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Discussion Starter #1
I have been reviewing many of the car seat threads that I found.

Here are two things that I noticed.

Up until 22 lbs you have one type of seats and after 22 lbs you have another?? Consumer reports recommends that you have two, but what is your experience?

So, infant seats are different than toddler (size ofcourse). Is there a single seat that is adjustable from the different stages?? even if it's expensive. I do not want to buy multiple car seats because I don't have the space to store them all.

Did you first go with an infant seat and then get the convertible?

This will be our first child and it's getting here in two months.

We have a 08 Impreza and a 10 Forester. I'd like something that could fit either.

Thank you.
 

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We went with a Chicco KeyFit/Cortina infant seat at first simply cuz it was easy move the carrier from the base in the car, to plug it into the stroller, or carry our baby inside when he was sleeping, or into a shopping cart, etc etc.

But when he hit 8 months, we switched to a convertible car seat in each car. This is ok, because now he sits in a shopping cart or the stroller without needing the support to hold him in place when he was younger. I should note, we Craigslisted all the Chicco infant seat stuff and it was gone in 2 days.

Word of warning though: what works in the '08 Impreza may not work in the '10 Forester. Which is why I will now share this so that you don't make the same mistake I did haha.

For a good amount of time (I forget when you don't have to do this, but it's quite a while), the convertible seat needs to be reversed and reclined. This is a problem because of how TALL these seats are. When you reverse and recline the seat, that tallness turns into length.

In the Forester, you have a decent amount of room, so you should be ok with pretty much any convertible seat. But in the Impreza, you will find yourself possibly unable to sit in the seat in front of the car seat, depending on which car seat you choose.

Example:

In our family, in order of most rear leg room to least, we have a 2009 Legacy, 2007 Mazda3s sedan, and 2001 Forester.

We originally bought our convertible car seats based on the seat features, not taking into account car dimensions, so we cross shopped a few Britax seats, and the Safety 1st Air Protect, and bought the Air Protect.

I include the link, because take note that the seat has a fixed back. We installed the seat rear facing in the Mazda3, not realizing we had to recline it, and although the front passengers were cramped, it fit.

HOWEVER, the next day I actually read the instructions, and realized we had to recline the seat. In the Mazda, this caused us to have to remove the front headrest, or move the seat all the way forward, to where I could not fit in the passenger seat, nor could my wife.

In the '01 Forester, it was a no go. Seat had to be all the way forward.

So, we clearly had to return the seats, frustrated.

We then took a tape measure to Babies R Us, and noticed that almost every seat we wanted was too "tall", which meant wouldn't work rear facing and reclined.

But then, we noticed the EvenFlo Symphony 65.

If you look at the pictures, when you need to recline it, it swivels on a central pivot, AND the backrest adjusts as the child gets older, so it literally took up like 6-7 less inches of length over the Safety 1st Air Protect, and Britax seats we were looking at.

This was like a Eureka moment.

So we bought the Symphony 65's, and now both myself and wife can ride in the front seats, and yeah it's a little cramped (as it will be on your Impreza), but it's do-able.
 

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By the way, I kinda centered on what happens when you buy a convertible car seat, but I can't stress enough, for safety and portability reasons, get the infant seat first.
 

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First, congrats! :smile:

OK, so, here's my view of things -

A dedicated infant seat, one that snaps in and out of a base, can make transporting the child a lot easier, as well as can save a bit of money in terms of spending only for a second base for the alternative vehicle.

However, once the child grows out of the seat (when does this happen? check each seat's specs), you're left with either storage, re-sale, or donation - and there will then be the expense of moving on to the next seat.

A convertible seat is great for those who wish to just have one seat to take the child through these first set of steps - from rear-facing infant to forward-facing toddler (although, if you check the various child-seat discussion Forums, many strongly advocate "ERF" - extended rear facing - even for toddlers, for as long as possible) - but there are some pitfalls.

First and foremost, these seats do tend to be larger. Not just larger in terms of how much space they occupy in your vehicle, but also in terms of fit, to your child. If you have a smaller baby paired with a larger seat...that's gonna be a problem. Our Anna, for instance, was 6 lbs. 9 ozs., and while she's been in a Britax Marathon, a convertible seat, since about 15 months of age, we can well remember how small she was when we took her home from the hospital, and both my wife (who is a Board certified pediatrician) and I (OK, so I didn't exactly fail my peds rotation, but I'm still no pediatrician!) both know well that Anna would've been a borderline fit (too small to secure in the seat), at best, with the Marathon, had we decided to use it rear-facing on the day we came home with her.

[ Note, while just about *every* seat will "grow with the child" to a certain extent, this is typically within context of the child's physical stage of development/size - i.e. "infant" versus "toddler" versus "pre-teen." ]

Second, with convertibles, most are what I'd call "indwelling" seats. Although with LATCH, a well-versed and nimble parent can easily put the seat in the car, securely and properly, within a matter of 5 to 10 minutes, that's still a chore, when compared to simply snapping the infant carrier into its mated base. And certainly, aside from one of the dedicated roll-carts that you can get to put the bigger convertible seats in to for, say, trips through the airport terminal, you're not going to want to lug a convertible seat around with you, even if your first name is Arnold.

So, what does this mean, practically?

For us, we started with a rear-facing infant carrier, a part of a "carrying system" that also included with the purchase price, a stroller (note that some prefer to get a carrier with a separate stroller, and this is certainly possible, as there are strollers - everything from a lightweight frame to a chassis that's rigorous enough to use if you ran trails - which can be "adapted" to many popular [or their product-line specific] infant carriers]). We put a base in each of our cars (2), one in our nanny's, and each of our in-laws had their own seat+base combos (as they are not either not strong enough [mother-in-law] or agile [father-in-law] enough to maneuver the baby+seat combination, but were more than comfortable with putting the baby physically into the seat. However, you can easily see how, with another family, we might have easily saved the expense of seats for our in-laws, where they could've just had bases in their cars.

When Anna turned 1, we transitioned to rear-facing on the convertible Britax Marathon - and this meant a seat in every car ($$$$!!!). While she could've been forward-facing at that point, we decided to keep the rear-facing configuration as my nephew was still underaged, and the potential of having to transport him in one of these vehicles remained significant, and thus, this eased that concern. However, since he was a bigger child, he fit into the seat just fine.

The best thing for you to do, Nasarog, I think, is to start by considering what type of seat you want to go with - an infant carrier + base or a convertible seat. Both have their pros and cons, and it's not necessarily true that one type or the other will "fit better" in your vehicles, that's more dependent on exactly which model seat you choose and which vehicle you choose, as well as, to an extent, your setup of said seat in said vehicles. Rather, I truly believe that the choice should be made on the other, typically considered "secondary," concerns mentioned above (expense, practicality, usage, sizing - including both fit into your vehicle as well as concerns of "will it fit the baby").

Remember to check safety ratings. Consumer Reports is likely the easiest source to go to, but there are others, such as the NHTSA, IIHS, and Car-Seat.org (note that at the NHTSA website, you can even sign-up for electronic recall notices).

Also, I would highly encourage you to, after you purchase your seat, you get it properly fitted at your local hospital, fire-station, or other such source. There, you'll find Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who can not only log the seat, but also show you both what you may have done wrong with the install and/or show you ways to improve your install. There's nothing worse than having a good seat - but not using it properly. :smile:

Finally, to make your shopping easier, many stores - even the larger retail chains - will be willing to let you take the seat(s) you're interested in out to your car, to try a test-fit, provided that you leave some form of acceptable collateral. We not only did this at our local high-end baby-store, but even at two different "Babies-R-Us" stores! When doing this "mock-up," either be willing to take the time to do a proper install, yourself, or know that your mock-up may or may not be an accurate representation of how the seat will fit in your car (i.e. after the tech inspection) - bring along an experienced parent for help, or have one teach you the basics.

:smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Jared, TSi and Peaty. The more info you all care to share, the better I will feel when I end up making the purchase in the next couple of weeks. Lots of info here to digest.

If anyone else cares to add to this, I woul appreciate it.


Thank you.
 

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The Sub kit guy
2005 Forester X & XT VF39
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The first year sucks since you need a rear facing seat and they will limited how far you can move your seat back. Once you can go with a front facing seat then things fit much better. That is until the kids are big enough to kick the back of your seat!

Then it goes like this:

3 year old: Dad, stop at the store, I want a slurpee.
me: NO, we are not stopping.
(3 year old starts kicking the back of my seat)
me: stop kicking my seat! Your making daddy mad. Don't make me pull over!
3 year old: if your going to pull over, then get me a slurpee!
 

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Thanks Jared, TSi and Peaty. The more info you all care to share, the better I will feel when I end up making the purchase in the next couple of weeks. Lots of info here to digest.

If anyone else cares to add to this, I woul appreciate it.


Thank you.
I really can't stress enough going the infant carrier route, with multiple bases. It's a better fit for an infant, plus the versatility. After the past 9 months, as we're just going into the convertible seat, we thought about how ridiculously annoying it would have been to have had a convertible seat from the get-go.

Also, there is no standardized side impact testing for baby seats, so don't get caught up on some saying how good they are in side impacts versus others. Like, my Evenflo Symphony 65 says "side impact tested" but that means absolutely nothing to me without talking about who tested it and with what methods and standards.

With the Chicco infant carrier, we placed an emphasis on safety, but with the convertible seat, we didn't get the absolute safest seat due to size constrictions, but our seat is still indeed very safe, it certainly wasn't a crappy model. Sorry, but we need to be able to sit in the car at the same time.

People get all elitist with Britax, but where's the quantifiable data that it's so much better than a Safety 1st Air Protect, or my Evenflo? Besides, for Britax money, I'd be looking at a Recaro.

After it was all said and done with, and the hours we looked at reviews, it was very hard to find any trustworthy independent data. Like, there's no IIHS or NHTSA testing for car seats. And Consumer Reports, who I do not trust for anything car related, picked some budget models as top performers, and said one particular Britax model was not good, so go figure.

So, basically, don't get over obsessed :D
 

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The first year sucks since you need a rear facing seat and they will limited how far you can move your seat back. Once you can go with a front facing seat then things fit much better. That is until the kids are big enough to kick the back of your seat!

Then it goes like this:

3 year old: Dad, stop at the store, I want a slurpee.
me: NO, we are not stopping.
(3 year old starts kicking the back of my seat)
me: stop kicking my seat! Your making daddy mad. Don't make me pull over!
3 year old: if your going to pull over, then get me a slurpee!
^ ROFL, that's awesome! :smile:

Anna is now 4, and it's funny. She'll kick the back of the seat (passenger's side is where I've always had her), and then go "oh, sorry, Winky, let me clean you off!" and reach for the microfiber.

OK, back on-topic:

I've lost track, but the last time I visited Car-Seat.org , ERF was all the rage - I wonder if there's been additional data to back that up, since I stopped keeping track. If the data's compelling, I honestly might consider switching Anna back to rear-facing. Given how flexible she is and the fact that she's small (50th percentile for height, 25th for weight, for girls her age), I honestly don't think comfort is going to be a problem....but she's gonna complain about not being able to see what's going on ahead of us, for sure.

That's certainly gonna put a crimp on her police-car spotting.....



---


I really can't stress enough going the infant carrier route, with multiple bases. It's a better fit for an infant, plus the versatility. After the past 9 months, as we're just going into the convertible seat, we thought about how ridiculously annoying it would have been to have had a convertible seat from the get-go.
The only thing different I'd say to this would be if the primary users are unable to manage the carrier+infant (the actual child) - like my in-laws.

For me, it was super-convenient to just lug Anna around whenever I went shopping or on errands. I loved it.

Also, there is no standardized side impact testing for baby seats, so don't get caught up on some saying how good they are in side impacts versus others. Like, my Evenflo Symphony 65 says "side impact tested" but that means absolutely nothing to me without talking about who tested it and with what methods and standards.

With the Chicco infant carrier, we placed an emphasis on safety, but with the convertible seat, we didn't get the absolute safest seat due to size constrictions, but our seat is still indeed very safe, it certainly wasn't a crappy model. Sorry, but we need to be able to sit in the car at the same time.

People get all elitist with Britax, but where's the quantifiable data that it's so much better than a Safety 1st Air Protect, or my Evenflo? Besides, for Britax money, I'd be looking at a Recaro.
Be careful with *ANY* brand/make.

It's not so much the brand, but rather, individual models that tend to have shortcomings.

Britax may be a good make, overall, but they've had their share of troubles - and even outright debacles.

Our infant carrier was a middle-of-the-road Graco SungRide...yet, it was among the few which held up to the increased-forces testing that fueled such an outcry back in mid-late 2006 (which was later retracted).

I wouldn't say that everyone with a Britax is just being snobby - rather, that there's a sentiment in the popular market that it is among the superior products, which, if you've actually delved into the deep end of dedicated child-seat Forums such as Car-Seat.org, you'll see that there are just as many concerns for a number of their seats as there are for others.

Choose the right seat *FOR YOU*, with the compromises that are acceptable *FOR YOU*. That's what it's all about. :smile:

As for, specifically, side-impacts, it is very true, unfortunately, that there's no set standard (which is what kills me, now, as Anna's next step will be to go to a booster, and there, it'll be up to the vehicle's seat-belt to do the job, and boosters vary greatly in the amount of SIP they afford), however, currently, the consensus is that all modern five-point seats - which is what any infant or toddler would be riding in - will provide a significant level of side-impact protection.

After it was all said and done with, and the hours we looked at reviews, it was very hard to find any trustworthy independent data. Like, there's no IIHS or NHTSA testing for car seats. And Consumer Reports, who I do not trust for anything car related, picked some budget models as top performers, and said one particular Britax model was not good, so go figure.

So, basically, don't get over obsessed :D
Again, the reason is simple - it's because one should base their decision on the specific model, not the brand.

For example, although Recaro may be a good brand of racing seats, there is actually relatively little data on their various child-seats, particularly framed in terms of North American safety standards (since bumper heights and other considerations are different here from overseas, it's vital that, if such data is considered, that we do so in the proper context). Personally, for the lack of data, I'm very disinclined to recommend Recaro child-seats to my own friends and family. There is a nice booster available, though, but Anna's yet too small for that. :smile: As a second example, look up some of the more recent seat recalls - Britax, I can well tell you, will feature prominently, and also the Marathon seat, itself, too.

For us, we got the Marathon because of my research at the time (c.2007), and because of a personal recommendation from Gumby, an Admin of LegacyGT.com - who was kind enough to show me pictures of his 35-40 MPH offset frontal accident, from which his two kids, both in Britax Marathons in his then WRX wagon, came away from, unscathed. Anna was also in her Marathon when my wife crashed (35 MPH offset frontal) our loaner '09 Forester X, an impact severe enough to have caused $19K's worth of damage to the vehicle, and to have flat-spun it around nearly 270 degrees. My wife was also uninjured, except for some bruising from her seat belt - she reported that as soon as she got her wits together and turned to ask Anna if she's all-right, all that Anna said was "why did we turn around?" I'm still sold on the Marathons, but if I were shopping today, I don't know if there'd be a better choice, or not....as I just haven't done the research.

It's not the brand that should matter, but the specific seat itself. :smile:

Overall, while it is true that the test data is very confusing, the same thing can be said for using similar data to buy a car - sometimes, the quantitative numbers either don't add up or can even conflict, it's still good to take in as many as you can stomach, noting where the faults and advantages of each presentation may lie, and using the best points to your own advantage.

For example, the CR data is nice to have regarding absolute safety, but the NHTSA and IIHS "ease of use" findings are important, too, as a seat incorrectly used can be very dangerous to its occupant.



---

And oh, when I hit PowerBall and am cruising pretty in my new AMG, here's what Anna will be riding in:

http://gizmodo.com/5093024/wing-man-baby-seat-carbon-fiber-gets-knocked-up

:wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The first year sucks since you need a rear facing seat and they will limited how far you can move your seat back. Once you can go with a front facing seat then things fit much better. That is until the kids are big enough to kick the back of your seat!

Then it goes like this:

3 year old: Dad, stop at the store, I want a slurpee.
me: NO, we are not stopping.
(3 year old starts kicking the back of my seat)
me: stop kicking my seat! Your making daddy mad. Don't make me pull over!
3 year old: if your going to pull over, then get me a slurpee!

:biggrin:

That's funny. I hope mine has enough sense to not do that... but we shall see.
 

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BTW, Nasarog, if you haven't gotten yourselves a copy of Baby Bargains, do so!!!! :smile: It was one of my two bibles, during that period of our lives.

Be sure to get the most current edition, too. It's worth the money.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
BTW, Nasarog, if you haven't gotten yourselves a copy of Baby Bargains, do so!!!! :smile: It was one of my two bibles, during that period of our lives.

Be sure to get the most current edition, too. It's worth the money.
That one is in the mail from Amazon, and Best Baby Products is on my kitchen counter. Already going through it.
 

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Congrats!

My first is due tomorrow and this was an issue for me as well. We went with a Graco Snugride infant car seat so that we could have bases in our cars and one seat. We also got the Snugride stroller base that the Car seat snaps into and the adapter for our Uppababy for the same car seat. This is working well in testing and in the 2006 forester with me in the drivers seat (just under 6 feet tall). No baby yet, but all seems to be ok. Hope it works out for you too.
 

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Congratulations!

There is definitely a bewildering array of options to consider. We just went through this 5 months ago.


After the past 9 months, as we're just going into the convertible seat, we thought about how ridiculously annoying it would have been to have had a convertible seat from the get-go.
We went with the infant seat/base combo (Chicco Keyfit) for this reason. Aside from the additional safety (real or perceived) that this offers, you can't beat the convenience. Your infant has a portable seat/bed that you can take with you on your various outings (shopping, doctor, friend's house, restaurant, etc.) You just snap the seat in/out of the base and go about your business. No need to wake a sleeping baby to get him in/out of the seat. As weary parents of a newborn, the value of this cannot be understated.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
More good info. This is what I was looking for, people's choices... I'll take more and thanks for the well wishing. We started going to the various classes on parenthood. Fun.
 

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The Modfather
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Discussion Starter #18

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^ I use a similar mat, under my seats - but just be aware that, "by Hoyle," some seat makers specifically recommend against the use of such mats.

Truthfully, those mats aren't going to save your seats from being "indented" - if you've installed your seats correctly (strong downward force is the key, a grown man, bracing his shoulders/upper back against the roof of the vehicle and forcing the child-seat down into the vehicle seat cushion is the best way to get the job done...but if you weigh enough, like I do, you can literally sit or "knee" the seat, if you can't reach the roofline with your back/shoulders to gain leverage), you're going to get those dents (which can be steamed out).

[ A prototype device of the last half-decade that won some awards was an invention by a Johns Hopkins undergrad, which enabled disabled and/or able-bodied men and women who simply may not weigh enough or have sufficient height, or strength, to force the seat "down and in," to facilitate installs. ]

But they're *great* at catching crumbs, spills, vomit, and what have you. :wink:

My thinking is that if the seat is forced down tightly enough, it just ain't gonna move, no matter what! :smile:
 

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After reading everything here and in CR, you need to spend a morning or afternoon at Babies R Us w/ your spouse looking the seats over. Definitely my vote goes to a dedicated rear facing infant seat. It snaps into the base, it snaps into a stroller, makes life a lot easier for mom and dad and baby. Spouse needs to like the seat. We narrowed our choices down to 2 or 3 and when it came time to buy my wife bought the one I liked least...but she liked most. Then you want to do what TSI &WRX recommends: take the seat, the car, and yourself to the local police or fire station to have their baby seat specialist show you how to properly install it. It's not all that easy! I had a female State Trooper give me my seat installing lesson, she was in the back seat of our (then) Ford Contour w/ one knee in the seat to press it down, hands working the belt system. Thing was as tight as a tick. Then she undid it, looked at me, and said "Now you try it, Dad!" Took me several tries to do it almost as well as her.:icon_redface: Good luck, and BTW: congratulations.
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 
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