Car seat recommendations for "big kids" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 01-15-2014, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi! I have three children (8,6, and 2) that I want to get new safer carseats for. I'm sure I can figure out something for the 2 year old with all the posts around here but I'm concerned about choosing for my older two. My son is 6, 46" tall and around 50#. I also want to get something safe for my tiny 8 year old dd who is 48" tall and only 46#. (That's another story though...) I don't want to give them "baby" seats since they're older and school age. This is especially a concern with my tiny dd who I expect will remain tiny and car seat weight/size for some time. I am afraid her tiny size puts her at risk in the vehicle but since I'm not expecting much improvement and large growth I hate to get her a "baby" seat to be in when she's 10 and 11 and still in one! What is appropriate for aging out of car seats and given size? Are there any "cool" seats for older children that are tiny like mine? I'd love suggestions and help from the more experienced mamas here. Cost is not too much of a consideration as I'll get whatever I need to plus I expect to continue using these as long as possible even if it's just my younger moving into them. Thanks!


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#2 of 18 Old 01-19-2014, 06:22 AM
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Hi crazyms! Have you checked out the reviews info in our Car Seats Reviews?


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#3 of 18 Old 01-19-2014, 11:40 AM
 
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What are they currently riding in and why do you want to replace their current seats?


Carseat-checking (CPST) and WAH mama to a twelve-year-old girl.
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#4 of 18 Old 01-20-2014, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They currently have the standard cosco seats from Walmart that I could afford to buy at the time I got them. I got what I could at the time but I'm afraid they aren't the safest for them and I may need to replace with something better since I'll finally have the money to do so. I'm especially concerned with the older two being in just that seat positioning booster and if something else suited for their size would be better for them.


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#5 of 18 Old 01-20-2014, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh I forgot to add also that we have a '97 Pontiac Transport minivan so size of the seat for car fit isn't an issue as I have three rows and plenty of space for them to have seats. The back row is the three seater bench style and the center row has two captains seats.


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#6 of 18 Old 01-20-2014, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry to post again but here are links to seats similar to what my kids are in. 

 

DD (2 years old - almost 3)

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Cosco-High-Back-Booster-Car-Seat-Polyanna/16932759

 

and my older two DD (8) and DS (6)

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Cosco-Pronto-Belt-Positioning-Booster-Car-Seat-Teardrop/19514436


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#7 of 18 Old 01-21-2014, 08:15 AM
 
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Your 2yo should still be rear-facing if possible, and the seat she has is not suitable for rear-facing. 

 

The Cosco Pronto is fine for the 8yo as long as there is vehicle support (high seat backs or headrests to the tops of his ears, since the booster itself does not provide adequate protection.

 

The Cosco High Back Booster provides terrible belt fit so your 6yo does need a different booster.

 

Belt-positioning booster seats are fine for 6yos and 8yos as long as they position the belts properly and there is adequate head support.


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#8 of 18 Old 01-21-2014, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you have any suggesting for belt positioning boosters that would provide better support and a better belt fit? There are so many seats to choose from that I'm at a loss here. I would like something with a better belt fit for the 6yo and although my 8 yo fits the belt fine in hers I would like something with more support for her as well since she's so frail. She's a very thin and tiny girl even at 8 and I'm concerned about her seat not being sturdy enough to protect her although I'm afraid it's going to be this way for a long time for her so I'd like to get her something that she can stay in for a long time and it not be too "babyish" when she's over 10 and still in need of the help. Would she be okay at a certain age regardless of size?? I was thinking not but professional opinion on this would be very welcome. We're going through health testing for why she's so small (another story) but I don't think we'll see any growth and size improvement in her for quite some time. Also any suggestions on good belt fit boosters for my 6 yo or seats for my 2yo would be welcome as well. Thanks so much for the help. 


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#9 of 18 Old 01-25-2014, 10:20 AM
 
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Do you have a budget in mind?

 

As stated before, the Cosco Pronto is a fine belt positioning booster.  To get something that fits better, you'll just need to take your child and have them sit in a variety--- can you go to Target, Toys R Us, WalMart, etc.. and have her try them out.  The belt path is the "correct" kind and the only point of a booster is placing the belt correctly.  If she's uncomfortable, another one would be better, but there is no evidence that another booster will be *safer.*  If you want to reharness her, that would be an option, but at her age there is no evidence it is safer.

 

The real concern is the two year old.  How big is the two year old (height and weight)?  Torso heights (have them sit against a wall and measure from the floor to the top of their shoulders) will help picking a good seat, too.


 

 

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#10 of 18 Old 01-25-2014, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! That helps me feel better. I have looked a couple of seats with her that do "fit" her but I was concerned with her small size if re-harnessing her might be the better option. I took her out of the harness when she outgrew her harness seat and was 40# but thought at the time that she would be growing and fine in a belt positioning booster with back. Since she has had little to no grow I've gotten progressively concerned about her frailty in the belt positioning booster. My 2 year old will be three in April and is currently right around 36" tall and 28-30#. I will check her torso height for seat checks. Thanks I wasn't sure how to do that! 

 

The seats I'd looked at that we liked as possible options were the evenflo seats: 

http://www.amazon.com/Evenflo-Chase-Booster-Seat-Optical/dp/B00AJSIXWK

http://www.amazon.com/Evenflo-High-Back-Booster-Sprocket/dp/B00AJSIVWW/ref=pd_sim_ba_10

 

These are the only ones I've had access to actually see that looked okay although I am definitely open to other options. I just haven't been able to play with any others to test out. We had actually looked at those seats as options because of the size originally to fit three across in my old vehicle but now that I have the van that's not a problem now.


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#11 of 18 Old 01-25-2014, 11:57 AM
 
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Dionos have good seats and they're releasing new ones with higher weight limits this spring. I'm personally looking into getting the Diono Pacifica, once it's out, for my then 2yr old and putting my newborn in his Maxi Cosi Pria.
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#12 of 18 Old 01-28-2014, 11:09 AM
 
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I just wanted to reassure you that there is NOTHING wrong with the seats you got at WalMart as long as they are installed correctly, used every time and fit your child (both age and developmentally) correctly.  They meet the same tests as more expensive seats.  They might not last as long or be as easy to use, or as comfortable sometimes, but they are definitely safe and you shouldn't feel bad about buying your seats at WalMart.  Simply by having your older two in ANY seat you're doing better than most people!

 

What were you thinking of buying now?  Did you still want a new seat for your two year old?  Were you interested in re-rearfacing or are you going to stay forward facing?


 

 

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#13 of 18 Old 01-28-2014, 11:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by simonzkedge View Post

Dionos have good seats and they're releasing new ones with higher weight limits this spring. I'm personally looking into getting the Diono Pacifica, once it's out, for my then 2yr old and putting my newborn in his Maxi Cosi Pria.

 

Just so you know, the Dionos are not changing their shell, so it will be the same height seat.  :(  I was so disappointed when I saw that because seats are generally outgrown by height instead of weight.  Most kids don't end up using the higher weight limits (45 pounds) *already*, the 50 is going to be overkill for all except a very few kids--- many of whom would have already outgrown it by height.  I like the new look, though!


 

 

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#14 of 18 Old 01-28-2014, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am looking to leave her forward facing. I'd like her rear facing but she's not comfortable that way and moves around too much for me to feel safe like that. In a forward facing she behaves and stays put which is much safer LOL. She's almost 3 now so I'm comfortable with her forward facing as long as she's harnessed good and has side protection. 

 

Thank you for reassuring me about the cheaper seats. I would love to buy the more expensive seats but it's not always possible when you have so many needing seats. I like the evenflo that I posted in my last post for getting new seats for them. I just really want to replace the others because they're no longer comfortable for use and I'm concerned about the fit not being quite right. I wonder if they have good side coverage though or if a different type of seat would be better. I would think a budget of up to $100 or so per seat will be fine but there are so many options!


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#15 of 18 Old 01-28-2014, 06:20 PM
 
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My cousin showed me this website and it helped me wrap my brain around car seat features, http://csftl.org .
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#16 of 18 Old 01-29-2014, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! That site is really helpful. I found some decent options I like. Just need to decide which will be the best for each kid. I will likely keep ds in a belt positioning booster since he's comfortable in one. DD1 wants to go back into a harness if I can get her one so I'm looking at the higher rated harnesses for her. I would like to re-rearface dd2 and I'm thinking about getting a seat to try it out. In my freaked out mommy moment looking at the car seat recs I forgot why I'd originally turned her forward facing after 2 until dh mentioned it. She has bad reflux and was choking in the car and getting sick more being reclined in the rear facing. Maybe I can find something that isn't so reclined though or maybe she wouldn't have so much of an issue now and I could re-rf her. She is getting slightly less sick on a regular basis now so maybe... Regardless I want a new seat for her that will keep her harnessed for a long time yet. 


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#17 of 18 Old 01-29-2014, 01:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyms View Post
 

Thanks! That site is really helpful. I found some decent options I like. Just need to decide which will be the best for each kid. I will likely keep ds in a belt positioning booster since he's comfortable in one. DD1 wants to go back into a harness if I can get her one so I'm looking at the higher rated harnesses for her. I would like to re-rearface dd2 and I'm thinking about getting a seat to try it out. In my freaked out mommy moment looking at the car seat recs I forgot why I'd originally turned her forward facing after 2 until dh mentioned it. She has bad reflux and was choking in the car and getting sick more being reclined in the rear facing. Maybe I can find something that isn't so reclined though or maybe she wouldn't have so much of an issue now and I could re-rf her. She is getting slightly less sick on a regular basis now so maybe... Regardless I want a new seat for her that will keep her harnessed for a long time yet. 

 

Before you try to get DD1 back into a harnessed seat, you'll want to measure her torso height.  Have her sit cross-legged with her back against a wall.  Then measure to the top of her shoulders.  That is her torso height.  Then, when you look at seats, you want the top harness slots to be significantly above her shoulders (so she has room to grow).  Most seats have 17-18" top slots.  If she is already 17+" torso height, you'd need to look at the Britax combination seats which are significantly more expensive.

 

If you got DD1 a combination seat and she didn't end up using it for long, you could always pass that down to your two year old.

 

Please let us know if you have any other questions :)


 

 

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#18 of 18 Old 01-29-2014, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Great idea. Thanks for the instructions on torso height. I was concerned about choosing one since I can't test them out or see them. I was looking at the Britax for her since I could give it to little dd later on when she outgrows hers. That would actually allow me to buy a seat with lower limits and thus cheaper for lil dd to level out total cost with a higher cost seat for dd. I'll definitely let you know if I have any more questions. Thanks so much everyone! 


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