Tuesday, June 5, 2012
The Great Car Seat Drama
This week was one of those weeks where a big expense comes along and surprises you. The surprise came when I realized that every single one of our car seats was only rated for 40 lbs front facing. These were big beautiful plush car seats my mom had gotten at Costco last year and while I'd been meticulous about checking the rear facing limits (because I know how quickly we surpass them in pretty much every car seat... sigh...) I had apparently not looked at the front facing limit in a while... or maybe I had and had just thought that that limit must be the rear facing limit because it was much, much too low.
We bought one car seat in the store that was rated for 65 lbs and after trying it out, we quickly returned it. The lower strap was not adjustable (you could move it forward or back but it was one length and one length only for any size child) and no matter how loose the upper straps were it cut into Sadie's legs.
Finally after receiving a few more orders yesterday, and going back to the store without luck, I ordered a Britax Marathon. This has been my dream car seat since pretty much forever. And I figure we'll have a kid in it until it expires, which will make it worth the slightly heftier price tag.
We were given a Britax before Sadie was born (it will work for one more baby before it expires!), a lovely blue infant seat with a base, and it pretty much solidified my love of Britax car seats... although our kids usually grow out of their infant seats in the first six months...
Now for my confession:
The rear-facing-front -facing-thing is something I have seriously struggled with this past year. I know even writing that opens me up to be blasted as worst-mom-of-the-year-in-the-entire-universe... Here... I'll say it... My kids are facing forward because they outgrew their car seats rear facing limit before they reached their second birthday, with their insistence on being tall and heavy at such a young age... Honestly, I'm practically afraid to post pictures of our kids in car seats, no matter how cute they are, because the analysis is so critical.
I understand how to get them to sit cross legged so they can fit rear facing. I do not understand where I can find a car seat that tells me they aren't way, way too heavy to do so, however.
Having a child that exceeded the rear facing limit on all of our car seats by the age of two was difficult for me. We own quite a few car seats now. One goes up to 110 lbs. They range in price from moderate to expensive. But rear facing above 40 lbs? No such luck. And even now, having spent a huge amount on one of the best car seats out there, I still am left with a car seat that has a rear facing limit that Sadie exceeded before her third birthday.
And I get really really tired of being told that my children are going to be internally decapitated by facing forward, and that mothers who face their children forward before their kids are 15 are horrible and obviously don't love their little ones, or care enough to find a better car seat, when there isn't another option out there for my little ones not so dainty bums to sit in.
I could have sat in the new seat rear facing until I was in first grade... maybe second...
I could have sat in one of our seats as a booster when I was 22.
The new seat goes up to 65 lbs forward facing. I'm hoping that another growth spurt doesn't propel us beyond that milestone anytime soon (right now she's 43 inches tall though and seems to be getting taller and taller while not gaining much weight... so for the moment I can breath a sigh of relief). I'm doing everything I can to avoid a booster until she's quite a bit older. I feel bad enough when I hear that I'm risking her life by not having a custom car seat designed to fit her so she can face backwards until she's in second grade.
I've been told quite a bit online that I just need to pay more and I'll find one that fits. The thing is, not many car seat companies intend on having a 45 pounder facing rear... so until the car seat companies catch up with the growth rate in our family... or until we win Power Ball and can have a custom super heavy baby car seat designed for us... I'll have to accept the car seat limitations they hand to me in the store. I've asked for the names of these magical 45+ lb rear facing car seats in the past... but I've never actually been given an answer...
I think the car seat facet of the Mommy Arguments that Abound over What's Right and What's Wrong in Absolute Terms is one of the ones that bothers me the most, because I feel like I just can't win... unless I pop out a smaller baby this time, I'm always going to be making changes too early... and I'll always be afraid to post any cute pictures we snap in the van online less I be branded Worst-Mommy-Blogger-of-the-Year.
Please try to be kind in the comment section... I've heard enough about what I "should" do at this point and have searched long and hard for answers... and I'm settling for my Britax front facing Marathon...