View Full Version : Recommend seats: 3 1/2 YO+16 MO, insurance paying!
01-18-2008, 12:22 PM
We're replacing our Britax Roundabout & Marathon following a car crash, & insurance is reimbursing us. DD is 3 yrs 7 mo, DS is 17 mo, both average size, DD has just crossed booster height/weight.
Also, buying a new car - Mazda5 minivan/station wagon crossover - so mounting the carseats in the two small 'captains chairs' type seats, with a very small aisle between chairs heading back to the 3rd row. There are rear tethers on the backs of the seat, although I think I member some concern re: the headrests?
I think we're settled on the Boulevard for our 17 month old. But... I think I want to head more towards a booster with a harness & side impact protection for our daughter.
Price is not an issue, but space is. With the baby in the Boulevard, we'll already be eating up some of the limited aisle space. Also, while the seats in my car tend not to move around often, they do occasionally need to get switched over the sitters/friends/grandparents car, and seats that are hard to install concern me because of the risk of user error when the seat moves.
Also, we love that the Britax seat harness adjust so easily because DD will not tolerate a tight harness when in winter clothes.
I also want to buy a small booster to keep stored in the car to help out with carpool & playdates with my daughter's 4-6 year old friends, who would vary in height & weight, but all be over the age of 4 and which would also need to be *very* small, & *very* easy to uninstall & reinstall since the 3rd row seats will have to be folded down weekly for grocery runs. Is that too young for the occasional backless booster ride? Is there a booster with a back that would not take up a tremendous amount of room?
Thanks in advance Jools!
01-18-2008, 12:58 PM
You might want to look at the Graco Nautilus for your 3 yo... it's got a tall harness, is plenty easy to install, kind of heavy I've heard, but probably not as heavy as the BV. It also becomes a booster seat when she's at least 5 (harnessing is absolutely safest up till that age, particularly in everyday driving).
You could get a small backless booster for little friends riding with you...that car has curtain airbags and it would be small to deal with. However... I'm not sure if the 5 has been redesigned, but the shoulderbelt tends to be VERY far forward from the seatback, I know of even 9 yo's in that seat in a booster where the belt doesn't even touch their body. You might ultimately be more comfortable with a highback booster for these little kids, that will keep the belt on their shoulder/chest, and will keep them slightly more restrained so you have to remind them less to sit properly (ie, don't put that belt behind your back, please!). The Compass B500 is fairly cheap and folds in half... not as small as a backless, but small and flat and the flip up armrests also make it easy for kids to buckle properly (the Graco Turbo Safe Step 3 is also nice and cheap and lays flat, but kids often put the belt behind the armrests... if you want to monitor that situation you might save some money...)
Anyway, just some thoughts...I hope the belt fits properly with a lowback booster (the Cosco Auto Booster/High Rise/Ambassador is the best, IMO...lightest, cheapest, and has a 30 pound weight limit...the Backless Turbos are 40, highback Turbos are 30)
Hope that helps, I feel like I was just brainstorming, lol...
01-18-2008, 01:42 PM
Thanks Jools - really like the look of the Compass - looks like a good travel seat for DD too.
I'm such a brandname snob on carseats, after buying a bad Graco seat for Grandma's car (have to pull to uninstall to adjust the harnesses, and with our ultrasensitive daughter, my parents inevitably have the harness too loose).
Why the Nautilus over the True Fit or Radian or Regeant or whatever else is out there that I've forgotten? & remember, the $$ is State Farm's problem, not mine! :)
& now I'm having pangs over moving her to harness booster. as the car safety expert, do you think there's a significant difference between the harness/side-impact boosters & a carseat? am I a bad mother if we go to a booster this early? isn't motherhood grand? :)
actually, if you think waiting until she's bigger is better, I could put the booster in DH's car so she'd stay in the crash-free carseat until 4.
01-18-2008, 03:52 PM
The Regent's fine, of course... I think the same mom with the third row seatbelt issue also found the Regent was mega reclined in her middle row (might try www.car-seat.org and search the bottom google box for 'mazda 5' by the member Defrost, she's got heaps of reviews and pictures). You could go with matching Recaro Signos...
Any 5 pt harness seat is the same, whether it's a convertible or combo, it's just as safe.
Maybe the Sunshine Kids Radian? That's nice and low profile and easy for kids to climb into (has kind of a tough adjuster, though...). If you REALLY want to go fancy, the Safeguard Child Seat is divine :)
No one's seen the Compass True Fit yet... no idea if it's as good as we hope it will be...
01-20-2008, 07:23 PM
Thanks! I'll go test out all of those seats.
& I really needed to hear 'any 5 point harness is the same'. It sure seemed like it would be, but since they are listed under different categories, I have an emotional reaction to buying a harness seat from the 'booster' section.
& thanks for having such fabulous information up - every time I have to buy a new seat I come poke here first and find all the wonderful information & great technical answers.
01-20-2008, 08:46 PM
I just hope the shopping part goes smoothly...tell us all about what you get!
01-21-2008, 03:44 PM
OKAY MY HEAD IS OFFICIALLY SPINNING!!
I spent the better part of last night + other intervals here & on car-seats.org, & browsing images & checking everyone's signatures to see what you dedicated carseat snobs are in, which meant I explored several seats that are not even made any more!! Then this morning went to 2 Mazda delearships & the car seat store.
Here are my findings so far:
(a) My list post-research: Radian/Nautilus/TrueFit/Regeant/Signo/Boulevard.
(b) I *love* the look of the Compass True Fit, and wish my husband had totaled his car 3 weeks later so I'd be spared the dilemma of deciding whether to wait.
(c) I don't like the look of the Nautilus, I've had bad Graco experiences, & I hate Wal-Mart, & so also hate that they seem to be primarily sold at Wal-Mart.
(d) Boulevard was great online, but in person DD & I agreed that it was not nearly as comfy as the Signo, nor as comy as our current Marathon - seat depth seemed less, even though I can't imagine it is. The Signo was just too comfy I suppose
(e) Mazda 5 has *not* fixed the rear seat belt issue in the 2007 or 2008 models, which I think means I need a harness seat for our 'guest seat.'
(f) I *really like* the idea of the SafeSeatGo for our 'guest+travel seat', but if it's your travel seat, what do you do when you show up some place with no rear anchor? Plus the seatbelt install looked complicated, & we'd primarily be installing it with seatbelts. But it's so light & convenient....
(g) Signo is awfully big, but very comfy, & love the knob harness adjuster. So it may be matching Signos. & I think the Baby Bargains advice needs to updated to "If Grandma's buying the seat, make it a Signo," man are they pricey!
(h) Would it have *killed* Recaro to give us a better girly cover than plain pink & gray?? Seriously! A few gray flowers sprinkled across the pink, perhaps? Any easy & safe decorating ideas?
(i) You people are crazy whacky with your love of carseats. My husband was complaining about my *two* nights on the boards - what are your husbands saying? :)
As I'm typing this, I think I might have a strategy. The True Fit will be comparatively cheap when it comes out, so if I can talk DD into two truly matching Signos (neutral fabric in lieu of pink she picked), then if the TrueFit rocks, I can buy it too, in the lovely Monet, & use the Signo as the fanciest 'guest seat' ever. Of course it wouldn't travel well.
But I have *got* to make a decision soon before my head explodes, my children neglected, my husband in the arms of another woman, & my business bankrupt!
01-21-2008, 04:09 PM
One more thing I discovered in actually trying out the seats is that my average height daughter is even more longwaisted than I realized. Even though she's average height, she just crossed her current slot & went up to the top slot on her Marathon. I'd guess she's about 2" below the top, & the Marathon is 17" to the top slot - almost as high as every seat except the Regeant.
So... I think I'm getting her the Regeant, which I ruled out for the lack of side impact protection. I think that's a better choice, keeps her harnessed longer in exchange for giving up side impact protect, & we'll still have the side curtain airbags. + it comes in lovely girly patterns!
So, now DD still needs a new primary seat for my new car (Signo?), + hopefully a guest/travel seat will materialize, & in 2 more torso inches (whenever that occurs) will have to give DS the accident-free Marathon & get yet another new seat for DD.
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