View Full Version : Am I missing any places to buy Booster Combos?
03-19-2003, 11:35 AM
I've been checking places online for Booster Combo seats. (I plan to actually look at a few in the stores tomorrow or Friday.) But I'm wondering if I've missed any good sites.
So far I've looked at:
I've also looked at OneStepAhead, RightStart, and JCPenney, but they don't have any of the ones I'm interested in. Am I missing any places with good deals???
Since I'm looking for a Booster Combo with a 5-point harness and a front harness adjuster, I'm looking at the Century Next Step, Graco Ultra and Platinum CarGo, and the Evenflo Apollo/Comet or Express/Chase seats. I'd rather stay away from anything made by Cosco (personal preference). And I don't want to spend the money on a Britax. This is a seat to use in my dad's Mazda MPV, so it will only be used occassionally, so I can't see the $250 price tag. DS is 2-years-old, and I'll know on Friday his exact stats after his check-up.
Thanks for your help. (And maybe I'll actually get a response to this post....)
03-19-2003, 01:17 PM
Wow, that's a long list...might want to give http://www.froogle.com a shot, too. look down a few posts, there's a link to a printbable TRU coupon, which might help :)
03-19-2003, 03:35 PM
Thanks, but that search didn't turn up anything I don't already know about. And I have the TRU coupons around here somewhere--have to dig them up.
Yes, you should see the Excel spreadsheet I have to keep track of all the information!
If my local ToysRUs actually has some of the seats that BabiesRUs is supposed to carry (my local TRU "stinks" when it comes to this stuff, and I have to drive 45-60 minutes to the nearest BRU), I should be able to see everything I'm interested in at TRU, Sears, and Target. Of course provided that the other 2 dept. stores also have all the seats they supposedly carry.
Sigh....you'd think a big metropolitan area like Pittsburgh would have better choices without having to travel 45-60 minutes. I mean, I have shopping 5-20 minutes away, but the "bigger" stores mean a "bigger" trip, on the turnpike. Before they built the one BRU last year (45 minutes in one direction--I still haven't been there) I had to travel over the border to Ohio to shop at one (60 minutes in the other direction). Guess where DS's other car seats came from? That's right THE last FPSE II car seat at the Boardman, Ohio BRU.
Sorry for getting of track and rambling....I have a habit of doing that!
03-19-2003, 03:49 PM
Sounds like you have the situation nailed....FWIW, the Ultra Cargo at Babyage is the nice, new model, at a good bargain price, but if it feels like the Cargo at baby depot (which also is the new model, with the red recline bar), then the blue one at Target, for $79 is more padded. If you like the Evenflos, go with any of the "comfort touch" versions, they are a bit more padded. as for the nextstep...I dunno, I had one a couple years ago, the SE, that was rather UNpadded and had only a rear adjuster..I hope they don't even make that one any more! The ones I've seen aren't too bad, though :). Have fun and tell us what you end up with! Julie
03-19-2003, 04:22 PM
The Next Step one that I'm interested in is the MX or DX (although nobody seems to carry the DX anymore and it's not listed on Century's site). They have the front harness adjuster. I know to stay away from the SE.
The Ultra Cargos that I've seen listed range from $59.99 at BabyAge to $89.99, also at BabyAge. BabyCatalog seems to have the same ($89.99) model for $10 less. Granted I haven't checked all the shipping costs, etc. BRU may have one for $79.99 also. I think the Sears one is closer to the $59.99 model, and doesn't seem to have the extra head support. Since DS just turned 2, the head support may or may not be nice to have. Only way to know is to put him in the seat! There's also the Platinum CarGo that I've seen listed for $99.99. Supposed to have more padding, but one rec site said it may be too much, and some parents actually like the Ultra better.
Of course the one that the Fields liked best is the Evenflo Apollo, and I can't find that anywhere online--except at BabyUniverse for $104.99. Evenflo replaced it with the Comet, but without the memory harness of the Apollo. Figures! I've seen that one listed for $69.99 to $89.99. The Express is the "less frills" version of the Chase from what I can tell. I hope I've got that all right. I've seen the Chase listed for $59.99 and the Express anywhere from $49.99 to $89.99 (with the OshKosh fabric, of course). That's some range just for different fabrics.
Can you tell I've been obsessing over this stuff the past few days! I actually wake up thinking about them. LOL! You'd think I'd have it all figured out by now! :) It's been about 18 months since I had to think about this stuff, but I figure it's time Pap-Pap had a seat of his own so we don't have to keep taking it out of my car.
Thanks for the info! And I will be sure to come back with a full report. Doesn't mean I'll have made a decision, but I'll have something to report, I'm sure.
03-19-2003, 05:35 PM
Whew! Yup, the apollo is gone...I had one, it was terrible for sleeping for my 2 yo...but the wings were good for sleeping for my 4 yo...just something to think about :). as for the Ultra vs. the Platinum, I went to remind myself yesterday which one was more padded...the P is more padded under the leatherette side lap-wings, and the U is definitely softer on the bottom...very odd. I had the old Cherished model...very basic (but terrific for sleeping!), i think the Sears Ultra is kind of like that one, but im not totally sure. Oh, those little head supports? DS pulled his right off and we never used it! (when he was 2). Hey, it's cool to obsess! Just go shopping yourself and don't listen to store employees...I sent my DH to buy a cherished cargo, and he came back with an eddie bauer high back booster and "they guy at kmart said they're exactly the same!" GRRRRR...;)
03-19-2003, 10:58 PM
I had an Evenflo Express booster with comfort touch padding that I liked very much. My dd found it to be very comfy and the straps were easy to adjust. It was also very easy to install. Good luck!
03-20-2003, 01:17 AM
My DH would never go and buy anything like that without me. He knows better! And I'd probably never send him out for it. And I know that I probably know more than the store employees. LOL! I KNOW they haven't done the research I have. And just look at all the Eddie Bauer seats still on the market! (No offense to anyone that has one and likes it....)
We're getting Evan's pics taken tomorrow at the mall and then looking at carseats afterwards. So it will be me, Evan, and my parents. I'm sure my mother will look at some other seat and say she likes that one and I'll have to explain to her how it's no good. But she'll understand. She knows I research these things to death! Evan will probably just get excited if I let him sit in the seats in the store. If I don't find what I want tomorrow, I'll go looking on Friday after Evan's ped appt.
And I found my TRU coupons, so that's an extra $10 there! (And depending on what else I buy, maybe a free umbrella stroller with another coupon--yeah, I know it's a cheap stroller, but it might me good to have one afterall.) I think Sears is also having $5 off some carseats.
Sight unseen, I suppose I'm leaning a little towards the Evenflo Chase if TRU has it--with the coupon it would be $49.99. But then I think, well, maybe this one. Or that one? My head is spinning!
I need to see them all and play with the harnesses. And let Evan play with them. ;)
03-20-2003, 08:11 PM
Well, I went to Sears and TRU. Let me say, so far I'm disappointed with what I saw.
Sears had one of the Graco Ultra CarGo seats and the Evenflo Comet. I wasn't thrilled with either one. And Evan likes to lean down and look at the knob for adjusting the harness on the Comet. The Graco one I had a terrible time pulling the harness adjuster. It worked fine on the shelf, but when I sat it on the floor and put Evan in it, I couldn't get it to budge.
So then we went to TRU. I told you my TRU stinks! They had the Evenflo Comet, as well, and the Century Next Step. I had a horrible time getting the clip undone on the Century harness. Evan was sleeping at this point, so he didn't get to sit in it.
So now I REALLY want to see the Evenflo Chase seat. When I got home, I called the BRU that's 45 minutes away. They currently have 5 in stock. But I'm not ready to drive out there, yet. My Burlington doesn't have any. I thought I'd call stores closer to see if they had the Evenflo Express, since it has a similar harness, but maybe fewer "features." The Wal-Mart didn't have any. The Target does! We may end up at Target tomorrow to take a look at the Express, and then go from there.
I haven't found anyone around here that has a Graco Platinum Cargo to see if I might like that one better then the Ultra (I haven't looked that hard since I'm really interested in the Evenflo now). It could be that the Graco harness would work just fine when it's installed, but I have a Century seat now with the same kind of harness adjuster, and I have trouble with that one all the time, too.
03-20-2003, 09:09 PM
yeah, I think you should go to Target tomorrow...tell me if you think the ultra cargo is nicer there then the sears version (they are butts, though, they attach the seats to the high shelf...you'll have to open the box :-P). I think the only thing on the Chase that's different is the armrests...I could be wrong...(I personally am not fond of the harness adjuster being ON the harness, but some folks like it...). Have you checked epinions.com for any other info on all these seats?
Vicariously digging your adventure,
03-22-2003, 01:56 AM
Well, my Target, luckily, doesn't bolt the seats to the shelf. I was able to take them down and "play" with them. They had the Express and the Ultra AND Platinum CarGo. I didn't "play" with the Ultra. The Platinum has nice side head support. And the Ultra has the more padding in the seat, just like you said, I think. I can't remember how they compare to the Sears one, but I know the Platinum one seemed much nicer than the Sears. And I was able to get the harness adjuster to work correctly this time.
Believe it or not, I actually LIKE the adjuster on the strap on the Express. Or at least I didn't have any trouble with it. I have a heck of a time with the Century seat I have now. I have trouble with "finger strength" in my right hand since I was pregnant (too much typing, mouse clicking, and quilting?), and I can't pull on the strap very well since it's below/in-front-of the seat. I think I like the idea of the one on the harness. I don't like the knob on the Comet because of my hand trouble. I understand it has to be hard to push in so the child can't do it, but it was a little hard for me to do.
I read reviews of the Chase seat at Amazon (don't think I looked for that seat at Epinions, but I read some other ones there on the Century Next Step). I think the Chase may have a little more padding than the Express. The "wings" look a little different in the photos. But it does have the armrests that the Express doesn't. I'm also a sucker for that Westbury plaid--if it looks like it does online. ;) I suppose the only thing I don't like is the "twisty" straps. I have that problem with my Century seat, too, so I guess I'll be use to it. And this is only the carseat for Pap-Pap's car, so it won't be used ALL the time. We'll see how the belt-positioner works out.
So, anyway, I called the BRU back today. Got someone that had no idea what I was talking about at first (I forgot to say CARSEAT Booster). They are holding one for me, and we're going there tomorrow. (Also have to drop my sewing machine off to be repaired at a shop out that way, so it's not a completely out-of-the-way trip.)
Hmmmm...what are the chances my BRU will take my TRU coupons?!?
If I couldn't get the Chase, it would probably be a toss-up between the Express and the Platinum CarGo.
Oh, and Evan had his doctor's appt. today, so I finally know his stats again. Besides the big head he's always had (52cm; 97th %-tile--he's almost always been in the 97th %-tile), he weighs about 28 lbs. 2 oz. (50th %-tile--he's always been in the 25-50% range) and is 36.25" tall (90th %-tile--must have had a growth spurt, because he's always been in the 50-75% range for height). Tall, skinny guy that were's size 4-7 hats from the boys department! ;)
I tried to explain all the seat differences to DH and he gets the look that I get when he starts talking about his job! LOL! I'd hand him a copy of Toddler Bargains to read, but I think he'd just rather trust me with the info.
03-22-2003, 01:54 PM
I think I read somewhere that BRU will take TRU coupons...it's worth a shot, at least :). The Chase does seem to have a MUCH nicer cover than the Express, that's for sure. One thing to think about is whether the armrests will cause difficulty when the seat is used as a booster (IF you plan to use it as a booster)...I've read glowing recommendations of the Express as a booster, and I also have seen people get really confused about just where the seatbelt should be placed when there are armrests involved (my mom couldn't figure out the shoulderbelt...does it go OVER the armrest? UNDER The armrest?...even one of our preschool teachers got it wrong!....it's not an insurmountable difficulty, just something to think about).
LOL, my dh is like that....he's been living with my "hobby" for years now, and the other day at BCF, he walked right up to the Cosco Summit and said, "ooooh, this one is neat...I like the armrests!"(how could he not know my aversion to cosco after the first time he brought one home!?!?!? lol)
03-22-2003, 11:56 PM
Walked into the BRU and I could spot the Chase Booster from across the store! LOL! We put it on the floor and DS climbed right into it. It definitely has more padding than the Express. I do like the harness adjuster. And the fabric is wonderful! He he! I know, don't buy a carseat based on fabric, but the pattern is one I really like, so it's a nice bonus. I'm a sucker for non-blue plaids.
I like the armrests, too. DS sits in the chair, with his hands on the armrests, like he owns the world. Too funny! If only they could do something about those slightly twisty straps. But they won't be a "problem." It's very clear (and very clear from the instructions) that the seat belt goes BEHIND the armrests. There's a space of about 2 inches between the seatback and the armrests, so it's not difficult.
We found a customer service person (or they found me) and they retrieved my held seat from the back. The box didn't look "tampered" with, so I took it. (Edited to add: When we got the seat home, I noticed the date of manufacture was 10-Mar-03, one day before Evan's 2nd birthday, so this is a very "new" seat.)
After finding some clearance clothes for Evan (you think I can walk by a clearance rack?!?), we went to check out. I asked if I could use the TRU coupons, and she said no problem. (I wondered because they say "To be redeemed at TRU only all over them." ) She rang up the stuff I had and then my coupons. She said there was a problem with the $10 off coupon, it wasn't taking it. So she called over a supervisor, they punched a few buttons, and everything was fine. The final figure sounded a little low, and I noticed as we were leaving the store that she rang up the coupon twice! Oops! Probably why it "wasn't taking it." So we got the seat for $20 off ($39.99). I never know whether I should be "honest" in those situations, but of course I didn't say anything. Is that wrong?
After stopping for lunch, we drove to my mother's house (we have supper there every Saturday). So I got the seat out and sat down with the instructions. Everything is pretty straight forward. Thank goodness for LATCH! Evan had fun sitting in his seat in the livingroom all night long. He kept climbing in and out and "testing" the buckles and straps. My little escape artist in the making! My mother really liked the seat--she had seen some of the other ones earlier in the week and was concerned about the "lack of padding." She was happy with this seat. The seat is very light! DH has a FPSE II in his car, and that thing weighs a ton.
We took the seat out to the garage, and I showed my younger brother how to install it since my dad was at work. I was able to install the seat MYSELF! Which is not usually easy for me to do. And I think I got a pretty good fit on the first try, once I gave another good tug on the LATCH belt. Getting it back out was a little trickier. Because the LATCH belt is pulled so tight, you have to sort of rotate the buckle down to get enough slack back into it to undo the hooks. Once I figured just how to do it, no problem. I also tested the belt positioning option. The shoulder belt seems to run smoothly through the positioner attached to the seat. I didn't try it with Evan actually in the seat (since he'd be way too small anyway), but I tugged on the belt quite a few times and it seemed to function as a shoulder belt should. When my dad came home from work and saw the seat, he really liked it, too.
Oh, I should mention that Evan's shoulders come just below the bottom slots (maybe 1/4" ), so we should have quite a bit of growth left in the harness.
While at the BRU, I saw a couple with a newborn looking at the convertible seats. I wished I had my copy of BB with me so that I could whip it out and "enlighten" them why they should "back away from the Cosco seats!" LOL! Of course I'm not up on convertible seats now, so I couldn't just give them advice on which might be a good one to pick. But, hey, if they were looking at Booster Combos, I could certainly give them my rec!
I think I covered everything. Any other questions?
DS has got 12 pounds to go until I have to worry about this stuff again when he grows out of the convertibles in our cars.
03-23-2003, 02:06 PM
COOL! I'm so glad you got such a good deal on a seat you love! (Don't sweat the double coupon...they've likely overcharged you on something else before, lol). I'm also pleased to hear the LATCH worked so well for you and the seat fits in the car...that's always encouraging :). Pat yourself on the back!
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