The following review is about rear facing car seats. We selected three of the top-selling models and reviewed their features, safety ratings, ease of use, dimensions and other facts and features most relevant to families looking to buy a rear facing car seat and desiring some direction and input toward that goal. Additionally, we have provided a number of tips for choosing the right car seat that may be used as a reference for selecting any brand of car seat.
There is no item you can transport in your vehicle more precious than your child. The prevailing wisdom of the day and the advice as issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics is that children should be in a rear facing car seat as long as possible. This is the safest possible position within your vehicle.
Facing the rear provides better protection for the head and neck while helping to prevent injuries to the legs as well. The incline provided by facing to the rear also reduces the forces of acceleration and deceleration, putting less strain and stress on the child. The manufacturers of rear facing car seats have different guidelines for each seat based on the height and weight of the child which determines when the child should transition to a forward facing car seat or convert their current seat.
Different families have different needs, budgets, vehicles, and other considerations when it comes to shopping for car seats. The one constant though is safety. All of the reviewed car seats here meet or exceed federal standards, so the bigger questions then become price, convenience, and additional features.
As previously mentioned, the Academy of American Pediatrics recommends rear facing car seat configurations as long as possible. That cut-off for most car seats is at 40 pounds for most models and manufacturers. The examples we've chosen here, including the Safety 1st Grow and Go Air 3-in-1 and The Graco 4Ever 4-in-1, are no exception. The Britax B-Safe 35 Elite, which we reviewed, has a maximum capacity of 35 pounds, meaning you would eventually need to purchase another seat to take the child beyond that weight and size rating.
Some may opt for a single, all-in-one seat solution to follow the growth of the child from newborn until a car seat is no longer necessary, as with the Graco 4Ever and Safety 1st models. Others may wish for a dedicated rear facing model which also serves as a stroller seat, as with the Britax B-Safe 35 Elite model we reviewed.
After making that basic choice, deciding on ease of use, cup holders, or whether it fits well in your car may factor in. We also provided the dimensions of the rear facing car seat so you can measure to get a better idea of fit. We also included the weight as a factor.
All of the rear facing car seats reviewed here are exceptional products that have undergone extensive safety testing to meet or exceed federal safety mandates for this type of product. Both the Graco 4Ever and the Safety 1st have the marvelous capacity to grow with the needs of your child after you can no longer position them to face the rear. The Britax B-Safe 35 Elite, on the other hand, does have a certain appeal in being a dedicated rear facing car seat.
As far as sheer capacity, the Graco 4Ever at 120 pounds edges both the others out, but the Safety 1st with its additional safety in side impacts from the "Air Protect" feature and its lower price is the one we give our final nod to as the Best Rear Facing Car Seat. There are, of course, many different personal factors that could sway your decision to a different product but we hope this review helps guide you and illuminates some of the factors you should use to decide.