Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And ready to go!

Yesterday I posted about the realization that Superman had outgrown his infant car seat.  Today I am going to talk a little bit about what I did to find Superman's new seat.

Unless your child is over a year, the next car seat after the infant seat must be a convertible one.  Most state laws dictate that children must be at least 20 pounds and one year before they are allowed to be forward facing.  However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
"For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat."
With this in mind, I knew that I wanted to not only get a convertible seat, but one that would allow Superman to stay rear-facing as long as possible. 

So the first thing I do whenever I need to buy something new is go to Consumer Reports.  Sadly, this time they dropped the ball for me initially.  I didn't feel like their reviews on car seats helped me much and they were recommending some seats that had really low scores.  Frankly, I just didn't understand it all.

The next thing I did was post on my personal Facebook page that we were looking for a new seat and wanted recommendations.  I thought that I might at least get some leads and maybe some car seats to stay away from.  Of the 21 responses, all but one person recommended the Britax and that person had a Combi and an Evenflo.  The three main Britax car seats people had were the Roundabout, Marathon, and Boulevard.

At this point I did go back to Consumer Reports and found that the Roundabout was the highest rated of the three, but had the lowest limits for weight (35 lbs rear facing & 50 lbs forward facing) and shoulder height  (max 16.25 for both rear and forward facing).  All three have a max height of 49 inches.

Since I want Superman to be rear facing for as long as possible, I felt like the Roundabout was out of the mix for me.   When I looked at the Marathon 70 and Boulevard 70 the only differences was the side impact protection.  The Boulevard has extra head support in case of a side impact collision.  According to Consumer Reports, the Boulevard also had a feature that allowed for adjusting the harness height without having to re-thread it.   Consumer Reports also rated the Boulevard higher than the Marathon.

I went back and forth over which of these two to get.  Amazon had them both on sale and the difference in price was about $20.   Finally my husband told me to get the one that was rated higher.  So we got the Boulevard 70.

I will be honest, when I saw how big the car seat I was a little worried that I went a bit overboard.  We could have gotten away with the Marathon...but it turned out we couldn't install it in the middle seat (and wouldn't have been able to install the Marathon in the middle either).  Now I am grateful to have the extra side impact protection.

Resources:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Child Restraint Laws (by state)
Seat Check.org
Car Seat Recall List

**Disclaimer- I am not an expert on car seats.  I have no certifications or documents saying I should be giving advice. Therefore, take what I say as one mom's experience and do you own research.  Thank you.***

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