News and Views from the Oshika Gang

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Big Girl Carseat May 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — oshikagang @ 6:10 pm

So you might remember, some time ago, when we bought an infant car seat and it didn’t fit in the new car. We ended up taking it back and buying a smaller but more expensive one that was a better fit. Well, it was a great little car seat, but unfortunately… ‘little’ was the operative word. The car seat we ended up with had smaller length and weight limits than others, and our little muffin is not so little anymore. In fact, she’s grown out of it by more than an inch! So it was time for a big girl carseat.

As you could probably predict, I researched and hummed and hawed and googled and reviewed for, well, a long time. Johnny says I am a baby stuff ‘gearhead’. It came down to two: the cheaper one that seemed ok, or the one that has excellent reviews and reputation – but is twice the price.

Car seats are evaluated by putting them through a series of tests. If they pass, they get certification to be used in Canada. (Our tests are actually more stringent than US tests, so US car seats are illegal to be used in Canada.) So basically, if you find a car seat in the store with the Canadian sticker on it – and it’s illegal to sell ones that aren’t certified – then it’s passed the testing. There is no gradient for safety in these seats – it’s not like car seat 1 got 83% safe and car seat 2 got 68% safe. When it comes down to it, the number one biggest factor in Aili’s safety in my car is my driving. The second biggest factor is the design and construction of the car itself. The car seat – while important – is a far and distant third in keeping her safe in case of an accident.

Sooooo…. I bought the cheap one. It looked soft and comfortable. It reclined and converted and even had an infant headrest. What more could I want? I told myself that the extra $ was due to reputation and that I didn’t want to pay for that. So welcome Evenflo Triumph Advance LX.

Installation day!

Hm. It seemed to be harder to install than we expected.
Let’s get the neighbours involved. They know all about car seat installation!

Leo says “I would love to help but I don’t have any thumbs.”

Annabelle says “Look at the crazy things you parents do for us kids!”

It seemed REALLY tough to get it securely installed; there was a lot of play in the tightness of the straps.

And the mechanism for tightening and loosening the straps that go around Aili is strangely jammed into the seat of the car, making it very difficult to manoeuver.

A good test: let’s put the kid in, and see what happens. Johnny went to wake her up (yes, it was 9.30am and she was still sleeping. Angel baby indeed.) and we dumped her in.

She seems to like it. But then, she’s not really the complaining type.

But when it came down to it, I didn’t feel comfortable with this. It just felt wrong. I wanted to be sure it was snug, and safe, and convenient to use as she’ll be in and out of that thing every day for the next several years!

So….. we went to Baby’s World, ‘just to see’ what the other one would be like. A helpful lady showed us how to install two different ones (both of which fit in the car, amazingly). And it turns out that you really do get what you pay for. The more expensive one has so many small features that are extremely well thought out. The LATCH attachments are easy to do. Installation was a breeze, and took 3 minutes. Velcro holds the straps out of the way when you put the kid in, and the tightening mechanism is easy and intuitive. This new car seat will also last her until she’s 65 lbs (which at this rate could be as early as next month).

Goodbye el cheapo carseat. Hellooooo expensive carseat with a good – but earned – reputation.

In truth, Johnny didn’t really get too involved with this decision. He’s not the high-anxiety type, and he trusts my decisions with respect to this sort of thing. He and Aili preferred to play at Baby’s World, and leave all the car seat fretting to me.

So the moral of the story is: sometimes – not always, but sometimes – you really do get what you pay for.
For those who are interested:
– The infant seat that didn’t fit in our car was a Graco SnugRide. I later rented one of these in Phoenix, and didn’t like using it. I found it a bit plasticky, but more importantly, I found that the recline wasn’t enough so when Aili fell asleep her head would flop forward in a really uncomfortable-looking way.
– The infant seat that did fit, and that I now appreciate immensely: Peg Perego Primo Viaggio. Peg Perego products are more expensive, but we have been extremely satisfied with the ones we own. They’re well thought-out, well designed, and well built. If you’re in the market for an infant car seat I recommend you shell out the extra cash and go for the Peg Perego SIP (Side-Impact-Protection) model. Not for the impact protection so much, but rather because it has higher weight and height limits which will allow you to use it much longer.
– The convertible car seat that we struggled with and returned was an Evenflo Triumph Advance LX. It gets fairly good reviews online, but installation was challenging and the strap tightening mechanism was a pain in the neck.
– The convertible car seat we ended up with is a Britax Marathon.


The rest of the weekend was lovely too. Aili got to meet some new people.
For example, Barry, one of Johnny’s business partners. Barry is a sweet gentle giant – – but I guess Aili didn’t see it that way:

But by the end of our visit she was ok to have a quick cuddle with Nadine:

We also met baby Andrew, who joined the world in March. Welcome Andrew!
(He seems so tiny. Was Aili ever that small? Oh, right, just 4 months ago….)

Tissue paper continues to delight. These pictures amuse me, as they somehow seem like abstract baby art:

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and it was WONDERFUL. I went with my dear friends Tracy and Shelley (Congrats, Shells) to the US to go shopping. I bought some clothes that fit (NON maternity, can you believe it?) and some shoes that didn’t pinch my feet. Hooray for wonderful girlfriends!

Hooray also for loving fathers. Johnny and Aili spent all day together while I was out gallivanting. We ended the day with a lovely meal with his parents. It was a great weekend.

Peekin’ around the corner…

… and a smile when she finds her Mommy.


2 Responses to “Big Girl Carseat”

  1. Carrie Says:

    Angie, you should have just asked me when you were doing the whole carseat research thing! I went through all of that last fall and went with the Britax Marathon 🙂 Expensive, yes, but it’s been a fabulous carseat. Of course, lucky me I’ll have to buy another one eventually (can’t have mis-matchng carseats now can we??

  2. Stephenie Says:

    Funny, my friend had the exact same experience as you, and returned her first car seat and went for the Britax – we just went straight for Britax when we heard this, glad we did now!

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