As someone with a four-year-old son, I understand the importance of ensuring the safety of your young ones. Especially since I’ve witnessed these young ones getting into car accidents. Thankfully, all of the children I know who have been through such accidents have been strapped effectively in car seats.
When you apply that high quality to a three-in-one car seat, you can make a long-term investment in your child’s safety. If this purchase is made right, It can last them throughout the entirety of their development. With this in mind, here are our votes for the best 3 in 1 car seat in 2020.
How We Picked The Best 3 In 1 Car Seat
Below are the six categories we will use to rate the best car seat.
- Safety Features
- Child Weight Range
- Ease of Cleaning
- Customer Experience
The most crucial feature in any three-in-one car seat is the quality of the safety features. If it is not for withstanding all types of accidents, all other elements are moot. An adjacent concern will be the comfort of the child. A poorly constructed seat can lead to unnatural positions that a child will rest in, which include adverse long-term effects.
The longevity of this will derive from the safety features. Still, it will be directly related to the child’s weight range, which will determine how long the seat will last. The weight range is a measure of how useful your car seat is. We will also go through some convenience based criteria, such as ease of cleaning.
Finally, our last two ratings come from cost and customer experience. Given the limited budget of parents, it is crucial to find something that fits a variety of budgets. But if it takes away from the quality of the product or customer experience, it is not worth the loss.
Best Overall: Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat
- Incredibly safe
- Handle weights from five to one hundred pounds
- Includes back-facing, front-facing, and booster seats
- Machine washable
- Good value
The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat combines all of the best features you can expect of the best car seats. When regarding safety ratings, this is a car seat that has one documented case of a child sleeping through a car accident. That by itself is enough to put this car seat over the top, but there is more.
The weight range on this is incredibly vast, serving children from five to one hundred pounds. Some smaller adults could fit into this. The variance also includes all essential stages of development, meaning it is a one-time payment that will last them all through their younger years.
There have been concerns displayed by customers regarding a loose latch system. But the majority of reviews have expressed different opinions. If you feel that the straps are free, it is always best to start by contacting the customer service department.
The car seat is also machine washable and has two cup holders. As already noted, it’s pretty comfortable given that your child could sleep through almost anything. It is because of this that the Grow and Go is the best overall model on our list.
Runner-Up: Graco SlimFit 3 In 1 Convertible Car Seat
- Crash test safety confirmed by the FMVSS
- Harness, high back, and booster seat
- Easy cleaning with soap and water
- Collapsible cup holders
- Weight of five to one hundred pounds.
Collapsable cup holders, crash testing, and plush supports make for a chair that you will wish had an adult-sized variant. The unique features that come with this car seat make it a great option. It is also pretty easy to clean with just soap and water.
The car seat has four positions to recline in with a weight limit from five to one hundred pounds. Because of this, it is another seat that can last for the entirety of a child’s younger age.
The most important aspect of this comes through its high crash-test ratings. It exceeds the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). When compared to other models that do not test their crash test durability, this is a great inclusion
Some customers have made a statement on the unfortunate placement of a safety sticker, which can cause burns if not addressed. However, you could purchase a seat cover or possibly remove the label. Regardless, the incredibly high safety rating makes it an easy runner-up.
Best Budget Pick: Evenflo Evolve Platinum 3-in-1 Combination Booster Seat
- Harness, high-back, and no-back booster
- Supports children of at least 12 months
- Weight from 22 pounds to 120.
- Easy to handwash
- Great side impact ratings
The Evenflo Evolve is an excellent option for bigger kids, as this can support up to 120 pounds. As a result of its wide variance, it is another car seat with a great deal of longevity. But it is not quite as useful for children below 22 lbs.
The attached cupholders make for a great convenience feature for your kids. Much like the Graco, it is pretty simple to handwash, but not able to be machine washed.
The most important feature comes to us in the form of its side-impact ratings. It is incredibly comfortable and defensible from a side collision.
The seat also advertises a cooling fabric, which is a great convenience feature. But there are some concerns about this feature being ineffective. Also, some little hands can reach the release handles, so be sure to tell your kids not to touch that part. It is something that I have had to do with my little one.
Disney Baby Grow & Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
- Goes from 5 to 80 pounds
- Includes baby pillows for additional comfort
- Side-impact protection
- Easily adjustable harness
- Has rear-facing, front-facing, and belt booster
The Disney Baby & Grow 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat’s selling point is behind its recognizable Mickey Mouse shape on the center of its chair. Any time your kiddo climbs up into the car seat, expect them to mention it in one or another. Despite the recognizable figure, the cost remains pretty reasonable.
The back-facing feature means that you can put your baby in it, which is an improvement over the Evenflo model we reviewed. While it isn’t as appropriate for the biggest kids, it still leads up to eighty pounds. It is no slouch when it comes to its ability to cover much of a child’s growth span.
Like the other models, it is simple to handwash. It has durable side-impact protection but doesn’t have the same accreditation of the runner-up model. But it will still withstand a crash very well.
Customers have expressed some concerns with customer service. Ther is also some difficulty in adjusting the tightness level of the harness. Still, many of these issues are isolated incidents. Regardless of these issues, it is still an excellent car seat with neat branding.
- Four to one hundred pound limit
- Rear-facing, front-facing, and booster seat
- Great side impact protection
- Easy installation with one-click latch system
- Shoulder harness automatically raises shoulder height
The Maxi-Cose Pria 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is a premium car seat on all levels. While it may be lower when it comes to cost-effectiveness, it is an incredibly safe model that is for protecting your baby’s head. It has many layers to ensure that your child’s head is safe in a crash.
Other than that, its cup holders are great at containing any sippy cup. Many comparable models tend to have more of a loose grip on their cups. There are no flying sippy cups in the Maxi-Cose Pria.
It is also incredibly simple to install. Many safety seats require multiple latches to attach correctly; the Maxi-Cosi Pria has a one latch system that goes above and beyond in this category. The shoulder harness also automatically lifts to ensure your child is secure.
Customers have mainly expressed problems when comparing them with other models. Also, this model has had some issues when it comes to adjusting the lean, but those issues seem reasonably limited. Given all of the positive responses and heavy emphasis on protection, this is one of our favorites on the best 3 in 1 car seats.
- Back-facing, front-facing, and backless boosters
- Three-position recline
- For children from five to 100 pounds
- Side-impact tested
- It is easy to adjust the height of this seat
Graco is a company that is well known for providing a high-quality car seat at a reasonable price. It boasts on its five-point harness system that has been crash-tested for side impact. It is also incredibly versatile from five to one hundred pounds with back-, front- and backless-boosters.
With many of the same features as our other models and the same cost-effectiveness, it is easy to see why this model is a comfortable fit. It is also pleased with three different positions for your kid. Your kid will be sleeping soundly.
With it being the way it is, it is a reasonably big seat. Like with most of these car seats, you need to be sure you have a sizable back seat for this. But that size means that it has ample space for protective features.
Given that this hits all of the most critical features, it is an easy pick for one of the best car seats available.
How To Properly Install 3 In 1 A Car Seat
Installing a three in one car seat will change slightly depending upon the age of your child. Because of this, we will go through the three most common stages in protecting your baby: rear-facing, front-facing, and booster.
Installing a Rear-facing Car Seat
- Read the instructions that come with your car seat for any minute details.
- There should be a gap beneath the car seat that acts as a belt loop. Loop the belt into this gap and buckle this section firmly in place. Be sure to lock the seatbelt.
- Many rear-facing car seats may also include anchors. These anchors will be able to connect to hooks hidden between the top and bottom cushions. If both the latches and the seatbelts exist, do both for extra security.
- Ensure that the car seat does not move. The car seat should not have the ability to budge beyond one inch.
- When placing the carrier, babies are semi-reclined so that they may breathe. Some baby carriers have ways to adjust automatically, but be aware that this angle will need to be changed as your child grows.
Keep in mind that the harness will need to be at chest level. If the child wears loose clothing, it may obstruct your ability to tighten it.
Installing a Front-facing Car Seat
Many of the instructions from the rear-facing car seat will apply here. Either the anchors or the seatbelt will need a secure installation. A front-facing car seat also has the same need for not being able to be moved an inch.
In front-facing car seats, they tend to have a combination of lower anchors and upper anchors. The top anchors are for traveling over the back of the car seat. These are typical for cars that do not have a sedan-style trunk. Be sure to utilize all anchors.
How to Install a Backless Booster Seat
Booster seats are designed differently from standard car seats. Because of that, you need to follow the instructions carefully. They may have the same anchor setup that you can see in front-facing car seats.
In this case, it is more important to pay attention to the position of the belt. Much like in adults, the lower belt should be firm across their thighs. The shoulder belt should be resting on their chest.
Do not be in a rush to get them into the booster seat. While it is exciting when your little one is finally tall enough to fit, pay attention to the weight limits. Those that aren’t within the suggested weight range of the setting still need a bit more time to grow. Below are reminders of the weight ranges between these products.
- Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat: 5 to 100 lbs
- Graco SlimFit 3 In 1 Convertible Car Seat: 5 to 100
- Evenflo Evolve Platinum 3-in-1 Combination Booster Seat: 22 to 120
- Disney Baby Grow & Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat: 5 to 80
- Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat: 4 to 100
- Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3 In 1 Harness Booster Car Seat: 5 to 100
The instructions for each of these models will include when to transition between front back-facing to front-facing to backless. These can vary slightly depending on the car seat.
Below are some additional tips to keep in mind when it comes to the age and weight of your children. This information comes from WebMD.
- Children aged two years and younger need to be in a rear-facing car seat
- Children between two to four years and below 40 pounds need to be in a front-facing car seat
- Children between four to eight years or up to 4’9″ tall need a backless booster seat
- Continue to use booster seats until your child fits properly in a seat belt
State Regulations on Car Seats
Depending on where you live, different states will have different requirements for car seats. Some of them are picky; others are not as picky. For example, Nebraska requires your child to be in a car seat up until the age of six. Colorado needs your kids to be in a car seat up until age eight.
Arizona requires you to be 4’9″ or higher. Oregon needs children to be 40 lbs or higher to escape the car seat. Every state is unique, and you can contact your local DMV or perform some research online to find your state’s regulations.
Parent’s Advice on Educating Your Child About Car Seats
Kids are always curious about the world around them. It is an astounding thing that is amazing to witness until they put themselves in harm’s way. I remember the first time my kid found out how to unhook his harness. I could feel my protective instincts kick in almost immediately.
While every parental style is different, you need to discuss with your young ones once they get old enough to remove the harness. They need to know that the harness if there for their safety. Whatever method you come to this conclusion will be up to you, you know your kids more than anyone else.
Conclusion – Best 3 in 1 Car Seat
Above all, the best 3 in 1 car seat needs to be safe. The models we went over today were all excellent examples of safety in action. As always, the first step in protection is understanding how to install your car seat correctly.
Many times the quality of safety will reflect in other areas as well. In some rare cases, comfort can lead to your baby sleeping through a car accident. Whatever your priorities are, any of these car seats would be an excellent choice.