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CarseatBlog’s Updated List of Recommended Carseats!

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It’s been a while since we last updated our list of recommended child restraints. Some models have been updated, some discontinued and many new products have been introduced. A few weeks ago we started the process of revising and updating the entire list and after much thought and discussion we arrived at a consensus. Behold our Updated List of Recommended Carseats!

We acknowledge that many certified child passenger safety technicians have had it ingrained upon them that they are supposed to act completely neutral toward child restraints.  All child safety seats pass the same tests, they are all safe, blah, blah, blah.  In their class to become certified, most techs were told never to tell a parent that one child seat or brand is better than any other.  Instead, technicians are instructed to tell parents that the best seat is the one that fits their child, their vehicle and is easiest for them to use correctly.  Nothing wrong with that.

Problem is, once you’ve installed even a dozen different seats, you quickly learn that there are real differences.  Some child restraints do tend to fit better in general, while some are really easier to use in general.  Even so, back in the CPS dark ages, rogue technicians who discussed the reality of different child seats were routinely burned at the stake! This very topic about the best or safest car seats even gave our dearly departed Marvin his career as a blogger!

Thankfully, those days of CPS witch hunts are long gone.  The ”no recommendations” concept came to an end a few years back when the mighty NHTSA started recommending seats themselves.  They didn’t make these recommendations based upon crash testing.  No, they were made upon a subjective determination of factors relating to ease-of-use.  Ironically, these factors were no more likely to apply to someone’s own child and vehicle than the recommendations of an experienced technician!  Enter another respected institution, the IIHS.  A few years back they began rating boosters based on fit to a standardized dummy.  Again, no crash testing whatsoever.  Again, no guarantees that the results apply to any particular child in any specific vehicle.

So, who is CarseatBlog to go recommending specific child seats?  Sure, Heather and Kecia are very experienced certified Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructors.  And Darren has been a certified technician for more than a decade and has like a zillion websites on the topic.  We’ve all been involved with local Safe Kids organizations, SafetyBeltSafe USA and other groups.  And we like to think that we’ve developed a great reputation in the professional CPS community. Most importantly, though, we’re just parents who have used a lot of different car seats.  Like many products we use daily, we know which ones we tend to like in general, which ones we’d use without reservation for our own kids and which ones we are comfortable recommending to CarseatBlog readers and visitors.

So, please take our carseat recommendations with a grain of salt. They are merely opinions, after all.  And while we did thoughtfully consider the pros and cons of each seat and combine that with our personal experiences with the product – there’s no crash testing involved.  Some seats were omitted because we opted to include a similar model from the same manufacturer.   For others, we simply didn’t have enough experience with the product to make an opinion at all.  There are a number of products that we don’t mention, if only because a list of every seat we like would be too inclusive, so products that we don’t include may still be worth your consideration!  Conversely, some seats we do list may just not work well for you, your child or your vehicle.  We’re not saying these are the best or safest choices in child car seats, we’re just saying they’re models we think you should consider.  If nothing else, it’s a good place to start when you are carseat or booster shopping!

Please feel free to leave a comment if you think one of our recommendations is rubbish or if you know of a product that you feel deserves a mention!  Unlike some other organizations that think their word is the final one, we know our readers have recommendations just as valid as our own!

The BubbleBum that doesn’t look like Bubble Gum!

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Many of you already know that it’s now available in black and silver.  This may not only match your vehicle interior better, but perhaps also make it a little more palatable for older boys in particular!  I have a 7-year old son who uses the BubbleBum frequently and perhaps this will be a way to keep it in use until he’s at least nine:-)  We have a review of the BubbleBum inflatable booster, and the new one is different only in color!

For now, it’s available only at Target.com online, for $39.99.  Expect to see it at other retailers later this year.

CarseatBlog’s Updated List of Recommended Carseats for Preemies & Multiples!

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We’re happy to announce that we’ve updated our list of Recommended Infant Carseats for Preemies & Multiples! Our original list of Best Bets in this category included the original Chicco KeyFit & KeyFit 30, Britax Chaperone & B-Safe, Safety 1st onBoard 35 & onBoard 35 Air. Since we posted that list of recommendations over a year ago we’ve reviewed several new or updated infant seats that we feel comfortable adding to the list.

Please join me in welcoming the Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite Plus, the new Graco SnugRide 35 (specifically, the newest model rated down to 4 lbs) and the Evenflo Embrace 35. All of these seats have a minimum weight rating of 4 lbs, fit our preemie doll well, are easy to use correctly and are relatively easy to install properly in a variety of vehicles.  We have links to the full reviews for each of these seats as well as other important information on our page dedicated to preemies and carseat issues.

Additionally, we’re very pleased that three of the seats on our new expanded list are priced under $100! The Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite Plus, Safety 1st onBoard 35 and Evenflo Embrace 35 are all what I like to call “budget-friendly”.  And let’s face it – price and value are always important but those factors take on special meaning if you’re operating on a tight budget and/or if you’re faced with the reality of having to buy two, three (or more!) of everything.

Here at CarseatBlog we really appreciate the fact that CR manufacturers are paying more attention to the needs of preemies and low birthweight babies. With eight infant carseats now on our list, in all different price ranges, this is a giant leap in the right direction. Hopefully we’ll be able to recommend a few more options (including convertible seats) in the near future!

 

Hot Amazon Deals on some of our Favorite CRs from Britax, Evenflo, Clek & More!

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Some of these Amazon deals may have longevity but most are going to be strictly “while supplies last”, so don’t dilly-dally if you find a great price on something you really need or just seriously want.  I’ve only listed items with FREE SHIP and in most cases FREE RETURNS just in case it doesn’t work out.  Here at CarseatBlog.com we always recommend that you “try before you buy” but we understand that’s just not possible in many situations. Free shipping with free returns, in case it doesn’t pan out for whatever reason, is the next best thing!

 

Britax Free Ride Event: Purchase a Britax B-Ready Stroller, get a select infant carseat (B-safe or Chaperone), bassinet, or second stroller seat for free (offer ends 7/31)

 

Infant Seats:

Evenflo Embrace 35 in Breakout or Alahambra $86.67

 

Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air in Decatur $135.00

 

Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air in Calie $132.53

 

 

Convertible Seats:

Evenflo Tribute Sport in Daisy Doodle $35.00

 

Britax Marathon 70 in Chili Pepper or Azalea $199.99

 

Diono RXT in Trekk $277.41

 

 

 

 

Combination Seats:

Evenflo Maestro in Keller or Adele $67.99

 

Graco Nautilus in Matrix $137.98

 

 

Belt-Positioning Boosters:

Clek Oobr in Drift $199

 

The First Years Compass B540 in Sticks & Stones $69.00

 

Chicco KeyFit Strada in Pearl $109.99

 

We have quality, professional reviews of most of these carseats and boosters so if you’re looking for more info on a particular seat just use the blog’s search feature and chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for! If not – feel free to ask questions!  🙂