Time for new car seats - disappointed in Britax, want safest seats possible - suggestions? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-13-2010, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We need to get new car seats for both of the children - DD is almost 3.5 and 35 lbs, DS is almost 1 year and 18 lbs. Both are tall. We need to replace car seats, and our biggest concern is safety, which is why in the past we've always gone with Britax. I have grown disillusioned with this company, though, as of late because:

1) They refused to honor their recall when the harness adjustment on DDs 3-year-old seat broke, so now the harness is near impossible to adjust and
2) When I was in a car accident, the insurance company would have paid for new seats if the manufacturer recommended new seats. Britax would not help, declaring the accident "too minor". Most (if not all) other car seat companies recommend seat replacement in any accident.

So, now I need to buy new non-Britax seats and I'm hoping to get some suggestions here. I'm looking mainly for the safest ones out there. This is far and away the most important thing to us and I'll trade off any of the below if needs be. Our other preferences are:

2) Can RF for the longest amount of time.
3) Can be used to the biggest height/weight limits possible.
4) Are comfortable for the kids.
5) I drive a minivan so size is mostly not an issue, but I would like them to fit in the airplane seat for air travel.

TIA for your suggestions!

T , mom to S and C
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:58 PM
 
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Are you planning on having your daughter RFing or FFing?

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Old 01-13-2010, 02:22 PM
 
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For the 1 year old, a truefit has one of the tallest shells and RF to 35 lbs. A second option, almost as tall w/ RF weight limit of 40 lbs. is the Graco myride65. They both harness to 65 lbs. FF. I would definitely not consider turning the 1 yo FF for a long time, although it's not even an option at 18 lbs. Either of those seats would keep him RF at least another year, and probably longer.
For the 3 year old, I really love my nautilus. There are only 1 or 2 seats with higher harness slots. Just a few weeks ago I moved her to the 3rd set of slots. She had been in the second slot for about a year. This one harnesses to 65 lbs. and also converts to a highback and backless booster, which many people have found to work well for positioning the belt well. Many combination seats make cruddy boosters. Most kids can make it to about 6 years harnessed, and many even longer. The longer a kid can stay harnessed correctly, the better, so they have time to grow and mature enough to sit right in a booster, which they will need for several more years.
If your 3 yo is RF, you could try her out in a myride for the last 5 lbs. RF. I've noticed they're fairly easy to find, but I can never find a truefit in stores near me to try out. My daughter still fit in the myride at 38 1/2", 34 lbs., and almost 4 yo. I think she would be the top or 2nd to top slots (it was in store, so the angle wasn't the same as installed and couldn't remove the infant padding), but I can't remember if those are allowed for RF kids.
All three seats have a fairly long expiration also, meaning it's likely they will last until the kid is old enough to sit properly in a booster. I think the myride and nautilus are 6 years (9 years w/o the harness on nautilus) and the truefit is 7 years.

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Old 01-13-2010, 03:56 PM
 
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If you have tall kiddos with long torsoes, I wouldn't do the MR because it has the shortest shell of the 40lb convertibles. My kiddos might have made it to 35lbs in it, but not beyond. The tallest highest weight rfing convertibles are the Complete Air and Radians. The true fit is tall, but has a 35lb rfing weight limit. Any of those should be great for the baby. For your older one, if she is ffing, the nautilus is a great choice. You could also look at the frontier if you don't like the nautilus, but really, I think the nautilus is just as good and cheaper, it just depends on your kiddos comfort.

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Old 01-13-2010, 04:04 PM
 
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If you have tall kiddos with long torsoes, I wouldn't do the MR because it has the shortest shell of the 40lb convertibles. My kiddos might have made it to 35lbs in it, but not beyond. The tallest highest weight rfing convertibles are the Complete Air and Radians. The true fit is tall, but has a 35lb rfing weight limit. Any of those should be great for the baby. For your older one, if she is ffing, the nautilus is a great choice. You could also look at the frontier if you don't like the nautilus, but really, I think the nautilus is just as good and cheaper, it just depends on your kiddos comfort.
Agreed. My son has a very long torso but not all that tall anymore (50% at his 3 yr check up but he was 75% at his 2 yr) and was too tall to RF in the MyRide when it came out last spring, he was 32 lbs and 36-37" tall at the time. (FWIW, he outgrew the Marathon RF by height at 28 mos, 31 lbs - probably would've been too tall for the MyRide at the same time). TrueFit definitely would've lasted longer for him.

We very much love our Radians, and DS still has room to grow RF'ing at 37 mos, 38" and 35 lbs. (I've seen pics of kids with similiar overall stats that still fit in the MyRide though...DS just has a crazy long torso for his overall height from other pics I've seen). Some people seem to hate the Radians though.....

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Old 01-13-2010, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for the info. I'm excited to give these seats a look! DD is currently FF, but only because she hit the RF weight limit in her current seat. I'd be happy keeping the kids RF until they are driving themselves, if I had the option.

T , mom to S and C
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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We love our radian 65. DD just moved into it this past week. We have her FF in the middle and she is on the 3rd harness slot (2 still above her).

That sucks about britax. We too had the seat with the harness button breaking off. They replaced ours w/o a fight and DS is now in a boulevard RF. It is amazing how much more room the radian has RF. We will be getting another radian in a year or so to keep him RF I am sure.

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Old 01-13-2010, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, we are some long-torso'ed people, so thanks especially for the insight about the seat heights.

T , mom to S and C
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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I am looking at the Radian 80 SL. It 5 pt. harnesses up to 80 lbs and 53 in. tall! I am looking to buy this for my 5 1/2 year old, I am not happy with the high backed booster she is in now. I didn't think I could find a 5 pt harness to fit her, as she is tall and outgrew the harness in this seat pretty quickly after I got it. This model claims to have the highest slot height by 2 inches. This model also folds up (the seat folds up into the back!!) for easier travel. You can also fit 3 across in a typical SUV or even a sedan (I have read, I have not tried this).

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Old 01-13-2010, 07:06 PM
 
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I just wanted to post that, if your looking at radians I highly recommend ordering from Diapers.com - I orderd one and it came yesterday and I just can't get it to fit in my car (99 accord). So, they've already sent me a return shipping label to ship it back for FREE. Oh, and cause' right now the XTSL can be had for $215.99 and the 80SL for 195ish

If your looking for a truefit premier they're onsale at albee baby for $189 - w/ a 15% off coupon (15off) their $161.49
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jeannineb View Post
I am looking at the Radian 80 SL. It 5 pt. harnesses up to 80 lbs and 53 in. tall! I am looking to buy this for my 5 1/2 year old, I am not happy with the high backed booster she is in now. I didn't think I could find a 5 pt harness to fit her, as she is tall and outgrew the harness in this seat pretty quickly after I got it. This model claims to have the highest slot height by 2 inches. This model also folds up (the seat folds up into the back!!) for easier travel. You can also fit 3 across in a typical SUV or even a sedan (I have read, I have not tried this).
The nautilus and frontier both have higher harness height than the radian. They also convert to boosters. No child (unless very chubby) will make it to 80lbs and very few will make it to 53". My 41" 41lb 5yo is pretty much too tall for the radian now (going by the shoulder straps over or even rule).

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Old 01-14-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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I thought that the Radians (and only Radians!) allowed FF kids' shoulders to be above the top slots.

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Old 01-14-2010, 01:22 AM
 
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It is allowed. It is fairly uncomfortable for bigger kids. Most kids will make it to a safe booster age/size in a Radian. Very VERY few physically and developmentally typical kids need to be harnessed to 80#.

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Old 01-14-2010, 08:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post
I just wanted to post that, if your looking at radians I highly recommend ordering from Diapers.com - I orderd one and it came yesterday and I just can't get it to fit in my car (99 accord). So, they've already sent me a return shipping label to ship it back for FREE. Oh, and cause' right now the XTSL can be had for $215.99 and the 80SL for 195ish

If your looking for a truefit premier they're onsale at albee baby for $189 - w/ a 15% off coupon (15off) their $161.49
A little off-topic, but thank you for the TF Premier tip. I just ordered one for the new baby!

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Old 01-15-2010, 01:06 AM
 
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Yes, as long as their ears are below the top of the shell and the child is less than 53" tall. But, whether you're comfortable doing that (or if your child will be comfortable in the seat at that point) is up to you.

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Old 01-15-2010, 04:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post
I just wanted to post that, if your looking at radians I highly recommend ordering from Diapers.com - I orderd one and it came yesterday and I just can't get it to fit in my car (99 accord). So, they've already sent me a return shipping label to ship it back for FREE. Oh, and cause' right now the XTSL can be had for $215.99 and the 80SL for 195ish

)
i was just about to buy a radian for my 1992 accord. i'll have it rear facing. how did it not fit? front to back?

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Old 01-15-2010, 12:13 PM
 
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Yeah, it just made the seat infront of it unusable. I could actually get it installed fairly well, and fairly upright. It just didn't matter - its just too big
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