Sunday, February 20, 2011

Choosing Our Next Car Seat

The time has come to get Sarah's next car seat. Ugh.

When we got the booster seat she is in now as a gift from my registry I didn't think she'd grow as quickly as she has and to the weight she's at now where we are reaching capacity of the seat requirements both in height and weight. Sarah is an extremely healthy and active child who happens to be solid muscle with sculpted arms and legs. It's kind of amazing how incredibly active she is and her physical abilities.

When I picked out the seat that Sarah is in now I did some research and also found recommendations and feedback from other friends who were parents. I was under the impression that we would get more use out of it beyond just a couple of years. For example, I read of children approaching age 6 and 7 still using the seat we had. It appears those kids are taller and leaner versus Sarah being more evenly proportioned and firmer. I love the seat that Sarah is in now but it's obvious that she is ready to move into a more roomy and taller option.

Oh what a process this has been. I have done a great amount of research on various car seat options, best choices, consumer feedback, etc. I have also read numerous parent reviews.

The good news is that I have narrowed down my search to two choices: Recaro ProSport and Britax Frontier 85.

Unfortunately, both of these car seats are on the pricey side. I was hoping to try to save some money. But, safety and comfort sometimes, many times, come with a bigger price tag. And, knowing how much of a wiggler Sarah is, and my preference for her to be in a five-point harness versus standard seat belt, my options are selective especially based on what has worked well with Sarah in the past and the feedback in the reviews.

This really should be a no-brainer, right? Wrong.

Just because something is more experience doesn't necessarily mean it's safe. However, buying cheap isn't always the best way to go either. Yes, there are options in between both price point ranges yet many have issues, recalls, negative feedback, etc.

Further, I know definitely that, as much as I love to bargain hunt and secure finds at yards sales, consignment stores, Good Will, and other places, car seats are not a product that should be bought second hand no matter how much you think it looks like it's in good condition. When you don't know a car seat's history you are gambling with your child's life. However, if you have the option to be loaned or given a car seat by someone you know and; therefore, know the history of the car seat, and confirm that it has not been inside a vehicle where any minor or major incidents occurred, only then might you consider a second hand option.

Sarah has been riding around town in the popular Britax Roundabout car seat. We were so incredibly appreciative to get this as a gift several years ago. As you know, products change including new features and revisions, recalls happen and new products enter the market. Well, that's exactly what happened in our situation.

We have been very, very pleased with Sarah's previous two car seat options, the first being the baby seat with base followed by the booster seat. If only I know now what I didn't know or have time to research as much then is that a booster seats with the higher weight and height requirements as well as longer lasting use as a combination seat for growing children are best choices to consider when you don't or can invest in multiple options as your child grows.

I am leaning towards the Britax brand as it's been a product that is well-known, reliable, a brand we have been very comfortable and happy with. The true test will be bringing Sarah into the store to sit in them and test them out for comfort and ease of use. I also intend to take advantage of the coupon options with select retailers to save money as you don't always have to pay top dollar or the highest price for quality.

Wish me luck as this research continues to find the best, most appropriate and safe car seat option for Sarah.

If you have any thoughts or feedback regarding your own car seat recommendations and experiences please do indeed share. I would be extremely appreciative.

Thanks so much in advance for your thoughts and insights.

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