Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to keep your baby warm in the car

You read that coats are not safe for children in carseats. But what about your baby that goes in and out of the car in her seat? How do you keep her warm? You have several options, and some are better than others.

Many Moms love the JJ Cole Bundle Me. It has a plush bottom layer that goes under the baby, in the carseat. The bottom layer has vertical cut outs for the harness to come through, then you buckle Baby, then there's another plush layer that goes over top of Baby. Sounds warm and toasty, right? Sounds dangerous to me. There are 2 problems with the Bundle Me.

1- The bottom layer can compress in a crash, leaving the harness too loose. You don't want anything plush between baby and the carseat.

2- The vertical cut outs can prevent the harness from laying properly on Baby's shoulders. If the harness isn't laying properly, there's a potential for injury.

So, is the poor baby left to freeze going from the house to the car? No! Fear not, I always have other options for you :)

Option 1- Carseat cover. It is a cover that goes over the top of the carseat, and zips up the front. It does not go behind Baby, and it doesn't even come close to touching the harness.

Option 2- Blankets. Tuck blankets around Baby to keep her warm and toasty.

Option 3- Polar Fleece. Just like I suggested using a fleece for your older child, you can use a fleece for baby too. Lands End, LL Bean, Columbia, just to name a few, all make a polar fleece that will keep baby warm, without adding bulk.

Opton 4- Cut the back out of the Bundle Me. If you cut the back off, it won't be under Baby, and it won't interfere with the harness.

Now, just remember that as the heater in the car warms up, Baby may overheat. She can't regulate her temperature as well as adults can. So keep that in mind when you're deciding which option to use.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oh, how Graco loves to confuse us

How many carseats can Graco make with the same name? The Graco Snugride is such a popular seat, they decided to play off the name to sell more seats. Here, I will try to explain the various seats to you.

Graco Snugride. It is nicknamed the SR22. It can be used up to 22 pounds. This is the rear adjust version. You must tighten and loosen the harness on the back of the seat, every time you take baby in and out. When looking online, you can tell which seats are the rear adjust because there's not harness adjuster strap hanging off the front (see next pic).

This is the SR22, front adjust. To loosen and tighten the harness, it's all on the front of the seat, near baby's legs. You can see the harness adjuster strap hanging down in the front.

Next came the Safe Seat 1. It is nicknamed the SS1. It can be used up to 30 pounds. It has a taller shell than the SR22. The base also has a lockoff, that makes installation in most vehicles a dream. The SS1 was discontinued a year or 2 ago. You can still find it for sale on some websites, so be aware, they likely have an older date of manufacture (and hopefully the price will reflect that).

When Graco discontinued the SS1, they created the Snugride 32, nicknamed SR32. It looks exactly like the SS1, base and all. THe only way to tell the difference is to read the labels on the carrier and base. THis seat didn't last very long, less than 1 year. Again, it can still be found on some websites, but there will be no new date of manufactures.

The SR32 was discontinued for the Snugride 35, nicknamed SR35. Again, it looks just like the SR32 and SS1. The only way to tell the difference is to read the labels. However, It looks like Graco changed their infant padding from just a headrest, to a body support with this model.

Now Graco is releasing a Snugride 30, nicknamed SR30. It is an entirely different seat. The base does not have lockoffs. Unlike the other Snugrides which all start at 5 pounds, this seat can be used for a 4 pound infant. It also has a lower harness slot, and closer crotch buckle slot to fit tiny babies better.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Leg room rear facing

Children don't complain about their legroom (or lack thereof) when they are rear facing. But, parents often want them to ahve the most legroom they can. So, I used my daughter, who was 3 years 3 months old at the time as a model. I installed many convertibles in my van. The van's seatbacks were all set to the same spot, so any variance in legroom is purely because of the carseat itself.

Safety 1st Complete Air:

Evenflo Triumph Advance:

Evenflo Symphony:

Britax Marathon:

Graco My Ride:

Sunshine Kids Radian:

The First Years True Fit Premiere:

Evenflo Titan:

Evenflo Tribute:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The newest 40 pound rear facing seat

Cosco has slightly redesigned the Scenera. Right now, the Scenera 40RF is only available at Target, but will soon be headed to other stores as well. Currently, all other stores have the Scenera that rear faces to 35 pounds.


Safety experts agree: Babies should remain rear-facing as long as possible.The Scenera® 40RF is helping parents meet this goal with a convertible car seat that can remain rear-facing all the way to 40 pounds and 43 inches in height.

  • Rear-facing 5-40 pounds
  • Forward-facing 22-40 pounds
  • 5-point harness system with up front adjustment
  • 4 harness heights
  • 3 buckle locations

Saturday, October 2, 2010

How to wear a winter coat in the carseat

With winter around the corner, I imagine most parents are looking for a warm winter coat for their children. Something to keep in mind, is carseat safety. Many winter coats are not safe to use when your child is riding in a carseat. Below is a demo of how to keep your child warm and safe in the car.

Here is a child, properly buckled into his carseat.

You can see it's properly tightened. The harness should be tight enough that when you try to pinch a horizontal line at the shoulders, you can't pinch any.

Here is a child wearing an average winter coat, buckled into his carseat.

He unbuckled, without loosening the harness, and removed his coat. Now you can clearly see how much slack that coat allowed in the harness. In a crash, the puffy coat would compress, and this his how loose he would be.

One option is to buy a polar fleece. It is plenty warm, but not thick and bulky.

A second option is to do the "carseat trick". You unzip the coat, and pull the sides out of the harness

Next, buckle the child, and tighten properly. This is often enough to keep the children warm, especially once the heater gets going.

Another optional step, is to rezip the coat over the harness.

I'm currently shopping for Sofi's winter coat. I'm ordering a fleece from Lands End, overstocks. I've had to order a few to find the coat I like, in the right size. Once her coat arrives, I will post some pictures of her in it.