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.