Hi Every One! This is a vent over the research, purchases, and returns of car seats.
Well it is time for us to get a new convertible car seat... DU DU DU DA (drums playing) You guys know the ones - convertible from rear facing up to 30-35 lbs/1 year then forward facing up to 40-65 lbs (depending on the model). I am an information collector, I have to have all the facts, figures, and statistics I can get my hands on and then I make my decisions based on those.
Well over last weekend we thought we made the right decision. We purchased a britax, the most expensive ($300) car seat at the store and I will admit a first it lived up to it reputation (based on reviews and comments on ease of use.) Then we discovered how difficult it is to move the thing from one car to the other on a daily basis (daddy takes him to grandpa's in the morning and I pick him up - 2 different cars).
ANYway we thought, okay letís take this one back and purchase two at about $150 each. Well of course that meant another round of research in the lower price range including reading consumer report's crash test info. ANYway we manage to make our selection (a cosco alpha) return the britax, grab the two we need, get home and then DH pulls the remainder of his hair out trying to install the cosco alpha in his vehicle.
Our issue with this seat is that in my husbandís car, with it attached with the LATCH system and a rolled towel under the base to level the seat correctly (as mentioned in the installation/instruction book), the rear of the baby seat lifts up with ease. I donít know if that makes a difference in seat safety but it sure made my husband and me uncomfortable; uncomfortable enough not to want to place our child in this seat installed this way. DH was pretty POed, so instead of suggesting to reinstall the seat using the seat belt shoulder method, I told him to just remove it from his vehicle, and set it in the foyer and we would try to install it in my car tomorrow. If it fit better in my car (without major movement) we would just take the unopened one back and get a different one that fit his car better.
DH is now talking about taking both back and getting two of the lesser expensive britax ($220 each). Boy I never thought that shopping for a car seat could turn out to be such a mess. I am not looking forward to going back to the baby store and return another car seat, just to buy another, and return another, and buy another, and returnÖ.
You get my point. That is what this is starting to feel like. I think that every car seat is going to have a negative point, twisting straps, difficult rear facing installation, easily opened connectors by kids... I could go on and on. The number one complaint about these convertables, is that with rear facing you have tons of issues, but once turned forward facing, these seats are the bomb.
I did all the research and read reviews as well. I ended up going with the Evenflo Triumph Premier. I LOVE it! DS is 11 months old and has been using it rear-facing since he was 7 months old. I haven't had any issues with it at all. I did have to use a pool noodle to get the angle right, and I also had to sit in it while DH tightened, to get it in right. I took it to the Firestation to be checked right after we put it in. The guy that checkd it said this was the first one he's seen that was installed correctly. They took pictures of DS in it to use for a class they teach.
The best featue with the Premier is the straps have a "memory"..so I don't have to loosen and tighten the straps everytime I put him in.
I didn't want to deal with snow suits in the winter and wanted to use a nano bag and hat so I purchased a car seat carrier model (where the base stays in the car) that worked for up to 35 pounds and 30+ inches. It actually came with two bases, so DH dropped off DS and I would pick him up. When DS turned a year old, I purchased a car seat with lots of padding that reclined -- think it's evenflo -- triumph model. It's good for up to 40 pounds. Takes up a lot of room in my car, but with the latch system, I can have him in the middle of the back seat. DH uses a carseat from his boss -- was only two years old -- think it's a graco.
Soon we'll be on to Boosters, which opens up a whole other can of worms
Well I definitely would not recommend the one we have, an Eddie Bauer. There is not much about it that I like, or is easy. First of all, to get it in the car, there is no way I would ever be able to tighten it enough. My DH has to kneel in it himself and reef on it as hard as he can. Also, even with a towel rolled up, the angle is not quite where it should be. And our seats do not angle that much. Then, to get DS in, I have such a hard time tightening the straps. I don't even loosen them now when I take him out, just squeeze his arms thru. If I do need to tighten it, I have to wrap the straps around both hands, and pull with all my might. It may move a half a centimeter at a time, and my hands are raw by the time it is tight enough. My sister had bought the same seat and had the exact same issues.
We bought a Graco for my moms car and the few times it has been used, seems to work quite good.
Ratatosk & JustinsMommy05 - we looked at the Triumph (one of consumer reports top 5 best car seats) but decided the back wasn't going to be tall enough for DS (DH is 6'-3") in the future and we would have to get another seat sooner based on his height.
Laur77 we were looking at the Eddie Bauers and read a review where a mother had to actually sit in the seat while the father tighten the belts (didn't sound like fun to us) to install it correctly.
After trying to put the Cosco Alpha in my Altima and having the same issues as before in the Outback we decided the cost of the Britax might be worth it. I was able to do an extensive search online and found it on sale with free shipping (total savings of $200 - yeah!) Still we spent $476 for both seats (ACK!) but they are so easy to install correctly, without any movement, the strap tightening apparatis is easy to work with, and it's weight limits are 25 lbs higher than the others.
Wish us luck - and may the force be with all those others looking for car seats... HA!