The Sexiest Post EVER! Car Seats!

I have the worst headache. It might be from my allergies acting up, but more likely, it’s from the fact that Delilah is FINALLY big enough for a convertible car seat and the things you are forced to care about as a parent when selecting a car seat for your precious cargo are enough to make your brain want to take a vacation.

Things beyond just simple safety and durability.  Things like…the weight limit to expiration date tangential.  No, seriously.

See, because if you go with the king of all car seats, the Britax Boulevard, you’re investing in a car seat that will hold your kid up to 70 lbs.  Only, as illustrated above, the joke is on you, because the average kid won’t see 70 lbs until they’re 10 years old.

But Morgan, that’s seven years of solid car seat usage!!! (You might be thinking.)

Ahhh, but there’s a catch.  Aside from the fact that in the great state of California where I reside children are only required to be in a car sear until the age of eight, the Boulevard will expire in just six years.  If your kid isn’t freakishly small like mine and you bought your convertible car seat at age 1 or so, then you may well find yourself having to purchase that same kid a SECOND car seat.  ?!?!.  Oh, and if you were dreaming you’d squeeze the “booster” end of baby #2′s car seat years out of that investment, well boy oh boy do you have egg on your face.

It all began when my parents and I, in attempting to clean up the pristine Britax Marathon that belonged to my niece, cracked the previously perfect styrofoam, and my Mom called Britax in an attempt to replace the damaged piece.

“Oh, no!!!”  the Britax Help-Line operator gasped – “That car seat is expired!”

Well, cue the Grandma hazard alarms.  It wasn’t that I hadn’t heard about car seat expiration dates, and it wasn’t that I am a bad Mom who didn’t care about her child’s safety.  It was just that, I figured that a car seat my niece had been sitting in three weeks earlier was going to be kosher for Delilah, too.  And then suddenly, I was not so sure.

I needed to know what the EF was up with this car seat expiration date business, STAT.  So obviously, I asked Twitter.  I hoped they would confirm my suspicions that it was an evil marketing ploy by the evil car seat making companies (because, obviously anyone who devotes their time to protecting children is straight EVIL, right?)

[I made a Storify story for you to help me break it down. It might take a second to load.]

So I called the California Highway Patrol.  And after trying like ten different locations to find a Public Information Officer who was available to speak with me, I finally got to ask my question.  “Do I have to buy a new car seat since this one is six years old?”

She literally laughed.  She basically said the same thing about car seats not being like produce that the guy from Evenflo said, but she was laughing, and saying it in an “I would not throw it away, but I can’t legally tell you not to do it” way.

Which honestly, has left me kind of confused.  The expert opinions point more to “use it” than the Mom ones, but I’m still leaning towards “let’s just get a new car seat and be down with it before the girl actually DOES outgrow this thing.”

And then there’s the issue of the vast price difference between car seats when there is a basic PASS/FAIL issued on child restraints from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and no additional information made available to consumers unless the individual manufacturers choose to release it themselves (which it appears, only Recaro does: in the box with the seat — other manufacturers simply seem to site: “meets or exceeds requirements”).

I don’t know about you, but here’s me:

{No, I’m not Wonder Woman, I just couldn’t find a good picture of a head spinning so this is the next best thing.}

Somebody, please…just tell me unequivocally which car seat is the safest so I can slap my kiddo in it and cart her around in peace.

[for your reference, here's a link to the American Academy of Pediatrics official recommendation: AAP]

Feed Me Seymour

8 Responses to The Sexiest Post EVER! Car Seats!

  1. SarahLudwig says:

    Mommy’s trying to figure out car seat issues now – Baby Lulu will need a convertible car seat soon… should we get her a new one? Should she use the one I’m using now? And then do I get a new convertible or a 5 point harness booster? At 2 1/2, I’m still rear-facing in the outboard position – should I switch to forward facing in the middle seat? Sigh.

  2. TheNextMartha says:

    My kid is 9 and over 5 ft tall and weighs 100 lbs.  I can tell you without a doubt that he would NOT fit in one of those carseats that are “up to 120″  no way.  He’s actually too big for a booster now too so we use the seat belt.  My younger son uses the same booster as my older son did.  

  3. kimtracyprince says:

    IMO you can’t go wrong with a Britax.  As one of my mom friends once said “Why *wouldn’t* you spend as much as you can afford to make your kid safe?”  (But I got mine as product promotions, so I kinda cheated.)  Having said that, I also did not know there were expiration dates on car seats.  I was all “WTF” when I read that in your post.  Huh.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Oh my goodness, things are so much more complicated now – though I guess that’s part and parcel with awareness. We used a plasticky Evenflo or something all those years ago, it was pretty rickety, but we didn’t think anything of it. TIL, right?

  5. Dude — how did you make a post about car seats funny?  How did you do that?  I used to have a crush on Wonder Woman when I was eight and didn’t know I was straight.  BUt I’m realizing now that she has a flat tookas.  Where is her tookas?  

  6. Catalina says:

    I remember how much confusion the “and” part of the height/weight requirement caused when it was first implemented many moons ago. My eldest was out of a car seat a lot sooner than most b/c he was(js) taller than average. My youngest sat in a car seat the longest b/c he was a tad shorter than average. Maybe they don’t make car seats the way they used to, but I used the same one for at least two of my kids w/o it falling apart or expiring. lol! Sorry, that expiration date just seems so weird & foreign to me. Good luck!!

  7. Caryn B says:

    I would think that if the car seat has never been in an accident or suffered any damage and is installed properly it’s ok???  But for how long?  I have no idea?????

  8. ReneeB3 says:

    I was just contemplating this very idea today because my daughter’s infant car seat turned 4 with her. It has two more years before the fatal expiration. To get rid of it or not if a new kid is on the horizon is the question. I liked the fact that you tried to get answers. However, I’m still left with the same question because the answers are just as confusing even after reading them. Thanks though!

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