Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Today I have baby on the brain. Specifically, I'm researching carseats.


We currently have four child restraints, one infant rear-facing, two forward facing, and one big boy high-backed booster. The second forward facing carseat was promptly given to my mom as a spare after about three weeks of use. It was awful.

Honestly, we don't really have the "best of the best" as far as child restraints go. I admittedly have purchased all of them from Wal-Mart or Target, and I'm certain that they don't rank high on safety. But, they work for us.

The biggest problem I have with carseats, is that neither of our boys have liked the car. For the first year of rear-facing life we can basically expect the baby to be screaming the entire time. It's honestly really difficult on everyone, not to mention very frustrating every time we leave the house.

Researching carseats, I am amazed, or maybe shocked, at how expensive high-quality carseats are. They are well over $200! Are they worth it? Are babies more comfortable in them? Do they scream less? Are they easier for mom? I seriously have anxiety about our new baby screaming in the car all summer, and if a carseat actually made a difference, I would seriously consider upgrading, especially since ours is almost "expired" anyway. But, are they really worth all that money?



Laura said...

we have a good one that was about 275 i think. Im a safety freak and wouldnt get anything but the safest for them. I think being an er nurse and seeing kids die in car accidents will do that to you.

anyway i love the we have-i think its a britax marathon and we have a chicco baby seat. my 2 1/2 yr old still sits rear facing cause he is very small and cause i'm a safety freak. i think its worth the money but I guess thats up to you. the state police should be able to help you install whatever seat you have in the safest manner--cause MOST kids are in the seats wrong anyway. having the 300 dollar seat isnt gonna make one bit of difference if they are in it wrong.

Laura said...

yhis is the one i have but did not pay that for it--much cheaper on other web sties and if you watch for sales

but its much more important that thay be in the seat correctly

Mallory said...

Very interesting, thanks Laura. My only question about the marathon seat is if a family of multiple children actually requires a convertible seat.

For instance, after the child is forward-facing in the convertible, another child comes along and needs a good rear-facing carseat, so you end up needing an extra one anyway. It would seem that it might be more cost effective to have an infant seat and a separate toddler seat??

The only other thing is that while I'm not big on "baby containers," and prefer to take the infant OUT of the seat instead of carrying it around everywhere, in MN where it gets incredibly cold, it is really important to be able to transport the carseat indoors so that you can bundle up the baby inside in a WARM carseat. Is a convertible able to do that??

Sorry, this is not a subject I know a lot about, and I have LOTS of questions!

Catie Hb said...

We use an infant carrier/carseat (Graco had the best rating when we we've been in the market) for the first year and then the Britax Marathon for age 1yr-...65lbs. Bridget has been in hers for a solid 4 years. She's now at 45lbs, so she'll be able to go until it "expires". I think being able to carry baby in the infant carrier in and out of places is worth going for a separate seat for the first year and then a Marathon Britax for the following 5 years... and then maybe a booster seat. Given the fact that children now need to be "carseated" for the first 80lbs or 8 yrs, you're just not going to make it thru that with one seat.

We use a Graco Snugride for the first year and can usually use it for two infants. Once the baby hits his first birthday we put him in a Britax Marathon in a fun pattern that we know only he will use for the next 5 yrs.

$100 for infant seat used for one year, divided by 2 kids = $50 per kid/per year

$250 for Marathon Britax divided by 5 years of constant use = $50 per year

I'll pay $50 a year per kid for the higher safety ratings. :)

Just my 2 cents... Good luck!

Sarah M said...

Sunshine Kids is awesome, and you can get 3 side-by-side in the back of a vehicle. Simon loves his . . .we also have two Britax ones that the kids like. Look for Side Impact Protection b/c many don't have that and a lot of accidents will impact the kids in the side . . . If you read Consumer Reports they can give you an idea of the infact carseats that actually passed. I think as of last year only two on the market were safe at speeds 35mph and above. That shocked me.

Sarah M said... If you check around online you can usually get free shipping etc. on these. And I think they go up to something like 80lbs . . . I was skeptical, but when the RadianXTSL arrived I was a believe. Comfort, safety, it sits lower than the other "high quality" brands and it takes up less room. I told my husband that we ought to think about getting seats that nice! ha!

Mallory said...

I have the best blog readers ever! Thank you!!! This has given me A LOT to think over. In all humility, I hadn't given safety a lot of thought when we've bought our carseats, and we've lived in rural areas most of our lives where specialty baby stores are HOURS away, so it just made everything all the more difficult.

Will someone tell me if their high-expense carseats made their child scream just a bit less? ;-)

Abby said...

We have a Chicco keyfit infant seat. Emily screamed ALL THE TIME in it until she was about 6 months old. It's super heavy, too. But.. it's the safest of the safe, according to reports. Isaac doesn't hate it as much, but screams if we aren't moving, if I bring him and the carrier into the house, or if it's after 4 pm. :) I've often wished we would have gotten a Graco snugride since they're so much lighter and most are also very safe. So yeah.. I feel your pain of screaming infants!!! Wish I could say the Chicco was miraculous. It's not! :)
However - if you're ever in the market for another "older kid" seat, Britax is my favorite!! They are so much easier to put the kids in than any other seat I've used. And they're the safest on the market. We skimped on Emily's most recent seat.. it's a Graco.. and OH MY GOSH I hate it. So I know the main question is about infant carriers, but yeah.. just had to throw that in. :) Good luck!

Abby said...

Oh yeah, one more thing.. We had to get a convertible seat because Emily outgrew the infant carrier weight/height wise before she was 1 year (couldn't face forward.. had to get the convertible seat.) I am keeping Isaac in the carrier as long as possible (he's 1.5 pounds away from outgrowing it!) for your same reason - it's so cold in the midwest!!!! Had my kids been smaller, we would have gone straight from carrier to forward facing. :)

Mallory said...

So much to think about!! I definitely think that I'll be looking around now for a good deal on a new or used seat.

The one bummer that I'm realizing is that the really nice seats are quite heavy. Ours now is pretty light, but I know that the weight is really important for safety. Oh well! I get a chronic bruise on my left hip when I'm carrying an infant carseat around, but I guess it's what needs to be done!

Erin said...

We got a new one for Belle since we're planning on leaving her rear-facing as long as she fits, and I think it will accomodate a rear-facing child to 35 lbs (Ha, Claire is barely that at four!). It's just the Target Graco my ride 65 (because it can be forward facing until 65 lbs). We thought it looked more comfy then Claire's, but the best feature turned out to be the cup holders! I've only seen them on boosters until this one. A can of everybaby's favorite sweet potato poofs kept in the car and quickly poured into that cup holder at the first hint of fussiness has worked great on Belle.

Erin said...

Also, it said that it was side air bag tested too, and I liked that (though I have no idea which other ones are as well). I had always wondered if it's so dangerous for kids to be in the front with air bags why is it okay for them to be in the back with rear side bags.