Monday, September 24, 2012

Movin' on up

I think I did mention our quest for the new car seat on here ... just coming back with an update.

Prompted by my super duper friend, The Car Seat Lady, I was starting to get anxious about our seat maxing out at 40 pounds, plus the new LATCH rules that go into effect in 2014. This kind of thing drives me crazy ... I understand it takes time for car manufacturers to change their supplies and such, but basically it's like a news story that says, Hey! Your kid probably isn't safe in their car seat - that might get better in two years. Ugh.

Anywho, after much searching on Consumer Reports, polling of friends and reading reviews ad nauseum I decided to go with the Britax Marathon 70, which I now see was just retired on the Britax website. I swear, you just can't keep up with this game. When I did the side-by-side comparison about 6 weeks ago it was still on there (of course). The Britax Marathon 70-G3 appears to be the replacement and, as far as I can tell, the only difference is their Easy Buckle System. I've been jacking around with car seat buckles for years now and don't feel that it is a major issue for us. Also, for what it's worth, our old convertible seat (the Britax Diplomat), was also retired in favor of some newer version. We never had an issue with it and the seats are "good" for 6 years past their retirement date, so our kids will be out of them by then anyway.

We got a good price on the Marathon 70, not much more than the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1, which was highly rated on Consumer Reports and recommended lots of places. When it came down to it, I had Ellen sit in a floor sample of the Graco and it just didn't seem to "fit" her very well, especially for a seat that she could be in for a few more years. I like the feature of converting to a booster, but I figured that boosters aren't that expensive anyway, and we'll have a second kid to use this seat when it's time for Ellen to move on.

There are definitely Britax car seats that have more gadgets and safety features, at a much higher price, and at the end of the day I feel that some of it is just marketing. OF COURSE I would pay whatever it took to keep my kids safe in the car (I'm kind of a freak about car seat use), but it is hard to compare seats across different manufacturers and a lot of the side impact features aren't tested or rated on any kind of standard. Plus you have the variable of the safety features of your own car and it just gets too confusing. It isn't feasible for us to buy two new car seats every time they come up with a safety innovation, nor do I think it is feasible for most families.

I do subscribe to the "keep your kid in a 5-point harness as long as possible" philosophy. I think based on age alone Ellen could go to a high back booster pretty soon, and maybe even based on weight, but she is challenged with height, so that just isn't very safe. She doesn't complain, so for now it's fine.

Here is the link to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on car seat stuff. And I came across this site on Pinterest and I think she has a good real-world description of car seat issues: Lucie's List - Real World Car Seat Installation Tips.

And, speaking of car seats, it's just about time to get our infant seat out and installed again. Yikes. There goes my back seat, along with a lot of other things (sleep, showering, free time .....)


Carrie said...

My 6 year old is still in a 5-point harness. No shame in that!

Bets said...

But where will Aunt Betsy sit when she rides with??? The trunk?? :)

distaff said...

I think it's time for someone to invest in a family van!