View Full Version : Torso GROWTH & car seat opinions for 3 yr 10 mo old

03-22-2006, 03:56 PM
My DD is 39 inches tall, 39 lbs and is 3 years 10 months old. She has a long torso and will outgrow her Roundabout within a few weeks or the next month. I went down to my local RightStart to look at car seats and my options. I have been blown away at how many parents have put their child into a belt positioning/high back booster so quickly and it just seems too premature for such a seat, especially since I don't think she has the maturity to sit in a booster yet.

I have a really small car (a Toyota Echo) and only one child so putting the seat in the middle is fine, however when a grandparent is in town or we have a passenger (like another little munchkin in their car seat) I'll need to move her over by the window. Our other car is a Toyota Camry and she splits her time 80 Echo/20 Camry. I feel strongly about having a car seat in each car with minimal switching around.

At first I was very excited about the Britax Decathalon (in the pink/yellow Tiffany colors!) until DD sat in it. She would only have ONE set of notches on the shoulder straps to grow into until she outgrows the seat. The woman who helped me seemed to think she had very little growing room. So I'm wondering just how much kids grow between ages 3-5 in their torso? Could an inch take a few years?

Then the woman brought up that with such a small car the Boulevard with the TSIP (side impact protection) might be better, especially when positioned by the window. The Regent just seemed SO HUGE and I don't think I could install it by the door, plus the only color they had was the black and I'm in a super sunny climate- it just seems really hot to me... someone tell me if I'm wrong.... so I'm leaning away from the Regent unless I absolutely have to...

I ended up leaving the store with a Recaro Young Style that I'm thinking about returning. I bought it because at the time it seemed like my only option, or I could keep -it would be nice to have as an "extra" seat" (when traveling (especially when going in taxis), extra kid over, in grandparent's car, etc..) in case I do go back and get a larger Britaxes.

Here are my main questions:
Does anyone have a really small car (like a civic, echo, corolla, focus, etc...) and does your Regent/Husky fit and if so is it only in the middle?

Does anyone have a Decathalon or a Boulevard and if so do you have an older/larger child in the seat?

Anyone have any observations about their child's torso growth?

*silly question* How in the world does the Recaro booster keep from tipping over when you make a sharp turn???? (it just seems like my child might be too light to hold the seat down...) do they kind of move around a lot?

And for those that DO have a Husky/Regent/Decathalon/Boulevard DO YOU HAVE TWO? One in each car? That's such a dilema for us... Which seat to put in which car...

Ok, a LOT of questions, I know. Having a small car means I really want to have the asbolute safest option for my DD yet it still has to work with the car itself...

Amy :)

Aunt to sweet baby boy
03-22-2006, 08:41 PM
I would get a Regent for your car and a Cosco Apex for dh's car. It can only be used with a high seatback but in a camry you should not have problems with that. I would not get a MA/DC/BV at her age unless you want to get one for the second car and the Regent for the first car. I would not put a child who is not 4 years old in a booster unless absolutely necessary. I think it is far better to have a child in a 5 pt harness and be on the side over having a child in a booster in the middle.

Boosters only boost the child up to the correct position with the seatbelt, if you turn and the child leans the booster will lean as well.

The seat will most likely fit in your car on the side but you may not be able to get a passenger in the middle. It will most likely turn your 5 person car into a 4 person car.




03-23-2006, 10:54 AM
Thanks for the suggestion. Any ideas where I could buy an Apex? I found a few online but I'd love to look at it in person. Thanks again.
Amy :) :) :)

03-23-2006, 05:27 PM
Toys R Us has them. (Maybe Babies R Us too, if you live in an area with both though, try TRU first.)

03-23-2006, 10:42 PM
I agree with Ilana, if the vehicle has headrests, go with an Apex for one vehicle, probably the one she is in less-often, as long as that car has headrests. The Apex isn't Britax-quality by any stretch, but it has the same height top slots as the Marathon/Decathlon/Boulevard, harnesses to 65 pounds and converts to a booster. It isn't well-padded, which is why I say use it in the lesser-used car.

Then I'd go for a Regent in your main vehicle. Your dd is longer in the torso than my dd was at that height (though my dd was 39 inches at about 2 years, 10 months old, with about a 14.5 to 15 inch torso height), and she fit in a Husky great at that time. I'm almost positive it will fit in your smallish car, too.

I had a Husky (predecessor of the Regent, same seat shell) in a 1991 Honda Accord and a 1996 Toyota Camry, outboard, with no problems, using the long belt path, top-tethered, no recline bar. With the recline bar it may have pushed the base out far enough to limit dd's leg room, I don't know. The recline bar always seemed to make a less-solid install for me, and if the seat is tethered you don't need the recline bar. I never did get a good install with only a lapbelt, because the short belt path is required and I just didn't feel it was secure enough for such a large, heavy seat. It didn't matter though, in smaller vehicles if the Husky is in the center there isn't really room in the outboard seats for anyone else to fit (except my 11yo little sister, and that was crunching in, no booster--she was over 4'9"). I would have liked to keep her in the middle for side impact protection's sake, but the seat fit better outboard because of the long belt path, and it allowed another, larger passenger to fit comfortably in the other outboard spot.

Here's pics of the Husky installed in my '91 Accord, in the center (when Britax allowed the long belt path with a lapbelt-only--they don't now): http://photobucket.com/albums/0603/scatterbunny/Husky%20in%201991%20Honda%20Accord/

Showing it with another seat (Britax Laptop), both installed outboard, and the space leftover in the middle: http://photobucket.com/albums/0603/scatterbunny/May%202005%20Carseat%20Photos/?action=view&current=LaptopandHuskyin91Accord.jpg

This picture shows that, while the Husky/Regent doesn't have "true side impact protection" like the Boulevard, it does have pretty deep, sturdy sides to it, which are sure to help in side impacts: http://photobucket.com/albums/0603/scatterbunny/November%202004%20Carseat%20Photos/?action=view&current=Carseats-HayleyandBabyChouChou.jpg

Okay, having said all that, and as much as I love the Husky/Regent, your dd would probably have more room in the Marathon than you think. My dd outgrew her Cosco Alpha Omega (14.5" top slots) at 38 inches tall. Now she is 46 inches tall (100th percentile for height at 4 years, 9 months old) with a torso height of about 16". So in 8 total inches of height growth, her torso has only changed 1.5". She was almost even with the second-to-top slots on the Marathon at 2.5 years old, and now at almost 5 she still has an inch to go before being level with them. I would guess she'd last to age 5.5, at least, in the Marathon.

If you have another child to pass seats down to, or if you plan on it (LOL), I could see justifying a Marathon, but for us a forward-facing only seat made more sense because our dd was already too heavy to rear-face and we didn't plan on more children.

03-27-2006, 02:52 PM
Thanks for the great info! I especially appreciate the torso growth comments. I am on the fence about getting a Boulevard (like the TSIP) or a Regent. The Regent is SO HUGE and very hard for me to pick up & move if needed. It's such a massive seat to cram into a Toyota Echo. There won't be but a few inches between where the seat ends and where the front seats begin. I have to wonder if I'll be compromising her leg room.

The only thing that I wonder about is putting a 4-yr old in a BV would I be making her sit up higher & a bit further out in front of the seat vs. sitting lower & farther back in the Regent (which I assume is a safer position to be in)?

It shouldn't be this hard!!! ;-) LOL

I should also note that I'm pretty sure we'll also be buying a Recaro Young Style booster to have as an "extra" seat- travel (can you imagine lugging the Regent through the aiport or on a taxi?), grandma's car, friend needs a ride home, etc. Truly love this booster although I'm not ready yet (nor is my daughter) to put her in one. I'm committed to the 5 pt harness for quite a while!

Amy :)

PS any further opinions/comments etc about Regent vs Boulevard is always helpful!

03-27-2006, 06:17 PM
I understand your concern about leg room, but I think as long as you use the long belt path, no recline bar installation method (with top tether), it will be fine. The recline bar is usually what will push the edge of the carseat over the edge of the vehicle seat and compromise leg room.

We loved the Husky (and all the seats without a big base) because dd has an easier time of getting into and out of the seat. She doesn't need to climb onto the vehicle seat to get into the carseat, and doesn't need my help climbing into it, either. I was afraid with a Mararathon (or clone) that would be a problem. I just really liked her sitting lower on the vehicle seat.

Aunt to sweet baby boy
03-27-2006, 11:28 PM
I dont think that one position is "safer" than another- either the BV or Regent would be very safe. I love the BV with its SIP but i really think the bonus of harnessing above 65 lbs and with the harness slots so much taller it is a big bonus for a child who is too big to be RF. Children often cross their legs or bend them when in their seats- i would not really worry about leg room but if you are i would try the seat at the store and see how it is.

The Recaro booster is really nice imho! Another really nice booster is the Parkway...