Car Seat Conundrum

This last week (or so) my waking thoughts have been consumed by Baby MPB’s car seat.

When we were in the USA we bought a Graco as we needed one that USA certified.  Of course, it didn’t meet Canadian standards, so we left it with someone down there to donate to a charity (if they could).  Without knowing it at the time, I really liked it.  It seemed to fit Baby MPB and we never had any issues with it when we were driving thousands of miles.

When we got home we happily accepted a good friend’s free bucket seat.  Her baby just grew out of it so we know that is well within its expiration limit and it was accident free.  It’s totally safe, according to all government regulations and requirements.  But, now that we’ve used it for a little while and even though it saved Baby MPB in the recent trip and fall, I’ve decided I absolutely HATE it.  It’s really heavy.  It’s bulky and hard to carry.  But, mostly I hate it because I don’t like how Baby MPB sits in it.  His head falls forward constantly.  I’m petrified that he cannot breath while we were driving.  We’ve tried every possible head cradle thing.  We’ve also tried every possible way to adjust how it sits without our vehicles to prevent a forward tilt. I’ve asked my friend.  And, other then me driving with one hand holding his head up properly (which clearly isn’t an acceptable solution) we cannot seem to make this car seat fit in our vehicles correctly.  I’m sick of worrying about this constantly and I know I’ll never forgive myself if something should happen.  So, I just want to solve this problem once and for all.  And I want to solve it now.

So, we are looking at buying yet another car seat – our third one already!  I see our options as:

  1. Buy another bucket seat and 2 car bases.  This offers us the ease of movement as we can just pick up Baby MPB as we go from house to car to stroller for stores.  But, it feels like a complete waste of money to buy one that he’ll grow out of soon.  I will admit I haven’t done my research on which one to get if we are going to get one because I don’t see this as a good long term option right now.
  2. Buy 2 convertible car seat now, one for each vehicle.  We know we eventually want a Britax ClichTight Marathon/Boulevard/Advocate.  And, when installed rear facing starts they all start at 5lbs.  So, Baby MPB will fit this now as he’s over 5lbs.  But, how do you decide which one of the three styles to buy?  The Advocate is the “best” so I’m guessing we will just get that one at a whopping price of $550 CAD.  But, then we lose the ease of movement because we will no longer have a bucket.  We have a used BOB stroller for running once Baby MPB’s neck control gets better, but it’s way too big for my car. So we will need a decent stroller that works well without a bucket, which will be at least a few hundred more dollars.   So I’m thinking about the UPPAbaby G-Luxe as I’ve tried a friends, her’s is a few years old now and has survived a week at Disney Land so I’m confident it’s built well.  And it’s light weight, and compact for my car.

So, my first question is why doesn’t money just grow on trees?  Then we could just buy the very best and not even think about it, and if it doesn’t work then we could just try another one of the very best without worry.  But alas, that’s not reality.  And it frustrated me beyond belief how many things we’ve tried (i.e. bottles, bottle warmer, bassinet) that haven’t worked for us which means we’ve just wasted money.  The frugal (and broke) side of me is sick of constantly burning through money quicker then we can seem to earn it.

So, then my next question is why the heck are these decisions so difficult??  Why are there 5000 types of car seats and 5001 types of strollers?  And why are there 500,000 reviews of each one available online?  How can a parent possibly make the right decision with so many options and so many reviews on each and every single thing?

Now, in all seriousness, does anyone have any advice?  Has anyone else used the convertible seat with a young child, how did you find not having a bucket?  And, which convertible Britax have people purchased and why?  There seems to be very little difference between the three except for advanced side impact collision technology and seat width.

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48 Comments on “Car Seat Conundrum

  1. I’m not even finishing this post because I have Advocate… and it is safe, safe, safe but I HATE IT. It takes up a lot of room and does not travel well if you take it on the plane. We took it on a direct flight from home to Florida and it was so hard to A) get in the Britax travel bag designed for it, B ) lug around because it was so heavy, and C) sit next to on the plane because it is so dang wide. I would HIGHLY advise against it.

    I have done the car seat thing a million times. It is a pain in the butt, but I’ve now bought 4 of them, all different. The one that I would suggest for you, at this young age, is the Diono Radian or Canadian version of it. It is the biggest pain in the butt to install forward-facing but once you figure that out (read the manual, watch the suggestion videos on their site), it’s easy. It is rear-facing for 5 lbs and up, can stay rear-facing longer than anything else on the market, uses 5-point harnessing longer than anything else (up to taller, heavier kids), and converts to the booster up until they no longer need it. And… although heavy, it travels well. It folds to travel and has straps to just put it on your back. It has its flaws (seriously, installing it front-facing prior to watching the videos caused me to swear and sometimes cry every.single.time) but the positives outweigh the negatives.

    Get one of those for the main car, and get the Britax Marathon for the secondary car. That is our setup now and it is PERFECT!

    (Matthew has a Recaro Sport, which is by far my favorite seat EVER, but it is only front-facing for 30-pounds and up. If you decide to do two britax marathons now, I would suggest getting the Recaro Sport once Baby MPB is big enough. It is the easiest, most well-though-out seat I’ve EVER installed, and I’ve installed a lot of various seats for friends and family!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for that. We outgrew our baby car seat and just bought the transitional ones because we don’t want the baby forward facing yet. I would like him to be at least 2 years old before we do that. I looked at the Recaro Sport and it looks like such a great seat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You bet! We kept Bryson rear-facing in the diono until he was 2.5. There is so much room for their legs in the diono, it was great! It’s amazing how they’ll tolerate rear-facing for so long… Should have pushed it with my older son.

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  2. Oh, and Bryson was in the Advocate at 4 months prior to getting the Recaro and it was very good for him. I liked his positioning. I would just strap on my baby carrier (Ergo) and pull him out of the seat and into that and be on my way. He slept through the transition and was very happy to be strapped to me. I’d still take the stroller in case he wanted out of the carrier or I needed cargo capabilities (shopping), but going from seat to carrier worked very well for him.

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  3. I’m sorry I don’t have any advice for you, but I hope you find a solution that doesn’t cost a fortune and works well for you guys! (And I’m not looking forward to all this stressful and expensive trial and error stuff myself!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We bought a Diono Ranier, which is similar to the Radian, because of the safety ratings and quality. We were going to put Dumplin’ in it once Mochi came (so that Mochi could have his bucket seat), but even at 5.5 months, he’s not quite as sturdy as we feel comfortable with having him in the convertible. So- we are borrowing a friend’s bucket seat for a few months until we feel that Dumplin’ is a bit sturdier, and until we get a minivan. Like I posted recently, the Diono does not fit nicely into our Subaru, so we basically need to get a minivan if we’re eventually going to have both kids rear facing in convertibles. So check which ones will fit in your cars too.

    Also- I know you want to have the ease of being able to have baby ride in both cars, but with a little extra planning, you could probably get away with just having him ride in one car. That’s what we’re doing. Whoever has the kids takes the “kid car”, and we coordinate that way.

    Liked by 3 people

    • What type of subaru do you have??I drive a impreza hatchback. If it doesn’t fit well then clearly its not the one for my car either. But maybe Mr. MPBs car would be better for it.
      As for 1 car, given Mr. MPB’s job which dictates the spontaneous use of his vehicle it’ll be vertually impossible for us to coordinate between 2 cars without a killing each other! ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sorry to say my friend, that we also have a Subaru Impreza Hatchback. I was researching after the fact, and unless you can drive with the seat almost all the way forward, you’ll have a hard time getting the Diono in rear-facing…. HOWEVER- if you don’t have anyone in the front passenger seat, you could move that seat all the way forward and fit the Diono in behind that seat. We use all of our seats though, so that’s why it won’t work for us. I just like the Diono Ranier so much. It’s so safe.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hahah! Well, you just saved me some pain so thanks for that! Maybe britax marathon for my car and diono for Mr. MPB’s car. I really like the fact that diono is so easy to fly with and so safe so it if works for his car that would be great. (I’ve been reading about it since Courtney posted this morning)

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Our daughter is 8 months and we switched her over from her Maxi Cosi bucket seat to the Britax Marathon about 1.5 months ago (she’s really tall). In our car (a newer VW Jetta) the Marathon sits really upright even in the most reclined position, which isn’t ideal when she falls asleep – her head will often fall forward and she’s 8 months, so I can imagine that it would be worse for Baby MPB!

    We really liked our Maxi Cosi seat and I was sad when we had to give it up. I would definitely recommend getting another infant seat and using it as long as you can. They are way more convenient for little babies, and are especially nice when baby falls asleep in the car and you don’t have to wake him / her up to go in somewhere.

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  6. I’m useless… We use the Graco click connect for the infant stage 😦

    I felt similarly picking out a convertible car seat. WHY so many options???

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know money is a total issue in this situation because car seats are insanely expensive, but my two cents is to get another bucket seat. They’re all different in terms of height/weight limits, for instance ours has a weight limit of 35lbs and height of 30″, BUT what really matters is not overall height, rather torso height – kiddo’s head must be at least 1″ below the top, that goes for all car seats (check out the Car Seat Lady’s website). My son is just now too tall for his bucket at just shy of a year, and he’s tall. Babes are safer in infant car seats until they are quite sturdy with head and neck control. I’m a car safety fanatic after a bad car accident a few years back (no babies involved), so some of this is fueled by that, but also, being able to take your baby in and out of the car still sleeping is *invaluable*! At least it has been for us, with a child who would never sleep through a transfer out of the car seat/stroller. I am mourning the loss of those extra long naps! It’s just one of those little things that I found made year 1 of parenthood a bit easier. Good luck, choosing this stuff is so nerve racking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I totally hear you reg the naps. My LO would be wide awake the minute I touched his car seat belt. And not just awake, screaming awake!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My husband and I got “the call” about an infant, and had nothing–no crib, diapers, formula, etc.–so we raced out and bought a car seat. We bought a convertible, which was a huge mistake. It is a pain in the butt with an infant. The click-and-go style is so much better at this age, and I’m lucky because I inherited the Britax B-Safe from my sister-in-law. I know our baby will eventually be too big for it, and then they can use the convertible, but until then it’s staying in the closet.

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  9. I don’t have any advice, because we’re still in the planning phase. But we decided to forego the bucket and go straight to the convertible. We got the Klek Foonf. It is a very compact convertible, holds new infants up to 4 year-olds, and gets great reviews. I don’t know if it’s approved in Canada. We figured that with just one baby, we will just take him out of the carseat and put him into a sling or carrier, instead of lugging around a bucket. I totally understand the bucket carrier appeal, but the temporary nature of the purchase turned me off. 5-6 months of use, the last of which would be HEAVY, made me decide to go straight to the convertible.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Goodness, this is exactly how I’m feeling, and I’m only just dipping my toes into the baby goods waters. It’s absolutely overwhelming and of course if you don’t pick the Correct One, you don’t love your baby. X.X

    I can’t speak from direct experience, but I’ve watched a close friend and my sis-in-law use just a convertible with ease. They would just transition the baby from the seat to a carrier, which limits lugging around a huge infant seat. Whether or not this will work for you depends largely on Baby MPB’s temperament – my sis-in-law’s first baby was HIGHLY sensitive, so transition always woke her up, which could be problematic, but the other babies stayed asleep or only woke up halfway.

    This is going to be our plan because I – like you – don’t really see the point in dropping a lot of money on a car seat which will necessitate buying a second seat.

    Anyway – good luck deciding! I hope you share which seat you do end up going with because any and all reviews are helpful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have no experience with carseats on a daily basis as I have no kids of my own but I have some second-hand experience… When my nephew was visiting last summer I got a hand-me-down Chicco for him to use (they came from up north and were touring around visiting family and friends for two months so I told them to leave the baby stuff up there and I’d get the basics so that they didn’t have to fly with it). Anyways, they had tried three carseats at home and they were okay but after a whole summer of using it they LOVED the Chicco when they got here. Lightweight, solid, my nephew and snaps in and out really easily. When they went home my brother gave it to our sister to use with her baby. She’s been schlepping baby girl around in it for two months now and is equally in love with it.

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  12. We went with the chicco keyfit. You can get the keyfit 33 which goes up to 33lbs. Weight was a huge factor for us, that and safety. We live in a large city and only have one car. It was very important for us to get one that I could carry around. That was the keyfit. E just grew out of it, we didn’t get the 33lbs one, we got the 21lbs. He is 7 months and a moose. The 21lbs rated seat should get you to a year, again I have a moose baby. Honestly, a 21lbs in any bucket seat is HEAVY! The 33lbs seat would have lasted longer but oh my god, there would have been no carrying that around.

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  13. Ohhhh the car seat debate!! Everyone’s got their preferences depending on their car and size of their baby. It’s a tough decision for sure. We had the twins in Britax B Safe until they were about 15-17lbs (good to 22lbs) and now we have them in Diono Radian RXT. We have a Yukon so there’s room in the vehicle but if a third child comes along we can still fit another car seat in that row. And Diono’s are rated extremely well so that was also a deciding factor. We’ve done some driving, most recently to Edmonton and that was a 9 hours seat ride for them just one way. They did awesome. And now we’re are contemplating a Winnipeg drive this summer which is slightly insane but I really trust those seats and the kids like them.
    There’s also a Facebook page for Canadians called Car Seats for the Littles. It has some great info on it as well.
    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Baby gear is insane. I wrote a post recently about car seats and got some great advice. I was initially going to go with the Britax Marathon Clicktight, but after the feedback on my post I decided to go with the Clek Fllo–it was between that and the Diono, but I determined the Clek fits better in my car. We don’t have it yet though because I’m waiting for the color I want to be back in stock. Stroller-wise, I have two because I ended up hating the one we registered for. The one quality that I love about our second stroller (I’m still not in love with #2 because it’s heavy as hell, so I’m not even going to recommend it) is that you can choose to have the baby facing you or facing out. I really really love that feature, and we’re constantly flipping her around. Sometimes to get her out of the sun and sometimes just because we want to look at her while we’re walking.

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  15. Just my two cents. We’re frugal as anything. All car seats go through the same testing so they are all technically safe if they are for sale. Because of that we went with a cheap seat. We initially had a evenflo symphony which goes from newborn to booster technically but not in reality becUse kids usually outgrow it before then so instead we sold that and bought a cheaper rear and forward facing seat with no booster. We now have a evenflo sureride (or titan at Walmart same seat different name) it was $118. It’s awesome cushy enough and my daughter loves it. It has the highest harness positions for forward facing so it’s it’s a long lasting seat. I don’t know. Just my opinion that I would pay more for something “safer” if they are all technically safe.

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  16. I use the Diono car seat. Totally convertible and holds up to 100 pounds. I also have a graco snugride click connect. I find the bucket seats easier when the baby is nkt able to sit up independently because imagine the horror of tsking your baby out each time you visig a store. And then putting him back in.
    With bucket seats just pick the baby car seat and all and shove in stroller.
    I am sorry but yes car seats are frigging expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. If you’re on face book join the group car seats for the littles. They can help fix your current issue and give buying advice based on budget, your cars, baby size, etc. You can send a message to the page (versus a post in the group) and confidentiality share pictures of baby mpb

    For what it’s worth– we’ve been pleased with both the Chicco key fit and next fit

    Liked by 2 people

  18. FWIW, at almost 1, our daughters head falls forward in her convertible seat waaayyy more than it did in her bucket. We had a certified cat seat technician advise us that in order to get the correct angle for the seat, we could place tightly rolled up towels or receiving blankets under the base. That was the best solution, and made the bucket MUCH better. Also, our peanut made it to 10m in her bucket before I got lazy and stopped wanting to carry it. Lol
    I hope you find one that works for you guys!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I wonder how much it would cost to ship you our Britax infant car seat and if it meets the Canadian specs. J hasn’t outgrown the weight of it, but he has in length. (Bob B-safe infant car seat) We now have 2 transitional car seats. It’s easier to have one in each car because we live in the city and our parking is tandem. This way it doesn’t matter which car either of us take and J has a seat in both.

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  20. We had a top of the line convertible brutal for Monkey and loved it. It never bothered me that I couldn’t get the car seat out and put in the stroller. I’d had a csection anyway and wouldn’t have wanted to be lifting it. Those things are heavy!!!! You are right to be worried about baby’s head looking forward. Not to freak you out but there have been stories in the news lately of babies dying in car seats (not in the car but more because they are left in them for long periods when brought inside) because of the head falling forward. For this baby we are upgrading again to the new Britax as Moneky’s seat will be almost 5 years old and the new ones do have some better technology. There are two that are very similar (Britax again but we have different names) and I think aside from some cosmetic differences (width and fabric) are as safe safety wise so we are going to get the slightly more narrow cheaper one. Both are priced at $500+ though….

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  21. Ugh car seats temporarily take over your life! You’ve already got loads of good advice. All I can say is I appreciated being able to move the baby from the car right into the stroller if she was sleeping, but otherwise, the convertible seems much more comfortable for them.

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  22. My goodness this shouldn’t be so complicated! I had issues with finding a double stroller to work with our car seats. I had picked one out online while I was bedrest but once I put it together I realized it was more for an older child and a baby instead of two babies. So we took it back only to find out Graco didn’t make a two baby stroller to work with their new design of car seats (yet – it’s coming out “soon”). Anyway, this was all toward the end of the NICU stay and I had a mental breakdown bc I was like “my babies are coming home soon and I need a stroller that works dammit!!” I finally found one from another brand and I love it. Long story, sorry, but basically just want to say I feel your frustration and also I hope Mr MPB feels better from his fall! Scary!

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  23. We have the Chicco Keyfit 30 – 30 inches in height or 30 lbs in weight. I know I won’t be lugging Wyatt around once he’s that heavy. With the nicer weather, I’ve started leaving it in the car and putting him in the carrier for shopping trips. We are considering the Diono or the Clek for the next step…if they will fit in my Focus 😐 upgrading vehicles right now is an expense I don’t want especially when Mike drives a truck with ample room. As for the stroller, the GLuxe has awesome reviews. We have the Uppababy and love it. If we ever decide to get a more compact stroller I would consider the GLuxe for sure.

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  24. We ended up with one bucket seat with two bases and two convertible car seats. All graco. loved having the bucket seat as its so easy if they fall asleep on the way to somewhere.

    We also have two convertible car seats now. She had used one as a 3 month old while traveling and did fine. So I really think it’s what you like best.

    We needed two as we both work and one normally dropped her off then the other picked her up from daycare. The nice thing about having one in each car is you never have to worry you installed it wrong from moving it back and forth. That was a huge piece of mind for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I’ve got no great advice… We have the uppababy mesa infant seat and vista stroller, which we LOVE!!!! Nora will fit in the mesa for MONTHS yet since she is tiny for her age, but she is getting heavy in it none the less. I ordered the orbit baby G3 toddler seat, I think it’s called, only because it turns to the side for easy loading. It’s supposed to arrive tomorrow… I’ll let you know what I think!

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  26. I hated the bucket seat! I put the convertible seat in my car way earlier than other people may have because I hated lugging that thing around. For easy carrying I use a Lillebaby carrier. It’s amazing! I put it on before we leave and then pop her in when we need to run in. I have the Uppababy G-lux and a hand-me-down City Mini. The city mini is actually easier to use. It’s bulky, but the Uppababy is long. I don’t hate the Uppababy, but it’s not getting as much use as I thought it would.

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  27. “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

    You’re doing a great job!!! He’s going to be fine no matter what – you guys are great parents.

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