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Comfortable for baby, not for mom and dad
Mar 26, 2008 (Updated Mar 31, 2008)
Review by driveinmom
Rated a Very Helpful Review
User Rating: Very Good
Ease of Use:
Pros:Safe, secure, comfortable, stylish.
Cons:Heavy, awkward, initial installation of base requires lots of adjustments to get angle right.
The Bottom Line: Great seat with a couple drawbacks, this is not the seat for someone who needs to carry it much (w/o stroller)
My mother in law purchased this carseat for my second child, who was coming home from the hospital at 5 lbs. We were concerned about safety and after reading all the reviews on various sites and publications, this was the one.
Recommend this product?
The carseat is rated for 5-22 lbs and less than 28.5 inches in length. My son fit very well in the carseat at 5 lbs, and the harness kept him snug. At six months, he is approximately 16-18 lbs, and we are starting to look for a new seat. He is 24 inches long, and while he has room to grow up (meaning there's still room left to adjust the harness straps to a higher position), there's not much room for his legs to grow. His feet are pushing at the fabric boot on the edge of the seat. We can remove the boot to give him enough room for another couple inches of growth. He will probably be out of this seat at 20 lbs and 26 inches.
The harness is 5 point for additional safety. As with most 5 point harnesses, it takes a little bit of coordination. This seat requires a bit more than usual because two parts of the buckle have the be held together to fit into another piece of the buckle, so it requires two hands. It does hold him in the seat very snugly if you follow all the directions and don't allow too much slack in the belts.
The belts are easy to adjust once you figure them out. Just turn the handle on the back to raise and lower the height of the belts. There is a triangle of plastic under the baby's leg that you push to loosen the straps, or pull the straps to tighten.
You can install the base and pop the seat on and off the base or you can install the seat itself and thread a seat belt through two slots on the seat. It takes a minute or two to get the belt threaded and unthreaded, so I much prefer the convenience (and added security) of the base. But it is convenient to be able to just pop the seat into another other car when needed.
There is an indicator on the side of the seat which shows if the seat is installed at the correct angle to protect the baby in a collision. I find the indicator helpful, but wish there was also an indicator on the base. When installing the base, you have to guess at the angle. There are four settings on the base for raising the height of the foot-end of the seat. This is helpful but you have to push in a piece to get it to move and I found I had to use the metal part of a seatbelt to get it pushed in. I had to choose a setting, put the seat in and check the indicator, take the seat out to adjust, and go through it again.
I drive a Kia Spectra. My back seat is so angled that using all of the four settings still has the base off balance so I had to stuff a blanket under the end of the base to get the correct angle. Also, you can run into a space issue if the driver or passenger sitting in front of the space needs too much leg room. At 5'2, I don't have any problems. We keep the seat on the driver side so the passenger has more leg room.
My husband drives a Ford Explorer and the seat fits fine, without using a blanket under the base. My husband is 6'2 and uses enough leg room in front that it was pushing against the seat when it was installed behind him, so we did have to install the seat on the passenger side.
This seat can also use the latch system, which we haven't tried yet since using the seat belt attached to the base makes it so secure that I can't tug the seat an inch in any direction.
I did not purchase a stroller to go with this seat. We already had a Graco stroller that we used with our daughter's Graco carseat and this seat fit perfectly into that stroller. If you already have a stroller, take it to the store with you or check online to see if this carseat will fit into that same stroller.
Appearance and comfort
The fabric is very pretty and comfortable looking and he seems to enjoy riding in the seat. He falls asleep very well, which I haven't found with other carseats (with my daughter). I've actually had compliments on the look of this carseat, which is something I've never experienced with another carseat!
I pulled all the fabric pieces off the seat for washing, without needing the directions. It did take a few minutes to detach metal pieces, but it's only mildly difficult. I would call it easy except that it takes a few minutes. Putting it back together is a little more time-consuming and you have to remember where a couple of the pieces fit together. The cloth pieces did fine in the washer and dryer.
My mother-in-law paid approx $90 for this seat at Walmart. There were cheaper seats out there, but our son was only 5 lbs and this seat had the best safety reviews, so we thought it was worth the extra $20 or so dollars between it and some other midline choices. There were higher-priced seats as well, but the look and safety reviews were much better for this seat than higher-priced choices.
The seat is somewhat heavy. The handle that some people describe as comfortable, both my husband and I find very uncomfortable. There is a triangle handle, which we assume is meant to offer various positions for carrying the seat. But any walk at all with this thing finds even my strong husband changing arms and grimacing, and the seat sticks out from his body in a very awkward position.
The handle of the seat can get "stuck" if you push it all the way out of the way. Then when you go to pick up the seat by the handle, you have to have Superman strength to press the levers on both sides to get the handle to move back. Even my husband has problems with this.
All in all
My son has enjoyed the seat, even when it has caused some minor discomfort or irritation to me and my husband. We have felt very confident in his safety. I would recommend this seat, with a couple words of caution about heaviness and installation irritations. I would not recommend this seat for anyone who might have problems with the weight of the seat and nobody to help carry or lift it. Look for comparible security in a slightly smaller/lighter seat.
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Amount Paid (US$): 80-90
Age Range of Child: 0 to 12 Months
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