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Get Your 2014 Cyber Monday Carseat Deals Here!

Amazon 2014 Cyber Monday Deals

Cyber-Monday-Deals-collage

 

Britax Advocate G4 $259.99

Advocate G4 Review HERE

ADV G4Britax Advocate G4 - zebra

You save $114 on the Silver Diamonds or Zebra fashions! Other fashions discounted too.

Britax B-Safe $119.99

B-Safe Review HERE

Britax B-Safe

Save $60 for a great rear-facing only infant seat in Red!

Britax Boulevard G4 $199.99

Boulevard Review HERE

BV G4 

Save $120 on Onyx!

Britax Roundabout G4.1 $144.00

Britax Roundabout Review HERE

Britax Roundabout G4 - silverlake

Britax Frontier 90 $215.99

Frontier 90 Review HERE

Britax Frontier 90  - Desert Palm

Best Convertible Carseats for Extended Rear-Facing: the definitive guide for savvy shoppers!

ERF - Liam with phone and csb logoIf you’re in the market for a convertible carseat that will allow you to keep your child rear-facing for “as long as possible” – you’re in the right place! This guide will help you navigate many of the most popular options currently available in the U.S. market and help you to identify which seat(s) may in fact allow your child to stay rear-facing for as long as possible.

First, let’s define the term “Extended Rear-Facing” because that term is often thrown around loosely and to my knowledge there isn’t a general consensus in the Child Passenger Safety field of what that term means exactly. In its most basic sense, Extended Rear-Facing can be defined as use of a carseat in the rear-facing position beyond the bare minimums generally established and accepted by carseat manufacturers for forward-facing usage. Since many (but not all) convertible and combination carseats still allow toddlers as little as 12 months and 20/22 lbs. to use the seat forward-facing – you could define Extended Rear-Facing as anything beyond 12 months and 20/22 lbs.

ERF-foonf-side-viewHowever, that’s not what most parents and advocates think of when they hear the term. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waiting until at least age 2 to turn a child forward while NHTSA and the CPS Technician Certification Curriculum define “Best Practice” as rear-facing to the limits of the carseat.

For the purposes of this guide, we will focus our attention on the convertible seats that have proven themselves to last longer than most of the seats on the market today, specifically in the rear-facing position. For the record, this isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list so there are probably a few good ERF seats that weren’t included simply because I didn’t have access to them during the project period.

Convertible seat recommendations have been sorted into two groups. The first group is a list of seats that are most likely to be outgrown by weight (at 40 lbs.) rather than by height. The second group is a list of seats with very high weight limits that are more likely to be outgrown by height. It’s up to you to try to figure out which of those two categories will accommodate your child in the rear-facing position for as long as possible.

CDC growth chart boysIf you already have your child’s stats from a recent visit to the doctor – great. If not, use the links below to the CDC Growth Charts and plot your child’s height and weight on the graph.

Boys under 2 years oldBoys over 2 years old
Girls under 2 years oldGirls over 2 years old

Keep in mind that just because a baby might be 20 lbs. at 5 months old doesn’t mean he or she will be 40 lbs. by age 2. A baby’s weight gain almost always slows down – usually by 9-12 months old as they become more mobile. However, if mom is 5’9″ and dad is 6’3″ and built like a linebacker then it’s reasonable to assume that this child’s growth pattern may continue to be way above average.

  • If your child is above the 75th percentile for height but average or below average in weight then you want to look at convertible seats in the first group because these seats aren’t likely to be outgrown by height before your child reaches the maximum rear-facing weight limit of 40 lbs. The seats in this group are also a good choice for children who have a very long torso (for example: wear pants in 12 months size but need onesies that are 18 or 24 month size).
  • If your child is above the 75th percentile for weight but average or below average in height then you might want to focus on the seats in the second group that are rated beyond 40 lbs. in the rear-facing position. 
  • If your child’s weight and height are average, slightly above average or below average, and your child doesn’t have a very long torso, then ANY of the seats on this list will last your child a very long time in the rear-facing position and you should make your decision based on all the other factors.

In all the pictures below, my beautiful, gracious and very accommodating model is 40″ tall and 34 lbs. at 4 years old. She is average (around 50th percentile) in both height and weight for a 4-year-old.

*Please note: most of the pictures purposely depict misuse because I was attempting to show how much growing room she still had height-wise. In cases where the carseat had an adjustable head rest, I raised it to its maximum height to show how much growing room there could be for a taller child. The proper placement of harness straps on a rear-facing carseat is to have the straps coming from a point that is “at” or “slightly below” the child’s shoulder level.

Convertible seats that your child won’t outgrow by height before reaching the 40 lbs. RF weight limit:

BUYER BEWARE – Illegal “Car Safety Seats” for Children

Illegal Chinese Car Seat - death by bunniesParents – if you see something for sale online that claims to be a “child safety seat” or “booster” or “car seat” but it comes from a manufacturer that you have never heard of and it doesn’t say that it meets federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) please be suspicious and do some research. It may be a legitimate product but it may also be an illegal death trap.

Currently Amazon is FLOODED with products from China claiming to be child restraints that are being sold by 3rd party sellers. Please don’t be duped into thinking these are a safe alternative to a car seat or booster seat that meets FMVSS 213 standards. As much as the seller wants you to believe that this product is “Compact and reasonable design make it enjoy the safety of traditional child seat”, it is neither safe nor reasonable.

A few examples of what’s available through 3rd party sellers today on Amazon:

Child Safety Car Seat 3 Colors Portable /Kids/infant/children Baby Car Safety Booster Seat Cushion Multi-function Chair Auto Harness Carrier 5-15kg

Sold by ZheJiang PT Car Accessories Manufacturing Company

Illegal Chinese Car Seat - no name

Child Car Seat 6 Colors Vehienlar Thickening Seat Cover Car Portable Annbaby Child Safety Seat Infant/baby Car Seat (Dark Blue)

Sold by ZheJiang PT Car Accessories Manufacturing Company

Illegal Chinese Car Seat - vehienlar

docooler Convertible Car Safety Booster Seat Cover Cushion Harness Carrier for Baby/Kids/Infant/Child/Toddler

Sold by Docooler

Illegal Chinese Car Seat - docooler

Bluesky Home Need Child Safety Seat for Car (Auto Thick Cushion Cover Harness Protector)

Sold by Willtoo(TM)

Illegal Chinese Car Seat - bluesky

I could keep going because there are even more products than this on Amazon right now but hopefully I’ve made my point.

A few years ago Jennie got her hands on one of these types of products and did a lovely “review” of it:

YIREN-Trouble: A Review of an Illegal Chinese Car Seat

Illegal Chinese Car Seat

I know most of our readers don’t need any further convincing that putting a child in one of these contraptions in a moving car is a really, really, bad idea. But just to highlight how bad the outcome really could be – check out this video courtesy of Surrey County Council & Britax. 

Britax B-Safe 35 & B-Safe 35 Elite Infant Seat Preview

Happy Birthday B-Safe 35Greetings from the Britax launch event in NYC! Today Britax USA officially introduced the newest member of their carseat family to the world. Welcome, Britax B-Safe 35 & B-Safe 35 Elite rear-facing infant seats!

Check out yesterday’s Sneak Peek blog for all the official specs and features. Today I will focus on pictures and first impressions.

Britax B-Safe 35 Top View Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Fit

What I love:

  • Unique, center-pull lower LATCH anchor installation with premium push-on lower anchor connectors
  • SafeCell impact-absorbing technology in the base
  • Dimensions small enough to fit preemies well
  • Wide beltpath guides on carrier for easier installation without base
  • Spring-loaded adjustable base with 3 positions
  • New cinching lockoffs for seatbelt installations
  • New smaller chest clip design
  • Extra large canopy
  • Easy-to-remove cover on Elite model
  • Designed to take up less space in the vehicle
  • Made in USA, a rarity for infant seats!

Seats will be shipping in early December and should be available in stores by mid December.  Price point for B-Safe 35 is $209. Elite is $249. “Shower Collection” fashions (bright colors) will be available in early March. Oh Canada – you will be getting your new B-Safe 35 (and yes it will be rated to 35 pounds!) sometime in January!

Britax B-Safe 35/Elite Base Britax B-Safe 35/Elite Base Bottom View

Britax B-Safe 35 Base Seatbelt Lockoff Britax B-Safe 35 Lockoff Closeup

Britax B-Safe 35 Recline Angle Indicator Brtiax B-Safe 35 Elite in B-Agile Stroller