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#1 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi All,

 

I need a new car seat for my husband's car and I'm a little stumped.  I'm hoping there is some good knowledge to pull from here to help us in making this important safety decision.

 

My son is 26 months old, 36 lbs, and 36 inches tall.  Due to his height and the way the shoulder straps are sitting below his shoulders on their highest setting, he no longer fits in the car seat we have for occasional use in my husband's car.  I'm surprised, because it's the Cosco Scenera, which we expected to fit a bit longer.  Oh well I guess?

 

So we need a new seat.  I feel we have two options: get a higher height limit 5-point harness car seat OR get a 3-in-1 car seat that can transition to a booster.  It seems to me the best use of our car seat dollars would be to get a seat capable of transitioning to a booster, since we do not use the seat in my husband's car often.  I am therefore considering a few seats that can make the transition.

 

I'm concerned about a few things:

-overall fit for my son, who's both heavy and tall

-the minimum requirements for booster use (if he's supposed to be 4 years old before he sits in it, he'll probably be 40 or 50 lbs, but I can't be sure, so I'm inclined to go with a lower minimum)

-ease of use/adjustment, ease of washing, etc. as we do plan to use it for several years but infrequently meaning we may be adjusting strap length each time we use it

 

I am considering the following seats but am open to other suggestions:

-Diono Radian (cannot be used as backless booster; minimum weight for booster use is 50 lbs vs typical 40 but I don't know if this is a problem?)

-Graco Nautilus (seems the crotch strap doesn't adjust out very far and I'm worried as my son's on the larger size that this won't support his growth all the way up through booster seat use years down the road; also seems very wide fit in car)

-Britax Frontier (seems hard to install, hard to adjust straps, and hard to wash; straps seem to twist up often; also seems very wide fit in car; cannot be used as backless booster)

 

And in case it matters, my husband's drives a 2001 VW Jetta.  It's fairly small and there's not a ton of room back there.

 

Thanks so much for any thoughts!

Cady


Cady, wife to Patrick (8/2/03) partners.gif and mother to Bradley (11/24/09) jog.gif and little bean (edd 5/31/13) 2ndtri.gif.  Planning our first home birth and looking for any information and advice on the subject!

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#2 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 06:55 AM
 
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It's not at all surprising that a 36" child has outgrown a Scenera by height.

 

A newly-2yo is very VERY much safer rear-facing.  I notice that is not something you are considering.  Are you willing to?


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#3 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I suppose I agree with you.  I guess when we bought it way back when DS was about 3 months old I thought the Scenera would last longer as it is/was touted for extended RF, but then he's grown faster than we ever expected so you're right that it's not surprising given his height now.

 

The reason we have him FF is he is not good about folding his legs up.  He pushes them against the back of the seat.  The install expert at our police station said that would be awful in an impact for his legs and recommended we switch him to FF.  Did we get bad advise?


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#4 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 07:11 AM
 
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Yes, you got bad advice.  Was the person you talked with a certified CPST?

 

There are no, NONE, reports of leg injuries due to rear-facing.  In fact, forward-facing children are more at risk for leg injuries, either through hyperextension (I think that's the correct term?) or impacting the vehicle seat in front of them.  As I wrote, RFing kids' legs are not in danger.  But even if they were (and they're not), broken legs heal much better than broken necks, and that's what you're risking with a forward-facing newly-2yo.


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#5 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yikes.  Thank you for asking about it!  I never would have thought to question the officer.  I have no clue if he was a CPST - he was the officer in charge of the police department's car seat fitting clinic, so I assumed he knew what he was talking about.  I will be giving the police department a call.

 

Okay, so regarding the question of what seat, given that it sounds like we should turn him back around to RF again... are any of the above-mentioned seats okay for RF?  I think the Radian and the Frontier are, correct?  Is there a clear choice one over the other?


Cady, wife to Patrick (8/2/03) partners.gif and mother to Bradley (11/24/09) jog.gif and little bean (edd 5/31/13) 2ndtri.gif.  Planning our first home birth and looking for any information and advice on the subject!

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#6 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 07:33 AM
 
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The Frontier does not rear-face.

 

The Radians do, and they currently have the highest rear-facing capacity on the market.  It's what I would recommend for a 36# 2yo.  I would not count on using the Radian as a booster -- it's not a great booster.  But booster use is several years down the road, and good dedicated boosters are much less expensive than convertibles.  Since your son is not an infant and your husband's vehicle is small, you'll probably want the Diono angle adjuster to get a more upright install.


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#7 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

 It's what I would recommend for a 36# 2yo.  I would not count on using the Radian as a booster -- it's not a great booster.  But booster use is several years down the road, and good dedicated boosters are much less expensive than convertibles.  


Yeah he's a biggun!  

 

Not a good booster eh?  Why, do you know?  So if we got the Radian at this point he could hopefully use it till he's good and ready for a booster, and at that point we could just get any old booster, right?  That would be the argument for buying a big seat now to support extended harness use.  It's not so important to get one that is usable as a booster too?  I wish there were one seat because we seriously go weeks without using a seat in this car and it'd be nice not to have to get separate $200+ seats each time....  I mean we'll pay whatever we have to for safety of course, but it's frustrating to have to go all out when we hardly use the car.  That's why I was hoping to get a "two for one" type situation with a seat we could use as a booster as well.

 


Cady, wife to Patrick (8/2/03) partners.gif and mother to Bradley (11/24/09) jog.gif and little bean (edd 5/31/13) 2ndtri.gif.  Planning our first home birth and looking for any information and advice on the subject!

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#8 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 07:56 AM
 
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The booster is outgrown by height long before a child is seatbelt-ready, and it doesn't always position the shoulder straps well.

 

I wouldn't just get "any old booster" -- some tend to fit better than others and it seems like you have a large child so you'll need a large booster -- but that's several years down the road and what's on the shelves then will likely be very differentr than what's there now.  It certainly won't be $200, though.  It probably won't even be $100.


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#9 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

The booster is outgrown by height long before a child is seatbelt-ready, and it doesn't always position the shoulder straps well.

 

it seems like you have a large child so you'll need a large booster -- but that's several years down the road and what's on the shelves then will likely be very differentr than what's there now. 


True.

 

So I should not think of them as useful as both harness car seat and booster, because no seat is designed to do both well, is that correct?

 

Thanks again for your info about turning him back around RF!  I cannot wait to hear what the police department has to say....

 


Cady, wife to Patrick (8/2/03) partners.gif and mother to Bradley (11/24/09) jog.gif and little bean (edd 5/31/13) 2ndtri.gif.  Planning our first home birth and looking for any information and advice on the subject!

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#10 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 10:41 AM
 
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Basically, yes.  There are excellent convertible seats that do both rear-facing and forward-facing very well (the Radians are among those).  There are excellent combination seats that do forward-facing-harnessed and boostered very well.  There are currently no seats that do rear-facing, forward-facing-harnessed, and booster and do a good job at all of them.  Usually it's the booster that suffers most.  But you NEED rear-facing, so the only appropriate seat for you right now is a convertible with a high rear-facing capacity.


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#11 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 12:50 PM
 
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My question is how quickly is your DS gaining weight?  My DS sounds to be a similar size as yours - was 38 lbs at 2, and is still gaining weight at about 1 lb per month and height at 1/2 inch per month.  For me it wasn't worth shelling out for a seat that would allow him to RF to 45 lbs, since he's on track to hit that at 2 1/2.  Economically that didn't make sense for us, but then he hasn't outgrown his TFP by height yet FF either.  We will be moving him into a Frontier 85 when he reaches that point though, which will be before his 3rd bday, at this rate.  From everything that I've been told by the ladies around here, for a kid that's both tall and heavy, the Frontier 85 is going to last the longest. 

 

What is his primary carseat right now, since you say you're replacing the secondary?


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#12 of 16 Old 02-07-2012, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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His primary seat is the Recaro Signo, which does RF to 40 lbs.  He'll be there soon... and I am not inclined to replace that seat with something that will go just 5 more lbs to a RF limit of 45 lbs (that's the max there is, correct?), I have to be honest.  What would help me is some general information about growth curves.  He's my first, so I have no idea how long it'll take him to a) go from 37 lbs to 40, and b) go from 40 to 45.  Could it be years?  Or is it likely to just be a few months?

 

We heard the Frontier was not great (see my comments above - not easy to machine wash, not easy to adjust harness straps, etc.) so we got the Radian.  We're installing it in my husband's car tonight.  Wish us luck!


Cady, wife to Patrick (8/2/03) partners.gif and mother to Bradley (11/24/09) jog.gif and little bean (edd 5/31/13) 2ndtri.gif.  Planning our first home birth and looking for any information and advice on the subject!

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#13 of 16 Old 02-07-2012, 07:53 AM
 
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The Recaro Signo does NOT rear face to 40 lbs.  It only rear faces to 35.  If he's 37 lbs now and you have him rear facing you CANNOT continue to use that seat rear facing.  The results could be catastrophic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cadybh View Post

His primary seat is the Recaro Signo, which does RF to 40 lbs.  He'll be there soon... and I am not inclined to replace that seat with something that will go just 5 more lbs to a RF limit of 45 lbs (that's the max there is, correct?), I have to be honest.  What would help me is some general information about growth curves.  He's my first, so I have no idea how long it'll take him to a) go from 37 lbs to 40, and b) go from 40 to 45.  Could it be years?  Or is it likely to just be a few months?

 

We heard the Frontier was not great (see my comments above - not easy to machine wash, not easy to adjust harness straps, etc.) so we got the Radian.  We're installing it in my husband's car tonight.  Wish us luck!



 


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#14 of 16 Old 02-07-2012, 07:58 AM
 
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Absolutely, he cannot ride in a seat for which he is over the limit!

 

Growth curves are hard to predict.  USUALLY, it takes a lot longer for a kid to go from 40# to 45# than from 35# to 40#, but none of us can guarantee that.  In addition, for carseats, it's torso growth that matters, not overall growth.  (Two personal examples of "hard to predict":  my kid just put on 7" and almost 30# over the last 18 months, and between the ages of 5.5 and 7.5, she grew about 5" overall but her torso only grew a little over 1.5".)


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#15 of 16 Old 02-07-2012, 01:28 PM
 
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Growth curves, like the pps said are impossible to predict.  Basically, all you can do is measure and weigh monthly and after a while you'll have an idea of his growth.  Which is how I know that my DS is growing 1/2 inch and 1 lb per month, which is unusual.  I started measuring him at 18 mos so I could track it. 

 

And yes, there are some aspects of every seat that may not be the easiest to deal with, but ultimately I'm going with the Frontier because it is the largest on the market, will fit the biggest kid the longest.  And since my DS is on track to hit 6 foot by the time he's 10 just like his daddy (if not sooner), we're gonna need it. 


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#16 of 16 Old 02-07-2012, 05:24 PM
 
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Growth prediction is not terribly accurate, but you can always look at the CDC charts and see if he has been close to one curve and then just extrapolate outwards.

 

Here is the 2 years plus chart:

 

http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/data/set2clinical/cj41l071.pdf

 

Here is the infant- 3 year old chart to see if he has been fairly steady in his growth so far (or if he is accelerating or decelerating):

 

http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/data/set2clinical/cj41l067.pdf

 

At 26 months, his height would be close to the 75th% and his weight just over the 97th%.  Since most children outgrow seats by height earlier than weight, you're lucky in that a higher weight seat will actually be *used* by him.

 

Good luck!


 

 

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