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Convertible carseat recommendations?

Aberwacky's picture

Grant's outgrown his infant seat and we're looking for a new carseat that he can use for several years.  The options are confusing, so I'm looking for real-world experience.  What should we look for?  What do you use and are you happy with it? 


Our requirements:



  • Safety (obviously)

  • Ease of use (we will be putting in/taking out Grant several times/day)

  • Comfort (Grant will spend 3 hours/day in it for the next few years)

  • Ease of cleaning (see above, LOL)

Thanks for your advice!


Leigh


 


I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers)! I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers)! I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers). . .

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Gretchen's picture

(post #45364, reply #1 of 62)

We have one in our car that DGS has used since he was out of the backward facing seat--and he is still using it at 5.  It has the 5 point harness in the seat and now he uses it just as his seat with the car seat buckle across him. When he used it as a little one, it has a tether that went behind the seat.
DS has a convertible and I think he used his regular car seat in it also--as does DDIL in hers, but DGS is older.


I'll look for the brand. It is a very padded seat. You might want to look for one that has a cup holder--DS's has that.


Gretchen
Gretchen
monstersmom10's picture

(post #45364, reply #2 of 62)

Try the Costco/Eddie Bauer Alpha-Omega car seat.  I have it for all three of my kids, and we use them all the time, short and long hauls.  They have a 5pt harness, padded seat cover that removes for washing in the machine, and the seat just wipes clean.  The harness takes a little getting used to, its a bit different than most, but I happen to really like it since it also makes it harder that most for the kids to take off, but once you are familiar with it is a total breeze for you to do and undo.

Gretchen's picture

(post #45364, reply #6 of 62)

Is it that "puzzle" buckle?  DGDs have those and one time I really thought we were not going anywhere!!

Gretchen

Gretchen
monstersmom10's picture

(post #45364, reply #9 of 62)

I'm not 100% sure what you mean by 'puzzle', but if youre referring to the fact that one piece fits over the other to then be inserted into the buckle, yes, that's it.  I happen to really like the design, though if you're not familiar with it (like my mom, the first time she tried to take my kids somewhere), it can be difficult.  Once you've learned how it works, it's really very easy to use.

Li's picture

(post #45364, reply #3 of 62)

I'm so glad you asked about this. Saxton and Madox have just outgrown their car seats, so we're in the market, too.

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elizaram's picture

(post #45364, reply #4 of 62)

The Britax Roundabout and Marathon are wonderful. Grant was in a Roundabout from 4 months up till he outgrew it at age 3 (he's a long skinny type). We then moved to the Marathon, which was not available when he was an infant. It's more versatile than the Roundabout as it's larger, with more grow room; however, it's more expensive and extremely bulky and heavy (which gets inconvenient if you do a lot of switching between cars, or plan to take it on an airplane.) I suspect most kids would move straight from the Roundabout to a booster seat, but mine didn't meet the weight requirement yet and wasn't quite mature enough to be trusted not to wiggle out of a shoulder strap.


The seats are incredibly comfortable - Grant has no problems at all on large trips, and falls asleep easily in them. They are easy to install, have top safety ratings, and are easy to clean. The straps NEVER twist, not even after years of daily use. My only complaint is that the crotch pad comes off too easily. On the Marathon, it got lost about 2 weeks after getting the seat.





Food-forward parents like mine served dinners of homemade falafel, Mediterranean fish stew or stir-fried beef with broccoli. To me, dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, mashed potatoes with gravy and macaroni and cheese seemed exotic and unattainable. --Julia Moskin (NYT)



When I was young, all my friends were imaginary. Now that I'm older, all my friends are virtual.

Aberwacky's picture

(post #45364, reply #5 of 62)

I was looking at both of those, and wondered what the difference was.


We will be switching it out from car to car, and I think the Roundabout would be easier, plus it will likely be going into a small car, and the Roundabout would probably fit better.


The Marathon is tempting because we could use it longer.  If only we had a crystal ball and could see how big he will get how fast!  I was long and skinny and Dave was short and skinny, so it's hard to say.


I've read lots of good reviews of the Britax car seats, but they are expensive--2 1/2 times the price of the other ones I'm looking at.  At the moment, it would break the budget to get a Britax, but if I add in the lack of frustration using it and the life of the carseat, it might be the better deal.


Do you think they're worth the price?


Leigh


 


 


I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers)! I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers)! I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers). . .

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Gretchen's picture

(post #45364, reply #7 of 62)

Ours may be the Britax. But switching these seats?  I'd rather take a beating in the past when you really have to attach the tether.  All our kids have a seat for each car.


THE most important part of the child car seat is that it be properly installed. Some astounding percentage are not. Our fire departments will check it--another reason for not moving them.


Gretchen
Gretchen
AmyElliesMom's picture

(post #45364, reply #8 of 62)

What she said.

ALL car seats will protect your children; anything other than basic protection is mostly cushy and name-recognition.

Where car seats fail is when they are improperly installed, or do not fit your vehicle.

For instance, Evenflo brand car seats fit my Neon, but not my Mom's Altima. I've had three, I think - the Triumph V by Evenflo was my favorite, but it doesn't convert to a shoulder harness booster at all. To be honest, though, I'd recommend getting it, then switching to a shoulder harness only booster when they reach the proper size.

Ellie has two car seats now - one for my car that WAS convertible, but isn't anything special, and an $18 booster only for Mom's car. The one in my car fits in my car, but not Mom's and vice versa.

As for the Britax carseats, yes, they are cushy and soft and huge and heavy. I really would only recommend them for bigger kids that can't use a shoulder harness booster. There is just no sense in paying that much for a carseat.

ALL properly installed car seats MUST meet the same safety standards; even Ellie's $18 cheapie. Granted, she hates the cheapie b/c it's not all soft and cushy and has no cup holder, etc.

 


"God is in the cosmic microwaves."

 

Save the Earth! It's the only planet with wine and chocolate.

Gretchen's picture

(post #45364, reply #15 of 62)

If the one we have is a Britax, we have used it with the harness/5 point and now as  the booster seat. I do know that the other grandmother has a Britax and DGS is still in it.  Amortized, it seems to be OK.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Cissytoo's picture

(post #45364, reply #27 of 62)

THE most important part of the child car seat is that it be properly installed. Some astounding percentage are not. Our fire departments will check it--another reason for not moving them.


That is true.  My last boss, a state senator, sponsored a car seat safety program back in the 90s.  About 200 people showed up and had their child car seats checked by the county police department.  Every single one of the car seats inspected was installed improperly.

KitchenWitch's picture

(post #45364, reply #10 of 62)

>>Do you think they're worth the price?<<


I think they are. I wanted a Britex and B balked at the price. then, after we had a car accident and had to replace the car seat, he went with me to buy a new one. After looking at the way the Britex was engineered, he insisted we buy it. it is very easy to install, and keep in mind our ever-revolving selection of "vintage" cars.


We used it until Natalie outgrew it, and Buddy is in it now. I think we've gotten our money's worth out of it!


~RuthAnn


<insert witticism here>

~RuthAnn

elizaram's picture

(post #45364, reply #16 of 62)

Do you think they're worth the price?



I personally have no regrets about choosing them over a less expensive brand. Over the years DS has spent a lot of time in the car. We "test drove" a lot of seats when he was a baby, and the Britax was the only one he looked like he was comfortable in. Even though he's much bigger now, he's still comfortable - we regularly make long drives to visit SIL, and he settles right in and naps the whole way. :-)

Definitely check out all your options in person, though, before making a decision - preferably with Grant along to help!




Food-forward parents like mine served dinners of homemade falafel, Mediterranean fish stew or stir-fried beef with broccoli. To me, dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, mashed potatoes with gravy and macaroni and cheese seemed exotic and unattainable. --Julia Moskin (NYT)



When I was young, all my friends were imaginary. Now that I'm older, all my friends are virtual.

shanaz's picture

(post #45364, reply #61 of 62)

I've been using a Britax Roundabout for my 2 1/2 yr old son and love it.

Biscuit's picture

(post #45364, reply #11 of 62)

Funny - I'm about to sell ours.  Max has been in a booster seat for about 8 months now. 


I don't think the brand is so important as is the comfort for your child, especially if he is spending a decent amount of time in it.  All of the better brands seem to have the exact same safety features.  I think ours is an Evenflo, and we got it for the following reasons (after checking it's safety rating):



  • Cushie seat and padding

  • Can take apart to throw padding in the wash

  • tilts back (for when he wants to sleep in it)

And - I know money is sort of an issue, but a Fireman friend of ours recommended to us that we buy one car seat for each car we would be using.  A little more expensive, but we bit the bullet and did that, so that we didn't have the issue of taking the seat in and out of cars.


If it makes you feel better, when he gets to a booster seat, they are only about $20.


"I wouldn't shop at Walmart.com if they were the last online retailer on earth and they shipped everything using chocolate chips as packing material. "  - Miss Alli of TWoP

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

Aberwacky's picture

(post #45364, reply #12 of 62)

I've thought about getting a nicer carseat for the car we spend the most time in, and a cheaper one for the other car a couple of months down the road. With the bucket seat we have now, we bought two bases and that's worked out perfectly--too bad that doesn't seem to be an option with the toddler carseats!


Comfort is an important issue, since he'll be spending so much time in it (that's another worry for another thread, LOL). We're going to look at carseats tomorrow or Friday to test drive them, so to speak.


I found a Britax Roundabout at Target online for $219 with free shipping, plus I have a 10% discount coupon for them, which brings the price under $200.  The Evenflos I am looking at are under $100.


Thanks everybody for the information--keep it coming!


Leigh


 


I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers)! I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers)! I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers). . .

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
AmyElliesMom's picture

(post #45364, reply #13 of 62)

For Ellie, because of her low-tone issues, I seriously looked at the Britax (they make one of the only special needs car seats out there), but when I compared the features of it and the features of the Evenflo Triumph V, I went with the Evenflo. I wish Ellie still fit into it.

One reason I loved the Evenflo is the way the straps adjusted - they were run through these knobs, and you turn the knobs to release and tighten the straps. Absolutely the easiest system I've used. Not all Evenflo's have this system, though. It's called the TensionRight system, I think.

Okay, I just did a search, and I see they don't have the Triumph V anymore, but the Triumphs they do have now are very similar.

She is using a Cosco brand one in the bus, the el cheapie Saftey first booster in Grammie's car and I can't recall the brand she uses in my car, but it was also not that much.

Oh, the one reason I really like the Triumph is that it reclines in forward and rear facing, and was really cushy. It's base also fit in both my car and Grammie's car. I highly recommend it.

 


"God is in the cosmic microwaves."

 

Save the Earth! It's the only planet with wine and chocolate.

Nihon's picture

(post #45364, reply #14 of 62)

We just put Liza into her big-girl seat, and yes, the choices are confusing.  The one we settled on was the Graco ComfortSport, which was $79 at Target.  We bought one for each car, and it was a snap to install in the minivan (haven't done the Impala yet, so I can't vouch for it).  I mainly picked that one because you can remove the seat cushion without unthreading the straps, so cleaning it is more likely to be done at the "yuck" level than at the "threat to health" level we've used on her bucket seat.  And while the brown seat cover isn't exactly cute, it does disguise both diaper mistakes and graham cracker crumbs, so I can't complain.


A couple of things we considered:


1) The Britax had lots of cool safety stuff, but in the end, we just couldn't see shelling out $500 for two of them, when they didn't get any higher safety rating from the government (or Consumer Reports, whom I trust even more) than the $40 Cosco ones.


2) The main reason _I_ wanted the Britax was the cute seat cover ... but there are patterns to make removeable seat protectors that will fit pretty much any car seat, so I decided that wasn't the best way to make the decision :)


3) There's only one car seat on the market that lets you recline it while it's in place - the rest of them make you uninstall it in order to change the recline, and a lot don't have any recline capability at all.  If you're going to be doing lots of long trips to daycare  in the morning and would like him to nap in the car, it might be worth considering.  I think the reclining one was about $120 or $140 at Babies R Us.  Then again, if there's only one seat that does it, how necessary of a feature can it be?


4) When Consumer Reports rated car seats last year, the ones that had problems did so when they were installed using the LATCH system, and they didn't have the problems when installed with the shoulder belts.  Especially if you do decide to swap one seat out between cars, use the shoulder belt - it's much easier than trying to root around in the seat to find the LATCH anchors over and over.  But personally, I'd recommend getting two seats and leaving them in the cars - that way when one gets really nasty in the primary car, you can swap them out and have a fresher one for the next few years :)


Oh, and here's the big girl enjoying her new ride:


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KitchenWitch's picture

(post #45364, reply #19 of 62)

Wow, I didn't think E was old enough to be front facing yet!

~RuthAnn


<insert witticism here>

~RuthAnn

Aberwacky's picture

(post #45364, reply #20 of 62)

Grant will be one year old June 8th, and I think E is about 6 weeks older than he is.  I think.


Knittermom's Luke is 3 weeks older. I think. I used to have all that straight, but brain cells keep going missing. . .


Leigh


 


I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers)! I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers)! I am a domestic goddess!  I deserve three ovens (and two dishwashers). . .

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
MadMom's picture

(post #45364, reply #21 of 62)

Hmmm...maybe they've stopped making them, but DD has two car seats from two different manufacturers, and they both recline easily without being uninstalled.  Did the salesman at Babies R Us tell you that?



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

AmyElliesMom's picture

(post #45364, reply #22 of 62)

I think she's talking sbout the Evenflo carseats. They were the only ones I found that you could recline while they were installed. Very convenient for sleepy/noodly kids.

 


"God is in the cosmic microwaves."

 

Save the Earth! It's the only planet with wine and chocolate.

Biscuit's picture

(post #45364, reply #23 of 62)

Yup.  Mine are/were Evenflo and I loved the reclining mechanism.  It was VERY useful on those nights we'd take Max to Blossom for concerts and music festivals - once we got to the car, we'd just recline the seat and he could sleep all the way home.  I believe mine were about  $70-$80 each, too. 


"I wouldn't shop at Walmart.com if they were the last online retailer on earth and they shipped everything using chocolate chips as packing material. "  - Miss Alli of TWoP

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

madnoodle's picture

(post #45364, reply #24 of 62)

I really recommend buying a second carseat if you have two vehicles.  It's a pain in the ar*e to shift them around, and a logistical nightmare if, like us, you sometimes have one person dropping off and one person picking up.  We've got a good booster seat for my car (where the kids spend most of their travel time) and a cheapie hand-me-down for DH's truck. 

Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

 

Gretchen's picture

(post #45364, reply #25 of 62)

I really recommend buying a second carseat if you have two vehicles.  It's a pain in the ar*e to shift them around


ABSOLUTELY. And the tether is a real bear.


Gretchen
Gretchen
HavaRocks's picture

(post #45364, reply #26 of 62)

And remember folks... REAR FACING AS LONG AS POSSIBLE:

Parenting, May 2006:

What you've heard: "Your one-year-old should face forward in her car seat."

The truth: It's better to wait about a year longer before you turn her around. (Start stocking up now on those just-for-the-car toys!) While current recommendations say that a child should be at least a year old and weigh 20 pounds or more before facing forward, recent studies show toddlers are twice as safe in front and side crashes when facing backward. (The neck and spine are better protected in that position.) To keep your child rear facing as long as possible, look for a seat that holds 30 to 35 pounds, or get a convertible seat when she gets too big for her regular one.

Li's picture

(post #45364, reply #28 of 62)

Argh. So altogether we need to buy eight car seats, since my boys are all over the place: two each for my car, DH's car, DMIL's car, babysitter's car. I wonder if I can get a bulk rate.

One thing I recently found out about my car: the tools for changing a tire are under the rear seat on the passenger side, which means I have to remove a car seat to get to them. What a joy. So if I have a flat with both babies in the car, what the heck do I do with the passenger side baby while I attempt to change the tire? Or is that what cell phones and AAA are for?

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AmyElliesMom's picture

(post #45364, reply #29 of 62)

You can sit the passenger side youngin' in the front seat for the time you need to change a tire. If the car isn't moving, the seat doesn't need to be strapped down solidly; just the seatbelt in the front seat should do fine.

Of course, for safety's sake, both kids really should be out of the car while you change the tire, but that gets iffy. I'd just call AAA, lol.

Oh, and I'd just get two seats for you and two seats for DH's car and move as needed. Or, put two seats in the two cars they are in most, and move as needed. Twins make everything so much fun, huh?

 


"God is in the cosmic microwaves."

 

Save the Earth! It's the only planet with wine and chocolate.

Gretchen's picture

(post #45364, reply #30 of 62)

While they are little and the car seat (Evenflo, I think) fit in a base, we just had the base and DGS was transported in that back and forth.


Now, everyone has car seats in their cars--grandmothers and parents.  To get those seats in our car when it had to be tethered was a MAJOR pain.  I would move heaven and earth to keep it in place.
Since you work, I sort of assume the "babysitter" is pretty permanent.  Probably for her car too.


Gretchen
Gretchen
MadMom's picture

(post #45364, reply #31 of 62)

We're considering getting car seats in our car for the boys now that we're living so close.  Right now, we just drive the little bug to her house, and take her car (which has seats in it) if we're hauling them somewhere.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!