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<p>So, LO is 7.5months and beginning to outgrow the graco snug ride as he is very long.  How in the WORLD do you decide on a new carseat?  Should we buy a 3 in 1?  Should we buy a regular carseat and then a booster later on?  This is our first, and we only plan to have two kids 3 years apart (i realize that doesn't ALWAYS go as planned).  </p>
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<p>We will buy 2 for each car, so I don't want to spend a lot ($150-$200 max).  I know the Britax's are a lot of money, but good.  Our cars both have smaller backseats, so we want it to fit well without needing to shove up the front seat.  </p>
 

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<p>I thought I'd give a quick response. (We'll see if it ends up being quick!)</p>
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<p>First, the Family Safety forum here is great and you might get a wider range of responses there. Second, you mention a budget of $150-200 for two seats: is that per seat or total for both seats? That will make a difference on recommendations you will receive.</p>
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<p>Three in one carseats are generally a "good in theory, not in practice" item. I believe many kids outgrow them as harnessed seats before they are mature enough to be in a booster. From what I understand a convertible seat with a decent weight limit should be able to get a little one to a point where they can be put into an inexpensive boosters. (My son is still well within harness age/height/weight and far from being mature enough for a booster!)</p>
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<p>Britax was at one time the king of carseats. They've recently been lagging behind although I think their newer seats are more competitive in regards to features and weight limits (still up there in price though). But don't think you have to purchase a Britax to get a good seat.</p>
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<p>I'm going to wrap it up because my toddler is being incredibly restless!</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #3
<p>150-200 per seat.  I didn't realize there was a family safety group.  I'll also post there.  :)  </p>
 

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We have a Graco My Ride 65, which we bought because of its high rear facing limit (40 lbs) and its cost (we couldn't afford a $200+ seat). So far, we love it. And since Cecilia is petite, we will have quite a long time rear facing, which is what I wanted!
 

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<p>Hi Mama,</p>
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<p>My DD also recently outgrew her SnugRide and l spent hours upon hours researching a replacement. The thing I discovered is that no one seat is better, safer and more economical than all the rest. Each has pros and cons and what may work wonderfully for one family, may not work for you depending on the size of your child, the size of your car, and the size of your wallet, etc... My recommendation is to go to an online retail site like Amazon or Elite Car Seats, read reviews from people who have actually bought and used the seats and once you find one that you like order it, try it out and if you don't like it return it until you find one that suits you. The returning part can be a hassle but hopefully your research will help narrow it down enough that you won't have to do it more than once or twice. Also, researching through the retail sites will help you find deals and promotional offers. We ended up buying a Britax Boulevard 70 through Amazon and got $63.00 off, a free cup holder and free shipping!</p>
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<p>Good luck! I know it's nerve wracking because you want the absolute best for your precious babe but try not to let it make you nuts!</p>
 

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<p>There is quite a few good choices in that price range. The seat I have in the True Fit which is in that price range. The perks of that seat include a tall shell allowing for longer rearfacing time, a removeable headrest for when they are little (although since your LO is 7.5 months, he can likely be relatively upright) and it is a quite cushy seat. One downside of that seat is that the weight limit for rearfacing is 35 lbs whereas there are other options on the market now that allow rearfacing to 40 lbs. Also the harness tends to be difficult to adjust while rearfacing because it's jammed into the seat (I don't find I need to adjust the harness too frequently and have heard this issue with other seats as well).</p>
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<p>Other options that are popular and in that price range is the Safety First Complete Air. Upsides: a narrower seat, 40 lbs rearfacing wieght limit, tall shell. Downsides: not as padded as some other seats (many find this not to be a problem) and a local mom to me has one and mentioned that getting her lo into the seat is a tad tricky due to the side wings and whatnot.</p>
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<p>There is also the Graco MyRide65. Upsides: 40 rearfacing limit, very cushy seat, good price (Target has them on sale periodically for $120). Downsides: wide seat, shortish shell.</p>
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<p>And then Evenflo Triumph Advance used to also get mentioned. Evenflo recently replaced the Triumph with the Momentum 65. I've seen good things said about the seat online. It has a 40 lbs rearfacing limit. I'm unsure how the shell height compares to other seats. (Shell height comes into play because while high weight limits are great, the shell of the seat also limits time rearfacing and forward facing in the seat.)</p>
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<p>If you live near a Babies R Us, they typically carry the Complete Air, MyRide and Evenflo in their stores. I've heard BRU will allow you to take their display seat out to your vehicle to give installing it a try (they send an employee out with you to make sure you don't take off with the seat). Some people prefer seeing a seat in person before purchasing. The True Fit unforunately isn't carried in too many stores. I did see it in person at a Target before I purchased (online - I wanted a particular cover) but I don't think Target carries them in stores anymore. Sometimes you can find better prices online than in person although if you decide to purchase at BRU check their website first - I know currently they have a coupon for a % off carseats.</p>
 

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<p>I had the same problem as you not too long ago.  Not fun.</p>
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<p>I was originally looking at convertibles, since he still had at least 6 months of rear-facing left, but this was before I found out about the 3-in-1.  (If you have a big babe, you might as well go with a solution that will take you all the way through the carseat years, so you don't keep bumping up against weight limits--otherwise you'll probably just have to do the same thing all over again in a few months).</p>
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<p>As much as everyone rants and raves about Britax, I couldn't afford one if my life depended on it.  I did some online research, then I went to the local department store to look at my top 3 choices, and ended up getting an Alpha Omega, and that's working just fine.  (While rear-facing, it DOES restrict how far you can put the front seat back, but it's something I can live with).  The babe seems just fine with it, and I like the fact that I'll never have to go carseat shopping again!</p>
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<p>Actually, from what I understand, in addition to low height limits, the Alpha Omega Elite makes a terrible and unsafe booster.  It's not "the last seat you'll ever need" for most people.</p>
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<p>I second the Family Safety forum, and check out car-seat.org.  They are the most amazing and helpful group I've found when it comes to carseats.  As said by a PP, there is no one perfect seat.  All seats have pros and cons, and what matters is how the seat fits your car and your child.  Post in either of those boards with your baby's weight and height measurements and what kind of car you have and there will be plenty of people with recommendations for you.  :)</p>
 

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<p>I got a britax from albeebaby.com with free shipping for 120 dollars off!</p>
 

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<p>Craigslist! There are tons and tons of Britax carseats on there, in a range of prices, most affordable.</p>
 

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Be <i>very</i> careful with Craigslist. At least in my area, most sellers don't realize that carseats have an expiration date and are not forthcoming with that info. And if they are selling an expired seat they don't always remove them. <img alt="greensad.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/greensad.gif">
 

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Discussion Starter #12
<p>Thanks guys!  I spent some time researching tonight and like the reviews with the Graco Myride 65.  My husband has a VW GTI and myself, Mazda 3.  I'm concerned about a rear facing seat fitting without pushing the front seats up.  Currently, our graco snug ride fits nicely in the middle back seat with the base.  Any thoughts with how the My ride 65 fits in a compact car?  Any feedback on strap adjustment with the myride 65?  I just think that if you have to take it out all the time to adjust the straps in weather that changes and layers cause the need to readjust straps EVERY DAY, that would be hard if it needs to be taken out.  Also, neither of our cars have a latch system in the middle seats...</p>
 

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We put ours in the middle between the two seats, and I believe you can install it without LATCH.
 

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<p>In case you want to consider a True Fit, I saw a post in Family Safety for sale prices at Diapers.com: <a href="http://www.diapers.com/product/subcategory.aspx?categoryid=6&categoryname=Gear&subcategoryid=310&subcategoryname=Car+Seats&queryfrom=subcategory&PageIndex=0&filtername=Brand%7CStyle&filtervalue=First+Years%7CThe+First+Years+True+Fit" target="_blank">http://www.diapers.com/product/subcategory.aspx?categoryid=6&categoryname=Gear&subcategoryid=310&subcategoryname=Car+Seats&queryfrom=subcategory&PageIndex=0&filtername=Brand%7cStyle&filtervalue=First+Years%7cThe+First+Years+True+Fit</a></p>
<p>Truly awesome prices! The ones that have a little panel in the front of the seat are True Fit Premiers which have an anti-rebound bar. From what I've read, that feature (along with increasing safety while rearfacing) gives a bit more space to access the harness adjustment. (I have a TF standard because the premier hadn't been released yet.)</p>
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<p>A website to look into compatibility with your vehicles: <a href="http://www.carseatdata.org/" target="_blank">http://www.carseatdata.org/</a></p>
<p>There is also <a href="http://www.car-seat.org" target="_blank">http://www.car-seat.org</a> - that site is a message board but you can search (without being a member) for your vehicle and view threads that people have posted. It's a bit less organized that the above site but there is a ton of info there.</p>
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<p>I believe that all carseats are made to be installed with LATCH or seatbelt since LATCH is relatively new and very few vehicles allow for LATCH in the center.</p>
 

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<p>This has been a tuff decision for me too. I've been researching and I think we settled on the cosco scenera.</p>
<p>I have a mazda 3 like you and DH has a jeep cherokee. I'm hoping it fits well in both cars.</p>
 

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<p>from MDC I found out about the website DIapers.com- they do free shipping both ways. For me, we have tried and returned MANY! Because I found that I just could simply not tell how the car seat would be until it was installed and we went for a ride with thte baby in it.</p>
<p>I tried the:</p>
<p>maxi cosi, britax boulevard 70, britax roundabout 40, graco myride, graco comfort sport, and also the evenflo (which my parents have in their car for the gre=andkids) and finally the britax roundabout 55 ( I think) which is what I think we are gonna go for but we haven't actually tried it installed yet. oh yeah I also tried the true fit.</p>
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<p>It was a pita and a lot of work to order and return these- one by one- put it on the card, get it, try it, return it, get the full refund, then try again. But that was the only way I could see how it would actually be. I really did not like many of them at all. I think the evenflo is okay, and I think the britax roundabout 55 will be the one we end up using unless trying it installed with the baby in it reveals something- but the other ones did not work for me.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #17
<p>We went to babies R us last night... My husband has a 2005 VW GTI (2 door).  NOTHING fits!  The evenflow triumph was the only thing that semi fit and it the center back seat.  We didn't try pushing the passenger seat up slightly.  Graco Myride, Radian, and Safety 1st Complete Air all did not fit rear facing in the back seat.  We figured whatever will fit in his car, will fit in my Mazda 3.  We are looking into Britax Marathon as reviews indicate they fit in VW Golf (same size as a GTI).  I told DH that we need a bigger car (I told him 5 years ago when we bought it that it wasn't a great family car and we would have to get a new one before the car actually died).  So...the search continues.  </p>
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<p>I didn't partically like how LO fit in the complete air.  I feel like he would be so mad by the air pockets that go on the side of the head because he wouldn't be able to see peripherally.  I realize it's a safety feature, but also didn't feel like he fit very well.  I REALLY like My ride 65 and wish it fit in DH's car...we may get it for my car...</p>
 

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<p>That stinks. Can I ask if you tried installing the seats at 45* or more upright? A convertible seat is a complete space hog at a 45* angle but an older LO with good neck control can go 40, 35 or even 30* upright. I've seen techs say that a more upright convertible seat frequently takes up no more space than your average infant seat.</p>
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<p>You might consider posting at <a href="http://www.car-seat.org" target="_blank">http://www.car-seat.org</a> and see if any of the techs there have had experience installing/inspecting a convertible in your hubby's model vehicle.</p>
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<p>Something else you might consider is if you decide to purchase a MyRide for your vehicle, see if you can find a good tech in your area and take the MyRide and your hubby's car to see if the tech can get that sucker in there.</p>
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<p>It's too bad that this carseat quest hasn't worked out easier for you. Oh and I know what it's like to tell your hubby something about a vehicle and have it fall on deaf ears. My hubby decided to purchase a single cab truck about a year and a half ago. I recommended we get something more family friendly and he take over my Civic. He wanted a truck. Now we're expecting another LO and I don't see keeping his truck as a possibility since he takes my car when he needs to drive carpool. (He wasn't yet carpooling when we purchased his truck.)</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #19
<p>That's not a bad idea!  I am not opposed to it being more upright (I don't think you can change the recline with My Ride...can u?), but I just don't want his neck hanging when he falls asleep.  I want him to be able to sleep comfortably.  But, I think we all want that for our little babes.  :)  I like the Radian.  The evenflow fits, but weight limits are only to 50lbs.  I feel like in 2 years, carseats will have even HIGHER weight limits.  I also like the Alpha Omega, but rear is only 35lb.  Is there a big difference between a child being rear at 35lb vs. 40lb?  How many parents ACTUALLY keep their kids rear through 35-40lbs?  Isn't that like 3 yrs of age?  So many parents turn them forward by 2 anyway...I know it isn't as safe, but parents have been doing it for years.  I don't want to discount the safety, but trying to be realistic here...when I was little, I didn't even have to be in a carseat.  </p>
 

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My take on extended rear facing is that, if your kid has always been, and still is, rearfacing, how will they know any different? I have no problem with the thought of my daughter being 5 and still rearfacing. It's just simply the safest. She can either hang her legs over the side or fold them up.
 
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