Overwhelmed by car seats - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 03-16-2012, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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We are expecting kiddo #2 in June and are in the process of searching for a new carseat. I have so many questions and my brain seems to be elsewhere these days :)


We have two vehicles, a subaru outback and FordF150.  DD (5) has a seat that is easy enough to move between both vehicles but is mainly parked in the truck, my primary vehicle.   When DD was an infant we used a bucket seat which seemed to work well and then moved her to a convertible.  We no longer have her bucket seat (it was loaned to us) but do have the convertible.


The plan is to put the convertible in DHs subaru and the bucket in my truck.  We plan on getting the convertible seats (we have 2) down from the garage this weekend.  I've read that carseats expire?  Is this true?  If so, what resources or links should I check to make sure our convertibles are still good.


I'm also looking for good websites to check out safety ratings for bucket seats.  I have found the britax b-safe to be in our price range but other than that I don't know much about it.


For those with a baby and child - where do you place the seats in your vehicle?  I'm thinking the baby would need to go in the middle of the truck backseat as there is not a ton of room and DD would sit behind the passenger seat.  In the subaru the middle 'lump' makes it hard to get any carseat balanced so I a thinking to place a kiddo on each side.  Are there any recommendations on multiple car seat arrangements?  Do they exist for specific vehicles?


And if you have any experience with multiple carseats in an F150 (it's an 04 if that makes any difference) I'd love to hear about it.  We also have a large dog that rides with us in the vehicles (in the backseat of the truck in a restraint or in the hatchback part of the subaru) but I can see that coming to an end, in the truck at least.  Maybe securing his crate in the back of the truck? 


so much info - thanks for your help 


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#2 of 3 Old 03-16-2012, 10:25 AM
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Most seats expire after 6 years.  What convertible do you have?  Not all of them fit newborn babies, so you may not be able to use that seat in your other vehicle for a while.  When you get th seat out, check for the sticker that lists the Date of Manufacture (DOM) to find out when it was made and add 6 years to see if it's expired.  And post the make/model here and we'll let you know if it tends to fit newbies or not.  If it does, you need to make sure it's installed at a full 45 degrees.


As for infant seats, there is no way to know which seats are safer.  They all pass the same crash tests.  The rest are bells and whistles.  The infant seats I see most recommended are the chicco keyfit, the graco snugride35, and the safety first onside (or onside air). 


As for placement, ideally the least protected child should be in the middle.  Since ffing provides less protection than rfing, you ideally would put your older child in the middle and the baby outboard.  That being said, they are perfectly fine both outboard if that's how they fit best in your vehicle and you get the best install.  Not all seats fit side by side.  You also might need to put baby in the middle to have enough room front to back to have the seat at the newborn 45 degree recline.  When baby gets older you can install the seat more upright.

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#3 of 3 Old 03-16-2012, 04:34 PM
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Dahlia got it! Yes, definitely check your expiration's. Your convertibles might no longer be good. You'll also want to check them for recalls. If you end up having to replace them, many parents just buy two bases for the infant seat for starters. And as Dahlia said, not all convertibles fit newborns well.

What year are your cars? Do you know where you have LATCH? Some seats, like the Chicco Keyfit and the Snugride35, install really well with a seatbelt.

As far as position, there are a lot of factors. Like if your 5 year old is in a booster, does it have a back? Does your center position have a head restrained and a lap/shoulder belt? If not, then he must be outboard. Most parents of two just put them each outboard. The center install can be hard and it's often difficult for older kids to buckle boosters smash up against a car seat. If there is enough room, and a lap/shoulder belt and head restrained, then yes, the least protected child goes in the most protected spot, which would mean the older child in the middle.
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