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  1. #1
    George_unregistred
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    Question Need advice on convertible car seat decision

    Hi there,
    hopefully someone can help me with my issue:
    We're about to take our son on vacation to Florida, he'll be 20months then and is quite small and light (29" and 20lbs @ 13mths)
    Being from Germany, we'll be using CARES for the flight to the US, but as EU-Car seats are not allowed in the US and vice versa, we'll need a car seat for the rental car. Based on all the horror stories regarding rental car seats, and being quite pricey, driving around with one of those the entire stay is not an option.
    I know, that AAA-Members are eligable for a complimentary seat when renting a car from Hertz, but I guess they're also not really a safe option (anyone any experience? better than Alamo/National/whatsoever, or all pretty much the same). Nevertheless, we need to get from the airport with the kid secured in the rental car...leaving mommy and son at MCO while I race to a Walmart, install the seat and drive back is not really an option after a long international flight with the immigration hussle in ATL and actually travelling 6hrs back in time...making it 2am arrival time for us (guess that can be very interesting with the kid anyway).

    Also, we plan to take the seat with us back on the plane and use it for further flights, at least from/to the US using US-airlines (foreign airlines are pretty picky when it comes to carseats...everyone emphasizes safety but then they start all the exclusions: "must fit between armrests (16.5")", must fit on 17"x 17", "has to be FF while entire flight" "can be used RF while taxi, take-off and landing but has to be FF while flight because of interfering with the reclineability of the seat in front" and so on...)

    Long story short:
    We're looking for a RF carseat/convertible which can be used in RF as long as possible, booster mode is not really of interest, as long as we can't use it on the plane (as far as I understand, CRS are only allowed when using a 5-pt-harness?)
    Seat should be comfy, (ideally multi-) reclinable and have cupholder(s) (can a 2yr-old use them or are they just for older kids?)
    IF there is a seat, which might meet those stricter regulations e.g. width less than 17", that would be of high interest, as we could use that seat on other flights as well (but from all I've found, I doubt it a bit)
    Price is a factor, but not a big one...of course we prefer a bargain over an overpriced fancy seat (who doesn't), but if the price is reasonable for what we get regarding safety and comfort it's fine for us.

    And: If you have any ideas/recommendations on how to handle the first drive from airport to vacation home, please let me know...what would you do? Take a rental seat for the first night and then get a new one the next day? (how would that work with the rental company? book an overnight car and then book another without the seat for the rest of the stay?)


    any feedback is highly welcome

    best regards

    George

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  3. #2
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Hartford County, CT
    Posts
    681

    Re: Need advice on convertible car seat decision

    If you did bring a seat with you that was usable on the plane, you could get away with using it in a car in the US as well. I don’t think we have heard of anyone getting busted for using a European seat while vacationing elsewhere.

    Unless you got a US seat shipped to you in Germany and used it on the flight, it would indeed be difficult to have a safe seat to use when leaving the airport.

    The only other option I can think of is that I have heard Uber Family drivers are taught to use and install a particular child restraint they carry with them. It is a forward facing seat with a lower weight limit of 22 pounds, so your child should fit in it by the time you travel. Perhaps one adult could drive the rental car and the other take the Uber with the child, then you could run out and get a seat in the morning.
    -Reta
    Former CPST
    Mom of V, born 6/2014, FF in a Pioneer and Boulevard G4
    G dog, rescued 6/2016, in a belted SturdiBag

  4. #3
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    L.A. area
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    20,345

    Re: Need advice on convertible car seat decision

    A bit of a pain but if you could find someone in the city to ship a seat ahead to, they might be willing to meet you at the airport with it (especially if you cover their gas and throw in an extra $20 for their trouble.) Or, if there's a hotel at the airport, if you call and talk to a manager they may be willing to have a package shipped there and held for you for a small fee. Another option is to have a friend in the States ship a seat ahead to you, though that can get expensive.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, arriving May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  5. #4
    George_Unregistered
    Guest

    Re: Need advice on convertible car seat decision

    Our German seats are not approved for planes, one is using the isofix system, which is somehow comparable to the latch system but without the use of any belt, and the other requires lower anchors in front of the seat, meaning that we had to thread belts through the passenger seat.
    That's why we plan to use CARES as a compromise.

    I somehow like the idea of having a seat shipped to the nearest hotel, maybe this could be a option with a little reimbursement to them for the service.

    What would you recommend seatwise? I swing back and forth between a really comfy and bulk one (as long as I can use it on a plane) and a travel friendly one which probably is not that comfy but I tend more to the big ones like extend2fit or the like. I read a lot about the scenera but I somehow doubt that they can really be comfortable, with no adjustable recline and so on.

    What's your experience, as I can just judge by reports and pictures?

  6. #5
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    L.A. area
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    20,345

    Re: Need advice on convertible car seat decision

    I used a Scenera as a daily rider for 2 years and my kid never complained- that's really individual though.

    I wouldn't want to fly with an Extend2Fit because it's wide to sit next to.

    Maybe split the difference and look at something like a Graco Contender? It's lighter than the largest seats and narrower to sit next to, but longer lasting and with some more comfort features. It's still compact in a vehicle and easy to install. It kind of sits in the middle in every way including price.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, arriving May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  7. #6
    George_Unregistered
    Guest

    Re: Need advice on convertible car seat decision

    Guess you're right, something in the middle would make more sense. (Though I really like those big bulky seats, they look so comfy)

    From your experience, how important is the recline option? Somehow I feel like I want it, but I'm not sure, if I really need it. The Contender has none, but the Sequel would provide, I think 6
    Pricewise it's not that big difference, but I'm not sure, if that recline option and the additional cupholder is worth the hassle at the plane

  8. #7
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Re: Need advice on convertible car seat decision

    The recline is just a convenience feature to get the correct install angle, really. If you need more recline in the vehicle on a seat with a non-adjustable recline you just use a rolled up towel underneath.

    Additional cupholder isn't a big deal either IME, they only use one most of the time, if they use it at all, anyway and it makes it wider to sit next to.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, arriving May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  9. #8
    George_Unregistered
    Guest

    Re: Need advice on convertible car seat decision

    We were able to resolve the problem with the rentalcar, as we found a used Scenera Next here in Germany. We'll use that one for (hopefully) the inbound flights and the first days and deceide then, whether we buy a new, more comfy one or just stick with the Scenera.

    Thanks for all your help and information.

    George

  10. #9
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    L.A. area
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    Re: Need advice on convertible car seat decision

    Is the person you're getting it from someone you'd trust with your child's life, to have told you the truth about use, care, etc? Did you ask how it has been cleaned, stored, whether it's been crashed or checked on a plane?
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, arriving May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

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