It has been several years since we received the Convaid Carrot 3 Carseat for Caleigh. At first I was excited about it. He old convertible seat was a beating to get her in and out of. I thought we needed something "special" to make our lives easier.
Well, I was wrong.
I threw my hands in the air. I gave up. I can't even count how many times our tech came out to the house to try to adjust the seat. We added growth adjustment pieces. Nothing worked well. It was time for us to move on.
The big deal breaker was Caleigh's G-button and the fact that the gigantic harness pad was pressing on it so terribly hard that she would break down in tears every time we unbuckled her. Caleigh's body is in extension most of the time while in the car because she is excited about her music. This would cause it to bleed and she would cry in pain. She would fight us because she didn't want to get in the seat in the first place. Since she gets ulcers under her G-button stoma this is the last thing we needed. For us, this seat made our lives, in actuality, much harder.
When I finally threw in the towel and gave up, we went straight to Babies R Us. This was my first line of research. I hadn't looked at car seats in years. Could Caleigh sit up straight on her own and be supported enough in a 5-point harness for at least a few more years?
I pulled down all the booster seats that looked like they might work. I lined them up against the wall, I read about features and preceded to sit Caleigh in each and everyone of them.
After many ins and outs, I had it narrowed down to two. We hopped back and forth between the two for awhile before I made the decision to buy the Britax Frontier for well over $350.
I came home with the seat and started to do some research. The next level up in booster seats was the Britax Pinnacle 90. It had a slightly wider base, but the side impact support was a lot more AND it was $30 cheaper on sale. I ordered that puppy as fast as I could.
A few days later we were playing the same 'try out the seat game' in our own house. We went with the Pinnacle in the end and we couldn't be happier.
I love how it is latched in, seat belted in and tethered down. The seat belt is even clamped into the seat using the Click Tight Installation System. This thing isn't moving! Caleigh loves the arm rests, cup holders and the fact that the harness doesn't even touch her G-button. She no longer cries when we take her out of the seat, and depending on her level of sarcasm that day, she doesn't fight us getting in.
This seat does not tilt back at all. It is a ridged back booster. The 5-point harness goes up to 90 pounds. 90 pounds people! The 5 year carseat rule will be way up before she is even close to 90 pounds.
Caleigh's head still hangs forward on occasion, but like most equipment in her life, if there is a support there she will hang on it. Imagine cruising down the highway and looking back to see your kid's head hooked up under the headrest and half hanging out of the seat. I can't tell you how many times I've had to pull over and reposition her in the Carrot. It was scary to say the least. With the big harness cushion gone she really doesn't hang down much. If she does have her head down, she can raise it back up easily without hooking her head up underneath the head rest. That in itself is brilliant.
This biggie for me is the fact that I can slide Caleigh's tush out of the seat after I unbuckle her. With the Carrot I would have to lift her up and over the huge harness and the side of the seat. I still have to lift and break up Caleigh's tone before placing her in the seat, but this one step has helped to save my back a bit. I also love that I don't have to do the harness and the seat belt each time as I did before. Which is one less thing to think about.
It's interesting what we convince ourselves that our children need. I thought that we would be using large bulky car seats for the rest of Caleigh's life. I was wrong.
I used to go to Target and Babies R Us all the time when Caleigh was little to check things out... to see if there was something out there that might work, or could be modified to work. As kids like Caleigh get older we give up on the typical pieces of support because we are trained to think that they need specialized equipment. Sure, some kids do, but often times it might be a good idea to take the time to walk the aisles at our regular stores again to see what might still be out there for us.
What if we are over supporting our children? What if we are inhibiting muscle strength and growth by over support and strapping down? I know we were.
*These are my own opinions. I was not compensated, convinced or bribed to talk about Britax or Convaid. My words and my thoughts only.