Limits: 22-40 lbs rear-facing., up to 65 lbs. forward-facing
NHTSA ease of use rating: Four out of five stars.
Pros: Headrest pops off for better fit in smaller vehicles. No rethread harness. Elite version has seat belt lock-offs for better fit.
Cons: Made by Baby Trend.
Comments: The Baby Trend PROtect is actually the reincarnation of an old seat, the Compass TrueFit convertible car seat. Baby Trend bought the intellectual rights to the seat after Compass’ new owner (the First Years) decided to exit the car seat category in 2014.
The big headline here is the seat’s unique headrest. It pops off to allow installs in smaller vehicles that may not have much room in the back seat. You can use the seat without a headrest until your child reaches 22 lbs. or their head reaches the top of the shell.
The PROtect seats also feature no rethread harnesses and fabric pads that snap off for cleaning.
Baby Trend plans to market three flavors of the PROtect: the Sport ($108-$139; two position recline; Walmart Exclusive), the Premier ($98; five position adjustable base; sold at Target) and the Elite ($180). The latter has integrated adjustable head support, cup holders, belt lock-offs and upgraded fabrics.
To date, Baby Trend has only had offerings in the infant and booster seat categories—this is their first effort in convertibles. We aren’t big fans of Baby Trend’s seats, but we did like these convertible seats when they were made by Compass/The First Years. Reader feedback on this seat is mostly positive, although a few complain the PROtect is hard to install. If this seat wasn’t made by Baby Trend, we’d give it a B. However, the company’s track record in car seats (as well as customer service) result in a one letter downgrade. Rating: C