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  1. #1
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    Question Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    Hi everyone,

    I've been looking through the forums for a bit now and still just can't make up my mind; if this has been answered anywhere else before I would be grateful for a pointer.

    Our son is 8 months old now and pretty tall but not big. I'm looking for a better convertible seat that fulfills these criteria:

    - good or very good actual crash rating
    - EPS foam
    - high weight and body height limit for rear facing
    - free from serious handling issues
    - if possible with all that ticked: affordable

    Any input highly appreciated!

    As a separate question: Why is there seemingly little information available about how the various seats actually perform in crash tests? Just the fact that they are certified doesn't really say much at all, as different seats do have very different performance, even if they are all at least good enough to be certified. If there's any good information in that regard, again I appreciate any pointers!

    Cheers,

    Matt

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  3. #2
    Carseat Crazy heyruthie's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattTh View Post

    As a separate question: Why is there seemingly little information available about how the various seats actually perform in crash tests? Just the fact that they are certified doesn't really say much at all, as different seats do have very different performance, even if they are all at least good enough to be certified. If there's any good information in that regard, again I appreciate any pointers!
    I think, if I understand correctly, it's because the only "published" crash-test data (other than from NHTSA, if it either passes or does not) is self-report from the manufacturers themsleves, and is thus A) spotty and B) sometimes comparing apples to oranges, because different comanies, even IF they publish their data, might test differently, etc.

    Most of the biggest companies do not publish their data, in my understanding, so you have very little to compare to for the ones that DO. That's just what I have come to understand....
    Ruth--Mommy to 4: Dominic, 10; Jacob, 8; Joy, 6, Gloria, 3.5. My babies are growing up!

  4. #3
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattTh View Post
    - good or very good actual crash rating
    Crash test ratings aren't published, so we can't help you there.

    - EPS foam
    The Scenera doesn't have any foam. I think the Tribute doesn't have foam. Otherwise I think all convertibles out there have foam nowadays.

    - high weight and body height limit for rear facing
    Ok, finally an easy one. LOL You'll want something with a 35 pound limit. Tall shelled seats (height limits are irrelevant, they're outgrown rear facing by weight limit or when there's less than 1" of shell above the head) include the Learning Curive True Fit, the Sunshine Kids Radian, the Evenflo Triumph Advance, and the Britax Marathon and Boulevard.

    - free from serious handling issues
    Of the seats I just named, the Radian is the most difficult to install. Otherwise they're all pretty easy to install and use.

    - if possible with all that ticked: affordable
    Evenflo Triumph Advance: $140-$180
    Learning Curve True Fit: $190
    Sunshine Kids Radian: $219
    Britax Marathon: $280
    Britax Boulevard: $310.

    As a separate question: Why is there seemingly little information available about how the various seats actually perform in crash tests? Just the fact that they are certified doesn't really say much at all, as different seats do have very different performance, even if they are all at least good enough to be certified. If there's any good information in that regard, again I appreciate any pointers!
    There are no data out there about the seats. The Radian releases its scores, but that's it. It's a pass fail system. We don't know if some do better in testing than others. We would think so, but we have no way to know. Unless the standards change and everyone is required to release their data we'll never know.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  5. #4
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    There is no "actual crash rating" available because (other than Sunshine Kids) manufacturers don't publish them, and they are not required to by law. It's a pass/fail test, and everything on the market passed.

    What do you consider "affordable?" What features do you like? (Lockoffs? Ability to rear-facing tether?)

    Here are the generally most-recommended seats available under $200 that have EPS or EPP foam, from cheapest to most expensive:

    -Safety 1st Avenue, about $80. Rear-faces to 35 lbs., forward-faces to 40, 16.5-ish inch top slots.
    -Evenflo Triumph Advance, different trim levels available, ranging from about $135-$170. Rear-faces to 35 lbs., forward-faces to 50. Top harness height I'm blanking on, I think it's about 16 inches?
    -First Years True Fit, around $170-$200. Rear-faces to 35 lbs. and forward-faces to 65, with top slots of about 17 inches. Has lockoffs for easier install.

    I'm leaving the Radian 65 off the list because it can be a difficult install in some cars and you wanted to avoid that.

    The prices on many of those seats can be brought down further with coupon codes and deals that you can check for in the Shopping and Deals section, you can often find codes there or at retailmenot.com for different retailers.

    Oh, and the Recaro Como is also available for less than $200 right now, but some people don't love it for rear-facing because it has such high sides it can be hard to get the kid in and leaves less room for their legs (I don't mind the leg thing since my kid throws hers off the sides anyway, but the sides can be an issue in some cars.)
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born 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!

  6. #5
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    Quote Originally Posted by heyruthie View Post
    I think, if I understand correctly, it's because the only "published" crash-test data (other than from NHTSA, if it either passes or does not) is self-report from the manufacturers themsleves, and is thus A) spotty and B) sometimes comparing apples to oranges, because different comanies, even IF they publish their data, might test differently, etc.
    Actually all carseats must test to FMVSS 213 (that's Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards). So the testing is standard across companies. However, it is tested within the company. They get in massive trouble if the NHTSA comes along behind and finds they've not been testing to standards. And that costs them money, so they try not to do that.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  7. #6
    CPS Technician emandbri's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    The tribute now has foam but pretty low top harness slots.

    here is list of seats that have foam and ones that don't.

    http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.p...ist+seats+foam

    If it isn't too much to spend I would go with the triumpth advanced. Keep in mind it goes to 50 lbs and most kids would be able to go from it to a booster.

    If that is too much I would go with the avenue. Just keep in mind that it only goes to 40 lbs so it is possible that you would have to buy another harness seat after and then a booster.

    Emily tech and mom to Jacob 16, Daniel 13, Benjamin 9, Elizabeth 6. Child care provider to 4 other kiddos.

  8. #7
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    I don't think "most" kids would be able to go from the ETA to a booster. I think "many" would. I think "most" kids would be able to go from a True Fit to a booster, but not necessarily the ETA. (Not all, note, but most. And the OP said his kid is tall and skinny, which makes it even less likely he'd last by height in the ETA, or even the True Fit.)
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born 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
    CPS Technician emandbri's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    When Jen tried her boys in it she thought they were about the same.

    http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=55415

    I haven't tried kids in it to see the how high the top slots were, I was going by her findings.

    Emily tech and mom to Jacob 16, Daniel 13, Benjamin 9, Elizabeth 6. Child care provider to 4 other kiddos.

  10. #9
    CPS Fanatic Mommy2Marcus's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    My top two suggestions would be for either the TrueFit (TF) or Evenflo Triumph Advance (EFTA). I own both. I have a shorter kid on my hands & he still fits GREAT RF in the EFTA. However for a taller kid, then I would look more into the TF. It has a MUCH taller shell than the EFTA as well as a higher weight limit for FF. Here are a couple of pics of my son RF in both the EFTA & the TF taken within a month of each other.

    EFTA: About 22ish Months


    TF: 23ish Months


    You can see he has a little more room in the TF than the EFTA.
    Krista Mommy 2 Marcus, 6 years old, 48 inches tall, 40-42lbs, 16 inch torso & riding in a Graco Safety Surround!!

  11. #10
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    Quote Originally Posted by emandbri View Post
    When Jen tried her boys in it she thought they were about the same.

    http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=55415

    I haven't tried kids in it to see the how high the top slots were, I was going by her findings.
    I guess maybe it was the way they installed in her car? When I've measured and put my kids in them in the store, I've gotten about an inch more from the TF than the EFTA. And others have gotten similar measurements to what I have.

    An inch can be a few months but it can be a year in growth, and I know from experience, having skinny tall kids, an inch can be a big difference.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born 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!

  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy heyruthie's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    for the record, I'm shopping for BOTH an EFTA (Evenflo Triumph Advance) and a True Fit right now (different cars, different needs, different kids)--BOTH awesome seats! The EFTA is definitely easier to find more cheaply. Right now, it's at my Baby Depot/Burlington for $119. Last week it was online for $106 (no tax, free shipping.) The True fit is going to put me back at least $50-$75 more than that, almost across the board :-) Just thought I'd mention that, if cost is a real biggie. We love our current EFTA.
    Ruth--Mommy to 4: Dominic, 10; Jacob, 8; Joy, 6, Gloria, 3.5. My babies are growing up!

  13. #12
    Carseat Crazy heyruthie's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    Quote Originally Posted by wendytthomas View Post
    Actually all carseats must test to FMVSS 213 (that's Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards). So the testing is standard across companies. However, it is tested within the company. They get in massive trouble if the NHTSA comes along behind and finds they've not been testing to standards. And that costs them money, so they try not to do that.

    Wendy
    Thank you for clarifying that! I actually didn't realize that, since I used to work at NHTSA, and NHTSA does the actual tests on the cars--not the auto manufacturers.....very, very interesting.....although I thought for sure that NHTSA did some of its own testing on the seats as well (but, honestly, maybe that's not supposed to be public knowledge).....the "carseat guy" (America's #1 carseat guru at NHTSA) was actually just 1 cube/office away from me. He was a hoot!--crazy dude with a tiny office, jammed with carseats to the ceilings. But it was before I had kids, so I wasn't NEARLY as "into" the carseats then
    Ruth--Mommy to 4: Dominic, 10; Jacob, 8; Joy, 6, Gloria, 3.5. My babies are growing up!

  14. #13
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    The NHTSA does occasionally do testing on seats. And if they find one in violation, uh oh! But the bulk of the testing, and when people talk about if seats pass or fail, is done by the manufacturers.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  15. #14
    Senior Community Member jujumum's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    I just bought a Fisher Price Safe Voyage Deluxe (made by Britax and similar to a MA or DC, but with a different base and no rf tether, no lockoffs) for only $109 delivered, and I'm so happy with it. The fabric is a little unusual, but is actually more padded than my DC and BV. The DOM is August 2007 (edited), but I knew that before I purchased and my ds will likely out grow it by height before it expires anyway.

    BTW, unfortunately it only goes up to 33lbs rf, not to 35lbs as some others.
    Last edited by jujumum; 04-08-2009 at 08:14 PM. Reason: added rf weight; fixed wrong DOM Year

    Lisa
    DD2 - 9 yrs,, TB lbb/Affix, DS2 - 7 yrs, Chicco Kitfit, TBSS Affix
    DD1 & DS1 safely using adult seat belts (18 yrs & 15 yrs)

  16. #15
    Senior Community Member Ahzryn's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    Quote Originally Posted by jujumum View Post
    The DOM is August 1997...
    You meant 2007, maybe? The seat wasn't made in 1997, and it would be really REALLY expired if so!
    Tam
    Mom to two long-torsoed girls and one boy!



  17. #16
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    Quote Originally Posted by jujumum View Post
    I just bought a Fisher Price Safe Voyage Deluxe (made by Britax and similar to a MA or DC, but with a different base and no rf tether, no lockoffs) for only $109 delivered, and I'm so happy with it. The fabric is a little unusual, but is actually more padded than my DC and BV. The DOM is August 1997, but I knew that before I purchased and my ds will likely out grow it by height before it expires anyway.

    BTW, unfortunately it only goes up to 33lbs rf, not to 35lbs as some others.
    Um, you mean the DOM is 2007, right?

    Crosspost
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  18. #17
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    Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    Hi again,

    firstly: Thanks everyone for your knowledgeable feedback and input, you don't know how much I appreciate it!

    I have worked through your info and thoughts, and have narrowed it down to four seats I think. About these, I have some more questions - for forum readability, I'll open a new thread for this, as it becomes quite a different topic.

    It would be great if you could follow me over to the new thread "Final questions: Triump Advance / True Fit / Zento / Tribute" and find some time to help me get to the final decision.

    Thanks HEAPS!

    Cheers,

    Matt

  19. #18
    Senior Community Member jujumum's Avatar
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    Red face Re: Affordable Convertible with EPS Foam and Good Crash Rating?

    Doh!!!

    2007 DOM on the FPSVD.


    Lisa
    DD2 - 9 yrs,, TB lbb/Affix, DS2 - 7 yrs, Chicco Kitfit, TBSS Affix
    DD1 & DS1 safely using adult seat belts (18 yrs & 15 yrs)

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