Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review: Recaro ProSPORT Car Seat

Choosing a car seat is a big deal - they are expensive, everyone has an opinion, you don't know how fast or slow your child will grow, and you have to make sure you buy one that fits your car.

More than anything though, we want our kids to be safe when they are in our cars. That is the main reason we put so much effort into choosing the best car seat we can afford. I know that I spent a lot of time researching car seats online before I ever set foot in a store to buy one. I read reviews, posted messages on forums, and checked out consumer magazines. In other words, I took it as seriously as any other parent.

We've had really good luck with the seats I choose. The girls both started out in a bucket seat (a Graco Quatro Tour) before moving into a rear-facing convertible seat (the Evenflow Triumph Advance). And now they are both forward facing in convertible seats. 

Several weeks ago I received a Recaro ProSPORT car seat (in Hanna) to review. I knew it was coming and was reasonably certain we'd like it based on the research I did online. Also, I drive a 2008 Swagger Wagon so I wasn't too worried about the seat being too big for my van even though I had read this is a large seat.

Warning - This review is longer than most because I want to cover as much of this seat as possible to help other mo
ms decide if it is right for them. Choosing a car seat is a personal decision that needs to be based on what fits in your car the best. Ultimately, the seat that is installed correctly is the safest seat.

First Impression: While it isn't super important, as soon as it came out of the box, I loved the way the seat looked. The pink and brown of the Hanna version are really cute and Charlotte liked having a pink seat. Then, I noticed how heavy it was (20.5 pounds). Fortunately, most of us put the seats in our cars and then leave them there. I knew it was heavier than our other convertible seat by a couple of pounds and looked up several other seats online to see how the Recaro compared. It wasn't the heaviest among the top sellers on Amazon, but it was near the top.

I suppose one reason it is so heavy is because of the EPS foam. And I definitely knew I wasn't getting a flimsy car seat. To make it easier to transport Recaro added a handle at the top which I really appreciated as I carried the car seat to the van for installation. Our other seat doesn't have a handle.

Installation: Installation time came and went quickly. I installed this seat with all 3 parts of the LATCH system in very little time. Recaro developed what they call the "push button" LATCH system which makes it very simple to install.  One click on each side and then I was done with that part. The rear tether was just as easy.

Charlotte's Feedback: Since Charlotte is old enough to provide feedback, I let her try this seat out first. She is accustomed to climbing in and out of her other convertible car seat herself and had a harder time getting in and out of this one. After checking it over, I realized the base of this seat hangs off the front edge meaning she can't step onto the vehicle seat before climbing into the car seat. She manages to get into the Recaro on her own, but it is harder for her (she is 39 1/2" tall).

The fit of the sit suits her very well (she is a little under 30 pounds). I did have some trouble switching to this tightening system (our other seat uses a different process), but a learning curve is normal and I did eventually get it. I complained to my friend that it wasn't tightening enough and they tried to tighten it and it worked. So... I guess that was user error because I wasn't tugging hard enough.

Mary's Feedback: Mary is 20 months old and is thrilled whenever she gets to do something Charlotte is doing. So naturally, she liked sitting in the seat. I found it very easy to adjust the straps to suit both her and Charlotte.

Keeping It Clean: I haven't had to take the seat cover off yet to clean it, but reports I read online suggest it is easy to do. And the straps do not have to be unthreaded to take the cover off, a big plus in my book! The Hanna model is made with denier fabric, which is easy to wipe clean (which I have done with a wipe).

Drawback: My only real problem with the seat is the removable cushion that the child sits on. It slides around a lot and was always getting in our way. Eventually, I just took it off and Charlotte didn't seem to miss it the extra padding. Same thing for the protective sleeve that goes over the actual buckle. It came off too.

Safety Thoughts: I am satisfied with the safety that the Recaro ProSport provides. It is specifically designed to protect against side-impact collisions, to "protect each of the 5 vulnerable areas of a child in a side impact crash including their - head - neck - face - torso - pelvis." Even though I didn't have to personally test the safety of this seat, Consumer Reports ranked it as safe as several other top selling seats, including the other seat we own. The only exception was for rear facing with seat belt installation. I don't know anyone who drives a car without the LATCH system and imagine it is pretty rare in the US for someone who is considering a $279 car seat to be driving a car built before 1989 (when it became an industry standard).

If you check out the Recaro child safety website site, you can read more details about the specifics of this seat and who can use it.

FTC Disclosure (which I would do anyway, even if the feds didn't require it): I received no compensation for this post. The Recaro ProSPORT car seat was sent to me to review at no cost to myself and I get to keep it, courtesy of MomSelect and Recaro. All opinions on the seat are my own.

2 comments:

  1. Looks like a nice comfy seat! I will need to purchase a convertible car seat within the next year or so. One complaint I had with car seats for my older daughter is that her head would always flop over or down and then she'd wake up screaming. Come across any car seats that prevent that?

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  2. @Nikki - I've only known 2 ways to prevent that problem. Either rear face for an extended time with a seat that reclines (my Evenflow does) or buy her one of those kiddy neck pillows. My oldest would put it in front of her neck instead of the back and it helped some.

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