Why Are Rear Facing Car Seats Important?
The 5 best rear facing convertible car seats of 2014 are those that combine premium safety features like side impact protection and easy to use LATCH installation with longer rear faced seating.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children should remain in rear facing car seats until they are at least 2 years of age (unless they have exceeded the weight/height limits for their seat). This is not just a guideline that they have plucked out of thin air – it is based upon some reliable research into the relative safety of rear facing car seats and forwards facing car seats. Bear in mind that 2 years is a minimum suggested age and not a recommendation that you change your child to forwards facing at aged 2.
In short, the research (that simply confirms previous Swedish research) shows that kids aged 1 and above are more than 5 times safer in rear facing seats.
I recommend that you choose a car seat that will enable your child to remain rear facing for at least 2 years and, if possible, longer. Most children can remain rear facing for as long as 3-4 years and this is the best way to reduce the risk of injury in the event of a road traffic accident.
Sadly, road traffic collisions remain the biggest cause of deaths amongst US children aged 1 and above. Extended rear facing is just one very simple and effective way that you can keep your child as safe as possible on the road.
A Growth Timeline for US Children
To give some indication of the “average” US child’s weight progress by age, I have extracted some data from various agencies that collect it. All of this data relates to those children that fall between the 25th and 75th percentiles.
For boys, the 4 year old figures are 33.3 to 39.1 lbs.
For girls, the 4 year old figures are 32.2 to 38.5 lbs.
So, all of the convertible car seats listed below have maximum rear facing weight limits that exceed the upper range of this data and, therefore, should enable many above average-sized children to remain rear facing for about 4 years.
THIS POST HAS NOW BEEN UPDATED FOR 2017 – FIND MY LATEST REVIEW OF THE BEST REAR-FACING CONVERTIBLE SEATS HERE.
The 6 Best Extended Rear Facing Car Seats
In selecting the 6 best extended rear facing car seats, I have sought to achieve a sensible balance between the length of rear facing use and other safety features.
I am not going to review each seat in great detail here, since I have already reviewed most (if not all) of these seats elsewhere on this website. To read the in-depth reviews of these seats, either locate the particular model under the “Car Seats” menu at the top of this page or click on the relevant red text link below.
Since first creating this post, the Diono Rainier convertible car seat is now widely available and it enables rear-facing up to 50 lbs! (see below).
#1 Britax G4 Series
I have previously written a long comparison review of the Britax G series seats in which I highlighted the important differences between them.
#2 Recaro Ride Series
There are 2 seats in the Recaro Ride Series and both enable rear facing up to 40 lbs. Thereafter, they can be used forwards facing up to 65 lbs.
#3 Chicco Nextfit 65
The Chicco Nextfit 65 can be used rear facing up to 40 lbs and then forwards facing up to 65 lbs.
You can read my in-depth review of the Chicco Nextfit 65 here.
#4 Diono Radian RXT
The Diono Radian RXT can be used rear facing up to 45 lbs and then forwards facing up to 120 lbs.
You can read my in-depth review of the Diono Radian RXT here.
#5 Peg Perego Premium Convertible
The Peg Perego Premium Convertible car seat can be used rear facing up to 45 lbs and then forwards facing up to 70 lbs.
This is a very popular convertible car seat, both in Canada and the US.
You can read my in-depth review of the Peg Perego Convertible Car Seat here.
#6 Diono Rainier Convertible
The Diono Rainier can be used rear facing up to 50 lbs and then forwards facing up to 120 lbs.
It also has improved side impact wings and a steel frame with a full 12-year lifespan.
New Britax ClickTight Convertible Car Seats
Britax released a brand new range of convertible car seats in Autumn 2014, featuring their revolutionary “ClickTight” belt-installation system.
After purchasing any child car seat, you should always read the User Manual thoroughly before using it. It is also advisable to visit your local Fire Department or NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Centre to ensure that the seat is definitely suitable for your child’s specific requirements and that you have installed it correctly. These services are usually provided free of charge.
You can find your nearest NHTSA Centre here.
Do You Need More Help?
If you need any further advice or assistance whatsoever, please feel free to contact me and I will do my very best to help.
If you have any feedback about my “Best Rear Facing Convertible Car Seats 2014″ post, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org