Easy-to-buckle car seat for taxi rides/rental cars, etc.? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 11-08-2012, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello! Here's my situation: we live in the city and don't own a car, but we use our car seat a few times a month for taxi rides, trips with friends, carshares, etc. So ease of buckling in (without using a base) is paramount.

 

We've been using the Chicco Keyfit 30 since DD was born, which I really like: it's super easy to run a lap or shoulder belt through the two slots on the top -- we just buckle her in, lock off the seat belt, and go. I can do it in about 30 seconds, which means I don't feel the need to apologize profusely and massively overtip the cabbies (though I do always thank them for waiting and slightly overtip wink1.gif).

 

But my little one is off the charts for height & weight and will likely be outgrowing this seat within the next few months. Anyone have any insight into a good convertible that's (1) easy to install and (2) not too huge (we're sometimes in smallish cars--Corolla, Nissan Versa, etc.)? Obviously we also want something that's safe, comfortable for the little one, and ideally won't break the bank... but if it's something she can use for several years, I would probably pay a little more if it'll mean every car ride doesn't entail a 15-minute ordeal to clip the car seat in properly!

 

Thanks so much for any advice!

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#2 of 9 Old 11-09-2012, 04:21 AM
 
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Our first years true fit is maybe a minute to install RF: two clips click into the latch hook and then you pull the strap tight. Unclipping is easy too because you don't have to loosen the straps first but just push a button on each clip and they release. I've never installed it using the seatbelt yet so hopefully others can chime in about that. It's a great seat with a removable headrest until 22 lbs (gives you more room in the front). It's not small but sturdy and easy to use. It will RF to 35lb and FF to 65lb. If you want to RF longer then the diono radian is a good choice (RF to 45lb) since it will also act as a booster to 120lb. I don't have one though and don't know how easy they are to install.
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#3 of 9 Old 11-09-2012, 10:36 AM
 
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Unfortunately, there won't be a convertible that's as easy to use in this situation as the Keyfit or any other infant bucket. greensad.gif

 

I would not buy a Radian for this purpose. "Fast and easy to install in a wide variety of vehicles" is not a description of a Radian.

 

The True Fit is easy, but not fast, to install with a seat belt. It has lock-offs for the seat belt which are great, but not super quick. It's also kind of a big seat to be hauling around with you.

 

I think the two car seats I'd take a look at are the Graco Size4Me 70 or the Safety 1st Guide 65. The Safety 1st has the advantage of being lighter and narrower. It's fairly tall. The Graco is even taller (by quite a lot) so that's a huge advantage for an off-the-charts tall kiddo. 

 

I have not actually installed either of these seats personally. I've looked at them and they appear pretty easy, as convertibles go. 

 

I would also invest in a really high-quality, sturdy rolling / folding luggage cart so you can push the child around in the car seat as if it's a stroller. 


~*~ Full time mom ~*~ Hobby Sheep Farmer ~*~ Child Passenger Safety Technician ~*~ 

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#4 of 9 Old 11-09-2012, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you both for your replies! I will check those out and hopefully one of them will be a winner for us. 

 

If anyone else has personal experience with a car seat they like (or wouldn't recommend) for this situation, I'm all ears, but this will be a helpful jumping off point.

 

Thanks!

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#5 of 9 Old 11-09-2012, 11:55 AM
 
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While I love my truefit, it is too big and bulky for travel. Also, its amazing-ness comes from the removable headrest to let it do an infant recline in a tiny car. Not the situation for the OP.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#6 of 9 Old 11-09-2012, 12:28 PM
 
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I've been in a situation similar to yours since my 2 year old was born. Don't own a car. Live in cities where car use is minimal - taxis and Zipcars/rentals a couple of times a month are about it. We also do our fair share of air travel so having a car seat that we can use on the plane (and at our final destination in a rental car) are also considerations for us.

 

Bottom line: I've been happy with our Combi Coccoro, but I don't know if I'd recommend it to you since your baby is already probably about a year old? The lifespan of the seat will be limited. Here are some pros and cons:

 

PROS:

  • I can fit the seat in the bottom of my Britax B-Ready stroller while DD rides in the stroller seat, which is a huge help when I'm traveling alone with DD. The Coccoro also fits in the stroller seat of my umbrella stroller (a Bumbleride Flite), and in a pinch I can even keep DD in the car seat when I push the seat in the stroller (for example, when she falls asleep as the plane lands and we don't want to wake her while walking to baggage claim). It's not a true travel system by any means. Combi does sell a stroller base for the Coccoro, so you CAN use it as a true travel system. I've never seen this in use though. It honestly doesn't seem very practical for use with a child over 6 months old who wants to sit up and look around, because the car seat sits in a very reclined position in the stroller base.
  • The Coccoro has fit rear facing in every type of car I've ever tried to install it in, which includes many compact cars.
  • The seat is so narrow that two adults can fit in the backseat with the baby in most cars. Sometimes I have to play with the placement of the seat (side, center) for optimum adult comfort, though.
  • Very quick and easy install. These days I don't even bother with using latch, as I can get the most secure fit in most cars with a seatbelt.
  • Lightweight. While it's unavoidably cumbersome to carry a car seat around with you, the light weight of the Coccoro is about as good as it gets.

 

CONS:

  • The small size of the seat is a blessing and a curse. Your child will outgrow it more quickly than other, larger seats. My DD (average height) had outgrown the seat rear facing by around 18 or 20 months.

 

 

I am currently looking around for a replacement for the Coccoro. I'm thinking about trying out a Radian. I know people say that they're more difficult to install, but the folding seat feature is pretty major for me. It would allow me to continue transporting the seat in the storage compartment of my stroller when I'm walking to/from the car. I find the stroller solution to be essential. I need to be able to keep her strapped safely in the stroller while I install the seat, then I can put her in the seat while I put the stroller in the trunk of the car.

 

The folding feature would also be helpful because we need to store the seat in our home when it's not in use. Folding seat would take up less space!

 

 

In my (short) time being a mom I've found that the car seat needs of non-car-owning city dwellers are very very unique. It seems like this toddler phase, when the child is too large for an infant seat but too small for a compact booster seat (like the inflatable Bubble Bum), is atrociously tricky. Of course we want to do what's safest by our kids, but many of these seats coming on the market that allow extended rear facing are both too bulky to fit in random taxis and rental cars and too heavy to carry around and store when not installed in the car. I really wish some car seat manufacturer would catch on and design something to better fit our needs!!!


Mama to A (08/10) & E (03/13).
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#7 of 9 Old 11-10-2012, 06:42 AM
 
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 Would a Ride Safer Travel Vest be a solution?

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#8 of 9 Old 11-10-2012, 07:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post

 Would a Ride Safer Travel Vest be a solution?


Definitely something to consider, in the future. Maker has it labeled for ages 3 and up.

I've used it with my 2yr old that was the size of a 3-4yr old for a cab ride. Definitely doable when you have an adult right beside the child. Don't know if I would do it with my now 3yr old if it was a long ride with her alone in the backseat. It is not as escape proof as a harness, but less so than a booster.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#9 of 9 Old 11-10-2012, 01:33 PM
 
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The RSTV is classified as a booster, not a car seat. It does have some advantages over a typical booster for kids in the "almost but not quite" ready for booster stage. But 3 is the youngest I would use one. 


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