Thursday, January 26, 2012

Shopping for a New Carseat

Lloyd's first ride in his spiffy seat... how tiny he was!
Well.. It's that time already.  Lloyd is a giant and he has succesfully reached the heigh limit recommendations on our infant seat.  Never did I think my baby would be so big as to outgrow his infant seat by 8 months old!  Since I did a lot of research and spoke to my certified installer when purchasing our Chicco Keyfit30, you know I did the same when looking for our convertible car seat.  It's hard to find good reviews, recommendations, and suggestions out there--there is just so much!  It is overwhelming.

The Britax are known for being super great and safe but after visiting Buy Buy Baby on Thursday and putting Lloyd in one, there was no way he'd reach the 2 years rear-facing that is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and every safety expert on the planet.  On the side of the car seat it tells you that their head has to be an inch bellow the top of the seat rear facing; well his head already only had about 3-4 inches left between his huge noggin and the top.  So there went that plan since there is a good chance he'll grow 3 inches by 2 years (I mean seriously! Of course he'll grow that much).  Plus, my little chunk just looked squished in there--not to mention the Britax are known for being the physically widest seats on the market (not to mention the priciest) should we ever have to go three across in a vehicle.  AND the tether must be used when rear facing, which means it would go over his head. How much does that stink (and make it difficult to get him in and out).  Which is why a decent number of people would return the Britax convertibles after we installed them, it's annoying (like I mentioned previously).

Luckily I'd asked a good friend of mine (thanks Steph!) what her 2 year old is in and she'd recommended the Safety 1st Complete Air 65.  I had already done a lot of research and found out the Safety 1st are also highly recommended and positively reviewed.  But one of the reviews bluntly stated:
"The Complete Air is one of the tallest rear-facing seats on the market, so it’s a great candidate to consider if your child has a long torso."
Uh, have you met my son!! So I was tentatively sold before our Buy Buy Baby trip just based on ready a few reviews (some ladies 5 year old still was able to rear face! holy moly how wonderful!). But, like the Britax, I was tentative until I put Lloyd in it.  By this time the people at the store were looking at me weird for taking the seats down and strapping my drool-monster in them, but I didn't care.  Just on first glance that Safety 1st was the tallest seat they had. Already starting out good after seeing him squished in the Britax.  I put him in it, and he had TONS of room between his head and the top of the seat.    The side impact cushions were also really comfortable for Lloyd and look great for those times he falls asleep when his neck usually goes all catywompous.  Plus, the price-tag? HALF of the Britax.

Ironic that when we got home we also had a 15% off coupon to Babies R Us for the same seat waiting for us in the mail.  We'll be stopping back by tomorrow to snatch that bugger up for only $150.  Lloyd is too heavy to carry around in the infant seat now anyway (my back will split in half if I take that thing out with him in it), so it's time to get him into this sucker for both our sakes.  2 months of research and a great referal paid off, I'm super excited.

People really don't understand how important car seat safety is.  And it drives me absolutely nuts to see children who have far exceeded the weight and/or height limit of their seats, incorrectly installed seats, and (the biggest thing I see) children who are not correctly latched into their seats. According to SafeKids.org (who we used to refer to at work):
  • In a study observing the misuse of 3,442 child restraint systems in six states, approximately 73% of seats showed at least one critical misuse.
  • 84% of child restraints showed critical misuses. Booster seat misuse was 41%.
  • The most common form of misuse for all child restraints included loose safety belt attachment to the child restraint and loose harness straps securing the child to the child restraint system.
I can tell you that after helping to install dozens of seats, probably 90% of the seats we uninstalled were not installed correctly, and 80% of the seats that were brought to us to "check" installation were not installed correctly.  Always have your seat inspected by a certified technician! Always always! It's free! And for all that is holy watch this video and put the chest clip under their armpits and pull the straps tight enough so you cannot pinch any slack!



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