Worth the Money to Get a New Car Seat?

Updated on July 13, 2010
A.C. asks from Atlanta, GA
9 answers

My son, who was born only 17 months ago, used a Graco Snugride from a travel system (and we were very happy with it!) for his first 7 months of life, and when he outgrew it, we bought him a Graco MyRide 65 and we LOVE that. We are now expecting our second baby in September, and our original plan was to reuse his Snugride (currently less than 2 years old), which was why we initially bought it in gender-neutral colors!

Two problems have arisen, though, which make me wonder if we should invest in a new car seat for this baby. The first (and most important) is that it turns out that, in my husband's car, this new baby will not be able to sit in the center seat because then she would be sharing anchors with our son's car seat, which is NOT recommended. So the new baby will have to sit in a side seat. I have a van with captain's chairs, so the baby will be in the center seat in my car. Although both the Graco Snugride and the other car seat we are considering, the Chicco Keyfit, are considered safe by the U.S. government, in the Consumer Reports crash test, the Chicco scored "Very Good," while the Graco was only "Good." No explanation is provided about where the Chicco rose above or the Graco fell short. I know Consumer Reports is not the be-all-end-all, but they've actually never steered me wrong before, so I'm reluctant to write them off.

The second issue, which is minor but plays a part, is that the Graco Snugride car seat only fits on Graco strollers, and so we would have to get either the Graco Quattro Tour or the Graco Duoglider. Both are fine strollers, but not that impressive. My husband and I were both more interested in the Kolcraft Options Tandem for our two kiddos who will be so close together in age. The Kolcraft will accommodate a Chicco Keyfit, but not the Snugride.

My husband thinks we need to save money as this new baby is coming, and that we should just use what we have (and part of me agrees). However, I have a nagging feeling that safety is not the area where we should be counting pennies. Has anyone out there owned both car seats? Am I just being a paranoid pregnant lady, or is this a sign that we need to upgrade? Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for everyone's advice! After reading all your suggestions, I spoke to my husband again, and we agreed that we'll keep the Graco Snugride. If I still feel uncomfortable once I set her in my husband's car, we'll buy the Graco MyRide 65 a bit early (it is approved for newborns, of course, but cannot be easily lifted out of the car and carried around) and put her in that. Although my husband's car is great, we use it less even now because the van is so much roomier, and once we have two children, I'm sure we'll use it even more!

I also wanted to clarify that I actually am a baby-wearer. I have a ring-sling, Baby Bjorn, and Beco Butterfly that I used and loved with my son, and my mother just bought me my first Moby Wrap for this new baby! However, I am still interested in purchasing a double-stroller because I have 3 dogs that have to be walked daily, and we also make regular trips to the zoo, aquarium, and children's museum in the area. My son still spends plenty of time in the stroller for these outings, and I think he still will for a while, since it's a lot easier to keep moving and keep track of him from a stroller. I'm still not thrilled with the Graco options, and I didn't hear any glowing reports of the Kolcraft, either! One stroller that I know can accommodate a Graco Snugride (it doesn't snap in, but several reviewers have said it fits securely) is the Combi Twin Sport. Has anyone used one?

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answers from San Diego on

A lot of double strollers will hold various brands of carseats. I got a BumbleRide Twin Indie and my Graco infant seat fit in it. It comes with the infant bar so you don't have to buy separate. It rolls and steers so easy. I rollerblade with it, so you could def. walk or jog. Their customer service was fantastic too.

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answers from Chicago on

I recently purchased two new car seats. I put my 5 year old back into a 5 point harness. I feel going from a booster to a 5 point harness was the best thing I did for my son. It's much safer. I also bought a new infant car seat. I was afraid to buy used or borrow from some one. The new car seat will also last longer since it allows for larger babies. My husband agreed with me about purchasing these new car seats even though money is tight.
So my opinion...if money is tight, I don't think there is a big difference to go from 'good' to 'very good'. But I would spend the money to go from 'bad' to 'good'.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

As for the first part of your question about your husbands car, we had to put the kids over by the doors, my husbands car is an escort and the rearfacing carseat did not fit in the middle with two carseats in the back. I personally would not buy a new carseat for how little it lasts. There are things you can buy to get the snug and ride to fit other strollers. I think if you go to the Graco website you will find it. Just a thought.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I only have one baby and she is in the side seat. It just killed my back to lift the baby seat into the middle, so I decided the risk of having her on the side was acceptable. It's not AS good as the middle, but you can't stress about every single thing.
As for the CR, all carseats are safe. CR may think one is a little better because it has more foam here or something, but the standards are very strict, and an unsafe carseat would not be allowed to be sold. Your Graco is probably just fine.
Are you sure your Graco seat only fits the Graco stroller? I haven't looked into this yet, but I would go to Babies r Us and try the seat in all the double strollers. Maybe there is another one that will work like Baby Trend or something.

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answers from San Francisco on

I'd stick with your current infant seat - many if not most certified Child Passenger safety techs will tell you that Consumer Reports is not the best place to find car seat information - CR has on more than one occasion labeled a seat 'unsafe' when later investigation showed that they had installed the seat incorrectly or had other flaws in their test methodology (see http://carseatblog.com/?p=3913 ) And a properly installed rear facing seat is still quite safe in an outboard position, as is a properly seat-belt installed car seat in the rear-center (LATCH is not inherently safer than seat belt installations, it's intended to make them more convenient)

So yes, safety is not an area to be counting pennies, but you have a good, safe, unexpired infant seat which can be safely installed in your existing vehicles, so save that infant-seat money to get your baby a nice convertible seat when the infant seat is outgrown :-).

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answers from Dallas on

I would use the car seat you have now and just buy a sling for the baby and worry about a stroller later. I personally hated our Kolcraft single Options stroller and have heard horrible things about the tandem. We actually looked at it but my son who was only 2 at the time was already to big for the seat. So we have two single strollers and if I'm out by myself with the boys I use my ERGO Baby carrier and a stroller.

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answers from Columbus on

I am having my 3rd child in November, and tho, not sure if this will help you, I have decided to go with the Chicco Keyfit. I have just read soo many great reviews on the safety and comfort of the baby.

Also, with the Chicco, I think it is $180 (just the carseat, not travel system) at Babies R Us, if you get a 20% off coupon and save $36 bucks just right there. Also, not sure if you use credit cards or not, but my friend when she bought hers applied for the Babies R Us credit card and got another 15% off on top of that just to help offset the price of the car seat.

I look at it this way, baby spends most of their time in the infant car seat - wouldn't you want to be in something comfortable and safe??

Good Luck and Congratulations on your soon to be!!


answers from Sarasota on

Go with what you have :) as far stroller I think the snugride fits the bugaboo. If you can find one used worth the money becaue it has a wheel board that fits on the back for the older child :) mine loved it! Go used with bugaboo it is pricey.http://www.bugaboostrollers.com/Bugaboo-Wheeled-Board.pro



answers from Denver on

I wouldn't get a new car seat. I had a double stroller and found it was too heavy!!! My kids are 16 mos apart and we hardly ever used it. I would just put the baby in a carrier/sling or the toddler would walk - ride in the shopping cart. Good luck!

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