From March 2011

The picture above is of Sam’s old car seat. It really isn’t “old” per se- we’ve been using it since Sam was 3 months old and already outgrown his infant carrier. We should’ve taken that as a sign to spend the money up front to buy the biggest car seat we could. Looking back, I am pretty confident we did without forking over tons of money for a Britax or a Radian65 (which we LOVE, by the way- we have one in Travis’ car and it was bought by my parent’s so we could leave a car seat with them for whenever we ride around down in MS or up here and don’t have to scrunch in a car. However, they did NOT pay $200+ for it- merely $50 because they got it at Hudson’s which is another store I LOVE, but I am chasing a rabbit here…) Anyway, we got one that would face backwards (remember, at the time he was only 3 months old) and forwards and would convert to a booster seat. We THOUGHT we were buying our last car seat. “Thought” is the operative word here.

Backtrack two weeks ago… I was putting Sam in above car seat and just happened to notice that the harness straps are only approved up to 40 pounds. I remember this from in the store because we thought that surely by the time Sam weighed 40 pounds he would be ready for a booster seat. What were we thinking?! I think it was obvious from the fact that our 3 MONTH OLD had already outgrown his infant carrier and consistently was in the 95-97th percentile for height and weight that he was slightly above average in these areas. I remember thinking that we should’ve bought a Britax but we really didn’t have the money- we were limited to gift card funds that we’d received at our MS post-baby baby shower. Well, anyway, now we were in a pickle. Sam weighs 40 pounds- he isn’t even 2.5 years old yet! The van has built-in booster seats with 5 point harnesses so I checked those to see if I could just move him to that- nope, those stop at 40 pounds as well. Grudgingly, I check the size/weight requirements for the above seat to be used as a booster seat with a seat belt. This is something I did NOT want to have to do- I just don’t feel comfortable with him in a seatbelt yet and I am the mom… so there! HA! πŸ™‚ Anyway, he met the weight requirement (big shock… HA!) BUT wasn’t tall enough!! Ok, so now we are REALLY stuck as there is no safe way for him to ride in the van- something he does daily. Therefore, the hunt was on for a new car seat… again! UGH!

I detest car seat shopping. DETEST DETEST DETEST! There are so many options but, if you have a “big” child you have to plan ahead or your kid will quickly outgrow the one you get. However, if you don’t have the money to buy a Britax or Radian65, you are even more limited. I did gobs of online research and polled friends with big kids to see what they use. One that was mentioned by a camp friend, was the Graco Nautilus, 3-in-1. I vaguely remember looking at these when Sam was 3 months old but it didn’t go backwards so we couldn’t use it. I checked the ratings and it received EXCELLENT ratings. I checked the prices and discovered that I could get one on Amazon for $138! Definitely cheaper than Britax or Radian AND will convert to a belt positioning booster- something my beloved Radian won’t do. 😦 So one Saturday, Travis and I head to Babies R Us to look at their seats and see one in person. We really liked it but their price was significantly more than the Amazon price. We then went to a new Wal-Mart to see what they had. They had it and it was $7 more than Amazon. However, we would’ve had to paid sales tax and with Amazon I could get free shipping and no sales tax. Therefore, we came home and I ordered it from Amazon!

It finally arrived yesterday. Here is a picture of Sam riding in it today. Don’t worry, we were parked when I took this picture. πŸ™‚

From March 2011

So, here is what I think of this car seat.
1- Sam is a 40 pound almost 2.5 year old that is also almost 40 inches tall. The shoulder straps are correctly positioned AND in the next to bottom slots! MUCHO growing room!
2- The “head wings” are seriously padded and seriously thick and provide a great pillow when he falls asleep in the car (one of the reasons I don’t want him using a seatbelt yet.) PLUS, they seriously protect his head better in a side-impact wreck which is good since the LATCH hooks are in the seat right by the door of the van and not in the middle.
3- It is built to use the vehicle’s LATCH system up to 48 pounds! I love the security of the LATCH hooks and so this makes me happy. Our “old” seat only went to 40 pounds. Therefore, I have a bit more time before I need to strap it in with a seatbelt.
4- The seat has 3 recline positions and I REALLY like that because I have Sam reclined and therefore, his little head shouldn’t bob as much when he sleeps.
5- The cup holder is BUILT-IN! The cup holder for the other seat was not and it kept falling off. Sam really seems to like this cup holder.

1- It has built-in pockets under each arm rest. I know that pockets are supposed to make storing things more convenient but I just think it is going to grow gunk from cheerios and fish finding their way in there. Currently, they are clean and one is holding is sunglasses while the other sits empty.
2- It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to put together out of the box. However, that could be because I had a toddler trying to “help”

Those are really all the cons I can think of but we’ve only been using it for not even 24 hours. If you have a big kid and need a car seat, I would definitely recommend this one. Sam seems to really like it too. πŸ™‚

He also really seems to like using his old one as a recliner of sorts. πŸ™‚