Sunday, April 12, 2009

Car seats

Calling all moms again.

This week I need help with car seats. I know this one matters more than cribs. And I know there's a lot more to it. So, what do you like, love or hate about your car seat?

Which way should the handle face? Parallel or perpendicular to your body? Or does it move?
How do you feel about bases, both for the car and for the stroller?
Do the straps twist? (in a bad way, not in a "what a cool feature" way.)
How bad do I need one of these? And how fast will my child poop on it? (if you actually own this, I'm sorry for making fun of you, I just think it's funny....)
How much weight should it be rated for? Some go way up to 100 lbs, and others max out at 20....
Really, what's the deal with the 5-point harness? Is it harder than my pregnant brain can handle?
Do you love or hate the way your sun-shield thing is? Why?
Do I need one for each car (seems nuts to me...but what do I know?)
Does my baby really need a cupholder armrest?

So, let your voices be heard! I'm hoping you have some SERIOUSLY strong opinions about this one....


  1. Best Advice I Ever Got: Go to Babies 'R' Us they'll tell you everything. The people are way helpful and know everything about car seats. Then go buy it somewhere else because they're way overpriced. People make a big deal out of car seats but once you've bought one you never look back and wish you hadn't thought too much about it.
    -buy cheap
    -buy new (used can have some serious problems)
    -buy gender neutral
    -MAKE SURE IT FITS IN YOUR CAR!! (surprisingly many don't fit in a lot of cars)

    Good Luck

  2. Well Amy, sit back and relax... Im working graves and have plenty of time on my hands :)
    Most carseats use a latch system. So yes- you will need a base if you go with an infant carrier. There are stroller/carseat/base combos which we had and really enjoyed.
    We used a Graco and the straps only twisted a couple time- getting them untwisted sucks- and Im not sure ho it even happens.
    I don't think you'll need one of THOSE.
    If I were you I would get an infant seat rated to 20 pounds and then a carseat rated for 100. The infant carriers snap in and out of the car easily- and helps for the first few months when you have to go grocery shopping and the baby can't sit up.
    5 point harness can be tricky- but I bet you can handle it.
    Im a big fan of the graco sunshield because you can move it all the way forward or all the way back.
    It would be nice to have a carseat for each car!! :) But not worth the money. Since the carseats use the latch system- those can be a PAIN to change.
    But if you get an infant carrier you would only need to buy two bases... not two carseats... And this only applies if you plan on transporting him/her in different cars often.. :)
    Cupholder... armrest... not so much.

  3. After reading bits of Freakonomics, I think that carseats may be a little overwhelming. Good, yes. But nothing to freak out about, really.

    My only beef is, that with our infant came with a base, which most do nowadays, but it didn't have the little places on the side to hold a seatbelt if you were ever without the base. Does that make sense?

    Essentially, I couldn't use the car seat without the base. The base is designed to be kept in the car. So when my husband was at work and I wanted to go out with our baby in my friend's car or my mom's car...I couldn't.

    So find one with the little side holders for a seat belt. If you don't know what I'm talking about...ask for clarification.

    That said, instead of buying an extra car seat you can just buy an extra base to keep in your other car. That would probably be tons cheaper.

    I think a travel-system was a waste of money. It's so bulky and I rarely used it with the carseat.

    The 5-point harness makes it harder for kids to get out of their car seats (so they think) and also so that your baby doesn't fly out if you slam on the breaks.

    Cup holder armrests probably aren't a bad idea for a long trip. Or even a short trip...but not until your baby is old enough to manage their own cup/juice box/etc. So probably not until the toddler stage. Of course, I don't know how often I'd be giving a toddler beverages other than water in my car. :)

    Ummm...most infant seats go up to 20 lbs, or thereabout. And then you might want to check the Utah laws to see how long kids have to be in car seats for (it's some ridiculous age like 26, I think).

    You could get a toddler seat that goes all the way up to 100 lbs, if you wanted, but it's probably alright for the car seats to go in small stages, too, if you're hoping for more.

    When we get back to the States we'll put Rachel in her big chair (that we had to get like 2 months before we moved out here because her head was sticking over the top of her infant seat...grrrr) and te new baby in the infant seat for a few months. And then maybe just get a new booster seat for Rachel and put the baby in the toddler seat with the 5-point harness since Rachel will be almost 3 by that point.

    Anyway... :)

    That was a lot of advice. Good luck!

  4. ...hoping for more KIDS not CAR SEATS. I don't know if I made that entirely clear...

  5. We have a Graco Travel System and I love it. That means it comes with a stroller and carseat. The carseat snaps into the stroller. It is nice! We didn't buy an extra base because you can just use the seat belt to lock it in place. I have also heard that a lot of people like the brand Chico. My only complaint is that our stroller is quite large and takes up most of our trunk! The sun visor is nice because it can cover the front of them if the sun is in their eyes or it can cover the back of them! I have loved our Graco carseat. Oh and I agree with Kristina... buy gender neutral, if this one is a girl and you buy a bright pink carseat then you will have to buy a new one when the next one is a boy! Oh and as far as the car seat cover is concerned, waste of money! Although my mom made me a car seat blanket that had holes where the straps when through so you could swaddle your baby while they are in their car seat!

  6. We are planning on purchasing an extra base for the car seat we chose for Scott's car. They are $25 or so... cheaper than two car seats :)

  7. I highly recommend a travel system. It was super convenient for us to have the stroller that was made for the infant car seat. This made it much easier to go for walks before the baby can support their head. And instead of 2 car seats, just get 2 bases. It makes it much easier, and less costly. And when you have a baby, you have plenty of costs anyway. There are a few different types of 5-point harnesses. I have 2 different carseats, each with a 5-point harness, and they buckle up differently. One is easy to buckle up, yet hard for the kid to unbuckle (Braedyn can'e even get it unbuckled) and the other is super hard to buckle up, but easier to unbuckle. So, I would play with the car seats in the store to see which one is easiest for you to figure out. As long as it's a 5-point harness, the kid will most likely not be able to unbuckle it until they are old enough for a booster seat anyway.

    I also say go with an infant car seat (up to 20 or 25 pounds) first, then worry about the bigger car seats later. By then you will be a little more familiar with what would work best for all of you. I would, however, recommend getting a car seat with the removable cup holders for the bigger car seat, when the time comes to get one. They can be convenient for long trips to hold a sippy cup, or a conveient place to keep toys easily reachable so you don't have to reach back there a million times to hand the kid a toy.

    And you do not NEED one of "those" They're just there to make the seal look cute, if the seat gets dirty, it's usually fairly easy to wash.

    The sun shield is wonderful! It works well when it's windy to help hold a blanket over the baby and keep the wind from making baby sick (and since your baby is born in October you will definitely be doing that more than once. I only know this cuz of my October baby). Also, in the summer, it works well to keep the sun out of baby's eyes. However, by the time summer comes, your baby may be out of the infant carrier.

  8. I didn't even buy two bases- we aren't in my husbands car that much, and when we are, we just seatbelt the carseat in. There are little things (I have NO idea what to call them) that a seatbelt can wrap around and keep the carseat safe and snug without the base. However the base is MUCH more convenient- but if you drive one car way more than the other I wouldn't waste the money! If I were you I would get the Graco Travelsystem. I didn't, but I wish I would have! Oh and get a carseat that goes up to 22 pounds- not the one that goes up to 30. Thay are way too big and heavy! Seriously, the hardest thing for me to buy was the carseat. I researched and debated about it for months!

  9. Ohh P.S. I got my carseat on Ebay. They have alot of brand new ones for much cheaper! another good site is

  10. Sorry one more thing- you DO need this... It is for sure my most favorite baby item! Keeps baby hidden from germs, the cold, snow, rain, sun, random strangers.... ect.

    But NOT one of these. Those are just ridiculous!

  11. Hi there. I really like the smaller infant carseat. Way easy to get in and out (with a base) and that way you don't have to get the kid out, just the carseat. Don't get two bases. You won't be going very many places and will most likely only drive one car most of the time. Winter babies should get a bundle me. It's like a little bag the pizza comes in when the pizza man brings it to your house. It's great to keep out cold and keep warm in. I hated having to put a blanet over the carseat because it's hard to carry and it just falls off. We like our carseat/stroller combo, but it is a little big. Good luck!

  12. Amy this is Kimber I am signed into Jason's account.
    1st off I am so sorry it has taken me long to tell you congrats! We are so happy for you two.
    2nd Happy Birthday yesterday. I thought about you all day! I hope you had a great Easter Birthday.
    Last we received a book called "Baby Bargains 7th edition."This goes through everything you need as a parent and gives ratings. I found it helpful. We bought a chicco key fit and so far its great.

    Good luck!

  13. It looks like you have a lot of great advice on the carseats. I would just add to it that right before we had JJ we called the Health Department and set up a car seat check. They were so nice and they made sure that we had the darn thing in the right way. Good luck!
    ps- great lesson yesterday!

  14. i saw this post and had to come see what people said... and if i bought the right car seat! sounds like i'm good to go :)

    we got a graco travel system. sean picked it out with his mom and they had the whole staff of babies'r'us helping them choose the best one. so i guess graco is the way to go??

  15. I only read the first couple of comments so I might be reapeating a lot of things.

    First off, those car seats with the funky twisted handles are annoying, go with a straight handle.

    I would get a car seat/stroller combo, they are wonderful. You can go straight from the car and latch it right to your stroller, it's amazing. We have a Graco and LOVE it. Ours came with the car seat, stroller, and base for the car. Our car seat also is able to strap in just using a seat belt so if you had one like that you wouldn't need to buy two bases.

    I would go with gender neutral so you can use it for more than just one kid.

    I would go with an infant one to start with, up to like 20 lbs or so, and then you can get an infant seat when Baby Egbert gets bigger. (infant seats are only like $30)

    No matter what sort of buckle they have, it will be safe, so I wouldn't worry about making sure it's a special 5-point or whatever.

  16. I want to know where "Jamie" got an enfant seat for only $30. The carseat we bought for Jordyn when she was to big for little carseat cost us $120. And that was one of the least expensive.

  17. okay, so I lied... the carseat wasn't $30, it was $50 we got it at Wal-Mart ( it works wonderfully. We used the infant carseat that came with the stroller until Evelyn was 1 then we put her in this, it's great :)


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