32 answers

Shopping for New Car Seat for My 14 Month Old

I am looking for a new car seat for my 14 month old daughter. She is just over 20 lbs and 30 inches tall. I have been doing some research and from what I have read the Britax Marathon is highly recommended. It is also one of the more expensive models. Since I am a SAHM, we are on a pretty tight budget. Before we spend the money, I just wanted to get some opinions from other moms. Can you recommend a car seat? Also, I have read that they are now recommending kids stay rear-facing as long as possible. What are your thoughts about this? Is it okay to have her forward facing?

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So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for all your advice. I have decided to go with a Britax. However, I can't decide which model to buy. What is the differenc between the Marathon and Boulevard?

Featured Answers

Info on rear-facing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8gU9zzCGA8
http://www.car-safety.org/rearface.html
There is a ton more info on the subject, just "google" rear-facing car seat safety.
Also pass it along to all the moms you know, this is new updated info, most moms are still unaware. It really bothers me when I pull up to pick my daughter up from day care and I see all the other cars in line with their car seats facing front.
We use Britax and are sticking with them for convertibles. I bought mine on ebay, new in box for $60 less than in the store. Search online.

1 mom found this helpful

K.,

I am with the other moms that say britax. My son is 4 years old, 44 pounds and about 40 inches or a little taller. I have had the car seat since he was 10 months old. I feel good with him in the seat, it is very safe and it is worth the money in the long wrong. When you think about the money you might spend on looking for the right seat instead of just buying the right seat the first time, trust me it is worth the initial expense. I am a SAHM and have a background in accounting before staying at home and believe me, I did the math and it was the best solution. Plus it is the safest seat on the market. I just wish I had had this seat with my two older boys.

Hope this helps.

S.

I have 2 daughters that are now 4 and 6 and have had the Marathon car seats since they were born. They still fit in them and they still look new even though they have been washed hundreds of times. My older daughter is still within the weight range but we have moved up to the Britax Booster. The belts on the Marathon never twist and the buckles are easy to use (no fancy overlapping that requires two hands). I have an older son and we went through several less expensive versions of car seats that didn't hold up and in the long run the cheaper seats ended up costing us much more.

More Answers

Info on rear-facing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8gU9zzCGA8
http://www.car-safety.org/rearface.html
There is a ton more info on the subject, just "google" rear-facing car seat safety.
Also pass it along to all the moms you know, this is new updated info, most moms are still unaware. It really bothers me when I pull up to pick my daughter up from day care and I see all the other cars in line with their car seats facing front.
We use Britax and are sticking with them for convertibles. I bought mine on ebay, new in box for $60 less than in the store. Search online.

1 mom found this helpful

Do your homework. You want to look at the seat that will hold your child in a 5 pnt harness for as long as possible. Don't get confused by the converision from harness to booster. I went with Britax Regent as it holds your child in a 5 pnt harness until the age of 8. They have a newer model out now that is called the Frontier. I think Graco had a new one out that
might do that as well. If you invest in these you won't need another car seat again. If you invest in a Marthon Britax you will be looking for another seatn later on.

I got two Britax car seats on Craigslist. I would check the manufacture date because it should be no more than six years old and check the frame for any cracking or wearing. I have been really happy with my purchases (I paid $60 for one and $80 for another). So many people buy two and three car seats for their mother in laws, etc and then get rid of them in perfect condition. I ordered a new cover on ebay for one (and also because my daughter has sensitive skin and I prefer her to only be exposed to cotton), but I wash both covers regularly. Good luck!

kids.woot.com has an Evenflo Symphony Convertible Car Seat on sale for $89 off the lowest internet price. it only rear faces up to 20lb, but it converts into a booster seat up to 100 pounds!

it's a really great deal, but act fast because woot changes their deal daily.

We have one Britax Marathon and one Boulevard....after comparing our carseats to friends of ours I will ALWAYS own Britax or at least something very similar....

Here is a great deal on a Boulevard which is even better than the Marathon :) http://www.albeebaby.com/britax-boulevard-convertible-car...

This site always seems to have great deals on carseats - its where we bought both of our on discount or at the annual Britax sale time.
The Recarro seats also seem to have wonderful reviews, that was another seat on our list but the Britax won us over. :)
And the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) now reccomends rear facing until at least the age of 2.

You can get the Britax Marathon for $179 on albeebaby.com, and that is with free shipping. That makes the price more competitive.
Kids should stay rear-facing as long as possible, but your daughter is big enough and old enough to turn around. If she's pushing on the back seat with her feet it's probably time to turn her around, or if she hates her carseat. Mine was so happy to face front.

http://babyproducts.about.com/od/carseats/tp/topconvcarse...

I love 7 Evenflo Triumph Advance Convertible Car Seat
Decent price. and you can keep it backwards for a while.

I have 2 . I got one of them on sale at Target for $99.

Hi K.,

I say go with with Britax as well. Yes, it's more $$$, but SO worth it. We had our daughter (now 2 1/2) in the Boulevard, just switched up to a new Marathon so my parents could have the Boulevard as she'd outgrown the carseat we'd purchased for them to use. Our Boulevard is now 2 years old and it still looks brand new, it wears beautifully and you just can't beat the safety ratings. I purchased both of my Britax's online, do a google search to find the lowest prices and then google again to find coupons for that store. Hope this helps!

As far as foward facing goes, trust your instincts. We had my daughter forward facing at 12 months, b/c she was too big to face backwards and sit comfortably. I would say forward facing, but use the middle of your back seat if you have LATCH, that's the safest place.

Good luck. :)

Cheaper convertibles that have high safety ratings are the Cosco Scenera and the Safety 1st Avenue. The Scenera is about $50 and the Avenue is about $80.
They both will last you a while, as they both convert from rear facing to forward facing as your child grows. They both have higher rear-facing weight limits.
The Scenera has less padding/foam than the Avenue, and has a shorter shell height. If you can afford the additional $30 for the Avenue, I'd go with the Avenue. It seems more comfortable (though I've known people who have taken long road trips with their Scenera), and the taller shell won't be outgrown as quickly.
Hope that helps. There is a carseats forum about the two, just google Scenera and Avenue, you'll get a ton of results.

I've used the alpha omega convertable car seat since birth of my daughter both rear facing, front facing and then eventually to a booster. Eddie bauer also has a model of the same seat. It's easy to adjust (since they grow so fast) the same style comes in various colors too. They have it at costco for about $130 and babies r us for $150. If you don't have a costco membership, they are only like $30

If you go to youtube and search "5 point harness car seat" you will see a story about why the 5 point harness is the best way to go for as long as possible. Don't be fooled by the other car seats that say "up to 80 lbs" etc - if you look closely they all say "up to 40 lbs as 5 point car seat, then 80lbs as a belt positioning booster seat". It's a heart breaking story - and I can't stand it when I see people recommending "cheap inexpensive $30 booster seat" etc. My daughter is 5 and is just over 40lbs, but tall for her age. If I had seen the video on youtube, I would not have gotten the Eddie Bauer seat that we've had for the last 4 years. I love the seat, and my daughter found it to be comfortable and we are in the car alot and travel frequently so she spends alot of time in it. Recently - while on our way to Orlando - I was reading the Sunday paper and ads and almost fell out of the car while my husband was driving. We've been wanting the Britax seat and had been kind of looking for it for awhile, knowing that she was on her way out of the other seat. The TARGET ad from week before last - had the BRITAX REGENT on SALE from $279. down to $179!!!!!!!! We raced to the nearest Target store, and couldn't find the seat. The employee then pointed out to me that it was an "online sale" only. I got online at home as fast as I could and ordered it right away. I was a little bummed that I was going to have to pay shipping, but thought "what the heck" - "we're saving $100. on it!". Well, Guess what? TARGET is/was having a special - FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $50!!!! I ordered that seat as fast as I could. The Marathon is on sale also - but not as big of savings. The seat came in about 5 days, and it is WONDERFUL. It is very large, and the 5 point harness is very adjustable. It says that the material is already stain protected, but I sprayed it with Scotch Guard anyway - as I always did that with her other seats, and they launder beautifully, wash, put back on and air dry, spray again.
Anyway, the Britax Regent is in our car now. Thankfully, I only have 1 child, and an SUV - so I have it installed in the center position of the back seat, and it is fine. It will fit in one of the side seats if I ever need to put in another car seat, but then the center will be very tight if another person were to need to squeeze in. My daughter says the seat is very comfortable, and as I mentioned, she is very tall - and still has one more adjustment on the shoulder straps to go up. If you do order it, one tip - the owner's manual/ instruction sheet, is fastened under the seat cover under where the child's left leg would hang down the front of the seat. I called the # because I couldn't find it in the box, and was convinced that it had been left out or something.
My husband is a retired law enforcement officer (back injury), and a performance driving instructor / race car driver / race car builder. He has seen first hand the forces that a human body can incur during an accident - and our daughter will be in that 5 point car seat system until she is at least 80 lbs. My sister's kids were all adopted from China - and they are all on the small side, she jokes with her 9 year old, that at this rate Olivia will be taking her driver's license test in a 5 point car seat!
Good luck!

Graco Nautilus holds up to 80lbs forward facing and I think it was on sale at walmart for $120 which is a great buy. Also the Radian 65 & 80 are much cheaper then the britax. So there are other choices. My son is 60lbs and 3ft 5 at 3, so we use a booster seat with a back.

I have 2 Britax Marathons for my oldest 2 girls. I love them. Since mine get carsick alot, I have found these are the easiest to uninstall and clean and reinstall. I won't use anything else. The best part... you can buy new covers for it if they get ruined.

I have 2 daughters that are now 4 and 6 and have had the Marathon car seats since they were born. They still fit in them and they still look new even though they have been washed hundreds of times. My older daughter is still within the weight range but we have moved up to the Britax Booster. The belts on the Marathon never twist and the buckles are easy to use (no fancy overlapping that requires two hands). I have an older son and we went through several less expensive versions of car seats that didn't hold up and in the long run the cheaper seats ended up costing us much more.

Hi K.,
I have to tell you that Britax is truly the best car seat on the market! We were in a severe car accident when my son was only 8 months old. we were T-boned exactly where my son was seated in his Britax car seat. Windows broke, airbags deployed, and the car was totaled. When we got to the hospital they examined my son and he didn't have a scratch! The ER doctor looked at me and said he must have been in a Britax car seat- and he was! I know you can find a good deal on Britax car seats at Baby Love on Oakland Park Blvd.
If you decide it is to expensive to get the Britax, please get a car seat with "wings" that wrap around the head area- this prevents brain damage in case of an accident!

Hi. I have the Britax boulevard. I like it because if my little one falls asleep in the car there is the support around her head so that it does not flop around. The only down side to that seat is that the buckle that goes between the legs seems to be a little short and is a little snug around her legs. She is not chubby. Other than that it's a great seat.

I have the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite and it is great. My daughter fits comfortably and falls asleep easily in the chair. It has arm rests, cup holder and is adjustable for their specific height for the harness. They range $170 but you can always get them on sale at Babies R Us and then use the fifteen percent off coupons that they have; I did that and paid around $100 each for both of the 2 of ours and then I also found it online for $100 but I don't remember the website that was on which I purchased for my mom. I always resort to Consumer Reports for things like this. You can subscribe online and it's only $17 a year and it covers everything in there for you; it's a great resource and they have reviews in there also.

I also have a the Cosco Scenera for when we travel as it's more compact and lightweight than the Omega and that one is great also but there's no frills to it. It made Consumer Reports list also and you can get it for sixty dollars at most places but I think that it may be fifty dollars at Walmart which is where I got mine from.

There was also the Graco ComfortSport that retailed for $90.

Good luck to you, there are many great seats out there.

When my son was ready to move to a new seat I also asked around. I had a bunch of friends who had children just slightly older than mine. They all checked into the Britax but found that the Evenflo Titan was rated just as well. It it only $99 and can be purchased at Target or Babies R Us. I did buy it and have been VERY happy with it. My son started using it at 6 months and is now almost 4 and still in the same seat. Because of our success, I checked into the same seat for my daughter. I found a newer version at Babies R Us and when I went to purchase it, the store employee in charge of that area said that people either buy the Britax or the Evenflo and that since the newer version had become available more people were purchasing the Evenflo. You have to go with what you are comfortable with. I also believe in the theory you get what you pay for and though it is cheaper than the Britax, our Evenflo was really a great purchase. We got a reliable, safe and well rated seat and didn't have to spend a lot. Good Luck.

it is SAFEST to keep them rear facing as long as possible.
my 3 year old is still rear facing in his Britax marathon! what? he's three? yes, he only weighs 30lbs and the seat allows for rear-facing up to 33lbs (maybe it's 35lbs)
any way, this is your child's LIFE so please research all you can! Britax Marathon is expensive but they are good for 6yrs from date of manufacture. my 6yr old is just now outgrowing his Britax marathon-so we got every bit of use out of it!

Please forward this to those you know w/ babies & toddlers :)

ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=7822383

The article referred to in the news clip:
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/338/jun11_2/b1994

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31326129/ns/health-kids_and_p...

Hi K.,

Even though money was tight, we always used Britax for our little one - still do, actually. We started with the Companion, and moved on the Boulevard after that and at four years old she still fits comfortably in it. We've never had an accident, Thank God, but I feel confident that if we ever do, I know I've done all I can to keep my daughter safe. I have been impressed with the quality of the seats. When helping to buckle in my sisters and friends babies, I am always appalled at how flimsy their seats feel. My daughters has been firm and sturdy since the beginning. I recommend Britax HIGHLY. I don't think you'll regret it. I bought my two from babyuniverse.com and got a good price and free shipping. You can shop around on the net and find good deals to save yourself $100 or so.

Happy shopping!

PS - My daughter has always been small for her age, so she was "ready" to face the front before her size was. We held out because you can never be safe. But if your daughters size meets the guidelines and you feel that her neck is good and strong - follow your instinct.

Hi K.,
I'm also a first time SAHM of a 14 month little girl!
We went with the "Sunshine Kids" seat...I had never heard of this brand until we visited
A Running Stroller in Safety Harbor (http://www.arunningstroller.com/)
They are EXTREMELY helpful and will crawl around your car to see what the best fit would be for you. (I just saw they are having a sale on the Sunshine Kids seats right now!) I think this seat will go up to 80lbs...another mom commented on the seats that go up to 80lbs aren't necessarily the 5 point harness but some sort of booster...that is NOT the case with this one. We still have her rear facing...she's tall and doesn't seem to mind...she doesn't know any different and it is definitely way safer.
I think it's on the upper end of the price scale but it will last a long time, it is thinner than others so you can have other people sit next to the seat comfortably or another car seat (the Marathon is really wide at the base), and it seems to be made out of made out of better materials. We've been pleased! Best of luck!

I love my Graco and Evenflo convertable seats. Easy to get her in and out. I bought a 3 in one and paid $169 but it is harder to take apart to clean, bulker, heavier, and not so easy to tighten when backwards.

I highly reccommend the First Year's True Fit Convertible Carseat: http://www.amazon.com/First-Years-True-Convertible-Cappuc... You can rear-face from 5-35 lbs, and forward face from 20-65 lbs. I LOVE it. It's cheaper than the Britax & got great reviews.

K.,

I am with the other moms that say britax. My son is 4 years old, 44 pounds and about 40 inches or a little taller. I have had the car seat since he was 10 months old. I feel good with him in the seat, it is very safe and it is worth the money in the long wrong. When you think about the money you might spend on looking for the right seat instead of just buying the right seat the first time, trust me it is worth the initial expense. I am a SAHM and have a background in accounting before staying at home and believe me, I did the math and it was the best solution. Plus it is the safest seat on the market. I just wish I had had this seat with my two older boys.

Hope this helps.

S.

K.,
We have the Marathon too. I too, am a stay at home Mom on a tight budget. But the way we looked at it, they are in it for a long time. Spend the money to keep your daughter safe!!! Britax has one of the best safety records.
As far as keeping her backwards, I couldnt agree more. My son is 22 mos & 35" long & he is still rear-facing & will be untilhe is 3. Yes, his legs cant stretch out as if he were facing front, but I would rather have a broken leg than a broken neck. Their little necks just arent strong enough if you were to get into a really bad accident.
Those are just my thoughts.
Heather

We just got our Britax Marathon by UPS today and we are very excited! It took my husband a little while to install but we are much more comfortable with the way this one feels as opposed to the Graco infant seat we have now. I really don't feel like the one we have(graco) is safe at all. The part that connects the straps together does snap all the way. I have NOT at all been impressed with graco products or customer service and will never ever purchase another product of theirs but that is another story.
Anyway I found the new Britax at travelingtykes.com for $199 and free shipping which I thought was a great deal considering I have seen them for as much as $329 which is NOT in our budget. It can hold kids up to 65 lbs so I can't see us needing another carseat for our daughter so I thought it was a good investment. Also as someone else mentioned you can buy replacement covers if need be.
Our daughter is only 7 months old and weighs about 15 lbs. so I won't be putting her foward for quite some time. I have heard that you can be rear facing until 35 lbs or until they can't sit comfortable rear facing any longer.

We've got two of the Alpha Omega Elite carseats and love them. They are versatile and adjust well. All the way up to a booster. Love not having to worry about buying yet another carseat in the future!

I bought a Costco (sorry I don't remember type) for my son at a year when he outgrew his infant carseat. I got one of the convertible models. I figured they don't know any better about facing the front so we kept him rear facing until he was about 16 or 17 months. I know they are recommending rear facing until age 2 so the convertible seats are worth it. Plus the model I got is from 5#-100# so it will be the booster later on.

Hi K. and to all the other moms out there.
All I have to say is BRITAX, BRITAX, BRITAX!!!
wHY YOU ASK?
When my daughter was almost two we were driving through the mountain pass of Bend, OR. All of a sudden without any warning my fourwheel driving SUV tailspinned out of control and sent us spiraling into the oncoming traffic lane. We eventually came to a stop when we hit a wall of snow piled up along the side of the road. We then tipped over the wall until finally landing on the roof of the truck.
Three things saved our lives that night. First, another accident had occured in the oncoming traffic lane about a mile ahead of us (thus leaving the oncoming traffic lane clear of any vehicles we would have had impact with.) Second, my daughters Britax car seat where she was dangling unharmed and upside down in. And last but not least GOD.
I had to buy a new car seat after that and of course it was another Britax.

Hi K.,

We recently bought the Britax Boulevard for our 11 month old. She is around 18 lbs and 29 inches. We plan to keep her rear facing for a while longer. However, my sister-in-law who lives in a smaller town just turned her 1 yr old forward facing - he is over 20 lbs.

Our Britax Boulevard was purchased online as I found the price better. I also did a coupon search for the website. The final price including free shipping was $267. You can get some patterns cheaper. Also, a friend recommended the Recaro car seat.

Good luck,
B

I just bought two marathon's for my 13 month old girl and will keep her rear facing as long as she is comfortable. My doctor informed me of the new suggestions. I am getting a britax frontier for my 4.5 year old son. Big britax fan as you can see! My daughter was so excited to get the seat, she LOVES it! It is hard to keep her awake in the car. I got hers at diapers.com when they had a 15% promotion with free shipping. look around, you can find deals. However, very important to know what the date of manufactor is (DOM). Carseats only last 6 years and some go on sale because they are getting older. http://www.whatshebuys.com/for-child-britax.html and http://www.hipmonkey.com/message.asp?msg=49 are great places and they only sell the most recent DOMs. I know, it is hard to part with the cash, but you will get 6 years out of the money!

HI K. -another huge Britax fan here! My son had a Graco snugride infant seat until about 9 months old and was then in the Marathon rear facing for a while then forward facing until about 3 1/2 (he would have fit in there longer but wanted a big kid seat-so he got the Britax Frontier, h e is 4 3/4 and still using Frontier until he's too big for any kind of seat/booster at all)-I LOVE both. Marathon was a breeze to install. However, Boulevard didn't exist when I bought my Marathon 5 1/2 years ago and I think it has a higher weight limit and 'wings' for their head. I would say just get the Frontier now but I think it has a higher age min. and weight and is only used for forward facing. You can turn your daughter forward facing now, if the dr. says it's ok. I know my son turned into a happy car rider the day he got turned around, when rear facing he was unhappy in the car! Iknow they changed the guidelines about forward facing, not sure about that since I havent' had a rear facing kiddo for almost 4 years now.

If you shop around online, you can get the Britax seats for closer to $200 with fre shipping -they are worth it in my opinion.

Check out elitecarseats.com for super in depth reviews...

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