Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Car Seat Recommendation

Posted by Unknown at 2:26 PM
I bought a basic Graco Snugride when my baby was born with the base and it worked great.  My only complaint with it was that it did not have the tightening strap, though most Graco models now come with that feature.  My Snugride weight limit is 29 inches and the weight limit is 22 pounds.  The manual also says to make sure that there is 2 inches of spare space between the top of your baby's head and the top of the seat.  This became a problem when I happened to have a tall baby.  By her four month appointment she was nearly 26 inches tall and I knew it was time to start researching a stage two car seat. 

I decided to go with the Britax Roundabout 55.  I am sure there are plenty of other wonderful car seats but I didn't have a lot of patience to learn about them all.  Britax has a great reputation and the seat has 3 seat recline position, one of which allows the seat to go rear facing.  The Roundabout is the basic Britax car seat, and retails for $199.99, but I found it online for $159.99  They also make the Marathon, Boulevard and Advocate, which have higher weight limits and more padding including their advertised "true side impact protection" but are also much pricier.

I love that the Roundabout has pads on the shoulder straps and the convenient tightening strap which easily lets you loosen the slack to unload your baby and tightens after securing your baby.  After watching some online videos of proper car seat fitting on the internet I realized how important it is to have no slack in the child harness and am happy that I can tighten each time she rides.  The Roundabout also has a rubbery material on the bottom of the seat which prevents sliding.  I test the seat with a lot of force and the seat does not slide around.  It is pretty simple to change the strap height, but it does require re-weaving the harnesses.  The Roundabout can be installed with latch or seat belt.

The only downsides of moving my child out of her infant car seat is that I can no longer "snap and go" with her.  Every time we go on an errand I have to open her harness, remove her and then put her back afterward.  Sometimes it gets annoying.  Also, if she is sleeping I have to wake her up whereas babies can stay sleeping in their infant car seats and moved without trouble.  The third problem is that stage 2 car seats do not have the convenient sunshade so I had to get window shades for my back windows.  Depending on the time of day and angle of the sun, the light can still shine in her eyes.  However, once she got to 15 pounds it became really heavy to lug her and her car seat out of the car.  So its debatable which was more annoying to deal with.  The good news is that this seat will turn to forward facing and has a forward facing limit of 55 pounds which should last her a long time.  Additionally, the rear facing limit is 40 pounds.  A lot of states are recommending leaving babies rear facing past 1 year old (they are suggesting until 2!) and this high weight limit would allow me to do that.

If I had bought a larger infant car seat initially like the Snugride 35 I could have kept her in an infant carrier longer, since its height limit is 35 pounds and 32 inches.  BUT the car seat itself is 16.7 pounds.  That means if I had a 20 pound baby I would be lugging almost 40 pounds if I attempted to "snap and go" with it.  So ultimately, The Roundabout should last my child for a long time and work nicely in forward facing mode when we get there...


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