AAP clarifies carseat recommendations (i.e. keep your LO rear-facing till at least 2 yrs) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 03-22-2011, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all!

 

The research showing how rear-facing is 5 times safer has been out for years, and the AAP has recommended keeping kiddos rear-facing til they reach the limit of their carseat.  However, their old guidelines still referred to the '1 yr and 20 lb rule' which made many people think that was when they should turn their kiddos forward.

 

They just released and clarified their stance:

http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/carseat2011.htm

 

here's another news article about it:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/21/car.seat.guidelines.parenting/index.html

 

Unfortunately, the law allows kiddos to be turned at 1 yr/20 lbs and none of the pediatricians around here seem to be spreading the word on how much safer this keeps your kids. Many people just don't know about this (I only stumbled upon this info when I ended up at the forums on  http://www.car-seat.org/ when looking for a carseat to replace the infant bucket seat we had with DS).   I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but I thought this info might be useful to some of the first-timers.

 

My 2.5 yr old son is still happily rear-facing in our Honda CRV and in our tiny Toyota Corolla.  He HATED with a passion his infant seat and car rides were traumatic for all of us.  Once we got the rear-facing convertible which allowed him to sit up higher and actually see out the windows things got much better!


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#2 of 26 Old 03-22-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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People use to always question why our daughter was still rear facing at over 2 a few years ago.  In fact we are keeping her in a 5 point harness until 60 pounds instead of like many others who couldn't wait to turn the carseat into a booster seat. She is the only kid in her grade that still uses a 5 point harness....sad.


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#3 of 26 Old 03-22-2011, 12:21 PM
 
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I'm a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and I've been telling parents this same thing for YEARS! I am thrilled that the AAP has finally released the official recommendation to the public so that more people are aware of what the best practice is. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration) is the government agency that certifies CPSTs and defines what the best practices are for child restraint systems and booster seats. They've been saying this same thing since at least 2000 so it's taken quite a while for the AAP to get on board, which is really sad.

 

Part of being a CPST is educating parents about the fact that state laws are often way behind what the most current findings are for child passenger safety, and that you can always go above and beyond what the law says.

 

My kids were still in booster seats until about 9 months ago. My daughter still isn't tall enough to be out of one (recommended that kids are in boosters until they reach a height of 4'9") but her head and neck aren't supported properly when she's in the booster so it's safer that she's not. Texas updated their child passenger laws last year and they are actually really good. I know that there are a LOT of states that don't seem to care much what the laws are regarding this, and as a result there are kids all over the place who are not properly restrained.


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#4 of 26 Old 03-22-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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Drives me nuts! We have extended rearfaced and extended 5pt harnessed since 1999. Eiley 2 1/2 and Finnian 19 months are rearfacing. Innish 4 and Ellery 6 are in 5pt harnesses. Kellen 8 is in a booster and Balen 10 just outgrew his by weight. Having a conversation on facebook w/ some distant relative about it and so much misinformation! Mostly the leg concern, ugh!


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#5 of 26 Old 03-22-2011, 01:06 PM
 
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So, so, so glad this has been changed. I hope it moves up to Canada, soon. I was just having an argument with someone I know about how their doctor told them it was "so dangerous" to have their child's (a 15 month old, no less!!) knees drawn up that could, "whack them in the head and cause head injuries" during a crash. I mean... what? Because THAT is more dangerous than having their head internally decapitated? I didn't know what to say.


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#6 of 26 Old 03-23-2011, 08:34 PM
 
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We've been rearfacing from the beginning.  I am toying with the idea of turning the carseat around and letting the kids face each other when the baby comes (she'll be 2 and 4 months).  I don't know.  Do I go till 3?  Do I wait until she outgrows the seat (at 50 lbs.)?  It's hard when you are stricter than the safety laws!

 

At what point did, Innish turn arround, Annabelle?


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#7 of 26 Old 03-23-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JosieAK View Post

We've been rearfacing from the beginning.  I am toying with the idea of turning the carseat around and letting the kids face each other when the baby comes (she'll be 2 and 4 months).  I don't know.  Do I go till 3?  Do I wait until she outgrows the seat (at 50 lbs.)?  It's hard when you are stricter than the safety laws!

 

At what point did, Innish turn arround, Annabelle?


He was closer to 3 years, I believe 33 months IIRC. He was bigger so outgrew sooner. Eiley could be rearfacing forever, she is tiny. Sometimes I want to move a milestone along, but I have to remind myself that there is no need usually. Finnian and Eiley have been rearfacing together for over a year now, right next to each other and it has been so sweet, her holding his hand. Now though they bite each other at times so they have been moved apart, one next to Innish and one next to Ellery on separate benches. This should bring peace.

 


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#8 of 26 Old 03-23-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JosieAK View Post

We've been rearfacing from the beginning.  I am toying with the idea of turning the carseat around and letting the kids face each other when the baby comes (she'll be 2 and 4 months).  I don't know.  Do I go till 3?  Do I wait until she outgrows the seat (at 50 lbs.)?  It's hard when you are stricter than the safety laws!

 

At what point did, Innish turn arround, Annabelle?


Josie, does your seat go RF all the way up to 50 lbs? Or the total weight limit of the seat is 50 lbs? That's something to be aware of because most seats only go up to 35 lbs RF, but will have a higher weight limit FF.

 


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#9 of 26 Old 03-23-2011, 10:11 PM
 
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Im so happy that they officially came out with the 2 yr recommendation! We were planning on having DD rear facing until ... 30? haha but at about 18 months had to switch her around due to her getting car sick! --- I always have gotten motion sickness, even if I just look down in the car for a short time, but I never considered that a baby would get sick. As soon as we switched her, bam! no more screaming and sickness. I am putting my trust in her SunShine Kids Radian and the fact that I am a stickler with her straps being tight and harness in the correct position.

 

It really kills me the amount of people who don't strap their kids in tight enough! When I was babysitting for a 6 month old, her mother would bring her over everyday with her chest buckle literally touching the crotch buckle and the straps so loose that the baby could wiggle her arms out. Everyday I would put her in her seat and tighten the straps, positioning the chest buckle correctly..... She never got the hint. She also bought the Radian on my recommendation (her daughter was HUGE and needed to be in a convertible asap!) but refused to put her in it for some reason. She even had it installed in the car beside the infant carrier---- so weird!?

 

I am really hoping to get this little boy into a Radian of his own asap and hopefully have him rear facing until at the very least 2! DH isn't prone to any kind of motion sickness so I am hoping, like father like son.


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#10 of 26 Old 03-23-2011, 10:24 PM
 
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Height is more important than weight, when considering the maximums of the seat. A child that weighs over the limit is not in any additional danger, but a child whose height is too long for the seat's maximums can sustain a head or neck injury.

 

We turned both of ours when they hit the height limit, which was a hair over two for our daughter and nearly 3 for our son.


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#11 of 26 Old 03-24-2011, 01:53 PM
 
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If DD gets near the point of outgrowing her seat for height I may consider even buying another seat just to keep her RFing longer. (Radian? She's in a Boulevard now.)

I linked the AAP article to my Facebook wall and got nothing but flack from my "friends" greensad.gif

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#12 of 26 Old 03-24-2011, 02:07 PM
 
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DD turned 4 last month and several people were lauding how great it was that we could use a booster now! I bought the Britax Frontier a year ago specifically so we wouldn't have to use a booster, thanks so much... Plus, now that she can click herself in and out (fortunately winter coat season is ending; SO much easier with just a regular shirt!), it's not much extra hassle.

 

We turned her around at 15 months old when DH came back from deployment, as we only had 1 car at the time and we couldn't both fit comfortably in the front seat of our car (both are 6'+ tall) with her rear-facing. It shouldn't be an issue this time, as the Ody should have ample space to have DD#2 rearfacing for much longer. 

 

It's tough to spread the word, because you're basically telling your friends that they don't care about the safety of their kids, and they usually say that it's so much easier....they are bored RF...their legs hit the back of the seat... (the answer to that one is to sit cross-legged, right?)

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#13 of 26 Old 03-24-2011, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The CNN article I linked to above did a good job of responding to many of the reasons people give about NOT keeping their kids rear-facing (specifically addressed that it is okay for their legs to hit the back of the seat, it is okay for their legs to bend.)

 

It is annoying that we cannot lean back or recline either of the front seats due to the rear-facing carseats.  But it is small hassle for such a huge benefit.  Luckily neither DH or I is extraordinarily tall.  One thing a lot of people don't realize is that once kids are ~6 months or so their convertible carseats can be placed at a much more upright angle (30 degree vs the 45 degrees for infants).  This can help a lot with the front-to-back room and often times a RF convertible will take up less front to back room than the infant bucket seats.

 

The new AAP recomendations also clarify booster rules.  I don't remember the specifics, but I think it was something along the lines of keeping kids boostered until 8-12 yrs of age AND a certain height.  (I think my extremely short sis-in-law who is 24 yrs old may actually be short enough she should still be boostered! LOL).


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Quote:
We were planning on having DD rear facing until ... 30? haha but at about 18 months had to switch her around due to her getting car sick! --- I always have gotten motion sickness, even if I just look down in the car for a short time, but I never considered that a baby would get sick. As soon as we switched her, bam! no more screaming and sickness

 

Here too. Oh wow, the screaming, sickness, misery. We turned dd around the same age (maybe at 16 months). Now at 6 she is still in a 5-pt harness car seat that goes up to 65lbs with adjustable shoulder straps that will fit for a good long time (she is only around 47lbs).

 

Planning on keeping the wee one rear-facing as long as possible.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by littleteapot View Post

Height is more important than weight, when considering the maximums of the seat. A child that weighs over the limit is not in any additional danger, but a child whose height is too long for the seat's maximums can sustain a head or neck injury.

 

We turned both of ours when they hit the height limit, which was a hair over two for our daughter and nearly 3 for our son.

 

I have to tell you that this is absolutely not true! A child who is too heavy for a seat can actually rip the straps out of the carseat entirely in a crash. The seat does need to fit for height as well, since head and neck injuries are so serious. But if your child isn't attached to the seat with the straps because she/he was too heavy and they ripped out, then it won't matter if the height was right because that child is now airborne and probably out of the vehicle. A child that is thrown from a vehicle will have very serious, and probably fatal, head and neck injuries along with a host of other issues.

 

The bottom line is that the seat needs to be used properly within all limitations for height and weight. The seat needs to be installed in the vehicle properly. The straps and buckles in the seat need to be used properly every time the seat is in use.
 

 


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#16 of 26 Old 03-24-2011, 10:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staryla View Post
The new AAP recomendations also clarify booster rules.  I don't remember the specifics, but I think it was something along the lines of keeping kids boostered until 8-12 yrs of age AND a certain height.  (I think my extremely short sis-in-law who is 24 yrs old may actually be short enough she should still be boostered! LOL).


Children should be in a booster seat until they are 4'9" or taller. The knees need to hit the edge of the vehicle seat when the child is sitting with his/her back flat against the vehicle seat. And the seat belt should fit properly: shoulder harness across the chest and collar bone, lap belt across the tops of the thighs or hip bones. Some children will reach the height requirement but they won't fit the vehicle seat properly, in which case it's better to keep them in the booster for longer.

 


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#17 of 26 Old 03-25-2011, 07:13 AM
 
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Thanks for posting this.  DS is 3, still RF and it's helpful to have an "authoritative" source like the CNN article to point people towards when they question.  He's still only 35 lbs and pretty short, and we have another 5 lbs to go RF in his seat.  Have already turned him in Grandma's car (weight limit lower RF on that seat), but he doesn't seem to have a problem with different directions at different times.

 

Posted it on my facebook, we'll see what kind of reaction that elicits :)


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#18 of 26 Old 03-25-2011, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lithigin View Post

It's tough to spread the word, because you're basically telling your friends that they don't care about the safety of their kids, and they usually say that it's so much easier....

 I have a hard time with this one too.  I think a lot of people just have no idea that it is safer to be rear-facing or that it is even possible to keep kiddos RF over a year, but I haven't come up with a good way to bring up the topic without sounding like I'm telling them they care less about their kids...so I usually don't say anything.  I'll try to post pictures on FB periodically of our son in his carseat, and of course I posted the recent news release on FB. 

 

I've emailed some of my pregnant friends links to the AAP recomendations and links to articles that explain how much safer rear-facing is.  I figure that's a pretty non-confrontational way to spread the word and since they don't have kids yet they can't get offended because I'm 'judging' their parenting.  I usually say something in the email about how if they have any questions about carseats I'd love to have a discussion, but that otherwise I won't bother them about the topic again.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by staryla View Post

 

I've emailed some of my pregnant friends links to the AAP recomendations and links to articles that explain how much safer rear-facing is.  I figure that's a pretty non-confrontational way to spread the word and since they don't have kids yet they can't get offended because I'm 'judging' their parenting.  I usually say something in the email about how if they have any questions about carseats I'd love to have a discussion, but that otherwise I won't bother them about the topic again.


I hear you on not wanting to come off as sounding like I'm judging people's parenting either (even if I am!). I offer to check and teach my friends how to install carseats for new babies and for their bigger babies and toddlers when they get new seats since I'm a CPST. It's a great way to be able to tell them that the longer they leave their babies/toddlers RF, the safer they are. But I've also learned not to say anything to them if they're already doing something that's not best practice because it will offend them. Sometimes kids just can't be RF for a really long time because of the seat type, vehicle type, space available in the car, etc. It does make me CRAZY when I know people that will switch their babies FF at 10 or 11 months and justify it by saying that the baby weights more than 20# and their first birthday is "only" a month or two away. In those cases, I do say something because it's REALLY unsafe!

 


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#20 of 26 Old 03-26-2011, 04:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jshannyn519 View Post



 

I have to tell you that this is absolutely not true! A child who is too heavy for a seat can actually rip the straps out of the carseat entirely in a crash. The seat does need to fit for height as well, since head and neck injuries are so serious. But if your child isn't attached to the seat with the straps because she/he was too heavy and they ripped out, then it won't matter if the height was right because that child is now airborne and probably out of the vehicle. A child that is thrown from a vehicle will have very serious, and probably fatal, head and neck injuries along with a host of other issues.



I apologize for not being clear, I thought it was obvious that I was speaking for going over the limit by like... 5lbs (which is generally when this is brought up), but I'm often unclear like that. ;)


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#21 of 26 Old 03-28-2011, 03:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littleteapot View Post

I apologize for not being clear, I thought it was obvious that I was speaking for going over the limit by like... 5lbs (which is generally when this is brought up), but I'm often unclear like that. ;)


No worries. I tend to get a little crazed about carseat safety. I think it comes with the territory of being a CPST and seeing parents doing so very many things that are so totally unsafe. Personally, I won't use a seat if my child is even 1# over the weight limit or their head is barely less than 1" from the top. But again, I'm spastic about all of that. lol

 


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#22 of 26 Old 03-29-2011, 02:18 AM
 
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I'm with you on that, tbh... my response was mostly aimed (in my head, but obviously not on paper!) at those who make the excuse about having to turn the baby because their height is well under but they're like 2lbs to the limit and that's clearly going to be soooo dangerous. It just drives me crazy.


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#23 of 26 Old 03-30-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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I'm so lost on this car seat stuff. How on earth do you decide what seat to buy? I'm seriously considering just buying the same seat that my friend bought. If it'll fit in her tiny car it'll surely fit in mine. Is it okay to put a newborn in a convertible seat?

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I'm so lost on this car seat stuff. How on earth do you decide what seat to buy? I'm seriously considering just buying the same seat that my friend bought. If it'll fit in her tiny car it'll surely fit in mine. Is it okay to put a newborn in a convertible seat?


You can put a newborn in a convertible seat, but different brands may not fit a newborn very well.

 

For my purposes, I want a convertible seat that has a high weight limit for RF and for FF. So I look through the seats with that in mind and rule out the ones that have lower weight limits.

 

Seats like the Britax Marathon, Boulevard, and Advocate go RF from 5-4 lbs and FF up to 70 lbs. They're made for kids who are 49 inches or shorter (standing height, which is 4'1"). They tend to be bigger seats, both taller and wider than a lot of other convertibles, so if you have a super tiny car it might not fit well.

 

The Radian carseats by Sunshine Kids also have high weight limits. The Radian 65 is RF 5-40 lbs and FF up to 65. The Radian 80 goes FF to 80 lbs. The Radian XT SL is RF 5-45 lbs and FF to 80 lbs. The Radian seats are tall in the back, but the seat isn't as high off of the vehicle seat as the Britax seats are which does make it easier to get baby/toddler in and out. They will fit a child up to 53" tall (4'5"). The major drawback to the Radian seats is that they are HEAVY because they're made with a steel frame. So if you have to move the seat a lot I wouldn't opt for this one. But, they do fold up flat for storage or transport if necessary.

 

Combi convertible seats only go to 40 lbs FF, which seems like a waste of a seat if you're keeping baby RF until it's 35 lb weight limit. You'd have to buy a whole new seat to FF your baby. There are a TON of seats that fit into this size category. Actually, the majority of seats sold now are 35 lbs RF and 40 lbs FF. With the previous recommendation of turning baby FF at 20 lbs, you could still get 20 lbs of use out of the seat FF if you turned baby that early. With the new recommendations I suspect that the rest of the carseat manufacturers will be altering their products for higher weight limits both RF and FF.

 

There is a Cosco Alpha Omega seat that says it's for up to 100 lbs. It's only used with the 5-pt harness up to 40 lbs and then it's a belt-positioning booster up to 100 lbs with the vehicle seat belt. They usually don't clearly mention that on their packaging.

 

The Evenflo Momentum goes FF to 65 lbs, and 40 lbs RF. It's about the same size as a Britax seat is, but I don't think it's as tall. Evenflo also sells a Triumph that goes up to 65 lbs.

 

Graco has a My Ride 65 that is 40 lbs RF and 65 FF. Grace makes pretty good products overall and I've always been happy with their products. This seat also comes with an infant insert that can be removed when baby gets bigger. That's a nice feature to have since anything that does not come with the car seat has not been crash-tested with the seat and shouldn't be used.

 

Peg Perego Primo Viaggo SIP goes 5-30 lbs RF and 40 lbs FF. You can then switch it to a booster seat for the kids that are 40-65 lbs. I wouldn't recommend this seat either. It's really expensive and the weight limits on it suck, frankly.

 

Recaro ProRIDE is 5-35 lbs RF and up to 70 lbs FF. They're bigger seats too, about the same size as the Britax seats are. The height limit is for kids under 50 inches tall (4'2").

 

The Safety 1st Complete Air65 is RF 5-40 lbs and FF to 65 lbs. It has a FF height limit of 52 inches (4'4") and it also has the infant insert. This one has some nice head support on the sides as well and it's reasonably priced.

 

The First Years has a couple of seats with higher weight limits. The True Fit, True Fit Premier, and True Fit Recline all go 5-35 lbs RF and up to 65 lbs FF, and hold a 50" tall child.

 

 

I hope that helps a little bit! One thing I highly recommend is to go to your closest major baby products retailer and test out various car seats in your vehicle before purchasing one. You'll need to make sure that it fits the width of the seat, the depth, and the height of your car. A seat that makes you have to drive from the dashboard isn't going to be worth the money. Most of the convertible seats come with some kind of infant insert that can be removed later. Just remember that if it doesn't come in the box, it was NOT crash-tested together. Adding all those little extras from the store can affect the integrity of the carseat and make it not perform the way that it is supposed to in a crash. After you find a seat that you like, that fits your car, take it to a Safe Kids certified installer so he/she can help you install it and check the fit. The CPST should go over the safety aspects of how to use the seat and how to install it correctly.

 

 

 


Jenni
Momma to my boy (1/99) & girl (7/00), Birthmomma to my Ladybug (8/09), the new baby monkey boy born 6/6/11!
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#25 of 26 Old 04-01-2011, 03:09 PM
 
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Seats like the Britax Marathon, Boulevard, and Advocate go RF from 5-4 lbs and FF up to 70 lbs. They're made for kids who are 49 inches or shorter (standing height, which is 4'1"). They tend to be bigger seats, both taller and wider than a lot of other convertibles, so if you have a super tiny car it might not fit well.


Both my 4yo (FF) and 17mo (RF) are using Marathons. My 4yo is fairly tall and thin and I think she's got a way to go before she's too big for the seat. I have read - but have no personal experience - that the Marathon is often ill-fitting for newborns with the straps being too high and poor head support. I can definitely see this being true. At one time I had both Marathons and a backless booster in the back of a Ford Taurus which is not a tiny car but it was a tight fit. We have a Honda Pilot right now and I don't consider the seats crazily cumbersome. I do understand that Marathons are no longer thought to be all that and many great options exist for convertibles. 

 

I'm at a loss at the which seat I'll get for the new baby. Part of me wants to ease of mobility and the ability to cover the wintertime baby in a bucket but then I'm like do I want to spent nearly $200 on a seat that'll most likely not last a year when I can buy a convertible from go? I'm not a leave-the-baby-in-the-bucket mom but I will also always have another baby under two and the option to just click the baby into a base is appealing especially during bad weather. I try to imagine trips to the grocery with a newborn, a 20mo, a 4yo and which way would be easiest. I come to no carseat conclusions other than dang, that'll suck sometimes. Ha, these are the huge problems of my life.     

 


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#26 of 26 Old 04-01-2011, 04:38 PM
 
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I got a bucket seat along with the stroller from a friend of mine for a super deal. I'm not a drag a baby around in a bucket mom either, but the convenience factor for when we'll be at whatever sports practices we're at during the end of summer and fall will be awesome sauce. I plan on wearing him a lot, but I know that it will be super hot too. I mean, hello, I live in Texas!


Jenni
Momma to my boy (1/99) & girl (7/00), Birthmomma to my Ladybug (8/09), the new baby monkey boy born 6/6/11!
Student nurse, doula, future midwife, and breastfeeding, bedsharing, babywearing, organic gardening, God-loving single momma

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