Saturday, December 19, 2009

The new Evenflo Serenade

Evenflo has come out with a new infant seat, the Serenade. It is just now showing up in Babies R Us stores. I was fortunate enough to have them pull the first seat out of the box as a display for me at my local Babies R Us. Below you will find out what Evenflo says about their seat, and what I say about it :)

Here is what Evenflo says about their seat:

New! Serenade™ Infant Car Seat featuring SureLATCH® combines the latest technology to provide a safe and comfortable ride for your baby and peace of mind for you.

A Series of Innovations:

  • SureLATCH® technology – an exclusive Evenflo innovation consisting of two connectors for use with a vehicle’s LATCH system to ensure proper installation in a fraction of the time of a traditional seat. Safety so simple!
  • Infinite Slide™ Harness Adjust – an innovative harness system that simply slides for an accurate harness fit everytime!
  • Full Coverage Canopy With superior padding, and a full-coverage canopy to shade baby from every angle, baby will be comfortable everywhere you go.
  • Side Impact Tested! Like all Evenflo car seats, the Serenade™ Infant Car Seat is Side Impact Tested AND meets ALL Federal. safety standards.
  • Designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately 2X the federal crash test standard
  • Additional Features: 5-Point Harness for security, adjustable PositionRight™ base with dual level indicators and an ergonomically designed handle for a more comfortable carry.

Here are my thoughts on the seat:
-It is nice and lightweight, so it'll be easier to carry a heavier baby

-The seat shell has good height, to accommodate taller babies
-It has a high weight limit
-They have changed the red tabs on the harness shoulders. They are now narrower than the harness, and should not irritate the child's neck
-It has the infinite slide harness, so it's always at the proper height for your child
-It has a nice low harness position for newborns (I measure it at about 5 inches)

-The SureLatch sure didn't work well for me. I tried everything but standing on it, and I still couldn't get it tight enough. I'd rather have the regular LATCH.
-I tried my 11 month old, 24 pound child in the seat. I had to loosen the harness all the way, and when she was in with a thin fleece jacket, it was the perfect tightness for her to ride in. If she grew any, it would be too tight. She did have a few inches above her head to grow though. (And for comparison, she may have had a tad more room above her head than in her SnugRide 32, but int he SR32, we have a little more harness room).
-It is over priced. Really, for $159.99, I'd much rather buy a Snug Ride 32. It will install much easier with both LATCH and seatbelt
-Evenflo has NOT changed their handle rule. In the car, the handle must be behind the carseat, and there must be 1.5 inches between the carseat (handle included) and the vehicle seat in front of it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Review of the True Fit Premier

I did it. I bought another carseat. I have had a True Fit, but I bought a True Fit Premier. The TFP is now Sofi's primary carseat.

What's the difference between the True Fit and the True Fit Premier? The TFP has an anti rebound bar (arb). In a frontal crash, a rear facing carseat will rotate downward, towards the front of the car/ the floor. Next it will rebound back up, towards the back of the car. The ARB will reduce the amount of rebound.

With the original True Fit, it can be difficult to access the harness adjuster. It can be buried in the back of the vehicle seat. The TFP doesn't have the same problem because of the arb.

Like the original True Fit, the top of the carseat can be removed until the child is 22 pounds, or the head is within 1 inch of the top of the seat. After the top is put back on, the child can remain rear facing until 35 pounds, or the head is within 1 inch of the top of the seat. The True Fit and True Fit Premier have the same weight and height guidelines. I'd be surprised if a child outgrows this seat by height before reaching 35 pounds, because the seat shell is so high.

The Original True Fit has a line on the side, that says it should be level with the ground when rear facing. The True Fit Premier has a different level guide. On the front, above the harness adjuster it has a rolling ball and 3 sections. One is labeled with X, meaning it's over reclined. Next is labeled with 1 which is where is should be at 45* for a newborn. The last section is labeled 2 which is 35* for an older baby or toddler. The TFP also has a recline mechanism to help with achieving the correct recline angle, though sloped vehicle seats may still need a rolled towel or pool noodle.

The True Fit and True Fit Premier both have lockoffs for rear facing and forward facing. The lockoffs are helpful when using the seatbelt to install, but the also muct be used when using the LATCH to install. I don't find the rear facing lockoffs to be much trouble, unless I'm trying to get a 45* recline. Then the seatbelt or LATCH belt want to slide down, where the lockoff closes.

Both the True Fit and True Fit Premier have a no rethread harness. It has a yellow knob on each side of the seat. You pull them out a little, and slide the harness up or down, to the correct position. For both seats, the harness can be used in slots 1, 2, or 3 for rear facing and slots 3 and 4 for Forward facing.

Both seats also come with infant padding, that can be used until the child reaches 22 pounds. This infant padding helps the seat fit newborns well. Both seats also have a forward facing weight limit of 65 pounds. They have top harness slots of about 17 inches, which should get most children to a good booster age.

Overall, I really like the True Fit Premier. And I do like it more than the True Fit.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Don't forget the registration card

What's that? It's a card that comes attached to your carseat. One side has space for you to fill in your name and address, the other side is rreaddressed and postage paid to mail it back to the manufacturer. You should always fill this out and mail it in as soon as you can. I know if I don't, I'll forget, and even loose the card.

What if I've already lost my card? Don't worry, you can call the manufacturer to register. Get all the information off your carseat (date of manufacture, serial number, batch number, item number, whatever is on the sticker). Call the manufacturer and tell them you want to register your carseat. They'll do it for you over the phone.

Why do I need to register my seat? If the seat is recalled, you will be notified if you registered your carseat. Sometimes, manufacturers even issue an Advisory that isn't a full recall. You may have no way of knowing of the advisory if you haven't registered the seat.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Some good videos to watch

I went to an ADCAN meeting last night to talk about carseat safety. I had wanted to show some videos, but the community center has Youtube blocked. So, here are the ones I wanted to show you.

Joel's Journey
Joel is the 18 month old I talked about that had serious injuries because he was forward facing too young. I also wrote about him in my blog, here.

We talked not using puffy coats in the carseat, just a fleece. Here is a video about that

Here is a forward facing vs rear facing crash test video. I think it's from Sweden, so you will see the rear facing seat in the front seat, but they can turn off their air bags.

Here is another rear facing crash test. See how supported the child is by the seat?

Here is a video about a little girl that died because she was in a booster seat too young. Children should be in a harness until at least 4 years and 40 pounds, preferably longer.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My fight with the Radian continues

I thought I had won, but I was wrong. The Radian kept reclined more and more. Sofi's weight was compressing the vehicle seat cushion. I took the Radian out to let the seat decompress and try again. For some reason, this time I couldn't get the LATCH tight enough. I was told it's a 2 person job.... So I enlisted my brother to help me :) All we succeeded at doing was bruising his hands :(

I have been told the new Radain SL LATCH is easier to tighten. So tomorrow I'm headed to Buy Buy Baby to try it out. I'll let you know how it goes.

EDIT: I still loose. I couldn't get the Radian SL any tighter than I can the regular Radian. I've given up for now, and bought a True Fit Premier. I will have a review after it arrives :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Q and A

Q: What do you think of the Evenflo Symphony?

A: It's not high on my list :)

The Evenflo Symphony is a convertible carseat. It can be used rearfacing from 5-35 pounds. It can be used harnessed forward facing up to 40 pounds, and as a booster up to 100 pounds. It has SureLatch, which is supposed to make installation easier. You attach the LATCH, and push the seat down (to allow the SureLatch to retract and tighten), and you're done! Except..... it's not always that easy :) In my opinion, it's expensive for a seat that only goes up to 40 pounds with a harness. And if you're not using LATCH, you're paying alot for a feature you don't even need. However, it is nocely lined with EPS foam, for good side impact protection. It's has a nice no rethread harness, so the harness is always right at the child's shoulder (though the red tabs bother some children). It has nice infant padding,a nd should fit a newborn well.

There is a newer version called the Symphony 65 that is just coming to stores now. It has the same features, but the harness can be used up to 65 pounds. The weight increase bumped it up a little on my list ;)

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Review of the Radian

Sunshine Kids Juvenile Products makes 1 car seat and 1 booster seat. However, their 1 carseat now has 10, yes 10 versions.

The Radian 65 and 80 started out rear facing up to 33 pounds and forward facing up to 65 and 80 pounds (hence the names). In late 2007 or early 2008, they changed the rear facing weight limit from 33 to 35 pounds. In Sept 2008 they added the Radian XT, it is a Radian 80 with added head wings. In early 2009, SKJP retroactively (back to seats made in/ after Sept 2008) changed the rear facing weight limit to 40 pounds for all 3 Radians (65, 80, XT). There were cosmetic and structural changes made to the Radians in Sept 2008, those are the seats that passed tests rear facing to 40 pounds.

Now in Sept 2009, SKJP has released a new generation of the Radians. The Radian 65SL, 80SL, and XTSL. The SL stands for Super Latch. The new Radians can use LATCH up to the full weight limit of 65 or 80 pounds (*if the vehicles allows it). Most vehicles have a LATCH limit of 40 or 48 pounds. All vehicles manufactured after Sept 2005 were required to pass a stricter test for the LATCH. ONLY vehicles manufactured after Sept 2005 can use LATCH with the Radian SLs up to the full weight limit. Confused yet? So are many of us :)

The Radian 65SL can rear face up to 40 pounds. The Radian 80SL and XTSL can rear face up to 45 pounds.

Now that you have all the info, I will give you my review :)

The Radian has 5 sets of harness slots; 8 inches, 9.5 inches, 11 inches, 14 inches, and 16.5 inches. The lower 3 can only be used rear facing, and the top 2 can be used rear facing or forward facing. There are 3 crotch buckle positions. The Harness adjuster is like a Britax in that you tug, stop, tug, stop a few times while tightening.

The Radian XT has head wings that slide freely. You simply push them up or down so they are right above the child's shoulders. However, when a child is using the bottom 2 harness slots, the head wings must be all the way at the top of the seat.

The Radian has a rear facing base that must be used when the seat is rear facing. Unlike most other seats, you can not use a rolled towel or pool noodle to help with the recline. Unfortunately, sometimes the base makes to seat too reclined (like in this picture), even for a newborn. There are a few tricks you can try to make it more upright, but it doesn't always work. Like Britax seats, it can be tethered even when rear facing.

The Radian installs very upright forward facing. It does have a recline feature, but it doesn't recline it very much. Because it installs so upright, children can often fit in the harness longer than they can in seats with taller harness slots. It can also be difficult to install forward facing in some vehicles.

The Radian has a nice tall shell. It should fit most children rear facing for a long time (usually at least 3 or 4 years). With the new rear facing weight limits, it can definitely keep kids safer longer :) The covers are nice and soft. There are several mesh covers, I don't like the mesh but I've heard it can help keep kids cooler in the car. The newer seats (post Sept 2009) even have comfort foam under the child's butt.

I think the Radian is a nice seat, but not the answer for everyone. I'd say try it in your vehicle before you buy one, or buy from an online retailer with a good return policy. I'm using mine for Sofi now, and I'm liking it so far. I kind of wish I had the head wings of an XT though, so I may end up with one somewhere in the future.

Some pics and info courtesy of members at

Monday, October 12, 2009

My fight with the Radian is over, and I won.

I tried installing a Radian in my van, before I bought one. I think it installed pretty well after a few tries. Unfortunately, I didn't attach the RF tether, or put Sofi in it.

I bought a pretty pink Radian. I installed it, attached the tether, and put Sofi in. Attaching the tether reclined it a little more, and so did Sofi's weight :( I got tips from others online that had successfully install it in the center seat in this van, and it just wouldn't work for me :( I'd pretty much given up :(

Then, I got a message from another carseat crazy friend. She had a different way of installing the seat. So, I went out today and gave it a try. I reclined the vehicle seatback all the way, and put the base of the Radian forward of the hump on the van seat (there is a hump at the seatbite that covers the lower anchors). Didn't think that would work at all, there was a ton of space between the seatback and the Radian (even with the seatback put back up). I pulled and pulled the LATCH strap to tighten. It was still too loose :( I put the strap through the belt path to pull at a different angle, and it wouldn't tighten :( I had my husband pull, and it wouldn't tighten :( I took it out of the belt path to pull from the top again, I knelt on the Radian and bounced a little and pulled alot. And It got tight! I put the vehicle seatback up again, and voila! I attached the tether and had Sofi climb in. The seat reclined just a tad more, but not too much :)

I WIN! Sofi now has a new carseat :) She looks like she has less legroom than in the Titan, but alot more room to grow heightwise.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Recline, level indicator, and an infant seat

Infant seats come with a level indicator. Different seats have a different kind, but I'm pretty sure they all have one. They are meant to tell you when your seat is properly reclined. Unfortunately, it gives you a 30- 45* range. Newborns need the 45*. If the seat is installed more upright (closer to the 30*), the baby's head can fall forward. When a newborn baby's head falls forward, it can close off their airway. The best way to make sure you have a 45* recline is to recline the seat as much as you can (either with the base's recline foot, or with noodles or rolled towels) until the indicator is on the edge of the 'ok' zone. Just, make sure you're parked on a flat surface when you do this :)

*I didn't even think about blogging about you tonight, until you mentioned it* ;)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Which seat will I buy?

Sofi needs a new carseat. She has 1 inch to grow in her Titan in my car. That 1 inch could take a month, or it could take a year. So... I prepare to get a new seat. Here is my thinking process......

My choices are: First Years True Fit, Graco My Ride, Sunshine Kids Radian, Evenflo Triumph Advance, Britax Marathon

All of these seats are taller than the Titan. Three of them will RF to 35 pounds, and 2 will RF to 40 (or 45) pounds. Sofi weighs 29 pounds. Sounds like wight isn't an issue if I want to keep her RF for 1 more year. However, she just gained 4 pounds in 6 months! So.... how much will she gain in the next year?!

I own a Radian that could RF her to 40 pounds. It's currently sitting in the closet, getting no love :( Why not just use that? I can NOT get it to install well in the center of my 2nd row :( No matter what I try, it always looks too reclined :( So.. I get to pick a new seat :)

The True Fit- It is a nice tall seat. I like how easy it is to adjust the harness height, if I wanted to put another child in it. But... Sofi's head always slumped over when she fell asleep. It wasn't dangerous or uncomfortable for her. It was just uncomfortable for me to look at ;)

The Triumph Advance- I like the seat ok. Again, easy to adjust harness heights. But it won't fit next to BabyS' Titan in my van.

The Marathon- I love how easy that was to install. I really really do. So, I took it out of my Mom's car and put it in mine. Sofi really had no leg room. She wasn't uncomfortable, but again it was uncomfortable for me to look at. So, not my choice for her primary seat.

The My Ride- Oh how I miss this seat. It installed so nicely. It really hugged her and looked like she had so much Side Impact Protection. And how she loved the cup holders (pockets). And.... I really like the purple one :D I know, I had issues with the harness adjuster strap fraying. But from those that lept their seats, it looks like it starts to fray, and then stops. So, I'm willing to give it another try.

So the winner is..... The purple My Ride! Now... if Walmart's website would just have it in stock.... we could get one.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Pediatrician says I can turn him Forward facing

My Pediatrician says I can turn my son (1 year, 23 pounds) forward facing. Why should I keep him rear facing if my pediatrician says forward facing is fine?

Short answer, because it's safer. The American Academy of Pediatrics has been recommending rear facing beyond 1 year and 20 pounds for years. My question would be, if the pediatrician is not following the advice of the AAP on carseat issues, what else is he not following?

Children between 1 and 2 years old are 5 times safer rear facing than they are forward facing. That much we have studies and statistics for. We know that physics shows everyone is safer rear facing, just how much safer we don't know. We do know that the child's neck bones mature between 4 and 6 years old. And we know that in Sweden they rear face until 4 to 5 years old.

American carseats are now coming out with higher rear facing weight limits. Why? So children can rear face longer.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Rear Facing Video

There are videos on Youtube showing why Rear Facing is safer. But there's a new one out. And it has my daughter in it. Please watch, and read, and keep your children rear facing.

Rear Facing is Safer

Friday, August 14, 2009

Who's that lady hanging out in the carseat isle?

Don't worry, it's just me. Yes, I admit it, I have too much time on my hands some weekends. So what do I do? I go hang out in the carseat isle in my local Babies R Us. Sometimes it's very busy, lots of Moms to be looking for the perfect seat for their baby, lots of very confused parents staring at way too many carseats. What is a parent to do when they have to choose the 1 perfect seat out of 30+ seats?! Accept my kind help :)

If I come up to you when you're looking at carseats and offer to answer any carseat questions you have....please, ask away. That's what I'm there for. That's what I live for. Believe it or not, I enjoy helping you protect your most precious cargo :)

And if anyone here has any questions, please ask away. You can even email me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A 3rd 40 pound Rear Facing Seat

It was released yesterday that newer Sunshine Kids Radians can rear face up to 40 pounds!! So exciting. The Radian has almost the tallest shell of any RF seat, so it will even get older children to 40 pounds. Sofi could rear face until she's 6 or 7 with her growth pattern.

Radians (65, 80, and XT) manufactured in or after Septemeber 2008 can now RF up to 40 pounds. Seats manufactured before Sept 2008 can not. There were some structural changes to the seat in September, making the pre and post Sept seats different.

Monday, June 29, 2009

First Graco, Now Dorel.

It has started. The 40 pound rear facing seats are here. Graco was first, with the My Ride. Now Dorel is about to release a seat that can RF up to 40 pounds. It's the Safety 1st Complete Air. It can RF up to 40 pounds, and FF up to 50 pounds.

Something else new is coming to the market with this seat. Dorel calls it Air Protect technology. The wings around the child's head are not foam, but air. The video on their website maCheck Spellingkes it look nice. They will also be adding Air Protect technology to other seats.

The Complete Air is available for preorder on Babies R Us' website on July 1. The seat will be released in August, and sold at other retailers later in the year.

Am I excited? Somewhat. I'm excited we're getting another seat that can RF higher than 35 pounds.

Could I see myself buying this seat? Yes. But I probably won't. It will sell for $250! I haven't paid that much for any of my carseats. However, it looks like it will have a slightly different RF height rule, allowing taller children to still fit.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Goodbye to my beloved My Ride

Right now, my My Ride is sitting in my hall closet. I really love the seat, so why on earth is it in the hall closet? It's awaiting a shipping label to return it to Graco. My beloved My Ride is returning to the manufacturer to be inspected and likely killed :(

I read on www/ about problems a few people had with the harness adjuster fraying on their seat. I don't usually adjust Sofi's harness (I've mastered squashing her in there). Since I often reccomend the seat, I decide to try adjusting the harness everytime I put Sofi in/out of the seat, like most parents do. After only 3 days it's fraying :(

I tried to take pictures, but it's really difficult to see. The harness adjuster strap is the strap between the child's legs/knees. You pull it to tighten the harness (the straps around the child). That strap is held by a metal piece that unfortunately has sharp edges. So as it rubs them, it frays. Fraying looks like the strap is getting fuzzy on the side/sides.

So, I noticed the problem and called Graco. They said they'd send me a shipping label to return the seat, and then give me a full refund. I know at least 3 other My Rides are being returned by other people.

I now have 2 replacement covers (I complained about the cover not staying on the sides, they sent me another. I complained about the hole in the cover they sent me a 3rd- a different color) and no seat to put them on. I do still love the My Ride. I do still reccomend the seat, but also make parents aware of the possible problem. And I will happily buy another My Ride (Sonata- pink!) when they fix the problem :)

I have emailed a 'higher up' in Graco. Not exactly sure how high she is, but deffinetly higher than the customer service reps :) We'll see what she says about the problem.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Would you like to see more 'boy color' carseats?

Someone on has decided to start a petition. Parents are tired of neutral colors being considered 'boy colors' while girls get pretty pink and yellow and floral seat covers. She has started a petition to get some more fun boy covers on carseats. SHe's starting with the Graco Nautilus. Graco makes a zillion cover options for their infant seats. They even make some wonderful covers for the Turbo Booster. Why does the Nautilus have to be either Grey or pink? The petition will be sent to the buyer for major retailers.

Here is a link to the petition.

Here is her post on
Ok, I have the petition up: the petition if you want the Nautilus to be available in some sort of color appropriate for boys (or just not aimed specifically at girls. or gray.)Even if you don't personally need a colorful Nautilus, please sign the petition if you think they should be available for others. Feel free to share the link.When we have lots of signatures, I'll forward it to the corporate offices of at least one major retailer.You do need to leave your name and email address, but the addresses are kept private--even I don't have access to them. They just use them for verification to make sure people aren't signing a bunch of times.FTR, I'm not doing this out of self-interest. I'm perfectly happy with our current Nautilus (I love gray!), but I realize there is a need for colors. (Seriously, five different types of gray seats? A bit much...) I'm also curious to see if going to the buyers really will have an impact. So this is a social experiment that hopefully will result in some cute car seats

Friday, May 29, 2009

Roundabout 50

What is the Roundabout 50? It's Britax's newest convertible. It will RF up to 35 pounds, and FF up to 50 pounds. It will sell for about $199.99.

The seat shell is the same as the Marathon. The harness heights are the same as the Marathon. If it's so similar to the Marathon, why did they call it the Roundabout50? I have no idea. Because Britax is crazy I think (why else would they have 9 convertible seats, but discontinue their boosters?).

There are 4 harness slots. Lowest being about 10 inches, and highest being 16-17 inches. There are 3 crotch buckle positions. The Marathon has 1, that is in about the same spot as the center slot in the RA50.

Like the Roundabout40, it does not have HUGS (the rubbery things on the harness). Those are only required on the 65+ pounds seats. Also like the RA40 it does not have harness covers, but does have a belly pad (weird, to me the harness covers are more important than the belly pad).

The harness adjuster is thinner than that of the Marathon. The RA50 does not have the lockoffs like all the other Britax convertibles. It has a LATCH strap similar to the RA40 (not the Marathon with bars), but it only loosens and tightens on 1 side.

I know the seat is now on sale at Babies R Us. I went into my local store and it was still in a box on the top shelf above the RA40s. I asked them to get one down, and they did, and opened it for a display model.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A warning message from another Mom

I was contacted by a mother that has often read my blog. She has read it, but apparently didn't follow all the advice. Her 3 year old son was 40 pounds, and riding in a highback booster. He certainly met all the stated minimums for the seat. Except for age. Age can play a crutial role in booster readiness. Her son was riding with her older (college age) son. He unbuckled himself, and no one knew. The little boy fell asleep, and fell out of his booster! He fell out and right onto the floor of the van. In the fall, he hit his face and got a black eye. Mom is horrified. What if there had been a crash? He wouldn't have fallen on the floor, he would have flown out the window! No 3 year old is really mature enough to be in a booster. At my advice, Mom went out and bought a Graco Nautilus. He is now safe and secure in the van. Children under 4 years (often under 6) need to be in a seat with a harness.

Kids Rear Facing in the My Ride

Here are pictures and stats of children I've tried in the My Ride. None of them are my children, but I have permission to post their pictures.

N is 19 months old. She weighs about 18 pounds. She has a 12 inch torso, and a 17 inch seated height. She normally rides RF in a Comfortsport and is still on the bottom slots. In the My Ride she was on the 2nd from bottom slots.

X is 3.5 years old and weighs 40 pounds. His torso is 12.5-12.75 inches, and his seated height is 19.5 inches. He has now outgrown the seat RF by weight, but still has 3.5 inches above his head. He normally rides FF in a Graco Nautilus, on the 2nd from bottom slots.

This is G. He is 3 years, 8 months old and weighs 34 pounds. His torso height is 12.5 inches, seated height is 20 inches, and total height is 41 inches. His head was even with the stripe that goes across the My Ride, so he has 2.5 inches above his head. He could probobly RF in this seat for another year. However, G normally rides in a Graco Nautilus (harness on the 2nd from bottom slots).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An update on my My Ride

So I've been using it. We keep the driver's side 2nd row seat flipped down so the older kids can get in the back. I think I really like it. The harness adjuster is smoother than the Marathon, and higher than the True Fit. It installs easily with LATCH. Sofi loves the "pockets" (cupholders). It also has more legroom than the Marathon. I think it has a deep, angled seat because Sofi has more trouble getting out of it than she did her other seats. I think I really like it :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How do I like it so far?

How do I like the My Ride? Well, I'm not sure. I love that it can RF to 40 pounds. It will get those chunkier toddlers to RF longer. I think I'd like it better if it was installed in my van, not riding in my trunk :) It's too wide for where I wanted to use it right now. And that's saying alot since I can fit 3-across of almost any seats in my 2nd row Sienna! I think I will love it if/when BabyS reaches 35 pounds and needs to continue rear facing. I've thought about returning it since I won't need it for awhile. But... I still need more models. I plan to take it to church with me this weekend and try some kids in it. Hopefully their parents will allow me to post pics :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's here! My new Graco My Ride 65

I bought a Graco My Ride 65 today. It's 2 shades of brown, called "Spiral". It can rear face to 40 pounds (the first in the US!) and forward face up to 65 pounds. It comes with infant padding that can be used when the baby is on the bottom slots. The infant padding is not in these pictures.

There are 5 harness slots. All measurements are with me pushing on the padding.
9 inches (8 with infant padding)
11 inches
13 inches
14.5 inches
16.5-17 inches

The bottom slots can only be used rear facing. The next 3 slots up can be used rear facing or forward facing. And the top slot can only be used forward facing.

The seat shell measures 24 inches. My Marathon measures 25 inches. I put my daughter in both seats. In the Marathon she had at least 4 inches above her head. In the My Ride she had barely 4 inches above her head.

The widest part of the seat is at the cup holders, and it measures 20.5 inches. The widest at the head is 18.5- 19 inches. For comparison, the widest part of the True Fit is 19 inches.

The seat width at the knees is 9.5 inches. The width at the butt is 10 inches. The width of the base is 11 inches. The harness adjuster is 7 inches from the floor.

The harness adjuster is similar to the Graco Nautilus. The harness material is the same as the Nautiuls and the Safe Seat 1 and Snug Ride 32. The chest clip and crotch buckle are also the same as on the GN, SS1, SR32.

The seat is lined with EPS foam from the top of the head, down to below the bottom harness slots. It lines both the back and the sides of the seat. The seat cover is "Spiral" which is 2 shades of brown. It is nice and soft. There is no mesh on this seat (like on the GNs). I am having a hard time keeping 1 side of the cover on now, but it's not a big deal.

BabyS is 4 months old and 16 pounds. She is on the 2nd slots in the Safe Seat 1, with a few inches to grow above her head. She's still on the bottom slots of the My Ride, and the top of her head is even with the top slots.

Sofi is 2 years 7 months and 25 pounds. She is on the 2nd slots of the Marathon and True Fit. She's also on the 2nd slots of the My Ride. I didn't try her in the seat installed in my car (but I did on the test bench at BRU) but she has a little more legroom in the My Ride than in the Marathon, but less than in the True Fit.

J is 6 years old and 50 pounds. He is on the top slots of the Nautilus. He is over the top slots of the My Ride by about 1 inch. A few weeks ago he was dead even, or a hair above the top slots on the Marathon.

To switch from forward facing to rear facing, you need to flip 2 feet on the bottom of the base. You can see me flipping the foot on the left. You need to do the same to both feet. You simply flip the feet under/in the base for rear facing (which is what I'm doing in the picture). Or flip the feet out and on the sides for forward facing.

The Harness has 3 length adjustments. The picture I show it on the middle adjustment. Both Sofi and BabyS could use the harness there. As the child gets bigger and harness gets tighter, you can adjust it in the back to give you more length. Similar to the Safe Seat 1/ Snug Ride 32.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Can my child use a booster seat?

My son is 3 years old and weighs 32 pounds. I found a booster seat that says it can be used at 30 pounds. Is this a good choice for an extra seat in Grandma's car? His main seat is an Evenflo Chase in my car.

No. Your son is way too young and too light to use a booster seat. The minimum for booster use should be 4 years and 40 pounds. A child less than 40 pounds doesn't fill out the seatbelt well and can submarine (slip under the seatbelt) in a crash.

My daughter is 3 1/2 and weighs 38 pounds. She needs a new seat as her only goes to 40 pounds. Is the Highback Graco Turbobooster a good seat?

Yes, that is a nice booster, but not for your daughter. At only 3 years old, she too young for a booster and should remain in a harness. The minimum for booster use is 4 years and 40 pounds. However, many children aren't mature enough to sit properly the entire ride until 5-7 years old. I would suggest the Graco Nautilus, Safety First Apex 65 (If your vehicle has headrests), or the Britax Frontier. They will all keep your daughter in a harness longer (up to 65, or 80 pounds). They can also convert to a booster once she's old enough.

Here are some videos on children that were too small for the booster seats they used.
Another for Isabelle
Kyle's family on Good Morning America

Those videos are not saying booster seats are bad, or that your child needs to be in a harness forever. They're simplying showing you what can happen if a child is too young/small for a booster; even if they meet the minimum requirements on the seat.

If you want to support a group that donates high weight harness seats to families that can't afford them, please visit the Kyle David Miller Foundation

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More Q and A

My child's carseat says it can be used to 40 pounds. He only weighs 34. Someone told me he can't use it anymore because his shoulders are at the top slots. Do I really need a new seat even though he still fits in the weight limits?

If his shoulders are at the top slots, he still fits. However, tomorrow his shoulders could be over the slots, or it could be next week or next month. It's hard to tell when most children will have their next growth spurt. For my own child, I'd prefer to buy a new carseat now. A Forward Facing carseat can be used if 1-Child is withing the weight limits 2- The harness slots are at or above the child's shoulders 3-The top of child's ears are not above the top of the carseat. You must meet all 3 of those to continue using a carseat.

These pictures are of children properly using a carseat forward facing. They are within the weight limits, the harness slots are above their shoulders, and the tops of their ears are well below the top of the seat.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The pics are here

Bryan of Kids N Cribs has given me permission to use his photos of the My Ride 65. He has them and info from Graco on his website here It is sold there for $149.99, and shipping to me is estimated at $10.95.

So, here are the pictures. I must say, I like the gray and black that was previously "leaked" more than these. But, it is nice to see that Graco is releasing a new seat in options other than gray (The GN was available in 4 colors, all shades of gray).
The First 2 pictures are from Kids N Cribs. The 3rd is from Graco's website.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sofi in her many seats

I've been told I'm a carseat manufacturer's dream. A new seat comes out, and I want it. Well, that's true. So I though I'd post some pics of Sofi RF in her many seats.

Here is Sofi in the Cosco Scenera. This picture was taken Nov 2008. We had 1 as a back up seat, and 1 in Grandma's car.

This is Sofi in the Britax Marathon. This picture was taken early spring 2009. This was her main carseat for awhile. When we needed to replace Grandma's carseat, I decide to give her this and get one with more legroom for the main carseat.

This is the Evenflo Triumph Advance. This picture was taken beginning of 2009. It's not my first choice of seats because of the knobs. But my husband has a hard time pulling a harness adjuster (an arm injury) so the knobs work well for him.

This is the Safety First Uptown. This picture taken April- May 2009. This is a backup seat, and is also used by my friend's daughter in my car. Sofi looked squashed in this seat, but she never complained.

This is the First Years True Fit. Picture taken April or May 2009. It gives her much more legroom than the other seats.

The new arrival, Graco My Ride 65. Picture taken May 2009. Sofi likes this seat because it has "pockets" (cup holders). I like it because it's easy to install, easy to adjust the harness, fairly lightweight to carry.

This is the Evenflo Titan Elite. Picture taken June 2009. We stopped using this seat last fall because I thought Sofi was too close to outgrowing it by height. I installed it to check again tonight, and she has a good 3 inches above her head (giving her 2 inches to grow).