My daughter is finally ready to be upgraded to a “big girl” car seat. I knew this day was coming. It has been on my radar but to be honest, I knew it was going to take me some time to research to really feel comfortable about putting her in a new seat. We did so much research on her current seat and ended up with a Britax. We have been very happy with it but I didn’t want to assume anything and just jump right into another Britax car seat. I know Britax has a great reputation for safety but they are also very pricey. So I started with a blank slate and a list of criteria – safety, comfort factor, user reviews and price.
I found user reviews to be helpful but I didn’t think that was the best way to determine the actual safety of the seat. I truly didn’t know where to start when I began this process so I feel like I wasted time in my search. I started by going to sites that I would consider purchasing the car seat from (Amazon, Target, Toys-R-Us, etc.) to see what they said about safety and read the user reviews. I thought I was ready to hit the buy button on Amazon when something told me that I needed to keep searching. Upon searching for more safety type reviews I realized I should have started at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which conducts independent studies and safety reviews for car seats. I am sure there are other organizations that conduct safety reviews as well but I found this resource to be extremely easy to navigate, informative and best of all… mobile friendly.
I found a few free iPhone Apps relating to car seats. Car Seat Helper iPhone app by The Phoenix Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center was very helpful and they also have a nice quick youTube video. I really like that this app was developed by a Children’s Hospital. They aren’t trying to push you to buy a brand of car seat. Their focus is to educate parents about how to choose the right type of car seat, car seat facts, terms and installation help.
I also found a Car Seat Inspection Center app that is based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site. The first time I went to the site, it was down but it appears to be working now. The app does help make this information a bit more user friendly although I found the app to be very generic.
In the end we decided on the Britax Parkway SGL from Amazon. Amazon offered free shipping and returns. I thought this was important because the potential cost (and hassle) we’d be dealing with for a return would be too much. We also only ordered one seat to start with and based on the test ride, we’d decide if we’d be buying the same seat for our second car. The seat fits great in my husbands car and we’ll be trying it in my SUV to make sure the seat works well there too. So far we are very happy with the seat and my daughter is loving life in her BIG.GIRL.SEAT!