Tell me about infant car seats

I’m one of the least mechanically inclined people on the planet. I’m looking for one that is idiot-proof to install and use.

I’m particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has experience with the Summer Infant Prodigy car seat. It has an indicator that shows smiley faces when the seat is installed correctly. That sounds like about the level of idiot-proofness that I would need. Are there any other car seats that make it that clear whether the car seat is installed properly?

At the hospital where my daughter was born last June, they had someone you could call who would come out to your car and make sure the seat was installed correctly.

If your car is younger than (I think) 9 years old, there are mandatory car-seat brackets built in that you hook the car-seat bases to. If not, they are still easily secured with the safety belts.

The way it usually works is there is a base that you secure to your seat and leave there. Then the car seat gets placed into the base and is automatically latched/secured in it. To remove, you pull some handle and remove the car seat from the base. So you really have to install the base once - have the hospital people check and make sure it is ok, and the when you operate it it is very simple.

Make sure you buy the car seat that allows the harness to be adjusted for bigger babies - mine is 1yo now and weighs 25.5lb, and I did have to buy a different seat because the one we got for her originally became uncomfortably small.

Oh and good luck :slight_smile:

Unfortunately there can be no perfectly easy, idiot-proof seat, because the seats have to interact with different cars and different babies, and those two factors can make a big difference.

I highly recommend Christie Haskell’s articles about car seat safety. And I think she makes a pretty good case against using Dorel seatsif you can avoid it (that’s Maxi-Cosi, Cosco, Safety 1st, and Eddie Bauer seats).

I really like Britax. A LOT. They’ve generally been the easiest to install, and they have good customer service and a great safety record.

My quick-and-dirty recommendation is to buy a convertible Britax seat (one you can use from infancy through several years), and call around to your local fire and police stations to find when and where you can have a certified car seat technician check your install and your baby’s placement in the seat.

Hereare two threadsat, where the ladies are obsessed with car seat safety, on the Prodigy.

There seems to be concern that the belt-tightening ratchet could damage seat belts. Another similar product that could be used with any car seat was taken off the market a while ago due to this issue.

Yep - alot of fire departments do this too. Anne, I’d call a hospital or local fire department to see if they have it.

I would get the inspection. Thanks to your including you location information:


If you want the security of having someone check the seat do it now. Decide on your seat, get it and get the installation checked by whatever group you can find to do it. This is one of those items that it’s best to knock off the to do list as early as possible since they won’t let you take the kid home without it :smiley:

My car is a 2004 Honda Civic. I think the brackets became mandatory in 2002 or so.

Are there any that do NOT work that way, that we should avoid?

From this thread, it seems your car does have the LATCH system, which means the connections for an infant seat that dont’ require using a seatbelt that you’re talking about.

Note that you need to use a seatbelt if you put it in the center.

See your owner’s manual, and the seat’s owner’s manual, and you should be okay.

I don’t think there are any infant seats on the market that don’t work that way any more. It would require reinstalling every time you use it, and that wouldn’t be fun.

In AZ, you can go to your local FD to make sure you did it correct. Not sure if you have that option where you live

Or gasp just carrying your baby.

Seriously, I know firsthand how nice it is to be able to transport a sleeping baby from car to house without having to unstrap them from a car seat, thereby most likely waking them. On the other hand, I see an awful lot of poor mothers constantly hauling around these behemoth baby buckets, probably doing their shoulders and back a good deal of harm, in situations where just taking the baby and holding it or using a sling would be a lot easier!

Yes, that’s true. But sometimes you just have to carry the seat.

We had the most awesome seat ever. Instead of a handle running sideways, it had a strap from front to back. Easier to carry. And you could extend the strap to put it over your shoulder like a purse. MUCH easier to carry.

It’s no longer on the market, but you can get a strap that works the same way:

I know my parents had to put me in the car and drive around to get me to go to sleep sometimes when I was a baby. If I have to do that with my baby (I hope I don’t, but in case I do), I want to be able to get her out of the car without waking her up.

No, that’s not how it works. You have to drive all night long. :smiley:

You know, everyone told me this, but when I had a baby last year, we just strolled right out when we were discharged. I kept waiting for someone to ask about it, but no.

It’s not like hospitals have police powers and can keep you from leaving.

For the record, it may not be the safest option to let your baby sleep in the car seat for extended periods:

Celtling has a Radian 80 and I absolutely love it. It has a steel frame, so you get greater strength with less bulk - easier to fit another person or seat in the back.

You can get multiple covers (trust me, you want at least two) which makes traveling much nicer during the barfy stages.

The seat folds up when baby isn’t in the car, making room to haul whatever you need to cram back there. And believe me, there’s a lot of stuff headed your way! LOL!

It’s very easy to install, in both latch and regular configuration.

It is quite heavy, but it has convenient back-pack straps for carrying through airports or between cars. (Alas, not with baby in there.)

The newer version goes up to 120 pounds, so no matter how crazy the regulations get, you’ll never have to buy another seat or booster.

The company has been taken over by Diono sicne I bought ours, but the quality appears still to be there.

ETA: When I left the hospital with Celtling Security came out to check that we had a car seat for her. The hospital made it clear that we would not be leaving without one.

But I have no plans to try to put the baby in the car without a car seat, even if they would let me.

I forgot to say, also get the under-seat mat. You just will not believe what can happen underneath the car seat.

It’s tempting to just put a towel under there, but at some point I read that in anaccident they can slide differently with out the grippy purpose-made mat.