Is it possible to skip the "baby bucket"? I'd really, really like to get a single carseat to last until the booster stage for my LO due in March.... price aside, I hate infant carseats.
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Birth to Toddler Carseat?
The First Years Truefit, Sunshine Kids/Diono Radian, and Graco MyRide all fit average sized newborns quite well and will last many kids until booster age (the MyRide is a bit shorter so it may not last quite as long for really tall kids and the TrueFit has a 35lb RF limit, so it won't last as long RF.)
My main factor in choosing this seat was that I had a small car. The truefit has a removable headrest that you don't use till 22lbs, which by then the child can be less reclined, and takes up less space.
I have average height/weight kids, so the 35lb limit should last till 3-4yrs. Height wise I'm thinking the seat will last 5-6 yrs forward facing.
I tried doing the same thing with my oldest dd in the alpha/omega. She outgrew the harness around 4yrs and the booster mode didn't fit, so she went to a turbo booster then.
The most important thing to look for, IMO, for a seat to fit a newborn-toddler is that the straps go low enough. On many of the convertable carseats that say from birth up, or 5+ pounds the lowest harness height will stil be above most babies shoulders for several months (rear-facing the straps should be below the shoulders). If you have an average sized newborn, though, there are several options with low 1st haress slots.
I'm going to second the First Years Truefit, Sunshine Kids/Diono Radian, and Graco MyRide recommendations. The Britax convertible seats are actually a really poor option for a newborn because the harness height is far too high. Britax requires that the harness comes out at or below the shoulders, and although this is generally a pipe dream for most newborns in any seat, even the bucket, Britax convertibles have such high bottom slots that they're rarely below the shoulders of a child until after 4 months of age. The seats recommended here and above (TF, Radian, MyRide) have infant padding that helps these large seats better fit a newborn...make sure you're buying that trim level with the Radian. If you're going to need to get three across, the Radian would be my top suggestion because it's the most narrow of the bunch. If you have limited front-back space, the TrueFit might be a good option because the headrest can be removed for the first while, and once it has to go back on your child can be quite a bit more upright than the 45 degrees required for a newborn...(the TF only allows as upright as 35 degrees, whereas the other seats can be as upright as 30 degrees).. Another bonus for the Radian is that they do have a couple versions with a 45lb rear-facing weight limit, although you'll definitely want to try before you by as they can be difficult to install in some vehicles.
The Britax convertibles available when your two year old was a newborn did not fit newborns well at all. In fact, they tend to provide an unsafe fit until babies around around 6 months old. The bottom most harness position is simply too high.
We chose Britax because they do fit infants well. Check out the Marathon and Roundabout. We ended up with the smaller version because of our car size. DD was tall at 2.5, so we moved on to the Britax Frontier 85 combo seat. It works up to 85 lbs as a forward facing seat, or 120 lbs as a booster.
We are sort of skipping the 'bucket' seat with DD. In my car she is in a Radian & has been since birth. In DH's truck she does use the baby bucket, b/c we had one, and that allows him to have more space in his vehicle during the week with only the base installed.
Honestly, she was born at 6lb9oz, and fit BETTER in the Radian than she did in the Graco infant seat. :) I'm happier w/o the bucket seat, and even when she rides in it, I seldom take the seat out of the truck when we arrive at our destination. DS still rides in his Radian at 4.5, and should fit for another year - 18mth at least. It is truly a full range infant - toddler - preschooler seat :) and will take both of my average sized kiddos to booster size/age/maturity, which makes the upfront expense worth it!
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