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Smallest/narrowest convertible?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have a 4-year-old in a Britax Boulevard on the passenger side, and am expecting our second child.  We have an infant seat - our son's old one, a Baby Trend something (flex-lock?).  Our car (an old RAV 4) has tiny back seats, and my husband is 6'5".  We have to keep my preschooler behind me, because my husband has to push whatever seat he's in all the way back, and in our tiny car that means the front and back seat are almost touching.  So, we're looking for options for the new babe. 


The infant seat we already have is pretty big front to back, so I'm not sure we'll be able to use it.  If we have to buy another infant seat, it needs to be vry inexensive, because we're on a tight budget and the baby probably will only be in it for a few months.  So we're also looking for a very small convertible to move the baby into as soon as we can.  I mean narrow as well as small front to back.  The convertible has to be pretty inexpensive too.


Our other possible option would be to move our preschooler into a booster and give the Britax to the baby, but I think it might take up too much space rear facing.


Any ideas?

post #2 of 10



A couple of things to consider:   



You are right about the Baby Trend.  Because the handle MUST be down when it's rear facing, it takes up a lot of room front to back even though over all it's not that spacious of an infant seat.   

I would not suggest a convertible for your baby. 


1.  A Britax Boulevard is not safe for a newborn and you can't use it that way.  The bottom most slot is more than 10" from the seat pan.  Newborns usually have on average 7" torsos.   Straps need to come from at or below the shoulders.  See the conflict?  


2.  A convertible, with a few exceptions, is going to make your problem worse, not better.  Newborns need to be reclined to a full 45 degrees.  Convertibles are substantially bigger than infant carriers, and while they take up less room front to back for an older baby or rear facing toddler, when a convertible is reclined at 45 degrees the front passenger can end up in the dashboard.


3.   The convertibles that will work at a full recline are not going to be cheap.   First, there is the Combi Coccoro (~200).   It's a cool product, but it's a niche one.  Basically it will work rear facing only a little longer than the big infant seats, and then it moves to forward facing.  

Problem is, kids need to be rear facing a LOT longer than that.   2 years is a bare minimum.  3-4 is the ideal.  Are  you familiar with the push to keep toddlers out of forward facing seats?  For a lot of reasons, forward facing a 1-2 year old child is simply not safe.    So you'd end up dropping 200 on an Coccoro and then having to buy a new convertible down the line.  

A seat that I would DEFINITELY recommend for you, that would NOT be cheap, but will solve all your problems, would be the Maxi Cosi Pria 70.   It is a very large convertible that will keep children rear facing to 3-4 years old, as they should be.   The nice thing about it?  There's an infant insert in the seat that changes the angle WITHIN the shell of the more upright seat.  So you install it nice and upright and it doesn't impeded on front passenger room, then insert the infant insert and voila, baby has a 45 degree angle.   When baby gets big enough not to need that angle, the insert comes out.    (These are not the dangerous after market inserts you buy in stores.  This is a solid, crash tested device that is structurally sound and designed for this seat for this purpose.)     However, this seat is 250 dollars.  If you can swing it, it will keep your child rear facing 3-4 years, and harnessed until 5-6 depending on your child's size.  

If you CAN'T swing 250 dollars, my best suggestion would be to buy one of the cheaper infant carriers that is 1.  small, 2.  fits newborns well, 3.  front adjust and 4.  Can have the handle up in the car.    I would look into the Safety First Comfy Carry http://www.google.com/products/catalog?client=safari&rls=en&q=safety+first+comfy+carry&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=7562946142813420031&sa=X&ei=by9GT4yeAenc0QHA_t24Dg&ved=0CDoQ8wIwAw#ps-sellers.    

Then, when your baby outgrows that, use the Boulevard for the baby and buy a combination for the 4 year old.  

However, keep in mind that the Boulevard, if you bought it when your 4 year old was a baby, is going to expire BEFORE your baby should go forward facing, so eventually you'll need to replace with a new, larger convertible. 

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Yeah, six years is about it, right?  He's had the Boulevard since he was 4 months, so by the time he's 6 at the latest it'll be done.  I don't know which is a more attractive option - buying an expensive, longer lasting seat now (for the baby), or waiting a year and having to spring for two seats at once.


Is there anything wrong with the Graco Snugride?  I know they used to be considered really good seats, and they're a lot more attractive than the one you linked.  Obviously safety is more important than looks, but if they're both decent seats I'd rather have a prettier one.


I think I'll have the ex bring me the old infant seat (it's currently in storage at his house) and see how it fits in the car, just in case.

post #4 of 10

If you want the Snugride I'd go with the Snugride 30 not the 22.  It fits newborns a LOT better.  It's just more expensive than the one I mentioned, that's all.   



post #5 of 10

We choose the combi cocorro for our three across situation in our vibe, because it was the narrowest convertable I could find and super cute, and looked great for a newborn.


It rear faces to 33lbs, can go forward from 20-40lbs and up to 40 inches. Our new baby will outgrow the height requirement before the weight.

The way my kids are I can see baby rear facing for 2-3yrs in this seat. So I forsee getting at least 3years if not 4 out of this seat, depending on how tall this next baby gets. My almost 5 year old is only at 40lbs.



post #6 of 10

Shell height is also important.  Most 40 lb kids won't fit forward facing in a Coccoro, and most 33 lb kids won't fit rear facing.  Most kids will outgrow it rear facing around 2ish. 

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Fits newborns better how (the Snugride, I mean)?  I make big babies, so I need a seat for a giant chunk of babyhood.

post #8 of 10

The Snugride 30 basically added a lower slot and a more tucked in crotch strap option for the new born stage.  The 22 has much higher bottom slots and a further out crotch strap, and does not fit newborns as well (and sometimes, not correctly at all).  Both the SR 30 and the 35 fit newborns well, though. The 22 will not last long at all, either.  Overall it's a very short seat, in comparison to other options on the market. 

Remember that regardless of when your baby outgrows the infant seat, you can't go right to forward facing.      

Originally Posted by FeralFox View Post

Fits newborns better how (the Snugride, I mean)?  I make big babies, so I need a seat for a giant chunk of babyhood.


post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Yes, I'm aware of that.  My preschooler rear faced until he was well over 2 (and threw big enough fits at facing backward that turning him forward became a safety issue).  However, he was clearly uncomfortable in his infant seat pretty early, so we switched him into the Boulevard at 4 months, and he was much happier.  I fully expect this baby to be a lot bigger (for a number of reasons, that's not just a random guess or wishful thinking) so I think we'll be doing the same thing this time around.  So, the cheaper infant seat we can find, the less money we waste when we have to upgrade a few months later.

post #10 of 10

The newer infant seats are, IMO, more comfy.  I had a Graco Safeseat 1 for my dd (similar to the snugride 35 now I believe) and it was completely lined with cushy foam.  I wanted to ride in it, it was so soft and plush.  She could have fit in it until 18 months, but we had passed it on to my nephew prior to then.


That being said, my baby prior to her was 10lbs 11oz.  I expected another big baby.  She was 7lbs!  (and I measured right now with both pregnancies, never big with the prior, never small with dd).  She barely fit in the safeseat.  So you never know.


You might want to look at the safetyfirst onboard 35 (http://www.target.com/p/Safety-1St-Onboard-35-Infant-Car-Seat/-/A-11987636).  It runs about $100 and has a nice tall shell.  I'm not sure on narrowness, however, but I don't think it's bad.

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