Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Strollers and Carseats oh my!

When it comes to stroller and car seat opinions, Jerad and I are pretty high maintenance.

Our stroller requirement list consisted of:

  • The seat needs to be both parent- and forward-facing.
  • Must have an aluminum frame. None of that plastic stuff! We need it to be durable.
  • It needs to be able to fully recline for infants, but able to support a lot of weight later on for a toddler.
  • Needs a 5 point harness.
  • The wheels need to be actual rubber tires that you can fill with air.
  • The wheels need to be able to lock like a jogging stroller.
  • The handle needs to be adjustable (I'm a shortie!)
  • It must be stylish.
  • It needs to have a big enough basket to actually be useful.
  • Oh, and we don't actually plan on using it that much so cheap please!

Basically, nothing like this:

Not that there's anything wrong with that... It's just not "us."

We decided it would be way easier to purchase a stroller ourselves than try to register for one. Everyday I started looking on Craigslist for the "perfect" deal. One day, I found this little gem:

The Bertini Bidwell.

It fulfilled all of our requirements. You can flip the seat to face the person pushing the stroller, and lay it completely flat. It totally looks like a pram! You can flip the hood all the way down to completely cover the baby. It even comes with a pump for the tires! All 4 wheels will steer so it turns super sharp, or you can lock the wheels with a flip of the foot bar and go running. It has shocks. It retails for $500 and we paid... wait for it... $50.

You can tell its a used stroller, the fabric is in great shape, but its faded. There are a few scuffs on the frame. It was quickly decided that this would be Jerad's stroller because there was no way I was going to ever be lugging it in and out of the car. Its very heavy (tho it doesn't feel like it when you're pushing it). Also big. WAY better for the Sorento than my Altima.

Basically this is the stroller we would use for long trips at Disneyland, or trips walking to the grocery store when we need to haul back a bunch of stuff.

So, I kept looking on CL. I decided that what we needed for a lighter weight option was either a Britax, or a Maclaren. Maybe a week later I found this beauty:

The Britax Vigor (in plum). Once again, it fulfilled all of our requirements, plus it was light enough for me to throw around and small enough to fit in my car. Retails for $499 and we paid... $75. The best part? It looks *brand new.* There is not a mark on it. The tires still have the rubber nubs that usually wear off after a few trips. The seat has infinite reclining settings instead of only clicking into 3 or 5 positions. Many people use it as a jogging stroller because it feels so feather light to push and again, the wheels lock. The handle is fully adjustable too which is great for us since we are obvi very different heights.

If you have been to our house in the last 2 months no doubt Jerad has lugged out both strollers and shown you all the "special features." I find this adorable. I also love the fact that we have a thousand dollars worth of strollers for basically what we would have spent on a Graco. I think we might have the Bertini reupholstered to freshen it up. I've found a few sellers on Etsy that will do that and it would look like brand new. Except with awesome fabric. Probably something similar to this:

I LOVE the green with the trees inside the hood! Very chic.

The other thing we are apparently all picky about is car seats. At first we planned on getting one infant seat and 2 bases so switching it between cars would be a piece of cake. Then we realized that really wasn't a well thought out plan because the way it will probably work out is one of us drops off the baby at childcare, and the other picks him up. So the seat would always have to stay with the baby. I'm not very big so lugging around an infant seat has never been "easy" for me. I would much prefer to take the baby out and put him in a wrap or sling and have 2 free hands than try to carry a car seat places.

So, we started looking at convertibles. We'd like to get 2, one for each car so we can just leave them both installed instead of having to switch seats every day. One seat from birth to booster! Piece of cake. Except, its kind of not.... some carseats that say they are for infants (like the Britax), have a 10" minimum strap height. So, even though the seat may be rated for babies as small as 5 lbs, most newborns do NOT have a shoulder height of over 10 inches! Some convertibles have really low rear facing weight limits. You've seen the you tube crash videos right?

Watch this contains crash test footage of a rear-facing seat vs. a forward-facing seat, you will see the HUGE difference it makes on a child:

Here's a good thread too.

So, needless to say we need the car seat to be able to rear face as long as possible, so high weight limit. Yes, we will be the parents with the 3 or 4 year old still rear facing, not the ones the brag about turning around their baby before their one year birthday like its some sort of a milestone to be proud of:)

We've narrowed it down to a few. Car seats are really the only thing we "need" before the baby gets here. We could use more cloth dipes for sure, but I'm holding off on buying them until after the baby showers just in case someone else gets us some.

Um, I probably keep saying this... but if this baby decided to come on my "due date" that's only 8.5 weeks from now. HOLY CRAP. It seems like I was just 6 weeks pregnant like... a month ago.


mrs shortcake said...

Lovely choices!

misguidedmommy said...

go with the convertible! i had the detachable kind with both kids. But with Codi I discovered my Moby and I never pulled it out once. Finally I sold it and got my convertible. I have the Evenflo Triumph. I've had about 9 of them now. One in my car and the hubs and one in parents car, then a second one for brandon in our cars. they were rated the safest on consumer reports and i love love love love them

Paige said...

You are welcome to borrow our infant seat if you want to... it is still in great shape (we only used it for 4 months). That way you can take a little more time to decide what you want to buy.

We have a convertible now though, because Hank gained SO much weight in his firs 4 months, we needed a bigger seat by that time, and I'll be damned if I was going to buy more than 1 more seat! We went with the Alpha Omega Elite because it goes up to 80 lbs.