Stage 2 Car Seat

best stage 2 car seats

We all want our kids to stay small just a little while longer, but the sad reality is that they don’t, and as they mature, so do their needs. Just yesterday your newborn was riding safely in the back of your car, tucked into his infant seat, and suddenly you realize…it’s time to start shopping around for a forward-facing car seat!

When is the time right for forward-facing?

Essentially, your child is at his safest in the rear-facing position, so it goes without saying that you should keep them in that position for as long as possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children stay in the rear facing position until AT LEAST the age of 2.

Here’s something interesting:

Children are 75% LESS likely to be killed or seriously injured when they are secured into their car seats in the rear-facing position!

More on Stage 2 Car Seats:

You can choose between 3 different types of car seats for stage 2:

· Convertible Car Seats (these accommodate infants & toddlers in rear-facing and can be used in forward-facing too)

· 2-in-1 Seats a.k.a Highback Boosters (can only be used for forward-facing when your child meets the minimum height and/or weight requirements)

· 3-in-1 Seats like the Diono Rainier (can be used from birth all the way through to the elementary years, supporting weights of up to 120 pounds in Booster mode)

The Weight Groups:

Your child’s weight (and not necessarily his age) should be the main determining factor when it comes to choosing what stage car seat you’ll need. Here’s a guideline to help you figure things out

Seat Group Weight Range Approximate Age Range:

  • Stage 0 0-22 pounds birth to about 11 months (small babies)
  • Stage 0+ 0-29 pounds birth to about 15 months
  • Stage 1 20-40 pounds 9 months to about 4 years
  • Stage 2 33-80 pounds 3 to 5 years
  • Stage 3 80 pounds and up 5 years upwards

The Change:

Moving your child from the rear-facing to the forward-facing position is one of the biggest and most important moves you’ll ever make when it comes to keeping them safe on the road. It’s never advisable to move your child into the forward-facing position before the age of 12 months (33 lbs.). Now that we gave you all the need to know info, it’s time that we showed you exactly what your options are by showing you our list of the most recommended Stage 2 car seats out there.

The Best Stage 2 Car Seats Review

Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat

Coming in at a very reasonable price and as one of the most popular forward-facing car seats out there, the Graco Nautilus is a tried, trusted and loved car seat for kids crossing over to stage 2.

We love the fact that the materials used for construction are super stain resistant and very easy to clean, which means less time scrubbing down the mess after a day out on the road. Growing kids will love the fact that the Nautilus comes with 2 different spaces for the crotch strap, making it that much more comfortable to get buckled up with the help of the harness straps that can also be rethreaded.

As far as weight limit go, the Graco Nautilus will accommodate children from the weight of 20 pounds up to 100 pounds, and can be used in either a forward-facing seat with a 5-point harness system, a highback booster seat or a backless booster seat once your child reaches the minimum weight and/or height requirements. The highback booster mode can be used from around 30 pounds onwards to ensure that your child’s back is supported and that he is secured into his seat and stays as safe as possible with the help of the side impact protection features and the energy absorbing foam used to manufacture the Graco Nautilus.

What you need to know:

Some parents have mentioned the fact that the harness straps seem to be a little on the short side, along with the crotch strap, and operating the buckles and clips might be somewhat of a learning curve.

Why we love it:

The Graco Nautilus is not the most expensive stage 2 seat out there, so it’s not going to break the bank, plus it’s a well-known and trusted brand AND this is one seriously stylish car seat!

Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster Car Seat

Coming in at one of the lightest stage 2 car seats out there, the Evenflo Chase weighs in at a mere 10 pounds, which is very impressive and great for parents who frequently move car seats from one vehicle to another.

We don’t just love it for the sake of being easy to move around though, it’s also incredibly safe! It offers a sturdy surface and more than enough padding and impact protection features to keep your little one as safe as possible should an accident occur. The Chase also comes available in a variety of stylish colors you can choose from, removable cup holders and an adjustable headrest.

What you need to know:

This seat does not recline and sadly, the harness of the Evenflo Chase is only rated for use up to 40 pounds, which is something you’ll have to keep in mind.

Why we love it:

If you’re a traveler of sorts or you’re constantly switching vehicles (and car seats too for that matter) the Evenflo Chase is the perfect option to go for as it’s not going to test your fitness and endurance levels for the sake of moving it from point A to point B. This stylish (and affordable) seat will also accommodate your child up to 110 pounds, which means you can keep your most precious cargo safer for longer in superior comfort.

Recaro Performance Sport Combination Harness to Booster

The name kind of says it all…Performance…and oh man does this seat perform! With cloud comfort memory foam to keep even the most restless little travelers secured in ultra-luxurious comfort, the Recaro Performance Sport is one of the most comfortable 5-point harness seats out there. It also comes with CoolMesh that helps keep your little one cooler even when the temp in the car rises.

The twist-resistant harness not only looks great on the seat, but it also eliminates the hassle of sorting out kinks and knots before you can get out on the road. The Recaro Performance Sport can be used in forward-facing mode using the 5-point harness from 20 to 65 pounds before you convert it to a highback booster (30-120 pounds).

What you need to know:

You won’t be able to use this car seat as a big kid booster because it only converts up to a highback booster, which means you might have to purchase a backless booster at a later stage.

Why we love it:

Comfort and style are basically part of the Recaro Performance Sport’s middle name. We’re also huge fans of the CoolMesh that keeps little bodies cool during hot summer days spent in the car., plus it’s a seriously cool looking seat with its racing looks.

Britax Pioneer Combination Harness-2-Booster

If you’ve never heard of Britax before, it’s time you familiarized yourself with the name. With some of the safest and most reliable car seats on the market today. Britax is an industry leader, and their Pioneer Combination Harness-2-Booster is no exception to their quality rule. Britax car seats are renowned for being on the expensive side of things, but the great thing about the Pioneer is that the price tag is actually very attractive, considering the great features it comes with.

Accommodating children between 25 and 110 pounds, it goes a long way towards ensuring your kids stay safe and secure in their seats for as long as possible. Safety features include a top of seat tether for a more secure fit, side impact protection and SafeCell technology. What’s more is the fact that it’s also constructed with reinforced steel bars in the frame to minimize impacts should the worst actually happen.

What you should know:

For the cheaper price, you should be aware of the fact that you might be sacrificing a little added safety features such as the Side-Impact Protection padding and the energy absorbing foam. You might want to consider models like the Frontier or the Pinnacle.

Why we love it:

The fact that the Britax Pioneer will accommodate your kids for such a long time really seals the deal for us, but the other features just makes it that much sweeter. With multiple positions under each of the buckles to ensure maximum comfort and 8 quick-adjust settings, this seat also ensures that your little one will be comfortable in his “big-boy” car seat.

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