Car Care Month on April, 2020: best convertible car seat?
April, 2020 is Car Care Month 2020.
If you're going to mostly have older cars - pre '97, then definitely find a way to get either a Britax Marathon or a Compass/First Years TruFit. They have built-in locking clips to make installation easier, especially in older vehicles. Otherwise you will have to use a locking clip which is a major pain in the butt. Keep reading - the Evenflo Triumph Advance is a GREAT seat. You have to tak some of those reviews with a grain of salt - the most frequent reason a consumer rates a car seat badly is that they aren't using it correctly. Sad but true since over 80% of car seats are installed incorrectly.
When shopping Remember these rules:
1)the BEST seat is the one that fits your child, fits your car, and will be used correctly 100% of the time. (This is why convenience features DO make a difference and ARE worth the money! If its easy to use, you're more likely to use it correctly.
2)children need to stay rear facing as long as possible.
Turning kids forward at 20lbs/1year is an outdated practice that could cost you your child's life!
A)A forward-facing child under 2 years old is 5 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash than a rear-facing child of the same age.
B)A child's vertabrae do not fully fuse until 3-6 years old, before then, she is at great risk for internal decapitation. The spinal column can stretch up to 2 inches in a crash BUT the spinal cord can only stretch up to 1/4 inch before it snaps and baby is gone.
C)Current research suggests that children under the age of two years are 75 percent less likely to die or be seriously injured when they are riding rear facing.
D)In a recent article from Injury Prevention, it was found that the odds of severe injury to forward facing children age 12-23 months old was 5.32 times higher than a rear facing child. (Car Safety Seats For Children: Rear Facing For Best Protection; Injury Prevention 2007; 13:398-402.)
3)Once you do turn them forward facing, they need to stay in a 5 point harness as long as possible. 4 years/40lbs is the minimum for riding in a booster, and most 4 year olds have no business using one yet. If they can't sit upright for an entire trip, they need the harness of a car seat still. And, even if they do sit properly, a 5 point harness is safer, so you want to keep them in one as long as possible. This is important to consider b/c most car seats only forward face to 40lbs. My son just turned 3, and is in the 95th% for height and weight - 40" tall and weighs 41lbs. He outgrew the 40lbs seats shortly after his 2nd birthday. It was a total waste of money. He now has a Britax Marathon, which goes to 65lbs, and will be able to fit it for some time yet. If I'd have bought it when he was born, I could have had one car seat this whole time instead of the 3 I wasted money on. They are more expensive for many reasons, this is one.
So...knowing all that, here's some about specific seats. Please don't get a Graco Comfort Sport. Car seat techs call it the 'crappysport'. LOL Its a crappy seat that won't last your child very long b/c it has a really short shell. The straps twist all the time, and if they're twisted they won't support your child in a wreck properly. They're hard to install. There's nothing good about these seats except perhaps they're cheap sometimes. Ditto the Safety1st 3-in-1/Cosco Alpha Omega/Eddie Bauer 3-in1 seats. These are all the same company - same seat, just different covers. They stink. Hard to install, b/c of narrow belt paths. Ever tried to wash a skinny cup by hand? Now imagine that skinny cup with pointy edges. That's what putting your hand through these to install them is like. AND they have too short a shell to really go to 40lbs. And that's another misleading thing the box says - 5-100lbs. What the box fails to mention (you don't find out until reading the manual!) is that the harness only goes to 40lbs, NOT 100lbs! After 40lbs it must be used as a booster.And they do not make good boosters. Also, most kids have to use boosters until they're at least 8 years old. Car seats expire 6 years after the date of manufacture, so no matter what they say it is NOT the last seat you'll ever need to buy.
The Britax Marathon/Boulevard/Decathalon (These 3 are the same seat, just different variances of luxury additions, with the Marathon being the cheapest base model) can be found for regular price of $269, and on sale at Albee Baby online for $209-$219. The Marathon a wide open easy to route belt path, which makes using it correctly a lot easier, as do the built in lockoffs, which mean you never again have to use a locking clip. I can get it into 4 different vehicles in under 2 minutes. Because of the way the base is made, it fits in most cars. And, it is worth the money, b/c it lasts usually twice as long as most other car seats (all car seats expire 6 years after the date of manufacture) lasting a baby till they are 5-6 years old, where most at Walmart will only last till 2-4 years old. Rear faces to 33lbs, then forward to 65lbs. and top slots 17inches tall, lasts most kids to ages 5-6 years old.
The Evenflo Triumph Advance (not the original Triumph, make sure it says Advance) is a great seat. $150 version at Babies R Us has padding similar to Britax seats, top slots of 17", harnesses to 35lbs rear facing, and 50lbs forward facing. $120 Walmart version just has little less plush padding. Wide open belt path, easy to install, though it doesn't have built in lockoffs. The harness adjusts at the front of the car seat, you don't have to take the car seat out of the car just to raise/lower the straps. It has infinite harness adjustment so the harness always fits perfectly until its outgrown. No more tugging straps to tighten them either. You tighten and loosen the harness using knobs on the side of the seat. As a major bonus, it can be used in a recline position even in forward facing mode. Awesome for kids who still sleep in the car. I LOVE THIS SEAT! LOL My son, who is too big for every other car seat at Walmart has the same amount of room in this as the Britax Marathon.
The Compass Tue Fit, also sold as The First Years True Fit, is a great choice, too. Here's a thread talking all about it: Has 16.5 inch top harness slots, half inch shorter than the Britax Marathon and Evenflo Triumph Advance. Rear faces to 35lbs, forward faces to 65lbs, has built-in lockoffs, and you never have to rethread the harness to change harness height. The headrest is removable to fit better in smaller cars. $179 for the one cover Walmart offers it in, check Babies R Us and other stores for different covers at a little more expensive price.
The Fisher Price Safe Voyage Deluxe Convertible seat is great, it is made by Britax, without all the frills. It's the same shell as a Marathon, but for less than half the price. $130 at Albee Baby online with free shipping, or at their eBay name, babysurplus. Rear faces to 33lbs, forward to 55lbs. Easy to use, fits in most cars. A small word of warning about these seats: they are now officially not making them anymore, so the date of manufacture is getting older and older, with many being delivered that are 6+ months old already. Since car seats expire 6 years after the date of manufacture, this could make a difference to you, especially since its possible your child could fit in the seat for the next 5-6 years.
Car care that is no harmful to the environment?
To keep your car clean and avoid the need for car washes you can park it in the garage or use a cloth cover. You can also use a duster daily instead of using a water car wash. There are some sprays you can use to wash without water as well. In general I don't wash my car often, maybe 2-3 times a year and I am lucky because I have a car wash that uses solar panels for power, biodegradable soaps and recycles it's own water. I also skip the fragrance. If you live in an area where you don't have to worry about freezing you can use vinegar and water in your windshield fluid reservoir. I have a Prius and had to make a choice when it came time to buy new tires. Toyota recommends the light 10K mile tires, but I didn't want to toss out a new set of tires every 18 months, so I sacrificed a few mpg and got the 50K mile tires. Keeping them properly inflated and rotated on a regular basis helps them last and gives me the best gas mileage. I take my car to the dealership for all maintenance and they recycle the oil and oil filters.
Anyone have an extended warranty from Honda Care on their car?
Honda Care is the most comprehensive extended service contract you can buy on your honda. It is backed by American Honda and it is only available from Honda Dealers and can only be purchased during the first six months of ownership. If you did not buy it when you bought the car then you would have to pay cash for it now as it cannot be added to your car payment at this time (if you have a payment). It is a no-hassle program that also covers towing and rental cars under the warranty period if your car is in for a service repair that would be covered by the contract if you were not under the factory warranty.
there are other service contracts available through dealerships that are not backed by Honda. the coverage on the non-honda contracts vary. The non-honda contracts are 'dealer obligor' contacts meaning that its the dealer who is backing the contract. If the dealer goes out of business or if the extended service contract company goes out of business (not an uncommon occurance in today's marketplace) then the chances of having another dealer honor your non-honda contract are slim.
If you do chose to buy a contract, make sure it is the Honda one. You can get information on HondaCare at www.honda.com
the 'bet' with a service contract is that you will have to have repairs done that will total more than the price of the service contract over the life of the contract. If you have a major breakdown (transmission failure or the like) then the contract is worth it. If you don't then the contract won't "pay for itself".
Major failures such as transmission failures are unlikely on today's hondas. the basic warranty is for 3 years 36,000 miles with a powertrain warranty for 5 years or 60,000. You're extended service contracts go up to 100,000 miles so the percentage of that 100k that is covered by Honda is greater than the extra miles you're paying for under the service contract.
A better strategy is to take the amount you would pay for the service contract and put it in a bank certificate of deposit. If you need repairs then pay for them out of that fund; if you don't you'll gain interest on the account and at the end of the term (most contracts are for 5 or six years) you'll have enough for a good vacation. Of course, most people don't have the money or the discipline to do that; if you do you'll be a likely winner.
Also, another thing I have my kids do is to put $5 away for every time they fill their gas tank to pay for the maintenance on the car. That way when it comes time for an oil change they have the money available. They all use an envelope in the glove box of their car and put the cash into the envelop when they fill up. You can't believe how much they've come to appreciate that when it comes time for a service.
hope that helps