car seat overload--HELP!

  1. This question is for any mother baby nurses or those who just happen to have experience with newborns. I'm trying to research carseats online and am so overwhelmed!!!

    For those of you who actually send little tykes home in these things, do you have recommendations on specific carseats? Regarding things like safety, comfort, convenience, etc?

    There are so many options and I'm not sure where to start! Also, does anyone have an opinion about the travel system vs just buying a universal stroller frame to latch the infant seat into?

    I know this isn't exactly a "nurse related" topic, but I respect the opinions of my fellow nurses (more than others, usually )
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    About Almabella

    Joined: Jun '05; Posts: 85; Likes: 13


  3. by   collegebound
    In every carseat purchase I have made, (and that has been a lot between infant seats, convertible seats, and booster seats!), my favorite resource is consumer reports. Just go to their web site (I think it is but not sure) and click on carseats. They do rigourous testings for safety, report about ease of use, and various other things. Then of course after I have made my decision, bought and installed the seat, I ALWAYS go to a car seat expert and have it inspected. I went through all this several months ago myself, so best of luck in your search!
  4. by   hikernurse
    By the travel system, do you mean the set-up where the car-seat matches the stroller and fits onto it? If so, I'd go with that. They are worth their weight in gold--as are baby swings :-).

    As far as brands go, have you checked out Consumer Reports? Probably at least part of your decision will be based on your budget, so you might want to decide how much you can spend; that will narrow things down some.

    It's kind of a nurse question--at least safety-wise ;-).
  5. by   CoffeeRTC
    Have you ever looked at They have tons of info on this type of stuff. If you ask a question on a board, you will get some goon answers from people who have used the products.

    From my experience (preg with #4), You do not need the most expensive thing out there. The travel sytems (car seat, base and stroller) are cheaper than buying them separate. It helps if you can go and look at them before buying. Does the stroller have enough storage on the bottom, do you have a tray or cup holder at top? If you are really tall or really really short, you might want to look for something adjustable. Pic up the car seat and feel how heavy it is without a baby in it, try to fold up the stroller and open it up. Is it easy to do? Play around with them if you can.

    I liked the combo one and used the same stuff for my first 3 kids. The fact that you can take the baby out of the car and into a stroller or house while they were still sleeping and buckled in was nice.

    As far as getting them separate....most car seats will fit most strollers.
    This time around I needed a double stroller and car seat. After looking in the stores etc, I found one second hand in perfect condition. Its a good idea to check for recalls and ask or know the person selling them before buying. Saved a good bit of money this way and I found one easy to use.
  6. by   BSNtobe2009
    I know that I reviewed consumer reports for a car seat...I ended up buying a Graco travel system that had a rear facing car seat.

    However, I was very suprised that the majority of the brands that were $350 to $400 ranked the WORSE.

    All car seats have to pass Federal safety regulations, so I buy for comfort and ease of use. If the baby is strapped in properly, and the lap belt is looped through, your baby isn't going anywhere, and the best car seat in the world isn't going to help, God forbid if the collision is horrific or not.

    I never look at car seats as protecting my child other than from flying out of the car and from "whiplash".
  7. by   slou!
    Okay, I am neither a nurse nor a mom, but I do work at Babies R Us and am trained in the Baby Gear section, including car seats, strollers, travel yards, gates, etc.

    I second going to the car seat safety checks! At my work, and we have them probably once every two months. You can always go down to your local police station, they almost always have a certified car seat technician or they can refer you to one if they don't. The problem people have with most car seats is not that the car seat itself is not made well, but it is not installed right, or the child is not secured properly. You can buy the safest car seat in the world and it would mean nothing if the car seat was not installed properly. Now with infant car seats, it is great because you install the base, and the car seat just snaps in. This is convienent because you can buy more bases for how ever many cars you plan on taking the baby in, mom's, dad's, grandma's, whoever. The more the car seat is unstalled and reinstalled, the more room for error. With convertable car seats, they do not come with a base so you either have to buy two, or the cheaper way is to just learn how to install it correctly by going to a car seat safety check. I think they are easier to install than the infant seats, but that's just me!

    The price on the car seat means NOTHING a lot of times! Sometimes, it is the price of the fabric. If you go to a Babies R Us store, and look at the Eddie Bauer carseats, they are actually Cosco car seats, which are not very great, pretty cheap car seats. I hate that people are let to think they are automatically safer because they are more expensive, but really they are no better than the Cosco car seats (that is what they are!) and you are paying almost double for the fabric on the car seat! Other times it is things like cup holders and features that aren't as important as the safety of the car seat.

    Travel systems can be really convienent because when your baby is sleeping in the car, and you want to put him or her in the stroller, you can just hook the car seat into the stroller with out waking the baby up. A travel system includes a stroller that you insert the car seat into, a car seat, and a base. Additional bases can be purchased seperately. It is very convienent and I would recommend it!

    I think my favorite car seat out there is the Britax Companion. This car seat is constantly getting very high ratings. In 2005, it was the highest rated infant car seat on Consumer Report. Now I do not have a subscription to CR, but I got this information at work. It has a anti-rebound bar which prevents this car seat from moving and being smashed, ESP foam around the headrest which is shock absorbing, and excellent side impact protection. It is also so comfy! The ESP foam is so comfortable, but I have heard that it can be a little sweaty in the summer time, especially if you live in a hot area. But I think the other features DEFINITELY outweigh this minor issue, and besides, that is what the air conditioner is for This car seat is pretty pricey, but this, in my opinion, is one of the times where you really ARE paying for the quality of the car seat and NOT the fabric. I always recommend this one to people who can afford it (I usually ask people how much they are planning to spend on a car seat before I start helping them find a car seat that suits them), because it is always rated so high in it's safety and it is a really easy to use car seat. If you can afford it, it's an awesome car seat!

    Now for people who are on a tighter budget, I would recommend the Graco SnugRide. This car seat is also rated very high on safety, and it is easy to use. It is very affordable, and if you want to go the travel system route then it comes with the travel system. It also comes in MANY different fabrics, not really that important but it's a plus!

    This is one of the most important (if not THE most important!) purchase you will make for your baby! I agree with all the others who said look on consumer report, or if you want go to a store that has baby products and talk to someone who works in either the baby department or in Babies R Us, the car seat department. That way they can tell you what would be perfect for you with your budget and car in mind. If you have a tiny car, that is also a big issue. I have had many pregnant people on the way to the car dealership to trade in their little sports car for a mini-van, but stop at BRU on the way just to make sure they HAVE to trade it in and the car seat won't fit for sure. And also, people at Babies R Us are legally not allowed to install your car seat for you, unfortunately, since they are not Certified Car Seat Technicians. They do have car seat checks which have these tech's at them, and I REALLY REALLY recommend going to either one of those, or going to 1 in 5 car seats are not installed properly, so please do not let yours be one of them!

    Good luck and if you have any more questions feel free to PM me I know this can be very overwhelming and it sometimes seems hard to find a place to start! Start with the basics, like a crib, car seat/travel system or car seat/stroller, pack and play or travel yard, swing, clothing, moniter, etc. If you go to Babies R Us (sorry I keep bringing BRU up, it's the only infant retail store I know!) and register, they will give you a check list of all the things you will need. Some are more important than others, like gates or potty seats, because these won't be used right away. Again good luck
  8. by   slou!
    Sorry I just wanted to add:
    It's not recommended at ALL buying used car seats. At Babies R Us, they are not allowed to put back a car seat that has been opened and the instructions are detached from the car seat. You never know if the car seat has been in a crash or not. It used to be that once a car seat was in a crash, but I just read that they changed it and if you were able to drive your car away from the accident and if it was very minor, it is OK to reuse. I'm not sure what the other guidelines were but there were many. Anyway, unless you 100% trust this person and know them, I wouldn't recommend buying it from them!

    And also, look online. You can find car seats sometimes A LOT cheaper online then in stores. If you want to go and get the item from a store, I know at Babies R Us they do a price guarantee so say if you see it in an ad cheaper at Target, you can still buy it at Babies R Us if you bring in the ad or have them call Target to verify the price. But look online first, you can usually save a lot of money that way!
  9. by   Gompers
    I haven't had the chance to use my new carseat or stroller yet, but I did spend a lot of time deciding what gear to buy. I went with the lesser-known Italian Chicco brand. I just liked how their carseats and strollers looked and handled - seem a bit higher in quality to me. The price is in between what you'd pay for Graco and Peg Perego. The seat has all the good-quality impact foam for the baby's protection - not just the cute little head roll that doesn't help much with support. The only big problem with the seat is that it has a smooth bottom and doesn't fit into the top of shopping carts - the Graco and Costco seats all seem to have a special notch that holds (but doesn't lock) the seat in place. I don't know how I feel about that - it means that if I take it into the store with me, I have to put it in the big part of the cart severely limiting the amount of stuff I can get in there. But then again, I've never liked seeing babies riding so high in front on those carts so I'm okay with it I think.

    I got both the travel system and the universal car seat carrier. Reason? For one, the stroller that matched the seat was very cool looking and felt like it was excellent quality - also got great reviews. So why not get the matching one so that there is an option to click in the carseat? But for the most part, I think I'll use the universal carrier because it's so much smaller and lighter - much easier to manuever through tight spots than a huge stroller with carseat attached. I think we'll use the stroller more in the summer and have the baby actually sit in it. It's nice that the set matches, though. The problem I had with a lot of other travel systems was that the strollers were kind of cheap and not as nice as ones you'd buy separately. We'll see how my choices work out as soon as the baby comes!

    I definitely agree that the seat should be checked by a professional before it's used for the baby. We're installing the infant seat bases in both of our cars, then buying two convertable seats later on so that they don't have to be removed from the cars after being installed. The LATCH system is the wave of the future, though - make sure to get a seat that has LATCH connectors (I think they all do now) because all new cars have this system and it is so much better than just using the seatbelt to secure the baby seats.
    Last edit by Gompers on Nov 3, '06
  10. by   Almabella
    Thank you so much for all the responses! Gompers--where did you buy the car seat and universal carrier? Did you buy them online?
  11. by   Almabella
    slou--thank you so much for all of your advice! Very helpful!
  12. by   Alixandra
    Here is the car safety board at
    They will answer all your questions and give you good advice on everything and also give you links to other site with good information.
    Personally I have little to no faith in Consumer Reports since they seem to change their minds on seats that have not changed in the least going from top rating to poor rating over the course of a year and giving no reason why their opinion of them changed. Also, anyone who has ever used an Evenflo Triumph(one of their top rated seats last year) can tell you it is damn near impossible to install the straps twist like mad, it only rearfaces to 30 lbs(as oppossed to most others that rearface to 33 or 35 lbs), and has a very short shell so children outgrow it long before 4 years and 40 lbs which is the absolute minumum that anyone should put a child in a belt positioning booster even though the longer you wait to that the better. If you ask about consumer reports on the car seat board they can all tell you why they don't trust them either.
    Just check out the car safety board, trust me you won't be disappointed at their advice.

  13. by   Jolie
    Quote from Gompers
    The only big problem with the seat is that it has a smooth bottom and doesn't fit into the top of shopping carts - the Graco and Costco seats all seem to have a special notch that holds (but doesn't lock) the seat in place. I don't know how I feel about that - it means that if I take it into the store with me, I have to put it in the big part of the cart severely limiting the amount of stuff I can get in there. But then again, I've never liked seeing babies riding so high in front on those carts so I'm okay with it

    For grocery shopping, I used an infant carrier (Snuggli-type thing). My daughter was much more content in it than in her car seat, and it had 2 major advantages: 1. Little old ladies and snot-nosed kids couldn't get their hands on my newborn. (Can you tell that is one of my BIGGEST pet-peeves?) 2. The car seats that "snap" into the front of the cart are next to impossible to remove with the baby in them. The weight of the baby causes the car seat to "lock" into place, and makes it very difficult to remove. Many times, I had to unstrap and hold the baby while a helpful passer-by detached the d**n car seat.

    My baby is now 8 years old, but I had very bad luck with Cosco products, and would recommend checking into them very thoroughly prior to purchasing. The quality was not great, and they were very slow to respond to requests for replacement parts, etc. I much preferred Graco and/or Evenflo.

    Happy shopping!
  14. by   BSNtobe2009
    When I first brought my daughter home, I wasn't supposed to take her out anywhere, but of course, the grocery store was a necessity. I also used the carrier to put in the cart, and leave the handle up, then I would drape a blanket over her to shield her from passer-bys, people sneezing, coughing, etc.

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