View Full Version : I need HELP with a combo/ booster seat

09-26-2003, 06:28 PM
I am in dire need of a combo/booster seat for my daughter who just turned 3 years old in June. She is currently in a Britax Roundabout, but her 10 month old baby sister needs it right away since she has just about outgrown her infant carseat. My 3 year old is tall and skinny (41" tall and 30 lbs) and almost too tall for the Roundabout anyway (her ears are almost to the top of the seat). She occasionally still naps in the car.

I have been researching combo/boosters for many, many months and am basically on information overload. I don't think that the "perfect" seat is out there yet - one with open loop guides, good padding, sleeping support, easy harness adjustment, and reasonably priced to name a few needed features. I don't understand why companies continue to manufacture carseats without open loop guides. It would be nice to not have to worry about potentially dangerous slack in the belt. (Sorry, I just had to vent a little!)

I have narrowed my search to the Evenflo Comet, Evenflo Chase, Graco Ultra Cargo, and Graco Platinum Cargo, but note that none of these seats have an open loop guide. I don't want to buy another Britax due to the high price (I would have bought the Marathon instead of the Roundabout if it was out back then) and Cosco seats from my understanding have low harness slots. Should I be considering any other seats?

I was originally leaning towards the Evenflo Comet after buying the Fields' Toddler Bargains book, but have since read complaints about the EPS foam breaking off during installation. I have also read conflicting opinions on the sleeping support. Has anyone else had any experience with this seat?

Any insite on this would be much appreciated.

09-27-2003, 01:33 AM
I should also add that in my quest, I discovered that TRU/BRU no longer carry the Evenflo Comet and I have noticed the seat advertised at Big Lots (a close-out store). I called Evenflo and the rep said they were not discontinuing the seat and were unsure why TRU/BRU no longer sell it (possibly a slow mover??).

The Evenflo rep did mention that they have a new seat called the Vision that was introduced in May which is said to be similar to the Chase/Express but has moved the harness adjustment to a strap you pull between the child's legs. I haven't been able to find the seat online anywhere as of yet (including Evenflo's website!), but was told that Walmart and Kmart may carry the seat. Does anyone have any experience with this new seat?

I know I have lots of questions, but any advice and/or information offered would be great! Thanks in advance!!

09-29-2003, 02:41 PM
How about this idea: Don't worry for a single, solitary second about the belt guides. Your younger child can grow right out of the RA, and right into the higher harness slots of whatever combo seat you choose, and you NEVER have to use the belt guides (they are NOT mandatory, and it's not recommended that you use them unless absolutely necessary, anyway)...you'd be much happier concentrating your efforts on finding a combo seat with a nice, easy to use harness and good padding...and then just pick a nice dedicated booster later when the time comes for that.

For a car-napping kid, I'd go with the Cargo (Ultra or Platinum), just for the awesome sleep support and recline. For a not-napping-much kid, the Chase comes in so many cool covers with good padding...I just really like it. I think someone has seen the Vision at Wal-mart (in New York?), but I didn't remember the harness adjuster detail...and anyway, I think the adjuster on the Chase is really pretty nice...JMHO :)

Anyway, any non-cosco/safety first/eddie bauer seat is fine, as long as it has a front adjuster and you and your child like it (and it fits, your child and your car, of course), so go with the one you like...play with them...see if the harness adjuster works smoother on one or the other, or see if the cover will come off for cleaning, or prod the seats and see if you like the padding...whatever features jump out at you as important...

Have fun shopping ;)

Julie CPS Advocate and mom to 2 in seats

09-29-2003, 05:24 PM
Julie, thanks you so much for your advice! I really appreciate it. You have a good point about getting a dedicated booster later on.

I went to Baby Depot this weekend and they had the Comet, Chase, and Ultra Cargo, but not the Platinum Cargo. As it turns out, the Chase was not a good fit for my daughter. Since she is so skinny, I couldn't get the harness tight enough because the adjuster was in the way. I had heard rumors that seats with the adjuster directly on the harness did not work well for smaller children, but wasn't sure what "smaller" really meant (short and/or skinny). So, now I know that skinny is included in that category.

The Ultra Cargo had good padding on the bottom, but not much on the back. The harness adjuster was somewhat flimsy (at least on the floor model) as it became detached from the seat itself and it also didn't adjust as smoothly as my Roundabout does. I wasn't exactly sure how the recline works, but there was a red bar on the underside of the seat that you flip. Does that mean you have to remove the seat from the car to get it into recline position if you started out in the upright position? Also, I think I read somewhere that it is safer for toddlers/preschoolers to ride in an upright position vs. recline in case of a collision - is that right?

The Comet had little padding on the bottom, but the back was fine. I liked the harness adjuster knob. Do you have any feedback about any problems with the EPS foam? I heard that this is the only combo/booster available in the US using EPS foam.

09-29-2003, 05:56 PM
You're right: it is best practice to ride as upright as possible...but presumably they've tested their seats both ways (upright and reclined). Right, the red bar is the recline...it's not "on the fly", so you might want to generally leave it upright, and install it reclined for long trips only..or not at all...the wings are deep enough.
Hmmm....the ajuster piece on the front of my cherished cargo came off, too...too bad the newer seats still have that problem. The Platinum Cargo from Babies R Us is more padded than any other version (it's brand new).

Well, so much for the Chase...too bad the Vision isn't findable yet! That new adjuster would be a boon for the littler kids!

The Comet IS the only seat currently with the EPS foam..I haven't heard any complaints about it, just that there's not really enough of it...isn't it mostly on the sides? Any is better than none, though ;) If you like the knob and the seat otherwise, then there's certainly nothing wrong with it...it's quite a nice seat :)

Julie CPS Advocate and mom to 2 in seats

10-15-2003, 11:42 AM
My local Sears has the Platinum CarGo in stock and on sale right now. It think it was around $94. You could try Sear on-line too if you don't have a Sears close to your home.

10-16-2003, 09:49 AM
I just saw the Vision at Walmart in SoCal this week. I couldn't get past the lack of padding though! It just felt like thick fabric and no foam. I was in a rush as the kids were screaming about something! I glanced down looking for the price, too and couldn't find it. :( As for the Chase, what is up with the empty space in the lumbar area. I was feeling the seat for padding and in the lower back, there was a large divot/hollowed out area. Is this safe? Comfortable? I am guessing that it was designed for belts where the buckle ends up "in the seat" rather than buckled just to the side of it like an airplane seat belt.

BTW - Please forgive my ignorance, but how do kids get their ears to the top of a carseat without their shoulders being WAY too high for the top shoulder slots? DD is 34 mon, 33#, 37"in and FF in a Century Accel. Her shoulders are at the top slots (though the fabric is pulling down about 1/2"), but her ears are a good 5-6" from the top of the seat! She also rides in a Century NextStep and is at the top slots with about the same space. Is my DD just long torsoed and short necked? We are window shopping for new seats as she will be out of the Accel soon and DS (though only 27# and 32") is also at the top slots in his Accel,too! PLMK and TIA for your help.

mom 2 Katie (34 months)
& Jack (18 months)

10-16-2003, 10:56 AM
Ugh...I was hoping the Vision would be better...time to make a field trip to wally world and see (if they are in SoCal, they might be here in NorCal, too...fingers crossed)

The seat you have does have quite a long way from the top slot to the top of the seat (and an old evenflo of mine is ridiculous...the top slots are like 13 inches, and my dd outgrew it at 2, but now she's four, and her ears are still below the top of the seat!)...but if you look at the Triumph you can see that the ears could infact hit the top of the seat around about the same time the shoulders go above the top slot http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/sr=8-1/qid=1066318661/ref=sr_8_1/602-1145455-0755033?asin=B00009EF09 (but also, it's kind of a warning for those less cautious: seats can be misused to a large degree, and people will just go ahead and put huge kids in convertibles, so if you give them three steps of knowing when the seat is outgrown, you help to slightly reduce the chance of gross misuse....now that the rule is 6 or 60 here, i see a LOT more big kids heads bobbing out of convertible seats...talk about an unintended consequence of the law!).

Oddly, the Starriser comfy has only a plastic support bar in the lumbar region...they don't even pretend to put "seat" there when the backrest is raised...but kids up to age 11 still find the seat comfortable...so I wonder how much padding is really needed? maybe less than we think? still, i agree it pretty much sucks, and they should pad the seats better... :P

Julie CPS Tech and mom to 2 in seats