Type: Convertible seat.
Limits: 15 to 35 lbs. rear facing, 20 to 65 lbs. forward facing. 49”.
NHTSA ease of use rating: Rear-facing: three out of five stars. Forward-facing: four out of five stars.
Pros: Docks with Orbit travel system, sunshade, pad removes for easy cleaning.
Cons: Orbit travel system is $900—the toddler seat is a $380 “accessory.” Lacks no rethread harness. Heavy, bulky seat doesn’t recline.
Comments: This unique convertible seat snaps into the Orbit base, but only in the rear facing mode (so you’ll have to rotate it to get it forward facing). The seat also docks with Orbit’s stroller frame, which is unique. The Orbit features side-impact braces, which are supposed to be used when the seat is in forward facing mode. We liked the fully removable seat cushion, which doesn’t require the harness to be removed.
Feedback on this seat has been limited, given the Orbit system’s high price (you first buy the Orbit’s $900 infant seat and stroller frame combo before you graduate to this car seat). What we have heard is mixed: while folks like the Orbit system in general, the toddler seat is criticized for its weight (30 lbs.) and bulk. That seems to defeat the purpose of being able to take it from car to stroller frame. And if you want to use this seat in stroller mode, you might want a sunshade—which is an extra $30.
At $380, this seat is over-priced for what it is (granted, we have occasionally seen it discounted to about $300 online). At this price point with other convertible seats, you most likely will get a no rethread harness. No such luck on the Orbit—you’ll have to manually rethread the harness to adjust the harness height. And the Orbit seat has no recline—your toddler will be sitting rather upright in it. And that could be uncomfortable for a toddler that still naps.
Here’s another big disadvantage: you can’t rotate the toddler seat once it is installed forward facing. This is, after all, one of the cool things about their infant seat. You put your baby into the infant seat while it’s rotated toward you, they you simply turn it to face your baby toward the rear of the car. But after spending nearly $400 on the toddler seat, you discover all you have is a regular car seat–no rotation. Plus if you want to remove the toddler seat and dock it to the stroller, you have to remove the side impact braces then move the heavy seat onto the stroller dock. Then rethread the seatbelt and set up the side impact braces when you put it back in! We’re exhausted just thinking about it!
Since $380 will buy you a top of the line Britax seat with change left over, we say pass on this one even if you decide you like the Orbit infant car seat. Rating: C
Amazon Customer Reviews: Orbit G3 Toddler Car Seat