Car Seats


Has anyone else felt like they needed a PhD to figure out the world of car seats? This shit is CRAZY. I did not stress like this when we picked out Charlotte’s infant seat. We registered for the Britax B-Safe because it came highly recommended and I saw it EVERYWHERE. I did not sit and read blogs and reviews for hours and hours. (In hindsight, I can’t believe I didn’t sit and read blogs and reviews for hours and hours… I mean, that’s what we brought our tiny brand new baby home in. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!)

Anyway, holy hell, where does one even start in the world of convertible seats? Just when I think I’ve got my mind made up, I read something about how it’s not as comfortable as “x” for long car rides, so I start reading up on “x” only to find that it’s not great for tall babies, so I go back to the beginning.

I am either going to lose my f-ing mind, or Charlotte is just going to stay in her infant seat forever. But we don’t have forever. We have until she’s 32 inches (and she’s already almost 29 inches). Plus, that damn carrier is getting SO FREAKING HEAVY.

Also, we just got our tax returns and I’m thinking now would be a good time to spend a gazillion dollars on car seats before we spend the rest of the gazillion dollars on a new roof.

Los Angeles is the land of distracted drivers. I just want to make sure my girl is safe. This should not be so complicated.


41 thoughts on “Car Seats

  1. We’ve been very happy with our Britax Marathon. The Marathon click tight (which isn’t what we have) is the second highest rated by consumer reports. I feel the marathon is the perfect balance of safety and price and it isn’t heavy or hard to install. Bonus is it’s airline rated. We’re buying a new seat this weekend.

    Do you know about the toys r us gear trade in? Bring in an old piece of gear (we had an expired car seat we acquired) and they give you a 25% off coupon to use this month on a new piece of gear. So we’re picking up a second marathon to go in my mother-in-law’s car so Melody is finally out of the infant seat in both vehicles.

    Hope that helps!

    • The trade in is another reason why I’m researching this right now. We are desperate to get rid of our bassinet because we just don’t have room to store it. I tried selling it on craigslist and there were no takers, so BRU trade-in event it is! AND the Marathon click tight is what I’m leaning toward. It’s like you read my mind!

      • Lol, yep! I’m not sure if we’ll do the click tight or the normal marathon until we get there and feel them out. At least my tax refund came in time to deal with it this weekend one way or another. 🙂 Good luck!

      • Sorry. Stupid phone. Initially I loved him but they are very wide so if you end up being a second kid it makes the backseat completely unusable for anything else. Also the foam comes out on the ones with extra crash protection on the sides. Oh and the strap covers snapped on two of the three. The manufacturer has replaced them but now the third just broke!

        I love the Clek seat but it’s way crazy pricing here.

        I’ve got a Radian XT and we love it. It is narrower so you could conceivably fit three across and more importantly it is a steel frame so extra safe. We are the land of drunk as well as distracted drivers. Considering how tall the a is I plan to buy another radian him because it is great for tall kids. By the way the MT much prefers the Radian for whatever that is worth!

      • This is such great feedback. There was something about the radian that made me hesitate over it. Let me see if I can find what the red flag was so I can ask you about it. It wasn’t a huge thing. Just something about the headrest or something as I recall.

      • It’s definitely not as cushiony as the Britax seats. Britax used to be so great when it was a UK co. Then it was bought by a US co and still mfd in the US. Now all are made in China. In my opinion the difference in quality shows. Maybe I’m a car seat snob now?

      • I totally appreciate the car seat snobs out there! I’m learning from all of you! And I agree… once things start being manufactured in China, the quality always takes a hit. Britax had a recall of their new line of infant seats just recently because the carrying handle wasn’t strong enough. Total manufacturing fail!

      • Ok, this was my concern. This was part of a review on Lucie’s List: “Being so tall also makes it quite a space hog when rear-facing, so it’s NOT for compact cars or for people who need lots of leg room in the front seat.” I don’t exactly have a compact car (I drive a Scion XB-the shoebox car), but Catch drives a truck and leg room is a battle. Do you find that it causes leg room issues in the front seat?

      • Which one? They’re both bigger seats. Though the Marathon is smaller than the 3 Britax seats we have. Rear facing the Radian did not fit in my old car (B200T, a hatchback) and the Advocate and other Britax (I forget what model the other one is, it’s out on loan right now) are up some passenger leg room. I think rear facing the best one for that is Cleks new model. Does TrU carry that? Some private baby shops here let you try their floor model in your car with their attendance. That’s why I didn’t get a radian for the hatchback.

  2. I went with the Diono…something. It’s the one that comes in the black houndstooth. Anyway I chose it because it rearfaces as long or longer than any seat on the market and it will work until she’s like 120 pounds. Rear facing was important to me so I based my research off of that.

  3. I have also been researching convertibles like a manic! Just ordered the Clek Fllo for our 2013 Nissan Rogue (giving that info because make/model is so important to fit and most people don’t include it in reviews, which makes them way less helpful). I’m a loon about car safety after being in a scary accident a few years back, so went with the Clek, even though it’s one of the most $$, because pretty much everyone agrees it’s one of the safest (and no chemicals in the fabric/padding, bonus). It hasn’t arrived yet, but based on everything I’ve read, I’m pretty confident it will fit despite a tall shell (which is good for extended rear-facing – new recommendations are until 4, geeze!) because it’s very narrow and will fit in the space between the front seats when installed rear-facing in the center (safest) position. I think this might be the case for the Diono Radian as well, but I don’t know. When we (hopefully) have #2 and it has to be moved to the outboard position, he’ll be older and the seat can be at the more upright angle which will hopefully give me enough space in front. Here are some websites that I found very helpful:, and You can also see if your manufacturer has something like this:, which is helpful (although I will point out that the car seat I chose is not on Nissan’s list for our car, but all car seats are designed to be able to get a good installation almost any car, might just take more doing in some than others, like use of pool noodle/rolled towel). Sorry for the monster comment, but I hope my obsession can be helpful to someone else! My husband is not impressed, ha.

    • You are AMAZING. Thank you so much for all of this! I’ve been in 2 accidents in the recent past–one while we were TTC and one while I was pregnant, and I really don’t want to have any regrets when it comes to my kid.

      • You’re so welcome. I tend not to comment on emotion posts because it feels like I don’t know how to be helpful (that probably says a lot about me, hm), but give me a solid issue to tackle and I’m all over it. I really hope that stuff helps you decide!

  4. I reckon I stopped carrying Jude in the capsule at about Christmas time…too heavy! So he’s been in the next size car seat since then and it was literally a combo of the longest allowance for height because he’s tall and the other factor was that it fit in the damn car without the front passenger being squished against the windscreen!!!

  5. Least. Enjoyable. Baby. Gear. Purchase. Ever!

    For exactly the same reasons you’ve blogged about. Most of my other purchases were cut and dried – I did my homework and clear winners emerged. But the car seat was a pain because our stroller only takes a small # of seats and I knew I wasn’t budging on the stroller, so that left me reading and re reading all the reviews which may as well have been written in Greek. The biggest drawback to doing the homework is that I’m pre-kid and pre-car seat so I didn’t always understand why one feature was better than another so I was/am clueless about my preferences and I just winged it ☺️😊.

    Good luck, I’ll be reading to see what you decide!

    I went with the britax bob B safe

  6. Maybe it’s easier to pick one in Australia because I didn’t have an issue picking mine! We have our ‘top brands’ and then the ones that dwindle down. I chose the Britax safe and sound platinum because it was the best of the best. Had the highest safety rating out. Was the most padded. It was apparently the most comfortable for babies (although, to be honest, I wouldn’t have really cared about comfort over safety) and it also did birth to 4 years AND extended rear facing. It is supposed to be great for tall babies (it is!) and it has really great side impact support.
    I love the car seat I have. My only advice to you is to narrow it down, then look at the reviews from there. Everyone is going to have something negative to say about everything so just keep that in mind too. Good luck lovely! Xx

  7. I actually had a phone consult with the Car Seat Lady (who is awesome by the way) and she highly highly highly (yes three highly’s were intentional) recommends the Clek Foonf. It’s pricey but it’s the gold standard for car seats.

  8. Clem is 95th (98th? I forget. Tall, in any case.) percentile for height, formerly in the nineties but now seventies for weight. We had her rear facing in Britax…oh crap, marathon or boulevard (whichever one it isn’t is going to be our next one) until 3. Love the click tight system, no complaints with anything else. Installed (now with bonus infant seat!) in a Corolla.

    • Um, I fail. Need to fact check before posting. It’s the boulevard and our next one is the frontier. Rear facing until almost 4–3y10.5m to be more precise. Would have made it all the way to 4 but snow boots + epic Boston winter interfered.

    • And for the bucket seat we have goes to 35 lbs but we dumb ass new parents didn’t stop to think about what it would be to carry that much weight! Even if we could, my girls are tall too so I think we maybe got to 7 months or so before we changed to one that stays in the car.

  9. We just ordered the Diono Radian RXT. Jes did all the research. There’s no way I’d do that without going crazy. We have a minivan so the space hog issue isn’t a problem for us. It does seem to be a thing though.

  10. Okay, but my mother actually brought home my oldest sister (1967) from the hospital and laid her in a basket on the floor of the car so this is truly hilarious. And accurate.

    (We have the Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat x2 which is roomy and I like it. It converts to a booster up to 65lbs. I’m not going to tell you this is the safest or cheapest because I don’t know. I literally bought the two that would fit in the car since space was limited. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ We’re totally winging it. Tell no one.)

  11. I have little patience for research. I pinned a bunch of blogs, but only glanced. We liked our Chicco infant carrier so stayed brand loyal and got the nextfit on sale. Some parents say certain seats don’t work with their cars, so probably something helpful to Google. Otherwise, I’m sure you won’t go wrong with a seat with good reviews.

  12. We bought the Diono Rainier (like the Radian but a little wider I think). Key factors for us were Extended Rear Facing, steel frame, decent side wings. It was a mission wading through the info but luckily my Mum is super interested in stuff like this and did all the research into what was important and then what seats we should choose from. She sent me spreadsheets of pros and cons, links to YouTube videos etc. she also rang all around places and got us a great discount by ordering 3! One for us, one for their car and one for my SIL who she convinced to turn their 3yr old round by sending some of the crash test videos and images of the kids incomplete vertebrae! Yay for Mums!

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