David is a new dad and one of the car guys [little c, little g, Magliozzis, relax.] at Cars.com. Well, the kid's six months old now, and Dave's care-free days of swapping the bases for his son's infant car seat between his car, his wife's car, the nanny's car, and whatever test car happens to be in the driveway at the moment are over.
Welcome to the "Find yourself buying three car seats in a week, because the first one you bought, the Britax so massive the box won't fit in the trunk, now sits like a lumpy, inoperable growth the size of a wild boar in the back of the Subaru" era.
Dave's explanation for their first car seat choice has to be music to the Britax brand manager's ears:
I don't know about any other dads out there, but in our house, if something comes with instructions and needs to be installed, it falls onto my to-do list, not my wife's.Biggest, baddest, and if that's not enough, one of the most expensive. And so it must be the best, right?
Getting the seat for our primary car was easy. This is for my wife's Subaru Outback. We went with the biggest and baddest -- which in this arena means safest -- seat out there, the Britax Boulevard CS.
I think it's time to get off my butt and do some data digging again, but we went to extraordinary lengths to avoid getting a Britax precisely because, like the SUV's we hated, they seemed to falsely equate their gigantic size with added safety.
Dave's right to note that all car seats on the market have to meet government-mandated minimum safety standards which should make them all safe enough when installed properly. But there are a few car seats--like the Radian 80 from Sunshine Kids, which has a structural metal frame, and the Orbit Toddler seat, with its metal base system which seals like an airlock--that seem engineered to perform far beyond the government standards [not that any manufacturer's legal folks would allow them claim that explicitly, of course]. And then there's the whole issue of other governmental standards which may produce even safer designs--like the floor braces used on car seats in places like Japan and the US.
Anyway, I just get reflexively skeptical when I hear the "biggest=safest" argument--and a little defensive, too, I'll admit, since we didn't pick the same model, but went instead with a combo of a light, cheap, portable Graco ComfortSport, and an insane, immovable, and technically illegal Maxi-Cosi Priori, which required a massive cargo ship to bring it home from Europe. How about you? Any thoughts?