Picking Our First Car Seats

Updated on February 14, 2011
S.C. asks from Los Angeles, CA
11 answers

I am expecting twins in June and I'm starting to research which car seat I should get. Unfortunately, money IS an issue, so I'd like to get one that is relatively affordable. Based on recent studies and what I've found on mamapedia, it seems like keeping your children rear facing for as long as possible is the best. I'm grappling with the Gracco Snugride 35 vs. something like Maxi Cosi Mico (which only goes up to 22 lbs). If I had a1.5 to 2 year old in the Gracco carseat rear facing, would they have enough legroom? I guess if I end up having tall kids (not a high probability...), we could always switch to more of a convertible car seat at that time. This is my first time posting here- thanks for any advice you might have!

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answers from Washington DC on

I agree with Jaycee.

Twins might use an infant carrier for maybe 9m, but then they out grow it. I bought my daughter (10/2006) a Britax Marathon (6/2007), had it delivered to the house!

It was $300, but if you add up the convertible for up to 40 lbs , plus booster up to 100lbs, etc. I'll save money in the long run. She's 4.5 years and she's still in it as she only weights 35 lbs.


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answers from Los Angeles on

infant carriers while convenient DO NOT LAST LONG. Because you are having twins they may be smaller and they may be in infant carriers longer but do not count on using them more than 1 year. (6 months is usually the norm that they are too big to be in them) SAVE your money and INVEST in an appropriate car seat you can use for a long time. If you start with somthing like a Britax marathon and forgo the infant carrier it may be the ONLY seat you buy until your kids need a booster. Even then they may be able to be in it until age 6. My almost 6 year old can still be in her marathon, however It did not seem plausable to drop her off at kindergarten in it so she is now in a booster. I have noticed that the marathon has been on sale and the price has dropped to less than when I first purchased over 5 years ago. Add up the costs of the individual car seats you will need over the years and the britax's are a bargin. And they are super safe.

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answers from Gainesville on

We bought a Britax that would carry our daughter from 5-65lbs. Up to 33lbs rear-facing. I just turned her FF at 31 months old. And she is in the 95th percentile for height. She had plenty of room. There are no cases on record of a child's legs being injured from being rear- facing but there are plenty of cases of serious injury in children sitting foreword facing.

Many children outgrow the baby seats that only go up to 22lbs before a year. That's just one reason we went with the Britax. I got it on sale for about 230 with free shipping. She came home from the hospital in it. When I have it latched in and use the tether, it sits as secure as a rock. And she is still using it 32 months with no sign of outgrowing it any time soon.

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answers from Raleigh on

I have to have an infant carrier when my kids r infants, and with twins.....oh my gosh, I would think it's a must.. I see a lot of people selling double stroller frames on Craigslist with 2 car seat for relatively cheap. If you do not want used check out Albeebaby.com......we got our Britax infant carrier that goes to 30lb/32 inches for $119 with free shipping.....they always have amazing deals:)

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answers from Washington DC on

I'd look for these things:

1) That the seat has a high RF weight and height limit. (Sometimes kids outgrow height first...our DD did).

2) That they are easy to install. (Frankly the Chicco infant seat is really easy to install and the Keyfit 30 goes to 30 lbs).

3) That the straps can be tightened in the front, preferably a one point feature. Tightening and losening the straps is something you will do daily and if it's all behind the seat, it will be hard to do properly. You want your kid to be snug (and don't put your kids in heavy coats in winter. Dress them in light coats/fleece and put blankets OVER the straps, or if you use carriers, get only the shower cap style and not ones that the straps go through - NoJo makes some) and it's so much easier with a one-point tightener. I'd look for this on ALL seats you eventually get.

Edit to add that my DD is 2.5 and still RF. She has to bend her knees, but she is not uncomfortable and many kids just cross their legs as they get older. I figure better a broken leg (if it happens) than a broken neck in an accident. They'll be fine if they are leggy. Really. (DD is currently in a Britax Marathon).

You could also skip the carrier stage and go straight to a convertible seat, most of which take infants 5lbs or higher, to save $. Just replace them before they expire if your kids are still in them in 6 yrs or so.

Hope that helps.

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answers from Kansas City on

I agree that I would not do the 35lb ones. They are bigger and bulkier and if you have to carry around two of them??! No way. I think you should still get the carriers though. They are VERY convenient and although you could save money by just using a regular convertible car seat, I think the carriers are key to infant survival! You can carry them in and out of everywhere in them, you can put the seat directly into the stroller and if they are asleep you can let them sleep for a bit. Britax are great, but there are other more affordable brands of the convertible. We have a Alpha Omega Elite and an Evenflo Triumph. I LOVE the triumph and it wasn't terribly expensive. My mom uses an even less expensive Evenflo in her car and although I don't love it, it works well and we haven't had any problems with it and my daughter does ride with her pretty frequently. You will probably get some of the big ticket items at your shower, so to be honest, I'd go ahead and pick out two carriers, at least 2-4 bases, a double stroller, and some convertible seats and just see what you get. You will have some time to save up for the convertibles.

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answers from Dothan on

I completely understand that with twins money will be an issue, but I can not imagine NOT having the carriers when your twins are newborn. Yes, they outgrow them (my son was able to use his until about 9 mos.); however, I think the positives far outweigh the negatives... With newborns (and esp. twins), you appreciate sleep - whenever and wherever it occurs. In the carrier, they can be moved from the car to the stroller to the house, etc. My son ended up liking his so much that I could put him in it while at a friend's house and he would nap in it while in the room with us. Super convenient! Maybe a family member could help by purchasing one of the two for you? Good luck and congratulations!

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answers from San Diego on

I agree with the others. Skip the infant carrier and go straight for the Britax Marathon. You spend $45 for the infant carrier plus another $25 for the base. And then they grow out of it in 6 months. Then $250 for a convertible carseat for ages 1-6. Then another $100 for a booster seat for age 5-8. We used Marathons for both kids. My son outgrew the Marathon in height last year so we had to move him up to the Britax Frontier 5pt harness booster seat. The infant carrier was a waste of money for us. Plus after the baby reaches about 10lbs,it's a back breaker to carry them around in the carrier. But I have no experience with twins... I have a 6 year old and an almost 4 year old. Both my kids preferred to be in the Maya wrap when they were infants when we were out and about. The more squished they were in the wrap, the better they slept :).

I would register for 2 Marathons and 2 infant carriers. If your friends and family buy it for you, great! If not, you can always go out and buy the cheaper infant carrier for now and in 6 months purchase a bigger car seat.

Now for double strollers...depends on your lifestyle and what you will use it for and the size of your car. I used the Grace DuoGlider and it was a pain...literally on my back and to steer it. It was like driving a limo from the back. Hated it! I went straight for the Bob Revolution Duallie. Works great for our active lifestyle because it rolls over EVERYTHING! I used it as a jogger and as my everyday stroller. I have also pushed around my best friends double strollers (who ended up getting 3 different double strollers because she didn't want to spend the money for the Bob, but ended up spending more money in the long run). She got started off with the Peg Perego one where you can move the seats so they face each other or face front to back. She ended up hating that one and never used it. Then she got a Combi Twin and that was good for short walks and the mall, but the small wheels always got stuck in sidewalk cracks or got stuck in the wrong wheel position so she was always bending over to fix the wheels plus there was very little understorage and the thing would tip over if she hung anything on the handle bars, even a small diaper bag. Then she got a Sit and Stand XL. That thing was so hard to push and steer and the kids were always fighting over who got to sit or stand cuz neither of them wanted to stand in the back. They always wanted to be in my Bob Revolution Duallie. So I would have 2 kids in the seats and 2 kids sitting in the foot rests and still could push and steer it with just one hand and no back ache later. I think Babies R Us now has Bob Duallies, so you can put it on your registry list. Don't forget the handle bar console too.

FYI: My daughter who is almost 4 is still in her Marathon and probably won't grow out of it because she is on the shorter side. My son grew out of his at age 4.5 because he is a very tall kid. I used my Bob Duallie from the time my daughter was born until just last month...so almost 4 years. We got a Bob Revolution Single stroller when my son was 6 months old, and we still use it for long trips to amusement parks. One kid sits in the seat and one kid piggy backs in the foot rest. Plus Bob strollers have a high resale value on CL compared to the other strollers.

Good luck to you and congrats!

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answers from Chicago on

With our twins we registered for Snugride carriers and then at six months switched to a carseat that will hold children up to 100 lbs (our twins are VERY tall, otherwise I would have LOVED to keep them in the carriers longer, but they grew out of them). Try registering for two different seats and see what your friends or family get you at your shower. With twins it will be sooooo much easier to use the carriers for awhile. Otherwise, everywhere you go you will have to take them out to strap into the stroller. This will become very tiring. It's so much easier and faster to use carriers. I know money is an issue, but this is one area where spending a little more will save you some sanity (and, with twins you will need all the sanity you can get!!).



answers from Seattle on

My kids outgrew their infant carriers by 7 months, and rear faced in a britax marathon until age 2-2.5 with plenty of room. So no, you don't have to have an infant carrier! If money is an issue spend it on two convertible seats, they can rearface some to 40lbs, a stroller and a wrap or carrier, that's easier with twins anyway! My favorites are the britax marathon (rear then forward to 65lbs, you won't need another seat until they're almost 7!), ergo, or moby wrap. Many strollers now have the ability to hold a newborn as well as a toddler, or for twins look into some double like the kolcraft contour options or similar. Congrats!



answers from Los Angeles on

If you want to save money, I say skip buying the infant seat and just buy a convertible seat. I did that for my two boys and it was great...I also knew that I was just not the girl that was going to carry around those infant carriers...just too cumbersome for me to deal with. We had the Britax Roundabout and the Britax Marathon...I think the Marathon was bigger so my youngest was able to stay turned around until he was about 18 months...after that it was ridiculous. His poor legs were on either side of the seat, so we turned him. Good luck!

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