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Old 08-14-2007, 11:48 AM   #1
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Question Infant "travel systems" - what fits in TSX?

We're expecting our first child and working on selecting all the bazillion things we'll need. We live in a small town, so I have limited options to check out travel systems in person here. I want to narrow down the field before we go in person shopping, so we know where to look.

What infant car seats fit well in the TSX? What about strollers in the trunk? We're not set on a travel system, but that there are a few that seem nice (like Chicco). I'd love to hear any input on what fits and what doesn't, whether separate car seats and strollers or travel systems.

Thanks!

Julia
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:19 PM   #2
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those graco snug rides seem to get pretty high marks for saftey and price. the good thing about those is that some strollers have clips or anchors so you can move the baby from the car right onto your stroller. but stroller adaptability is key. some strollers will only fit their own proprietary baskets/car seats.

my wife and i are in the same boat. she's expecting in december. we're trying to look around for gear.

i think we may go for one of those lighter strollers. any stroller that's kinda like the bugaboo is pretty heavy and big. a friend of our says it's a pain to keep breaking it down and fitting it into their trunk. apparently it's pretty tight and they have an altima.
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:35 PM   #3
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Ahhh, a subject near and dear to my heart. Car seats. As someone in the thick of it ( I have a two year old daughter and a 10 week old son), I have some experience. First off, congrats on the upcoming child. It's an experience that changes everything, all the cliches are true, the hardest job you'll ever love.

We have a TSX and an XC70. Our car seats fit ok in both, not perfect, but fine overall. The baby rides in a Graco Snugride with a base and matching stroller, while the toddler rides in a Britax Roundabout. These are common and frequently chosen seats, and for good reason. They work well, perform well in crash tests and have proven reliability, just like a Honda.

Using a travel system like the Graco is great, the penalty is bulk and weight. With a newborn, the Snugride is invaluable. The baby is often asleep and you do not want to have to unclip him/her everytime you get into/out of the car. If you clip in at home and go shopping at numerous stores, this is huge. The baby can stay in the car seat, you unclip it from the base, put the seat on the top of a shopping carriage (don't worry, they fit fine and are stable) or the matching stroller, and do your errands. If you have to unbuckle and rebuckle for every leg of the trip, you will hate life. Also, if you arrive home and the baby is asleep, you can just leave them in the seat. Both of my children sleep much of the night in the car seat, unbulckled of course. It is just more comfortable for them in the first few months. The upright position provides for better digestion=less gas=less crying=more sleep for you. We have a co-sleeper and a crib, the babies both prefer the car seat. We've tried every combination and position and just stick with what works. All babies are different, you'll have to see what works for you.

The Graco stroller that went with the Snugride, the Metrolite LE, is decent, but it's bulky and heavy. It will eat up trunk space, not as big a deal in the Volvo, more so in the TSX. We have a Combi stroller for the toddler and it's ok, much less weight and bulk, not as many features, somewhwere in between an umbrella stroller and the metrolite. Almost got a Chico, the only thing that held us back on the model we looked at was the overall length when folded. Too long to fit lengthwise along the narrow dimension of the trunk.

The other thing to think about is whether or not to use LATCH, if you have it on your car (TSX does). many guides say use the middle position, however no LATCH in middle only outboard. This requires you to use a LATCH connector for each outboard position. We did it, in fact our local FD installed it that way, it's just not recommneded. lots more to taslk about, no time right now, I can post more if you ewant more info. Just let me know. Good luck and congrats.
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Old 08-14-2007, 1:04 PM   #4
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I currently have a Graco TurboBooster booster seat (with the back in place, for a 3 year old) behind the driver's seat, and a Graco SnugRide system (currently rear facing for a 5 month old) behind the passenger's seat. Rear facing is pretty much the worst case of space hogging, but my wife (5' 2") still fits fine in the front seat. I fit OK (5"6") in there, too, although my ideal position would be further back and more reclined than the current position. When the little one gets big enough that he can sit forward facing, then space will no longer be an issue. The only problem now is with the older kid (and later on, the younger one, too) is the bottoms of her shoes mucking up the back of the driver's seat. I've made covers to protect my seatbacks and that's no longer a problem. There are plenty of seatback protectors out there in stores, but none have them have fit or looked right to me. When buying seatback protectors, like seat covers, be wary that you may be inadvertently inpeding your side airbags.
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Old 08-14-2007, 1:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coastalgirl73
We're expecting our first child and working on selecting all the bazillion things we'll need. We live in a small town, so I have limited options to check out travel systems in person here. I want to narrow down the field before we go in person shopping, so we know where to look.
Congrats, Julia ... life is going to become an adventure for you...!

I wish I could remember what I had, a Graco(?) travel system, it was handy for a whole 6ix months or so, then -- talk about disposable -- the seat was replaced by a Britax Roundabout. (Which I still have, with < 1 years use on it -- due to separation and divorce, it was a second seat for my Jeep. If you want to buy it used, PM me, I'll send you pics and make you a good deal.)

I am a confirmed Britax fan -- they seem to have the safest and best made of the seats.

The Graco stroller broke a little linch pin when, okay don't laugh, the ex rolled over it with the minivan. (NO, my daughter wasn't in it.) The tragedy was that to repair/replace this defective component, they wanted the whole thing shipped back to them, at a cost of $150-200. Buttheads.

Whatever "travel system" you get, get one with GOOD WHEELS. Little itty bitty hard wheels are a beach to get around with. Get big, rubber wheels, easier for curbs and bumps. Lotsa storage is good too. If you test drive in a store, take it down and walk with it for five minutes, to ensure the handle will be comfy.

Rather than give you second hand info, I'd suggest you get the online subscription to ConsumerReports.com, and check their ratings and reviews. For less than the price of dinner (for the family ), you can get dependable ratings on everything you're thinking of buying -- strollers, cribs (if you don't co-sleep, which I heartily recommend), toys, etc.

Some of these things you can buy used with confidence if it's not too old, too gross with old stains, or clearly been abused. Seats/strollers with easily washed covers are neat-o. Prices for some of this brand spanking new is obscene. ... Again, if you're interested in my old Britax, PM me.
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Old 08-14-2007, 1:09 PM   #6
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We used the Graco MetroLite LE system and loved it. (Bought extra bases for each of our vehicles - being able to completely prep baby while still inside the house and just drop it into the base is priceless. Also nice being able to remove the baby from the car without waking it.) Nice and light weight and compact, for a system at least. We also used a Combi Citi stroller (capable as a system, but we only used it as a stoller) - works well for a very compact and light stroller, but I'm not sure it'd be sturdy enough as a system for my tastes.
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Old 08-14-2007, 1:27 PM   #7
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First off, congrats on your upcomming arrival. Our son was born October 2005, at that time i had a 2004 TSX, my wife had a Volvo S60.

We went with the Peg Pliko P3 stroller and matching infant carrier with 2 LATCH ready bases, one per car. I really liked the Peg system, it fit well into both cars, but I always felt like the base was rocking too far back. There was a lev-o gauge on the base, and we were always in the green zone, but it was close.

The only argument I could make for not getting an infant carrier and only a carseat is this: The carrier gets linked to a base unit that uses the LATCH system which is great, but when you attach the actual carrier you do not hook up the rear facing tether anchor. So basically, the unit is stable side to side, but can easily rock front to back (if you were to get rear-ended, the carrier would slam against the back seat). If you were to get a carseat and have it rear-facing, you use the latch system and the tether anchor and the seat becomes much more stable. Like I said, we went with the base and carrier for all the reasons mentioned previously, but I do not think this is as stable of a set-up as a regular carseat.

Now we have a Britax roundabout in one car( my TL-S) and the Marathon in my wife's car (Rx330). I like the roundabout much better.

Random Comments: My wife is much happier in an SUV than her Volvo S60 or my old TSX. It is much easier to get the infant/toddler in an SUV than a car. A lot less bending and twisting in the SUV.

Good luck!
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Old 08-14-2007, 1:31 PM   #8
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Congrats!

we had an Eddie Bauer Travel System and it would fit in the TSX without any problems.

we have a NAVI so the DVD box in the rear was an issue at first but we were able to get it in there after a few attempts of what directions to put it in and from there on out we were fine.
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Old 08-14-2007, 1:58 PM   #9
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wife and I have the Graco set up, but I have the medium sized Graco stroller and that consumes my entire trunk! Well not all of it, but with the navi DVD hanging down it gets stuck in the front of the trunk. But the Graco works well, and when our child was a newborn it worked just fine on the middle hump, but now he's 7 months and likes to move around back there so the middle hump lets him slide a bit left or right, I am contemplating to put him in the back passenger seat instead of the middle hump.

What I can say though, is in a few months he's gettin a Recaro baby seat WOOT!!!!!! lol
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Old 08-14-2007, 2:23 PM   #10
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Congratulations!

When my son was an infant, we used a Graco Snugride base/infant seat and got a Graco Snugrider Frame Stroller rather than a travel system. The frame stroller has no seat itself, it only fits the snugride infant seat. This makes is much lighter and easier to fit in the car. Definitely recommended.

Now that my son is older, we use an Evenflo Titan car seat (CR rated it highly last year). It's definitely takes a lot of space rear-facing, but now that he's front facing life (and front-seat room) is much better. For a stroller we use an aluminum-framed Combi stroller that folds up small and is real light. Doesn't have much of a storage net down below, but rides pretty well.

The TSX is pretty flexible when it comes to car seats. You shouldn't have much issue.

Good luck.
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Old 08-14-2007, 4:35 PM   #11
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Thanks for the input! I'm most concerned about space for the seat while rear-facing. I'm 5' 8", but long-legged, so have my seat set quite far back. My husband is 6' 3".

Anyone have experience with the Britax Companion (the infant-only Britax)?

I am pretty sure that we couldn't take a year of driving with one of the large Britaxes rear-facing. They are so big, it seems like our legroom would be miniscule.
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Old 08-14-2007, 5:37 PM   #12
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Only my $0.02, but don't spend beaucoup Britax money on a infant seat. Get one of the travel systems as being able to move baby from car base to stroller base is a Big Plus.

Why: my own experience was that the infant seat was only good for Lillian for a few months. I have to remember that she was born big, 11 lbs, though. As you get closer to D-Day, you'll have some idea. Even though the infant seat was only used for a while, the stroller lasted longer, so the "travel system" was chosen based on stroller quality. The Britax took over when she outgrew the infant seat, and two of them (one for each vehicle, Mommy's and Daddy's) served until she was much older and ready for Parkway toddler booster, which is super.

I wouldn't pick either seat based on size and legroom left up front. A seat which "fits better" might not keep Baby at the right angle (Britaxes are adjustable.). Baby comes first. Get the best seat. If you visit www.britax,com, they have their manuals online you can double-check.

Are you getting the drift that I'm a Britax snob? They're not hard to put in, muther-luvving secure, and have some safety/protection features that other brands don't. I'm up to $0.04 now, aren't I?
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Old 08-14-2007, 7:01 PM   #13
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Have any of you had a baby seat and a pet in the back? My dog already takes up the back seat, laying flat out. When we do have a child I'm wondering how we could fit both in there safely. I know there are some pet restraints but do they hold the dogs in so they can't reach over to the other side where the child is?
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Old 08-14-2007, 7:42 PM   #14
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^^^^ Can you fold down the one seat and allow the pooch to stay in the trunk and poke his head out into the car cabin? I've done that before with our 80lb yellow lab....
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Old 08-14-2007, 8:28 PM   #15
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we use the Chicco travel system. Its lime green and grey. The carseat is behind the passenger seat and it fits fine. We do have to move the passenger seat up a little.

We tried two other carseats (Viaggio and Safeseat) they were both too big for the back. You really had to move the seat up. My wife is 5'8 and she is fine in the passenger seat. I'm 6'0 and I feel like the passenger seat is a little closer to the dash then where I have the driver seat but just a smidge.

So the chicco works for us. Also the matching stroller fits in the trunk nicely. So the chicco system works in the TSX.
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Old 08-14-2007, 9:02 PM   #16
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I'll recommend a Graco Snugride system...

Pros: Install a base in each vehicle and you'll never worry (until you change seats) if the seat is installed right. Every reinstallation is a chance to make a mistake. CR highly rates the system. Comfortable seats that kids love to fall asleep in.

Cons: Most rear facing Graco's will require installation behind passenger seat if the driver is over about 5' 4" or so, the passenger space left is usable by a 6' 0" rider, but not confortable over about 5' 4" due to leg room issues. Strollers for systems will consume the trunk, period. Most are only rated up to 22 to 25 pounds.

When moving up in weight class to a convertible seat, the Evenflo Titan and Triumph are both great choices and good values (about 130 and 90). Even better, as noted, forward facing is OK in the TSX...rear facing is just like the Snugride system.
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Old 08-14-2007, 9:02 PM
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