A few weeks ago, we set up a Target registry so I could get a $20 gift card. We spent some considerable time in the car seat aisle, looking at the available options and fiddling with the features.
Our favorite one on display was the Eddie Bauer 3-in-1 car seat. We liked how you could use it for a long time, how the buttons were easier to manipulate than other seats on display, and it felt sturdy.
Turns out, this car seat was not highly rated by online consumers. A considerable amount of people had bad things to say about this model (it’s a pain to install, the straps get twisted, and the baby grows out of it too fast) and it was enough to make me want to look for something else.
I did some more research on car seat options to learn about the features I should seek. I’m a member of a parenting message board, and one of the boards is completely dedicated to car seats. Some of the moms on there are true car seat experts–and are certified to install seats and do safety inspections in the US. They know what they’re talking about.
I described our car, budget (actually, price is no issue for the car seat. I’ll save money on diapers, but when it comes to a device that could save my baby’s life–yeah. I’ll try to get a good deal, but we aren’t cutting corners on a seat), and features we hoped to have.
They gave me several recommendations–one of which is called a True Fit, and I’ll talk about that in a minute.
Going off on a bunny trail to talk about why I don’t want an infant car seat…
Some moms swear by the infant seat carrier. You know–the “travel system” type where you can snap a car seat into a base and then carry the baby in the carrier or put it on a stroller. This option seems sort of convenient, but honestly, it doesn’t appeal to us at all. Maybe we’ll regret it later (and if we do, I’ll let you know).
For one, those seats are heavy. Some of them are 10 pounds, and that’s without a baby in it! Lugging 20 pounds by carrying it at my side away from my body is a great way to wear out my arms and get a sore back. That’s exactly the feeling I hope to have while recovering from childbirth. Um.
We live on the third floor of our apartment building. It’s gunna feel really heavy. If you’re going to carry 10-20 pounds of anything, it’s much better to carry it up against your body rather than awkwardly at your side.
We do NOT want one of those strollers that come with the infant carriers. They’re the bulkiest things I’ve ever seen and seem difficult to maneuver. It would take up half our trunk. Shane and I really like the idea of using slings or wearable carriers to tote our baby around. They’re only little for so long, and it seems nice to be able to snuggle with him (while keeping your arms free) than trying not to run over people with a stroller. Once he’s big enough, we’d probably get an umbrella stroller. Shane found a carrier he really likes and I’m going to research sling options. We might wait until he’s born so we can actually test em out.
Finally, the infant seat will last for the first 22 pounds or so, or until the baby is too tall to fit in the seat. That means that you’ll need to get another seat early on. Shane and I are taller than average height so I’m expecting a lanky baby. He could grow taller than the seat requirements before he hits 22 pounds. That could happen well before he’s a year old. We’d need another seat and then we’d have to store the old infant seat.
Yes, I hear some of you saying, “But your baby is due in December! You’ll have to put the baby in a cold car seat. And you’ll hate having to wake him up to carry him inside! Think of the children!!!”
We’re looking into getting a remote car starter so we can get the car nice and toasty without even having to go outside (yay fuel economy! lol).
True, we might wake him up by carrying him in our arms instead of in a carrier. I might be really regretting our car seat choice at that time. But, as I said before–babies grow so fast and you’ll need a bigger seat soon anyway. You’d have to lift him out of the bigger seat to carry him inside when he’s a little older.
So if you had an infant carrier-type seat and absolutely loved it and you think I’m nuts for not wanting one–keep that thought to yourself, please. I’ve been second-guessing myself a lot lately regarding baby things. And believe me, that doesn’t help my confidence in being able to make decisions as a mother. If we have to learn the hard way, then that’s how it has to be. Kthx
… Back to the seat I’m now considering
There are a few convertible car seats that I’m considering, and right now, the winner is the First Years True Fit. It’s not the same as a 3-in-1, as it does not have the ability to morph into a booster seat.
Instead, I’d be able to keep him rear-facing for up to 33-35 pounds (and I forget the height maximum) and then turn it around to use as a forward-facing seat for up to 65 pounds or slightly over four feet tall. This seat ought to last until we’d need to put him in a booster.
Even though the minimum time to keep a baby rear-facing is just until they hit 20 pounds AND one year of age, it’s actually safest to keep them rear-facing for as long as possible. Their bones aren’t fully formed by their first birthday, and keeping them rear-facing drastically reduces the chance of them dying in a car accident. If my baby protests riding backwards because he’d rather see out the window, well that’s just tough stuff, McGruff. I’d rather he be safe, and that’s just one battle that I’m not going to let a toddler win.
I’m leaning toward the True Fit model because according to reviews, it accommodates newborns quite well, as well as older kids.
Now, I just need to take my car over to Babies R Us one more time and see if their store model will fit in our car (I suspect it will). It has a removable headrest that can be taken off until the baby hits 22 pounds or comes within an inch of the top. After that, the headrest goes back on and we’d probably increase the degree of recline so he’s sitting up straighter.
If it fits and we like it, we’ll probably buy it on Amazon. I’ve seen in-store prices for about $180, but on Amazon it’s about $160. I’ll get free shipping, no sales tax, and with some coupon codes and stuff, I’ll be able to get it for even less. Surprisingly cheap for a quality car seat that ought to last for several years, no?
I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve spent countless hours researching car seats. There’s so much to consider! It really is easier to take it one baby item at a time, rather than trying to decide on cribs, carriers, and more all at once. Last night, I had a really long dream about car seats. It was a boring dream, full of chatter about different car seat features.
Hopefully this seat works out, and then I can move to the next item on our shopping list: Cribs!