I saw an ad (emailed to me from BabyCenter.com) for a Britax car seat. It’s quite expensive ($250 or so) and is supposed to work for babies and kids 5lbs to 65lbs, so that would take you from newborn to almost out of a booster seat. Almost all of the reviews that I read were positive, just a couple of people had trouble with their car seat not fitting the car or the straps adjustment or something. But they almost exclusively said that their kids grew out of an infant seat or changed to the Britax when their kid was 5 or 6 months old. Someone I met a few years ago said that their kid at like 18 months was on their 3rd car seat, so umm. what’s the difference? And I’ve seen ones that have a whole set thing that you can unlock and put your kid in different cars or in a stroller that all hooks together. I’d hate to invest a bunch of money in a car seat that doesnt work for a little little baby and have to have 2, but if you have to have 3 or so anyway, what’s the + and – of that?
I highly recommend having at least 2. You NEED to have one of the little pumpkin infant seats. You know, the ones that pull out of the car and the base stays in there. When the kids are little, it is a lifesaver. When you go into the store or something, you always have a place where you can set the baby down to pay or shop or whatever. It frees up your hands much better. Plus, they are a lot easier to manuver loading and unloading in the car. Little babies are floppy. We bought an extra base, which made the car seat work in either car, but you don’t have to. The base is very easy to move and reposition.
After they leave the pumpkin seat, we found one seat that will work til they are out of them. It converts to a booster. We may find that we want a simple seat belt booster in a couple years, but really, you’ve got to look at it as providing the most safety for the current age group. Find a seat that will last as long as you can, but when it’s time to switch, don’t skimp! Car accidents are very dangerous to yound kids. Eat peanut butter for a while if it doesn’t fit your budget. It’s worth it.
Some people are able to use the pumpkin seat for up to a year or so (make sure to read the height and weight restrictions). Mine were out of them at around 4 months or so. But the 4 months we used them, I loved having it. We had the stroller that fit it too, but could have done without. We still use it occasionally, but we could have carried the kid, or when they got a little bigger used one of the cheapo umbrella ones. When you’re thinking of strollers, safety isn’t as much of an issue, so whatever fits your life and budget goes.
The seats we have now were around $150 each. (I think) i don’t regret it a bit. In fact, we had 2 before we even had 2 kids, one for each car. We just thought having 4 of them would get a bit bulky, so we move them from car to car now. It’s really a pita. Plus, it’s safer to set them in the car really well, the right way once and not have to move it often. that’s always been our motivation for having duplicates. Now, though, we’re old pros and I can get them seated in the car pretty well every time.
Jacob was out at 5 months, although he could have gone maybe a month longer. It all depends on the size of your baby. He was so long, but had he been shorter, he could have stayed longer and it would have been nice! Lauren will be in it as long as possible. It’s just SO convenient. We just have the one base, and since there isn’t any day care to worry about, we don’t need to move the seats around. The kids are just always with the car with the seats. Jacob’s seat that he got at 5 months is the one he is in now and can go to 100 pounds. When Lauren is ready for that seat, we’ll get him into a regular booster, if he makes the size requirements. Otherwise we shell out the money for another big seat. As for the stroller, I really like the one that came with our car seat. Ordered it online from Target, it’s an Evenflo. A lot of seats and strollers are compatible even if you don’t get the ones that come together. I liked our big stroller (I call it their chariot) especially when it came to shopping or big outings because of the storage capacity. And strollers don’t have handles that move now, so you can either be looking at baby or having baby face out (also good for keeping the sun out of baby’s eyes, so it’s good to be able to fit the seat in and have a choice for directions.
To summarize a rambling message, 2 seats is all you will likely need, and the longer they can stay in the carrier, the better and more convenient for you!
In the beginning, get the infant seat with the base. Buy a second base at Babies R Us for the seat for your second vehicle. Even if the baby won’t be in the 2nd car all that much, it’s still nice to have. Changing bases from one car to another SUCKS!!
Her infant seat was part of a “travel system”. It came with her stroller–Laura Ashley Baby. When she was smaller, it was perfect to snap the seat into the stroller and off we’d go. She’s, obviously, grown out of the seat, but the stroller still serves its purpose. It was $200 well spent. Some are put off by the price of things, but in the long run? Spending $250 or $300 on a car seat that will take you through 65 pounds is smarter than buying 2 or 3 car seats during the years.
Morgan was in her infant seat from birth to 7 months. At 7 months, I dropped $300 on a Britax seat. it’s worth the money–it’s safe and will take the child through several years. It’s a breeze to install with the LATCH system and SO SO SO secure. Because she rode with me more, we bought a different, less expensive seat for Jimmy’s truck. But, after she started riding with us equally, we bought a second Britax seat for his truck.