July 14, 2009,
V.R. asks from Harrisburg, PA on July 11, 2009
Need Help with Getting an Infant Car Seat and Crib
We are looking to buy an infant car seat and a crib for our little one ( we're expecting in Aug). Ive been looking all around and the choices are a little overwhelming for first time parents. Any suggestions and advice on the models that gives more bang for your buck?
K.S. answers from Dallas on July 12, 2009
Don't know if you are looking for used or not but Craig's list and Divine Consign are great places to look for those.
J.T. answers from Dallas on July 11, 2009
the crib is a matter of personal preference.
now, the car seat is another matter, you need to look at safety, ease of installation, etc. i personally HATE graco car seats, the straps twist, they're just a pain in the butt in my opinion. i have three kids, and i have used the chicco key fit with the last two, LOVE IT!
C.W. answers from Dallas on July 14, 2009
I totally understand!! My DH and I just had our first baby and I went through the same thing - so here's what I've learned:
Car Seat - spend a little extra here - I've got a Graco Travel System - it works fine and I love how the seat snaps to the stroller, but I would NOT purchase it again after seeing the Chicco system. The Graco is so hard to adjust (it's done on the back side - you have to take the baby out to adjust the straps on the back side of the seat) - if I had known about this issue, it alone would have kept me from purchasing Graco and spending a little extra money on the Chicco Travel System instead. Chicco adjusts in the front w/your baby in the seat so you can be sure of the fit.
Crib - I bought one from Walmart after looking at baby stores, Target, department stores, etc. - Walmart actually carries a brand called Child of Mine - it's by Carters - everyone I talked to indicated that a convertible crib was a waste of money - you had to invest more in them to get the rails to convert them (they do NOT come w/the crib and they are expensive) - but the feature I DID need was a drop side - I'm short and I can't reach my little guy w/the mattress on the lowest setting unless I drop the side. I LOVE my Child of Mine crib w/drop side - and it was so much less expensive than anything else I saw - we spent about $160 on it. I was so impressed by the great quality for the price.
Mattress - (yeah, this is probably one you didn't think of yet either - those mattresses don't come w/the cribs)- the most important feature for this is the number of coils and steel gauge to ensure that it's good and firm - I bought ours from Costco and love it also - one side is an infant side and one side is a toddler side - I believe it cost about $110 - Steel gauge for mattress coils ranges from 12.5 to 19; the lower the number, the thicker the steel. Thicker is stronger. So look for a moderate to high coil count--135 to 150 coils is a good midrange--and a lower coil steel gauge, 15.5 or below.
Congratulations on your little blessing!! :)
L.P. answers from Dallas on July 12, 2009
We used the infant carrier that comes with the stroller. We have been very pleased with the one we purchased from graco. We also have the Britax Marathon. It is quite costly; however, it is supposedly one of the safest and you can use it rear and forward facing. It will lasts until your child is 65 pounds. We spent the money and won't have to buy another one for that child. We did purchase another when we had another baby b/c big sister still uses her Britax Marathon and she will be 4 in Sept.
We hear a lot of people say that all car seats are the same and pass the same standards. Britax apparently passes the safety standards in Europe which, from what I understand, a little more demanding than in America.
J.L. answers from Dallas on July 12, 2009
It is overwhelming for any parent, first time or not. I would say for car seats, strollers, ect that Graco is a great brand and not to pricey. They outgrow the stuff so quickly it seems silly to me to spend what some of these things cost. Graco is safe and a well known brand. I did lots of research, especially on carseats before my first, and was pleased with what I read about it. As far as cribs go, again they get very pricey. I would say it is worth it to buy one that converts into a toddler bed with a conversion kit. I would just try them (the way the side goes down) and find one that feels good to you. Some of them may be harder to manage one-handed than another. I lucked out and got a handy-me-down from a friend and it has done nicely. Mine did not have the conversion kit and that was the only thing I missed. However by the time I was going to use it, I needed the crib for baby #2 so my first went straight into a big bed. Good luck and congrats on the baby. Your almost there!!! I have #3 coming in November-what a blessing little ones are.
L.D. answers from Dallas on July 12, 2009
Don't know about the buck, but we really loved the Graco Snugride carseat. Good ratings and not as heavy and akward as the bigger Graco model. For a crib, we decided not to do a convertible - we didn't like the styling and price of most of them, and I insisted on having a drop side. The drop side wasn't all that helpful. By the time she was lowered, she was standing up to be pulled out. Helpful every once in a while. (Ended up buying a toddler bed cheap on Craigslist when the time came.) A great resource is Baby Bargains, which is a book published every year. Saved us a ton of money on stuff we didn't need to buy, and compiled safety and quality reports. (Though we bought the highly-recommended Peg Perego Aria stroller and it turned out to be a piece of junk.) I wouldn't by a used infant seat, but for a lot of other stuff, Craigslist and borrowing are great resources!
JUST EDITED - Snugride Carseat (not Safe Ride)
J.W. answers from Dallas on July 12, 2009
We got the Graco Metrolite system and loved it. We've had relatives and friends get it since and all have thought the same as we did. It met the safety criteria we set and then was the lightest system available. As the baby grows, that carrier gets pretty darn heavy and you'll be thanking yourself for going with a lighter option!
S.C. answers from Dallas on July 12, 2009
We loved our Chicco travel system. However our son grew out of it by 9 months (he's 96+% height) so we now have a Britax convertible seat which we also love. It goes from 5 lbs to 65 lbs so it's there for the long haul. Only downside is that you have to wake the baby to get them out whereas the travel system allows you to pop out the seat and carry them inside in the seat. good luck.
T.C. answers from Dallas on July 12, 2009
I am truly a bargain shopper and can appreciate your desire to find a great deal. Divine Consign is a great resource, but based on your due date you probably want these things before then. For the crib, look on Craigslist and see if you can find anything, but I noticed that Overstock.com had some great deals. You can get a really nice crib for under $300. Many of them are the convertable cribs that can be used as toddler beds also.
For the infant car seat. My husband and I went with the Chicco travel system and loved it. The only thing I would do differently is I would buy the carrier without the stoller. Then buy a snap and go stroller for the carrier. After my son was out of the carrier I use his lightweight stoller 95% of the time and rarely use my travel system. I would also look on Craigslist for this or Once Upon a Child.
I hope you find what you are looking for. I inherited my crib from my sister. It is a little older and if I were looking for something new I would make sure that the side came up and down quietly. As my son got older and I had to lift him into the crib he often woke up during this process and caused more sleepless nights than I would have liked.
K.N. answers from Dallas on July 11, 2009
Not really. Here is the thing, a crib is a crib and a car seat is a car seat. There really arent any bells and whistles that can go on it. Baby Depot usually has good prices and can help you. Just find something you like in yoru price range and then check the safety ratings on it to make sure there have not been any issues or recalls.
On the infant car seat, they do sell them with a matching stroller that the car seat can sit into. That is what we got and I loved it and still use that stroller even though he is now in a booster seat.