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what to do when you can't afford the best car seat?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am getting so irritated! I have been searching online for a while now and I cannot find a car seat with a 5-point harness for my tall 3.5 year old that costs less than $150. The safety info says that you should not switch to a booster seat before 4 years old, yet the height and weight limits on most seats would force you to switch. My son is too tall for his car seat now and I can't afford a True Fit, Britax or even Nautilus. So what do I do? I really don't want to put him in a seat-belt positioning booster!
post #2 of 14
What's his height and weight? You could look at the Evenflo Maestro for $80: http://www.amazon.com/Evenflo-Maestr.../dp/B002VUCB7M. Or the Safety 1st Apex for $90: http://www.albeebaby.com/sa1stap65boc.html. Neither makes a very good booster, though, so you'll need another booster after he outgrows the harness. The Apex requires vehicle head support to the child's ears (high seatbacks or headrests). The Maestro has taller straps; the Apex has a higher weight limit. I'd recommend the Maestro for tall thin kids and the Apex for more solidly built kids.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks,
He is currently 37 lbs and 40 inches. I couldn't find very detailed specs for the Evenflo seat, but the safety 1st one says "For children 40-100 lbs as belt positioning booster" which means that when he gains 3 lbs he has only the seat belt, right? That seams to be what I'm finding for all the inexpensive seats. They say something like "up to 100lbs" but then I read more closely and it's only as a belt positioner.
post #4 of 14
The maestro at $80 is a great option for you, and the nautilus is under $150 at Walmart.com.($144, free site to store dshipping) The apex is an option as well, although I consider it second-tier to the other 2 seats listed.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilike View Post
Thanks,
He is currently 37 lbs and 40 inches. I couldn't find very detailed specs for the Evenflo seat, but the safety 1st one says "For children 40-100 lbs as belt positioning booster" which means that when he gains 3 lbs he has only the seat belt, right? That seams to be what I'm finding for all the inexpensive seats. They say something like "up to 100lbs" but then I read more closely and it's only as a belt positioner.
No. the safety 1st APEX can be used with internal harness up to 65 pounds. (or the height limit of the seat). The booster CAN be used as early as 40 pounds, but it doesn't have to be. Between 40-65 pounds, as long as the child is under the top slots for teh harness, you can choose to harness *OR* booster. But that is great that you read that, becaue on SOME seats, yes, the booster mode mst be used at 40 pounds...but not this one!!!
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilike View Post
Thanks,
He is currently 37 lbs and 40 inches. I couldn't find very detailed specs for the Evenflo seat, but the safety 1st one says "For children 40-100 lbs as belt positioning booster" which means that when he gains 3 lbs he has only the seat belt, right? That seams to be what I'm finding for all the inexpensive seats. They say something like "up to 100lbs" but then I read more closely and it's only as a belt positioner.
The Evenflo Maestro harnesses to 50# and the Safety 1st Apex harnesses to 65#. The Maestro has 18.25" top slots and the Apex has 17" top slots.
post #7 of 14
Well he's outgrown his current seat by height, so I would think he'll need the extra harness height. I'd get the Maestro. That 1.5in could mean another whole year harnessed as opposed to the Apex and it could take him years to gain 12lbs. Plus the Apex needs a headrest or high seat back.
post #8 of 14
I was just searching Nautis for a friend and there are several places that have them at $144-$150

-Angela
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I was just searching Nautis for a friend and there are several places that have them at $144-$150

-Angela
And I've noticed in the past few months that some Target stores seem to keep putting them on sale for ~30% off list price--I've seen them quite a few times during the past four or five months at our local Target for around $130.

These prices never seem to be matched at Target online, which makes me think it's a store-based sales.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschick View Post
And I've noticed in the past few months that some Target stores seem to keep putting them on sale for ~30% off list price--I've seen them quite a few times during the past four or five months at our local Target for around $130.

These prices never seem to be matched at Target online, which makes me think it's a store-based sales.
Yeah, I saw the "Reese" GN go on clearance when the "Wilkes" came out but that was months ago. Its worth a shot to look, but he needs a new seat NOW though, so the Maestro might be her only option at the moment.
post #11 of 14
I have a 20% off coupon for BRU that I am not using. It is an in-store only coupon and only good during January. If you think you can use it to help get the most suitable seat, PM me and I will send it to you.

And I echo the Nautilus recommendation. My DD is tall, just turned three and 38 inches tall. She has many, many inches to go before she outgrows the Nauti harness.
post #12 of 14
The Nautilus is great-we have one for our DD who is similar size and age. Got ours for 150.
post #13 of 14
Nautilus is showing up at many online stores for $144 shipped and no tax right now. Harnesses to 65 pounds, shoulder straps are 18 inches i think.

All our kids are in them. #1 is 7 years old, 49" & 45 pounds, #2 is 4 years 10 months, 44" & 38-39 pounds, #3 is 4 years 8 months, 41 1/2 inches and 36 pounds. & year old still has a good 1 1/2-2 inches of shoulder height (so 4-5 inches of total growth) before outgrowing the Harness option and moving to the booster aspect of it.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your quick replies! I knew I would find a solution on MDC. I found the Evenflo Maestro at Sears online and with discounts it was $73 and we were able to pick it up the same day! So yay, my little guy is safe and we were able to afford it! Thanks!
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