Mr. Peas and I are not what you would call super cautious parents. We let our kids try things when they seem comfortable to try them. We let our kids try whatever we were serving for meals as soon as they started solids (we did avoid honey until 1 year but that’s about it). When we take our kids to the playground, we let them try whatever equipment they want even if it seems too big or advanced for them (with supervision/ help if needed). We don’t have strict rules like you must not touch fresh air without a hat, sunscreen, shoes, bug spray, and knee pads (we do require helmets if they’re riding bikes or scooters and sunscreen and/or a hat if it’s warm and they are not going to be in the shade). The one thing we are very strict about though is car seats.
Big P is big. At his recent 3-year check up he was 90% for weight at 80% for height. And like me he has long legs. But we still kept him rear facing until he was 2 1/2. We never offered or even tried putting him forward facing until then, and honestly I wish we had kept him rear facing a little longer.
Little P on the other hand is little. He’s almost 15 months old now and still fits perfectly in his infant car seat, which is a Chicco KeyFit30 Infant Car Seat. I recently read an article, however, that says the new recommendation is to switch babies to convertible car seats at 1, and I am really struggling with which car seat(s) to buy for Little P.
Big P has 2 convertible car seats that we switch between our cars and our nanny’s car. We first purchased a Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat. We liked the look of the Chicco NextFit (it looked a little sleeker than the older model Britax ones) and that it had multiple reclining positions, even while rear-facing, came with a cup holder, and the cover was completely machine-washable, which I think you can only get at Buy Buy Baby or Babies R Us. We still like it and use it (at that price point we better use it!), but the straps always seem to tangle. I cannot tell you how many times we’ve had to ask Big P to climb out of his seat while we wrestled with the straps in a parking lot, usually while it’s blazing hot or freezing cold (it never happens on a beautiful, mild spring or fall day of course). Because of that we decided to look at different options for Big P’s 2nd seat.
After a lot of research and way too many trips to Buy Buy Baby, we ended up purchasing the Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat. Britax had just released its new line of ClickTight car seats when we bought this one (so this one is a pre-recall model), and we were thrilled to see the styling looked more like the Chicco ones. Overall I think we like the Britax Boulevard ClickTight better than the Chicco, but it is still not perfect. We struggle with the ClickTight installation system and also occasionally with the straps tangling, plus I never feel like he’s actually tight enough when I hear the infamous Britax “click.” Even though overall we like the Britax, it’s a little frustrating to not LOVE LOVE a car seat that costs almost $300.00!
We actually also purchased a 3rd convertible car seat, a much less expensive Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat ($48), to keep at my parents’ house when we visit. On one hand using the cheaper seat made me feel better about the 2 seats we did buy as you can definitely tell a difference in comfort/ cushioning (and presumably safety although all car seats meet minimum safety standards). On the other hand that car seat is approximately $250.00 cheaper!!!
Now I need to buy 2 more seats for Little P (and we really do need 2 more seats since we leave a seat in our nanny’s car during the week and it’s a pain to switch them in and out every day). I don’t have very many requirements except that they be relatively easy to use and install (particularly rear facing) and preferably comfortable for Little P as we’re planning a few longer car trips over the next year.
Below are the options I am considering, but I’d love your recommendations! Please tell me about the convertible car seat you LOVE LOVE (or the one you don’t love!)
Option #1 – Maxi Cosi Pria 70 Car Seat: We borrowed this seat one weekend when we inadvertently found ourselves without a convertible car seat for Big P (if you’re wondering how that happened, you’re not alone). This seat gets good reviews, seems comfy, and is stylish. I also like that it’s a European brand – Europeans have strict car seat laws and are known for keeping their kiddos rear facing until age 4!
Option #2 – Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat: I know, I know I said I didn’t LOVE LOVE it. But I do like it a lot. And it gets great ratings, so maybe I am just picky? I also think there is some value in the boys having the same seats, so parents/ grandparents/ nannies know how to use and install them correctly.
Option #3 – Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat: We have never owned a Graco car seat, but I’ve read lots of positive reviews about this convertible option as well as a few others.
Option #4 – Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Primo Convertible Car Seat: I also keep seeing these seats pop up in lists of good car seats (which are often predominated by Britax options).
Option #5 – Clek Fllo Convertible Car Seat: I keep seeing these European seats recommended, especially for parents who want to keep their kids rear facing as long as possible. The price makes me a little nervous, but it may be worth it to find a seat we LOVE LOVE.