May 25, 2007,
D.S. asks from Bellefonte, PA on May 22, 2007
Car Seat for Tall Baby
My little guy is HUGE (not very chubby, but really tall). He's about 2 seconds away from growing out of his infant carrier and I've been researching convertible car seats. I'd like to get one that'll last until he needs a booster seat if possible, but it seems like on all the one's I've looked at the top harness straps arent really all that tall. Anyone have any recommendations besides Britax? I'd like to avoid that brand if possible since we need to buy for 2 cars (a little too expensive for us).
Also, he cant sit up yet unassisted, so what do I do with him in the grocery store, etc. without the infant carrier for him to sit in?
J.E. answers from Philadelphia on May 23, 2007
My little one grew out of her infant car seat at 5 months. Her legs are really long. To save some money, I bought a Britax convertible seat for the car we use the most (mine) and an Evenflo Triumph (cheaper and has close to same safety rating on Consumer Reports)for her dad's. I also kept the infant carrier seat in the trunk and used that when we went into the store. Even though it wasn't safe to use in the car anymore, it was great to use as a seat for shopping carts.
S.K. answers from Allentown on May 23, 2007
It's good that you're thinking about harness height in a convertible seat. That's really important since your tall guy will likely outgrow a seat by height before weight.
I would not get any of the 3-in-1 seats for him. Most kids will outgrow them by height long before they are ready to use the seat in booster mode. Yes, it's a seat that goes to 100 pounds, but the harness can only be used to a certain height/weight, so you'll end up with an outgrown seat when he is probably under 3 years old. Then you'll have to buy another harnessed seat because he won't be ready (as far as maturity and the weight/height requirements) to ride safely in a booster. And it is so much safer to keep him in a 5-point harness for as long as possible.
I would suggest the Fisher Price Safe Voyage Deluxe ($129 on sale now online at Albeebaby.com). They are made by Britax but sold under the FP name. They are the same shell as the Britax, but they don't have all the frills (plush cover, extra padding, built-in lockoffs). We have a Britax Marathon in our main car and a Safe Voyage Deluxe in our 2nd car. My 12-month-old son actually prefers the Safe Voyage. This seat rear faces to 33 pounds and front faces to 55 pounds. It will probably take your child to 5 years old, at which point he will most likely be ready for a booster.
You can also find the seat at Burlington Coat Factory. Since it's the same shell as the Britax seats, you can go to Babies R Us and try a Britax in your car to make sure it installs well, then you could order it online if you like it.
I think you could keep your baby bucket to use in the grocery store (when baby isn't in the car) until he has more head control--as your son is still comfortable in it. I'm not sure about that, though. I always used a baby Bjorn. Just please do not put the carrier on the top of the shopping cart. Car seats were not made for this. It's really dangerous. I've heard that car seat manufacturers are going to start making the seats differently so people can't do this. Always put the carrier in the bottom part of the cart instead.
There are other lower cost options for convertible seats with higher harnesses and taller backs. They won't last till 5 or 6 years, but they are still great. One is the Scenera ($40, I think) at Walmart (the 5-pt. harness, not the overhead shield) and the Uptown (also at Walmart) is $99 and more padded. I think these both rear face to 35 pounds and front face to 40 pounds.
The car seat safety board on BabyCenter.com is great. The ladies on there are certified car seat safety technicians. If you tell them the type of car you have, your budget, and your son's measurements, they can recommend some good seats for you.
L. answers from Philadelphia on May 22, 2007
My not-so-little guy (over 22 inches at birth, over 30 inches at 9 months) uses a Britax Boulevard and an Evenflo Triumph, depending on which car he's in. He's pretty comfortable in both of them now, though the Triumph has a weird pillow setup that wasn't so great until he grew a little more in the torso area. (Most of his length is in his legs--or at least it was when he first grew out of his infant carrier. A sad day for all concerned, that was...)
Anyway, I understand not wanting to invest in the Britax. We didn't, either, at first. If you're just looking for a reasonably priced seat that will be comfortable for a taller kid, I'd recommend the Triumph. But if you want one that will be the last carseat you'll ever buy (for height and weight purposes) I'm not sure anyone but Britax can offer that. That's what eventually made us choose to get one--when we compared the price of the Britax to the price of the various other seats we'd have to buy during my son's carseat using lifetime, it ended up costing about the same.
One word of advice about the Triumph, if you like it--make sure you don't try to install it rear-facing in a car that has seat backs which curve around. The tightening mechanism is tough to reach in general, but if the seat pushes up against it, it's impossible to use. That's why we moved it out of our Mazda 3 and into our Jeep. The seat backs in the Jeep are flatter.
A.D. answers from Reading on May 23, 2007
I have 4 Alpha Omegas for my twins, 2 for each car, and they are almost 5. They have used them since theey outgrew the infant carseat. We started them rear facing and then forward facing with the straps and now with no straps and a seat belt. They will take them to 100 Lbs. Love them easy to clean and about 169.00, I know still not inexpensive but we have gotten a ton of use out of them. They are also easy to tighten the straps whether front or reaf facing.
L.H. answers from Philadelphia on May 23, 2007
I got a care seat that goes from birth till age 8. At Baby's R Us. its an alpha sport. We didn't spend a lot of money on it. But i know how you are feeling about having to by more then one and they grow so fast.
When my first 2 where small we had to buy carseats every time they grew out of one. we had to buy 4 different ones as they grew. look at babies r us and toys r us.
K.E. answers from Reading on May 23, 2007
I've had my son in a convertible seat for a couple of months now and he is currently 6 months. It was a pain when we went to the store - I sought out stores that specifically had infant seats attached to carts (most do) and then finally gave up and threw the infant carrier in the back of the car. I just put the carrier onto the cart when we went to the store and he was fine for the hour or less he was in it. Now he sits unsupported so it's no longer a problem.
My convertible seat will last him forever. It has a base that detaches to become a BIG kid booster seat (like 6yrs+) The seat itself has a recline bar to make appropriate rear facing for infants, then turns around, recline bar folds in, and it becomes a regular 5 point toddler seat. When they outgrow that, you remove the 5 point straps and use the seatbelt for it to be a full back booster. The top adjusts height so that he'll be fine in that until he's big enough for the backless base booster as mentioned earlier. The seat cost me $139 at Target last year and it is made by Safety 1st. It does seem like a large price tag, but it's the only seat I'll ever need.
Best of luck,
D.Q. answers from Philadelphia on May 25, 2007
how tall is your child. My son is alwasy in the 95th percentile for height, so I think I can relate. We have 2 different convertable carseats that we use. (one in each car). We have the Evenflo Triumph ($119) and Alpha Omega Convertible Car Seat ($139). You can get both at Babies R Us. They are both Wonderful. I actually think the Evenflo triumph might be a little easier to use.