Suggestions for Car Seat

Updated on October 20, 2008
S.H. asks from Austin, TX
33 answers

It is time to replace my son's rear-facing seat with one that is forward facing due to his meeting the weight and age maximum. I know it is better to keep children facing the rear of your vehicle for as long as possible, so we held out as long as we could! I would like to hear about brands/types that other moms would recommend. All feedback is very welcome! I am looking at the combination style so that this seat will hopefully see him through using a booster in the future.

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So What Happened?

Thanks again to all the moms who responded to my request! We purchased a Recaro Signo from the Hip Monkey site and we love it! I really like the idea of my money going towards providing other babies with car seats too. Thanks a bunch for the recommendation to go to this site.

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B.M.

answers from Laredo on

We have 2 recaro signos (twins). I absolutely love them! I chose it over a britax for a few small reasons. You can compare great carseats on this website. www.elitecarseats.com Happy shopping!

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C.S.

answers from Killeen on

Britax 100% But if you dont want to spend the money then I got a pretty good one at Target, and Eddie Bauer. It wasn't too expensive and it grows with my daughter until she is 100 pounds.

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J.G.

answers from Houston on

I like the Alpha Omega. You can keep him backwards until he is a year old and 20lbs. I had the same problem with my boys they outgrew the carriers by 6 months so I went to this car seat. They also change into a booster seat and grow with the child.

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M.F.

answers from Austin on

any of the Britax brands are best. We have the Marathon & love it!

1 mom found this helpful
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S.S.

answers from San Antonio on

Britax Marathon. This seat rocks. It is safe and comfortable.

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C.P.

answers from Houston on

Britax Marathon! It's the best and I believe it will hold up to 65lbs.

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C.M.

answers from Austin on

I've done a lot of research on seats, and found that the Britax is the overall safest. But they are also the most expensive. We ended up buying the eddie bauer edition car seat I'm spacing on the name, but its tan has a cup holder and will be there to hold him comfortably until he is 100 lbs. It's a three in one. They sell them at Babies R US and Target. Good Luck Choosing.

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S.B.

answers from Austin on

Has your son reached 35lbs? If not you can continue to keep him rear facing in most convertible type car seats (a car seat that is rear facing and then converts to forward facing). It is wonderful that you know how important it is to keep him rear facing and you should continue to do so for as long as possible. When a child is rear facing the crash force is spread throughout their entire body but as soon as you turn him forward facing all of the crash force is on his neck (ouch!)

Britax has very good car seats, but they are a little pricey. I would recommend attending a free car seat check, you can check out the Safe Kids web site and find one. They can provide some valuable information.

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S.S.

answers from San Antonio on

Hi Shelly,
My son is also 1 year old, and I have the Fisher Price Safe Voyage Deluxe. I love it! It can be rear facing or forward facing, and fits the child until they are 55 lbs. I have it in the rear facing position now, and he fits just fine. When he gets too long to be comfortable, I'll just turn it around. This car seat is actually made by Britax, modeled after the Marathon, but marketed by Fisher Price. It was a lot cheaper than a Britax, but has all the advantages of Britax. I haven't seen it in any stores, but I bought it on Albeebaby.com a few months ago and have been very pleased. There is no shipping, and no sales tax, so that's great too! My son seems to be very comfortable in the seat. I know I'll have to get a booster down the road, but I have a friend who has a 4 year old still in that seat, and she loves it too.

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A.M.

answers from Austin on

There are a few car seats I would recommend, but firstly I would recommend keeping him rear-facing as long as possible. Although you can turn them at one year, it is still the safest to have them rear-facing. A great resource is www.car-seat.org.

My favorite car seat is the Sunshine Kids Radian. It comes in 65 or 80 and that is the weight they go up to. It is a very thin car seat enabling you to put three across if need be or in my case, allowing me sit in between the kids in the backseat. The biggest negative is that it is difficult to install in some vehicles.

My second favorite would be the Britax Boulevard, or really any Britax. They are extremely safe seats that are easy to install correctly.

I would highly recommend doing some research on www.car-seat.org to see which one fits you. Hope that helps!

A.

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E.F.

answers from Austin on

The Cosco Alpha Omega Elite gets very high ratings and was actually recommended to me by a lady who does car seat clinics at a childrens hospital. It converts to a booster so will be the only car seat you will need to buy. I have 2 kids...3 and 20 months and they are both in one! They were recently on sale at Costco for $100!!!

Good Luck!

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M.H.

answers from Houston on

I asked this same question many, many months ago. I found that the majority go with the Britax line of car seats. I, myself, purchased a Britax Marathon. It should hold my kiddo until she goes into a booster. They are by far not the cheapest out there. I researched all the reviews. It seems that Britax is, hands down, one of the best seats out there. That is my opinion for what its worth.

Margaret :)

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T.W.

answers from Austin on

i would definately go with britax. they are great, easy to use, and the marathon and boulevard have high weight/height limits. they even have a new one coming out in feb 09 that has side impact protection (like the boulevard) with side impact air bags to protect this passengers next to the car seat (i.e. other child in booster seat from hitting the hard plastic side of carseat). when babies 'r us has 20% coupons you can get almost $60 off the boulevard. usa baby also has sales pretty frequently on the car seats and carries the "couture" line with exclusive fabrics. www.britaxusa.com shows all the fabric options (not always the couture though) and even installation videos

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S.O.

answers from San Antonio on

Some kids don't like staying in a car seat for too long - it's too babyish. So, getting a combination may seem economical (though it is higher priced), it may be difficult getting your kid in it at a later age. Booster seats are so much easier to deal with too, I found. So, I am happy that I bought a normal car seat and then transferred them to a booster seat of their choice. My daughter is soon to be 8 and still doesn't mind her booster seat.

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J.S.

answers from San Antonio on

I have the Alpha Omega and love it. It's rearfacing and forward facing. It can also be used as a booster seat later on. With that said, really make sure you and your child are ready to turn forward facing. They recently changed the guidlines to be 30 lbs instead of 20 or 25. I have a friend who still rear faces her 2 1/2 year old child because the dangers of forward facing are still present. I have 4 children. I have 3 of them forward facing but will be leaving my 4th rear facing for much longer after reading recent studies and reports. You can see one grandparents thoughts on the matter here http://forum.carseatdata.org/convertible-seats/1827-rear-...
His grandson was forward facing and was well beyond the recommendations when he was invlved in an accident.

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B.G.

answers from Austin on

My 4 year old son and 13 mo. old daughter are both in a Britax Marathon. I have it installed rear facing for my daughter (eventhough I could flip it at this age). I will probably keep her rear facing for 2 more months or so. My son has been in his Marathon since he was 8 months old. He's not even close to growing out. They are expensive but it has been money well spent. It will probably be another 2 years before I move him to a booster. If you have a tiny car, you should look at the specifications. However, they both fit in our Acura TL (not a large car!).

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L.L.

answers from Houston on

High-end Britax Seats - reputation, customer service and safety data all the best - hands down!

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S.T.

answers from Houston on

It depends on his age. After lots of research I did decide to go with the Britax because the harnesses last longer. There are now some brands that also have higher weight limits but after all the research I chose to stick with the Britax. Best Buy Baby has free shipping and specials where you can get them for a lot cheaper then other places. I got sticker shock the first time I looked at them so it took me a good while to decide to do it. But when we saw that getting the girls to sit properly in shoulder belts with boosters (they were too big for harnessed seats) and could be seriously injured, we decided that safety is worth the money!

The safety seat laws are pretty lax and besides 'user failure' I didn't feel comfortable with the automatic seat belt failures in automobiles or the possibility of a roll over...with a child in a shoulder belt being hung or thrown. As it turned out, three months after we purchased our seats we were in a bad accident and our van rolled. The police said those seats saved my 5 and 4 YO girls lives. As I crawled along the roof of my van to crawl out the broken back window, I saw how my Britax seats were hanging and how my Cosco and Graco seats were hanging (I had a total of six carseats installed.) The Britax were still firmly in place just like they were upright. The others didn't fair as well. I'm certain that if my 5 and 4 YO daughters were in their booster seats instead of harnesses they would have either been hung by the shoulder belt or been thrown around inside the vehicle or even outside the vehicle.

Like I said, depends on your child's age and size. The first Britax seats we bought were Regents. That is for 1 year/22 lbs up to 80 lbs. We replaced them with Frontiere which lasts longer but is for 2 year/25 lbs up to 80 lbs in harness or 100 lbs in shoulder belt. So if your son isn't two yet, the Regent might be preferable (note that it is very wide and if are concerned about that find a local store that carries it for you to try in your vehicle prior to purchase.) For our baby we chose the Boulevard which is rear facing 5-35 lbs and forward facing 20-65 lbs (the average convertible only goes to 40 lbs.) They also have a new one, the Boulevard CS, that makes a clicking noise when the harness is properly secured.

I wish you the best,
S.

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J.F.

answers from Houston on

I purchased my car seat over a year ago so my information is probably out of date. When I was making my choice I used the reviews on Consumer Reports Online. It is relatively inexpensive to become a member (about $20 a year), and they have wonderful information about lots of different products as well as information about recalls. I ended up purchasing a Graco Comfort Sport based upon the testing results I read from Consumer Reports. I have been very happy with it, although the straps did begin to fray after about 15 months of heavy use and so we replaced it with the same seat.

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K.T.

answers from Houston on

We have enjoyed the Graco Nautilus.

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D.S.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi Shelly!
How much does your son weigh? Most infant car seats only go to 22lbs, (except for the Chicco KeyFit30 and the Graco SafeSeat1) but nearly all convertible seats on the market go to 30, 33 or 35lbs rear facing, depending on the brand.

I would avoid all Graco (Comfortsport, safeseat2, cargo) Eddie Bauer/Cosco/Dorel/3-in-1 convertible/combination seats, as most kids outgrow the harness quite early and you end up wasting your $$.

Great convertible options would be any Britax seat (I would skip the Roundabout though, as it only goes to 40lbs forward facing) the Evenflo Triumph Advance (rear faces to 35lbs, forward faces to 50lbs) Recaro and Radian's are also great seats, but I don't really have much experience with those. Britaxes are definitely my favorite, they are great seats, very user friendly and generally a breeze to install.

There is also a new Evenflo 3-in-1 seat that I have been reading about, but it only harnesses to 40lbs, and in my opinion, by the time most kids hit 40lbs they are still not ready to go into a booster.
If you are dead set on turning your kiddo around forward facing then the Graco Nautilus would be a good option, as would the Britax Regent (must be 1 year and 25lbs to use) or Frontier, (must be 2 years and at least 25lbs)

Also, I wouldn't base your purchase off of parent reviews on the Babies R Us/Target/Walmart websites or off of what Consumer Reports has to say about them, most of those people really don't have a clue what they are talking about. Car-seat.org is also another great source of information, you can look go look there at all the wonderful, in depth car seat reviews from parents and certified car seat techs.

If you have any other questions about anything car seat related, please don't hesitate to ask, I am a certified child passenger safety technician (car seat tech)
Also, if you would ever like to meet up at Babies R Us to try out car seats in your car and see how your son fits in them as well, then I would be more than willing to help you out with that as well.

[email protected]____.com

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D.H.

answers from Houston on

Please check out, and even correspond with, the Kyle David Miller foundation. They have the latest information.

www.kyledavidmiller.org

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S.M.

answers from Austin on

Sorry for the late response, hopefully this isn't too late help. We recently had this same problem. Everyone always says britax is the way to go. When I compared them to the Recaro, I liked that the Recaro was side-impact tested, is a well-know company whose history is making safe seats for race cars, and is european (they are very safety focused) . Although, since side-impact testing isn't required there are no standards for the testing. I wanted to stay with the convertible since my child is 11 months and it is safer to keep them rear-facing as long as possible. Both the Recaro signo/como and Britax marathon are about the same size. We have a sedan and there was NO WAY either was going to fit anywhere in the back of the car, much less the middle back. Maybe all the other families drive mini vans or SUV's? We are still considering the Recaro Young Sport when we are ready to turn her around, (I think it will fit better since it doesn't have the tall base that most convertibles seem to have), but for now we went with the Graco Comfort Sport and figure it will be the 2nd carseat. So far we have been happy with this and the baby seems comfortable too!

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V.F.

answers from Houston on

I have 3 kids (2,6,& 10) and have tried a variety of car seats over the years. My favorite is the Britax. It is easy to install, easy to buckle the child in, and easy to clean. On top of that it has one of the highest safety ratings out there.

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S.W.

answers from Houston on

Britax Marathon is our favorite. If your son is headed for big, than spring for the Britax Regent. We have both and they are very comfortable and very safe.

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M.D.

answers from San Antonio on

You can't put a price on your child's safety. Britax is by far the very best brand as everyone else has mentioned. We bought the Britax Boulevard when our daughter turned one. It is for rear and forward facing and has a reclining feature when it is rear facing. We are expecting our second baby in February and will go with another Britax right from the start.

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S.P.

answers from San Antonio on

I have an evenflo triuph and I LOVE it. It can be rear facing to 35 lbs and front facit until 50. This is my second one- I had one for my daughter and now just got one for my son. Once you get it in the car you never have to remove it again- all the adjustments are done from the front of the seat!! It is also very safe. I am sad to say I crash tested my first one myself. I was in a rollover accident at 75 mph and other then a couple of bruises from the belts ( understandalbe) she was not hurt!!
S.

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A.C.

answers from San Antonio on

Britax is one of the safest and easiest to use I have found. We bought a Britax Roundabout when my daughter was born for my husband's car. She was rear-facing until it was time to turn around. She is tall for her age...but thin...and about to turn 3 in December...and she still fits in the Roundabout just fine. I think that the Marathon might have a higher height limit...but I am not sure. We also just bought her a Britax Regent and a Graco Nautalis because we are expecting a new baby soon and we will need the Roundabout for him. One thing you need to look at on the height limits is HOW your child grows. My daughter is tall...but it is ALL leg...and the Britax seat heights are based on butt to shoulder height (because the tops of her ears can't be over the top of the seat). So make sure you take that into consideration too.

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J.K.

answers from Houston on

I bought the Britax Marathon for my daughter and I LOVE IT!!!!! It is rated the top safety as well, so that's very important. Also, I have used it in an airplane and its quick and easy to set up and so great!! No offense to anyone who has responded, but as a mom with safety on the mind, evenflo's are rated at the bottom on safety, graco's are good too, but I have the britax and will stay. This Marathon one witll last until she is 3 and then I will get another briatx for the older seat too!!! So quick and easy, LOVE IT!!!!!

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C.P.

answers from San Antonio on

Like many moms here I did A LOT of research. I found Britax to be the most highly rated and recommended. We have a Britax Marathon and love it. They are more expensive, but they can stay in them for a lot longer than other brands...up to 65 lbs. I believe. We recently decided to purchase another seat for my husband's vehicle. We again did research and purchased the Graco Nautilus. Thus far we really like it, as well. It converts to a booster seat. However, my daughter is 2 now and tall for her age. I am not sure I would have purchased this as her first forward-facing seat.

Hope this helpful. Good luck.

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T.R.

answers from Houston on

We bought the Britax Marathon for our youngest son. This seat is expensive but it is large enough that my very tall four year old fits just fine. I hope to keep him this until he is five and can sit in a booster seats that just uses a seat belt. I will tell you from experience that booster seats are not all they are cracked up to be unless they come with the 5 point harness and later switch to a belt. I had this for my oldest son and ended buying a different one when he was ready for the belt. My youngest sonin tall enough for just the belt but he is too young and unhooks the seatbelt.

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T.E.

answers from Houston on

I use a CLEK. Right now they only have a backless booster, but check there web site(magnaclek.com-i think). The cars seat/booster seat attaches to the LATCH that is in most cars.
We bought my 7 yr.old son the booster because the Graco booster we had would slide when we took a turn in the car.

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C.M.

answers from Austin on

Britax is worth every penny. My daughter has been in hers since birth and she is 4. She is short and we'll probably get another year out of it. Check ebay for some good deals, but I saw Target also sells them now. I can get her in and out with one hand, the mechanism works so well. We have had to wash the cover several times and it still looks new! You can also get replacement covers separately, if you want an extra (think potty training accidents). I have the roundabout, but since you already have a rear facing one, buy the Marathon or larger.

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