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Multiple car seat questions

1244 Views 21 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  HRC121799
Hoping this is the right forum for this. Our dd has almost outgrown her infant seat so I am starting to look at convertible seats for both my '99 Mazda Protege and dh's '02 Subaru Outback.

I'm looking at the Britax Marathon and Roundabout and the Evenflow Titan and Triumph. Would love to hear experiences about any of these. The Marathon and Triumph look huge for my little Mazda. Do anyone have a small car and either of these seats?

Also one of my big questions is about ease of installation. The seat for my car would be more or less permanently installed but my dh is a musician and often needs to take the car seat out of the back seat so he can fold it down and load in his equipment. Is there a seat that is easy to install "on the fly"? He does have LATCH in his car (but I don't).

Thanks for your help
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We have Roundabouts for ds in both cars, dd is still in a "bucket seat" , anyway we have found that it fits well in most cars, we have a Ford Contour, and Windstar, we had a Protege, but traded it in for the minivan, the roundabout fit great in all the cars, and we found it very easy to install. We have also traveled with it quite a bit, and rented cars, and never had a fit problem.
We have a Marathon, and it fit fine in the backseat of DH's 2-door Integra. *I* don't even fit back there, lol!

As for installing it, it wasn't too bad. It took some effort, but that was mainly due to the tight space and my not-so-svelte post-pregnancy belly. When I put it in our pickup, there was more room for ME to manuever, and it went more smoothly. I think the more practice your DH has installing the seat, the easier it will get.
We have the Roundabout, the Marathon, and the Husky. It all comes down to how fast your kiddo grows as to which one to get...Marathon or Roundabout. You will get more use out of the Marathon due to it's higher weight limit and as far as size, it is not too much wider than a Roundabout but it is taller. We have decided to sell our Roundabout and when DS # 2 gets out of his carrier, we will have the Marathon installed. This way we won't have to play musical chairs with the car seats. We know DS # 2 will be in the Marathon alot longer than the Roundabout.

I would think the LATCH system would make it very easy to take them in and out, but I don't have any of the seats you're looking at so I'm not sure. A lot of stores will let you take the seat out to try in your car (possibly more expensive places -- but you could try it there and buy somewhere else.)
We have the Evenflo Triumph and it's great for ease of installation! We don't have LATCh on either of our cars, and both cars are smaller sedans. The Triumph is also great because the straps adjustment knobs are right in the front of the seat, so you don't have to take the seat apart to change the straps for those times when your child is wearing a heavy winter coat but then it gets too hot and they take it off, so you adjust back down... It also has a lot of different recline settings. Feeding the car's seatbelt through it is a breeze because you just lift up the flap in the padding and you can feed the belt through with one hand instead of three...

Anyhow, I really like this seat.
The only drawback is that it is a bit heavy, so when switching from one car to the other, have someone watch the kids because you won't have a hand free to carry it (unless you carry it like I do, by the tether strap!)
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We have a Roundabout, that we purchased when our dd (now 3.5) grew out of her infant seat at 6 ms. We gave the little seat away, and didn't plan to get it back (didn't plan on this baby either!). With this baby, I purchased a Marathon, for older sis, and have used the old Roundabout for new ds since day one. We have a Prius, and it fits fine and snug. I don't know how small a Protege is. I have had to install it in Outbacks, and have always had a hard time feeling like it was in right. (This probably won't be an issue since both the seatwould be newer than ours, and the car you have is newer than the Outbacks we were in, and thus, both equipped with LATCH)
The Marathon, I have only used in the forward facing position, but I would think it would be too big to use rearward facing in our car. It's both wider, and taller. It does have LATCH and it is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I can do both these seats in a minute or two, but my dh could take 30 min. and still not get them in right.

I will add, that the Britax seats are wonderful. The details they've included are lightyears beyond other seats I've seen, and used (like the cheap one my folks have installed, or when we've carpooled, or borrowed on vacation). I took a lot of thier features for granted, and didn't realize they were unique to the Britax.

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We've got two britax roundabouts installed rear-facing in our Jeep Cherokee (not a lot of space back there!). I think if you are just putting one in, it should fit fine. However, if you are tall, you may have to put it behind the passenger seat (as opposed to in the center). I say this because the seat does take up a lot of room when rear-facing. I see them around town installed incorrectly because people don't realize that they need to be at a 45 degree angle. It is tricky because there is no level indicator. It's the one thing that the britax seats are missing. I had to use our bucket carrier and hold it up next to the roundabouts, trying to get the roundabout at the same angle as the carrier seat, and have the level indicator be correct on the carrier. . . not an easy installation, IMO!

So. . . we had to put the passenger seat pretty close to the dashboard to get the seat to be correctly reclined behind it. We also have a carseat behind the driver's seat, but it is not installed correctly
because it's not quite at a 45 degree angle. If it were then I absolutely would not fit behind the steering wheel! This situation makes me really nervous and we are looking into trading our car in because of it.


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I have 2 Roundabouts and love them. They are not hard to install, at least not to me. We are constantly taking the one in my dh's truck out and putting it back in, and it doesn't take but a few minutes. Ours are not latch, though, so that should make it even easier. You can check out this website to see if there have been any reviews to how it might fit in your vehicles. I have heard that the Evenflo seats have twisty straps, which seem insignificant, but might get on your nerves after a while. If it were me, and they both would fit in the vehicles, there would be no question-I'd get the Roundabout. I don't know if you live near a Toysrus or Babiesrus, but you can go there and actually try the seats in your car(so I have heard). That might be an option for you.
I see them around town installed incorrectly because people don't realize that they need to be at a 45 degree angle.
Only newborns need to be reclined at the 45 degree angle. Once babies are older they should sit more upright to afford better crash protection.

To answer the OP's question, I highly recommend Britax seats. The extra padding, EPS foam, rear facing tether, built in lock offs and, most of all, ease of installation are well worth the extra price. If you think your dd will be tall go with the Marathon. My ds is 38" at 27 months and I know that he will not make it to 40 lbs in his Roundabout. Make an appintment with a CPS tech at a time when you, your dh and dd can all go with both vehicles so you both know how to properly install the seat you choose in both vehicles.
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I have just finished doing all kinds of research on this topic.

I ended up choosing the Evenflo Triumph. It does fit in my small sedan. (It's an old volvo.)

I liked it because it had a lot of features the Britax had but was not nearly as expensive. It has the EPS foam, tethers, multiple recline settings, no twist straps......

My favorite feature is the turning knob which regulates the tightness of the straps. It's really easy to use. This is really important for me because my daughter wears cloth diapers and the type of diaper dictates how I need to adjust the seat belt.

It also got an "A" rating from the NHTSA.

Good luck.
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I've got a Britax Marathon (baby gift from FIL!), and it barely squeezes into the back of the car we're using right now, a Pontiac Sunbird (early 90's model I think) which is my sister's and only on loan to us until Thanksgiving. We'll hopefully be getting a new (well, new to us) vehicle before then as DH just got a full time job, provided we can finally get our hands on the title to our pickup so we can get it legal again. One thing I'll make sure of is that the seat fits in whatever new vehicle we get!

I know it's not at a 45 degree angle, it's wedged behind the driver's seat (can't put it in the middle because it has the wrong kind of lap belt, one you pull tight at the buckle instead of one that locks in place) and needs a towel rolled in the vehicle seat to help make it more level (as per the installation instructions). I've about got DH convinced that we need to move it over to behind the front passenger seat with that seat all the way forward. The only problem with that is when we need to take BIL who lives with us somewhere, it leaves him with nowhere to sit with decent leg room...but I frankly care less about BIL's comfort than DD's safety, and with the seat angled as it is now, her head tends to sag forward a bit. The shoulder pads keep it from lolling over to the side too much, but I know she needs to be leaned back further.

DH took it to the fire station for help in installation, but they were busy putting out a fire. Once I can drive again and get the car, I'm going to go to the fire station again.

It was a piece of cake to install in my mom's Ford Taurus when she was here. Of course, it's a 2003 vehicle and has LATCH. There was also room there for it to recline properly.
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I lust after those Britax seats. However, after much research, DH and I bought the Evenflo Triumph. ($$$) I've had no experience with other car seats so can't compare, but we like it fine and haven't had much trouble installing it. I drive a 96 Jetta and DH has a 98 Forerunner. I've also used it in rental cars with LATCH and that worked as well. I do have to use a towel to build up my seat so it sits at a 45 degree angle. We transfer it back and forth all the time (trying to save money) and don't have much trouble. I do really like being able to adjust it easily and I chose it mainly (besides the $ thing) because ds is a big baby and needed the seat to be rearfacing for a loooong time. It is very easy to adjust in the rearfacing position.

The downside is how heavy it is. Not a problem if just transferring between cars. But lugging it around the airport was a bit of a hassle. Thank goodness for the stroller. I wore ds and put the carseat (somehow) in/on the stroller.
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Originally posted by trishshack
Only newborns need to be reclined at the 45 degree angle. Once babies are older they should sit more upright to afford better crash protection.
Good to know! Thanks for the link! Everything I'd heard before was that as long as they were rear-facing, the seats needed to be at a 45 degree angle. That said, my babies are 8 months old and have very good neck control (they are just really solid babies), and their heads do flop forward even at just a 50-55 degree angle (when they fall asleep). The link said that it's okay to recline the seat at a bigger angle so long as the babies head does not flop onto his/her chest. So "older babies" might mean much older babies

Also, I didn't see anything about the "better crash protection" at a less-reclined angle. . . (granted I have two babies crawling all over me and am not able to look really hard). Does it say that somewhere in the links? All I saw was that it was okay to put the seats at a less reclined angle, not that it was better.

I'm really glad to know about this, though because if we don't get a new car, we were going to flio the boys around at a year (they are already 20 lbs.) because I thought they'd be safer front-facing than rear-facing at the wrong angle. . . But now it seems I won't have to flip them afterall! Yippee!

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Here ya go Lex, it's about midway through the first paragraph of the second link:

As the child grows, becomes heavier to restrain, and can hold his head erect, the angle should be decreased, making the restraint more upright, to provide better crash protection.
I'm not exactly sure what they mean by an older baby but I will consult with my CPS tech friend for some clarification.
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I don't have anything different to add to this thread but wanted to say how happy I am that we got our Roundabout. I love love love this car seat. everything about it is easy to use and ds is very comfortable in it. He is on the tall side and I think will outgrow it for height way befroe weight but I will be buying only Britax seats from now on. When Mackenzie outgrows her infant seat I will move her into the Roundabout or Marathon if Logan is still in his seat.
We have a Triumph, and I absolutely love it. The way you tighten the straps is so incredibly easy, and the straps don't twist. I don't really move it very often, but I did have to install it myself the other day while my car was in for repair and I got a rental, and I did okay. It took me about 5 minutes, maybe a bit longer, but if I did it all the time, I could have done it a lot faster.

The other thing I love about the Triumph is that even though it's a big seat, people can sit next to it because the part that goes out to the side is so high up. I suppose really large people would be uncomfortable sitting next to it, but really large people would probably be uncomfortable next to any carseat.
Hmm, I called our local car seat help line at the Public Health Clinic and they recommended the Cosco Alpha Omega. I don't hear anyone even mentioning it in this thread. They said the Evenflo harness systems don't work very smoothly. The Britax car seats are only just becoming available in Canada and, as far as I know, are not yet sold on the West Coast.

So, what about this Alpha Omega?
I have the Alpha Omega. It's supposed to be great in the event of a crash, but it's not the easiest to install or adjust the straps. I have a friend who works for the fire department and is a certified child safety seat installer and her favorite is the triumph. Both for ease of installation into almost any vehicle, as well as, you can adjust the straps on either side easily, not tightening on one side and you having to pull the straps even. I'm refering to the straps that hold your child in.
Originally posted by Island Mommy
The Britax car seats are only just becoming available in Canada and, as far as I know, are not yet sold on the West Coast.
Just wanted to clarify that the Britax are available on the West Coast of the U.S. I have many friends who have them and bought them here - ranging from six years ago to recently. I am excited to look at the Roundabout - dd3 is about to outgrow the infant carrier but dd2 isn't out of the convertible seat yet.
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