Last year around Dexter's first birthday I began noticing he was getting to big for his car seat. My first thought was that I would just get him one of those cheap ones from s big box store. My second thought was, Why are those other ones so expensive anyways? So I decided to do some research. I mean after all why you don't know CAN hurt you, or in this case your kiddos, Right? What I found out was amazing. I wish It was more known. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least 72% of the 3,500 observed child vehicle safety restraints were being used incorrectly. When that happens, the risk that the child will suffer an injury or more severe injury rises even more. NHTSA estimates that a properly installed and used child safety seat lowers a child's risk of death by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to 4. And rear facing kids have a much greater chance of surviving a car crash than forward facing. (For more information I have found this website to be the best. http://www.car-safety.org/rearface.html) All of this got me thinking. Maybe those $40 seats aren't made as well as those with a higher price tag. I may be frugal but I will spend a lot of money to keep my kids safe. I never want to be the reason any of them are hurt. After doing a lot of research on car seats I chose this one, for three main reasons.
More after the jump
The first was the amount of side impact protection it offers. When I got it last year it offered way more side impact protection than any other car seat available. According to Recaro "RECARO Side Impact Protection Protects 5 vulnerable areas of your child during a side impact collision.
RECARO developed and optimized side impact protection for race car seats in the 1990's then quickly adapted our expertise to set a new standard for premium child safety seats"
The first thing I noticed different about this seat was the head wings were huge! Which to me is a good thing. It means my childs head and face will be well protected in a car crash. Not many seats out there can say they will protect your kids face in a car crash. They also protect the head in side impact crashes. For the rest of the side impact facts visit this web site http://www.recaro-cs.com/us/product/convertibles/recaro-proride.html#c92928.
The second was simple, the Recaro pro ride meets, and EXCEEDS all U.S. federal regulations for safety. Also there is no U.S. side impact testing standard requirement. RECARO submits our child safety restraints for side impact testing through the ADAC. The ProRIDE passes ADAC side impact testing standards. So this was another plus. It shows that the company goes beyond what is required to keep your child safe. I hated when I would look up a seat and there was no side impact testing to be found. To me that would be the scariest crash to get into. One on the side where you child was sitting. Although at the time I did still have him in the middle seat.
The third reason was probably the hardest thing to find in a car seat. A year ago I could not find height limits on seats. All I could find was weight, and since Dexter is a skinny mini but tall he was never going to meet the 40lb rear facing limit some of these seats had. He would out grow them in height first. He needed a seat that was as tall as him. So I set out on a mission to find the seat with the tallest rear facing limit. That's how I found the RECARO pro ride. It's rear facing limits are 22.5 inches seated height or 1 inch from the top. Or 35lbs.
So now you know why I bought the seat I bought. Wanna know how it did? Here is my review.
When it arrived it came already assembled! However the infant insert was not in the box. After reading I found out if you want that part and one other you had to call and request it. I think it should have come with it. All I had to do was take it out of the box and put it in my car. That is how I like things. The manual was super easy to read and very clear. It had a lot of pictures, the only thing slightly confusing was the pictures of the LATCH system to me they should have been taken from further back because they were hard to understand where exactly you were supposed to be threading it. I went online and found a lot of people had this problem. Once I read the manual I began installing it.
It was super easy to install! I think it only took me about ten minutes. The only hard part was getting the straps tight enough. I ended up sitting in his seat so I could put enough pressure on it and tightening them as I sat there. It also had clips to lock the belt in place which was a nice added feature. I did it first with the seat belt and that was really easy. Next I took the seat belt off (you are not supposed to do both the LATCH and a seat belt) The latch was also easy. It has different hooks than our infant seat, and they look like little claws you just snap right on. My infant seat has hooks and they can be really hard to get on and off.
Next came the hard part, putting Dexter in. First I had him in the middle and it was really hard to get him in. But I am sure that is true with any seat. Then I put his seat behind the drivers seat and it was much easier to use than the middle. He fit great! His legs did touch the back of the seat but as I read that would not hurt him in an accident. He had a good amount of leg room and he really liked being in his big boy seat.
The 5 point harness system was easy to use. I like that it has pockets you can put the buckles in while you are getting the kid in the seat so they stay out of the way. I do wish however that it had an adjustable bottom belt (the one in his crotch area) It just is to tight on him. I don't like that. Or if it was further up that would be great too.
It fit great in our little SUV. I had plenty of room and so did my husband from the drivers seat. There was enough room back there that we could use the other two seats still.We have also put it in a van and car and it fits well in both of those. Although whenever we put it in a car we have to use the middle seat.
CAR SEAT SPECS:
Rear facing weight range (lbs.) 5-35
Forward facing weight range (lbs.) 20-70
Height range (in.) <50
Seat weight (lbs.) 21
Base width (in.) 14.5
Overall width (in.) 19
Shell height (in.) 25
Overall height (in.) 27.5
LATCH connectors Push-On
Harness adjustment External
Recline level indicator type Line
Recline level indicator position One Side
Multiple recline positions Yes
For more information please visit their website http://www.recaro-cs.com/us/product/convertibles/recaro-proride.html#c99305
Lots of safety features.
Fits easily in small SUV and van
Easy to install
Tall height range for rear facing
Large weight range for Rear facing
Pretty colors to choose from
The head rest adjusts up and down and your child gets bigger
The bottom seat belt connector could be further up
Hard to clean
This is Dexter at 1 year in the back of a sedan.