that can be added on such as a travel bag, cup holders, infant inserts, a mat, and a fabric cleaning kit.
It is relatively compact, so some vehicles could have 3 seats across. The fabric is stain-resistant and easy to clean. This car seat has a 9-year expiration date. There are several fabric types that you can choose from. They have an easy-to-use latch so parents don’t have to tighten a strap.
Cons: This car seat is more expensive than most, ranging from $350 to almost $600. It does not include accessories that come with most car seats (such as infant inserts). While this seat is safe, it is not highly ranked for comfort and only has 3 recline positions. Because it sits up very high, if you fly often, this car seat is not ideal.
Britax Marathon ClickTight
Features: 7 reclining positions, a safe and simple ClickTight Installation System, a deep, foam-lined shell, a harness with 14 positions and a 2 position buckle, easy remove cover, full-body protection, SafeCell technology, plush padding, and fabrics for comfort.
Pros: This car seat is more affordable than most, averaging between $250-$300. The plush padding makes it very comfortable. It has 7 reclining positions allowing you to find the most comfortable one for your child. This car seat has very generous size limits (up to 65 pounds). It has a 10-year expiration.
Cons: According to reviews, the harness gets very stiff and hard to adjust over time. They also say that lighter children are comfortable but heavier children may not be as comfortable because the padding wears down quickly. These are very heavy and may not be ideal for preemies or infants.
Features: 5 point safety harness, converts from rear to forward-facing, 15 different head and neck positions, 9 reclining positions with a quick push adjuster, color-coded belt path, easy-read indicators, Click Tight Technology for easy installation, ventilated mesh for airflow, reinforced steel frame, two cup holders, can be used in an airplane, 1-year limited warranty if purchased direct.
Pros: It is more affordable than some and can be found at many major retailers. The ventilated mesh fabric makes it cooler and will help keep your child from sweating. Reviewers say that it is long-lasting. The materials are softer and have more cushion than most car seats. It offers more foot room than most car seats.
Cons: It is very heavy, which makes it difficult if you move the seat from car to car. The cup holders are attached but may be hard to reach for smaller children.
Features: 4 seating positions, a safe adjust harness system, an easy to remove cover, 10 headrest positions, a 5-point adjustable harness system, a storage compartment for unused harnesses, a 10 position headrest, 6 reclining positions, steel-reinforced frame, energy-absorbing foam, 2 cup holders, 1-year limited warranty if purchased direct.
Pros: It is an affordable option, ranging anywhere from $225-$250. The cover can be removed and cleaned without taking out the seat. Thousands of 5-star reviews. It is durable and reliable. Reviewers give it very high ratings in the category of comfort, stating that after switching to this from other car seats, their children no longer complain about being uncomfortable.
Cons: Some state that because the range is so large (infants up to 10 years old), they don’t feel safe using this seat. Many features have to be purchased separately from the seat.
Cosco MightyFit LX Convertible Car Seat
Features: Made for children from 5-65 pounds, compact, will fit 3 across in most vehicles, Side Impact Protection, 5 point harness with 5 heights and 3 buckle locations, plush padding for extra comfort, easy to clean fabric, certified for use on airplanes,
Pros: Budget-friendly (under $100), reviewers say that it is very plush and comfortable, it has more padding than both car seats. It is very lightweight. It looks like some other car seats that are more expensive.
Cons: Difficult to install, reviewers state that it is bulky in a compact car, cup holders pop off easily, it does not last long without breaking. It can be difficult to adjust it into the proper position. There are multiple reviews stating that they received their car seat without the cup holders and they took months to receive.
Evenflo Sonus Convertible Car Seat
Features: Compact base that can fit in most cars, a wide seat for comfort, ventilated back for airflow, soft harness covers, head and body pillows for extra support, 6 different harness strap positions, easy to wash pads, removable cup holders, 90-day limited warranty.
Pros: Budget-friendly – under $200. Highly rated in the comfort category. Easy to assemble and install. Compact base yet wide enough seat for comfort. The headrest is very cushioned and easily adjustable. It has ventilated fabric to keep your child cool.
Cons: Several reviews say that it is wobbly, even when tightly secured. Some children have trouble fitting the straps around them when they are over the age of 2. The straps are difficult to fasten. The distance between the straps is a little wide, meaning this seat may not be ideal for smaller infants.
Features: Deep side wings for impact protection, premium cushion, 5 position shoulder height adjustment, 3 position crotch buckle adjustment, lightweight shell, easy to wash cover, 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty when purchased directly.
Pros: Soft fabric and a lot of soft, plush padding for comfort. A lot of head support. Simple to install and comes with very detailed, easy-to-follow instructions.
Cons: The recline can be too far back for some toddlers to feel comfortable, it takes up a lot of room when rear-facing, straps get easily twisted.
What to Look For When Purchasing a Car Seat
Is it nicely padded?
You want to make sure that the car seat that you choose has some padding, even if your child likes something more firm, no one wants to sit on something that feels like hard plastic.
Does it recline?
Every car seat that I listed has a reclining feature, but the main thing to look at is how adjustable is it? Keep in mind that this seat, being convertible, should fit both an infant and a toddler. Does it have enough reclining options to offer flexibility?
Is the fabric ventilated?
Car seats in the summer can make for a very sweaty kid. If your kid is hot-natured, you’ll want one that is well ventilated or wicking. This will help keep your child cool, especially on long drives.
Does it have cup holders?
This isn’t an important feature for everyone, but I promise that it will make your life much easier if your child can have their cup beside them and you don’t have to keep handing it to them. This is also handy for snack cups and even for small toys that will keep them entertained. If you want some that are easy to clean, look for detachable cup holders.
Does the car seat give your child room to grow?
Legroom will be very important as your child grows. You will also want to consider how wide the seating area is, and how adjustable the straps and harnesses are. They may be ideal for an infant, but will your toddler have enough space to be comfortable?
Overall, the best choice for you depends on your child and your budget. Think about if your child runs hot or cold if they would prefer cup holders, if they would like something more cushioned or more firm, etc. The above options all have their pros and cons, but you will be able to find one that is both comfortable for your child and that is within your budget.
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