6 Swivel Car Seats That Are Total Game Changers
New parents quickly realize how awkward it can be to safely situate a kid in their car seat—especially if their vehicle is on the small side. And if your little one is wiggly or uncooperative? Good luck. Of course, if you had the foresight to invest in a rotating car seat, you may not have to deal with this daily struggle at all. These innovative models actually swivel around, so you can buckle baby in and gently lift them out without contorting your body or straining your back.
So do you actually need a swivel car seat—and, more importantly, are they safe? Find the answers to those questions below, then browse our picks of the game-changing rotating car seats available to shop now.
What is a Rotating Car Seat?
A rotating car seat—also known as a swivel car seat—has a fixed base and a seat that spins up to 360 degrees. This innovative swivel feature gives parents easy access to their child, as they can strap baby in and remove them from the seat without climbing inside the car. Better yet, some models also let you transition the car seat from rear-facing mode to a forward-facing position with the press of a button (no re-installation necessary). Rotating models offer many of the same features as traditional convertible car seats, and are typically installed using a LATCH base system or a seat belt path.
Are Rotating Car Seats Safe?
“Rotating car seats are safe in the sense that every seat in the United States must meet the same federal safety standards,” says Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO, a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas. “Thus, if it is on the market, it passed the government’s mandated crash test.” Rest assured that before a particular model hits the shelves, it’s tested to ensure that it meets National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) guidelines. So, as long as it’s installed correctly—and is suitable for your child’s age and weight—yes, rotating car seats are safe to use.
To ensure your rotating car seat is set up and used as safely as possible, Phillips-Walker offers several tips to consider. As with any other car seat, it’s best to keep your child in the rear-facing position for as long as possible. “In fact, it’s best to max out the rear-facing position height and weight limits as this is the safest position,” says Phillips-Walker. Likewise, remember that car seats that swivel should only be in the sideways position when getting in and out of your car. “Never ride with a child sideways in a rotating car seat,” advises Phillips-Walker. For safety reasons, you should never use the rotating car seat’s shell without the base. Phillips-Walker reminds parents to “always make sure the seat is locked in place in the forward- or rear-facing positions prior to the car moving.”
What to Consider When Buying a Rotating Car Seat
Choosing the right car seat for your child can be a challenging task, and different types come with various benefits and drawbacks. Here are some factors to consider before deciding on a rotating car seat.
- Rotating mechanism. The best rotating car seats have a smooth swivel mechanism, and some options can even be operated with one hand. Phillips-Walker also advises parents to pay attention to the seat’s construction. “Some rotating car seats come in two pieces—a base and a shell. If there are step separate parts, there is a potential for them to separate in a crash. This is not supposed to happen, but there is a possibility, so keep this in mind,” she states.
- Price. Rotating car seats are relatively new to the US market and are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. But as with any new innovation, this comes with a hefty price tag. Swivel car seat prices start at over $300, and high-end models can cost anywhere up to $650.
- Convenience. No doubt about it, rotating car seats are the most convenient option out there. Why? Thanks to the swivel function you can turn the seat 360 degrees to face you as you buckle baby in or remove them from the seat. This is less physically taxing and is particularly helpful for folks with a disability or mobility issues. To make the experience even more seamless, Phillips-Walker also suggests looking for user-friendly features. This could include “an easy-to-read indicator that shows the seat is locked in the correct position or properly secured to the base,” for example.
- Longevity. Swivel car seats are typically convertible, and can be used in a rear-facing or forward-facing position, meaning you can use it from day one well into toddlerhood. However, it’s important to note that many car seats that rotate have a lower weight limit than their non-swiveling counterparts, meaning that you may need to switch up the seat configuration sooner than you’d need to with a more standard option.
- Size. Rotating car seats tend to be slightly larger than traditional models, as the swivel mechanism adds an extra component to the base. In addition, given that the car seat is designed to swing outward for easy access, this type may not be the best option for families that require multiple car seats or booster seats.
The Best Rotating Car Seats
Now that you’ve come to grips with what a rotating car seat actually is, take a moment to look at six game-changing options on the market now. Below, check out our top picks which meet the mark in terms of safety, convenience and comfort.
First up on our list of the best rotating car seats is the Cybex Sirona S—the first fully rotating car seat to hit the market. The convertible seat rotates a full 360 degrees, has 12 recline positions and is operated with a simple one-handed lever mechanism. You’ll appreciate that it’s equipped with top-notch safety features, like load-leg technology, an anti-rebound panel, linear side-impact protection and a SensorSafe chest clip, which syncs to your smartphone and alerts you when unsafe conditions arise. Another highlight: It’s also super-easy to install, thanks to the on-pull LATCH system and angle indicators that help you position it just right. With all of that in mind, it’s no surprise that this rotating car seat earned a spot in our Best of The Bump convertible car seat roundup.
Dimensions: 24.5″ (L) x 19″ (W) x 25.5″ (H) | Weight: 30.4 lbs. | Height limit: 49″ | Weight capacity: 4 to 50 lbs. (rear-facing), 22 to 65 lbs. (forward-facing) | Age rating: 0 months to 4 years
“The car seat was easy to get in and out of the car. It didn’t feel heavy, but also not light. My toddler was able to get in and out of the car seat without any issues and buckling was fairly easy.”
- Super simple to install, according to our product tester
- Magnetic shoulder straps
- SensorSafe technology
- Swivels 360 degrees at the pull of a lever
- Not compatible with a stroller
- Our product tester said rotating the car seat was difficult at first
Willing to splash some cash on a car seat that rotates? Look no further than the NUNA REVV, which is considered to be the Rolls Royce of the swivel car seat world. With a simple twist, the seat rotates 360 degrees to face you. It also boasts a no-rethread harness, 10 recline positions and has integrated magnetic buckle holders to help keep straps out of the way when buckling baby in. As a parent, you’ll appreciate that it’s the gold standard in terms of safety, with a steel frame, integrated rebound bar, energy-absorbing foam and side-impact protection pods. Crafted from the finest materials (think Merino wool and GOTS certified–organic cotton), the car seat cover and infant inserts are machine-washable, fire-resistant and free from harmful chemicals. Plus, ventilation panels keep baby cool and comfortable during long journeys. Talk about luxury!
Dimensions: 22.5″ (L) x 18.5″ (W) x 22.5″ (H) | Weight: 29.7 lbs. | Height limit: 43″ | Weight capacity: 5 to 40 lbs. (rear-facing), 25 to 40 lbs. (forward-facing) | Age rating: N/A
- High price point
- Lower height and weight limit than other options
Searching for a more affordable option? Check out the Evenflo Gold Revolve360. It’s still an investment, but the clever design offers three modes for infants, toddlers and big kids meaning you can use it for up to 10 years. The car seat rotates 360 degrees and the cushioned head-rest can be adjusted with a single hand. It also goes above and beyond industry safety standards, with superior side-impact protection and structural integrity. Our product tester, the mom of a one-year-old and an 8-year-old, told us: “The sensor-safe and the 360-degree rotation features are my absolute favorite and I know other parents will agree.” The final verdict? It’s “an amazing price for a product that will last years while my child continues to grow,” said our product tester.
Dimensions: 21″ (L) x 19.8″ (W) x 25.9″ (H) | Weight: 29.6 lbs. | Height limit: 57″ | Weight capacity: 4 to 40 lbs. (rear-facing), 22 to 65 lbs. (forward-facing), 40 to 120 lbs. (booster seat) | Age rating: N/A
“There are no features I dislike! Both my one-year-old and 8-year-old were able to fit comfortably in their different positions according to height and weight. The seat reclines and adjusts very easily with no trouble.”
- Our product tester highly praised the Sensor Safe safety features
- Swivels 360 degrees
- One-hand adjustment
- Triples as a rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seat
If the thought of baby’s car seat spinning 360 degrees makes you dizzy, try the Baby Jogger City Turn out for size. It rotates 180 degrees bringing your child 10 inches closer to you, so that you can maintain a more upright posture when lifting baby in and out of the seat (this is a lifesaver for parents with a bad back!). The smooth rotation mechanism is operated with one hand and audibly clicks into place, so you know it’s safely secured. The seat can be used in a rear- and forward-facing position, has an adjustable headrest and six recline options to ensure a comfy ride. And thanks to the no-rethread harness, you can adjust the harness without removing it. It installs within seconds and has a steel-reinforced frame and energy-absorbing foam padding for a safe ride.
Dimensions: 21.8″ (L) x 19″ (W) x 23.5″ (H) | Weight: 28 lbs. | Height limit: 49″ | Weight capacity: 4 to 50 lbs. (rear-facing), 22 to 65 lbs. (forward-facing) | Age rating: N/A
- Car seat audibly clicks into place in rear-facing mode
- Adjustable headrest and five recline positions
- No rethread harness
- Doesn’t rotate fully
- Only rotates when in a rear-facing position
Next up on our list of game-changing swivel car seats is the Orbit Baby G5. Unlike the other options, this car seat is not convertible and can only be used for infants up to 30 pounds. But if you’re looking for an infant car seat that rotates this one offers unique benefits. The deep, cradle design is super snug and is lined with energy-absorbing EPP foam for maximum side impact protection. The SmartHub Base lets you attach the seat at any angle in the car, and then rotates into position, helping to prevent back strain. The best part? The car seat detaches from the base and has carry handles, meaning you can easily transport a sleeping baby from the car to the house without disturbing them. It also attaches to compatible Orbit strollers. Bonus: For premature babies, you can purchase the lower birth weight kit.
Dimensions: 8.5″ (L) x 12″ (W) x 12″ (H) (seat); 14″ (L) x 20.5″ (W) (base) | Weight: 13.8 lbs. | Height limit: 32″ | Weight capacity: 4 to 30 lbs. | Age rating: N/A
- Attaches to a stroller frame
- Lightest option our list
- Not suitable for toddlers or babies over the weight limit
- Rear-facing only
Last but not least on our list of the best rotating car seats is this clever 3-in-1 design from Graco. The convertible option seamlessly rotates, meaning you can use it as a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat with ease. Thanks to the no-rethread harness, you’ll be able to move the 10-position headrest and harness to fit baby like a glove. As a parent on the move, you’ll also appreciate features like the easy-to-read level indicator and one-handed adjustment ability. Together, they’ll enable you to install the seat safely and efficiently. The best part? This workhorse rotating car seat also triples as a high-back booster seat; it’s sure to be a staple in your car for years to come!
Dimensions: 24.4″ (L) x 19.1″ (W) x 20.8″ (H) | Weight: 30 lbs. | Height limit: 57″ | Weight capacity: 4 to 40 lbs. (rear-facing), 22 to 65 lbs. (forward-facing), 40 to 100 lbs. (booster seat) | Age rating: N/A
- Securely “clicks” for added peace of mind
- One-handed adjustment
- Triples as a rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seat
- Some reviewers wish the fabric and the cupholders were of higher quality
How We Chose the Best Rotating Car Seats
We get it—parenting requires a lot of gear, and it can be challenging to find the best fit for your family’s needs every time. To simplify your search for the best rotating car seat, we browsed a variety of options from leading baby gear brands and trusted online retailers, so you don’t have to spend hours scrolling. We considered several factors when sourcing car seats that rotate, including dimensions, height and weight capacity, product weight, value, quality and durability and, of course, safety. We also read user reviews to get the lowdown on how these products have worked for real families, and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating.
To make sure we’re highlighting rotating car seats that are safe and effective, we chatted with a pediatrician to understand essential features and safety considerations to keep top of mind when you’re shopping. We also followed the safety guidelines of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). What’s more, some of these car seats were reviewed by our team of independent product testers, providing additional insight for our roundup.
Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.