Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mom Talk

Sigh. If you would have asked me a year ago if I planned to write an entire blog post about car seats, I would have told you that you were off your rocker. But here I am, about to do it. Fair warning. If you don't care about car seats, please just go ahead and back slowly out of the blog.

Anyone still here?


Yes? No? Maybe so? 

So. Today I measured Lizzy, and realized that she is about 25 inches long. The maximum height for her infant seat is 29 we're good for awhile, but for the first time since she was born, it occurred to me that we'll eventually need to buy a convertible car seat.

After only a few minutes of researching, I saw that the big hype about car seats is trying to keep kids in a 5 point harness for as long as possible, which is why now a lot of convertible car seats go up to 65 pounds. I kept reading how you NEED a car seat with a 65 pound weight limit. The whole selling point is that you'll only really have to buy one car seat (some of them convert to booster seats too).

I'll admit it. I was sold. I was totally prepared to tell Justin that we NEEDED a car seat with a maximum weight of 65 pounds. After all, I had read the stories of mamas who lost precious babies in car accidents, and they were all convinced that if their children had been in a 5 point harness, they would still be alive today. It was heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking.

But then I whipped out my trusty copy of Baby Bargains, wherein they mentioned that the problem with the 65 pound weight limit car seats is that they often expire before the child actually reaches 65 pounds (I'm not sure if this is the "official" answer, but I have read from multiple sources that car seats should only be used for 5 years after the manufacture date printed on the car seat). And if they don't, the child is usually too tall for the car seat long before they reach 65 pounds.

For example, in looking at the growth charts, if Lizzy stays on the growth curve that she's on, she'll weigh less than 30 pounds by the time she's 3. And by my rough calculations, by the time she reaches 65 pounds, she'll be in 4th grade. Is it really practical to assume that I'll be strapping my 4th grader into a forward facing car seat every day after school? And hello, even if I could swing that, the car seat would LONG be expired.

Don't get me wrong, the 65 pound feature is probably nice for some families and some kiddos, but after looking at things a little more closely, I'm just not sold that it is a necessity for everyone.

For all you mommas out there, how did/will you handle the car seat situation?


  1. I am laughing my a** off picturing an 11 year old 4th grader being strapped into a carseat. I've never been through this, but I'd say go with the safest option you can find regardless of weight limit as long as you think it will get you through the actual carseat years. Whatever happened to booster seats for the 4+ age and weight range? That's what the kids I nannied for always used. I obviously need to brush up on my carseat trivia.

  2. I'm not a Momma yet (my baby boy is due tomorrow!) but I have already thought about the convertible car seat thing... mostly due to reading Baby Bargains. I think 65 pound limits are a little overkill... however, I wouldn't not choose a seat that I liked because it had a high weight limit. I have already decided to go with the Graco MyRide, which does have a 65 lb limit. I chose this seat though because it got great reviews by consumer reports & by parents, it is relatively inexpensive compared to Britax and others (it comes in at like $159) and it has cupholders (awesome!). I don't plan on having little man in his infant seat for much more than 5 or 6 months... I don't think I'll be able to haul him around in it past that!

  3. We transitioned Landon to a convertible at 6 months. He was a big boy and call me a wuss, but I couldn't lift our infant carseat anymore! He was a big boy!

    We bought what is known as the cream of the crop. A Britax Boulevard. It was a lot of money but I didn't care. I wanted our son to be as safe as possible! We kept him rear-facing until 18 months. He started scream because he couldn't see us. I still feel really good about our decision.

    But we also have an Evenflo Triumph, which I highly recommend. It's a bit cheaper and different but it seems to be highly rated as well. Good luck with your decision.

  4. We bought the Britax Marathon after I spent countless hours pouring over the Baby Bargains book. So far, I LOVE it!

  5. My father's dog weighs 85 pounds.

  6. My sister's girls are 2, 4, & 7. The 2 & 4 year olds both weigh 30 lbs (yeah, it's a BIG 2 year old & a TINY 4 year old :-)) and they both sit in forward facing 5 pt harness seats. The 7 year old started using a booster seat with a regular seat belt at 5. My sister loves the booster because it's so easy to transport if she's riding with someone in the family, and they're only like $20 at Wal-Mart. Good luck!

  7. We got the Graco myRide 65... like Casey said, it does have a 65 pound weight limit, but I know we won't use it up until that point. Booster seats are fairly inexpensive ($20-$50 maybe?) and so once Jaxon gets big enough we'll just buy him a booster seat, by then our second will be ready for the convertible anyways. I chose the myRide 65 because it has amazing reviews and it is a reasonable price, I think I paid around $150 for it. Good luck, I remember stressing out over that too.

  8. Just to let you know here in Texas there is a new law that any child under 4 ft tall or 80 pounds MUST be in a booster seat! I have friends with kids in jr high that do not fit the guidelines and are having to go back to booster seats. It is a $200 fine if you get pulled over and they are not in the booster. I do not have a baby yet and I can only image what the laws will be by the time I have to deal with it!

  9. When we made our decision, I made it pretty much on the safety ratings themselves, not on weight limits. I was not willing to spend 300 dollars on a Britax carseat- so after the research, we decided on the Evenflo Triumph Advance LX for both of our cars. We picked them up for about $112 dollars off Amazon. The carseat has a 50 lb weight limit, which I figure will last him until he's ready to go to kindergarten, or maybe a little longer.
    In regards to expiration dates, I'm pretty sure that most carseats are good for about 6 years, 10 being the maximum.
    I actually got into it the other day with my sister because she bought my niece (who is 3.5 years old and very small- maybe 30 lbs) a booster seat so that my younger niece could have the old carseat. She didn't want to buy another carseat. I ripped on her pretty hard for not doing any type of carseat research and just buying the cheapest booster at Big Lots. She has the "I don't care attitude" and it really struck a cord with me because I'm pretty passionate about carseat safety.
    Emily- to answer your question about boosters and ages, nowadays it's recommended (though not mandatory) to rear-face your child as long as possible- at least until two years old. Carseats have changed a bit, and as you read in Meredith's post, a lot of carseats are now being made to accommodate bigger children so they can ride in 5 point harnesses for longer. It's basically recommendations based on new safety research.

  10. I have no idea what we'll do once our guy outgrows his infant seat! I do know I want to keep him in the infant seat as long as he is within the weight and height limits. I suppose what I will go with for a larger car seat will depend on what age he is when he outgrows that seat. I know I want to keep him rear-facing for as long as possible, so I'll probably want to find a seat that will accommodate that. When looking at the weight limit though, I'll probably do what you did, and and see when his current growth trend will put him at that limit. That seems to make the most sense and be the best way to make sure your child is in the safest seat for them for as long as possible.

  11. Look at it this way. An infant seat with 11 month old Lizzie in it is a built in upper body workout to your every day schedule. Even with my belly jiggling I had some respectable biceps from carrying around an 18 pound+ package.

    When Carolina turned one we switched to a moderately priced, forward facing seat and I don't regret it at all. I trust her safety, despite being petite and barely weighing the required, and her doctor gave the okay. And when she's old enough and weighs and measures enough for a booster we'll look into that next.

    Don't sweat it. Do what you feel comfortable with, and don't let any Mom, church lady, or advertisement make you feel like you'll damage Lizzie should you not do what they insist is best and safest.

  12. Well I'm not a mom and am no where close to dealing with carseats... But I had a question about your 12 Week photography program. I seem to only be getting the link to the 8th week, and none after. Is there somewhere that I am not looking? Thanks!

    agirlwiththecurls (at) gmail (dot) com

  13. I will admit to not having given this much thought yet. My husband on the other hand is set on getting a Recaro... something about the company making race cars?? Not quite sure. I think I'm in denial, to be honest, about my Lovie needing to expand away from an infant car seat.

  14. Okay all of this carseat business is so weird for me. My 14 year old was OUT of her carseat at 4. Back than the law was 4 and 40 pounds. Now I have a 4 year old, and she simply uses a booster. We have one convertible and one traditional for our 1 year old and the convertible worries me because there is so little side coverage for her. I feel like she is just strapped in floating around. I like the side coverage of a traditional seat when they are smaller. So personally, and this could be a mental thing, I like the traditional carseats. Also you can go to the Firehouse and they will have some very specific carseat safety information for you. Also I am not convinced the price of the carseat has anything to do with safety. I always go with cheap.

  15. I have had 6 girls, and carseats changed with everyone of them. My personal experience: The weight depends on the child, My granddaughter is 10 months and weighs 28 lbs. I will definitely get her the one with the greatest weight limit. My daughters were always tiny so I went with the lower weights because they seemmed to fit more comfortable. Always the safety rating was the first thing to look at.
    Second, I live in Arizona. The heat is a killer of anything plastic, I read somewhere that the life span of a carseat in high temps was just 2 years. I always bought new carseats with my kids. Never used a hand me down from previous child. Just not worth the risk. I never bought a used one because you do not know what happened or how long it sat in a car or garage. Even if it is/was new in the box.

  16. We searched for our 9 month old for a couple weeks before we decided on the Evenflo Titan Elite. It runs arou $100 at Target. 50lb weight limit, and 47 inches for height. We thought the same as you. Spending an extra $100-200 on a convertible seat that goes to 65-100 lbs was a little overkill when you can just buy a booster seat for $20 when they pass up 50 lbs.
    Also, the Evenflo Titan Elite is rear facing up to 35 lbs, and side impact tested. So far we love it! Hope you find a seat that fits your little Lizzy and your needs! Good luck!


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