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The "safest" carseat?

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
Is there such a thing, safety rating wise? DH & I were at Babies R Us last night looking at carseats for our baby on the way. DS1 has a Britax Decathalon that we received from DH's grandmother. I had never heard of a Britax when I was pregnant with DS, but she told me she wanted to buy him one since they were "safest" and had the "best crash testing ratings". I don't know where she got this information from. I've searched for safety ratings online and can't find anything that says "this carseat is safer than that one".

How do you rate/gauge the safety of a carseat? Others tell me that all carseats rate the same in a crash because they have to be a certain standard to pass inspections, in order to be sold on the market.

I love my son's Britax. He's been in it since he was 4 mos old [ he was already 20 lbs by then! ]. It worked wonderfully both RFing anf FFing. I have had no issues with it. DS is about 45 lbs now and still fits so comfortably in it. I have no problems spending the huge amount on a Britax, or anything else.

I just want to make sure my children are safe, no matter how expensive the seat is. We plan on buying the baby a Chicco KeyFit at first, then when he/she grows out of it, a carseat that can hold atleast up to 65 lbs. I know that Britax offers a seat that holds up to 80 lbs as well.

Advice? Recommendations?


************************************************** ********

UPDATE!

We received our Frontier in the mail today and I am so beyond pleased with it. DH helped me fit it perfectly to our LO during his lunch break, then I installed it before heading out to run errands. I read through the manual first and I am so glad I did, or else intalling that seat would have been frustrating. DS says he loves it and he looks really comfortable it in.

Here are some pics!

getting the appropriate fit:

http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/f...0mos/006-2.jpg

running errands:

http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/f...0mos/008-2.jpg
post #2 of 44
We have only purchased Britax car seats for our kiddos. I love their safety factors. They are very expensive seats, but last years!
post #3 of 44
There are no safety rating for car seats, like you heard, they are all tested to the same standards. That doesn't mean that all car seats are created equal though, the more expensive ones often have features that make them easy to use correctly. I love my Britax seats, I have a number of car seats brands, and they are my fav out of all of them.
post #4 of 44
All carseats meet the same minimum standards. We do not know which seat is "safest". While Britax seats are cute and easy to use, there are other seats out there which will last kids much longer -- children almost always outgrow seats by height rather than weight, and Britax convertibles have the shortest harnesses of the higher-weight harnessing seats.
post #5 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
All carseats meet the same minimum standards. We do not know which seat is "safest". While Britax seats are cute and easy to use, there are other seats out there which will last kids much longer -- children almost always outgrow seats by height rather than weight, and Britax convertibles have the shortest harnesses of the higher-weight harnessing seats.
Which ones last longer?
post #6 of 44
Convertibles with taller strap slots than the Britaxes (which hover around 16.5") include:

Evenflo Triumph Advance, 50#, 17"
Sunshine Kids Radians, 65#-80# (depending on model), 17"-18", depending on who measures
Learning Curve TrueFit, 65#, 17.5"
NEW Dorel Alpha Omega Elite, 50#, 17.5"

The first three seats usually fit newborns of average size and shape.

A forward-facing seat has been outgrown by height when the child's shoulders are above the top harness setting or ears above the top of the shell. Many many kids don't make it much past 45# in the Britax convertibles, so you might want to check your son's shoulders next time you strap him in. He might be close.
post #7 of 44
Thread Starter 
http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/f...0mos/002-1.jpg

Here's a very recent pic of him taken in his seat. You can see the top harness in it, too, I believe. He looks like he's still a little below it from my view, but what do you think? I'll check again when I buckle him in later.

But assuming he outgrows it in a few mos, he's still under 4 years old and I just don't feel safe with him in a booster yet.. so I'd need to buy him a new carseat, right?
post #8 of 44
double post, sorry
post #9 of 44
It's really hard to tell from a photo, but it looks to me like he might be over. especially because the cover slots (IME) tend to ride a little higher than the actual harness slots. I recommend that you take a ruler and insert it over your son's shoulders into the actual harness slot and see if the ruler is pointing up, down, or straight.

Both the Graco Nautilus and Britax Frontier have harness heights between 18.25" and 18.5". At his age it could take a few years for him to grow 2" in the torso, so they will last a long time, and both convert to boosters as well.
post #10 of 44
Thread Starter 
Thank you for this information. I probably sound horribly uneducated, but what are the risks as of now if he is, indeed, above the highest harness slot? Is he less protected until I can get him a bigger seat?

Which carseat do you use for your children?
post #11 of 44
The harness will hold him to 65#, but if his shoulders are above the strap slots, he risks spinal compression in a crash. Children "ramp up" on impact, and if there is not any harness above his shoulders, it could injure his spine -- so yes, if he has outgrown the seat by height, he does need a new seat.

My daughter is 7.4yo, 48" and 50#. She rides mostly in a Sunshine Kids Monterey booster seat: before that, she rode in Graco Nautilus seats (and she still does on occasion).
post #12 of 44
He needs a new seat ASAP. Spinal compression is a very real risk You can save his seat to pass down to the baby (after the infant seat), and get him a new seat like the Nautilus, Frontier, Safeguard, or Regent.
post #13 of 44
But, the good news is you can buy a new seat for your 4yo and pass down the decathalon when the baby outgrows the bucket. Your seat will expire when it's 6 years old, so you'll have to decide what to get the youngest then, but it spreads out the cost.
post #14 of 44
Thread Starter 
How do I figure out the expiration date on a carseat? DH's grandmother mailed it to us when DS was 4 mos old, and that was in 2006. I'm assuming it was manufactured no earlier than 2005? I just found out about expiration dates a couple months ago, but I don't know how/where to find it.
post #15 of 44
The date of manufacture will be on a sticker either on the outside of the shell on the left side of the seat, about level with the child's ear, OR under the cover on the seat, under where the child's bum would be.
post #16 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by an_aurora View Post
The date of manufacture will be on a sticker either on the outside of the shell on the left side of the seat, about level with the child's ear, OR under the cover on the seat, under where the child's bum would be.
Thank you! It was manufactured 07/07/06.. so it's good til 2012?
post #17 of 44
Awww, it has a birthday coming up . Yep, it expires 7/7/2012
post #18 of 44
That actually will probably work well. Your youngest will be nearly 3, and depending on size may be too big to rf and could go into whatever seat you get your son and your son can get a dedicated booster. OR, there will be an awesome high weight rearfacing seat on the market by then you can upgrade too. Either way, it buys you nearly 3 years of time!
post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
Many many kids don't make it much past 45# in the Britax convertibles, so you might want to check your son's shoulders next time you strap him in. He might be close.
I hope that isn't true. We just bought two new Britax seat and my DD is 32 pounds and I told my hubby they would last to 65 pounds based off of what the weight limit of the seat is. He won't be too happy if it doesn't. He was trusting me on this purchase. He is happy with the seats now. DD is rear facing at the moment but I think he was counting on not having to buy her anything else for a long long time.

Why do the shoulders have to be below the top harness height? I thought that if the straps fit around them snugly they were good. What is the reasoning behind this I wonder? Anybody know? Thanks!
post #20 of 44
If the shoulders are above the harness slot, in a crash it can cause spinal compression.

Really, it depends on the heigh (torso) of the child when they outgrow carseats. My oldest outgrew the MA by height at 39lbs when he was around 4 years old. He has a long torso. Most kids probably make it to 45-50. It also depends on age when they outgrow it as to what seat you need to buy next. I don't know anyone who has made it to 65lbs in a Marathon sized seat, though I'm sure some short chunky kids do.
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