Best Car Seat for Grandparents – Safe and Easy to Install, Even with Arthritis

the best car seat for grandparents

Over the past month, I’ve been testing the 5 best car seats for grandparents by riding along with my mother, mother-in-law, and three kids. Plus, I talked with my friend’s parents, checked recalls, and investigated consumer reports to bring you the best seats for grandparents. Meanwhile, my husband was relaxing at home — you owe me big time honey…

Look:

Finding the perfect car seat for grandparents is hard and takes a lot of time. That is why I decided to use the perk of having three kids to test it out and make the choice as easy as possible for you.

I’m ranking these 5 best of the best car seats based on ease of installation, safety features, comfort, and value.

If you pick any of the seats below, you will have peace of mind knowing you’ve made the right choice, as these seats will protect the life inside of them, no matter what.

Let’s see those car seats already!

In a Hurry? Here Are the Top 3 Car Seats For Grandparents

For grandparents helping out with their grandchildren and who value easy installation and a safe carrier.

For grandparents who want the absolute best for their grandchildren in the long run. Name the feature, this seat has it all: best safety, optimum comfort, and, of course, easy installation.

For grandparents who are on a budget or value the easiest-to-install car seat available on the market thanks to the ratchet.

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Researched Sources

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Reviews Considered

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Researching

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Products Evaluated

What Will I Learn?

#1 Chicco Nextfit – Best Convertible Car Seat For Grandparents

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

We have a WINNER!

By far, the best car seat for grandparents is the Chicco NextFit. Here’s why…

With the latest model, you’re getting all the newest safety features to protect the life inside of the seat. Not only is it one of the safest car seats but it’s also seriously comfortable. These are no cheap materials as it has premium cushions and high-quality shoulder pads.

Whenever you’re taking your grandkids for a ride, it will be an enjoyable trip.

This car seat is a real money saver as it will be the only one you will ever have to buy. It lasts for 10 years, so more than one child can use it. The kids will look comfy, and thanks to the breathable fabric, won’t get hot.

The Chicco is an excellent choice for grandparents due to the super simple installation. Using the latch connectors, all you have to do is pull #1 up and #2 down. Yes, I’ve tested with my mom, who has arthritis, and she managed to get the perfect installation on the first try.

Here is why it got top of my list:

  • The Cadillac of car seats: It’s the perfect mix between top-of-the-line safety features and ultimate comfort thanks to the premium materials that make this seat so comfy.
  • Paramedic approved: Paramedics see real accidents, and it is my friends in the field’s #1 pick for their children.
  • Easy installation, just as 1,2: …there’s no three. Using the latches, you have to gently pull up the part marked as 1, and pull down the one marked as 2. Anyone can do it as no strength is needed.

Although, here are a few drawbacks that I’ve found.

This car seat is built like a tank in more ways than one. It’s bulky and heavy, so once it’s installed, it won’t be moving anytime soon.

No matter how careful you are, those frigging straps will always hide under the child, so you will need five hands to place and secure a squirming kid in.

All in all, the Chicco Nextfit car seat is one of the best car seats you can get if you plan to drive your grandkids around. You will not only be able to use it for 10 years, but it will also be the only car seat you will ever need.

Now, the last time I checked, there were only a few in stock, which means that if you don’t want to be left out, you better grab one before they are gone. Sometimes, the waiting time could be 1-2 months. Also, if they are out, check a different color, and you might get one.

If you want something a bit cheaper, check out #2 on the list.

Pros
  • By looking at your child, you’ll know they are safe as it’s like a protective shell.
  • The frame is made of reinforced solid steel—that’s safety in my book.
  • It’s very comfortable on long rides.
Cons
  • It’s a TANK. It is very heavy and bulky.
  • It’s hard to move from car to car. Once it is fixed, it stays there.

#2 Graco Snugride Snuglock – Best Infant Carrier For Grandparents

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

Parents typically need the most help when their kids are still infants. I know I had my fair share of issues during which my parents’ help was a real-lifesaver.

Even infants need to travel by car, so the most comfortable and safest carrier would be the Graco Snugride.

Now, this infant carrier is one of the safest in my book. It has everything to keep your little one protected, no matter what. As a bonus, there’s an anti-rebound bar, and the head support is the best one out of all the seats available out there.

Your grandchild will be comfy and cozy. Best of all, the manufacturer is using breathable fabric, so kids won’t get hot.

Diaper blowouts are common with infants, but rest assured, you can remove the cover fast and wash the fabric easily.

This canopy covers 95% of incoming light, so that no sleep will be disturbed by sunlight.

Here is why it’s a must-buy seat:

  • Love at first sight: This infant carrier is a great choice for grandparents. It’s one of the safest and most comfortable ones on the market, and it offers the best head support.
  • Lifesaver: It has a 1-button release, which is perfect when most of the time, you can’t use both hands and get into an uncomfortable yoga pose to release the seat.
  • Super simple mounting: This carrier can be mounted with or without the base. If you have the base, then it’s just one click away from a tight installation.

Although, here are a few drawbacks you should know about.

First, this is not a light car seat for all the good reasons, so it might be challenging to carry it over longer distances.

There are some design flaws with this seat. The canopy barely fits under the handle, which means your finger won’t fit, so you can’t carry it with the canopy down.

All in all, the Graco Snugride Snuglock is a good choice for an infant carrier. Everything you will ever need is included. Plus, it has an extended rear-facing up to 35 pounds.

Since it’s a popular product, you shouldn’t be surprised that it’s selling like hotcakes. Therefore, the stocks are almost always depleted. You need to move fast and pull the trigger or risk waiting. The only solution would be to check out other color options. Maybe there are still a few left from those.

Pros
  • If you value safety and comfort, this is the car seat for you.
  • It’s easy to use. Even grandparents’ hands can adjust it.
  • It’s compatible with Graco strollers and no converters are needed.
Cons
  • It’s a heavy car seat, and it will give you a decent workout until the child learns to walk.
  • A few people reported that the chair wiggled.

#3 Evenflo Everystage – Best Toddler Car Seat For Grandparents

Evenflo EveryStage DLX Best Car Seat For Grandparents

The installation is a piece of cake. Best of all, you will get it nice and tight every time. The secret is the ratchet system. So, even if you have arthritis, you will be able to mount it correctly without needing excessive strength.

This car seat grows with the kids, so it can be the only car seat you will ever need. From infant to booster, it has all the modules. Come to think of it, the price is a steal.

It also has plenty of safety features, and the fabric is soft and comfy. Even the squirmiest child will be able to relax in it.

One very good feature that is often overlooked is the height of this seat. Since the child is sitting higher, they can see outside, so they will tend not to any fuss during road trips.

It’s relatively easy to clean. My mother managed to remove it in 5 minutes, and after a quick wash, it looked and smelled brand new.

Here is why it’s a must-buy seat:

  • Simple installation, no strength required: I’ve got to hand it to Evenflo; this car seat was made for grandparents. Thanks to the ratchet system, you can get it installed nicely and tightly, even on the first try.
  • The only car seat ever needed: This Everystage seat will last for 10 years and can be mounted in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes.
  • Affordable and a money saver: Not only is it perfect for people on a budget but it’s also meant to be used from infancy until preteen age. It provides plenty of room to grow comfortably.

Although, here are a few drawbacks you should know about.

This is a big car seat, so it won’t be the right fit for a few cars. Plus, the passenger car seat needs to be moved a bit to make it fit.

Harness straps are long and tend to disappear under the child’s bottom. It’s always a fishing expedition. Hopefully, they are not squirmy.

All in all, the Evenflo Everystage car seat is a great choice for grandparents. Not only is it super affordable but no science diploma is needed to get it installed tight.

However, here comes the cold water. Since so many people are buying it like crazy, it’s not uncommon to see it out of stock and wait 1-2 months for it to be shipped. You need to move fast, or else, you will have to wait a long time.

Pros
  • It is the easiest car seat to install thanks to the ratchet.
  • It has a great recline so you won’t experience head slumps.
  • It looks cool, just like a miniature race car seat.
Cons
  • This is a big car seat that not might fit in every car.
  • Get ready to sharpen your fishing skills as the straps will end up under your child all the time.

#4 Clek Oobr – Best Harness Booster Car Seat For Grandparents

Clek Oobr High Back Booster Car Seat

Clek didn’t disappoint. This harness booster car seat is a beauty. Besides the looks, it has all the safety features that are ever needed.

Why is it the best choice for your grandparents? Because it’s the fastest and easiest to install booster seat. You see, the Oobr has a rigid latch system. In less than 10 seconds, you will be able to install it. There’s no guesswork, and each and every time, it will be the perfect install.

The Clek brand is known for another thing. They were the first to create car seats that are free from toxic chemicals. This car seat is ideal for kids with sensitive skin. Their secret is merino wool. So whenever you’re child is riding in this car seat, they won’t have to breathe in all those toxic chemicals and flame retardants.

The only downside of this booster seat is that it’s expensive. Other than that, it has everything that kids need. It even has a recline feature so kids will be able to sleep comfortably without the floppy head syndrome.

You may also want to read: Top 6 space saving car seats

The cover can’t be removed, so the only cleaning solution is through spot cleaning. Since this car seat caters to older kids, accidents will be rare. The upper limit for this car seat is 100 pounds.

The Clek Oobr is the perfect booster seat for hip grandparents. Kids will love it because it’s different from the rest. It’s a real looker and conversation starter.

Pros
  • It’s the best looking and safest car seat on the market
  • Right side click then left side click, and it’s installed
  • Superior fabric without any trace of toxic chemicals
Cons
  • It’s a pricey car seat to buy
  • In certain cars, it might cover the belt buckle.

#5 Britax Advocate Clicktight – Easiest To Install Car Seat For Grandparents

Britax Advocate ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

This incident happened with my cousin. She was driving along the freeway with three kids in the back. There was an accident up ahead, and there were many cars piled up in front of her.

She didn’t notice. When she saw the parking cars, it was already too late. The only thing she could do is slammed on the brakes as hard as she could and try to avoid the vehicles in front.

It’s impossible to bring an SUV traveling at 70 mph to a dead stop. She has lost control, and the SUV started rolling over. Bystanders said that the car rolled for at least six times.

The airbags did their job and deployed protecting my cousin. Their dog Coco was ejected throw the broken windshield. Every unsecured item became a lethal projectile. Phones, tablets, and camping gear were flying everywhere.

When everything settled down, there was the damage report. The SUV was totaled. Other than that, everybody was lucky. The kids and their mother walked away with a few scratches and bruises. Coco was alive and well.

The Britax Advocate saved three lives that day.

This is the easiest to install a car seat ever made. All you have to do is flip the seat open and guide the belt or the latch through. After that, all you have to do is close the car seat down. You’re done. It’s that simple. This is why I’ve picked it for grandparents.

The size limits are set to 5 and 64 pounds. This car seat can be installed both rear and front-facing. Also, it’s good to know that you can do extended rear-facing up to 40 pounds.

It’s easy to use and easy to install. This is why it’s ideal for grandparents.

Pros
  • It’s a fortress which provides both front-facing and rear-facing mode
  • According to a policeman parent, it’s absolutely the best
  • It’s easy to understand thanks to the well-assembled manual
Cons
  • It’s heavy once you have installed you won’t move from the car
  • ARB looks like an afterthought a bit flimsy

Car Seats for Grandparents Buyer’s Guide

That was a long article to go through. Thanks for reaching this far. I wanted to give you something extra just because you’re so persistent. Here’s my bonus for you. It’s a buyer’s guide. Maybe shortly you will have to find another car seat. If you utilize my guide, you will be able to eliminate car seats faster.

So you will only have to spend time on those that are really a good fit. How does that sound to you?

Before we can get to that, there are two very important things to mention here.

The first one is the car seat spot. Not all areas in the car are equally safe. The best protection is offered by the middle of the car. Maybe for grandparents, that’s not so comfortable. So here’s the second safest spot which is behind the driver.

The second one would be how crucial it is to get the best install possible. According to some recent studies, 75% of car seats are poorly mounted in the US. That’s a very bad number. If the seat is not tight enough, then it won’t be able to provide the best possible safety. I don’t even want to continue this train of thought.

This is why it’s so critical to get it nice and snug. Now, if you want a second opinion about the install, you can talk with a licensed professional, or recently, Amazon launched a service that helps you with this issue for a fee.

That’s about it. Let’s get to the buyer’s guide.

Safety Features

Whenever parents are looking for a new car seat, this is the first thing they check. This is where I start, as well. Now let me share with you a dirty industry secret. All car seats are safe on the marketplace because they have passed the government safety standards.

The dirty part is that some brands just barely squeaked by. Some brands go overboard. Which one would you prefer to protect your child?

Size Limits

This is my secret spot where I can save money without compromising on safety. There’s an art to it. OK, I’m going overboard with this. The simple way to save money is to get it for many years to come. Sure it might be more expensive upfront but you’re saving money in the long run.

Over here, you can and should check if the car seat offers extended rear-facing. It’s highly recommended to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. The right age is two. Now, in Europe, there are countries where the limit is four.

The longer you can keep your child rear-facing, the safer they will be.

Also, it’s a good idea to check the weight. Some seats are not meant to be moved while others are carriers. It’s good to know what you’re signing up for.

How to Install these Car Seats

This is the most important yet most neglected part of the car seat. In this article, I’ve only chosen those car seats that are easy to install. Believe me; it wasn’t an easy task.

The easier to install, the safer your child is. Luckily most brands are constantly tweaking their seats, so they get easier to mount.

Most of them offer a latch and seat belt install. Some brands still use first-generation latches. There’s nothing wrong with them. Besides, they are hard to remove.

Fabric

It’s the last item on my list. Kids will always be kids so that the cleaning part will be left for us. Most covers can be easily removed, and machine washed with the washing machine. The only exception from above is  Clek. They only way to clean is through spot cleaning.

If you like this buyer’s guide, put it to good use.

Honorable mentions those car seats that didn’t make the list: safety 1st onboard 35, Graco snugride 35, britax roundabout, myride 65 and graco 4ever.

Conclusions Best Car Seat For Grandparents

We have reached the end of the Best Car Seats For Grandparents article. It was a long journey. I hope you’ve learned a lot

By now you should know which car seat is the best fit for you. Now it’s your turn. Get the one that fits the best and do it quickly because the last time I’ve checked stocks were running low.

I would love to hear about your experiences and ideas by dropping a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What is the safest car seat on the market?

The safest car seat is made by Britax. It’s called Britax Advocate.

What is the safest convertible car seat?

The safest convertible car seat is the Diono Radian 3RXT.

Which are the best infant seats?

The best infant seats would be: Britax b-safe, Clek Liing, Maxi Cosi Mico.

What kind of safety features should grandparents look for in a convertible car seat?

There are many safety features so no wonder people get overwhelmed. Let me tell you upfront. I’ve chosen only those convertible car seats that have the highest safety ratings. As a parent safety standards are very important for me. The number one safety feature that a car seat should have is side impact protection. As you know T-bone accidents are common so side impact protection is an absolute must. The next item on the safety standards list is the steel frame. Nothing is stronger than steel. By having a steel frame in the car seat you will be sure that the child will be safe from harm. It’s not among the safety features but it should. This is the extended rear facing mode. You see kids are most safe in the rear-facing position. The longer you can keep them rear facing the safer they will be.  One of the last safety features would be foam padding. The foam padding serves a protection from the bumps on the road.

Which car seat is the best rear-facing car seat?

The best rear-facing car seat is that allows the longest time to in rear-facing position. Usually, car seats tap out at around 40 pounds. The Diono goes up to 45 pounds and there are a few rear-facing car seat that go up to 50 pounds.

What is the weight limit for the adjustable harness system?

The weight limits are the same with all car seats. For the adjustable harness system it’s 65 pounds.

What about comfort which convertible car seat is the best choice?

When it comes to comfort there are multiple things to look at as well. Each convertible car seat comes with a set of things to check out. The build quality goes hand in hand with comfort. The higher the build quality the more comfort there is. The higher the harness height the more comfort the child will get. The harness holders are for the harness straps when they are not in use. The car seat cover has to be soft. Eventually booster mode. The car seat booster mode is great for kids who are too short to drive a vehicle but have started learning how. Also, make sure that there are enough recline positions. With recline positions, you can avoid floppy heads.

What are the car seat brands with easy installation?

These convertible car seats are known for the ease of install: safety 1st, snugride 35, Britax roundabout.

What are the car seat features of convertible car seats?

These are the most important car seat features: harness system, two cup holders, baby gear build quality, adjustable head rest, level indicator, strap design.

How to install a convertible car seat?

With any convertible car seat you can choose between front and rear facing installation system. You can use the seat belts or the latch installation system. Typically these car seats are installed in the back seat. After the seat belt installation make sure the adjustment system is tight. In front facing mode you have to adjust the harness.

Which is the best convertible car seat for grandparents?

The best convertible car seat for grandparents is the Chicco Nextfit. It is a is lightweight and it will keep your child safe.

Which are the best convertible car seats for tall babies?

The best convertible car seat for tall babies is the Britax One4Life ClickTight.

Are forward facing car seats a good choice for grandparents?

Forward facing car seats are a great option for grandparents that want to transport children. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under age two should ride in rear-facing car seats. Forward facing car seats can be a good choice for older kids and grandparents.

Is the Safety 1st grow and go a good choice?

The Safety 1st grow and go is a decent choice, but only if you want a cheap car seat.

What should I look for when I’m looking for a toddler car seat?

The best car seat for a toddler is one that’s easy to install and has a harness system that can be adjusted easily.

Where can I find car seat safety regulations?

The car seat safety regulations are designed to ensure the safety of children in vehicles. The rules vary by state, so be sure to check the website at www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/rulings for your state’s.

Where can I learn about car seat installation?

The best way to learn about car seat installation is by consulting the manual that came with the car seat model.

Are all in one car seats worth it?

In my opinion, all in one car seats are worth it as they can be used for many years. Also getting the right car seat is not just safe but you have to buy it just once.

Which are the best convertible car seats that are grand parent friendly?

The best convertible car seats for grand parents would be: evenflo everystage, chicco nextfit, britax advocate, chicco grow and go. For example the chicco grown and go is an 3 – 1 convertible car seat this car seat offers booster mode, multiple recline positions, five point harness while offering forward facing mode. Now since this is a 3 in 1 convertible car seat you will have to rethread harness as the child grows. Just like with any other convertible seat the cover is machine washable so it’s easy to clean and ease of use. Also there are more than enough affordable convertible seat options to choose from.

What are the weight limit for typical car seats?

Typically rear facing taps out at around 40 pounds. For most babies and toddlers this is ideal and more than enough in rear face mode. For forward facing it can be 65 pounds. The five point harness will be replaced with the seat belt. The five point harness is mostly used with babies and toddlers. Of course the harness and headrest is easy to adjust as the child grows. The almost the last stage is the high back booster seat the weight limit for this one is 100 pounds. The final stage is the booster seat wich is limited to 120 pounds. Keep in mind that picking any seat from above is a great choice for the little one. You may want extra safety so it’s a good idea to ask a professional with the first installation and to get the seat correctly mounted.

Where can I mount a forward facing high back booster seat or booster seat?

In most cases you can install the forward facing seat on the back seat and the front seat as well. Installing it on the front seat means that your little one has the neccessary hight requirements. I had to lift the front seat for my daughter because she was just under the limit. The forward facing seat gives the most view possible so you may want to add a seat pad for extra hight.

Are cupholders necessary for forward facing car seats?

Some brands offer the cup holders with the purchase while with others you have to buy them separately. When kids get into forward facing mode have enough dexterity to handle the water bottle so on long trips it’s a good idea to get cup holders. Also the cup holders can be a valuable tool to teach responsability so they cary their own bottles.

How important is side impact protection in forward facing 3 in 1 car seats?

Let your child be under 65 pounds or 100 pounds they still need side impact protection. The sides of the car are the least protected so it’s a must.

Are the harness and headrest machine washable?

Mostly the covers and the protection is machine washable only.

What are some easy to install car seats for grandparents?

Here’s a list of easy to install car seats for grandparents:

  • #1 Chicco Nextfit
  • #2 Graco Snugride Snuglock
  • #3 Evenflo Everystage
  • #4 Clek Oobr
  • #5 Britax Advocate Clicktight

Last Updated on April 11, 2022 by Danny Reid