Question on preparing for baby's arrival (first time Mom here and started my registry) - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-05-2008, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Car seat question -

OK, this is something I've been thinking about and I wanted to ask other Mama's for their suggestion on car seats. I really want to pick out a good safe brand and am not worried about the cost for this particular item. I know you hear horror stories everywhere, but my cousin in law told me about a month ago or so that she heard of a horrible story about a Graco car seat and not to buy that brand. Of course, that's the brand that most people use so I wanted to see what suggestions you helpful ladies have for a nice safe car seat?

TIA!!

Married to my best friend Mama to DS1 4/2009 and DS2 3/2011 and two Remembering 3/2008
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:06 PM
 
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My SIL swears by the Evenflo Triumph convertible carseat. The new model goes from 5-50 lbs and she really loves it. They've been using evenflo triumphs since their first son was born in 2005 and they're really pleased. She said they have a great safety rating and they're not a million bucks. Target has a nice one for $129 online and another one for $130 in the stores. Both go up to 50 lbs. I think a convertible car seat is a good solution for people who plan to carry their babies. I see women lugging around those bucket seats and I think...the baby's sooo much lighter on his own!! Of course, I'm sure it's convenient if you don't want to wake them up.

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Old 12-05-2008, 03:20 PM
 
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we have britax and love them. We got all over them on sale or discounted because of discontinued print. They are quite pricey but the have some of the highest harnessed weights around.

My 50lb+ 45" 3yo dd still has room in her marathon. There is no way she would still fit comfortably in a triumph.

As for infant seats you usually don't need one (small babies and preemies sometimes do need them). I like them and I don't carry them around way too heavy and awkward I just feel like they'd be more comfortable and safe for a wee one. We used graco infant seats and were happy with them overall

mum to Christopher (6/98) Elizabeth (2/05) twins Aaron and Dominic (7/10/06) and new baby Eden (4-18-09)
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Azreial View Post
My 50lb+ 45" 3yo dd still has room in her marathon. There is no way she would still fit comfortably in a triumph. l
Actually my nephew will be 4 in April and he's a very big boy (think 90th percentile on everything) and sits comfortably in the new Triumph, fwiw. The old one only went up to 40 lbs, but the new one is taller and roomier and goes to 50 lbs...I didn't know there were convertibles that went over 50 lbs...what's the weight/height limit on the marathon?

So many choices!

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Old 12-05-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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We have to fit three across in the backseat of our Subaru, so we are getting a couple of these
I do recommend convertibles, my son would have grown out of an infant carrier in three months!
I also didn't get one because I didn't want to be tempted to keep the baby in there. I've seen too many moms carry babies around in these things, sit them on the floor and then prop a bottle when the baby is hungry....
I've had a Graco Comfortsport, which we got because it's reviews and ratings were just as good as the much more expensive Britax. When my son grew out of the Graco at age two (he actually grew out of all but the Britax at the time because he was so big for his age but much to young to be in a a regular seatbelt booster). So then we bought the Britax Marathon. I thought it was much easier to adjust than the Graco and given the max weight limit on it I wished we would have just bought it in the first place.

It is massive though, it takes a lot of space in the backseat. It's impossible to fit another seat back there with the Britax and a no-back booster even!

So we really only have one option this time, to buy a couple of the Radians with narrower profiles.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:23 PM
 
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I'm kind of embarrassed to ask this, but are infant carrier carseats vastly inferior, in the safety ratings? I would really prefer to have one, but I've noticed that pretty much nobody on MDC talks about having one.

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Old 12-05-2008, 04:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sasharna View Post
I'm kind of embarrassed to ask this, but are infant carrier carseats vastly inferior, in the safety ratings? I would really prefer to have one, but I've noticed that pretty much nobody on MDC talks about having one.
I don't think they're inferior...just that they don't last long. I'd do the research and find whatever's best for you. I'm sure there's someone on mdc that uses an infant seat!

Mama to one little blur, watching everything move too fast. Eden 4/10/2009.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:28 PM
 
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We love out Britax Marathon, but if I had it to do all over againg, I probably would get an Evenflo Triumph Advance or a Radian.

Personally, we did get a Graco SnugRide infant bucket. We only used it for 4 months, but it was really handy to have during that time & I do feel that newborns are more secure in a bucket than in a convertible.

FYI, there is a whole forum about car seats here
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:42 PM
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We had the graco snugride when dd was a baby (and plan to use it again w/ this babe). Loved it. Yeah, she outgrew it very quickly, but I like the option of being able to carry the carseat in places if she fell asleep and I didn't want to wake her.
We switched to a britax marathon when she outgrew the graco and love it. She's still in it and it has been definitely worth the investment.

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Old 12-05-2008, 04:43 PM
 
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We had the graco snugride when dd was a baby (and plan to use it again w/ this babe). Loved it. Yeah, she outgrew it very quickly, but I like the option of being able to carry the carseat in places if she fell asleep and I didn't want to wake her.
We switched to a britax marathon when she outgrew the graco and love it. She's still in it and it has been definitely worth the investment.
It might make more sense to get a bucket if you're planning on having more than one kid close together....that way it gets multiple uses...but they do have expirations....

Mama to one little blur, watching everything move too fast. Eden 4/10/2009.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:54 PM
 
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I used infant car seats for the first few months with my older 3- it was especially nice in the winter to have baby bundled and covered in a warm seat to carry them to the car when we went out.
This is my first spring baby, so I don't need to worry about the cold car, and he'll be out of it by the time it gets cold again.
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:29 PM
 
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I'm planning to get two Evenflo triumph advanced carseats. They tilt on their base, so they don't take up too much room in our shallow backseat and they've got really good safety ratings. They're fairly cheap (v. important as we're going to be broke) and I can use them as newborns. I'd like to get a couple of buckets, if I can afford them, just because twins tend to be smaller than singletons and the buckets fit better right from the start.

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Old 12-05-2008, 05:51 PM
 
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Having looked around the Family Safety forum, the top two recommendations for infant seats seemed to be the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Graco Infant SnugRide 32 (I think I read that they are phasing out the SafeSeat, also the SafeSeat is rated for up to 30lbs, where as the *new* SnugRide 32 is rated up to 32lbs, NOT to be confused with regular SnugRide which is only rated for 22lbs). We have ordered the Keyfit because, having looked at them in person at BabiesRUs, the "upholstery" of the seat seemed slightly better made and the seat seemed slightly easier to get in and out of the base.

Also, I could have been reading it wrong, but the impression I got from some of the hardcore safety people on that forum was that even though convertible seats are rated for use in infants, they just generally don't ever really fit infants as well as infant seats do and that the fit is key to safety. That was just the impression I got.
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:03 PM
 
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All the the britax seats except for the infant bucket seat, are not good for newborns, it is very rare that a newborn will safely fit into it. Britax recently revised their policy and requires that the bottom harness straps be equal or above the child's shoulders. For most babies, that is not going to happen until 2-3 months of age.


For those that are wanting to forgo the infant seat, the Radian, True Fit, and Cosco Scenera all fit many newborns. i am unsure of how the Evenflo Triumph Advance (you want the advance one) fits newborns. I do know that seat does last longer then many of the cheaper seats on the market, but for just a little more you can buy the True Fit that will last even longer.


I will buy an infant seat, I rarely take them out of the car but want that option if baby is asleep and we just pulled up to the house. None of my children have EVER transferred out of their car seats while sleeping, you take them out, and that's it they are awake. Really not cool,when you are 3 minutes from the house and they fall asleep in the car. I am buying a Chicco Keyfit 30. I much prefer it to the Graco Safeseat/SnugRide 32.

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Old 12-05-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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Kate my dd is huge her height is well above the chart. Her height is average (50%) for a six year old. Not sure about the weight. She'll be 4 in February. I have no idea where she got all this from I'm 5'0" and dh isn't much more than average.

The weight limit for the marathon is 65lbs not sure on the height I know you can go up to dc's ears are level with the top but I don't know the measurement.

Skybluepink I think infant seats are especially great for twins. We got tired of them long before the twins would have outgrown them. Actually dominic could still fit in one in July when they turned two

mum to Christopher (6/98) Elizabeth (2/05) twins Aaron and Dominic (7/10/06) and new baby Eden (4-18-09)
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by michanders4 View Post
Title's changed, thanks !!

Thanks for all the interesting responses!!
Please see the edited version of my post-- I had confused which seat was getting phased out-- they are phasing out the SafeSeat and upping the weight limit on the new SnugRides.
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:20 PM
 
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Kate my dd is huge her height is well above the chart. Her height is average (50%) for a six year old. Not sure about the weight. She'll be 4 in February. I have no idea where she got all this from I'm 5'0" and dh isn't much more than average.
Wow! That's incredible! Congrats on such a lovely, big girl. Maybe she'll hit 6 foot. I always wanted to be that tall.

Mama to one little blur, watching everything move too fast. Eden 4/10/2009.
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:20 PM
 
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More thoughts on car seats, it's a passion of mine BTW. There are no good ratings on car seats, places like Consumer Reports are not a good place to turn to for carseat help, they only rate for very limited things. All carseats are tested to the same standards and have passed, but there are huge differences in what a $45.00 Cosco Scenera and 200.00 Britax Marathon can do, there are reasons for those price differences.

Ease of install, some carseats install so easily that my grandmother can do it perfectly on the first try, others almost require a degree. And not all carseats brands fit in all cars. I've yet to hear of a Britax (except the really large Britax like Regent/Frontier) not fitting anywhere, but ones like the Radian can be finicky, especially if you drive a Subaru.


Rfing tethering ability and FFing, not all car sears tether. Very, very few allow you to do it RFing. you can not tether a seat RFing unless the maker of seat says you can. We don't know if that seat has never been crash tested Rfing with a tether or if it was and it failed. you can't take that chance. So if RFing with a tether or FFing is important to you, then get a seat that allows you do do that.

Slot heights, some seats like the Graco ComfortSport will not get your child to a age where he/she move into a booster seat, you will have to buy another 5 point harness seat. And all in one seats, the ones that market themselves as the last seat you will ever need to buy. They RF, FF and turn into a booster, are abd seats, run away! They do not harness long enough and make crappy boosters.

I'm not saying that everyone needs to go out and buy $$ carseats, there are lots of cheaper options. You could forgo the bucket, buy a $45.00 Scenera that will probably get you to age 3 and then buy a $150.00 Graco Nautilus that is a high weight harnessing seat that turns into a booster. Those could easily be the only two seats you will ever need and cost $200.00.

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Old 12-05-2008, 06:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Azreial View Post
Kate my dd is huge her height is well above the chart. Her height is average (50%) for a six year old. Not sure about the weight. She'll be 4 in February. I have no idea where she got all this from I'm 5'0" and dh isn't much more than average.

The weight limit for the marathon is 65lbs not sure on the height I know you can go up to dc's ears are level with the top but I don't know the measurement.

Skybluepink I think infant seats are especially great for twins. We got tired of them long before the twins would have outgrown them. Actually dominic could still fit in one in July when they turned two
You can't look at what height they state on the carseat to see when it outgrown. The Britaxs are outgrow when the shoulders are above the top slot OR the ears are level with the shell of the carseat as are the rules for most carseats along with the weight limit. My DD1 outgrew her Britax Marathon when she was 5 by torso height, she was only 34 lbs then, but average size. The Britax seats, except the roundabout, really do last a long time!

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Old 12-05-2008, 06:49 PM
 
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Oh thank you for posting this thread! Its been 8 years since I last bought a car seat and the options are overwhelming!!!

wife. dd1 : dd2
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:50 PM
 
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I've only browsed the replies, but I want to throw in a couple of comments from my experience.

Having a bucket seat was handy for me even though we only used it for 5-6 months with each baby. I will still get to use it with my third baby because it hasn't expired yet and my kids are all about 2.5 years apart.

I put my ds in the Britax Roundabout at 3 months old and he was not tall enough to sit in it safely. And a Roundabout is a small seat. He was safe in his bucket till 5-6 months.

I'm sorry I wasted my money on two Roundabouts. They're just too short. I should've bought the Marathon or Boulevard to begin with. Instead, I had to buy a Boulevard for ds when he was too tall to rf in the Roundabout (a 20 months) and a Frontier for dd when she was too tall/too heavy for her Roundabout at age 4. I could've put her in a booster, but I'd rather she be safer in a 5 pt harness.

So there's my two cents, plus some.
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:52 PM
 
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DS started out in a Graco and I don't think it was that bad. He was a really tall kid though so we soon moved him to a Britax Boulevard. He can use that one for a long, long time! We've really loved the Britax
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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For what it's worth, I had a Evenflo Triumph advanced for DS, he was 8lb 12oz at birth an so tiny in it, we borrowed the primo viaggo from a friend.

I hate that Evenflo!!! I feel it is not very secure rear facing, in fact, we had to turn ds around early than we would like to because the seat would sway around corner (yes it was installed as rock hard as anyone could get it)

You could find horror stories about ANY carseat mainly because so many people use them incorrectly.

This time we will do a Graco safeseat 1 and figure out what next when that time comes.
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:09 PM
 
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We had a "bucket seat" for DS when he was an infant, it was a Graco and at the time (2 years ago) the highest rated infant car seat. We got an Evenflo Triumph for his convertible car seat, but once we went on a trip with my friend and she put her Britax in next to DS's Evenflo- I had car seat envy and had to upgrade our main convertible seat. We went to the Britax simply because it is the highest rated for safety and side-impact. That said, it is ridiculous expensive and we use out Evenflo in the other car because who can afford two Britax? Well unless Target has a really good sale and actually honors their prices and sends out the seats as promised? Sorry, still mad at Target.

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Old 12-06-2008, 12:05 AM
 
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I also had a bucket in the beginning (Graco I think) and was happy with it. I plan to use it again. After 4-5 months we moved to a Britax Decathlon. We now use the Decathlon and have a Britax Blvd in the other car.

I never used the bucket as a place to store DS, and I didn't use it to carry him around. However, I did use it to take him in and out of the car at home. It was just easier for me to get him buckled in and out when he was not in the car.

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Old 12-06-2008, 01:09 AM
 
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I'm hoping no one else mentioned this, there are so many great replies!

I just wanted to add that you might also want to think about your car when choosing a seat. For example, the Graco brand infant seats seem to fit miserably (or not at all) in the back of my Subaru. If you simply try googling your car + car seat, you can usually come up with results that might help to at least whittle down your choices. Cars are like seats, in that they have different dimensions and requirements, so it might be *another* thing to consider.
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:13 AM
 
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Knowing what I now know- I'd just borrow/buy a bucket style seat from someone you know (it will probably be barely used!) and buy yourself a convertible seat, but check first that it actually fits in your car in both positions.

My son grew out of his bucket seat at 4 mos (for length). He would have been out of it for weight at 6 mos. I gave it away. Legally he had to rear-face until age 1. He was about 85 percentile, so big but not outrageously so. We had to buy another car to accommodate it (and it just barely did... and we are students, so it was a huge expense for us). Then he grew out of his evenflow triumph for weight at 3.5 years and may of the forward facing harness seats were so giant they didn't fit in the small space we have in our car (had since then gotten rid of second car to save money). Anyway- I feel like we've wasted a lot of money on carseats and that he's constantly growing out of them before he's the legal age to move up to the next size.

Luckily I see that the seats are catching up to the laws- weight/height limits are increasing to accommodate normal-but-big kids to the age limits. My friend got that 30-pound rear-facing seat for her second son and was so pleased with how long its lasted.

I absolutely recommend trying any carseat in your car before you buy. (unless you have giant cars, but we don't). Many carseats are so huge, rear facing you may have a hard time with your front seats having to be scrunched up to accommodate. And I hate that it seems almost impossible to contemplate getting three kids in the back seat of any car thats not a behemoth. (we'll only have two children, but what if we want to take a friend somewhere? carpool?)

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Old 12-06-2008, 12:09 PM
 
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Too many choices. Makes my head hurt!

I remember sleeping in a "car bed" in the backseat when I was little. And riding around in the back of my dad's pickup. We never wore seatbelts.

Just waxing nostalgic.

That said... how come we're all so concerned about car seat safety (MI just passed a law that boosters are required until a child is eight)...

and yet we send them off to school on busses with no seat belts??

(Another good reason to home school, I know! )

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Old 12-06-2008, 01:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by emmaegbert View Post
Knowing what I now know- I'd just borrow/buy a bucket style seat from someone you know (it will probably be barely used!) and buy yourself a convertible seat, but check first that it actually fits in your car in both positions.
That's a great idea! Just be certain it's never been in an accident & has not expired.

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Originally Posted by mischievium View Post
the top two recommendations for infant seats seemed to be the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Graco Infant SnugRide 32 (I think I read that they are phasing out the SafeSeat, also the SafeSeat is rated for up to 30lbs, where as the *new* SnugRide 32 is rated up to 32lbs, NOT to be confused with regular SnugRide which is only rated for 22lbs). We have ordered the Keyfit because, having looked at them in person at BabiesRUs, the "upholstery" of the seat seemed slightly better made and the seat seemed slightly easier to get in and out of the base.
Well the SnugRide 32 is twice as much money as the regular SnugRide (that only goes to 22 lbs). When we moved dd from the SnugRide to the Marathon (rear facing of course) @ 4-5 months, she was MUCH happier w/ the positioning. I can't imagine anyone being able to carry a baby around in a bucket weighing more than 22lbs & as long as you were going to RF in a convertible, I guess don't understand why you'd spend the extra money on a SnugRide 32 rather than putting that money toward a better convertible. Although, I guess you could go straight from a SnugRide32 to a Nautilus is you really left your kid in the SnugRide32 to 32lbs.

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We love out Britax Marathon, but if I had it to do all over again, I probably would get an Evenflo Triumph Advance or a Radian.
Just because they are less expensive & "just as good" (in terms of ratings & function- they both RF as long as the Marathon, I think & the Radian is "as tall" as the Marathon, which is important for us & our giant kids).

I know someone here didn't like her Evenflo Triumph Advance, but fwiw, I know lots of people who love it.

Differences b/w the three... the Radian is the "thinnest" & would be best for fitting 3 seats across a back seat (the MA & ETA are both quite wide). The Radian is the "tallest" & people often have trouble installing it rear facing. The ETA would be the "shortest"- easier for RF installation, but wouldn't last a tall kid as long. Like someone said, google the brand & your car model & you'll get some helpful info. Also, at Babies R Us, you should be able to drive your car up to the curb & try installing their display seat in your car.

One more thing... some convertible seats can be tethered rear facing, some cannot. In newer cars, it can be really hard to find an anchor point for RF. Again, google your make & model w/ "car seat rear facing anchor point" or the like & you'll get helpful info + photos.

I've become a bit of a car seat junkie too
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Old 12-06-2008, 03:48 PM
 
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oh and if you can get a friend with a toddler or older baby to come with you to the store to try seats out. When we were deciding between the triumph and marathon we brought dd with us, she was around a year I believe. That helped us figure out what we liked and didn't in the different seats.

If you have a babies 'r' us near you go there to try seats out.. They have a beanch seat from a mini-van? or the back seat of a car, not sure which.... you can even try out installing seats on it.

DH wanted one seat (can't remember which) and he tried to install it, put dd in it and adjust it.

Also there was one model of the seat that the adjustment knobs were broken on in our babies 'r' us, target and baby depot, needless to say that one got crossed right off our list.

All the reviews in the world can't beat real world experience.

mum to Christopher (6/98) Elizabeth (2/05) twins Aaron and Dominic (7/10/06) and new baby Eden (4-18-09)
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