Can't face rear??? I just bought this carseat and am stunned as it seems it is not designed to face backward?? Isn't that the law for children under the age of 3? Do the 900 people that love this car seat have older children?
The 3-in-1 label is confusing. This seat doesn't face backwards, and should only be used by children who are at least 2 years old and have outgrown their rear-facing convertible. If you need recommendations for a rear-facing convertible, check out car-seat.org .
The laws vary by state. The current AAP recommendation is to rear face a MINIMUM of 2 years, but as long as possible (provided your child is still within limits of the weight and height of a rear-facing seat) is better. The AAP recommendation only recently changed from the old rule of switching a child forward facing at the minimum of 1 yr and 20 lbs. Despite the new recommendations the majority of people I know still switched their children forward at old min guidelines. So the 900 people who love this carseat don't necessarily have older children, they probably bought it and used it with a younger child (especially if the review is from last year or older, when almost everybody followed the 1yr/20lb guideline).
I can't speak for the other 899 people that love this car seat, but this is not a convertible seat. I use this for my 4 year old. And I chose this because I wanted him in a 5 point harness for as long as I can.
As stated in the car seat description, this is a forward facing (only) seat. It is meant as the next step after the carrier car seats that snap into the base (which should get you to the 25-30 lb range). It is better than going to a regular forward facing car seat then having to go to a high back booster then a regular booster. Keeping your older child in a 5 point harness & high back booster as long as possible is the safest (think about what race car drivers wear) and this seat has a great size range for the 5 point harness.
The law in VA is 1 year, recommended 2 years. At 21 months our child couldn't fit rear facing because his legs were too long and if he'd been rear facing in an accident he'd have dislocated his hips. However, this is a convertible for an older child as it converts from full 5 point harness car seat (comparable to a normal foward facing) to mid range booster seat (with back and car seat height adjustment) to basic "lift the kid" booster seat (base).
I agree the description of this is extremely confusing for a first-time parent. It says convertible and it also says "The Nautilus is ideal for your children from one to ten years old.". Even if it's legal to have a one year old in this seat, I think it's irresponsible for them to suggest this is an "ideal" seat for a one year old. Extremely frustrated, I relied on the expertise of the company since I'm not as familiar with the guidelines.