We always hear of reports about a fatal car crash that has taken the lives of not only productive adults but also the lives of very young children whose bright future is yet to be realized. This senseless loss of life can be prevented if only we are able to choose the best car seats for our kids and learn how to use them properly. You see, it is one thing to buy a car seat for kids and it’s an entirely different thing to know how to properly install them.
This is why we have come with a two-part article where we will be sharing with you the result of our extensive research on the top 10 car seats for kids. The second part will examine closely the state of child car safety and how we, as parents, can help secure a safer ride for our children.
10 Best Car Seats for Kids | Review
|Evenflo Sprocket Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat||Evenflo||5|
|Graco Matrix Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster||Graco||4.97|
|Evenflo Saturn Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat||Evenflo||4.9|
|Evenflo Jameson Chase LX Harnessed Booster||Evenflo||4.88|
|Graco Atomic Affix Youth Booster Seat with Latch System||Graco||4.76|
|Disney Mouseketeer Minnie APT Convertible Car Seat||Disney||4.68|
- 1 Sprocket Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat by Evenflo
- 2 Matrix Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster by Graco
- 3 Saturn Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat by Evenflo
- 4 Jameson Chase LX Harnessed Booster by Evenflo
- 5 Atomic AFFIX Youth Booster Seat with Latch System by Graco
- 6 Mouseketeer Minnie APT Convertible Car Seat by Disney
- 7 Windmill High Back Booster by Cosco
- 8 Pierce Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat by Graco
- 9 Thunder Maestro Booster Car Seat by Evenflo
- 10 Coda My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat by Graco
- 11 Children, Car Seats, and Car Safety
1Sprocket Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat by Evenflo
If we didn’t knew, we’d seriously think Evenflo’s Sprocket Big Kid AMP is a kiddie version of a high-end racing seat. At just 8.2 lbs. yet capable of seating children with weights between 30 and 110 lbs. the Sprocket Bik Kid AMP is one serious car booster seat. Here’s the best part – the high back rest can be easily removed so that it functions as a no-back car booster seat. This simply means that your kid’s back will be conveniently resting on your car’s back rest.
The Sprocket Big Kid AMP features a height adjustment mechanism that can be operated with a single hand. It comes with 6 different height levels of adjustment so your kid can actually use it as he or she grows. The booster seat features a thick foam liner that has been designed to absorb impact and compression forces as well as other forms of energy. This can provide for an excellent level of comfort and safety for your child.The seat pad can be removed and machine washed so it will keep on looking clean. It also features 2 molded-in cup and bottle holders on the high grade solid plastic seat frame.
What We Like about It– It’s lightweight and the fact that the high back rest can be removed simply means you can actually bring it along with you in your travels. Besides, the 6-level height adjustment is remarkable. You will never have to buy another kiddie car seat again. The seat also molds in to allow optimum comfort for your traveling kid.
2Matrix Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster by Graco
Graco has always been known for creating high quality kids’ products and the Matrix version of the company’s Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 booster car seat is no exception. In fact, this car seat can be used by kids in 3 different ways – as a forward facing booster car seat, as a high back rest car seat booster, and as a no-backrest or backless car seat booster. Using it on your car means you can configure it any way you like, depending on the size of your kid. The forward facing car seat booster can accommodate a child weighing anywhere between 22 and 65 lbs. while the high back rest car seat booster can conveniently seat a child weighing 30 to 100 lbs. The backless or no-back rest car seat booster is perfect for kids weighing anywhere between 40 and 120 lbs.
Here’s the best part of the Nautilus 65 LX, the height of both the harness and headrest can be easily adjusted with just a click of a button with its Safe Adjust Harness System. This gives your child optimum security as you can easily adjust his or her position relative to the rest of the Matrix Nautilus. It also features a reclining system that allows it to be adjusted in 3 different grades of incline. It has also been tested for side-impact safety and, together with its beautiful armrest, should provide additional comfort and security.
What We Like about It – We love the fact that the Matrix Nautilus can be used in 3 different ways. At the very least your kid will be able to use it as he or she grows. And if you do get the chance to have another child, then he or she, too will be able to use it. The easily adjustable harness is remarkable as well.
3Saturn Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat by Evenflo
The Tribute LX Convertible car seat of Evenflo is a very comfortable car seat for kids. It can be used in two different ways to accommodate your growing young child. In rear facing mode, the Saturn is excellent for providing absolute comfort for young children below 2 years of age or whose height ranges anywhere between 19 and 37 inches or 48 to 94 centimeters. By the time your baby has reached toddlerhood or a height of between 28 and 40 inches or 71 to 102 centimeters, you can then use the Saturn as a forward facing car seat.
Combine this with a fully adjustable shoulder strap position of up to 4 different modes help ensure that the Saturn will be used by your growing kid. It also features a highly accessible harness adjustment as well as buckle release for ease of adjustment. The Saturn Tribute have exceeded all federal safety testing including a very strict side-impact test. In fact, it boasts of a 100 percent increase in safety based on the standards of the Fedeal Crash Test.
The seat pads are made of energy-absorbing foam liner to provide maximum comfort for both your baby and your toddler. The head pillow and the buckle and harness covers are made of soft and plush materials for added comfort especially on unusually long rides. These can also be easily removed for machine washing. The metal and plastic parts of the Saturn Tribute can be easily cleaned with mild soap and water.
The whole system can be easily installed using Evenflo’s patented Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system. It’s also lightweight at only 9 lbs. so you can bring it with you even to the airport or on any other travel.
What We Like about It – The safety features of the Saturn Tribute is something to be joyous about. It’s ease of installation, maintenance, and adjustability also make strong points for considering this as one of the top car seats you can ever buy for your child.
4Jameson Chase LX Harnessed Booster by Evenflo
When Evenflo designed the Jameson version of its Chase LX car seat booster, they only had children’s maximum safety and comfort in mind. The Chase LX can be used 2 ways depedning on the weight of the child sitting on it. If the child weighs around 22 to 40 lbs., then the Chase LX is used as a 5-point harnessed car seat booster. For older or heavier children weighing around 40 to 110 lbs., then the Chase LX converts to a belt-positioned booster.
It also features Evenflo’s sophisticated and highly ingenius LATCH system to allow for ease of installation. There simply is no more waiting for the whole car seat booster to be installed before it can be used by kids. It has also passed rather convincingly a variety of federal crash tests including its side-impact and collision and structural integrity tests. This alone is proof that this booster from Evenflo deserves a spot in our top 10.
Both arm rests of the Chase LX feature cup or bottle holders at the tip. At the very least, you can focus on driving while your kid can naturally help himself or herself to his or her favorite drinks. The headrest as well as side walls of the car seat booster envelopes your kid in a very safe and secure half-shell.
What We Like about It – The LATCH system makes it really a breeze to install. Perhaps the best thing about the ChaseLX is its superb safety profile particularly its twice Federal level ratings. It’s also lightweight at 11 lbs. although not the lightest in our list.
5Atomic AFFIX Youth Booster Seat with Latch System by Graco
Clearly the lightest in our list at only 7.6 lbs., the red on black AFFIX Youth car seat booster with a patented latch system is one of the most convenient car seat boosters you can bring with you in your travels together with your child. The AFFIX can be used two ways – as a high back rest car seat booster or as a backless car seat booster. The high back rest car seat booster can accommodate children weighing around 30 to 100 lbs. or are 38 to 57 inches tall while the backless mode can accommodate children standing 40 to 57 inches tall or weighing between 40 and 100 lbs.
Graco’s unique one-hand latch adjustment system located in the front of the AFFIX allows for ease of operation, accessibility, and convenience. For more independent kids, this secure and easy latch system can be buckled safely by your kid himself or herself. The AFFIX also comes with a cup holder and a pull-out storage compartment underneath the seat. The armrest, headrest, and backrest are made of plush materials for superb comfort so kids will have a really pleasant ride for hours.
What We Like about It – The unique latch system allows for ease of installation. Additionally, we love the hidden storage compartment. What really sold us to this car seat booster is that it is the lightest in our list of the top 10.
6Mouseketeer Minnie APT Convertible Car Seat by Disney
If you have a little girl, then you might want to get her Disney’s Mouseketeer Minnie model of the APT Convertible car seat. This is one of the lightest full kiddie car seat, not a booster, at only 9.3 lbs. It features a 5-point harness system complete with a front-adjusting mechanism. This allows the APT to be easily adjusted even by the child herself. The APT has also been rigorously tested for side impact protection and structural integrity so you won’t have to worry about the security and safety of your child.
The APT is designed 2 ways, either forward facing or rear facing. For babies 5 to 40 lbs. in weight, they can use the APT in its rear facing position. For toddlers weighing about 22 to 40 lbs., they can use the APT in its forward facing position. All materials used in the construction of the APT are made only of the highest quality for maximum comfort for your child. Its patented LATCH system also allows for ease of installation and optimum security. It also comes with 2 cup holders.
What We Like about It – We love the cute and comfy design of the APT. Its safety profile is also remarkable. These 2 points are enough reason for getting the APT especially if you have a little girl to think about.
7Windmill High Back Booster by Cosco
This booster seat from Cosco is a very lightweight and very versatile. The Windmill High Back booster car seat features a 5-point harness that allows excellent security for your child. The harness can be easily adjusted up front so there’s no need for reaching behind the back of this beautiful booster seat.
It can be used either as a forward-facing kiddie car seat or as a full booster car seat for your growing kid. When used as a car seat, it can accommodate kids who weigh up to 40 lbs. When used as a belt positioning booster seat, the Windmill can accommodate up to twice the weight limit of the forward-facing car seat at 80 lbs. It should be remembered that it does have a recommended minimum weight of 22 lbs. or roughly 10 kilograms.
The Windmill also features a fully removable cup holder so your precious kid can have instant access to his or her beverages. The cup holder is conveniently located at the side of the booster car seat for easy access. The high back and head rest means your kid will be a lot safer tucked-in in the Sprocket.
What We Like about It – It is very lightweight that it can actually be carried to almost any type of transportation. It’s also FAA-approved so you can bring it inside an airplane so your kid will have a more comfortable flight.
8Pierce Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat by Graco
Clearly the heaviest in our top 10 list, Graco’s Pierce model of its Size4Me 65 Convertible car seat is nevertheless one of the safest and most secure in our list. The Size4Me has been rigorously tested in a variety of crash and structural integrity tests and has passed all of these tests with flying colors, surpassing industry crash test standards by up to twice the standard. It features a Safe Adjust Harness system to allow for ease of adjustment of the harness using only one hand. This is often used in combination with its unique InRight latch system allowing for secure attachment of the latch while at the same time allowing for ease of removal only with a push of the red button.
The Size4Me can be used either rear facing for young babies or forward facing for toddlers or older children. Infants weighing anywhere between 4 and 40 lbs. can benefit from a rear facing position while older children weighing between 20 to 65 lbs can use the Size4Me’s forward facing features. It’s also machine washable and features energy-absorbing foam for optimum comfort and protection. It also comes with a built-in cup holder.
What We Like about It – The safety features of the Size4Me is simply superb. We love the fact that the large body support can be easily adjusted. The whole system is also easily installed, operated, and maintained.
9Thunder Maestro Booster Car Seat by Evenflo
One of the heaviest booster car seats in our list, the Maestro car seat booster weighs 14.5 lbs. yet has an excellent design that actually looks like a high-end racing seat. When used as a 5-point harnessed forward facing car seat booster, it can accommodate children weighing 22 to 50 lbs. Its belt-positioning car seat booster mode allows it to sit kids weighing 40 to 110 lbs.
The headrest of the Maestro is beautifully contoured to assist the belt for your kid’s shoulder and neck to assume a perfect fit. The plush and soft materials can be easily removed to be cleaned in your washing machine. The Maestro also comes with fully integrated cup or bottle holders complete with flexible bands to help secure bottles and cups.
The Maestro has been accredited by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as the the Best Bet in child passenger safty. Additionally, it has successfully passed all federal structural integrity and vehicular crash tests with flying colors.
What We Like about It – We love the idea that it’s considered the best bet for optimum child car safety by one of the nation’s leading organizations in highway safety. This alone is proof that the Maestro deserves a spot in our list.
10Coda My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat by Graco
Graco’s Coda model of its My Ride 65 LX line of convertible car seats is one of the heaviest in our list at 15.8 lbs. It can be used as a rear facing car seat for babies weighing 4 to 40 lbs. as well as forward facing car seat for older children weighing 20 to 65 lbs. It comes with Graco’s patented LATCH system for ease, convenience, and security of installation. It features a 5-point harness with a fully adjustable mechanism in the front. It has been duly tested and exceeded federal tests for side impact collisions, structural integrity, and even extreme vehicle interior temperatures.
The My Ride 65 features an EPS energy-absorbing foam. It also comes with a machine washable seat cushion and cover. The plastic and metal parts of the My Ride can be easily cleaned with ordinary mild soap and water. The harness strap and buckles can be easily cleaned using only a damp piece of cloth. It also features to built-in cup or bottle holders so kids can have ready access to their beverage.
What We Like about It – The safety features of the My Ride make it a great convertible car seat for kids no heavier than 65 lbs. We love the fact that the cushion and cover can be easily removed for ease of cleaning.
How We Chose the Top Kiddie Car Seats in Our List
Coming up with the top children’s car seats in our list was never easy as we had to make sure each one is fully compliant with existing standards of both product quality and safety. We had to make sure the child car seats are safe for kids while still allowing them optimum comfort. Additional product benefits such as ease of installation and maintenance, flexibility of design features, and convertibility have also been taken into careful consideration. We then looked at the feedback as well as consumer reports and reviews about the product itself, particularly noting any issues that may undermine the quality, safety, and comfort of the kiddie car seat. And lastly, we had to carefully consider the car seat manufacturer’s reputation as companies with good manufacturing practices certification are almost always a good indication of quality.
All of these resulted in our shortlisted top 10 car seats for kids that we are sure you will seriously consider.
11Children, Car Seats, and Car Safety
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 638 children aged below 12 years of age who died because of motor vehicle accidents and more than 127,000 injured. What is more troubling is that close to 620,000 children between the ages of 0 and 12 years old rode in cars, trucks, and vehicles without the safety provided by kiddie car seats, booster seats, or even standard seat belts. Thirty-eight out of 100 children who lost their lives in the 638 deaths were reported to have not been using seat belts nor in a child safety seat.
These figures are alarming considering that the use of dedicated, well-designed child safety seats have been proven by many government and private groups studies to reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent among young infants aged less than 1 year old and by as much as 54 percent among toddlers aged 1 to 4 years old. Among preschool and young school age children aged 4 to 8 years old, the risk of serious injury or even death has been shown to be significantly reduced by as much as 45 percent when the correct and proper child safety seats are used. For older children 8 to 12 years of age, the risk is reduced by as much as 50 percent. Studies also revealed that increasing the age requirement for the use of kiddie car seats to 8 years old can greatly reduce the risk of incapacitating injuries by as much as 17 percent.
The government, child safety advocacy groups, and car seat manufacturers are working hand in hand to help educate the public in the proper use of child restraint systems. This is important because studies show that 23 out of 50 safety seats for kids are misused and this can significantly impair their effectiveness. This accounts for 20 percent of booster seats and a whopping 59 percent of kiddie car seats. Does this mean 59 percent of us clearly don’t know how to properly use these supposed car safety seats?
It’s a really scary thought considering that everyone knows the value of using child car seats in helping save the lives of our young passengers only to fail miserably simply by not knowing how to use these devices properly. It is therefore our responsibility to make sure that the kiddie car seats we buy for our children are not only properly secured but, more importantly, are used in the correct manner.
Government agencies, child car safety advocates, and child development experts recommend adherence to a set of car safety guidelines every time we take our kids for a ride.
One of the most important things we have to do as parents is to learn the different types of child restraints in cars and other vehicles as well as how to correctly position them.
- For young children below 2 years old, we need to position the kiddie car seat in the back seat of our vehicles. Additionally, the kiddie car seat must be facing the rear. This rear-facing car seat position has been shown to reduce the severity of injuries sustained by the very young passenger in case of a frontal collision. Using a 5- or 6- point harness can also help increase the level of security.
- For children between the ages of 2 and 5, they can now use the same kiddie car seat they used when they were still younger (below 2 years old). The only difference is that they are now facing forward. We can also opt for a 5- or 6- point harness for added security.
- For children who have outgrown their kiddie car seats but are not yet fully prepared for the adult-standard car seat belt, we can use a car seat booster instead. Booster car seats are quite different from kiddie car seats in that we will be using the seat belt built-in into the car itself to restrain our kids. The function of the booster seat is to add height to our kids so that the car seat belt will fit perfectly.
It is important to understand that kiddie car seats can come in different configurations. Experts that we have talked to highly recommend getting convertible children’s safety car seats such as a forward-and rear-facing convertible as well as a forward-facing-and-booster convertible. At the very least, you will be using the car seat for a really long time. So this should provide you great value for your money.
Additionally, it is important to observe the following guidelines.
- Always read the kiddie car seat manufacturer’s directions on how to properly secure the child seat in the seat of your car. This includes the height and weight limits for each particular type, brand, and model of car seat. If you are not sure about the correctness of your installation, you can ask help from a Child Passenger Safety Technician who has been duly certified to install such devices. You can then ask different questions on how you can uninstall and reinstall them yourself.
- Always put the kiddie seat, both rear-facing and forward-facing, in the backseat of your car. Whenever possible, always place children in the middle section of the backseat as studies have shown that this is the safest spot for children inside the car or any vehicle for that matter.
- Do not put children in the front seat or anywhere near a deployable airbag. Studies have shown that children placed in front of these deployable airbag systems have resulted in more deaths than those children placed in the backseat, even if the kiddie car seat is a rear-facing one. The point is to always seat children in the backseat.
- If you have to use the car’s seat belt, make sure that the sash belt is not under your kid’s arm or behind his or her back. Sash belts should always form a diagonal from the shoulder of your kid to the one near his or her lap.
- Make it a habit to always put your seatbelts on even before turning the ignition on. This means for every trip that you make, you have to make sure that both you and all of your passengers, particularly young children, are properly secured in their seats. It is our responsibility to make sure that we won’t be going anywhere unless everyone is fully buckled.
With these, together with our list of the top 10 car seats for kids, we are optimistic that you can safeguard the safety of your kids every time you sit behind the wheel. This is just one way of ensuring the joys of parenthood as your kids will be staying with you for a long time.
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