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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ninja Mom's Best Baby Products for Two Under Two - Part One - Car Seats

You guys voted, and you said the next thing you wanted to see is the best baby products for two under two. So, here we go - these are all products that I personally own and use, and I am not being paid to review them. No bias here - just experience. If you're interested in purchasing any of these products, links will be provided within that section.

Car Seats

There are so many different car seats out there - which one should you choose? There are three points to keep in mind - use a seat that fits properly in your car, use a seat that fits your child properly, and never use a seat that is expired or has been in a crash, not even a minor fender bender. If you are in doubt about this last one, do not use it! Your child's life is worth so much more than whatever money you might save buying a used seat whose history you don't know.

Infant "bucket" seats: I have used several brand of seats, including evenflo and graco, but my favorite by far is the Baby Trend Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat . It fits well in my van, installs like a breeze, and is easily adjustable. The handle looks a little funky at first, but is actually really nice to carry. This is also one of the highest rated car seats. Bonus: it comes in lots of different colors, and fits perfectly in our evenflo stroller. No need to buy the accompanying stroller if you already have one.

Pretty soon, your little baby is going to be a big kid, and you're going to need a bigger car seat. It is highly recommended that you keep your child rear facing to the limits of the seat, rather than turn them forward facing at a year old. Most children can stay rear facing until somewhere between one and a half and two years of age. Some can rear face much longer if they're lighter, and this is recommended. It does not matter if your child's legs touch the back of the seat in the RF position. There have been no reports of broken legs from a larger child in the rear facing position, but there have been numerous tragic reports of children who died or were severely injured due to forward facing. In an accident, your baby's head can whip forward and back, causing whiplash and even internal decapitation. For your child's safety - please, keep them rear facing for as long as possible.

For convertible seats, I currently use and recommend the Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat. This seat is narrow, and fits two by two in my van. It rear faces to 35 pounds, which is fantastic, and the fabric is durable and wipes down fairly easily. My kids fall asleep in this seat every time we go anywhere, and seem very comfortable in it. I don't really recommend it for very small babies, as it's hard to get a good snug fit. Use it after your baby has outgrown the bucket.

Time will go by faster than you think, and suddenly your child will need a booster seat. There are seats that harness children past 40 pounds, and this is much safer. However, we aren't all millionaires. There's no way I could afford one of those seats. The Hub doesn't even have enough in his 401K for one of those seats, even if they didn't penalize for taking it out of the account early. So, my children go into boosters at 40 pounds, which, luckily for us, usually comes a few months after the fourth birthday, when the kids can sit properly in a booster.

Our van has high headrests. If your vehicle does not, you will need a high back booster. If yours has high headrests, that rise above the height of your child's head, you can use a low back booster. My favorite booster comes both ways, and is affordable in both high back and low back.
The Graco TurboBooster SafeSeat Youth Booster is the most comfortable booster seat out there. I know, because we tried them all. Other seats in this price range have funky side arms that don't accommodate a growing child. This one also has cup holders, which is great if you can convince your child to drink out of a spill proof sippy cup. Bonus: It comes in cool colors and patterns, and the back is removable.

So there ya go. Ninja Mom does car seats. Up next... Sleeping Areas! Bassinet? Crib? Momma's Bed? How to choose what's best for all of you. Fun!


Baby Bunching said...

Great post....I'm going to quick add this to the Baby Bunching bests this week!

I'll add my 2 cents on here. We purchased a Britax Roundabout for my first kid (not knowing that #2) was right on his heels. I WISHED I'd bought the Marathon instead. I love having my kids in the 5-point harness. We have my 4 1/2 year in the Cosco still, which I like OK, but it's a booger to get in and out of the car. There are many swear words coming from the back of our RAV-4 as I try to get it in there. The Britax is a piece of cake to get in and out of the car and easy to clean and worth the money we spent. And with the Marathon it goes up to 60 pounds so you can keep your kid in the 5-point longer. But I was too cheap the second time to go out and buy the Marathon so here we are too. :-)

Momma Bear said...

Although I like the look of and function of the Graco Safe Seat it's a bear of a seat that I'm now regretting buying! Why? Well it weighs 8lbs! I don't recall my other baby seats weighing that much! It's such a painful experience lugging that sucker around. We try at all costs to avoid this scenario. I would not buy that seat again b/c of it's weight.
Thanks SNM for the post! And I like your new blog update.

Jenni said...

ooooh, i like this series. after beds, you should do strollers.

Super Ninja Mommy said...

ya know, i think i am gonna do strollers next, instead of bedding. maybe skip bedding all together, so i don't have ot deal with the whole co-sleeping vs. independent sleeping debate.

ita, the safe seat is HUGE. its supposed to go up to 30 pounds, isn't it? Who wants to carry a 30 pound baby in a bucket seat!?

And to my dear, sweet baby bunchies, thank you for adding me to this weeks' BBB. :-D i'm not a britax fan for many reasons, but it is cool that they harness to60 lbs. i think if you want a cheaper way to harness longer, try the graco nautilus. hav enot personally used it, but it gets rave reviews from a couple friends of mine. only downside is, its not for kids under 20 lbs. on the up side, its only $150ish, compared to $850K for the marathon.

Baby Bunching said...

Oooo...can't wait for the stroller one. As you know that is our FAVORITE topic. :-) Love strollers.