Our Car Seat Journeys

Are you one of the “lucky” ones whose child loves the car and falls asleep before you are even out of the driveway?  Does your little one hate the car seat and cry at the sight of the car?  If you fall into either one of these categories, or even somewhere in between, the team here at Daily Mom knows just how you feel. Whether you flipped your child forward facing at one year old, are extended rear facing till four or fall somewhere in the middle, we can relate! In honor of National Child Passenger Safety Month we are bringing you some of our very own car seat triumphs, struggles and stories. After all, as parents, we all have one common goal, raising healthy and happy children in a safe environment.


Ashley’s Story


When I was roughly 5 months pregnant, I visited a baby boutique to get an idea of what we would need when my daughter was born. Outside of adorable baby clothes (to which I had plenty thanks to my mother’s children’s boutique) I was pretty clueless about anything that might fit into the “gear” category. So, while my parents wandered the store to look at cribs and rocking chairs, I found myself in the car seat and stroller section of the store. After showing me a few options, the sales lady sold me on the Britax B-Safe Infant Car Seat along with the B-Agile Stroller.

A few short months later, we received that car seat at a baby shower. It was unpacked and put into a pile of items that needed to be installed before my due date. Unfortunately, I went into labor 5 weeks early and our wonderful intentions of installing the car seat before our baby arrived were left on the living room floor. Thank goodness for the patient car seat inspector at the hospital!

For the first year, my daughter was fine in the car seat, as long as trips were limited to 10-15 minutes; which was fine for the first few months. However, if I needed to drive an hour away to visit my mom for the day, she would cry. I recall that one time, it took me three hours to get from my home to my mom’s shop because I kept pulling over to check on her. Many people told me just to let her cry, but I trusted my instincts and pulled over as often as she needed me to. She just preferred to be in my arms. I’m so thankful that we’re beyond that stage.

At a year old, I knew it was time to upgrade to a convertible car seat. Once again, I had no idea where to start. All my friends told me to get as much Britax as I could afford, so I once again went to the store to look at various models with a long-term rear facing requirement. I settled in on the Britax Marathon 70-G3 which rear-faces up to 40 lbs.The marathon fits perfectly in my Honda Accord.

While my daughter seemed to be a little happier in this particular seat, long rides were still a stretch. I find that when our entire family travels together, it is easier to ride in the back seat with her. We also find that allowing our daughter to play with the iPad in the car makes a huge difference in keeping her entertained for longer trips.

All that said, I never really put a timeframe on how long my daughter would stay rear-facing, but at almost 27 months old, I am so glad that she is still rear facing. As far as I’m concerned, she’ll stay that way until she reaches the weight limit.


Lauren’s Story


When we first became pregnant, my partner and I knew very little about babies, and even less about baby gear. We did not really have a choice regarding which infant car seat we were going to use because we were gifted the 4moms origami stroller, and the only car seat compatible with it was the Graco Snugride. Peighton (our daughter) has always hated the car seat. I knew she was about to outgrow the infant seat and, sure enough, when I measured her length last month she was at the 30 inch maximum.

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At that point I still didn’t know much about car seats, never mind ERF car seats, so as with most topics unknown to me, I looked to the Daily Mom team for answers. They educated me and told me why keeping her rear facing was important and showed me the science behind it. I now try to pass along my new found information to other moms who may not know just how important and how much safer it is to keep you child rear facing as long as possible.

I made the switch and got the Clek Foonf convertible car seat. I can keep Peighton rear facing in the seat until she is 40 pounds. The safety features on this brand are outstanding. I am happy to tell you all that Peighton is much safer than she would have been if I never asked questions and got answers. She also now LOVES the car seat and is so happy in it. In fact, we just did a 16 hour (total) road trip to Boston and she hardly complained.

Recently, we got the onSide Air convertible car seat by Safety 1st as a second car seat for my partner’s car. It is very affordable, but still very safe for our child. We trust both car seats and are extremely happy with them. I highly recommend the onSide air for those on a budget and looking to rear face your child to 40 lbs.


Corinne’s Story


When I was pregnant, my husband and I were on a budget like many other soon-to-be parents. And while we were planning to have a baby shower to help us with some higher ticket items, we didn’t want to register for anything with an outlandish price tag. When it came to carseats, this was no exception. We didn’t research seats, really. I mean, they all meet the same safety standards, right? So we registered for a very affordable Baby Trend carseat/stroller combination and we were gifted it at our shower.

Cece Carseat

It didn’t take long for her to outgrow her infant carseat. Before her first birthday, my husband and I started looking for a convertible carseat, but this time we did our research. While all seats are required to pass the same safety tests, there are certainly ones who probably just pass and some who go above any beyond the requirements. You have everything from the high rated and high priced- the Clek Foonf, to the super basic and super affordable Cosco. We knew we wanted to keep her rear facing as long as possible, so we needed a carseat that would facilitate that. Still being on a budget, we went with something in between- The Evenflo Triumph LX. It went to 40 lbs and 37″ rear facing. While I thought that would buy us a good amount of time for her to be RF, she quickly snuck up on the 37″ limit. That’s where the Safety 1st Complete Air 65 Convertible Car Seat comes in. With it’s ability to keep the child rear facing up to 40 lbs and 40″ (even just 3″ longer), we were sold.

Celia is now 2.5 years old and is still rear facing. We plan to have her rear facing as long as she is within the safety parameters of the seat.


Dani’s Story


I am one of the lucky moms whose babies got strapped into their infant car seats and that was the end of the story. No tears, no struggles, and no anxiety. They were perfectly content to ride in the car. I flipped my first child around to forward facing shortly after his first birthday. I’ll be honest, I didn’t do a lot of research regarding rear facing versus forward facing. I barely glanced at the weight ranges on my seat let alone stopped to figure out what they meant. I asked a few friends what age they turned their kids around and decided to go with the old recommendation of 1 year. Plus, it was getting harder to lift him into his rear facing seat, and I thought everyone involved would enjoy forward facing better. With my mind set, I made the switch.

Along came my second child, a petite little girl, and same story. Into the infant seat with no issues and flipped at 1. She always was a bit smaller than my son and I’ll admit, she did look too small for forward facing, but she was 1, so around she went. It wasn’t until the Daily Mom girls and I got into a discussion regarding extended rear facing did I begin to second guess my decision about flipping her so early. After the discussion was over, a few days passed, yet I couldn’t get our talk out of my head. Maybe there was a reason why I wasn’t able to tune out their voices. I told my husband to flip her seat back to rear facing. That was the day before we left for a 5 hour road trip.

You’re probably expecting a dramatic end to this story, like we had a car wreck on the way and rear facing saved her life. Fortunately, that did not happen, but every time I get in the car with her now, I relax a bit more knowing that she’s safer than she was before.

We also upgraded her old convertible car seat to the new extended rear-facing Diono Pacifica. Now she’ll be able to remain safely rear facing until she’s 50 lbs! My 2 1/2 year old son is still forward facing. I am comfortable with that, even though I plan on keeping my daughter rear facing longer than I did him. It’s important to stay flexible and go with your gut in parenting decisions, especially when it comes to the safety of your kids. While it may be inconvenient or uncomfortable, sometimes that’s what we have to endure for the best outcome.


Katherine’s Story


I envy parents who say that their child loves the car. I have never known that joy. From the day my daughter was born, she has hated car rides. It was through my attempt in providing her with 15 minute “practice rides” as an infant that I developed an addicting habit of a daily decaf americano at Starbucks. Sadly, my americano habit has stayed with me–along with my child that hates the car.

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Around 8 months old, we decided to try her in a convertible car seat to see if we could take a trip for more than 30 minutes without a full-on fuss-attack. To my surprise and amazement, our switch to a convertible seat did work–for a while. On our first road trip, Violette took her first car nap. It may have been only 45 minutes long, but we were overjoyed! It made the trip much easier without an overtired child AND she was happier to just sit in her seat playing with me in the backseat. In retrospect, I wish that we had moved her to a convertible seat much sooner. Our first convertible car seat was the Maxi Cosi Pria 70. We love this seat because it sits up fairly high in the car, allowing your child to see out the window (something that is definitely helpful for a car-fussy kid). However, we live in a city that is car dependent and need to have a seat for each of our two cars. For our second seat, we decided to try the RECARO Performance RIDE, a car seat that also has a fairly high profile, is great for long-legged kids, and most importantly–it’s safe, offering racing-inspired side impact protection.

At 21 months, my daughter has not yet grown into the car-loving child I long for. In fact, I have a strong inclination that if she were facing forward, she would be much happier being able to see out the front windshield and to more easily converse with the driver. However, I have also become more educated in recent weeks about the potential high costs of switching a child to face forward too soon. Despite all our rear-facing and car-related challenges, we will not be turning her around anytime soon. Our choice is getting a high profile car seat does help–even if it’s just a little. Although I sometimes dread any car ride over 30 minutes long, all I have to do is remind myself that it’s worth the wait keeping her rear-facing a while longer. She is worth the wait–even if I do sacrifice some of my sanity in the meantime.


Jessica’s Story


As a first time parent I have a tendency to research almost everything. When I was pregnant I over educated myself on everything from breastfeeding to the toxins found in children’s toys. I carefully read review after review and checked factual information on almost everything that went onto our registry. This included our infant carseat. I felt I had a safe and secure option with good ratings and great parent reviews. You see, my family drives A LOT! Since our son was less than 6 months old we frequently would be in the car for 8 or more hours driving to visit family. The first six months were a breeze, sleeping in the car was our sons specialty. Most of the time we barely even made it out of the driveway and Poof, he was asleep and I was in for a nice peaceful car ride.

At around seven months the long car rides began to get harder, he was much fussier and didn’t really like the idea of being stuck in his seat. Our family made a big move and I was then making these long trips in the car with just my son and I. By the time we came up on a year the crying in the car had gotten substantially worse, making long drives considerably more stressful for me. In an attempt to hold on to my sanity in the car we switched around his convertible seat shortly after he turned one, allowing him to face forward and see out the window. It seemed to be the magic cure-all. He loved looking out the window, the crying stopped and he was happy as a clam.

As an avid researcher, I knew the facts, had seen the statistics and watched the videos. I still choose to do what I thought was best for my family at the time. Fast forward about 5 months and I still felt guilty for the switch. It was one of my own parenting decisions that I just had a hard time dealing with. So, in an effort to convince myself that my decision was a valid one, I re-researched, re-read and re-watched everything I could on Extended Rear Facing. Though I tried to tune it out the first time, I couldn’t tune it out this time. He is my whole world and I felt it was my job to keep him in that 75% safer category in the car. I had my husband watch all the videos, told him all the facts and we promptly switched him back around. I can deal with his crankiness in the car, but I cannot deal with increasing the chance of endangering his life. My advice to anyone who has switched their child at a young age would be:  It is never too late to do the research and there is no shame in admitting that you made the wrong decision (heck I am sure it won’t be the first time in our parenting journeys). Personally, I had to commit to keeping my precious child as safe as possible.

Unfortunately, my son was not so thrilled to be rear facing again. In a last ditch effort to make car rides more pleasant for everyone we tried out a new seat, the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible. It sits a little bit higher so he has a better view, and this has dramatically improved our car rides! I am so happy that he is happy! Plus, our Pria 70 carseat works great in our smaller car. Even through all the trial and error it seems we have finally made rear facing-the safest choice- work for our family!


Krista’s Story


I’ve been very lucky when it comes to my kids and the car. Both children loved the car — and their car seats — from the moment we put them in the car seat and took them home from the hospital. Both of my children also love napping in the car, and because I have two kids and we are always on the go, it’s imperative for me to have a car seat that is comfortable and safe.

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My son is nearly a year old and I know the importance of extended rear facing. In order to keep him as safe as possible, I plan to keep him rear facing for as long as his seat will allow. For that reason we chose Evenflo’s Symphony LX All-In-One Car Seat with SureSafe because he can rear face until he’s 40 pounds. He’s only 20 pounds now, so I know with this seat he’ll be safely rear facing for a long time! And, the Evenflo Symphony LX has all the features I was looking for in a car seat. It has superior side impact protection and it has a super soft and comfy padded seat and features SureSafe technology which ensures an easy and precise installation.

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Other features I love about this seat? It reclines and can be positioned at a variety of different angles for maximum comfort. And the best part is that the Evenflo Symphony LX All-In-One Car Seat with SureSafe coverts to a booster seat so I know my son will get to use this awesome seat for years!


Heather’s Story


When pregnant with my son Ben, I knew little about car seat safety, and the countless infant seat options overwhelmed me. I asked friends & family for recommendations, and selected a car seat within the recommendations, and the seat with the best fabric options.

Eventually, when Ben was 9 months old (and ginormous – approaching 30 pounds and wearing 2T clothing), he outgrew the infant seat and we were on the hunt for a convertible car seat. I did zero research, asked around for recommendations again, and selected a Britax Boulevard. Ben loved it. No longer were we dealing with screaming during long car rides, because this seat actually fit him at this point in his life (versus when we were cramming him into an infant seat when he was too big, but still within the seat’s limits).

Somewhere along the line, I learned about extended rear-facing, and the more I read about it, the more I became obsessed with the idea. To me, it was (and still is) a “DUH!” and a “Why wouldn’t you do it?” My husband wasn’t on board with ERF at all (why is it that husbands always seem to want to rush flipping car seats around?), but eventually caved due to my incessant sharing of statistics, and unwillingness to back down.

I’m a passionate believer in extended rear-facing, and I’d hoped to be one of those moms you see in ERF stories online – you know, the moms with 5-year-olds still rear-facing. Unfortunately, my fast-growing son had other plans, and we only made it to 2.5 years old before we had to switch him to forward-facing.

Our car seat journey with Ben is a great illustration of doing ERF with a tall child. This may sound harsh, but I honestly didn’t care if it was uncomfortable for him to sit rear-facing with his long legs, because I’d much prefer he break his legs in an accident, than his spine. Luckily, he didn’t mind rear-facing at all! Not once did he complain about being squished, or uncomfortable, or anything. He was happy as a clam because he didn’t know any better – he had no idea that his seat could face the other way and that he’d eventually have more legroom.

As parents, there are many things we do for our children’s health and well-being that they may not like – from limiting sweets and junk food, to vaccinations, to keeping a bedtime routine – and extended rear-facing fits right in there (though, most ERF kids I know, have never complained about it – it’s only the parents who worry about it being uncomfortable!). It’s infinitely safer for your child, and definitely a must-do, in my opinion.

My daughter Julia is also big for her age, and very long for an 8-month-old. She’s definitely following in Ben’s footsteps for height. Because of this, I wanted to get a seat that would last her, rear-facing, for a very long time. The Britax Boulevard ClickTight was an obvious choice, since it’s made to accommodate taller children, and we’ve had such great luck with our other Britax Boulevard. The ClickTight installation technology is the icing on the cake – I’m thrilled to be able to use this revolutionary system coming from a very trusted brand.


Kirsten’s Story


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From the moment we put our daughter into the car seat at the hospital, she screamed. She continued to cry all the way home that day and each time we put her in the seat during the following months. For us, being brand new parents, it made each car ride a heart-wrenching experience. It made me not want to leave the house for months. It made me brace myself to drive even 10 minutes away. I hated hearing her cry so much. Looking back, I now believe the car seat we had at the time was to blame. It seemed uncomfortable with very thin padding and our daughter also hated being restrained. It was not until she was over a year that car rides longer than 15 minutes became easier. That was a long first year.

Then we decided to purchase a convertible car seat, which really seemed to help because it was so much more comfortable for her. From that time we were “sold” on convertible car seats. Now our daughter is two years old and a great little traveler. She has been to Europe and to many different states and cities. Today, we have a newborn son who we are also hoping to put into a convertible car seat, so we chose the Britax Marathon ClickTight car seat for our daughter. We love Britax’s attention to comfort as well as safety. We also love the fact that our daughter, who is fairly thin and light, will be able to use the Marathon car seat now (at 23 lbs.) and will be able to use it for years to come thanks to the wide weight range (5-65 lbs)


Stay tuned!

Next week we will be bringing you the top Extended Rear Facing Car Seats!

To Learn More about the importance of Rear-Facing your child check out Rear Facing: Just the Facts. Also, make sure your child is traveling as safe as possible by checking out 5 Common Car Seat Mistakes.


Photo Credits: Ashley Sisk Photography,Lauren Hardy Blog, Corrine, Dani, Katherine, Its A Logical Life, Cookies for Breakfast

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Jessica

Jessica is a holistic health counselor and work from home mom living in the middle of nowhere USA with her sweet little boy! She suffers from a serious case of compulsive globe-trotting and is always counting the days until her next move or adventure. You can often find her trying to get in her exercise in by lunging through the park while chasing after her very energetic little boy! She is constantly fueled and energized by her love for healthy eating and occasionally copious amounts of caffeine.

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