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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 4 1/2 month old who is getting too big for his carseat/carrier (came with stroller/carseat combo).

What carseat do you recommend? Some have said the Britax roundabout. I agree that this will work, but would like to take advantage of the seat anchors on the '02 Odyssey. Also concerned about cost ($200).

Thanks for you input.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Wahorn:
I have a 4 1/2 month old who is getting too big for his carseat/carrier (came with stroller/carseat combo).

What carseat do you recommend? Some have said the Britax roundabout. I agree that this will work, but would like to take advantage of the seat anchors on the '02 Odyssey. Also concerned about cost ($200).

Thanks for you input.
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Your only real options at this point for a LATCH convertible carseat are the Cosco Triad (Kmart or bluelight.com) or a Century model like the Accel combined with their EZ LATCH kit. More models should be available within a year, when it is required by law. Be sure to try any model you choose at the store if you can, or make sure you have a good return policy in case it doesn't fit. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Does anyone have the Cosco Triad or the Accel Century model? How safe are they? I noticed that the Cosco Triad costs about $79. Why is it so much cheaper that the roundabout ($200)? Cheaper is good, but I don't want to sacrifice safety.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Wahorn:
Does anyone have the Cosco Triad or the Accel Century model? How safe are they? I noticed that the Cosco Triad costs about $79. Why is it so much cheaper that the roundabout ($200)? Cheaper is good, but I don't want to sacrifice safety.

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All carseats meet or exceed current federal standards. There is probably not a significant difference of injury in a frontal crash from one model to another. Paying more will usually get you more features. The Roundabout offers EPS foam around the head for side impact protection, a versa tether which can also be used rear-facing and built-in lockoffs which replace tedious locking clips in some cars. It also has an easier to use harness adjuster than the Triad, and nice velcro to keep straps out of the way. The Triad has the advantage that it goes to 35 pounds rear-facing, while the Roundabout goes to 30. The Triad has a nicer cover and convenient storage nets, too. In our 2001 Odyssey, the Roundabout is a better fit rear-facing. They fit equally well front-facing, but the Triad with LATCH is a much easier install with the exception of adjusting the tether length.

I prefer the Roundabout overall, but mostly based on features and not safety. Keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible and making sure the carseat is installed and used properly will affect safety far, far more than the choice of one model over another (assuming both fit the vehicle and child properly in the first place). Here are my reviews on the Roundabout and Triad, and a link to more information on carseats including a buying guide about features:
http://www.epinions.com/content_21325909636
http://www.epinions.com/content_21310377604
http://www.car-safety.org/
 

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caviller - luckily, we no longer need rear facing seats. But even with the much higher weight capacities on some of today's rear facing seats, isn't there still the issue of child length?

For instance, a parent at school kept their child in the rear facing seat past one year old because of the weight limit (22 lbs.) even though the child's feet were clearly overhanging the end of the seat and her knees were bent. In an accident, couldn't her legs be hurt?
 

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The short answer is yes, and no. It is true that you can outgrow a rear-facing infant or convertible seat by height before weight. This is usually limited to the tallest percentile of children. According to the current 4-day training, leg-length is NOT a safety issue, and is not used to evaluate if a seat is outgrown. The height limitation for a rear-facing seat is when the top of the head is within one inch of the top of the shell of the carseat.

Apparently, the leg-length advice is based on some out-of-date literature and was often spread by pediatricians. Also, some instruction manuals mention it, but apparently for no valid reason. Even if leg length was a safety concern, it should be noted that the leg injuries are far less serious than the head, neck and spine injuries typical of a frontal crash where the head of a child in a front-facing carseat can be thrown forward violently. It's great that the 1 year AND 20 pound "rule" has spread, but few documents emphasize that it is still safest to go beyond that. Countries like Sweden keep their children rear facing to 3 or 4 years, and their death rates are virtually zero. Rear-facing seats in Australia are often called orphan-makers, as the children in them can survive crashes which are not survivable for adult passengers in front...

While leg length should never be a reason to turn your child forward before the minimum guidance of 1 year AND 20 pounds, it might be a reason to turn an older child front-facing before they reach the 30 or 35 pound limit of a rear facing convertible. One could imagine a child constantly kicking the seat and bouncing the carseat, possible making the installation looser or just being a nuisance. The decision to turn in this case would be a "tough choice" for a parent, with no recommendation based on "best practice". I plan to leave our daugther RF until 30 pounds, as she is only 50-60th percentile in height.


Here's an article on the issue written by an expert in carseat crash testing:
http://www.parentsplace.com/babies/safety/gen/0,8728,263876,00.html
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Caviller.

Do you know when others (manufacturers) are coming out with LATCH seats? Is Britax working on one soon? I'm guessing we have about 1 1/2 months 'till we need to get one.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Wahorn:
Thanks Caviller.

Do you know when others (manufacturers) are coming out with LATCH seats? Is Britax working on one soon? I'm guessing we have about 1 1/2 months 'till we need to get one.
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Unfortunately, you won't see a flood of new models until close to a year from now. Retailers have limited shelf space, and are reluctant to buy models that will have a higher retail price, thus sending consumers next door to buy the cheaper ones without LATCH. At least one major retailer was burned by this when tethers made a resurgence a couple years ago. So, until required by law in 9/2002, new models will be a trickle.


I do know that Evenflo was claiming their new Triumph model would be on the market by fall, with LATCH by the end of the year. Evenflo and Graco also promised LATCH retrofit kits for some of their recent models by the end of this year. Britax does have a forward-facing LATCH seat, the Expressway. Simpson Racing is supposed to have a combination seat this year, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Caviller,
You sound really inclined on this matter. What do you recommend me to do? Buy roundabout or Triad or wait....
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Wahorn:
Caviller,
You sound really inclined on this matter. What do you recommend me to do? Buy roundabout or Triad or wait....
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Actually, technicians are trained not to be biased toward or against specific products in general. In this case, both are safe seats with advantages and disadvantages, including some I've listed. It really comes down to personal preference. Does the higher rear facing weight limit, LATCH and nicer fabric make the Triad a better buy at 1/3 the price? Or does the superior tether, easier harness adjustment and added side impact protection of the EPS foam make the pricier Britax the one to buy? Unfortunately, I can't answer that for you. For me, the Britax is preferable in our Odyssey rear-facing, but front facing I think the Triad is just as good for much less. Overall, it's a draw :) Sorry I couldn't help you make the decision any easier...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Caviller-
I just read your post under topic "LATCH Car seats" you made back in Feb 2001. You mentioned that Britax was coming out with a LATCH version in late spring. Is this out or do you know when it will be out?
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Wahorn:
Caviller-
I just read your post under topic "LATCH Car seats" you made back in Feb 2001. You mentioned that Britax was coming out with a LATCH version in late spring. Is this out or do you know when it will be out?
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Their Expressway is on the market. Their claims about the LATCH Roundabout slipped and slipped and now they won't say. I'm sure they'll have a LATCH convertible by next year since it is required by law. Other than that, I have no speculation since they will no longer even give estimates in response to email or phone calls.
 

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Another car seat that has the LATCH setup is the Fisher Price Safe Embrace III, but it costs about $150. It received very high marks from Consumer Reports. I have a Safe Embrace II in my 2000 Ody (no LATCH), and my daughter loves it. It can handle up to 30 pounds rear-facing and I think up to 40 (or 60?) pounds forward. It has extra foam on the sides under the fabric that absorbs energy in case of an impact, and I was able to get it installed with no movement whatsoever. The tether strap is also very easy to install, unlike the one for the Cosco Eddie Bauer that I have in my other vehicle.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Walt43:
Another car seat that has the LATCH setup is the Fisher Price Safe Embrace</font>
An excellent carseat, but it is discontinued, and that is why I didn't mention it. If you can find one on shelves, it is worth strong consideration.
 

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Hi All,
This might be slightly off-topic, but does anyone have experience with the Recaro Child Seat? I see it at Bergstroms and on the 'net, but don't know of anyone who has used one. It seems like a very nice seat, however, I'm more concerned about its safety ratings. It costs quite a bit, but then I think that if my daughter is safer and more comfortable sitting in it...

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by kyleluong:
Hi All,
This might be slightly off-topic, but does anyone have experience with the Recaro Child Seat? I see it at Bergstroms and on the 'net, but don't know of anyone who has used one. It seems like a very nice seat, however, I'm more concerned about its safety ratings. It costs quite a bit, but then I think that if my daughter is safer and more comfortable sitting in it...

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I am not familiar with this model. If it is sold in the USA and has a sticker indicating that it meeds federal requirements, then it should be safe provided that it fits your vehicle and is used properly. For more information, you may wish to the carseat forum at http://www.car-seat.org . Someone there may have a better answer for you.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If it is sold in the USA and has a sticker indicating that it meeds federal requirements, then it should be safe provided that it fits your vehicle and is used properly.</font>
I know you have to be a disinterested party, but I dread having people rely on "federal standards".

Just because the feds say it's safe, doesn't make it so. One must use one's own judgment, period. Blind adherence to the credo of "if the government says it's safe, it must be safe" will lead only to heartache.

The feds don't operate in your best interests. The people making those decisions and judgments are operating at best on the principle of compromise. All sorts of people are lobbying for something, and a "federal standard" is usually a compromise of what puts most in whose pocket while not ticking off the voters enough to get them to notice.

I'd quit my job if it meant that I had to retreat to telling people "well, the feds say that's all you need, therefore that's all you need".
 

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Actually, I am a very interested party. Yes, standardized testing does have flaws, whether it is the government or Consumer Reports or whoever. The biggest issue is that while the tests are readily comparable, they are performed on a flat bench seat typical of an early 70's sedan. Fit can vary so greatly, that some results may not be meaningful in different cars as installed by different consumers. Using your best judgement can also be a problem, since many people make bad judgements. Some figure price is an indicator of safety, others will decide that if the fabric looks nice the rest must be good, too. I doubt the typical consumer can judge how a carseat will perform in a crash just by appearance alone, though you can certainly judge which features might make it more likely you will have a good fit every time you use the carseat.

The relevant standards of FMVSS 213 are here:
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/get-cfr.cgi?TITLE=49&PART=571&SEC TION=213&YEAR=2000&TYPE=TEXT

You can find FMVSS 225 at the same site.


Fortunately, the government does not make their results from crash test verification easy to find, and they merely quantify pass/fail thresholds that the manufacturers must meet. Even if you're an extreme cynic, the good thing about the government standards is that they are updated and become ever more strict in reducing the levels of head/knee excursion, Chest decceleration and Head Injury Criterion. My judgement is that today's carseats and vehicles are safer than those from 20 years ago, and the federal standards are largely responsible. Sometimes judgement and regulations aren't completely independent. I did not mean to imply that all carseats passing the government's regulations are created equal, but rather that consumers should be wary of those that fail to meet these regulations. Not only may they be less safe, they may also be illegal.

Of course, there are always exceptions. Shield boosters meet current federal regulations and crash test criteria, but they are widely suspected of being the cause of various injuries. (See http://www.charlotte.com/observer/local/pub/carseat0909.htm ).

[This message has been edited by caviller (edited 09-10-2001).]
 
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