Question: My twins are quickly outgrowing their infant seats. What do I do? What kind of seat should I buy? I've heard a lot about Britax, what are your thoughts? Thanks.
I'm out of the loop on car seats these days. I do know from experience that a car seat you by for a 1 year old will likely NOT be the last one you will buy. You may end up buying basic belt-positioning boosters when they are older- for age 6 - 8 or so. But the good news is that those are MUCH less expensive. Also remember that car seats have a "shelf-life" and most are rated for only about 6 years. Current Ohio law requires kids to be in some form of supplemental restraint until age 8. There is also a social factor when you get into elementary school.
Other things to consider. Does the Frontier rear-face? Studies show that children are safer rear facing up to about age 2. There are a lot of seats on the market that will get them closer to that mark, then you can turn them forward. I realize that most people won't RF their kids that long, but most 1 year olds aren't developed enough skeletally for FF to be safest. Another good seat to consider is the Sunshine Kids Radian. It won't convert to a booster, but it's best feature is that it's narrow, allowing for 3-across if you need it, and it comes in 2 weight ratings- 65# and 85#.
If I were looking for a seat to move up from the infant bucket, I would look for one that RF to about 32-34# and also FF to at least #65. Then when the kids are older- 5 or 6, I'd shop for a specific booster that would get them through at least age 8. I know many kids won't hit those weight marks, but the higher weight seats offer taller harness heights, etc that will accommodate an average height kid who is below average weight.
For more information and better explanations, visit http://www.car-seats.org/. Browse the forums or ask your specific questions and you'll get a lot of advice on seats that would be safest for your specific needs. Keep in mind that the people who post there are proponents of extending RF and extended harnessing. You'll get a lot of insight, then you can make a decision that works for you.
Good luck with your research and shopping. Don't forget to always ask for a multiples discount. And consider if you need seats for your 2nd vehicle too. A couple of companies that offer great service and pricing are www.hipmonkey.com/ and http://www.elitecarseats.com/ I know that Hip Monkey will price match and both offer a multiples discount, but you have to call customer service to get a code.
Britax has many good car seats. They have a very good reputation. From what I hear, well worth the money. That said, I don't have one. We needed to get six car seats. I used consumer reports. For the twins, now 2.5 years old, we went from the snug ride to a convertible Evenflo Triumph Advanced (when they were nine months old), which is both rear facing (5 to 35 lbs) and forward facing (20-50 lbs). I kept my boys rear facing as long as I could, which was within months of being 2. You also have to go by height on that. I figured this would last them until it was time for a toddler booster converter (my son has one which uses the 5 pt harness until 65lbs I think, not the car's seat belt which can be dangerous for younger children - like 4 or 5 years old), plus car seats have a shelf life so I knew we would have to get them again anyhow.
Also, Babies R Us offers a 10% discount anytime you buy two of anything over $50 each (I think that's the dollar amount). So, when I bought mine, I used the coupons that come out where there's a % off car seats and ALSO the 10% multiple discount. I had to gather coupons from friends and go a couple days (no room in my car) get them. Well worth it.
I have four kids and three Britax...the Britax RoundAbout Convertible CarSeat....You can use it rear facing and front facing it's a 5-50lbs....I love them, they work great with or without the latch, the only problem is that they are big and durable (very safe) so switching them in and out can give you a workout, but if you are just leaving it put in your car, it's great. Hoping to switch my twins out soon to those boosters!
I have Eddie Bauer car seats. They are supposed to go all the way from infant to booster. I can't tell you if the booster function is going to be great - my kids are only 3. I do like them though. I would say they are in the higher end of average in cost.
With my two children we purchased the Eddie Bauer 3 in 1 seats and they worked out great.
We have had multiple cars from trucks, SUV's, sedans and never had any difficulty with install. They are pretty easy to get in and out. The older model had a difficult puzzle type buckle but they have since changed that. That was the only bad thing I would ever have to say about the seat. My in-laws also live far away and we have done trips to Hilton Head etc. with the seats and and they have worked out fine. Our older kids are now 5 and 6 and they have used them since they left the Graco snugride. It is about $100 cheaper per seat, so the cost savings would be worth it.
Obviously this is just our experience, but if it can save your $200 or so I thought it was worth sharing.
I had a top of the line Graco car seat for my son and I HATED that seat. I still have the seat as an emergency back up but refused to use it for my girls everyday seat. The straps always twisted – such a pain.
That said I went to Babies R Us and bought 2 Britax Marathon car seats. I got the 10% discount for buying 2 of the same item over $100. I would NOT trade these seats for anything. I LOVE THEM. My girls will be 4 next month and we’ve used the seats for 3 years and they are still going strong. They are so comfy and sturdy. Yes, you do get what you pay for.
I love Britax and knowing my girls are safe. Graco has good products – just didn’t like my car seat.
I tried the Britax Frontier for my boys, but didn't like the installation or that it moved around a lot. It just didn't feel as snug as the other Britax products that do not convert to a booster. We have the Britax Roundabout and it did extremely well when we were in a car accident last year. I think you should stick with the Britax brand if you can swing it.
What about just the Britax Marathon. They are the best rated on Consumer Reports and work for a long time for rear and forward facing. If you're not picky about pattern, you can find a great deal on them here: http://www.albeebaby.com/britax-marathon-cs-convertible-car-seat-emma.html FWIW, I've ordered several things from albeebaby.com with no issues.
Additionally, here is a very helpful website (created by the American Academy of Pediatricians):
Healthy Children - This page contains all kinds of info on the different types of seats, which is right for each age/weight, correctly installing, links to find the seat installation inspection locations in your area and much more.
What about you club moms? What do you recommend? How did you decide? What car seat do you use and love? What resources did you read? Please give us your advice and experience.