Time to chat about car seats, how did you select yours? Hold onto your answer, and before you close out of this page in fear of another preachy blog… I implore you to hang on a second, I want to get vulnerable and share my experience.
With my first there was no thought process behind the decision. A sweet relative bought a Graco infant seat for us. We were grateful, one less expense. Many years passed between that infant seat, to another budget line convertible seat, to booster. In our minds these companies complied with car seat regulations so our kiddos were safe. Like many parents, we didn't realize the car seat regulations in the U.S. are surprisingly lax. We trusted that the companies did the legwork and, us, as consumers followed blindly to great “deals”.
Fast forward to now. I’ve been a Parenting Adventure Guide at NBO for a little over two years. Within the first year and a half Amber brought gear in. We’re talking; car seats, strollers, and now co-sleepers. Amber was three years deep down the rabbit hole of gear research. All the car seat jargon initially sounded so foreign (anti rebound, load leg, safety cells)...hubba whaa?! After getting past new terminology and getting down to the meaty meaning of it all, it was easy to see how it all worked to keep your little safe. Prior to this I never knew such advanced car seats existed.
In October of 2019 Amber and I flew out to South Carolina, we went through a week long course and became Car Seat Safety Technicians. At the end of the course we had people from the community come for a car seat safety check. Seeing a variety of seats side by side how they installed, and comparing safety features was extremely eye opening! There were seats similar to the budget seats I had bought in the past. Getting a good install was very difficult, making misuse more of a possibility.
On the trip we went to the Britax warehouse and got a full tour of the facility; seeing the assembly line, “Santa's workshop” (where they create all the new tech), and a huge robot made out of car seats- the one I almost knocked over, because, yes… I’m that clumsy! But, the thing that stuck with me, even more than my embarrassment, was the sled test we saw first hand. Watching the dummy flail around upon impact sent shivers up my spine… this could be my child. How would their budget line, simple car seat protect them?!
Upon my return with all of my new knowledge I informed my husband that we would be purchasing a new car seat. Our family, like most, is very budget conscious. So, I waited for months, planning our purchase. This gave me time to do something I hadn’t before… to actually think about which seat I would choose, and why. I knew we wanted a convertible, something with awesome side impact protection, a seat that we could do extended rear facing, and a seat that was virtually foolproof, upon install. There are many Britax seats that check all of these boxes, but it just so happened that when I started my search for the perfect seat, they had just come out with a new seat called the One4Life. This seat met all of my qualifications and more! Not only is it a convertible, but it becomes a booster!! Another bonus; there is no re-threading, you simply push the button to adjust up or down. The mechanics behind it are mind boggling, there must be a tiny car seat wizard casting spells to make it all work! The One4Life can take you from infant all the way to 10 years! Talk about being budget conscious… Let’s break it down a bit; let’s say you buy that budget infant seat, then the budget convertible, and then the simple booster sans side impact protection… You have probably spent the equivalent of what a One4Life costs, if not more. Just last week we FINALLY got our One4lLIfe, it was love at first install! It takes such a weight off of my chest.
With our other convertible it took me close to 10-15 minutes to get an install I was content with… I say content, because it was never installed as secure as I wanted… Even being a certified car seat technician, it was a struggle. I can’t imagine someone who has no prior knowledge trying to install correctly. Those days are behind me, and now I know with click-tight, the install will be secure every time! I sleep a little easier knowing that my youngest has a seat that not only meets car seat standards, but goes above and beyond. I’m now in the process of budgeting for new high back boosters for my older kids. In the beginning of my car seat journey I was ignorant, and couldn't digest the importance of our car seat selection. But, as the wise Maya Angelou once said "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
(Switching this seat to fit all three of my kiddos was a breeze!)
So, why did you choose your seat, or why will you? This isn’t black and white, everyone's parenting experience is different! I know the world of car seats can feel overwhelming, but you have the NBO team to lean on. Schedule a consultation, drop on by, or shoot us a message!