Monday, February 23, 2015

What Carseats am I Using?

I was recently in a vehicle collision with thankfully no injuries. It was severe enough to destroy my van and all my seats needed to be replaced. (Goodbye Ole 'Dessy! We had great times! LOL.)

Anyways, since getting new seats and also sharing a few tough carseat stories online, I've received multiple messages asking me what carseats I ended up choosing and if I had any advice for others.

Before I continue, I want to emphasize something really important that needs saying all the time.

The BEST AND SAFEST SEAT is the one that you ALWAYS install correctly and ALWAYS buckle correctly for EVERY car ride!

Parents naturally want to choose the best seat for their children. Since carseats are all regulated in our country and since carseat companies try to stay competitive, you have a lot of perceived choices on the shelf, but not really as much difference as you fear.

Put your focus on finding the seat that fits into your vehicle, that you can install well and that your child will ALWAYS use correctly for EVERY SINGLE CAR RIDE. That's how you get the safest seat. What my kids like, and what fits into my Honda Odyssey might not be right for your children and your vehicle.

Visit a store or two and have your children sit in various carseats. Find out what they like. Think about options you need or want such as recline options or fabric that is better for hot summers. Have your older children buckle and unbuckle the harness. Can they do it? Does it hurt to do it? Is it too easy for Houdini toddlers who should NOT be unbuckling? Install a few of the select choices into your car. Can you do it fairly easily? Do you feel confident with your finished install? Does it fit on the seat? Do you need extra equipment to make it fit? These are things only you can decide and only after putting in a little bit of effort.'s what I ended up purchasing.

1. For my 6 year old who is too tall and heavy to rearface, I purchased a Britax Pinnacle Clicktight. It has one of the tallest harness heights on the market at 20.5 inches. (As a comparison, the popular Graco Nautilus has a height of 18-18.5 inches.) I selected the Pinnacle as it has the most side impact material out of the other Britax options in this class. (Other options include the Pioneer and Frontier.) I chose the clicktight because it's super duper amazingly awesome and if you can afford it, you will likely love it.

This is my 4 year old sitting in the KidsEmbrace Batman seat for $150.
 Look at the top harness slot.
This is the same child sitting in the Britax Pinnacle.
Look at the top slot. Big difference!
2. For my two middle children, they are going into Diono RXTs. We rearface past 40lbs, so that means we have limited options based on height and weight combination since my kids will outgrow by height before weight. If your child is trending to outgrow by weight first, you can find a couple other options that reach into the 50lb range such as the Diono Rainier and the Foonf.

3. My baby went into a Britax Boulevard Clicktight. He is taking after his grandpa and is tall for his age, mostly in his torso, so I went straight for Britax with their taller shells. It only rearfaces to 40lbs, but by then he will get one of the RXTs from his older brothers. I'm also addicted to the clicktight option, what can I say.

Pictures don't really turn out well with rearfacing lol!
This was easier for me to do because our insurance company cut us a check to buy these seats. I'm normally on a very strict budget and not "rich" in any sense of the word, so I do relate to those who look at carseat prices and want to hide in the bathroom with chocolate. One thing I would say is to try to anticipate your child's needs ahead of time so you can look for clearance. Carseat companies are competitive and try to release new colours with somewhat unnecessary upgrades twice a year (cup holders, extra recline angles, pillows, etc). So you can take advantage of clearance prices and save up ahead of time instead of buying full price right when your child needs a seat. This is how I previously obtained my carseats.

If you have less time, check out Amazon. Sometimes you can find random price drops, especially if you are flexible with fabric options. For example, The Britax Pinnacle Clicktight retails for around $369, but when I looked on Amazon, I found one fabric option was priced at $277. Someone nabbed the previous generation G1 for $164 on there. You just have to keep an eye out and be flexible about colours.

(None of my stuff here is referral linked as I don't monetize. If you do decide to purchase something on Amazon, however, my friend, Savanna, has a referral link here. She is not affiliated with any blog, business or organisation.)


Carseat measurements
Five simple steps


  1. The UK are soon to change their laws and make rear-facing a necessity for longer. I love rear-facing seats for the sheer fact that they're so much safer but they can be so expensive! Kudos to you :) safe happy kiddos!

  2. I have the kids embrace Batman seat, and that is not the top harness space shown in the image. I actually swapped from a brittax to a kids embrace and will never go back. My husband and I our expecting our newest addition to the family in April. As soon as she is big enough she will be getting the kids embrace Cinderella seat. I guess its just personal preference. We will be using the Graco snugride for rear-facing till then.

    1. You are correct. There are some slots a bit higher that are hidden. Still, the top harness height is 17 inches, still making it a low contender. (The popular and widely available Graco Nautilus has a top harness height of 18.5.)

      My 4 year old has almost outgrown the kids embrace and my 6 year old already outgrew it, so it's not a battle of preferences but of sizes. The 20.5 inch pinnacle obviously is what will allow them to continue to ride in a harness so that's what we had to choose. I think I would consider buying a Batman or Elsa seat if it also had a 20.5 inch harness. :) I totally get the appeal.