Learning each and every day

My quest to edify myself a bit every day

Day 27 – January 27

Today I learned that carseat manufacturers must have no interest in making it easy for parents to actually use their product correctly. Seriously! I’ve been using carseats for 4.5 years, and I still had to read and re-read the manual to figure out how to configure it correctly and how to get it properly installed.

All of this came up because we had to do a bit of a carseat shuffle today. DS1 was in a carseat that was SOOO hard to tighten . . . . because he’s so skinny and tall that even tightened all the way it was still too loose (i.e. I could pinch the straps about the chest clip.) I could’ve switched he and DD, but she’s even slimmer than he is, so that wouldn’t have solved anything. Plus, DS2 is now tall enough that he’s just about outgrown his infant bucket seat. (No, I’m not a fan of bucket seats, but it was THE ONLY seat that would keep him in an upright and safe position as a teeny newborn!) Anyway, so DS2 went in DS1’s old carseat (Safety 1st something or other), DD stayed in hers (Graco Nautilus) and I bought another Nautilus for DS1.

It took about 30-45 minutes to get the new carseat set up. (This was partly due to the overwhelming amount of “help” I was getting from the babes.) Then it took about an hour to install the three carseats. Yep, you read that right, ONE HOUR! I really shouldn’t have taken that long. Before installing, I read the manuals and checked my favorite carseat website: for tips. Armed with that info, I took the Nautilus seats out. They barely fit next to each other, but they fit. Getting them tightened down was a mega PITB! It’s quite possible that I’m just a wimp, but I was pulling up on those straps HARD and wasn’t getting any tightening, yet it wasn’t tight enough because the seat moved around wayy too much.

Then came the Safety 1st, which I installed rear-facing since DS2 is still under two years of age. (Children really should be kept rear facing at least until two, and it’s even better if they stay rear facing until they outgrow the seat for rear-facing. For some that will be until age 3 or 4.) That seat about did me in. First of all, I had to adjust the angle, and then I had to try and tighten it. Using the info gleaned from the tips page, I stood behind the seat and tried to lean on it with my stomach. Hahahahaha! My stomach is just not that high up, so I could barely reach. The next problem was that there was no way to tighten the latch straps once they were hooked in. You could tighten them maybe half an inch, and then it just would. not. budge. So I had to tighten the latch strap, trying to guess how tight it would need to be, then perch my stomach on the back of the seat to push it towards the back of the truck, all the while trying desperately to get the latch strap tethered to the latch anchor. Seriously, I shouldn’t have to do acrobatics just to install my childs’ carseat. If it wouldn’t have been so cold outside, I’m pretty sure I would have been in a sweat by the end!

So what did I learn? Installing carseats, correction, correctly installing carseats is a PITB. Choosing a good, quality carseat that won’t break the bank is a PITB. In general, they are a PITB, a necessary evil. Because I love my children immensely, I’ll continue to suffer through. But man, I sure wish the manufacturers would A) be consistent with the installation methods and B) make the straps easier to tighten up. GRRRR!

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