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Great Coupon Code Carseat Deals at Amazon

Some nice deals on some of our Recommended Carseats this week at Amazon.com:

Save $30 on select Britax convertible and combination carseats with coupon code BRITAX30.  The Britax Boulevard G4 as low as $226 and the Britax Frontier 90 as low as $234.

Save 20% on select carseats and baby gear with coupon code SUMMERGEAR.  The Evenflo Maestro in Wesley is only $64!  The Graco SnugRide 35 Click Connect is $104 in Tangerine.

 

CarseatBlog’s Recommended Carseats List – 2014 Update!

The-Best-RibbonIt’s been 9 months 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 2014 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 current seats pass the same FMVSS 213 testing, they are all safe when used correctly, etc., etc. In the course 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, installs well in their vehicle and is easiest for them to use correctly. Nothing wrong with that.

However, the reality is that once you’ve installed even a dozen different seats, you quickly learn that there are real differences. Some child restraints do tend to install better in general, while some really are easier to use in general. Features like lock-offs for seatbelt installations and premium push-on lower LATCH connectors do make a difference in the vast majority of installations but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every seat that lacks those features is a bust or not worthy of your consideration.

Many years ago, the mighty NHTSA started recommending seats. 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 child and vehicle than the recommendations of an experienced technician! Enter another respected institution, the IIHS. A few years back they began rating booster seats based on fit to a standardized 6 year old dummy. Again, no crash testing whatsoever. Again, no guarantees that the results would apply to your child in your vehicle.

So, who is CarseatBlog to go recommending specific child seats? Well, Heather and Kecia are very experienced Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructors. Darren has been a certified technician for 13 years now and has like a zillion websites on the topic. Our newest blog writers, Jennie (an experienced CPS Technician) and Alicia (nurse and former tech), are moms with younger kids who can actually use the infant seats and convertible seats that our own kids have long outgrown. We also like to think that we’ve earned a respectable reputation in the child passenger safety community of manufacturers, agencies and advocates.

Most importantly, though, we’re just parents who have used a lot of different car seats. Collectively, we have 12 kids ranging in age from 10 months to 17. We’ve been through every stage, survived every transition, and personally used an astonishing number of different carseats and boosters. So, about 6 years ago, CarseatBlog bucked the unspoken rule and began providing expert recommendations for carseats to parents. Like many other 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. And like parents, we know all carseats aren’t created equal!

With all that said, please take our 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 yet to form an opinion. 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!

Rear-Facing Carseats With European Beltpath Routing

imageEuropean beltpath routing. If you’re not already familiar with the term – let me explain. It references a particular way to install a rear-facing convertible or infant carseat without using the base. European belt routing is only for installations using the vehicle’s lap/shoulder seatbelt. It does not apply to installations using the lower LATCH anchors or to installation of the infant seat base. Only a few seats sold here in the U.S. allow European belt routing but it has become a popular feature so we decided to make a list of which seats currently available allow it.

Benefits of European Belt Routing:

When the shoulder belt is routed behind the shell of a rear-facing child restraint it helps to maintain a semi-upright position during a frontal crash. Limiting the downward rotation that a rear-facing seat makes during a frontal crash has several potential benefits. Maintaining a more upright angle during a crash means the impact loads are distributed more to the back of the child – which is ideal. The more a rear-facing seat rotates downward in a crash the more the impact loads are applied to the child’s shoulders and neck – as it stretches, pulling away from the body. The other potential benefit of maintaining a more upright orientation during a crash is that it may reduce the likelihood of the carseat striking the back of the front seat or console directly in front of it.

Installation Issues & Incompatibilities:

The biggest potential issue with Euro beltpath routing is that some seatbelts aren’t long enough to accommodate this routing. If that winds up being the case in your vehicle – you can install the seat without the base using the traditional seatbelt installation method instead. None of the carseats that allow Euro bethpath routing actually require it. They may recommend it, but they don’t mandate it. That’s because the carseat manufacturers understand that it’s not possible in all vehicles due to seatbelt length which varies from vehicle to vehicle.

 

Rear-Facing Carseats that Allow Euro Beltpath Routing:

Infant (Rear-Facing Only) Seats

Model Rear-Facing Wt Limits Rear-Facing Ht Limits
Cybex Aton 4-32 lbs. up to 30"
Cybex Aton 2 4-35 lbs. up to 30"
Cybex Aton Q 4-35 lbs. up to 30"
Graco Classic Connect SnugRide 35* 4-35 lbs. 32" or less
Maxi-Cosi Mico AP 5-22 lbs. 19-29"
Maxi-Cosi Mico NXT 5-22 lbs. 19-29"
Nuna Pipa 4-35 lbs less than 32"
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 4-35 lbs up to 32"
UPPABaby Mesa 4-35 lbs 32" or less
www.CarseatBlog.com  © 2014 All Rights Reserved

*Graco now officially allows European beltpath routing ONLY with the Classic Connect Graco SnugRide 35. This update is retroactive and applies to all Classic Connect SnugRide 32/35 models.

 

Convertible Seats

Model Rear-Facing Wt Limits Rear-Facing Ht Limits
Combi Coccoro 3-33 lbs up to 36"
www.CarseatBlog.com  © 2014 All Rights Reserved

coccoro euro beltpath routing

 

Hot Amazon Carseat & Booster Deals for a Cold, Miserable February

I hate February, I’ll admit it. It’s my least favorite month of the year and the fact that it’s a short month is little consolation. It’s 28 days too long as far as I’m concerned. But Amazon seems to like the month of February since they tend to have really good deals this month year after year – at least on carseats. A few of them are listed below. If you see a good deal on something you want or need – I suggest you act promptly since Amazon is fickle and some of these prices may be here today and gone tomorrow. I’ll update the page throughout the month as I notice new deals pop up so check back often. We have complete and thorough reviews on most of these seats. See a list of all our carseat and booster reviews here.

Infant Seats:

Graco SnugRide 30 Classic - Dragonfly

Safety 1st onBoard 35 in Orion Blue  $83.18 with free shipping and free returns

Safety 1st onBoard 35 in Orion Pink  $88.06 with free shipping and free returns

Graco SnugRide 30 Classic Connect in Dragonfly, Forecaster or Lexi fashions – each under $90 with with free shipping and free returns

 

Convertible Seats:

Evenflo Sym65 - Porter

Evenflo Symphony 65 DLX in Porter (Green)  $159.99 with free shipping and free returns

Evenflo Symphony DLX in Ocala (Red)  for $168.94 with free shipping and free returns

Clek Foonf in Phantom $333.25 with free shipping and free returns

 

Combination Seats:

Graco Nautilus Matrix

Evenflo SecureKid 300 in Loy fashion  $93.72 with free shipping and free returns

Graco Nautilus in Matrix fashion  for $120 with free shipping and free returns

Recaro Performance Sport (select fashions)  for $199 with free shipping and free returns

 

Booster Seats:

B540 Booster

BubbleBum inflatable booster for $29.99 with free shipping and free returns

The First Years B540 Folding Booster in Sticks and Stones  for $65.21 with free shipping and free returns