What I Learned From A Free Car Seat Check

Houston Moms Blog is thrilled to partner with Graco to provide relevant and important information on car seat safety to our readers through this sponsored post. We hope it provides valuable info for your family too!

Like many of you, when my baby was born, we couldn’t bring him home until we had proof of an installed car seat. Look at that little peanut!

Houston Car Seat Check | Houston Moms Blog

I blinked an eye and BOOM. He’s nearly 1 year old, and I’m teetering from being off-balance… Both literally and figuratively! I’ve got a 30+ lb 2-year-old on one hip and a 22 lb baby in a 17 lb infant car seat looped around my other arm. The day that I was stuck in a doorway with a crying toddler and screaming infant was when I realized it was time for both of them to be in a convertible car seat.

While I do like the convertible car seat that we have for our oldest, it’s a bit bulky – so I was open to new options. I had heard good things about our sponsors at Graco and their Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Car Seat. Not only could it support rear-facing for a long time, it will grow with my child up until he is in a booster seat. In fact, because of a 3-extension panel, there is 5 inches of extra legroom, which means comfort for my boy and a peace of mind for me.  I was thrilled to get our hands on one for my second born’s upgrade, especially since it’s competitively priced compared to other convertibles. The frugal and lazy part of me rejoiced in the fact that this will be the LAST car seat that my kid will have! 

But hold on. Just because this is his last car seat doesn’t mean that he’s going to be out of it anytime soon. Ideally, children should be rear-facing until the age of 2 {regardless of weight}, in a car seat until about 4 years old, and in a booster seat upwards to 12 years. With the Simply Safe Adjust Harness System, the headrest and harness move to 10 different positions for my growing boy. My kid is going to be in his Graco for a looooong time! Wow, how times have changed since we were kids! This chart was distributed at the car seat checks, and it’s a mighty great reference. 

We’ve been dealing with car seat installations for over 2 years now, but hadn’t gotten out to an official car seat check. When I heard about the super convenient free checks and installations around town hosted by Safe Kids Greater Houston, of course I had to go. It’s free! So off to the Far West Target we went…

Houston Car Seat Check | Houston Moms Blog

The technicians helped us install the new car seat and also checked the one already in our car. Each car seat check took less than 30 minutes, and it was well worth the time.

Here’s a few things that I learned from the experts…

The lower anchor has a 40 lb weight limit.

Houston Car Seat Check | Houston Moms Blog
My little helper wanted in on the action with the lower anchors!

Being the oldest of 4, I remember car seats being cumbersome to install while looping the seat belt every which way. With modern car seats, hallelujah for the easy lower anchor latches that snap into place!  However, I did not know that those have a weight limit of 40 lbs. Basically, the average 3 year old and older in any car seat needs reinforcement that’s in addition to the lower anchors. And can we just give praise to the easy-to-read level indicator? That way I can be secure in knowing it’s absolutely installed correctly. Plus the Fuss-Free Harness Storage holds the buckle out of the way, so it’s so much easier to get my little man in and out – absolutely key when I am dealing with our “little helper” as well. 

Use the top tether strap!

Houston Car Seat Check | Houston Moms Blog

Confession :: I had no idea this thing existed. I just googled how to use the lower anchors, watched a YouTube video, and called it a day. The tether strap plays a crucial role in further securing forward-facing car seats but because it was tucked away in a compartment, I had no idea that it was there nor what its function was. The technicians kindly showed us where the top tether was for both seats and anchored the toddler’s car seat for us. And with the “InRight” Latch System on our Graco seat, it’s a legit one second latch attachment. All the amens for us moms, amiright?

The 1” Wiggle…

After installing car seats in the past, I always wondered what was considered a secure installation. I basically tugged at the straps until there was no give. Well, that is diminished returns and not needed. The technician explained to us that 1” of wiggle when the car seat is shaken is a good margin. Once the installation was complete, I was thrilled to discover that the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Car Seat has a STEEL reinforced frame, providing for durability and strength for up to 10 years of use. 

Houston Car Seat Check | Houston Moms Blog
Enjoying the upgrade to the Graco Extend2Fit!

While the event is not as convenient as a YouTube video in the comfort of your driveway, it’s definitely worth your child’s safety to take a trip out to any of the upcoming free car seat checks around town…Big thanks to Target Far West Houston for hosting such a fabulous event with informative technicians who are keeping my kids SAFE!

September 16th :: Friendswood Babies R Us :: 18182 Gulf Freeway :: 10am – 1pm

September 20th :: Cypress Babies R Us :: 380 FM 1960 W :: 4pm – 7pm

September 24 :: Houston Community College :: 5601 West Loop South :: 9am – 12pm

September 29 :: Willowbrook Babies R Us :: 17776 State Hwy. 249, Suite 1 :: 4pm – 7pm

For more information, check Safe Kids Greater Houston’s website at http://www.safekidsgreaterhouston.org/

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Kristine grew up in Houston where she met her husband Richard. The high school sweethearts welcomed their daughter Kara {2014} after naturally overcoming infertility. Sixteen months later, their son Ray {2015} joined their family. She balances the allergy mom life as well as a full-time job at an oil & gas supermajor where she is the queen of PowerPoint. Her Houston roots run deep with her Bachelors degree from the University of Houston and MBA from Rice University. Kristine loves traveling, good food, and experiencing all things H-town with family and friends, especially drinks {bars, breweries, boutique coffee shops!}, museums, and of course, BEYONCÉ. You can follow her adventures on vu hu life, Instagram and Twitter {@vuhulife}.


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