Thursday, July 05, 2007

Safe & Secure

Did you know car seats expire? I think I'd heard about them only having a lifespan of 6 years or so...but, as in most things, figured it was a marketing ploy to get me to buy the "new & improved" version of what I already owned.

Enter a quest to find a seat for Kai so his back wouldn't hurt 5 minutes into every ride. I found a message board on a car seat website called and with it, a wealth of info all about car seat safety, including these links to info about expired seats:
That's the crash test footage of a 10 year old Britax seat...harnessed ripped right through the back, ejecting the dummy.

My car seats were 11 years old--I got them from friends, so I knew their history--NEVER buy a used seat from someone you don't know personally! So time to go shopping....after tons of great advice from the Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) on the carseatdata forum and LOTS of time doing research here's what we ended up with:

This is Kai's Cosco Scenera. I also learned that having your toddler sit rear-facing for as long as possible adds loads to the safety factor...and this seat can be rear-facing until kiddo is 35 pounds! Kai thinks it's rather novel and I think the recline it gives is helping w/his back complaints. He has 5 more pounds or 3 more inches to grow before he has to face forward.

Here is Elena's posh new ride. It's a Cosco Alpha Elite Apex covered with a fab suede-like fabric and ever-so cushy. This seat allows use of the 5-point harness until 65 pounds! It can also function as a booster seat with the regular seat belt. When she is 5 or 6 and ready for a booster, we will just purchase a regular dedicated high-back booster and move Kai into this seat with the harness.

I'm so thankful for the advice I received while's really overwhelming with all the choices available...and I didn't want to skimp on safety even while keeping to a moderate budget. I was truly amazed by all the safety are a few things to keep in mind:
  1. Keep your kids rear-facing until the MAX weight limit of the seat
  2. Keep your kids in a 5-point harness as long as possible...usually until they outgrow the weight limit of the harness. Only switch to the seat belt if they can sit with it correctly the ENTIRE ride (i.e. no strap behind the shoulder etc.).
  3. Infant seats typically have a lifespan of just 6 years, convertible seats 6-8 years depending on brand. Look on the bottom of the seat for your expiration date or call the manufacturer.
  4. The right car seat for you is the one that fits your car, your child and your budget!
If you'd like detailed info on these or other car seat topics, visit this link on CPST Tiffany Brown's website, Sacred Journeys: Selecting & Using Safety Seats

Keep those kiddos safe!


Rustin S said...

Nice work, Resa! Although you sound like an Enneagram '5' in this post!

Resa said...

Well, 5 & 3 are my #2 & 3 types...believe me, my fiveness was on strong that week!

Rustin S said...

"5" is in my top three as well. I find that I research things to death whenever I have to make a big decision - a significant purchase or change. A good "5" is who you always want to call when you're buying something that they've bought because they probably already know all there is to know about it.