Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Here, have a seat.


Nothing spawned more animated and enthusiastic conversation between Noah and I.
Day in and day out, on the way to school and then as we headed home, it always turned to booster seats. His little heart bursting with joy at the thought of a future "big boy booster", the mouth going, listing off his buddies that already had big kid seats, the color he wanted and the date of his birth, just so I wouldn't forget when to buy one for him.

As each child in his class or friend around him, graduated to a booster seat, Noah's anticipation and desire grew even more . And with every sneak peak into carpool line minivans and playdate paddy wagons, I became more obsessed with the idea of getting one too.

Nothing I loath more than the cumbersome, five-point harness of a monster that is Noah's car seat. It works quite well, yes, but this unwieldy Goliath is just in the way. In my small sedan, there is nearly no room from backseat to front, and without standing and turn around room, Noah has always needed my help getting up into his seat. Bending in, lifting 35lbs., several times a day, it just isn't fun. Then there is the lack of convenience when moving the thing car to car. You lug it around, hoping the next car has the latch system, and when it doesn't you pay dearly with your patience.
I remember seeing my friend Molly with her son's booster seat, for the first time. I marvel at the little platform type of thing, so light and simple, she just set it in my car and buckled the guy in! How wonderful I thought, I can't wait.

So as time went on, and Noah had his heart set on a pink booster with gold crowns, just like his best friend at school, I began to plan for my future purchase with glee.

Ok, so here's where you hear breaks screeching. Eeeeeeeeert! I don't know why, if it was just by chance or perhaps merely because booster seats were on my mind, but I started running into stuff like THIS and THIS while surfing the web. It's hard to ignore this information and if I reeeeally think about it, this is pretty logical stuff. Sure, I could see how a larger, older child's car seat, with a five-point harness would be much more protective then even a high back booster. Although, I could also see how it could be less convenient and more expensive too! Since I still have some time in his current seat, Noah is only about 35lbs. and 36", and because I've ran into this information before my purchase, I'm going to look around for a good harnessed car seat.

My good friend Brianne like my own, it's very slim, low-profile, so that means less to lug and more room for NOAH TO CLIMB UP IN HIMSELF!!!! Oh, how great would that be!? The seat also folds nearly flat for travel and it have great LOVES her Sunshine Kids, Radian 65 /80 car seat! I got to see it in person, and what a cool product! It fits newborns to children up to 80lbs. And unlike tradition car seats, the Radian has a low profile, meaning it's not nearly as thick, making it easier for Noah to climb up into himself! Can you imagine!!? It also folds flat for travel and has very high safety ratings. Sarah also sent me THIS list of car seats made for older children. It was nice to know I wasn't the only parents not quite sure about using a booster seat yet.

This post wasn't meant to scare anyone out there that might already have a booster, I was just rambling and thinking out loud, and I'm glad that I had some of this information before I bought and thought I would share with those of you in my same position.

If you have and input/advice about your current car seats or boosters that your 3-4-5 year olds ride in, let me know! I'm always open to learn more.

Until then, the hot pink booster with the golden crowns will just be a dream. At least for a while.....


sally said...

Yup, the 40 lb minimum for a booster is just that - the bare minimum. The Radian 80 is an awesome seat, too. It's perfect for those who want to keep room in their car - you can fit 3 across if you have to (and some parents do!).

That said, you could get a 5-point harness to booster seat. The Safeguard Go is a great option, and it folds, too. You do have to have a top tether for installation. The Britax Frontier has a harness up to 80 lbs (and then converts to a booster). It is a bit bulkier though (I fit in it, and I'm a very skinny 26 year-old if that gives you any indication of its size). It's got cupholders, though - your child might be down with that! The Graco Nautilus is a newer seat - it's just out and we haven't had much feedback yet from parents, but it is a bit slimmer in profile and goes from harness to booster.

For you, it sound like the combination toddler seat is the way to go - that way you keep your kid in the harness, but have the booster option good to go when he's ready. If he's funny about sitting in a "baby seat", try one that has the kid-friendly options like cup holders and armrests - he might enjoy it.

Laura said...

We moved Caitlin to a high back booster seat (with four cup holders, armrests, lights and head cushion) about 6 months ago. She is just shy of 47# and 4' tall. Her seat buckles with the seat belt but is also hooked up to the latch system in my car. We wrestled with the idea of a 5-point for longer but couldn't justify spending the money for one and then still buying a high back booster down the line. Cara is smaller, so I imagine that she will be in a harness a lot longer than Caitlin was.
It seems like every year, they come out with more research. My only question is, where was said research when we were kids? I mean, car seats were recommended, not a law, and we're still alive. I just don't know...

Lolo said...

Hi Sally,
Welcome, and thanks for your input. I will definitely check the Safeguard Go and the Graco Nautilus. I really appreciate the input. Stop by anytime!

Oh Laura,
I know...I know. I'm always thinking about this, the difference between safety standards during our up-bringing and now. I mean, I am SURE that we played with lead toys, heck, I even licked school yard swingsets covered in lead paint. And then there was the baby seat for the back of the bike vs. the trailer, and all the safety debate with that. I did get a trailer by the way, but just because I knew I would be able to use it longer as Noah grows, not due to safety concerns.

I guess the conclusion I have come to is this...the very basic, cliche'..."Pick your battles" type of thing.

I think time and research has given us some very important updates and information, and at other times, it just dishes out pointless fear.

So..yeah, like you, I sit on the fence all the time. This time, since I still haven't invested in anything yet, I would like a larger seat, but only one that will last a looooong time. And, I'm with you...they are $$$$!

Thanks to both of your for your thoughtful comments! :)