Berkeley Parents Network
Google Custom Search
Home Members Post a Msg Reviews Advice Subscribe Help/FAQ What's New

Please Note! BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and has moved to a new website:


Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > What/Where to Buy > Carseats

Advice about kids & carseats General Information

Reviews: carseats for ...

Reviews: specific Brands and seats


Wendy J (10/99)

In reply to the person asking for car seat advice, I have two local experts
and one national service to refer you to:

Stephanie Trombello, SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A.

Vela Black-Roberts
California Child Care Health Program

Paul Cummings
Alameda County Health Department

April 1999

The April 1999 Issue of Consumer Reports (the annual auto issue) had the 
following in it:
Top Picks for Child Seats
Child car seats can't guarantee a safe ride.  But they're the best
protectionyour child has until he or she is big enough for a regular 
safety belt.  Here are the top choices from our January 1999 report:
Infant seats:  
These are placed in a rear-facing position and are for babies
up to 20 to 22 pounds.  They also double as an infant carrier.  Our top 
pick, the Graco 7497 LiteRider All-Terrain Travel System, $160, comes 
with a stroller. Other top performers include the Evenflo On My Way 207, 
$55, Century SmartFit Plus 4529, $60, and Kolcraft Secura 43834, $60.
Convertible Seats: 
These work two ways: rear-facing for babies weighing up to 22 pounds and 
forward-facing for toddlers up to 40 pounds.  Top-rated models include 
the Century 1000 STE Classic 4161, $50, the Century 2000 STE
Classic 4261, $60, and the Century 3000 Room-to-Grow Classic 4331, $70.
Booster Seats:  
These raise a child who weighs 30 to 60 pounds high enough so he or she 
can use the vehicle's safety belt. Top-rated: the Fisher-Price
Safe Embrace 79750, $60, the Evenflo right Fit 245, $25-A CR Best Buy- 
and the Kolcraft Prodigy 53000, $50.
Toddler/booster Seats:  
These are used with a harness to secure toddlers of at least 20 to 30 
pounds, and without one when the child weighs 40 pounds and can use the 
vehicle's belt.  Top-rated: the Cosco High Back Booster 02-442, $40, and 
the Century Next Step 4929, $100.

Also note the following recall:  
Cosco Geoby Two Ways tandem strollers.  Plastic locks on folding 
mechanism could break, alowing stroller to collapse.  Besides suffering 
injuries from fall, child could cut arm or hand on locking mechanism.  
Products:  57,000 strollers, model numbers 01-644 and 01-645 (which 
includes car seat), made 2/97 to 2/98 and sold for about $110 and $170 
at mass-merchandise and juvenile-product stores.  Model number and 
manufacturing date (representing week and year product was made) are 
stamped on label on back of leg frame, just above wheel.  Those made 
between 0697 and 0698 are subject to recall.  Stroller is designed so 
two babies can sit one behind the other or face-to-face.  Back seat 
reclines.  Stroller has dual quilted canopies, market basket and utility 
bag. "Cosco by Geoby" is written on plastic side-lock covers, and "Two 
Ways" is embroidered on front-seat crotch support.

From: Jane (1/99)

Check out Midas Muffler. They sell (or used to) a Century model for cost which is around $40. This is nothing fancy, though.

From: Laurel (1/99)

I went to to look at the prices of the car seats. While I was looking, I saw a link to customer comments. Invariably, they all said that the Century Smart Move (which rear-faces up to 30 lbs) was too high *and* rocked to the side when the car made a turn. Now obviously, the rocking may mean that the seat was installed improperly, but the seat being too high is another matter. The Britax Roundabout (also rear-facing up to 30 lbs) is a bit smaller, but obviously big enough for older babies because you can use it up to 40 lbs. I recommend you try both car seats in your car to see which one fits better. Also, go to the website and see what others have said about the different options. As far as I know, only the Roundabout and the Smart Move are able to rear-face up to 30 lbs. There was a discussion about big babies and car seats a few weeks ago.

From: Rose (1/99)

Just thought I would share this. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Board there are 5 car seats that are able to be used rear facing for infants over 20 lbs. These are: the FisherPrice Safe Embrace (which is safe up to 24 lbs rear facing), the Britax Roundabout (safe up to 30 lbs), the Century Smartmove (safe up to 30) the Evenflo Horizon V (safe up to 30) and the Safeline Sit n' Stroll (safe up to 25) I believe I also read on their web site that you can usually add two pounds to the range... so if the manufacturer says it is safe up to 22 it is really safe up to 24.

From: Melanie (1/99)

dear parents,
More on car seats... Our list has posted quite a bit of discussion over options for rear-facing infant car seats for babies over 20 lb. However, our pediatrician pointed out that our little one (who's only 15 1/2 lb) at 25 1/2" will soon be over the manufacturer's 26" HEIGHT limit. However, it looks to me like his head is nowhere near extending past the back of the seat (my layperson's guess as to the safety constraint). So, am i being a bad parent to think we can hold off on the new seat til he gets there?

If we buy one of the 5 rear-facing models for >20lb does this mean we will soon have to buy *another*, forward-facing infant seat? yikes! it would be nice to skip the intermediate one if our guy stays smallish... what have you all done?

From: Laurel (1/99)

My son is a little under 16 lbs and 27 1/2 inches long. In his infant car seat, he would often push his feet against the back seat of the car (baby leg press?) I was advised to switch to a bigger car seat because if we're in an accident, his legs could get broken. All of the car seats that are rear-facing up to 30 lbs can be used forward-facing up to 40 lbs.

From: Rebecca (1/99)

I had the same situation with my son who was 27 inches and 17 lbs at 4 months. my doctor told me the problem is with the child's legs -- not head. if a child is longer than 26 inches -- their legs are generally somewhat outside the seat, and an impact or collision during an accident could cause your child's legs to break. re: the car seat, most people tend to by the roundabout because it can be both rear and forward facing.

Inexpensive Carseats

From: Allison (5/99)

Here is a good tip for inexpensive car seats. Midas Muffler shops sell the Century1000 car seat (for 20-40 pounds) at wholesale (around $35-40 I think) to people who ask. This is one of the highest rated carseats by Consumer Report. They don't advertise it but if you call the various shops around town you will probably find it. We bought two from them a couple of years ago. They don't always have it in stock so call before you go. There are several around town including Berkeley, El Cerrito and Oakland. I got mine at El Cerrito and at a shop in Santa Barbara.

Liner for hot carseat

May 2004

As our temperatures are rising (90' in April! Goodness!) I've noticed that my son is completely sweaty every time I pull him out of his car seat. We have the Britax Roundabout and the a/c in my car is very fact I think it cools the backseats down better than the front seats. I have window shades up but that fabric on the car seat just doesn't breathe. Is there something I can use as a liner to make him a little more comfortable? When I search the internet I keep coming up with sheepskin liners. Huh?!?!? That seems so counter-intuitive to me. Sheep are warm and fuzzy. It just doesn't make sense to me, but if it works, I'll do it. I was thinking more of something like a material that bicyclists wear that draws moisture away from their skin. (Now, doesn't THAT make more sense?) Is there such a thing? Or does sheepskin really keep them ''warm in the winter, cool in the summer''?
Hot Mama to Hot Baby

Child Passenger Safety experts recommend that nothing should be added to a carseat that was not sold with the seat. Bulky fabrics will compress in a crash and make ths harness looser than is needed to safely restrain your child. For more information on child passenger safety see or contact Randolf Files at the Berkeley Police Department, 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley
Sue, CPS Tech

Clip for Carseats

From: Jerry (12/98)

> re: car seat for a 25 lb girl
>Most of the seat belts in my car are retractble shoulder belts, except for
>the center seat in the rear.  Does this mean that the car seat must be
>placed in the rear center seat?

I think most recommendations are that the child is safer in the center
seat, but I don't believe the due to your seat's seat belts you must place
your child in the center seat.  For instance, my car only has retractable
shoulder belts, the solution is a little "standardized" metal locking clip
that you can obtain from the car manufacturer or from many baby stores.
Honda sent us one for free (I think) but I recall seeing them at Baby World
in Rockridge.  You can probably find more detailed information in both your
car owner's manual as well as the owner's manual to any car seat.  The
straps of the belt are fed through the clip which uses friction to keep the
straps securely fastened.

This just in: NHTSA has a fantastic website concerning child safety seats
and your car.  You can find it at: .  Specificially, contains a
great discussion and a graphic of the locking clip. 

Convertible car seats

Jan 2007

Hi, I am in the process of transitioning my baby from an infant car seat to a convertible. I was wondering what your experience has been with the convertibles and which seats you would recommend. We have a Britax Companion infant car seat which my baby has not quite outgrown, but I was very unnerved by the recent consumer reports findings and I am not at all satisfied with the response the Britax has posted on its web page. Having previously been reported as one of the safest, the companion is now rated as one of the most unsafe. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. mina

Just to keep you up to date - I saw on CNN yesterday that Consumer Reports came forward and said that they're testing was extremely flawed and they cannot any longer back-up claims recently made. That said, the Britax Roundabout has been rated the best convertible seat for years and years - I have a six & two year old and it's been the case for both of them. Go to this website and do some research. You'll probably find what you're looking for here. Also, the sales people at Rockridge Kids are very informed, helpful & courteous. -Not employed by any of the above.
When i was doing research last year i noticed that consumer research included the price as a rating factor and i did not like that at all. Car seat should be rated on safety factors only ..and then you buy the best one you can. So while everyone was going on about Britax i can't say i was impressed by the reviews on amazon. Yes they have great designs but really will that make a difference? no. So i ended up buying two Cosco alpha omega Elite. one is an eddie bauer. don't get the regular, get the elite because the straps on the harness are thicker and do not get entangled. the reviews on amazon were really good and we have been very happy with both. magaliusa

car seat/carrier/stroller combos

From: Dawn (7/98)

Regarding the stroller/car seat: I have been extremely happy with my EvenFlo On My Way car seat/carrier/stroller combo. When my daughter was very small, it was just the best thing ever, since we could take her from car to stroller to house without disturbing her at all. I have seen this model many places, including Toys R Us and many smaller baby gear stores (the smaller stores have more interesting fabric choices, but are usually more expensive).

The car seat is currently on loan to a neighbor, and we still use the stroller, which is big enough for a very large toddler. The storage bin is large, and we have carried a *lot* of stuff on shopping expeditions.

NB: This particular model had a problem with the locking mechanism *when used as a carrier only* (the car seat has always been perfectly safe), but EvenFlo sent out notices and will provide a fix kit free of charge. Current models on the market do *not* have this problem, so it would only be an issue if you got one used (in which case I'd recommend contacting EvenFlo to see if it's an affected model).

Home   |   Post a Message  |   Subscribe  |   Help   |   Search  |   Contact Us    

this page was last updated: Feb 26, 2008

The opinions and statements expressed on this website are those of parents who subscribe to the Berkeley Parents Network.
Please see Disclaimer & Usage for information about using content on this website.    Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network