The Infant Car Seat

07Jul08

Okay, this is the first product-related post, so I’ll tell you what to expect here in general. I am not going to do competitive reviews or discuss with you the merits of several models when I discuss purchase decisions. I’ll just tell you what I picked, the top three reasons why, and maybe throw a few tips in. And I’ll follow up with a separate post if something goes wrong with the product. Believe me, I’ll have done the research – I use Consumer Reports and Baby Bargains, word-of-mouth, and a fully functioning forebrain. If you want more detail, access those resources yourself – I bet most of the time you’ll come to the same conclusions that I do. If not, you are either living a very different lifestyle or you just aren’t as smart as me.

For those of you just joining us, that was a joke. Anyway, car seats.

The car seat is your first window into the culture of fear that the industry creates around raising children. I don’t blame the industry; it’s a good way to make money.

I know I don’t want my kid to die or to be fat or stupid. That pretty much sums up all the marketing from the baby companies. If you don’t buy their product, one of those things will happen. Obviously it’s not true, but it’s likely someone in your family will buy in, and you need to select things that answer that without breaking the bank unnecessarily. Guess what? Every car seat on the US market is safe.

Chicco Keyfit

The Chicco Keyfit was my choice because:

  1. It’s the easiest to load in the car and know when it’s locked. There’s a loud click and a one-button release that at the store was simpler to use than the rest of them.
  2. It’s known as very easy to fit into a wide variety of cars. My friend told me that it was the only one that would fit easily into his little BMW and it was indeed easy to pop into our 4Runner.
  3. It fits a variety of universal seat carriers. What are those? The things you pop the car seat onto to push around in the first 6 months, since most strollers don’t allow you to put the bugger in there until after then. You do NOT need to buy the full Chicco system or any other manufacturer’s system. I was told by the very knowledgeable guy at BuyBuyBaby that those “systems” are just packaged like that to make it easier for people to pick things off the shelf in big box retail stores – and you end up spending more on each component than necessary.  Update 8/23/08:  The downside on the Kolcraft carrier we bought is that it’s a bit too short for my 6’3″ stride, although my 5’2″ wife is fine with it.   I have to walk next to it instead of behind it so I won’t step on it or look like I have a limp.  That’s fine since I’m usually walking the dog at the same time.  But if you’re over six feet, you might want to test-walk these.  Sorry I didn’t get that part right the first time.

Once it comes time to install this thing in month 8, you will be horrified by how difficult people make it seem. Although you’d think you were smart for knowing car seats use latches to install, you are actually stupid because the system is called LATCH, which stands for Despite Your College Degree You Aren’t Smart Enough To Understand How To Buckle Something. Oh wait, it might not stand for that. But it seems like that.

The information at http://www.car-seat.org on best vehicle fits and positions for the seat is totally comprehensive, although the scary people on the forums will certainly remind you at every opportunity that unless an accredited professional has checked your car seat, your child will probably die. Again, although I doubted this and it took about 2 minutes to install mine, I worriedly pored over the instructions a third and fourth time and scheduled an appointment with our local police officer in charge of inspecting car seat installations. I hear the man is “passionate.” Should be fun.

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13 Responses to “The Infant Car Seat”

  1. 2 conductingmasterclass

    There was concern about chemical smell, did you have this problem?
    The amazon reviewer talks about his problem with the chemical smell.

  2. 3 blakely

    Mine has a chemical smell coming from the car seat cover after 3 months of use. Washed it, but it is still there. I plan on calling Chicco soon. Most likely from the fire retardant.

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