Tuesday, February 26, 2008

happy seats

You may or may not have noticed on my other blog that we got a couple of new carseats.
Here's the deal: (Nicole Diehl, now I can't ever say that without thinking of your blog, haha!)

Savannah was at the weight limit for the harness in her carseat. We had a decision to make. Although she was all for riding in a booster with just a regular seatbelt, I wasn't completely comfortable with it yet. We have a booster she's used when riding in our second car and she tends to lean over and bother her brother (because now she can reach him) and that combined with her fidgetiness (I know that can't be a real word) she's just not always in a safe position with the freedom a seatbelt gives her.
Also thinking that there's a good chance Sawyer would hit that 40 lb weight limit well before Savannah (probably before he's four) and I can't see him using a seatbelt at three years old, we began looking for a new seat with a higher weight limit on the harness. If anyone's ever looked for a booster seat with the hight weight limit for the harness... you know there's not much looking. If you're like us and you rule out the big "safest" spendy brands, you're left with basically two or three options under $200. And until this January, one under $150. The Safety 1st (also sold under ) Apex 65 Booster. I thought this was going to be our only choice and I wasn't thrilled with it. I had looked at it a couple of times in BabiesRUs and wasn't awfully impressed... it was huge and bulky, but also felt a little flimsy. I read numerous reviews where people talked about how much space it took up, that it didn't fit their child well, things like leg straps being too short and things like that, and it really just boiled down to this was the only option in this price range.
It turns out Graco came out with a new booster seat this year, The Nautilus, and so far it has gotten rave reviews. It's only been on the market since January and Walmart is actually the only retailer carrying it so far... I just now also found it on Amazon, but for $100 more than Walmart. Problem was, all of the Walmarts, including online, were almost constantly out of stock with the high demand and rarity of the seat. I didn't want to buy it without seeing it in person and so after almost a month of checking, when I finally found it at a store somewhat near us, I jumped on it. We checked it out and Savannah and I loved it so much I bought two!
Originally, we were thinking we would put Savannah in the new one for another year, or until Sawyer hit the 40lb mark in her old seat, and then switch; putting him in the Nautilus and moving Savannah back to the old booster seat with the seatbelt. But I really was so impressed with the seat that I felt odd keeping Sawyer in the older seat while putting Savannah in the nice new "safer" seat. So I decided to get them for both, giving us the two extra (the original boosters) for the second car; one with a harness for Sawyer for another couple of years and one with a seatbelt for Savannah. I was a little anxious dropping $300 on these new carseats, but they'll last for as long as we need them. All the way from 1 year/20lb baby to a kid who finally grows into the right to sit in a regular seat in the car. It's a carseat with the harness that goes to 65lbs, a highback booster with the seatbelt, and a backless booster for the oldest kids.Anyway, we're loving our seats!
Here's what I liked better about the Nautilus than the Apex:
  • the fabric: is more car upholstery type material that will easily wipe clean. The Apex was more like cloth, a softer suede-y cover that you could remove to wash, but my first impression was that it would need cleaning a lot. This one seems more durable and actually more comfortable.
  • the size: it is more compact; the Apex seemed like a boat and actually seemed like my kids had too much room to move around in it, seatwise. The Nautilus seems to "cradle" their bodies and even their heads more. It also takes up less room in the vehicle.
  • the weight: heavier is not necessarily better, but it just feels more sturdy and stable.
  • the cupholder: is in the front and close in to the armrest instead of off to the side. On the Apex I wondered if my kids could even reach it when strapped in properly as the cupholder was so low and off to the side/front of the seat. This one also has two little hide-away cubbies built into the armrests of the seat to keep little snacks or toys within reach.

  • it was a cinch to install
  • extremely adjustable to fit the child well at all heights/ages
  • Savannah likes it so much that after arguing and balking at the idea of having to get a new "baby" seat instead of graduating to the seatbelt, she's now happy to stay harnessed until she turns 6, which is our new agreement.
I just wanted to share this in light of all the recommendations now of kids staying harnessed as long as possible... and with so few options out there for us who can't really spend $300+ on one carseat. We're very happy with these seats for half the price!

**And also: totally random, but anyone who watched last night's Jon and Kate plus 8 (the one with their insane flight to their ski vacation!!) when they finally arrived in Colorado and got their huge van with 8 carseats to use for the trip, these were the awesome car seats that were installed for them to use! And we totally noticed!! Because we're dorks and we love our seats!!


Nicole said...

Well, I'm going to call you Miss Reviewer today LOL! Two reviews in two posts HAHA!

I'm glad you really like the seats, and I'm glad you found them and told me about them! You know how paranoid (anal? overprotective? pick your word...) I am about carseats and I definitely want Porter harnessed until he's at least 6. At that point I might be able to let go a little... LOL!

I completely agree with you on all the points you noted about the Apex. While its a great option to have if you're looking for a higher weight harness seat, there are quite a few downfalls to the Apex. I can't remember if you mentioned that it also requires higher seat rests as well. Which, if your car has it, no big deal, but if you had to swap cars or someone else drive your kid... Its nice to know other carseat companies are stepping up and making more HWH seats!

Anyhow... I'll definitely be checking back with you next fall/winter to see how you're still liking the seats. Hopefully by the time we move Hudson to Porter's seats, the Nautilus won't be in such high demand and hard to find.

Is it queer that I'm all giddy and excited about a new carseat? LOL! It must be similar to the "I got a new vacuum! or a new washer/dryer!" when you get married... LOL!

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