I've been pretty amazed at how much information I have learned this past year as a parent re learning the whole car seat thing. For anyone who can't make sense of that, it's probably because for one, you may yet to be a parent yet or may not have experience with anybody elses' child in a child car seat. But, for two, you're probably and yes, I am assuming, a new parent with a little itty bitty baby in a little pumpkin seat. For we parents, we seem to know at least one thing even if we are new at this parent and baby in a car seat thing. It's usually something in our head to the effect of, "Hmm, I guess I got it right but this little wobble doesn't seem like I expected but I guess it is. Yeah I guess it is." This saying of rhetoric in my head would resurface from time to time when I would click my baby's infant carrier into its' buckled in base. I have to tell you. I don't think I have ever truly mastered the super snug "not going anywhere" feeling of infant carseats with the base that easily clicks into place. I have had 3 daughters who are now, ages 9, 4, and 2, and for a year or less they have all had infant car seats that I just previously described. Now, I am still not an expert on these types of car seats, but since my husband and I have decided to limit our family and our 2 bedroom apartment to our 3 beautiful girls, I likely may never experience this type of car seat again. But, if you're like I was, and you have that feeling of unease about your infant carrier car seat, I reccomend you go over to carseat.org where lovely people will help you figure out if that wobble is an unfortunate product of the particular seat you have purchased, or the result of not exerting enough force onto the car seat or base while pulling your locking seat belts tight enough. They will answer your questions such as, what type of seat belts does my car have, if you need to use a locking clip with your seatbelt, what ratings your carseat has, how to properly install it so it does not wobble or tip, etc. Bottom line: They are super helpful, and you will find they are super obsessed with your child's safety on the road.
Aside from talking about infant seats, (after all, all my children are passed that stage in car seats), I'd like to talk a little bit about a great new child car seat that goes well beyond the infant stage. It's the new "Diono" line of car seats. Now, before I go into the great specs about this car seat, let me give you a little history of how many carseats I have typically owned per child.
With my first, although it was pretty simple, I had a whinnie the pooh evenflo or graco infant carrier which goes up to 22 lbs., then a cosco high back combination booster w/ harness, then a graco turbo booster. That's 3 seats for one kid up to the age of about (8 years old =per the new 2011 reccomendation of a height of 4'8 or less to be deemed a child appropriate for a booster seat.) Now, to be honest, I let my daughter stop using a booster when she was 5 years old, even though, in hindsight, she still needed a booster for at least 2-3 more years. My second daughter born 5 years her junior, had an evenflo (cotton candy color) infant seat, a cosco touriva rear/ forward facing convertible, a britax regent, a graco nautilus for grandma's van, and a harmony literider backless booster for emergencies. My 3rd and last daughter had a graco snugride infant carrier, a handed down cosco touriva, a cosco scenera for grandma's van, and finally a first years true fit car seat. I just have to say that while I have a reason to have 2 seats per child, one for my van, one for my mom's van, that is only 2 extra seats for my convience. There's still at the least 3 seats that you have to buy from the time your child is a newborn to age 8 and 4'9 inches tall.
Now, here's the good part. It doesn't have to be that way. I'm excited to say that the Diono line of car seats is most likely the only car seat you will ever need to buy, and it comes with more to be desired. It will be your infant seat if you are willing to leave the idea of an infant carrier car seat behind. It will rear face up to 40 or 45 pounds (depending upon which model #) which is safer for babies and toddlers. It has a high shell with top slots up to 17.5'' meaning your child could be better protected in a roll over crash since they would be in a racer style 5 pt. harness up until they are at least 5 years old, possibly 6-9 years old, maybe more. (It all depends on your child's height. My kids are generally in the 100th percentile for height so I'm guessing it would last them until they are 5/6 years old.) After they outgrow the harness at 65 or 80 pounds (depending on which model), it turns into a booster seat up until 100 or 120 pounds (again, depending upon which model). To me, this is all pretty exciting stuff. But, honestly, what excites me more, is that the seat is narrow and wouldn't crowd my other 2 children in a 3 across situation when we would be using my husband's volvo. With the money I've spent on other wider space hogging car seats, that is protection that I've conceded not to have in the situation that all my kids need to sit right next to each other in a 5 passenger sedan type of car. This greatly bothers me. In my opinion, I feel safer with my 4 year old not riding in a backless booster but I do it sparingly since it is only 14'' across and it is the only seat I can fit in my hubby's volvo. If I had bought Diono's predecessor, a car seat, named the Radian which is similar in it's girth, all my pretty kids would be sitting pretty no matter what family car we needed to drive. And, this is precisely why Diono and the Radian are so great. However, the Diono didn't just stop at great. It knew that for the bigger kids in its' seat, it just might need to expand it's back of the seat out a bit wider, especially if space is available in your family vehicle. Of course, if not, don't worry about it. Your big kids can squeeze in for the ride in the littler car if needed. Now, that's great innovation in the making of a car seat and why I am so excited about this car seat, not to mention it also now turns into a booster if you'd like to use it as a booster. And the price point: it retails for about $300. Now, this is a good reason to skip all the other baby car seats (In Under 30 mph crashes many -Not All- infant carriers unsnap from their bases.) and get this one! It rear faces. It installs, just as other convertable car seats do, very tight, and it will truly last you the 9 years it is good for. It does expire after 9 years; Car seats generally expire after 6 years and all car seats expire at some arbitrary date to help ensure no parts of the carseat are being used with major degradation. (For example, a 10 year old car seat that has been used all of those 10 years in someone's car has been exposed to cold and hot conditions which degrades plastic componants, belts, etc.) The diono carseat, while it still has a 9 year expiration date to better help ensure no other degradation and pristene parts, is made out of some heavy steel! How's that for safety?! I think it's awesome.
What's even more awesome is your chance to win one.
If you'd like to enter to win A Diono's Radian RXT visit KerriEllen @Her button's on the bottom of my page!
Deadline is November 28, 2011