Saturday, August 1, 2009

The car seat gods are laughing at me....

Adrian was a huge baby/toddler. I had learned that it was safest to rear face to the max of the car seat before he was even born and that's what I planned to do. Well, when I realized he was fast approaching the height AND weight limit if his britax marathon at only 16 months, I panicked (yes his head was actually only a couple of inches from the top of the seat). I bought him a britax regent. Now, I love the seat, and even at 16 months he fit great, but he was way too young to forward face. Of course I knew that but I was unaware of my options. Even an $80 intera would have done the trick. I found that out when he was 2 1/2 after I already was letting him ride rear facing in the EFTA I bought for Charlie. He was able to rear face on and off until he was about 3. But still, I never got over the guilt of turning him early.

So, I was blessed with Charlie, who could probably rear face to age 5 or 6 with today's current options. She's lightweight, not nearly as tall as Adrian was, and of course, the seats out now are bigger. I figure now's my chance to make up for what I did wrong with Adrian. LOL

We've had a hell of a time with car seats with her. The curve in her spine is awful and it makes her slump badly enough that she can pull one of her shoulders out of the harness. I've been rolling towels and stuffing them beside her, but they are a pain in the butt and they shift around and in her EFTA, she just doesn't sit right no matter what I do. So I look at my options. I considered the Radian 80 because of the support pillows. Thankfully I have awesome friends who got me one of these because they knew I was too broke to buy one. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work for her! I've tried the britax convertibles. Nope. Cosco scenera. Nope. Safeseat 1 works but she's about to outgrow it. I'm using it until then though!

So I dragged her to babies'r'us last night. There are some new seats out that I haven't tried yet. First I tried the Graco My Ride. Sorry, I forgot to take a pic. It has nice, enclosed sides and an infant support. Now the infant support is supposed to be taken out once they reach the second slots (Charlie is on the third set already!) but given the unusual situation, I would take my chances and choose to leave the insert in (move it up and pull the buckle out of the slot). It supported her well. Not perfect, but much better than the other convertibles I've tried. Not quite as well as the SS1 she's in now.

Then I tried the Safe seat 2, now renamed the Cozy Cline (I will continue to refer to it as a Safe seat or SS2 because "Cozy Cline" is just the dumbest name EVER) and I fell in LOVE! It is sooooo supportive! Ummmm....it's forward facing only. :-( But look how supported she is!!!

And it has an awesome recline feature and lock-offs and it's inexpensive and the cover is plush and it's cute too. WHY!? Why is it forward facing only!?

I know the logical thing is to get the My ride and deal with the not-quite-as-generous support, knowing all the while there is this awesome* seat out there. Part of me says "screw rear facing! it's not like something else couldn't kill her any day!" For any other kid I wouldn't even consider it. 21 lbs and not even 2 yet? No way! They stay rear facing. With Charlie, I'm mostly concerned about comfort.

Just for cuteness, and to show you how she sits in a car seat normally, Charlie in the new Safety 1st Complete Air. It goes to 40 lbs rear-facing and 50 forward facing and actually has a shell/top slots tall enough to get kids to those weights!

That's what she looks like after *just* being put in a seat. Imagine what she looks like after a 20 minutes drive. :-/

*I wouldn't normally recommend the Safe seat 2 to most people. It has a short lifespan, only going from 20-40 lbs and seeing as how you SHOULD rear facing to about 35 lbs at least, it's not ideal in most cases. It has wonderful features, but really, not a good seat for most people. "Awesome" is applied to our situation, not in general. Seriously, don't buy this seat unless your situation is identical to ours. You can get much better seats for the price.

10 comments:

sarah said...

I know this may sound totally stupid, but have you looked at some of the head support options available with companies such as abilitations? They have one I have considered getting for my totally healthy 4 year old it is basically a hat that straps to the seat and holds thier head up.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Medicaid? They paid for a Britax Hippo for Joe. It's pretty great. He does still manage to get a leg flipped over the side. But he doesn't slump down so bad now. I made him a cervical pillow, but the child who can't use his hands some how knows how to chuck it as soon as I turn my back. :-)

Shauna said...

It's not her head so much that we have a problem with. Any type of headrest works as long as she has a decent recline. It's her torso. Her spine is soooo crooked. So she needs lots of support through that area to "straighten" her out. It's not a matter of just propping her up, but to actually push her spine in a way it doesn't want to go. LOL

Anonymous, MR/DD offered to buy her a seat. Medicaid will pay for a special needs seat, but they are all way too big and really don't offer the support she needs either. Even the britax traveller doesn't offer anything in the way of torso support. I'm intrigued by the merritt roosevelt which has special straps to help support a kid with scoliosis. But she'll have to be much, much bigger to use it.

ady said...

Our insurance bought a Britax traveller for Kylee, and it's ok, but really not that great. A lot of money for not a lot of support! We just got a second vehicle so were looking for another seat, and were considering the My Ride. Now we'll have to compare it with the other one, too - thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

I haven't actually seen a Traveller, but it looks a little different from the Hippo. Joe's tends to C - either forward or to one side, and the Hippo holds him pretty straight. I must say though that I did expect it to have more padding and support than it has, but overall, I think it's an improvement over anything I could have got off the shelf. It was the only rear facing option the DEM gave us (not the world's greatest DEM). Good luck!

sarah said...

My littlest guy is currently in a britax hippo ( long story, but he broke his leg at 19 months and was in a spica cast)if you ever want to try it. Since he is almost 4, I think we may switch to a high back booster this winter ( he is 35 pounds and 39 inches tall) even though he has not outgrown the seat yet.

sarah said...

I just looked at the britax site...it appears they have an insert called a "wallaby" that is meant for lateral stability for children with special needs! the insert is only like $30! You might want to check it out. I know the hippo seat is one that can be used rear facing. It is kind of a big seat, but I can always meet wit you sometime so you can see it ( I am a friend of Vicki B)

Shauna said...

Sarah, can you link me to that britax product? I can't find it...

Oh and you may want to consider buying a harnessed seat that turns into a booster. 40 lbs and 4 years is the minimum recommendation to switch to a booster and then they have to be mature enough to sit properly the whole ride...something most kids don't master until closer to age 6. The graco nautilus and britax frontier are wonderful harnessed seats that make great high-back boosters. The graco also turns into a backless booster. :-)

sarah said...

shauna,

if you go to www.healthchecksystems.com and look for the snug seat 2000 britax hippo they have all the accessories on the right side under "optional accessories". The wallaby is towards the bottom. It comes in 2 sizes. Feel free to e-mail me directly at sarahsavon2003@yahoo.com if you want, or look for me on facebook.

Kat_momof3 said...

I'd love to see how she looks in the Graco My Ride...

I'm just wondering if you could talk to someone high up at Graco (I know someone should be able to get you a name and contact info) about adding support inserts that would be safe for Charlie to use (what about taking a thick solid pool noodle, cutting it to side to parallel her torso, covering it in a soft fabric, so you have two like that... and having them connect with the same fabric (assuming it's think... nothing thicker than a t-shirt) and velcro (this would also make it able to adjust width-wise)

then you could use safety pins or velcro stickers on the back of the connectors and the noodles to keep it still on the seat itself.

the key of course being making sure that it doesn't interfere with the straps... but having seen your sewing, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard for you.

And come to think of it, as long as it doesn't interefere and the fabric is thin, I wouldn't even bother graco with it... I'd just check with the techs on car-seat.org and/or make the parental decision.

clearly, if she isn't supported, this could endanger her.

As for when to forward face her, I think it will be when the risks of not being able to easily see her and get to her faster outweigh the less safety.