On the Road Again with Britax
The following post was sponsored by Britax, the leader in mobile safety for 70 years. We are mobile again and happy to be doing so safely!
We didn’t own a car for four years while living in Manhattan. Jack and Zoe were so young that traveling with them on the subway and bus lines was not only doable but the most efficient option. It was either that or walking, which we certainly did plenty of. At first, I missed the convenience of getting into my car, locking the kids into one single spot and taking them to our destination. Having two toddlers confined to the same place at the same time was a luxury that I thought I was truly being deprived of when we made the transition from suburban California to ultra-urban New York City. It didn’t take long to figure out that everything we needed was within a four to six block radius around our home: preschool, doctor, grocery, hospital, Justin’s college. It was certainly time consuming walking everywhere, but it was great for all of us.
Now that we’re back in California and official New Car owners for the very first time (ever for me!), we needed to do our research and purchase new car seats for Jack, Zoe and Beau –all of whom are in different stages of seating. We had some car seats that had been purchased before we left, and ones we used when we visited relatives, but with our 8 hour road trip to Disneyland coming up and the need for a new vehicle, it was time to get the kids new and proper car seats.
I consulted the Car Seat Lady as she always knows the new regulations for children based on their age and weight. There were some discrepancies over whether or not Jack and Zoe needed booster seats with backs on them, so for me, relying on what she recommended was the safest bet.
We decided to go with the following Britax car seats for each child, reading the instructions and adjusting them in the seats prior to installation.
The bunny suit just meant it was a Thursday in the Shyba home
For Beau, who is two, we chose the Britax Pavilion, which is made for children rear facing from 5-40 lbs and forward facing from 20-65 lbs. The PAVILION is purposefully designed and engineered to minimize the forward movement of your child’s head during a frontal impact to reduce the risk of head injury. This seat is incredibly soft, yet fits him like a glove. He is able to move around and even sleep comfortably without being overly confined. The Tangle-Free, Five-Point Harness is easy to adjust without having to disassemble it (not something I’m keen on doing with a wily toddler).
For Zoe, we chose the Britax Frontier 90. This is a great harness-2-booster for her, as she was very anxious to get to the stage that her brother is at in everything. This seat offers the CLICKTIGHT Installation System, which utilizes the vehicle seat belt (AKA “big kid status”) but also uses the five-point harness and can convert eventually into a vehicle-belt positioning booster seat. The Frontier 90 also offers the Britax True Side Impact Protection and other head safety technologies that help protect from all types of
impact and absorb that extra bad energy that comes from a crash. What this says to me is Zoe is in a very, very safe seat that has extra protection but also functions as a bigger-kid seat at the same time. The cup holders (or wild flower containers for Zoe) are a huge perk and make her feel super swanky.
For Jack, we chose the Britax Parkway SGL
At this point, the majority of Jack’s buddies in first grade are in backless booster seats. Knowing that Jack is one of the tallest in his class and consistently in the 90% growth percentile, this was a little bit contentious for us as he wanted to be like his friends, but I wanted him in the safest seat possible (and by regulation standards).
The Parkway SGL is a belt-positioning booster, and it has a back which only leads to a much softer, more comfortable and incredibly safer ride for him. The seat secures to the vehicle via the LATCH system and boasts BRITAX’s SafeCell Technology-which lowers the forward movement of the seat and compresses in the event of a crash. It also comes with the ultra-luxurious cup holders and arm rests that allow him to sleep comfortably on long trips.
Part of our quest for a new vehicle included finding the right one that would not only fit our four children, our dog and have ample storage,but there absolutely needed to be a LATCH system in place. I was shocked to find that while our search did not include the minivan model, it was very challenging to find a car that had the LATCH system on most if not all passenger seating (aside from the 1st row). Sidenote about the LATCH system: NHTSA has new LATCH limits: The previous weight limits were based on old child seats and outdated recommendations on how long children should be in child seats. Lower anchor weight limits weren’t factoring in the weight of current car seats or increasing harness weight limits. Since best practice promotes children use car seats with harnesses until they outgrow the seat, more children are remaining in some harnessed seats up to 90 pounds. However, with these increasing weights and weight limits for seats, the public needs to be made aware that LATCH has weight limits as well.
Because of this, we chose the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban. We are able to seat three across each bench in back comfortably in actual full car seats, with the LATCH on two and the seat-belt on the Frontier 90. Theo has his own space in back, and the overall experience has been really, really awesome. We couldn’t be happier.
With the amount of driving we are doing on a daily basis, coupled with the fact that our families live at least thirty minutes away, safety and comfort were an absolute MUST when looking to invest in our new vehicle and car seat systems.
I do miss the luxury of being able to walk out of our door and walk to get whatever we needed, but there is an absolute wonderful sense of freedom that comes with the luxury of getting into a car and being able to go anywhere. Part of that piece of mind relies heavily on knowing my children are as safe as they can possibly be-that I’m doing everything I can to ensure that they are being properly looked after.
There is so much that I miss about raising babies in Manhattan, and part of it includes the struggle of transportation, but I love and appreciate the ability to take the kids and Theo to the beach whenever I want, despite the mess that sand always brings. Parenthood is such a gift, a challenging gift that is made that much easier when safety issues are properly address in all situations, as much as humanly possibly.
Thank you to Britax for sponsoring this post. Top subway photo credit, Ali Smith Photography. All opinions are my own.