Top 5: Best Forward Facing Car Seat

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Having a baby can be scary, and figuring out the best way to take care of your baby can be daunting. When shopping for car seats, you obviously want to get the best possible car seat that you can afford. I remember getting overwhelmed with all the different requirements and safety features, but I quickly learned that the higher-priced car seats are not necessarily any safer than the more moderate priced ones. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for the Best Forward Facing Car Seat, and a few reviews to help you start your search.

best forward facing car seat for small car

Features to Consider

The most important things to look for in a car seat is that it fits snugly in your car, that your child is comfortable, and that you can use it to easily secure your child.
Some seats will have a learning curve, and some are easier to work with than others, so it is important to try out a floor model and see if you can operate the latches easily, or if they are completely confusing.

Side-impact protection:

The more substantial the sides of the seat the safer your child will be. Many car seats have a side-impact testing rating. However, prior to 2014 there wasn’t a National Highway Safety Administration side impact standardized test. Nonetheless, in 2014 federal regulations addressed this issue and proposed a new crash-test standard to better protect children in car seats. – MORE INFO  

Two-piece chest clip:

A two-piece chest clip makes the seat sturdier, and it is harder for small hands to undo. A chest clip is an essential part of any car seat. When properly positioned on your child the clip is designed to keep the shoulder straps properly aligned to your child’s body. The chest clip should be positioned in line with your child’s armpit. This will help as a pre-crash positioner for the car seat’s harness.

Rear-facing tether:

A rear-facing tether increases your seat stability, as well as your child’s safety. However, not all seats require or are capable of using the rear tether straps. As a result, if you read your owners manual you’ll notice exactly how your car seat manufacturer wants you to position the car seat safely. If you have the tether attached to your model it will be designed to add additional security to the car seat.

Harness slot spacing:

For a forward-facing car seat, you want to make sure that the harness slots are high enough. If they are too low, your child can quickly outgrow the seat, which can be a problem if he is not quite ready for a booster seat. Therefore, to ensure that you have the harness properly positioned in the correct harness slot. You need to ensure that the shoulder straps are at or below your child’s shoulders. The straps should then be snug fitting to ensure your child can’t move.
Your car seat manual will also have additional instructions for each models positioning. Most car seats have numerous slots to help ensure that as your child grows in chest height the car seat will still safely fit them.

Recalls and ratings:

Do a little research and check out the ratings of the car seat that you are interested in or have purchased already. Manufactures place recalls on their car seats in order to prevent accidents and ensure your child is safe. Sometimes a recall can be for a single part. For example, our family had a Britax infant car seat that had the handle recalled. The manufacturer then sent a replacement part to ensure that it wouldn’t break while carrying. If you are interested in checking your car seat for any recalls you can find a free look up here.

It’s also a good idea to check and see if there are also any recalls for that product. Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for this type of information.

Top 5 Best Forward Facing Car Seat Models on the Market

There are plenty of toddler car seats to choose from, and it will be time-consuming to go through all of them. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 11 car seats on the market, based on brand, quality of construction, versatility, and durability. Use the following toddler car seat reviews to determine which product is best for your little one.

1. Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 – Best Forward Facing Car Seat Model From Graco

best forward facing car seatThe Graco Nautilus is the combination forward-facing car seat every parent needs. Not only is this Graco model the best forward facing car seat, but it can also convert to a harness booster and high back booster. When your child or toddler is 22-65 pounds they can use this as a harness forward facing booster. However, as they continue to grow and are in a safe height and weight range the car seat can be used as a highback booster for children 30-100 pounds. Additionally, as your child gets older they can use this car seat as a backless booster from the weight of 40-100 pounds. As a result, this car seat is one of the best forward facing car seat models because of the 3-in-1 options at such an affordable cost.

The Graco Nautilus forward facing car seat has a solid steel-reinforced base that adds to its superior durability and strength. If you’ve ever picked this car seat up it’s built so strong it doesn’t flex or even crack if you’ve accidentally dropped it like I have. This forward facing car seat will easily give you plenty of room for your child or toddler to grow and still remain safely secured in your rear seat.

Install –

When you unbox this forward facing car seat you will have to install the head support. To do so, hold the height adjust button located on the top of the car seat and push the headrest into the supported slots. As you do this it should hear a click. The next part to install the car seat will be to raise the seat back to expose the gutters. Next, make sure the harness straps are securely attached to the T shaped slots. Then raise the seat back so that both arms lock into the gutters on the car seat. The car seat should click into the gutters. Next, attach the seat pad side loops and remove the zip ties from the bottom of the car sat.

For more details and Images on assembly click the link here

Now that your car seat is assembled you can install the car seat to your vehicle in a forward-facing style. Only if your child fits the required weight and heights provided by Graco. The Nautilus comes with equipped LATCH style buckles making it very simple to install. The anchors are built into your vehicles rear seat. Most cars have indicator tags or you’ll find them in the crease of the seat. This car seat does have a forward facing tether as well that can be attached to reduce injury in a sudden crash or stop. For Booster installation and detailed images check out the installation manual here.

Design –

The Graco Nautilus has a very modern and sleek style and design that looks good in any car you own. The car seat has a 5-point harness for when your child is using this car seat as a forward-facing seat. The built-in harness as a chest clip that helps to keep the harness positioned correctly on your child’s chest. This car seat is side impact test and has EPS foam, which is energy absorbing foam to absorb impact in the event of a collision. The car seat is also rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed all applicable U.S. crash safety standards.

Aside from the superior safety that the Graco Nautilus holds, the car seat is equipped with a cup holder that can be removed in the event of any spills or accident to be washed. The armrest is also contoured to provide comfort and side support for your child. In addition to this comfort is the 3-positioned reclining feature giving your child the safety required for a forward facing car seat. The seat also comes with a padded harness that is machine washable as is the fabric covering the car seat as well.

Pros

  • Heavy Duty Steel Reinforced Frame
  • Affordable Value
  • Easy To Clean
  • Multiple Adjustments

Cons

  • Bottom Buckle Has One Position

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2. Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster – Best Forward Facing Car Seat Model From Evenflo

best forward facing toddler seatsThe 2-in-1 combination booster car seat from Evenflo is the best forward facing car seat that fits children from 22-110 pounds. One of the best features is that the car seat can convert from a harnessed car seat into a belt-positioning car sear allowing for your child to grow and utilize the car seat for many years.  As you can see in the picture above you’ll notice the harness adjustment and release is conveniently located at the center front of the car seat. We’ve used other models and sometimes they are located where your child seats and are less user-friendly when you are trying to get your toddler to sit down and properly secured.

Install –

Similar to other models the Evenflo is equipped with LATCH system buckles to properly secure it to your vehicles back seat. This system gives the car seat a snug and tight fit. Therefore, it won’t move or shift while you drive or even in the event of an accident. The car seat requires very little assembly out of the manufactures box and is quite easy to install in any vehicle with LATCH system attachments. In the event, you are using this as a booster with a belt-position. Your vehicle’s seat belt will secure your toddler in place. Make sure your child meets the height and weight requirements to secure them this way.

Design –

The Evenflo booster has four different harness positions that give your child the comfort and safety required to fasten them correctly. As your child grows in height you can move the belt up a position always ensuring that the harness height is at or below shoulder height. The Evenflo also comes with belt positing paths to help guide your vehicle’s seat belt correctly across your child’s chest. Therefore, properly securing them without any incorrect placement of the seat belt. As a result, the car seat has the necessary safety and comfort to keep your toddler secure.

This car seat is one of the more affordable units we have on this list and yet it still features numerous luxury features. For example, there is a removable head pillow that can be machine washed in the event of spills or accidents. The entire pad is machine washable as well. Which is a really nice feature when your toddler decides to spill their entire snack on the seat. Evenflo even has built-in cup holders for added convenience and comfort. The fabric selected and used is breathable and very easy to clean and won’t tear.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Great design and features
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Non-adjustable base

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3. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 – Best Forward Facing Car Seat Model From Safety 1st

best forward facing toddler seatSafety 1st has designed the best car seat for toddlers model that is perfect for your growing girl or boy. The 3-in-1 Safety 1st Grow and Go allows for your child to use it from 5 pounds all the way up to 100 pounds. Let me tell you for the price it’s hard to find a better convertible car seat that is perfect for your toddler. You’ll find that the Grow and Go has one of the best harnesses for your toddler. The Quickfit harness is easy to adjust both the harness and headrest can be adjusted in one simple step. In addition, the car seat can recline into three different positions allowing for a safe and secure position for your infant or toddler.

Install –

Whether you are installing as a rear facing, forward facing, or belt position booster the Grow and go is easy to install. It can be secured with the LATCH system belts or with a seat belt. The car seat is quite versatile and offers a simple and easy install. You’ll notice that once installed it provides an extra 7″ of leg room when placed in the rear seat as a rear-facing car seat. Therefore, providing more leg room in the front seat as a parent. some car seats can take up quite a bit of room, not the Grow and Go.

Design –

The Grow and Go is the best forward facing car seat models when it comes to overall design and cost. With built-in harness holders, you can easily get your child in and out of their car seat without them sitting or getting tangled up in the harness. You’d be surprised how difficult it can be to remove a harness underneath a toddler. As a result, with the Grow and go you won’t have to fish behind your child for the harness or clips.

Lastly, most infants or toddlers will eventually spill a drink or a bag of snacks. The Grow and Go is machine washable and dryer safe. You simply remove the car seat fabric and cover, and no need to remove the harness as the fabric is easily removable. Then you place it in your washer and clean the mesh out.

Pros

  • Can Easily Use As Your Child Grows
  • 5-100 Pound Rating
  • Easy In & Easy Out

Cons

  • Heavier Than less Convertible Models

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4. Britax Boulevard ClickTight Car Seat – Best Forward Facing Car Seat Model From Britax

best forward facing car seatThe Boulevard has to make our list as the best forward facing car seat model because of it’s patented ClickTight design and safety features. The Britax car seat can be used as both a rear or forward facing car seat. Capable of carrying children starting at 5 pounds all the way to 65-pound toddlers. No need to worry about the car seat not fitting your child’s shoulders, as the car seat is designed with 14 different harness positions. The harness even gives a click sound when the harness is tight, Britax calls this their Click & Safe Snug indicator.

Install –

Installation is as easy as 3 steps with the ClickTight technology. Which is why the best forward facing car seat from Britax is the Boulevard. The ClickTight installation system is worry free and takes just seconds. Just open the front of the car seat buckle the vehicle’s seat belt across the car seat and shut it. It’s as simple as that and will provide you with safety and security. The seat doesn’t even budge with this style of installation. As a result, you can have the confidence to travel where ever with your children.

Design –

The Britax forward facing car seat is designed with two layers of protection. First deep energy absorbing foam lined in the headrest. The second layer in the shell of the sides of the car seat. As a result, you get a car seat that is very safe and effective in the event of a car crash. The car seat also has safe cell impact protection including a steel frame that helps to keep the integrity of the car seat intact in the event of a collision. Lastly, the car seat has impact-absorbing tether with staged-release stitches that help to slow the forward movement during a car crash.

Britax has really designed an overall modern and sleek look for their forward-facing car seat. The pattern is perfect to look great in any type of vehicle. On top of that, it’s very easy to clean and can be machine washed if needed. The car seat may be one of the more expensive forward-facing seats, however, due to its features and great safety track record. The Britax Boulevard is a great choice for a forward facing car seat.

Pros

  • Superior Safety and Comfort
  • 5-65 Pound Rating
  • EasyHarness and Strap Release

Cons

  • More Expensive Than Other Convertible Models
  • No cup holders

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5. Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Car Seat – Best Forward Facing Car Seat Model From Britax

best forward facing car seatWhen looking for a simple seat that the best forward facing car seat, the Cosco Finale DX is a great choice. It’s simplistic and easy to use, not only that, but it’s very affordable. The Cosco car seat is very lightweight and easy to switch from one vehicle to another. This is really helpful if you needed to travel or are having a family member or babysitter watch your kids. The car seat is rated for children from 30-65 pounds forward-facing with the 5 point harness.

However, as your child grows the seat can convert to a booster allowing it to be used all the way up to a 100-pound weight rating. One of the best features about this car seat is that it comes with dishwasher-safe cup holder that can detach in the event of spills or accidents. Therefore, no need to worry about that sticky mess your child will create.

Install –

Cosco’s Finale DX can be installed very quickly thanks to the lightweight design. Due to the car seat being so slim, it can be used three across inside a back seat. Therefore, if your family has multiple kids, no need to worry about getting that larger vehicle just yet. With numerous seat belt adjustments, this car seat installs quickly and will provide great safety and support for your growing toddler.

Design –

The Cosco Finale DX is one of the easiest car seats to clean thanks to the car seat pad being removable and machine wash safe. I know for our toddler after a month or two the car seat happens to get so dirty. We can just remove the pad and fabric and toss it in. It’s even safe to use in the dryer as well. Making clean ups super easy. The car seat is made in the USA with imported parts, which gives you a peace of mind that these are manufactured to last and withstand the wear and tear a child will put on the car seat.

Pros

  • 30-100 Pound Rating
  • Lightweight
  • Comfy Breathable Fabric

Cons

  • Non-Moveable Base For Leveling

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Strap In!

Did you enjoy the list? I hope you were able to take away a few tips as you start your search for the Best Forward Facing Car Seat.

Remember that a higher-priced car seat does not mean you have found the best car seat on the market. You can definitely find car seats that are the same quality for moderate prices that have just as many safety features.

Feel free to share the article with other moms and let us know what you thought of the reviews in the comments.

What to Look For In Choosing The Best Forward Facing Car Seat –

Are you considering a forward facing car seat? If your child has outgrown their infant car seat or you’re looking to see your child a little easier when traveling. There are a few things to consider as you take the next step in purchasing a forward facing car seat. Because as a parent safety is our number one priority when traveling with our child and there are some differences in rear and forward facing child seats.

When to Purchase a Forward Facing Car Seat –

Over the years the debate from vehicle manufacturers, pediatricians, and safety administrations had different views on when to move your child into a forward facing car seat. However, most experts today now recommend that your child is in a rear-facing position for as long as possible. The reason being is that this position gives your child’s head and neck the safest position in the event of a car crash.

If you research the American Academy of Pediatrics they recommend keeping your child in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 or have outgrown their infant car seat by weight or height. Prior to this recommendation, many people would turn their child to a forward facing car seat at the age of 1. However, with more testing and research having your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible is highly recommended.

This is why looking for a forward facing car seat that can first start as a rear-facing car seat is such a great investment. They tend to cost more than a forward facing specific car seat, however, they may give you a better transition from your child’s infant car seat.

Different Car Seat Types –

When purchasing a car seat there are four different types to consider, which we have listed from infant to toddler order.

  1. Infant Car Seats

    • When you have your first child you usually register or purchase an infant car seat. They are quite portable and you don’t have to remove your infant to travel with them. As most lock into a base that is mounted in your vehicle. Most infant car seats are only rear facing and cannot be used as a forward-facing car seat. They are very convenient as your child can be secured in the car seat and taken into stores and places without having to remove them and wake your child. However, most of a weight and height rating that ends around 35 pounds and 32 inches. Once your child outgrows the seat you have the option of selecting a convertible car seat or rear-facing car seat.
  2. Convertible Car Seats

    • The next step in keeping your child riding safely in your vehicle is the convertible car seat. This provides your child with the rear-facing safety, however, they longer come with a removable seat. The entire car seat is designed to stay in your vehicle with you placing and removing your child as you travel with them. Most have weight ratings from 5-40 pounds. With these car seats being convertible, it means that at the recommended age from your owners manual or pediatrician you can flip the car seat around to a forward-facing position. As a result, a convertible car seat is a great option for children as they grow.
  3. Combination Car Seats –

    • Designed to be forward facing a combination car seat gives your child the ability to be harnessed with a 5 point system. However, still providing ample amounts of space for your 2+-year-old toddler. With most combination car seats having a weight rating of 25-90 pounds when the 5 point harness, it still has the option to be used as a seat belt booster for children up to at times 120 pounds. These 2-in-1 car seats allow for your toddler to properly grow and yet remain safely secured in your vehicle.
  4. Booster Seat –

    • Lastly, the fourth style of child safety seating is the booster. Which are forward facing for kids in ranges of 40-120 pounds, it depends on the manufactures rating. This lifts your child up to a position where the vehicle’s safety belt can be properly utilized. Boosters are very inexpensive and light weight and highly recommended for your growing toddler to keep them safe in your vehicle.

What Type of Car Seat Should I Select?

As you pick out the best forward facing car seat model for your child. You should keep in mind the following items to make sure you are considering the best-valued car seat.

  • Design & Building Materials –

    • Look for forward facing car seats that are built with 5 point harness to help protect your child in the event of a collision. Also look that the harness can be adjusted to meet the size and height of your toddler or child.
    • Most car seats that are forward facing come with energy-absorbing foam, however, be sure to check as you want a car seat that is comfortable and safe in the event of any car crash.
  • Size Of Car Seat –

    • Car Seats are designed to fit in your back seat. However, as cars have decreased in size be sure to check and see if the forward facing car seat will give you plenty of leg room as a driver or passenger. You may even need to consider if you have more than two children in the rear seat that the car seats will fit alongside each other.
  • Installation –

    • Picking a forward facing car seat that is easy to install and lightweight will allow you to transport them to different vehicles with ease. Some car seats can be quite difficult to move or install. As a result, if you have to move it once or twice a week it will begin to get time-consuming and frustrating.
  • How Many To Consider –

    • Forward-facing car seats are expensive, however, if you have multiple family vehicles you may need to purchase more than one. Having the same model makes it easy to use and much more friendly for the parents as you don’t have to learn multiple models or car seat brands everytime you place your child in their seat.

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