So I found would I thought would be a great deal on the Sam's Club website: a convertible carseat that normally sells for $159 selling for $95, shipping included. I read the reviews, most seemed good, so I made the purchase. The seat is a Safety First Alpha Omega Elite.
I thought it would be great to use for AJ. It had a girly, plaid design and fit from 5-100lbs, rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seat. I bought it, it came in the mail and it was adorable. But, I decided that before I had it too many days I should try installing it in the car. See, a couple reviews said they couldn't sit it in their car. Honestly, I didn't think this would be an issue. I mean, I drive a mini-van. Everything fits in a mini-van, right?
Ugh, apparently not! I'm pretty good with the whole carseat installation thing. So, its not like it was the person who has never seen one trying to put it in.
I read the directions carefully before beginning and then headed to the car for the install. I got in okay, but it surely wasn't leveled. When I leveled it, I either had to push the front passenger seat WAY up, so that no one would be able to use it, or I had to lay the seat down, nearly horizontal. That would have made the third row unusable. I even tried removing the base, which is recommended for "narrow" vehicles.
I showed it to my husband to see his reaction, and he agreed that it wasn't a good choice. So, sadly, I boxed it back up and headed to Sam's to get my full refund.
We've decided to put Mogi in our "extra" seat and use his for AJ. The extra is a Cosco Scenera. functional, just with zero butt padding, so we'll need to find a way to soften it up if he'll be in the car for any time. It's likely that at his current rate and growth curve, he'll outgrow the 40lb weigt limit on the Scenera by his second birthday. Unless we have to make a change before then, I guess we'll buy a belt-positioning booster for him, which are a lot cheaper anyway.
You may wonder why I don't use the Scenera for AJ since butt padding isn't an issue a 10 lb newborn needs. That would lead me to why the is no longer Scenera our primary seat. It has high sides, as opposed to our Eddie Bauer Deluxe Convertible Carseat. The Scenera was very difficult to get a sleeping infant our of without waking them.
We never made the investment in an infant car seat. And no knowing if there will be other infants after AJ to use it, I'm not sure its a good investment at this point either... The idea of spending the same amount of money on something that only rear-faces up to (maybe) 35 lbs versus something that has three stages and lasts up to 80lbs is hard for me to agree to. And having back problems, not having the removable seat means I can't take it out and lug it around, which is a good thing for me.
Any thoughts on a great carseat? Have one to share about that's within a smaller budget, say less than $150. What kind of car do you drive?
Just a random last minute thought, but... We've committed to keeping kids rear-facing as long as we can given the seat's weight limit. Lots of kids get turned around at 22lbs, which although legal, isn't in anyones best interest. Maybe kids get turned around too soon because the covertible seats are just too big to fit well in cars? Any thoughts? Comments?