Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A VERY big day for me

My baby is growing up. I know that. She is now over 4 1/2 years old and is 44lbs and about 44 inches tall. She wears a size 5 or 6 in clothing and will be entering kindergarten in the Fall. She speaks as clearly as you and I and is learning things faster than I can teach them to her.

I knew this day would come. I just kept hoping if I didn't think about it, it just wouldn't ever come. BUT, two days ago, I took the step...I ordered me sweet C a booster seat for my husband's car. This marks the end of toddler days in my mind...and much of the preschool days as well.

Many of my friends celebrate the day their child moves up in the world of car seats. Whether it is "flipping" them forward facing on their first birthday or moving them to a booster seat when they hit 30 lbs and 3 years old, most moms I know, LOVE seeing their kids move on to the next step. I just have a different view on these "milestones." Here's why -

The most protected our children will ever be in a car is when they are an infant riding rear-facing in a bucket style seat or in a convertible car seat. It would be safest for us ALL to be riding rear facing, but clearly, that just isn't feasible in a vehicle these days. In a head on collision, the head is completely "cradled" against the back of the rear facing seat. This fully protects the head and neck. For me, this is BIG. I want my children to be absolutely as protected as possible when we are on the road. I am a very cautious driver, but I realize that there are a lot of bad drivers out there. In fact, where I live, we were rated the nation's WORST drivers. Seriously, the Washington DC metro area was rated number 1 of the worst drivers. This is scary!

The next safest thing for our kids is to keep them in a 5 pt harness forward facing as long as possible. They stay properly positioned when they fall asleep or play with a toy. They can't unbuckle themselves to swat at a sibling or pick up a toy. They are protected on their sides and around their head (in most newer car seats at least). The idea is to keep your child as safe as possible and keep them in one of these seats until they outgrow it - not until they reach the next "minimum" of the next step-up in car seat world...the booster seat.

In most states, the minimum to move your child to a high-back booster seat is 3 years old and 30lbs. Then the minimum for a backless booster is 4 years old and 40lbs. Many parents gladly "bump their child up" to the next seat as soon as they hit those minimums.

To provide optimal safety, my daughter is still riding in a 5 pt harness in a convertible car seat at 4 years 8 months old and 44lbs. She has two car seats since we have 2 vehicles. In my van, she rides in a Graco Nautilus. This seat will hold her in the 5 pt harness until she reaches 65lbs. Then it converts to a high back booster seat and then to a backless booster. For about $150, this is a GREAT seat!!! I LOVE IT!
In my husband's car, she rides in a Britax Marathon. She has had this seat since she was about 14-15 months old. It has been awesome. Its easy to install and provides lots of great protection. She should have been able to use this seat until she reached 65lbs as well. However, she is outgrowing the height limit much faster than the weight limit. She still "technically" fits in the seat height wise, but because she is so big now, it doesn't cradle her sides and head as it did when she was younger. I prefer the way her body is protected when she is in her Graco Nautilus in my van. In fact, each time I see her in this seat in my husband's car, I cringe...she just doesn't look as safe as she could look in a larger seat, a seat designed specifically for kids her age.
Here is the Britax Marathon....a GREAT seat!
Here she is riding in her Marathon at 2 1/2 years old.
So, I began my search for another seat to be used in my husband's car. It just doesn't make sense to buy another convertible 5 pt harness seat. I know that she is well over the minimums for a booster seat. It is time that I realize she is a big girl. A big girl that is ready for a booster seat. So, of course, I did LOTS of research before deciding on a seat. I wanted one that still protected her head and her sides and that would properly align the seatbelt where it is supposed to lay on her shoulder and upper thighs. I decided on the Britax Parkway SGL.

Here is a video describing all the awesome features on the seat. Many of these features are only found on this particular seat. If you are in the market for a booster seat (or will be in the future), I highly suggest you watch the video:

And here is the one C chose.
She is incredibly excited to be getting a big girl seat in this hot pink color. I am nervous about having her ride in it, but I am sure she'll do fine. She will look safer and we will use it properly 100% of the time. So, this is why this is a really BIG day for baby is officially growing up. I think my next post may as well be when she goes off to college. Seriously, I feel like that is just around the corner! I will post pictures of her actually riding in the seat when it arrives....and when I have to guts to let her ride in it :-)

For any of my friends who are in "car seat mode" with their own kids, I should mention that I buy all my carseats from Their prices can't be beat. They offer free shipping and they have a huge selection and are always offering coupon codes and discounts! Much cheaper than Babies R Us or Target in my opinion :-)


  1. Ok so this what a totally helpful post!!! Not boring. Now I know which carseat to upgrade McKennon too!