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Car seat, upright for older baby?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I drive a Honda Fit and am expecting #2 next April. We have a Britax Marathon for #1 and have been very very happy with it, other than the size. We had it RF for awhile, but that was really awkward and rendered the front passenger seat useless. This is obviously not an option with two kids. So I've been searching for quite awhile for a carseat of the quality of the Marathon that was more compact, and it doesn't seem to exist. They have smaller convertibles now, but they're new and there aren't many reviews out yet.

 

So today I decided to try flipping around my Marathon (we have DD FF for a variety of reasons which are not up for discussion) leaving my front seats as they are, and it fits! The catch being as long as it's upright. I'd seen mentioned a few times online that older babies can be more upright, but back when DD was smaller I understood it to be quite the opposite. So what is it?

 

So for a 6 month old with good head control in a very small car would you:

 

RF with an upright Marathon or

RF with a reclined seat of inferior quality?

 

I'm aware of the Combi Coccorro, but I'm not thrilled with the reviews. We've been looking at the Eddie Bauer XRS 65 which is small, but that's about all I can find on it.

 

We have a bucket for the early months.

post #2 of 17

I would RF in a more upright Marathon, but you should be aware that there is absolutely no reason to assume other seats are of "inferior quality".  All seats pass the same tests.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

By "inferior quality" I mean of use, not necessarily safety. The Combi fabric snags and stains like woah (so sayeth the reviews), many brands straps are thin and twist easily, I find most non-Britax closures to be far more annoying to open than the Britax, which is particularly bad as I have tendinitis in both wrists. Just playing with the Graco one in Target yesterday hurt.

 

Then, of course, I go to the local specialty baby store to see if they have small convertibles and they only carry "5 star rated" carseats. Which means all big. The Marathon was about the smallest they had! So at least the salespeople claim there's a difference in the safety of many of them.

 

I also called a car seat inspector and the guy was clueless. I'm having a seriously hard time finding reliable info on RF with an upright angle. It's like people free-associate "upright" with FF. So when I asked the guy about upright RF all he would talk about was how important RF is. Yes, got that, planning on doing that, HELP ME DO SO IN MY TINY CAR!!!!!!

 

The entire car seat industry is jacked. If the experts can't help me, if the internet (including carseat.org, AAA, manufacturers) can't answer my questions, why do they blame the user for the high rate of improperly used seats? The problem isn't the user. It's bad engineering. If 95% of people can't figure these things out the problem is the product, not people. /rant after hours of research and no answers

post #4 of 17

I would suggest you go post your questions at car-seat.org.  A tech there can give you a good explanation of the angles.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Called a tech already, he was completely clueless. Information in the internet for RF basically talks about how to do it with a newborn and how it's important to do it. I can't find any consistent info on recline angles for older children. Some sources say upright's fine or even safer, others say RF must be reclined.

 

I must conclude that no one f*@(ing knows.

post #6 of 17

No, it's actually not a big mystery at all.  :-)

 

Here are the relevant facts:

 

Fact:  Newborns MUST be fully reclined as the seat allows.  Why?  Because their tracheas are not fully developed as connective tissue, and they have lousy neck control.  If their little heads tip forward, it actually pinches their tracheas off, and they don't have enough coordination/awareness to adjust their positioning, especially if they're asleep.    

 

Fact:  A more upright rear facing seat is always safer in terms of crash forces.   Why?  Because in a frontal impact (which accounts for 70% of impacts), when a seat is fully upright, more of the energy of the crash is diffused through out the shell before it is transmitted to the child.  When the seat is reclined, more of the force of the crash goes into the harness as the child ramps up the shell, and thus is absorbed directly by the child's body.

 

Fact:  A 45 recline is only a nod to the fragility of newborns, NOT safer in terms of crash dynamics.

 

Fact:  Almost all restraint companies acknowledge this, and have created seats that can be installed at different angles depending on the age and maturity of the babe.   Evenflo, Graco, Britax seats, for example, all may be installed between 45 degrees from vertical for a newborn, to 30 degrees for an older child.

 

Fact:  The First Years observes a more conservative requirement.  Their angle range is 45-35 degrees.  

 

Fact: Until, well, NOW, actually, Dorel had a blanket rule of 45 degrees on all its seats, due to the newborn issue.  They were catering to the lowest common denominator, to prevent stupid parents from killing their babies by misusing the restraints.   A bunch of us wore them down, they finally confessed that yes, their seats pass testing just fine as upright as 30 degrees, and they are now FINALLY releasing seats with two different angle lines.  45 degrees for newborns and very young infants, 30 degrees for older children.  

 

Fact: Sunshine Kids/Diono has no maximum upright angle.  The seat may be 45 degrees to as upright as you can get it. 

 

Fact: Swedish seats, which are designed to keep kids rear facing as safely and as long as possible, are installed at roughly 10 degrees from vertical...in other words, the same recline as a forward facing seat, but facing the other way.  Swedes know what they're doing with rear facing technology. 

 

What you need to know?  YES! A Britax Marathon can be installed more upright than 45 degrees for a 6 month old infant.  You're good.  

HTH!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflwrmoonbeam View Post

Called a tech already, he was completely clueless. Information in the internet for RF basically talks about how to do it with a newborn and how it's important to do it. I can't find any consistent info on recline angles for older children. Some sources say upright's fine or even safer, others say RF must be reclined.

 

I must conclude that no one f*@(ing knows.



 

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

THANK YOU! Seriously, I didn't think this question was so hard but the information is just not forthcoming.

post #8 of 17

Excellent! This means I can start sitting up front again! Our baby is almost 9 months and weighs a healthy 22 pounds. She is also tall.
We have the Sunshine Radian and a 2 door Geo Metro, so I honestly thought according to the info provided, that I would be stuck in the back for at least another year.
 

post #9 of 17


LOL!

 

The rub with the Radian is that it *really* doesn't lend itself to being installed at more than one angle.   It's very vehicle specific.  Sort of goes in the way it goes and that's it.   Fortunately Diono is releasing an angle adjusting wedge for older kids in the Radian that should be coming out in a month or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubblingBrooks View Post

Excellent! This means I can start sitting up front again! Our baby is almost 9 months and weighs a healthy 22 pounds. She is also tall.
We have the Sunshine Radian and a 2 door Geo Metro, so I honestly thought according to the info provided, that I would be stuck in the back for at least another year.
 



 

post #10 of 17

So are you telling me that what you wrote is not quite true? I cannot take the wedge out?
And if not, why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post


LOL!

 

The rub with the Radian is that it *really* doesn't lend itself to being installed at more than one angle.   It's very vehicle specific.  Sort of goes in the way it goes and that's it.   Fortunately Diono is releasing an angle adjusting wedge for older kids in the Radian that should be coming out in a month or so.



 



 

post #11 of 17

I'm not sure where the confusion is.  The boot must be used when rear-facing.  A new angle-adjusting wedge is going to be introduced shortly.  The new (not yet released) wedhe is optional.  The boot is not.

post #12 of 17


I was/am confused, because it was stated that the angle can be changed once past infant stage. But I guess that is only true of some seats?
I would like to know why the boot/wedge is mandatory. Cannot find anything that tells me why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

I'm not sure where the confusion is.  The boot must be used when rear-facing.  A new angle-adjusting wedge is going to be introduced shortly.  The new (not yet released) wedhe is optional.  The boot is not.



 

post #13 of 17

It's mandatory because that's how the seat has passed testing.  It has either not been tested without the boot, or has been tested and failed.  [b]I do not know for sure[/b], but given how insistent Sunshine Kids/Diono is on the boot, I'm guessing the latter.

 

Sunshine Kids/Diono *allows* a more upright installation if you can get it.  Most people can't in most vehicles.

post #14 of 17


The boot and the wedge are two different things.  The boot came with your seat, and MUST be attached in rear facing mode.  It is how the seat was designed, and how the seat passed testing.

 

WIth *most* seats, all that's needed to alter the angle is a little know-how and technique.  The Radian is a strange animal in that it just doesn't like know-how or technique. LOL.  For the most part, it goes in at the angle that it goes in, and all the fiddling or cussing in the world won't change it.  That's why I specified that Diono allows the Radian as *upright as you can get it*

 

In good cars, it installs VERY upright, and you just use the rear facing tether to bring it down to a newborn angle until it's no longer necessary.

 

The wedge is a NEW product that is not quite on the market yet.  It is sold independently and meant to be used with the Radian for older kids.  It goes under the BACK of the seat (not the front, where the boot goes), and it forces the seat more upright.   

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubblingBrooks View Post


I was/am confused, because it was stated that the angle can be changed once past infant stage. But I guess that is only true of some seats?
I would like to know why the boot/wedge is mandatory. Cannot find anything that tells me why.



 



 

post #15 of 17


Ahhhhhh! Its used in addition! Sure wish they were available now, lol!
Regardless of how weird the radian is, I still love how easy it is for getting DD in and out.
And how streamlined it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post


The boot and the wedge are two different things.  The boot came with your seat, and MUST be attached in rear facing mode.  It is how the seat was designed, and how the seat passed testing.

 

WIth *most* seats, all that's needed to alter the angle is a little know-how and technique.  The Radian is a strange animal in that it just doesn't like know-how or technique. LOL.  For the most part, it goes in at the angle that it goes in, and all the fiddling or cussing in the world won't change it.  That's why I specified that Diono allows the Radian as *upright as you can get it*

 

In good cars, it installs VERY upright, and you just use the rear facing tether to bring it down to a newborn angle until it's no longer necessary.

 

The wedge is a NEW product that is not quite on the market yet.  It is sold independently and meant to be used with the Radian for older kids.  It goes under the BACK of the seat (not the front, where the boot goes), and it forces the seat more upright.   



 



 

post #16 of 17
We have a RFing radian which my 3yo is using and it's so hard to get it more upright in our car. I'm curious about the use of this wedge thing too and if it's a legit product that the company supports using.
post #17 of 17

It's manufactured by Diono/Sunshine Kids and can be used with their seats only.

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