Car seats that turn 180˚-360˚have become quite the trend, and the Baby Jogger City Turn Rotating Car Seat deserves a comprehensive analysis. There aren’t many car seats that rotate and make loading baby rear-facing extremely easy, but this option does that.
Also Read: Best Swivel Car Seats
Car seats with this unique ability are increasingly gaining popularity among parents with bad backs. Parents of heavier kids as well as everyone who likes stress-free parenting also love this new category of car seats.
In this Baby Jogger City Turn Rotating Car Seat review, my objective is to paint an accurate picture of this product in action to help you decide if it deserves a place in your budget.
Everyone Probably Needs a Good Swivel Car Seat
There are products not everyone needs such as luxury strollers and hiking baby carriers. And then there are products that everyone should give a try because they can be life-transforming.
Car seats that turn belong to the second category. If you’ve been seating on the fence regarding these guys, it’s time to pull the trigger and see if parenting gets as easy as these restraints promise.
For many people, loading and unloading babies in the rear-facing position can be excruciatingly hard. And a swivel baby car seat takes the frustration out of the process.
Turns 180˚ for rear-facing mode ONLY and looks really fab.
A 10-year lifespan, a steel-reinforced frame, and FAA-approved (forward-facing ONLY)
Relatively easy to install via LATCH or seatbelt & extended rear-facing up to 50 pounds.
Unique features: 2 belt paths, audible click when rotation completes (after loading baby), &removable lumbar support
Audible lock when rotated into a secure position
Cons: Pricey, not a onetime install, doesn’t rotate forward-facing, & NOT aircraft-approved rear-facing
Overall, a decent buy
Cheap Swivel Car Seats Don’t Exist
With the exception of the Maxi Cosi Axxis 90 Swivel Car Seat, the oldest rotating model I’m aware of, swivel car seats are pretty pricey bunch. The overwhelming majority of these car seats are heavy and bulky convertible car seats, but they’re solidly built and add loads of convenience to traveling with young passengers.
If you’re looking to get your LO this type of car seat, be sure to set aside anywhere between $300 and $500. An infant car seat that swivels I know costs $480 at time of writing. I’m talking about the Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat here.
Fortunately, there are all-in-one swivel car seats that you can use from birth until your child reaches booster seat use age. The Evenflo 360 is a great example of an all-in-one that lasts right from birth through toddler-hood.
Not only does the Evenflo 360 Gold seat rotate 360 degrees, you install it once for rear-facing and forward-facing. But this isn’t like a unique feature. Almost all revolving car seats are onetime installs.
However, since this car seat (Evenflo) installs as a high-backed booster between 40 and 120lbs, you must uninstall and then reinstall it for this mode when the time comes.
You might think it’s the most expensive swivel option, but it’s not. In fact, the Gold 360 is the cheapest choice on my list of the best rotating car seats ever.
If you think the Baby Jogger City Turn Swivel Car Seat is super affordable, think again. It’s not. At time of writing, it lives somewhere north of $500. But that’s not too bad considering the amount of drudgery this seat helps you avoid.
Baby Jogger City Turn Swivel Car Seat Specs and Features
- Expiration date: 10 years from date of manufacture
- Rear-facing weight limits: 4-50lbs
- Rear-facing height limit: Use the car seat until the little passenger’s noggin is 1″ below the headrest’s height adjustment handle with the headrest maximally extended
- Forward-facing weight limits: 22-65 pounds
- Forward-facing height limit: Slightly less than 49″
- Lower anchor weight limit rear-facing: 35lbs
- Forward-facing lower anchor weight limit: 40lbs
- Crotch buckle positions: 2 positions, the correct buckle position is the slot nearest to the child (but it mustn’t be underneath the kid)
- Seat weight: 28lbs
- Highest harness height: 17″
- Lowest harness height: 6″ with the infant insert in use
- Lowest harness height: 7″ without the insert
- Width of the car seat: 19″ at the widest point (with cupholder on)
- Multi-layered infant insert
- Rotation: 180˚. This means the car seat’s swivel feature only works for rear facing seating and NOT for forward-facing use.
- RAPIDLOCK belt-tensioning feature
- Premium LATCH
- Harness type: 5-point bo-rethread harness, 10 positions
- Recline positions: 5, 3 positions rear-facing & 2 forward-facing.
- Belt paths: 2 belt paths unlike how it is with most swivel car seats. There’s a forward-facing belt path and a rear-facing belt path. This means this is NEVER going to be a onetime install.
- Recline indicator: dual bubble
- EPP energy-absorbing foam
- Frame: It’s steel-reinforced
- Fabric: Great quality and wicks away moisture
- Padding: Plush plus a removable infant insert as well as buckle covers
- Cup holder: It’s dishwasher-safe, and it’s not optional
I’ll now dive into the review proper and you’ll be able in a short while to decide if this product is worth the money.
The Baby Jogger Turn Has 2 Belt Paths Rather Than One
One thing that differentiates this car seat from most others is the way it rotates on its base. Car seats that turn on the base normally come with a single belt path. That is, there’s neither a forward-facing belt path nor a rear-facing one. There’s simply a belt path, one belt path.
When you install a single-belt path 360˚ revolving car seat (one that lacks the booster mode) with the vehicle’s seatbelt rather than with the lower anchors, you can do one install and that’d be it.
Unfortunately, the Baby Jogger isn’t a install-once-and-forget-it install. With this, you have to do at least 3 installs if you install via the LATCH system. So why not install via the car’s seatbelt and avoid too much avoidable work down the road?
If you choose to install via the lower anchors, here’s what to expect: at least 4 installations. First off, you’ll install the car seat rear-facing until baby grows to lower anchors weight limit rear-facing (35lbs).
Assuming you’d like to rear-face baby until they max out the stated limit at 50lbs, you have to reinstall the car seat but via the seatbelt this time.
I doubt anyone would choose to install this seat forward-facing via the lower anchors after extended rear-facing. You’ll want to use the seatbelt until your little one outgrows the seat at roughly 65 pounds.That’s how I arrived at 3 installs versus only once for an option such as the Cybex Sirona S.
*There’s a good reason to install it via LATCH, though, and I’ll tell you about it later.
It Rotates 180˚ And Not 360˚ Like Most Alternatives
With the exception of Maxi Cosi’s Axiss which offers a 90-degree rotation, pretty much all swivel car seats revolve 360˚ around the base. But the Baby Jogger doesn’t revolve 90 degrees, nor does it revolve 360 degrees. It turns 180˚, which makes it unique in a kind of negative sense.
What rotating 180˚ means is that you can’t swivel this thing while it’s in the forward-facing mode. And that’s a bummer right there. I mean, the whole point of buying a rotating car seat is to avoid wrenching your back when loading or unloading baby in either mode.
But I like that the seat spins nicely for rear-facing seating, which is great since buckling babies in car seats rear-facing is one big headache. And the same goes for wrenching them free after a trip.
If you’re willing to look past not being able to swivel the seat in the forward-facing mode, then go ahead and pick the product.
And if you’re wondering how easily the City Turn swivels, I must say it’s an incredibly easy turn. I tested this claim in a friend’s vehicle, and I could effortlessly turn the seat a full 180˚.
I’m even tempted to say that this is the smoothest spin I’ve ever seen. But I believe the Nuna Revv outperforms it albeit minimally.
Here’s a feature I love about the Baby Jogger 180˚ Car Seat: when rotating the shell after loading baby, an audible click lets you know when the seat clicks into a safe and secure position.
With most other similar car seats, there’s no clicking sound to rely on. Instead, you rely on an indicator (usually red/green) to decide whether the seat’s locked into position.
Baby Jogger City Turn Weight and Build Quality
These kinds of car seats tend to weight somewhere on the upper side of 30lbs. And I’m not surprised that this Baby Jogger swivel car seat weights in at 28 pounds.
Compared to the Evenflo which weights 29.6lbs, the Cybex Sirona S which weighs 30.4lbs, and Nuna Revv which weighs 32.7, thee Baby Jogger seat is the lightest option.
But it’s way heavier than the Orbit G5 Infant Car Seat, a rear-facing-only rotating car seat that weighs 13.8 pounds (not including the weight of the base).
You probably don’t plan on moving this heavy thing much, which is something I strongly recommend.
Unless you’re a super strong parent and are OK with installing and reinstalling a car seat all the time, I suggest that you install the Baby Jogger City Turn in one seating mode in the backseat of one vehicle and let it stay there.
The build is as solid as it gets. It rivals Nuna Revv in this respect as well as padding quality, which is plush and nice-looking in both cases. Both seats have a steel frame, and I’m not surprised that they have an expiration date that’s far off in the future (10 years).
Weight Limits Rear-facing
With a rear-facing weight limit of 4-50 pounds, only the Cybex Sirona S matches this car seat’s generosity. Some swivel options such as the Orbit Baby G5 Infant Car Seat have a weight range of 4-30 pounds, which isn’t encouraging if you’re looking for a choice that supports extended rear-facing.
In case you’re not aware, pediatricians and other child safety experts promote the rear-facing position as the safest way for babies to travel. I love that both the Sirona S and Baby Jogger City Turn let you carry baby in the best possible seating position for really long.
Height Limits Rear-facing
The company doesn’t state a specific height limit rear-facing. But I learned that as long as the top of the head of the young passenger sits at least 1″ below the height adjustment handle on the headrest, that’s a good fit.
Given that this car seat has a 0.5″ greater maximum harness height compared to the Cybex Sirona S (17″ vs 16.5″), chances are that your kid and most kids will fit in the Baby Jogger City Turn until year 2 rear-facing.
Here’s an in-depth review of the Cybex Sirona S 360 in case you’re interested to learn how it compares to this and other options.
Forward-facing Weight Limits
I find that for pretty much all swivel car seats, the forward-facing weight range plays between 22 and 65lbs. And it’s the same for the car seat under review: 22-65lbs.
But are you aware that there’s a pricey turning car seat on the market with forward-facing height limits that are a big joke?
I’m referring to the Nuna Revv convertible turning car seat here. Its forward-facing weight range is 25-40lbs, which is ridiculous considering the price point at which this product is available.
I’m not saying that the Nuna Revv is a bad choice or anything like that. I’m simply that its forward-facing weight range is so dismal as to make the seat a predominantly rear-facing option. And here’s a thoughtful review of the Nuna Revv Rotating Car Seat.
But in all fairness, I have to say that the Nuna Revv Convertible Car Seat has an astoundingly solid build. In my honest opinion, this is probably the densest swivel car seat on the market today.
However, the Nuna Revv is very heavy, pricey, and pretty much anyone who chooses it will have to purchase a second convertible car seat sooner than later. Because nearly all kids outgrow the Nuna Revv 360 before they can get any reasonable amount of use from its forward-facing mode.
Here’s the main thing I want you get in this section: the Baby Jogger City Turn’s forward-facing weight range isn’t spectacular or exceptional. But these limits are way more generous than what you get with some pricier competitors.
Forward-facing Height Limits
As long as your LO stands 49″ or less, they’ll most likely fit comfortably in the Baby Jogger City Turn. The most accommodating swivel car seats I’m aware of have a maximum height limit of 49″.
I’m thinking of competitors such as the Evenflo Gold 360 (49″), the Cybex Sirona S (49″), and few others I didn’t review. So you’re not getting less seating room if you choose the option I’m analyzing here.
Maximum Harness Slot Height
Do you have a taller baby to haul around in the family car? You want to pay attention to the highest harness slot height of the car seat you’re considering.
If the top harness slot sits too low as it does on the Nuna Revv Convertible Car Seat, you may want to think twice or thrice before swiping right.
On the Nuna Revv, the tallest slot height is a mere 14″. Given that you have to part with $600ish to get this car seat, a maximum harness shoulder height of just 14″ feels like a shameless rip-off.
It looks like Nuna got quite a few things wrong when designing the Revv. But it looks fabulous. And the overall construction quality speaks for itself. It feels indestructible.
Fortunately for you, that’s not the way it is with the Baby Jogger City Turn. With this one, the tallest shoulder harness height is 17″. Now 17″ isn’t as good as it gets, but it’s not too bad.
In fact, this number is a half inch better than what it is on the popular Cybex Sirona S. But it’s 2″ less than the same harness height number on the well-liked Evenflo 360 Gold.
On the Evenflo 360, which I believe is the best swivel car seat that can be had for the money, the top shoulder harness slot sits at 19″. And 19″ is the most generous it ever gets with these kinds of seats. Actually, I’ve yet to see a competitor with a higher top harness shoulder slot.
Will the Baby Jogger City Turn Fit My Taller Child?
It might, it might not. It all depends on how tall they actually are. But I can’t say that the City Turn is the best fit for taller kids. That recognition must go to the Evenflo 360 Gold.
With the Evenflo, which parents use as a high-backed booster at some point, you get more for less. You get an all-in-one swivel car seat with a 10-year lifespan. You get something that outlasts the entire growth phase of the child until seat belt age.
Just in case you’re not sure what an all-in-one car seat is, it’s a seat that can usually be used from birth until the child is ready to get out of the booster and into the vehicle’s seatbelt. Here’s a list of 7 types of car seats if you’d like to know more about these products.
Lower Anchor Weight Limits of the Baby Jogger City Turn
The lower anchor limits are 35lbs rear-facing and 40lbs forward-facing. These are the exact same numbers you get with this product’s worthy competitor, the Cybex Sirona S.
Many people believe that installing a car seat using the lower anchors is easier and perhaps safer than installing via the vehicle’s seatbelt.
While I agree that using the seatbelt can feel a tad intimidating for new parents and caregivers, there’s no evidence whatsoever that using the lower anchors results in increased safety for kids in the backseat.
Plus, if you watch truly helpful videos (videos created by the brands aren’t always helpful IMHO) on YT and do as suggested, you should be able to install any car seat via the seat belt correctly and fast.
Do you know why installing via the seatbelt is often the preferred method by swivel car seat manufacturers?
It’s because seatbelts are designed to protect adults against crash impacts, which means they have no weight limit. At least, I haven’t seen any vehicle whose seatbelts came with specified user weight limits.
If you install most rotating seats with the seatbelt and the option doesn’t convert into a booster seat at any point, you can install it just once and forget it. But that’s not the case with the Baby Jogger City Turn.
With the candidate I’m reviewing, it doesn’t matter whether you install via LATCH or the seatbelt. Why? Because either way you’ll have to reinstall the seat for forward-facing seating.
With options such as the Nuna Revv, Cybex Sirona S, and Evenflo 360 Gold, you install the restraint rear-facing or forward-facing and you can turn it in either direction any time you like. Just don’t do it with the vehicle in motion.
These 3 City Turn alternatives are onetime installs, but with the Evenflo, you MUST reinstall the seat forward-facing for use as a high-backed booster.
Infant Car Seats: Plush With 25lbs Lumbar Support
Pretty much all convertible car seats come with a newborn insert to help lift baby up so the harness can fit them better.
However, the insert on most convertible car seats tends not to fit as well as it does on infant car seats. That said, there’s something unique about the infant insert that comes with the City Turn: it’s pretty versatile.
Unlike others, this one arrives in 3 thickly padded sections that link up with each other and attach to the car seat with ease. There’s a head-support part, a body support section, and a lumbar-support portion.
You can use any of these 3 parts individually. The manufacturer seems to have forgotten to state the insert’s weight range, but the overwhelming majority of newborn inserts have a 4-11lbs range.
What stood out to me is that you can use the lumbar support padding until baby grows to 25 pounds. I don’t know of any similar car seat with this extra feature.
Installing the Baby Jogger City Turn (Rear-facing)
Installing via the seatbelt is as easy as it gets, and the same goes for installing via the lower anchors. While I’m a big fan of installing via the seatbelt to dodge weight limit issues, using the lower anchors might be not be a bad idea with the City Turn.
Learn how to install the Baby Jogger City Turn Rear-facing with the seat belt in this video. You’ll need to exert a reasonable amount of effort to lock off the base with the RAPIDLOCK Belt-Tensioning system. There’s actually two belt tensioners instead of one. I believe this is why the seat installs tight and secure without a fight.
A review I read when researching for this car seat (see this photo) revealed that using the lower anchors might actually be a better idea.Why?
Because when the person used the seatbelt to do the installation, the testing passenger’s foot (it was a doll, but I imagine the same could happen with a real child) caught on the seatbelt. This happened when turning the seat.
Be Sure to Read the Manual Before Installing the City Turn
If you’re one of those people who find installation manuals boring (who doesn’t), make an exception for this seat. The instructions are pretty clear, and following them leads to an easy and safe install.
But there’s a few things you MUST know before installing:
- There are no “arrows” or anything else on the base that shows which side faces which direction. But if you check the bottom of the base, there’s a recline feature that you need to flip before installing in the rear-facing mode.
- It’s on this recline foot that the manufacturer decided to hide the base installation information. Once you expose this recline foot, you’ll see a label with the words “rear-facing” and “forward-facing.” Face the base as instructed and you’ll be fine.
- If you skip reading the manual, it’s easy to confuse the “seat rotation channel” (it looks like a groove and it’s shaped like a T) on the top of the base with the lower anchor or seatbelt routing path. That’s not where to route the seatbelt or lower anchors. Both belt paths are color-coded, blue is for the rear-facing belt path.
Installing it forward-facing isn’t hard at all. Be sure to use the top tether ALWAYS in the forward-facing mode. You’ll find this tether neatly stored in the back of the shell.
It’s best to use the seatbelt for this setup due to weight limit issues (22-65pounds). Learn how to install the Baby Jogger City Turn forward-facing here.
How Well Does It Work in Various Fit-3-Across Scenarios?
If you have a really tiny car, forget about placing this car seat beside any other convertible car seat. Because you won’t be able to access the swivel feature as easily as you’d like.
If the car isn’t very small, you might be able to use the rotational feature even with a narrow enough convertible option such as the Radian 3XRT, a popular convertible car seat for small and compact cars.
What if you own a mid-sized vehicle such as the Honda CRV or the Mistubishi Outlander? These definitely aren’t the tiniest of vehicles. But they’re also not the roomiest ones out there.
Safety Certifications and Longevity
One reason you won’t struggle to love the City Turn is its extremely long lifespan of up to 10 years (find this information on the back of the shell) after date of manufacture. It compares closely to worthy contenders such as the Cybex Sirona S and the Evenflo 360 Gold.
*The instructions manual stores in a compartment on the shell, but you can always find it online.
I guess having a reinforced steel frame partly explains why this car seat lasts that long. And it’s certified to the rigorous Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS 213) as well as to Baby Jogger’s very own standards, the True Test Plus Safety Standards.
Since this is a manufacturer-formulated and regulated safety standard, it’s hard to say how much safer if at all it makes the seat to become.
Is It Good for Air Travel?
Put another way, is the Baby Jogger City Turn 180˚ Swivel Car Seat FAA-approved? Yes it is, as long as you don’t use it in the rear-facing mode. Find the aircraft approval label on the back of the car seat shell.
Most aircraft-approved car seats don’t restrict usage to forward-facing, but this one does, which isn’t nice. But do you really want to hop on a plane with a 28-pound convertible car seat? Me neither.
Fabric,Harness Type, Harness Covers, and Chest Clip
One area where the the City Turn wins handsomely is comfort. We all hate it when a car seat just won’t wick away sweat on a warmer day, but you won’t experience this with this one.
The seat covers are made from COOLMAX fabric, a superior breather that keeps babies and children cooler than most. If this isn’t a big reason to get this deal, I don’t know what is.
As far as seat padding quality, it’s great. The seat looks as supremely well padded as the beefy Nuna Revv and just as stylish and modern.
Harness and harness covers: You get a no-rethread 5-point harness with removable covers. You don’t need to use these covers rear-facing, but the manufacturer says to always use them forward-facing.
Well, these harness covers could be less bulky, and if you have a really tiny baby, they might be oversized for them.
An easy to use chest clip: There’s no SensorSafe with the City Turn, which I can’t say could be a bummer for many. But I like that chest clip comes with install instructions that look like a graphic engraved on it.
Crotch Buckle Positions
The are two crotch buckle positions. And the manufacturer recommends using the position closest to baby provided baby doesn’t end up seating on it.
How the Seat Reclines
The recline feature/foot lives in the bottom of the base, and you must flip it out for use. When this foot flips into the right position for the seating mode in question, you see the words “right side up”. The next step is to manipulate the recline adjuster to one of several recline positions (3,1,1,2).
- Position #2 (not stated on the manual) is for rear-facing seating ONLY.
- Position #1 is for rear-facing for kids weighing 40+ pounds
- The other position #1 is for forward-facing between 40-65lbs
- Position #3 is forward-facing passengers at less than 40lbs
Cupholder: Dishwasher-safe But Not Optional
The cupholder is dishwasher-safe, something that seems to apply to all car seats these days. However, the cupholder isn’t optional. While it’s removable, you MUST have it on whenever your baby is strapped in. That’s what the manufacturer says in the instructions manual.
2 Recline Level Indicators
On the sides of the base are dual recline angle indicators to help set the seat to a comfortable seating position. Some options have only one indicator, which can cause inconvenience because you often have to get out of the vehicle, walk around to the other door, and get in to check whether the recline angle is correct.
You won’t go through this pain if you choose the City Turn because it boasts 2 recline angle indicators, one on each side of the base. But I wonder whether it’d have been a better idea to place these indicators on the sides of the shell.
A Trick for Fitting 3 Across
A mom I skate with owns a Honda CRV, and she’s able to fit the Baby Jogger City Turn and 2 other seats in the not-so-spacious backseat. The other 2 seats are quite narrow, and one is a backless booster.
Both seats are 17″ wide, and they obviously aren’t swivel options. They allow her to revolve this car seat without it turning into the next car seat. In this seating configuration, my friend positions the City Turn on the passenger side of her Honda.
If she didn’t do this, the cupholder (it’s 1 cupholder) would stick out too far and prevent proper use of the neighboring car seat.
So yes, you can fit 3 across with this one in a mid-size vehicle as long as the other car seats are narrow enough and you don’t position the City Turn in the middle of the backseat.
Colors: Limited Options
If you like a car seat with all sorts of cool patterns, color options, graphics, or whatever, this isn’t the best bet.
The brand decided to make the car seat in one color (gray) and threw in about 2 shades of this color to make it look like caregivers have options.
If you’re worried about baby-originated spills on the fabric, consider choosing a darker hue.
Baby Jogger City Turn Review: Final Word
It looks really fab, had great padding, offers a versatile and removable infant insert with lumbar support padding, a feature no other car seat offers.
It makes extended rear-facing a dream come true thanks to its 180-degree swivel.
The spin is amazing and is doable with one hand, and an audible sound lets you when it rotates into position.
But it doesn’t swivel in the forward-facing mode, is pricey, and the cupholder must stay on throughout use.
And while it’s FAA-approved, it’s ONLY for the forward-facing mode, plus it’s as heavy as it gets.
Finally, it’s only available in limited colors: shades of gray. And it’s pricey.
If you’re willing to gloss over its inability to swivel forward-facing and money isn’t tight, it’s definitely a worthy buy.
As a medical professional practicing in the United States, Joe Waweru medically reviews every piece of relevant content at kiddofreddom.com, but nothing he says here should be construed as medical advice of any kind.