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A car seat is one of the first and most essential pieces of equipment every parent-to-be should get.
But how do you choose the right model? Savvy parents often go for gender-neutral car seats because they’re versatile and can also easily be reused with your baby no.2. Today we’ll take a look at five of the best gender-neutral car seats currently on the market.
We’ll start with a short overview, and then we’ll briefly discuss what to look for when buying a car seat in general.
To provide you with the most universal gender-neutral selection, this article focuses on convertible (all-in-one) car seats that can be used basically from birth up to 9-12 years of your kid’s age.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Gender Neutral Car Seat – an Overview
- 2 What Should You Look for in a Gender Neutral Car Seat?
- 3 5 of The Best Gender-Neutral Car Seats on Market Today
- 4 1. Diono 2020 Radian 3QXT Latch, All-in-One Convertible Car Seat – Many Thoughtful Details
- 5 2. Graco 4Ever 4 In 1 Convertible Car Seat – Easy Manipulation and Extra Comfort
- 6 3. Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3 In 1 Harness Booster Car Seat – Best Budget-Friendly Option
- 7 4. Maxi-Cosi Pria Max 3-In-1 Car Seat – Best High-end Choice
- 8 5. Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat – Inventive Details for Super-simple Maintenance
- 9 FAQs
Best Gender Neutral Car Seat – an Overview
|Diono Radian 3QXT Latch, All-in-One Convertible Car Seat||16 x 17 x 31 inches/25.8 pounds||Red Cherry (+ other gender-neutral colors available)||Convertible 4 in 1 (from birth to 10 years)||$$$|
|Graco 4Ever 4 In 1 Convertible Car Seat||21.5 x 20 x 24 inches/22.8 pounds||Black and white stripes||Convertible 4 in 1 (from birth to 10 years)||$$|
|Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3 In 1 Harness Booster Car Seat||18 x 20 x 28 inches/21.8 pounds||Black and gray||Convertible 3 in 1 (toddler to 10 years)||$|
|Maxi-Cosi Pria Max 3-In-1 Car Seat||25.25 x 24.00 x 19.88 inches/22.95 pounds||Nomad sand (+ other gender-neutral colors available)||Convertible 3 in 1 (from birth to 10 years)||$$$|
|Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat||21 x 19 x 29.2 inches/25.1 pounds||Juniper green (+ other gender-neutral colors available)||Convertible 3 in 1 (from birth to 7 years)||$$|
What Should You Look for in a Gender Neutral Car Seat?
Gender-neutral or “unisex” car seat is basically a standard safety car seat with a design that’s suitable for both genders. But the most important factors to consider when choosing a car seat still remain durability, ergonomy, and safety features. Here is our checklist of everything you should take into account before making the purchase:
Type and Category
Depending on the age, weight, and height of your little one, there are several different car seat types to choose from:
- Infant Car Seat is designed especially for newborn babies, who need adequate ergonomic support and 100% safety in a position that is natural and comfortable for them. These car seats are usually ideal for babies weighing between 4 and 40 pounds and should be installed rear-facing for extra safety. They usually have a handle, so you can carry them around easily without waking up your sleeping baby.
- Toddler Car Seat will suit most babies from 12 months to about 4-5 years. These seats let the child sit in a more upright position, and they are installed front-facing. The harness system is still very similar to the one you can find on an infant car seat. Many toddler seats can be positioned for improved comfort when the baby takes a nap.
- Booster Seat lets your baby sit in a completely upright position. Instead of a separate harness system, a kid sitting on a booster seat is secured with the car’s standard safety belts. This means that your kid must be tall enough to have the belt on his/her chest (not around the neck). The ideal age for a booster seat is 4-5 years. You can buy a conveniently light and portable backless booster or a high-back version that is safer and more comfortable.
- Convertible/All-in-one Car Seats are “hybrids” that include all (or at least most) of the above. A single product can be conveniently modified to serve your baby from birth up to 10-12 years, or until he/she doesn’t need a car seat anymore. Of course, this comes with a price – convertible car seats are usually more expensive than their more limited counterparts. But if you sum up prices of three separate products a convertible car seat substitutes, it is a smart investment.
Safety is the main purpose of buying a car seat for our little one, so we tend to assume that all car seats on the market are comparably safe and reliable.
But tests and researches often prove us wrong, uncovering various weaknesses that can make a great difference when something goes wrong. These are some of the basic rules that can help you find a safe and reliable car seat:
- Look for a label that proves compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.
- Read reviews from experienced users and specialized websites.
- a 5-point-harness system is more sophisticated and safer than a 3-point-system.
- If your car supports ISOFIX or LATCH systems, get a car seat that supports them too.
- If you can afford it, always buy a new car seat instead of a second-hand one from someone you don’t know. The weariness of material is not always visible at first sight.
While a light-weight backless booster seat can cost you as little as $20-$30, expect to pay between $150 and $350 for a high-quality convertible seat of a reputable brand. Whether you want the most economic solution or look for the most prestigious equipment, make sure that the price tag is not the only (or main) reason for buying the car seat you’ve chosen.
In our brief summary (see table above), all car seats have their approximate price range indicated. Note that prices can fluctuate, so you should always check the latest quotes before making a decision.
Size and weight
If your car seat is too heavy, you can have difficulties manipulating it, especially if you need to do it often and on your own (petite moms know exactly what I mean).
Most of the convertible car seats we’ll discuss today weigh between 22 and 25 pounds – their adjustable design is smart and thoughtful, but it also makes them quite robust and bulky. This can be particularly problematic if you have a smaller car and need to squeeze in 5 people or multiple car seats at once.
All car seats have their dimensions clearly stated in their specifications. Make sure to measure everything carefully.
Design and color
Last but not least, choose your car seat’s design and color wisely. Make sure that it looks good in your car interior because you’re going to be seeing it a lot. Also, consider how easy or hard will it be to clean your new car seat – light tones are only for the bravest!
Why do we think you should prefer gender-neutral car seat designs? Here are some good reasons:
- It’s very practical. Gender-neutral car seats can be reused without any limitations.
- They usually match with every outfit your kid’s going to wear.
- They look elegant and match the interior of most cars.
- Raising your kid’s gender-neutrally can be beneficial in many ways. Specialists believe it provides kids with the freedom to become who they really are while avoiding all the gender-related stereotypes.
- You can buy your gender-neutral car seat long before you know if you’re having a girl or a boy.
- If you’re thinking about reselling your car seat once you don’t need it anymore, gender-neutral car seats are easier to sell, since they attract parents from both “teams”.
5 of The Best Gender-Neutral Car Seats on Market Today
1. Diono 2020 Radian 3QXT Latch, All-in-One Convertible Car Seat – Many Thoughtful Details
American manufacturer Diono celebrates their 20th anniversary this year by releasing the new Radian Q series – car seats of the next generation that are safer, more beautiful, and more innovative than their older counterparts.
Convertible Radian 3QXT is suitable for kids from 4 to 120lbs, so it’s the only car seat you’ll need for the whole 10 years. Diono’s Safe+ system provides extra safety with the features like a protection insert, travel wedge, positioning liner, and harness pads.
Following the latest research and crash tests, 3QXT boasts 8 layers of protection for side impact, including a removable management pod that transports the impact energy from the seat’s side to its back while greatly reducing it. Radian 3QXT also features some nice extras such as a cup holder.
If you’re looking for a gender-neutral car seat, Diono 2020 Radian 3QXT has various attractive models to choose from. I personally like the Red Cherry model that comes in a chic combination of decent gray and eye-catching red. Red is one of the most vivid unisex colors out there and this tone looks particularly good.
Radian has some small cons too. For example, the seat’s positioning is relatively difficult and could be more intuitive. Like most convertible car seats, Radian is also quite bulky and heavy. Curious to see more great car seats from Diono? Check out our Diono Radian 3RXT vs Diono Rainier 2AX comparison. For Diono Radian 3QXT’s latest price click here.
- Size: 16 x 17 x 31 inches
- Weight: 25.8 pounds
- Suitable for: 4-120lbs
- Innovative safety details
- Beautiful design
- Extra details for added comfort
- Tricky manipulation
- More expensive than some competition
Not all the roads are straight and without speed bumps. Calm sleep for your baby, quiet ride for you... AND 100% safety! Still wondering why Your back seat NEEDS Diono 2020 Radian 3QXT?
2. Graco 4Ever 4 In 1 Convertible Car Seat – Easy Manipulation and Extra Comfort
Graco 4Ever is a 4-in-1 convertible car seat includes a rear-facing infant car seat (4 to 40 pounds), a forward-facing toddler seat (22 to 65 pounds), and a high back/backless booster assembly for older kids (40-120 pounds). Thanks to its innovative harness system, this car seat is very easy to manipulate and saves you a lot of time and energy.
Graco 4Ever offers 6 reclining positions (3 front-facing and 3 rear-facing) – for extra comfort and adjustability, there’s also a 10-position headrest. Both harness and headrest can be adjusted in a single motion.
4Ever 4-in-1 performs very well in various crash tests and features several smart safety innovations (infant insert, LATCH compatibility with audio click cue, etc.). It also has some special features such as the bubble indicator for precise leveling of the car seat in its rear-facing position.
Graco 4Ever has a few downsides too including occasional annoying rattling sounds caused by a slightly loosen headrest. Again, this convertible car seat is relatively bulky and heavy (although still lighter than most of the competition in this article).
In some positions, it can also slightly block the driver’s rearview, so you should compare your car dimensions with this seat very carefully. When it comes to gender-neutral design, I really like the black and white striped model called “Studio”, but there are several other unisex designs to choose from too.
- Size: 21.5 x 20 x 24 inches
- Weight: 22.8 pounds
- Suitable for: 4-120lbs
- Thoroughly crash-tested with good results
- Easy manipulation and adjustment
- Many positions for extra comfort
- Can block driver’s view in a smaller car
- Annoying sounds caused by some loosen components
This Car Seat gives you 10 years of use with one car seat, now upgraded with three additional features. The 4Ever you know and love now features a Rapid Remove cover, an integrated belt lock-off for easy installation, and rubberized fuss-free harness storage to help you get baby in and out.
3. Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3 In 1 Harness Booster Car Seat – Best Budget-Friendly Option
Graco Nautilus 65 LX is a 3-in-1 car seat that can be installed as a 5-point harness car seat (suitable for kids weighing 20-65 lb), highback booster (40-100 lb), and a backless booster (40-120 lb). Although this car seat cannot be used with newborn babies, it still remains a convenient choice for those who prefer one multi-purpose product instead of 2 separate ones.
Graco is a brand renowned for taking safety very seriously. Although Nautilus is one of the brand’s low-end models, it still boasts impressive TrueShield Technology that adds this seat extra side-impact protection.
Nautilus 65 offers a cup holder and side pockets for storing your little one’s snacks, which comes in handy, especially on longer trips. This car seat is compatible with both latches and standard seatbelt, but some parents complain that it’s very difficult to tighten the car seat properly in its place.
Although most of the important components on this car seat can be adjusted as your baby grows, its crotch strap remains in the same position, which might become a bit uncomfortable for the older kids.
Which gender-neutral design of Graco Nautilus 65 is the best? We prefer the black/grey version that looks great even after months of intensive use and blends nicely with most of the car interiors. Learn more about this budget-friendly convertible car seat in our in-depth review here. To see its current price, follow this link.
- Size: 18 x 20 x 28 inches
- Weight: 21.8 pounds
- Suitable: 20-120 lbs
Baby Car Seat Pros
- Good safety features
- Side pockets, cup holder, and other extra features
Baby Car Seat Cons
- Useless with small infants (<20lbs newborn baby infant seat)
- The crotch strap cannot be adjusted
- Hard to tighten in its place
The Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster offers longevity to protect your child, from toddler to youth. You’ll appreciate the ease of the fuss-free harness, for easy in and out, while your child enjoys the comfy body insert, personal cup holder, and storage compartment.
4. Maxi-Cosi Pria Max 3-In-1 Car Seat – Best High-end Choice
Maxi-Cosi Pria Max is a 3-In-1 convertible car seat with an attractive design, impressive features and parameters, and tons of enthusiastic user reviews. In its rear-facing position, Pria Max is suitable even for the smallest infants (4 to 40 pounds). As a forward-facing harness seat, it’s great for toddlers up to 65 pounds, and kids up to 100 pounds can use it as a booster seat.
Maxi Cosi Pria Max is one of the more expensive convertible car seats on the market, but its price tag is justified by its luxuriously comfortable padding, beautiful design, a sturdy and thoughtful construction, or above-the-average safety features. No wonder this car seat is one of the 2020 National Parenting Product Awards winners.
For easier and faster manipulation, Maxi Cosi comes with a magnetic chest clip called Clipquik. When it comes to safety, it sports patented GCell foam that absorbs much of the energy produced at the impact. Paddings and cushions are particularly generous around the head reducing the risk of serious injury in case of an accident.
Which is the most gender-neutral Maxi Cosi Pria Max design? In fact, their whole range is totally unisex, coming in beautifully neutral and natural tones of grey, brown, blue, and sandy. I personally love the sandy one most, although keeping it clean might be a bit tricky.
- Size: 25.2 x 24 x 19.9 inches
- Weight: 22.9 pounds
- Suitable for: 4-100lbs
- Luxurious comfort
- High-end design
- Advanced safety features
- One of the more expensive car seats
- Suitable up to 100lbs (so you might need another booster seat when your kid outgrows this one)
5. Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat – Inventive Details for Super-simple Maintenance
Chicco NextFit Zip is a “growing” car seat that will conveniently accommodate your child from birth until he/she reaches the weight of 65lbs. For the tiniest infants, this car seat comes with a baby insert and reliable rear-facing design with 9 reclining positions.
In comparison with its competition, the infant version of Chicco’s NextFit has slightly more leg space, so it will suit even some of the taller babies, who are squeezed and fussy in other car seats. One of the most attractive features of this car seat is its ergonomic headrest made of breathable material (3D AirMesh). Again, it can be freely positioned, so your little one can take a healthy nap while you’re getting to your final destination.
If you wonder why this car seat has a “zip” in its name, it’s because of its unique and convenient feature: padding on this seat can be completely removed in just a few seconds using thoughtful zips. If you ever tried to “undress” a traditional car seat (and put the padding back again after cleaning it), you surely know how painful it is, so this feature is really worth a medal.
When it comes to gender-neutral design, I picked Chicco NextFit Zip in marvelous Juniper green, because this color is really rare and looks very nice for both girls and boys. But alternative color tones such as Graphite, Shadow, or Carbon are great unisex choices too.
On the other hand, this car seat is not as versatile as most of the other convertible car seats in this article. When your kid turns 6 or 7 (65lbs), you’re going to need a separate booster seat. In the light of the above, this car seat might probably look a bit too pricey.
- Size: 21 x 19 x 29.2 inches
- Weight: 25.1 pounds
- Suitable for: 5-65lbs
- Extra leg space for infants in the rear-facing position
- Innovative zip design for easier maintenance
- Breathable headrest with many positions
- Not suitable for older kids (>65lbs)
- Relatively expensive given the above
The NextFit Zip is designed for children between 5-40 pounds and up to 43 inches tall in rear-facing mode and 22-65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall in forward-facing mode.
Question: What are the most common colors or patterns for gender-neutral car seats?
Answer: Commonly, gender-neutral car seats come in various combinations of grey, black, beige, brown, and some other natural colors. Some of the more surprising unisex car seat colors include bright red, emerald green, or yellow.
Question: Can I reuse my gender-neutral car seat with another baby?
Answer: Yes, quality car seats can be reused within a family and many parents do so without any issues. The key factors are knowing your car seat’s history and maintaining it in perfect condition, which can be tricky if you’re buying a second-hand car seat from someone you don’t know. Never use a car seat that has been involved in an accident or a seat that is outdated (labels with an expiration date are usually placed at the seat’s bottom or back).
Question: What is gender-neutral parenting?
Answer: Gender-neutral parenting comes in many forms. In general, it’s an approach that minimizes a child’s exposure to traditional gender-related roles and stereotypes.
It can be as little as letting your daughter dress in blue and play with toy cars or as much as refusing to disclose your child’s gender until they’re ready to acknowledge it themselves. Some of the famous gender-neutral parenting fans include actresses Angelina Jolie and Kate Hudson.