Author Topic: Car seat advice please  (Read 5999 times)

EMP

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Car seat advice please
« on: April 20, 2013, 08:46:56 AM »
My hubby and I are expecting our first in about a month, and I don't know what to do about a car seat. We have a 2005 Monte Carlo that's staying for now.  Hubby is 6'4" and I'm 5'10" and the only car seat that has been recommended for this situation is the Combi Cocorro.

I don't want to drive to the next big town just to fit car seats, but I suppose if I have to I'd like some more recommendations.  Anybody care to chime in?

snshijuptr

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2013, 09:00:08 AM »
Really, you won't know until you get them into your car. My recommendation is to look at convertibles and skip the infant bucket seat.

EMP

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2013, 09:06:32 AM »
That's the plan. Straight to convertible. Although my non-mustachian friends love to point out how convenient the infant seats are. Seems like a waste to me.

chills

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2013, 10:08:03 AM »
Try to find a good deal on a Diono Radian.  These have a much longer life than most other seats (10 years vs 5-7 for most) and also have a higher weight range (up to 45 lbs rear facing, 80 forward w/harness, and 120 as a booster).

Another perk is that they are aircraft rated, in case you will be doing any flying.  The initial cost up front can be a little higher, but we think it's worth it, between the extended life and improved safety (longer rear facing options).

racherinh

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2013, 10:56:12 AM »
I second the Rodion recommendation. We had two in our teeny-tiny two door Honda Civic. My husband is almost as tall as yours, so we had to put it behind my seat when it was rear facing, or else he didn't have space for his legs. It is really nice having small carseats, even if you don't ever do three across, because sometimes grown-ups have to sit in the back and it is really uncomfortable being smashed next to the monster car seats (Britax and Graco, cough, cough).

There's also this bizarre idea that you need a mini-van with one or two kids...which I find odd. It's refreshing to hear of someone keeping a normal car, even though their going to have a kid.

rant warning...
I do also think that anyone who thinks an infant seat is convenient is nutty. They are heavy, hard on your elbows and shoulders, a pain to get in and out (granted, we had a two door Honda Civic with our first two kids), and kids are spending so much time in them that their heads are getting excessively flat on the back. Babies need to use their muscles and be interacting with people, not in a baby cubicle. /rant

I miss that car. We're buying a new (to us) car now, and all I want is my zippy, barely-uses-any-gas, two door Civic back. Sigh.

tomk2

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2013, 12:39:44 PM »
That's the plan. Straight to convertible. Although my non-mustachian friends love to point out how convenient the infant seats are. Seems like a waste to me.

Actually I thought it was totally worth it to have the infant seat, doubly so as it came as part of a stroller system. If your child is on the smaller side, you'll use it for a while.  They also fit better in it than the one-size-fits-all car seat. They're wonderful for bringing the baby over to a friend's house. It functions like a mini-crib. During the winter, you can strap in your child and prepare for your trip indoors, then quickly latch the seat in the base outside. And since you guys are on the tall side, you and your husband will probably appreciate not having to bend over inside the car for very long. Lastly, if you plan on having more than one child in a reasonably short time-frame, you'll reuse the infant seat (amortizing the cost) while your first is in the convertible seat, which may fit a little nicer together.

I will say, the carriers never seem very ergonomic to carry around for very long.

But if you only want advice on convertibles, Costco sells a plain, grey Alpha Omega Elite car seat, good to 100 lbs. I believe they regularly sell for $90, and sometimes they even go on sale for $70.

BTW, our state's DMV has an employee whose only job is to teach expectant parents how to install car seats properly. It was invaluable to us. He provided a lot of information, including common install mistakes. Also, we brought our car seats and our cars and he installed them in the parking lot, for free! You should check out if your motor vehicle dept. does too.

clutchy

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2013, 04:28:52 PM »
Child safety is one area we've never attempted to save money with.

We had a decent chicco infant car seat which @ 20 lbs we upgraded to a higher end britax seat which goes up to about 70lbs.


my attitude is very un-mustachian but there's one thing you can never replace once gone.

matt_g

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2013, 05:29:16 PM »
+1 for the Diono Radian recommendation for multiple reasons.

1. Fits 3 across
2. Folds up when it's not in your car for storage
3. Good from Birth till real seat.

Dancin Mustachian

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2013, 07:03:13 PM »
http://www.gracobaby.com/Products/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=1790732#sthash.j80kpDUc.dpbs

This our car seat. We have a 2005 two door hatchback Hyundai Accent, which we own outright and have no interest in "upgrading". We live in Bozeman, MT, which means cold and snow at a moment's notice.

Our son was born a month early, and we hadn't even looked at carseats. My dad had wanted to get us one and had said he'd take care of it, which turned into express-ordering this when I went into labour and sending it to the wrong address... let's just say now it's a funny story; then it was worrisome.

Anyway, he also bought us this stroller frame: http://www.walmart.com/ip/17376972.

We already had a three wheel, epic schwinn jogging stroller (http://www.schwinnbikes.com/gear/jogging-strollers/turismo-swivel-wheel-jogger-single-blue) that my in-laws had bought us, but... let's just say my family's pretty clean-shaven. We try, but... they don't listen well. Anyway, we thought it would be too excessive, but when they're this little, being able to pop the carseat out without having to climb into the seat to drag him out when he was sleeping was awesome. Ditto for bundling up inside for cold weather. Super important with the premie babes out here. Don't get me wrong, there were many days when I loaded him up in his moby wrap and walked places, but having the stroller frame hang out in the back was legit, especially for visiting the grandparents. We'd never have fit that jogging stroller in the car.

Was it super necessary? Not really, but it was nice. If you have four doors and live somewhere warm, installing a carseat once and leaving it in there might make more sense. When he's forward-facing, that's what we'll be doing, because it won't be a full on struggle to get him in the back. But my husband and I also aren't the tallest people around.

***Bullet Points for Bucket seats***
Get one with a clip-in base. You don't need the base to install it, but it's a pain without.
Definitely harder than just using a wrap, but easier in winter.
Kids are not supposed to have bulky clothing under the straps!!! They can slip out in an accident. So if you have winter with a tiny baby, an option that lets you bundle them inside is awesome.
The frame is cool for a dedicated car stroller, but ultimately unnecessary for the more mustachian lifestyles you cool folks likely lead.
The jogging stroller we have can fit the carseat in it, which we use all the time for walking to the grocery store. Now that we have a bike seat, we do use it less, but unless you go the bakfiets with infant bucket route, this was seriously invaluable, as our sidewalks aren't the best in our older section of town, so the shocks kept him from bouncing too much. The only change I'd recommend there is getting on that converts to a bike trailer.


bogart

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2013, 07:22:25 PM »
Congratulations on your growing family. 

Another huge fan of the bucket seats for the reasons mentioned.  So nice not to need to wake baby if he was asleep when I got home or wherever I was going, and great to have a safe, comfortable, familiar place where he could be if we were out and about (ours would "snap in" to  a grocery cart, small top section, though I don't think it was really intended/designed to; useful in friends' houses, restaurants ... great).  Plus with me, DH, and grandma all driving the baby around, it was nice just to need the one seat (+ 3 bases).

(Even if you end up wanting a bucket, though, no big deal -- you can always pick one up down the road.  My general sense is it's best not to buy beyond whatever you consider "the basics" until baby arrives and then add what you need, as you need it.  One parent's can't-get-through-the-day-without-it is another parent's why-did-I-ever-buy-that, and there's this cool new thing called the internet that you can actually use to order stuff that will be promptly delivered right to your house ;) ). 

I have no particular wisdom on the convertibles.  We moved to an Evenflo Triumph after the bucket (which was a Graco Snugride) and were very happy with it; I love the way the straps can be adjusted (moved up in the seat) without needing to take the carseat out of the car, but it's been some years since we bought it and I don't know how it compares to other options nowadays. 

EMP

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2013, 10:36:58 AM »
I'll have to check all these out. Went to the local Toys R Us yesterday to test fit. What a disaster. About ten huge baby thrones, one smaller model, and two infant seats. I guess I don't know why one kid would need two cup holders? And the smaller model? Requires you to roll up a towel to get the right angle.

Will have to go to the next big town and see if they have a better selection. Guess I'm in the minority not wanting to upgrade my car right away.

I have to admit, I'm not terribly concerned about options for smaller babies. Baby is already measuring over 6 lbs with a month to go. I can see where the infant seats would be good for some, but having to squeeze it in and out of the back seat every time... The thought makes me cringe.

mm1970

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2013, 11:48:58 AM »
I also was a fan of the bucket seat for many reasons already stated, and we had to use the rolled up towel too (Honda Civic).  But if you have a 2-door, I can see where you might have a problem getting the seat in and out of the car.  Not sure, however, how much easier it is to get a baby out of the seat.

We used a bucket Graco for about 6 months with the 2nd baby.  With both first and 2nd, our next was a convertible Britax roundabout (hand me down).  We recently purchased a Diono radian for the second car, which will be useful on  plane trips except that sucker is heavy.  Steel framed.

A good car seat is cheaper than a new car. My friend just upgraded to a Ford Explorer because she has a 3 yo and is pregnant with twins.  I told her that 3 Radians would be cheaper than a new car but...

chatsc

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2013, 11:53:08 AM »
we had a peg perego bucket carseat and never had any issues with it.  and then a sunshine radian car seat.  the sunshine radian (i think the company might have recently changed its name) is worth every penny.  very well made.

Christiana

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Re: Car seat advice please
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 08:02:57 AM »
The mom car seat experts that I listen in on sometimes generally recommend Radians when space is a factor.  Car seat shopping is always a pain.

I too am not a fan of infant buckets.   Our first child would always--every single time--wake up when she was taken out of the car, even in a bucket.  Our second child will sleep through almost anything, including being taken out of a regular car seat and carried.  The third child falls somewhere in between.  So we use convertible seats, and outside the car we carry the baby in a sling or a wrap--see http://www.wearyourbaby.com--then we don't have to awkwardly lug a bucket around.  (Between the baby and the bucket, it is fifteen or more pounds that you are holding, far out from your center of mass.)  There's a learning curve to babywearing, but it doesn't have to cost much.

I've noticed that babies in buckets don't get as much interaction with people when they're out.  So many babies at our church have flattened heads (from too much time on hard surfaces) that it makes me cringe.  Car seats by design don't have thick padding, and they aren't really meant to be portable cribs.

The big advantage of a bucket is for loading up the baby in the winter.  But we have gotten by in Minnesota without one, and with a spring baby it isn't as much of an issue, anyway.