45 answers

Toddler Car Seat

Hi everyone, we recently switched our one year old over to a convertible car seat. We got a really, nice (expensive) one from my SIL. Here's my question, my hubby and I share the responsibility of picking up and dropping of our son at daycare. For instance, Jay will drop off and I'll pick up. I'm so confused about what to do about the car seat. With the infant car seat, it was easy to take out of the car and switch to another car. Well, that's not the case with the convertible car seat, it's large and in charge and difficult to maneuver around. Do I have to buy two car seats??? That just seems ridiculous. Help!

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I had a similar situation with my daughter only it was with my parents. I have a seat in my car that is easy enough to switch if I need to, my parents have one in their car and my sitter has one in hers. I would say that yes it is silly but you have to weigh the options. what is more worht it spending some money on another carseat ( they do end up using them for almost 6 years ) or do you hassle with switching. Also carseats can get fancy and expensive, but something more basic might not be outrageous.

it would be sooo much easier if you just went to a consignment shop a bought a good used one for the other car. the prices are great and in really good condition.

SAHM of boys now 17,13,8,soon to be 5

Get a second car seat. We had 6 - one for each of my 2 children in my car, my husband's and my mother's cars. If you think about how often you use it, it is worth the money. I also think that every time it is taken out and put back in a car, there is a chance to do it wrong, and put the child at risk. Once I have it in the car, installed correctly, It doesn't come out. Also, the child will be in the convertible seat for a long time. It's not like you'll be buying 2 new seats every year. My kids are 2 and 4 and still in the same seats we got after the infant seat.

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Buy two carseats. You would be surprised how many people do not install them properly ( call your local police staion and ask for them to set an appointment for yours to be checked- they say people really never put them in tight enough- and sometimes totally wrong). You have too many chances to make a mistake cahnging them out everyday. You will be able to do that again once he is only in a booster- but you have many years before that. Be safe.

When we switch our son to a convertible I went out and bought a really nice one then I went back to work and now my husband I switch also. I always drop him off in the morning and my husband almost always picks him up. We were in the same situation though, it was a huge pain to get that thing in and out of the cars. I went out and bought a cheaper one for my husbands vehicle, something safe but not as big and comfortable as the one in my car. 95% of the time we go places in my car vs. the Tahoe. The only time he is in the Tahoe (my husbands vehicle) is daycare to home. It works for us.

My husband and I bought two car seats because it's too much of a pain to move the big toddler one. The first one we bought was a bit more expensive than the second one we bought, but I actually prefer the second one for every day trips because of how easy and small it is.

I know it's a pain to get a second seat, but I would suggest looking around if you have the funds to do so. It'll definitely be worth it in the long run, since the pain of moving around a toddler car seat is such a process. Plus, you and your husband will be equipped to take your son around just in case of any unforeseen event where the car seat isn't in the right car.

But if purchasing another car seat isn't an option, just make sure you know exactly how to use the car seat so putting it in and out of a car is second nature. It's really not too bad once you get used to it. Just make sure that you are putting it in correctly and securely each time, which I think takes the longest sometimes.

I hope my rambling helps. Good luck!

We had the same problem. So I went to a used kid's store and bought one there. It was in good shape and the county was able to inspect it to make sure that there wasn't any damage to it. (they did it for free!). So much better than transfering car seat back and forth and worrying if it got installed correctly for this trip. Good luck.

J., I have one that you can have for free. My daughter just went into a booster seat and we are done having babies. It is just sitting in my garage. It is is good condition. I live in Farmington. You can come and get it if you want it. My e-mail is ____@____.com me know if you want it.

J.

I hate to say this, but welcome to the toddler years. Frr safety and installation reasons, I feel that your only option is to have two car seat, one in each car. It really isn't as ridiculous as you may think. The constant transfer from one car to the next poses the potential for improper installation, when it is done in a hurry and that is a safety concern. We have two toddlers, and two cars. So, we have 4 car seats.

sad to say, 2 seats is the way to go. we have 3 little ones and 6 seats. sometimes you can get them from craigs list. we are nearly ready to switch to boosters but not quite. when that happens i will have 3 britax seats and 1 cosco seat to recycle. good luck,
D.

We have the same responsibilities. We bought two car seats. It become a huge pain to have to move it from car to car. Watch for the graco comfortsport to go on sale (right now they are on clearance at Target). Its a great carseat and we got ours for $60.00.

J.,

Yup, it stinks but I think getting a second seat is your only good option. I babysat a kiddo once, and we swapped out his carseat every day. I noticed that when his parents picked him up, the NEVER put his carseat in tight enough. It was too much of a hassle to wrestle with it every day, but as a result, he was riding around in a seat that was unsafely loose.

Remember that a convertible carseat is going to be in use for years, so while the initial cost can be a lot, it is something that will be well-used. I would look for a seat that has a high weight AND HEIGHT limit. Apparently most children grow out of the height limit on their seats before they ever max out the weight, especially in larger carseats. We have two Britaxes that we love. The Marathon is a fabulous seat that goes up to 45lb. Britax is top-of-the-line for safety ratings, and most of their seats are also very easy to use. We bought a Regent for our daughter when she grew out of her smaller seat. It goes up to 65lb, so she should be in it for quite a while. You can check out their website for specifics and a comparison chart of all their models. Recaro also makes nice seats - you can buy them online at target.com. Sunshine Radian also makes some high-weight seats, so you would get your money's worth. I believe they have a 65lb seat and an 85lb seat.

Best of luck,
S.

For truly safe installation, you should use the latch system, which obviously would make it very tough to take in and out. I say get another seat. Sounds awful but it will be a big relief. Do not use a used carseat, I was just told by the fire dept that after 5 years all seats should be trashed, that the plastic wears, the straps wear with time and even if they look in good condition they could maybe not hold up in a crash. I would just shop around, Babies R Us has sales as does Target and get another seat. Get a seat that converts into a booster to save you later from having to get one more seat down the road too.

I just went through the same thing. I ended up buying my second Britax, which are pretty pricy too. I waited almost four months before I did. But they are such a pain to take in and out!! I had four justifications for buying the second one. The first is every time you take it in and out it seems like I am always in a hurry and I don't feel like I always get it installed properly and as good as it should be. Second our time is valuable and sometimes its just worth not having the headache to have to change it for one trip. My husband drives a truck and I have a car and we go back and forth on what we take at the last minute sometimes. Third, the Britax is up to 65 lbs. Not sure how long they really last but thats a good 3-4 years I would think. That is a lot of switching seats in that amount of time. Last I plan to have another child who will also use these.
Kind of long but hopefully that helps shine some light on it! Good luck!

We like having two car seats which can stay in each car. So it is easier that we don't once forget to leave a car seat. My brother gave me his car seat, so we only had to buy the second one. But it is nice not having to pull it out of the car each time. I would recommend getting it so you don't have the hassle. Good luck!

Yep, in order to keep yourself from going crazy, you're going to need 2 carseats. I have two girls still in boosters, so between my car and my husband's car, we own 4 booster seats. You could always keep the carseat where it is and somehow arrange to switch cars with your hubby during the day. It's not really advised to keep taking the carseat in and out since they're pretty hard to get installed correctly and if you're in a rush, you might not spend the time it needs to get it right. And your son will be in that carseat/booster for the next 5 or 6 years...what a pain in the you-know-what it will be to have to switch it every weekday for the next 6 years! Save yourself the headache and get a second carseat - you'll be happy you did.

I know you have a lot of answers already, but I'm gonna put in my 2 cents!
We live in Pueblo and there is an organization called Drive Smart Pueblo. They have car seat checks every month and you can get a car seat and have it installed correctly for a donation of $25. they will check your existing car seat as well for no charge. We have two Britax car seats that stay in my car for the kids, and as a family we generally travel in there. When we have to take our truck or my hubby's car, we have less expensive seats from the Drive Smart check that are for short trips.
I don't know where you live, but there is a Teddy Bear Clinic at the Pueblo Mall from 10 to 2 tomorrow where you can get car seats, bike helmets and other stuff.

Ask the daycare facility if you can store the car seat there in a place out of the way. Perhaps offer to pay an extra small fee for any inconvenience it may cause them.

J. as a mother of 2 a 21/2 yo and a 16 mo I understand your frustration because they are expensive. As a wife to a firefighter the safest way to transport your child is in a carseat that has been installed properly and you can make sure it is correct by stopping by your local fire department to make sure. Normally there are several that have been certified to install carseats, we are talking days of training and hours of practice. My husband and I both transport the kids to and from daycare throughout the week depending on his work schedule. My only concern as a mother is if somebody hit you and your child was hurt because you didn't put the seat in correctly how would you feel. If that were to ever happen then $100 doesn't seem like such a lot to keep your child safe.

I know this probably doesn't help and I'm sorry I don't have a quick fix to give you.

N.

I have to do the same with my hubby and since he uses it much less often than I do, we bought a used car seat from Crigslist.com and I keep our nice one in my car. I figure we can always resell that second one for just as much or close to what we paid for it on craigslist.

We bought a convertible car seat and moved that thing back and forth between cars and babysitter for a couple of months while it still needed to be rear facing. Once my daughter could be forward facing and my hand was in pain from the constant transfer, we bought a seat that would convert to booster seat. And we spent about half the amount! It was well worth it and we will be doing it again with my newest addition.

It is a lot easier if you have a car seat for both vehicles. That being said, you don't need to spend a small fortune for a decent car seat. We spent $35 or $40 at Walmart and got a pretty good seat, granted it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles but it does the job and it seems that she was never uncomfortable in it. Then for our other vehicle we were able to get a hand me down one from a family member. Also most places have affordable car seats available through the local police dept, highway patrol or fire dept. They also install and answer any questions you might have!!

You may want to check with the local health department they sell inexpensive car seats that would work fine for a second car.

We have a similar situation and we have an inexpensive car seat in the vehicle that our daughter doesn't ride in the most, i.e. on the weekends and for road trips we go in my husbands subaru and he is the one to most of the errands etc. with her (SAHD), so that is the vehicle with the nice carseat. In my truck we have the less expensive carseat as that isn't the primary 'family' car.
it's a lot better than having to buckle the car seat in and out every time.
k

First, let me say that I'm part of a babysitting co-op, so my daughter doesn't go to regular daycare, but this still may work for you. Many times, I drop our daughter off, and my husband will pick her up. I usually take the carseat out and leave it at whatever house she staying. It's worked great so far, and has kept us from having to spend money on another carseat.

Hope that helps!

Do you and your husband a favor and buy another seat. Taking a carseat in and out every day will get old really fast. My guess is that you will end up doing this in the future and wish you had done it sooner. The $100 or so is well worth it. You can even buy one that will be good for a couple of years.

J.,
My husband and I have also always shared the resposibility of taking our 4 year old and almost one to daycre. i work nights so I drop oof the kids and he picks them up. We have alsways had two carseats, one for each car. As far as cost, they are in the seat for at least three years and it is a pain to move the convertibles around, so I would suggest buying another one. But I got my Alpha Omegas (which I have had and love for 4 years) at a Big Lots store for only $80.00. maybe don't get one right away and wait for a sale, but I'm sure after moving the seat around especially in the pouring rain, wind and/or snow, you will think twice and just get another one!

It is much safer to have 2 car seats. The expense of a second car seat installed properly is a small price to pay for your child's safety.

We went through the same thing and decided that two car seats was the only feasible option. The nice Britax is in my car since we use it the majority of the time when we do things as a family with the baby. We bought a much less expensive and less comfortable seat for my husband's truck since day care is close to our house and that's the only time the baby will be in that seat. I believe that the seat cost us about $60.

It's not ridiculous at all! It will save you a lot of hassle in the long run, and will be safer because you won't be having to transfer the one seat back and forth. When I was working and our daughter was in daycare we had the same issue, I took her in the morning and my hubby picked up in the afternoon. It was much easier for us to just get two seats. That way, if I was working extra hours or out without them they could still go out and not have to worry about removing the car seat from my car beforehand. We have a Britax that is in my car, and a different one in my husband's vehicle that was less expensive. They go on sale pretty regularly so I just watched for the sale and bought then. Good luck!

You really should buy two. It is not only difficult to switch these car seats in and out, but it is dangerous as there are more chances to error in the installation. I know I've worried so much when we have had to install, or reinstall our seats (taken out for trips, moving) that it becomes a very large production lasting a long time each time. Please just purchase another seat. It will be worth it.

We bought two car seats when our son turned one. We bought two of the Britax marathons and we love them. I know it is expensive but it saves a lot of hassle in between cars. Good Luck!

Get a second car seat. We had 6 - one for each of my 2 children in my car, my husband's and my mother's cars. If you think about how often you use it, it is worth the money. I also think that every time it is taken out and put back in a car, there is a chance to do it wrong, and put the child at risk. Once I have it in the car, installed correctly, It doesn't come out. Also, the child will be in the convertible seat for a long time. It's not like you'll be buying 2 new seats every year. My kids are 2 and 4 and still in the same seats we got after the infant seat.

You'll either need to buy two car seats or get used to having to go through all the steps to ensure the car seat is properly secured. Or switch cars with your husband at some point during the day. My son has two car seats (one for my car and one for my husbands) and we're about to get a second one for our daughter. To us, it's just easier than moving car seats around.

my hubby and i are in the same boat. i got to work VERY early and he drops them off at daycare and i pick them up. we have a nice carseat for both the girls and we have a second hand set as well. we use the nicer, more comfy ones for the road trips and whatnot. it seems silly to say, but honestly, the best way to do this is get a second car seat. walmart has decently priced ones and thats where we got ours. we got two pink ones for my 3 yr old and used the old one for the baby and got a second hand one from a yard sale. make sure you check the date on the bottom of them to make sure they are still within the regualation time for safety. good luck.

C.

it would be sooo much easier if you just went to a consignment shop a bought a good used one for the other car. the prices are great and in really good condition.

SAHM of boys now 17,13,8,soon to be 5

Hi J.,

The easiest thing to do is get another car seat. Otherwise you have to take the car seat out everytime you drop off and then dh has to put in his car every time he picks up. Then if dh leaves the house in the morning with the car seat still in his car, you will be stuck! And what a hassle to have to keep taking the seat out and putting in back in!

A.

We have two car seats, as well. It's just so hard to make sure the seat is installed correctly. For our back up, we went a bit cheaper, no bells or whistles. You'll have to decide how much it's worth to you, but it was definitely worth it to us to have two seats. Once you're in a booster, you won't need it, but until then, it's easier, plus you know your son is always safe since you can get the seat properly installed and then not worry about it.

I agree with what everone else is saying but i will add one thing. That is that the AAP recomends Rear facing your child as long as the limits of your carseat allow. They are currently pushing to get a law passed that will require rf till the age of two AND 30lbs. It is the safest way for your little guy to travel!

I really would buy a second car seat. You can get one for like $40, and no, it's not all fancy and stuff, but it works, and in my opinion, very worth it.

Hi, My Husband and I had the same problem. When I took the car seat in and out between the two cars. We realized the hastle and time to assemble into the other car took a lot of time. Plus one time When my Husband got home I found all the seat belt loose .The car seat was not tight. He drove 20 miles that way. car seat takes alot of time to put in right. If they are not Your child can be hurt . The traffic saftey estimates that 95% of all car seats are installed incorrectly. I just bought a second one to have peace of mind. I found a seat on sale. There are so many carseats available some high ,low, and medium end . They all have to pass safty requirements. Som ejust have all the bells and whistles. I had the nicest seat in my car that I liked . My Husand didnt care which one was in his. I just ginned and beared it while I paid the 75.00 on sale price for a second one. There was a bonus though. I had twins 11/2 yrs later and had a car seat ready for one of the. You could always use it later as a second. Most people buy a second seat. Good luck,J.

Two car seats will make your life easier, beside the fact that it is a lot safer. When you are holding a baby with one arm and trying to strap in a car seat it does not always get put in right. Also, there is nothing worse than having a long day at work to find out that your husband forgot to leave the car seat. good luck!!!!!!!!!

I had a similar situation with my daughter only it was with my parents. I have a seat in my car that is easy enough to switch if I need to, my parents have one in their car and my sitter has one in hers. I would say that yes it is silly but you have to weigh the options. what is more worht it spending some money on another carseat ( they do end up using them for almost 6 years ) or do you hassle with switching. Also carseats can get fancy and expensive, but something more basic might not be outrageous.

I would agree with the parents out there that said it is easier to just get a second car seat. We are in the same boat as you and after forgetting to leave the carseat behind two times and stranding the other parent, it was just easier to buy a second.

In fact, we just bought a third- so the grandparents would have one also! After purchasing two top notch car seats at $140 each and doing loads of research I said this sucks, and bought the cheap one at wal mart for the grandparent's car (the ones that are wrapped in plastic, not even in a box when you buy them -lol). And you know what? We like that one better! Our son sits the same in all three, but the cheap one is easier to manuver and is lighter!
Worth the investment- A. in SLC, UT

I'd really recommend getting a second seat - saves a lot of time and hassle! I got a great used seat on eBay for our second vehicle, and am very happy with it. There are also inexpensive models at Wal-Mart, Shopko, Target, etc. that work well also. I think the investment is worth it in the end!

Unfortunately moving the toddler seat in and out of the cars is a bit of a tedious process plus the toddler seat is cumbersome and can be difficult for a small daycare to store it there while your son is there.

I bought two toddler seats, one for each car because of the cumbersome issue. I bought them on eBay and got a pretty good deal (bought a new one).

good luck.

Well, the Costco Scenera is a very well liked seat by CPST's. You can find it at Walmart, Target and Kmart for about $40. It has a pretty high rear facing limit. If you need any other help, check out Carseat.org. They are wonderful over there.

I had this same situation when I first put our son in daycare.....I dropped him off/ hubby picked him up. We got a second, cheaper car seat for his vehicle. Not only is it a pain to move those bigger car seats from vehicle to vehicle, but doing so safely takes time and it's easy to get in a hurry if you are having to do it all the time. It was well worth the money to get the second one and I highly recommend it!

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