how do you choose a car seat? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-03-2011, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm going round and round with the 3 oft recommended - true fit, radian, complete air.  We expect DS (10 months and ready for a convertible) to be tall/skinny.  We have a VW Passat wagon.  I check carseatdata.org for our car and didn't see much.  I could just get all 3 on amazon and try them out I suppose but what a hassle.  Last bit of info, we also have a 12 yr old DSS.  IF we were going to have another baby, it would be in the next 2 yrs, which would be 2 car seats and a teen in the back seat.  This is not high on the consideration list (because we don't even know if we want another) but still something to think about - how wide the seat is.

 

If your brain isn't spinning which so much info (as mine is), please help with these questions or any other pointers, thanks!

 

1.  I like how my bucket seat I tighten the harness after putting him in it,then loosen it to take him out.  We recently used my friend's Evenflo convertible (no idea which one) and that part was not easy.  DS was screaming by the time we managed to finish.  Is it easy to tighten/loosen with DS in the seat for these 3 seats, or is that just a bucket seat thing?

 

2.  True Fit C670 Premier.  I like that these recline.  I'm thinking that way when we'll be in the car longer than normal DS can sleep more comfortably.  Is that a valid consideration?  Is the recline something I would need to do at install, is it adjustable when he's in the seat?  Does reclining make the seat take up more room (I'm guessing yes)?  Is the slightly lower weight limit a concern?  I mean - how do you really know how your kid is gonna grow?

 

3.  Complete Air 65 LX.  These recline as well I believe.  Again, that seems like a good idea, but is it?  I see a lot of reviews about this one taking of way too much space RFing.  Will I even notice something like this coming from a bucket seat (Graco snug ride)?  I think this is the one you can find at BRU so I can at least try this one out myself.

 

4.  Radian.  This was our first choice.  I thought the steel frame sounded good (don't plan to travel with it).  The biggest concern here is all the talk about the LATCH problems.  I know a seat belt install should be just as good, and we'd get it checked.  But DP is all about the LATCH lol  Also, I see mentioned often "if you can get it installed upright".  Not sure I understand - why is it harder to get upright in some cars than others?

 

5.  About all of them:  Does the cushion come off for washing and if so, is it just toss in washer/dryer or are there special instructions?

 

I'm sure I had other concerns/questions over the last few days of researching this, but I didn't keep a list, and this is way too long anyway.  Thanks for any help!


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Old 06-03-2011, 01:20 PM
 
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I have a tfp.
Yes, you have to adjust the recline at install. The seat cover comes off super easily.

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Old 06-03-2011, 03:36 PM
 
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For an older baby (like yours) you an install the seat more upright than 45 degrees (the radian sometimes won't install more upright due to how the seat works rfing, it's car dependent).  Regardless, every one of those but the radian should take up less  room rfing then the bucket.  The CA installs upright quite easily (though if you put it as the full 45 it will take up a lot of room front to back - just like any other seat would!).  Do you have a BRU near you?  If so, you can at least try the CA in your car before you buy.  Diapers.com also has free return shipping.


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Old 06-03-2011, 03:40 PM
 
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I have a TrueFit (not premier) and a Complete Air (two actually).   My experience with the Radian is more limited. 

 

1)  This varies a lot by seat.  The Complete Air is harder than the TrueFit to tighten with the kid in place, but sometimes the adjuster gets buried on the TrueFit, depending on the car.  This problem is considerably better on the TrueFit Premiere, I hear.  I generally don't loosen my seats' straps at all, though, I just use the continuous harnesses (pull out one strap, put kid's arm in, pull out other strap, put kids arm in, even straps out, buckle).   I've heard that the Radian's harness adjuster is sticky too.  The TrueFit may be the easiest of the three if you can get to the adjuster!

 

2)  Usually seats with an adjustable recline have to be adjusted at installation time.  You can also increase the recline of a seat using a pool noodle or tightly rolled towel (also at installation time).  The weight depends on the kid, and yes there's some guesswork.  My DD had a TrueFit, but I got her a Complete Air at age 2.5 so she could RF longer.  However, she has younger twin brothers to pass the seats down to, so it wasn't much of a loss for us. 

 

3) The Complete Air is a very, very tall seat.  If it is reclined at a 45 degree angle it will take up a lot of space.  It's not bad at all if you can get it more upright.  That's why I got the regular Complete Air 65.  I can always make it more reclined with pool noodles when needed, but I can't make it more upright as easily.

 

4)  The Radian, in some cars, can't be installed more upright than 45 degrees.  The shape of the seat makes it really hard to adjust the angle of your install.  In some cars it isn't a problem.  Squishier seats are better, fwiw.

 

5) The TrueFit is super duper easy to remove the cover for cleaning.  You don't even need to uninstall the seat.  Most of the Complete Air cover can be removed, but not the parts on the headrest.  I think you have to uninstall the seat, though. 


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Old 06-04-2011, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the info.  So the recline isn't really what I was thinking it was for.  I'll put that lower on the consideration list.  Maybe the CA should be first on the list.  I'll go to BRU and see how it fits in the car and how getting DS in and out will work.  I like the idea of being able to clean the cover of the TF so easily, but it doesn't sound like the CA is too bad.

 

Any other things I should consider?  Thanks mamas!


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Old 06-04-2011, 10:04 AM
 
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Maybe consider bringing along a towel or pool noodle to test out the installation at BRU.  Many car seats, including the standard Complete Air (non-LX model) will need a tightly rolled towel/noodle to get the right level of recline when RF.  For an older baby like yours, the car seat can be as upright as 30 degrees.  My CRV has very flat seats, and I can get a regular Complete Air at 30 degrees without a noodle.  Depending on the shape/slope of your car's seats, you might need one.  Rest assured that using a towel/noodle does not compromise the safety of the installation!

 

I don't own a Complete Air, but I've tried them out several times when I was considering which seat to purchase next.  I liked it!  It's not as narrow as a Radian, of course, but it's still a relatively narrow seat.  The low-profile sides are handy for getting older RF children in and out easily.  The True Fit is also great.  That's what we have for our baby on the way.  But, it is wider than the Complete Air, which might be a hassle if you'll likely want to have 3-across someday.  My 3 year old is just 29 pounds, so the 35 pound RF limit of the True Fit is totally enough for us.  However, you might be grateful to have the 40 pound limit on the CA.  

 

We have a Radian, too, but it is difficult to get it to install more upright than 40-45 degrees in some cars.  Unless you really think you'll need the 45 pound weight limit or really want the folding feature for travel, I'd not put it at the top of your list.  Especially for RF in a smaller car. 


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Old 06-06-2011, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh wow.  So we tried the CA in the car yesterday.  Apparently our seats are already at an angle - it was not a good fit at all :(  We did notice an Evenflo that seemed to be taller than the others that I'm going to look into now.  I might just take advantage of the amazon return policy and try the true fit.  At this rate it will be faster to try and return if needed than to keep dithering.


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Old 06-07-2011, 01:46 PM
 
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What do you mean about your vehicle seats being at an angle?  I didn't have a problem with a Complete Air in a Jetta a couple months ago at a seat check.


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Old 06-07-2011, 01:51 PM
 
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I think she might mean the slant of the seats from front to back, where you sit.  In which case a tightly rolled towel or pool noodles can easily remedy the problem fo a seat being too upright.  Or  different installation techniques.  I haven't met a car the CA didn't work in yet.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by an_aurora View Post

What do you mean about your vehicle seats being at an angle?  I didn't have a problem with a Complete Air in a Jetta a couple months ago at a seat check.



 


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Old 06-07-2011, 02:05 PM
 
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Gotcha!  I tend to think of slanted vehicle seats as a good thing, when it comes to older kids in convertibles!  Easier to get a nice upright install that way, while leaving lots of room for the front passengers.


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Old 06-07-2011, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, that is what I meant.  Based on the pic DP showed me (I stayed inside the store) that would have been a lot of pool noodle or towel!  I think I like the CA better than the TFP (based only on what I've read anyway).  If the TFP seems to fit the same way maybe I'll get the CA and find someone to help with the install.  Thanks for those comments.


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Old 06-07-2011, 05:50 PM
 
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One good thing about the tfp is the recline feature can help with getting the angle you want despite the car's angle

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Old 06-08-2011, 06:21 AM
 
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For the CA, did he fold up the little "foot" at the back of the seat to put it in recline mode?  You can use up to three pool noodles stacked in a pyramid.  Even for the CA (which is a fairly upright seat) that is usually enough. 


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Old 06-08-2011, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not sure about the foot, I'll have to ask. 3 noodles? I hadn't realized, thanks !

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Old 06-09-2011, 06:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chel View Post

One good thing about the tfp is the recline feature can help with getting the angle you want despite the car's angle


In some cars noodles are necessary with the TFP, too.  


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