car seat advice needed - UPDATE post # 69 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 70 Old 10-15-2006, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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(We really, really need a car seat forum...)

DS recently turned 3 and for a while now has been complaining about his car seat (a Britax Roundabout, fwiw). It is for babies, he says. He wants a "big boy seat." It has gotten worse recently because I picked up two backless boosters to keep in the trunk for transporting his cousins (ages 4 and 6). He's been getting especially worked up about it lately, asking me to take the "baby seat" out and throw it away. He so desperately wants to be "big".

I'm not sure where all this is coming from, as we have never played into the baby/big boy phrasing to get him to do things (for precisely the reason of wanting to avoid this kind of issue). I have been trying to talk up the advantages of his current seat, like how he gets to sit up high in the center of the back and see out the front. He doesn't care (if he even understands me, I'm not sure).

Going into a booster only is not an option at this time obviously, but I am not averse to purchasing a DIFFERENT seat that perhaps would have a lower profile. The RA is actually 6 years old anyway. I was looking at the Recaro Young Sport, since it turns into a booster and sits a lot lower, but it only harnesses to 40 pounds. DS is currently around 30 pounds, I guess I really don't know what that means as far as how long he could be harnessed in it. I know some go up to 65 but I have a hunch they are the bigger, bulkier ones that look "babyish" to DS.

Any suggestions? Obviously his safety is paramount, so I am looking for suggestions along the lines of "Why don't you try Seat X" or "I explained it to my son in this way" rather than the less-than-helpful "It's not negotiable" kind of feedback posts such as this one always seem to elicit. I'm trying to respect his feelings and work with him on this. TIA!
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#2 of 70 Old 10-15-2006, 09:02 AM
 
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Ok, I'll be perfectly honest in saying that I believe that "not negotiable" is the way to go. You can explain to him the reasons why and you can tell him that it's not your choice; but that even if it were, you'd choose this one because it's safer and you care and if you changed his seat too soon and something were to happen that you'd be horribly upset.

Another idea (similar to the "non-negotiable" part) would be to arrange to speak with a police officer at the station. Tell your child that you want to make an informed decision together, and arrange to have a police officer tell your child about the laws surrounding his carseat and why the laws are there. Perhaps hearing it from a police man might make him change his mind for the sheer awe of having a cop talking to him.

I don't however, think you should run out and buy another one just because he's upset about this one (unless of course he says - without coaxing the answer out - that this one hurts him or something). I think if you do that, you'll be instilling the thought that all he has to do is complain enough and you'll buy him a solution. (this is kinda general, but I hope you understand what I mean by that).

You could also ask him questions to get to the root of WHY he wants a different one. Is it because the bigger kids can get out of their own seat? Is it because he likes the color? If you know his reason, maybe you can find a solution.

And finally, maybe you and the child could decorate his seat (say, stickers maybe?) to something he likes better. You could have his name embroidered on the side....hire a college student to do it. If you make it cooler for him, and especially if he can help make it cooler; then maybe he won't want to change in the end afterall.

Good luck!

WARNING: The comments and opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of the community in which I reside; or those of the internet parenting network.
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#3 of 70 Old 10-15-2006, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well as I mentioned, the seat is six years old...meaning it's actually kind of time for a new one anyway. There's also the issue that he's coming up on outgrowing it for height. So I guess what I'm looking for is a harnessed seat for bigger/taller kids, but with a lower seated profile.
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#4 of 70 Old 10-15-2006, 12:02 PM
 
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Well, since it's 6 yrs old AND a roundabout (which I would guess he's about to outgrow...) I'd get a new seat. I'd get a regent. It will give you the most bang for your buck and last him quite awhile safely harnessed in a 5pt harness. I'd sell it as a race car driver seat

-Angela
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#5 of 70 Old 10-15-2006, 01:28 PM
 
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The Regent does sit much lower and harnesses and to 80lbs. Depending on how you feel about keeping him harnessed a long time (which is of course safer), teh REcaro could be a good option as well. If he is only 30lbs right now, he has probably 2 more years til he hits 40, so he could be harnessed til 5 as long as the shoulder slots are high enough for him.

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#6 of 70 Old 10-15-2006, 09:52 PM
 
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I'll give you a list of the over 40# harness seats (w/ the exception of the Recaro which I think would probably work well if he's only 30# now and it does turn into a booster later).

Britax:
Marathon 65#
Decathalon 65#
Boulevard 65# (these 3 sit high up like the RA he has now though)
Regent 80# (we're getting this for our 3yo next year)

Sunshine Kids Radian 65# and 80# (we have this now and it sits right on the seat, not high up like the Britax seats)

Fisher Price Safe Voyage 55# (made w/ Britax, but cheaper)

Safeguard 65#?

Safeguard GO (new seat, not sure what the ratings are for using it as an everyday seat, it's more marketed for travel I think)

Recaro 40#, but high slots and a nice booster

Cosco Apex 65# (needs headrests or a highback and turns into a booster)

I agree though, try and find out why he doesn't like his seat and have him look at the seats I've mentioned and if at all possible try to find them IRL to have him try them out. Maybe if he gets a choice, he'll feel better about being harnessed.

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#7 of 70 Old 10-15-2006, 11:15 PM
 
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I am in the same situation. Dd is not hugely upset yet but will be soon. We do not live in an area in which I can just go out and buy a seat. We have to order and wait so I want to have something lined up ASAP. We recently bought a second seat (a $40 Cosco Senera) for a seldom-used second vehicle. It is pretty much the same as our Roundabout just cheaper feeling. She is so excited about it. I need a better solution for long-term as she will eventually grow out of both but I want her harnessed. If I had a store I could actually go to, I would take a list of what will work then set them all out and let dd choose. Is that an option? And I would run with the race-car theme. Maybe even go to some websites to see what racecar drivers have to wear when they are driving.... This is not an angle that would work with my dd (she is SO girly despite having a tomboy mommy) but if it would I would be all over it.
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#8 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 12:17 AM
 
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We recently got DS #1 a Regent and although it is huge, it sits a lot lower than DS #2's Roundabout (doesn't have the base), so it doesn't appear so big. I know that sounds crazy...it seems wider, but not taller. And without the base that the RA has, it seems sleeker, like it is an extension of my minivan. We have a Honda Odyssey and the boys’ seats are in captain's chairs if that helps you understand.

To me it seems more big kid than the RA - almost more manly and race-car like.

So far DS #1 really likes it, and I want to get DS #2 one soon because it is so much easier to get in and out of it (since it isn't so high).

I did let him pick the fabric (unfortunately there are only 4 options) and they are all pretty boring. You could try that, or maybe give him a choice between two different car seats and then let him pick the fabric.

HTHs
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#9 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 12:19 AM
 
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Wanted to give you this link: http://www.car-seat.org/forumdisplay.php?f=2

This site has a lot of good info on car seats.
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#10 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 12:20 AM
 
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I would recommend the Cosco Apex as a big kid looking seat. It harnesses to 65 lbs. and converts to a booster up to 100 lbs. after that. Like someone mentioned, you do need to have headrests in your car to use it. But it comes in red at Babies R Us and looks just like a high back booster seat.
We have a Husky (same as Regent) in my car, and an Apex in my son's dad's car. He's almost 4, 40" and 38 lbs. He hasn't complained about either seat, thankfully.
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#11 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 01:31 PM
 
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My daughter's 3.25, and has been in a backless booster (in a minivan) for six months now. She's a big, tall kid, and had outgrown her carseat and reached the 30lb weight for the booster. Even if the carseat is supposed to go up to 50 lbs, that doesn't mean it's designed to be comfortable or even fit a kid that big. I love that it's so easy to transport and switch to different cars. I picked up a $5 booster with a back at a garage sale last week, though, and she likes that better, which surprises me - I thought she'd feel confined, but she seems happier in the one with the back & straps. I think she can sleep easier in it.

I personally think that the "expiration date" on a car seat is pure nonsense; if it hasn't been in an accident, hasn't been recalled, and is rigged just like a new seat, then it's perfectly fine. It's not as if car seats from seven years ago were designed to be death traps and people just noticed this... :-)
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#12 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 03:46 PM
 
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There is no denying that a child is safer in a harness than in a booster w/ a seatbelt, I can show crash tests if anyone wants to see them. The current reccomendations is a child needs to be at LEAST 4 before they use a booster, most children younger than that just aren't mature enough. And again, it's just safer. Expiration dates are also there for a reason, plastic and straps degrade over time and safety features increase. I have a crash test of an expired seat too to show you how the plastic just doesn't hold the child in a crash. It's also not safe to get a seat at a garage sale, you yourself said as long as it hasn't been in a crash. How do you know that that seat hasn't been in a crash? High back boosters are at least safer and offer more support than a backless so at least she's in one of those now.

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#13 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 03:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isaberg View Post
My daughter's 3.25, and has been in a backless booster (in a minivan) for six months now. She's a big, tall kid, and had outgrown her carseat and reached the 30lb weight for the booster. Even if the carseat is supposed to go up to 50 lbs, that doesn't mean it's designed to be comfortable or even fit a kid that big. I love that it's so easy to transport and switch to different cars. I picked up a $5 booster with a back at a garage sale last week, though, and she likes that better, which surprises me - I thought she'd feel confined, but she seems happier in the one with the back & straps. I think she can sleep easier in it.

I personally think that the "expiration date" on a car seat is pure nonsense; if it hasn't been in an accident, hasn't been recalled, and is rigged just like a new seat, then it's perfectly fine. It's not as if car seats from seven years ago were designed to be death traps and people just noticed this... :-)
The extreme temperature conditions in the car make the plastic brittle over time so the seat is no longer safe.

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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#14 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 04:39 PM
 
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Anyone read Freakonomics? Here's a Freakonomics article regarding car seat safety, just in case you want to call me a child-murder for choosing a booster:

http://www.freakonomics.com/times0710col.php

A quote from the article:


"For children younger than roughly 24 months, seat belts plainly won't do. For them, a car seat represents the best practical way to ride securely, and it is certainly an improvement over the days of riding shotgun on mom's lap.But what about older children? Is it possible that seat belts might afford them the same protection as car seats? The answer can be found in a trove of government data called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which compiles police reports on all fatal crashes in the U.S. since 1975. These data include every imaginable variable in a crash, including whether the occupants were restrained and how.

Even a quick look at the FARS data reveals a striking result: among children 2 and older, the death rate is no lower for those traveling in any kind of car seat than for those wearing seat belts. There are many reasons, of course, that this raw data might be misleading. Perhaps kids in car seats are, on average, in worse wrecks. Or maybe their parents drive smaller cars, which might provide less protection.

But no matter what you control for in the FARS data, the results don't change. In recent crashes and old ones, in big vehicles and small, in one-car crashes and multiple-vehicle crashes, ***there is no evidence that car seats do a better job than seat belts in saving the lives of children older than 2.*** (In certain kinds of crashes -- rear-enders, for instance -- car seats actually perform worse.)..."
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#15 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 04:52 PM
 
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We went through a similar problem, as my boys are 7 yrs apart and DS#2 wanted to be "big" like DS#1 in the car. So, we went to the store to try out the Husky (Regent). When DS#2 saw that the seat was so big that his older brother almost fit in it, he was thrilled and has been happily riding in it ever since
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#16 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 06:15 PM
 
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Since the RA is expiring soon anyway, I'd totally go for the Regent (or the Radian if you need a skinnier seat). The Regent is way not a baby seat, in fact, it has a tag with a crossed out picture of a baby on it My 6.5 year old has zero issues about using his Husky (the older version of the Regent) and we have several friends who took their older kids out of boosters and into Huskys with no problems, simply because they love their big-kid seats.

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#17 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 06:58 PM
 
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Isaberg:

A. You are risking your three year old's life driving her around in a backless booster. FTR, the weight limit for a backless booster is 40 lbs, not 30 lbs. And yes, a 50 pound child can fit quite comfortably in the appropriately sized seat. For the love of God, get your child in a real carseat, for pity's sake. I've tended to a girl who was paralyzed and ultimately DIED because her mother thought the exact same thing you did.

B. Freakonomics was proven to be a load of idiocy. The gentleman interpreted the data in very questionable ways. NOT a legitimate reason to endanger your child's life. :
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#18 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 07:00 PM
 
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OMG, you're using a backless booster from a garage sale for your three year old?!?!?! :

Unfortunately, the UA prevents me from telling you exactly what I think of you.
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#19 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 07:17 PM
 
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uh ...yeah I wouldn't consider a backless booster until atleast ages 6-8 and only if I couldn't afford anything else. And it wouldn't come from a garage sale My dd will likely be in a 5 point harness until she 8 years though.

To the OP I have Apex 65 for my 5 1/2 yr old dd (weighs 46 lbs and is 46 inches now) and she loves it and has plenty of room to grow. It is much more like a big kid seat than the marathon she was in before. It was $130 at babiesrus. We couldn't afford a regent and it was too big to fit 3 seats in a row.

If you have the money I'd go for the Regent but any of the other's that will keep him harnessed past 40 lbs would probably work fine too.

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#20 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought that that Freakonomics piece had been debunked? For one thing, numerous studies have found that the majority of car seats are not installed and buckled correctly. So if they're not being used correctly, it stands to reason they're not going to offer the protection they're designed to. I have explained to both my MIL and SIL that leaving the harness with a lot of slack is equivalent to not wearing a seatbelt at all--they brush me off as being a paranoid saftey freak. I have observed that the vast majority of parents I see are using low-end seats that are difficult to buckle snugly every time (due to variation in clothing thickness, child's growth, etc.) so they just leave the harness fairly slack at all times. So of course the child is not very well protected in an accident.

I know I have read other thoughtful critiques of that piece but I don't really have time or feel the need to look them up now. Plain common sense tells me that a 5-point harness will distribute crash forces to greater surface area than does a shoulder/lap belt, especially on a small child. Not only that, but the rear center of my car also strikes me as the safest location for my child in the event of a crash from any direction. I don't have a shoulder belt in the center so if I moved my son to a booster I would also have to move him out of the center position.

It is certainly your prerogative as a parent to decide when your child should move to a booster, but I personally am not persuaded by either Freakonomics or personal convenience that a booster-only seat is appropriate for my son at this time.

Do have to say though that I don't see what difference it makes whether a backless booster is new or used, if we're talking about using it with a child who is genuinely large enough that its use is appropriate. It's not as though it's intended to provide any kind of impact protection.
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#21 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 07:48 PM
 
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Crash tests show, much better than accident statistics (which do not take installation into account), the difference between a seatbelt and a 5 point harness.
If a carseat goes to 65 or 80 lbs., yes, it is designed to be comfortable and fit a child that big. What kind of logic says otherwise?
My sons carseats (a Husky and an Apex) are both big enough for ME to sit in comfortably (at 5'7" and 125 lbs) when they aren't in the car (in the car, I'm too tall and my head bonks the ceiling!) I can't imagine a 3 yr. old on this planet who wouldn't fit in either of them comfortably.
I would hate for my child to die in an accident and know that I he might have been okay if I was willing to bother with an age appropriate carseat.
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#22 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 07:55 PM
 
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I agree with the regent recomendations... my 5 year old DD loves hers! If you were to get a neat looking black one it could totally be passed off as a racing car seat LOL
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#23 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I looked up the Regent and I'm thinking it may be the better choice over the Recaro. It looks more like the high-backed boosters other 3-5 year olds are in, and less like the toddler-type seats, so I'm thinking it will be easier to pass off as a "big boy seat."

He has been complaining for a while now that it "pinches" when I buckle the crotch part of the RA, and I don't think I've been taking that seriously enough...I think the seat may be genuinely too short from the buckle to the seatback.

Having just turned 3, and attended several other birthday parties recently, DS is really tuned into the idea of "presents" right now. I'm thinking of wrapping the new seat up in wrapping paper and making his new big boy seat a surprise present to him. I think that he will get really excited about that.
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#24 of 70 Old 10-16-2006, 08:22 PM
 
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Okay, I looked up the Regent and I'm thinking it may be the better choice over the Recaro. It looks more like the high-backed boosters other 3-5 year olds are in, and less like the toddler-type seats, so I'm thinking it will be easier to pass off as a "big boy seat."

He has been complaining for a while now that it "pinches" when I buckle the crotch part of the RA, and I don't think I've been taking that seriously enough...I think the seat may be genuinely too short from the buckle to the seatback.

Having just turned 3, and attended several other birthday parties recently, DS is really tuned into the idea of "presents" right now. I'm thinking of wrapping the new seat up in wrapping paper and making his new big boy seat a surprise present to him. I think that he will get really excited about that.

Way good idea, mama
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#25 of 70 Old 10-17-2006, 11:31 AM
 
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I don't think you can go wrong w/ a Regent, I can't wait to get ours.

Freakanomics if full of crap. I'm a carseat tech and I can't tell you the flurry it caused among carseat techs when that came out. It just justifies people's lack of interest in their child's safety, nothing more. No grop of any kind supports his findings or ideas. His whole basis was most carseats are in wrong, so why use one? Why not try and promote the idea to get your carseat checked and learn how to use it right? There was a little girl not too far from here who was riding in a booster w/ her mom, she was 3. The window was open and she actually flew out of the window b/c the seatbelt was not meant for a 3yo in a booster. Thankfully she is fine, but she flew into the middle of a highway, that could've easily had a very tragic ending.

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#26 of 70 Old 10-22-2006, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to update -- we ended up ordering one each of a Regent and a Recaro. Just couldn't really make up our minds, and DH really really liked the Recaro. Well the Regent hasn't arrived yet but the Recaro did, and uh...we're sending it back.

For one thing, I didn't see this documented anywhere on websites I looked at, but it says not to use it as a harness-style seat after the child reaches 40". Um, DS is almost 39" now. I don't really get it because it seems like he still has quite a lot of room before reaching the top harness slot, and before his ears would be above the top of the shell (and this is at the "3" level of the headrest, the highest setting they say you can use with the harness), but then elsewhere in the owner's manual it is adamant that the harness can not be used after 40". I would be inclined to think they're just being overly cautious in assuming parents can not understand how to evaluate the harness slots and ear height thing, but who knows...it made me uncomfortable. Following DS' typical growth trajectory on the CDC charts, it would be reasonable to assume he will be 40" within about 3 months, tops.

I think my hesitation on the Regent was simply that I don't see myself harnessing him all the way to age 8, just to be honest. Also there is something I read on the car safety forum about having to tether the Regent if used over 50 pounds and I just got really confused about that. My car is a 95 Saturn and it doesn't have any of this LATCH or tether anchor type stuff other people are always talking about. I have always gotten a really good tight fit with his Roundabout by putting my full weight on it and buckling the lap belt. But anyway DS is a long way from 50 pounds so I think we are going to see how it goes and if he outgrows it in a couple years due to age or weight or whatever, I think at that point we'll feel okay about going into a high-backed booster.
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#27 of 70 Old 10-22-2006, 06:38 PM
 
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Ok, it looks like you made a decision, but I was searching and found this site that has charts for various car seats, boosters, and combos, and the weight and height limits for each.

http://www.sickkids.ca/SKCForPartner...ety&ssID=11309

Just thought I'd post for anyone who was interested.

eta- that's limits for Canada. Oops. I didn't realize when I posted that the weight limits were different here!

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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#28 of 70 Old 10-22-2006, 06:49 PM
 
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http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=543997

Read my reply... my 6.5 yr old DS is quite happy in his Regent. He's not leaving it anytime soon.

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
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#29 of 70 Old 10-22-2006, 07:53 PM
 
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Call your Saturn dealer (even if you didn't buy the car there). I bought a Husky and saw the tether after 50 lb rule, so I called up my local GM dealer, as my 1989 Buick obviously did not have tether anchors. They installed one absolutely free of charge! Hopefully it is the same for all GM products.
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#30 of 70 Old 10-22-2006, 08:43 PM
 
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Yes, it's the same, they'll put one in for free and if you want more, they're not that expensive. I wouldn't worry about height if that's the only thing you don't like about the Recaro (the 40" rule that is). There are a lot of seats that have that rule (it seems a common height for 40# seats) and my AJ has outgrown many of those seats well before 40" so it's all relative.

Jennifer, LPN and nursing student, Doula, CPST, and VBAC mama x3 to
AJ (5/03), Evan (12/04), Ilana (11/06), Olivia (2/09), and Unity (8/2012)

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