Price: $126 to $200
Type: Convertible seat.
Limits: 5 to 40 lbs. (19” to 40”) rear facing, 22 to 65 lbs. (and 34” to 45”) forward facing.
NHTSA ease of use rating: Rear facing: Three out of five stars. Forward facing: Three out of five stars.
Pros: 40 lbs. rear facing! Side impact protection.
Cons: Huge seat makes for a tough fit in small or mid-size cars.
Comments: “Revolutionary side impact technology” is how Safety 1st describes the Complete Air, a convertible seat that works to 40 lbs. rear facing, one of the first seats to reach that limit (others have since caught up). The side impact shields inflate during a crash, providing more protection for baby in case of a crash.
The Complete Air also features a “QuickFit” harness system that adjusts the harness height without rethreading.
Parent feedback on this seat has been mixed: more than one reader mentioned the seat’s large size makes it a tough fit even in mid-size sedans, especially in rear facing mode. Other parents complained they couldn’t get the seat to recline enough in their cars; some used rolled up towels or noodles.
That said, folks who are able to install this seat cite its overall quality—the no-rethread harness particularly wins praise for ease of use. No, this seat isn’t as polished as other premium brands like Britax and Recaro. Example: the base on the seat is unfinished plastic with rough edges. Upper-end seats have rubberized plastic bases, which better protect an auto’s seats. Of course, the Complete Air is $100 less than those seats, so there’s your trade-off.
Bottom line: kudos to Dorel for making a seat that works to 40 lbs. rear facing. But you better have a large vehicle to make it work. Rating: B
Amazon Customer Reviews: Safety 1st Compete Air 65