April 27, 2011

DTQ: A Rearfacing Convertible Infant Carrier?

DT reader David wonders if we've really entered the 3-car seat era:

Our old Graco Snugride seems to be at the end of its lifespan, while our K2 is but 7 months old. It's possible Graco might fix it, but it sure is getting small in a hurry.

Given that I'm a slavish follower of safety trends I'll keep him rear-facing for another 18 months or so. So I need something that will both fit him then; but has a handle for parental carrying about now. Is there something rear-facing that both has a handle and will fit a two-year-old? Or do I need to get another infant seat to use for the next six months, then switch to our convertible? That would really suck.

I like the Peg-Perego, as they're side impact rated and you can get the 2010s at a healthy discount, but I'm not sure they're any larger than the Snugride.

I think he's right about the Peg Perego, but as a slack ignorer of the latest safety trends, whose tall kids' heads popped above the top of our rear-facing Maxi-Cosi Cabrio soon after their first birthdays, and thus got switched to the forward-facing Priori mostly because it was so big and heavy and expensive there's no way I was wanting to buy another, interim, rear-facing seat, I have no answer for David.

This may be the question that finally gets me working on setting up the ask.daddytypes.com forum, so I don't have to embarrass myself with my ignorance again.


The Graco Snugride 32 is what we've used. At the rate our daughter is growing (slowly) she will still fit in the seat when she starts kindergarten. It fits kids up to 32 inches or 32 pounds.

We had a similar problem with all three of our kids who are tall for their ages. And we just stopped using carrier style seats when they got too tall. I know the weight rating is higher on some of the seats (my oldest is 9 and way back then the standards were more lax, but we still kept her rear facing for a year.) but I felt weird when their heads peeked over the top.

We got the Britax, installed it rear-facing and then ticked off the days until we could switch to forward facing.

Besides, once your kids ways ~20 pounds, those carrier seats are too heavy to carry anyway.

Do you need a handle or do you just want to be able to bring it in and out of the house if he's sleeping? The new Graco Smart Seat is the first convertible that I know of with a base, just like an infant seat. I don't know what it would be like to carry the thing, with a kid in it, but it could be an option:


We just switched full on to a convertible (Britax) at that age even though our boys could have ridden in our Graco Infant Safeseat well after their first birthdays. The Safeseat and the Snugride 32 both have high weight and height requirements, those are definitely the way to go. The Peg Perego is apparently THE smallest infant seat in my experience, so I definitely wouldn't go for that one.

Both our kids outgrew the Snugride pretty quickly (at 5 months and at 7 months), so we moved up to the Maxi Cosi Priori rear-facing. I was surprised that it's actually a little better fit than the Snugride plus base. We've got the oldest in a convertible seat now, which apparently he'll be in for another 15 years or something, and the little one's in the rear-facing Priori. Took a little sting out of the "3 car seat" conundrum that way.


We've been ridiculously happy with our Orbit infant (now toddler) car seats. That rotating base setup makes the added expense worth every penny. Rotate the seat to face out so lifting the kids into and buckling the seats is a breeze. The seats are rated to be rear-facing on the base until 35 pounds. Our 35-pound three-year-old is still riding tail-gunner with no complaints. Switched to front-facing (albeit without the base), the seat was just re-rated to accept kids up to 65 pounds.

I'm just amazed that this person thinks they're going to be able to carry a two-year-old in an infant carrier. Are they a body builder? My kids both got too heavy for me to carry them in the baby bucket long before they actually outgrew the weight limits. But maybe I'm just a wimp!

Julie--I don't mean we'll be carrying the kid at age two, but we do kinda need to be able to basket-carry him in the seat today, and ideally that would be the same seat we're using in early 2013 or beyond.

CRG--That Smart Seat is very intriguing, thanks. I will investigate it further. I would only hesitate because I am so sold on the Clek as the permanent booster. Older brother is in one, it's magnificent.

Gromit--Priori is definitely on the list, maybe top of the list as the thing to use for the next 2-3 years. Even with him outgrowing the Snugride, it might make sense to keep him in it a few more months then get into one of those.

Erik--The Orbit is cool but even with tax refund in hand, it's a budget buster.

I have, incidentally, repaired the Snugride (no stitches, only three butterfly closures), but that doesn't address the other issue, which is that at 8 months his feet are just about hanging off the end.

Thanks gang. This is helpful. And if your Snugride handle breaks--and the plastic ratcheting mechanism ensures it someday will--I can give you fix-it tips.

DT- The Cleks are all seat belt boosters, right? K2's going to have to be in something for a long time before then, so might as well go the Smart Seat right now if it works for you :)

DT--or anyone who has questions---can you email me via my site? I'm a CPS tech and can help you out ;)

crg--right. We have about a, what...18-month or so interval here. I'm going to see if there's a Smart Seat nearby I can take a look at.

Jamie--What's a CPS tech?

We bought a SafeSeat for our first, they had just hit the market in Canada a couple of months before he was born. He's our tall kid, consistently 95th-97th percentile, and he outgrew that seat more or less on his first birthday. Our second will be 18 months in a couple of days, and still fits in the seat with room to spare. (I adjusted the harness to the top slot about 6 weeks ago.) We've just used it on an airplane, and will be doing so again in June - I'm grateful he fits in there and we won't have to drag a convertible through the airport!

Incidentally, I'm a total weakling, but I still carry him in the seat. Up and down a full flight of stairs to our car, in and out of preschool, and so on. It's a schlepp, but easier (for me) than trying to wrangle a new walker while scrambling to get a preschooler out the door.

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