Monday, 22 December 2008

Goodbye Graco. Hello Britax.

Our little girl is growing up again. We moved Abner up to her big girl carseat yesterday. That Graco sure served us well though. It was a gift from our SFU Geography friends. In its short life it made trips to Toronto, Montreal, Nanaimo, Victoria and pretty much every city in the Lower Mainland.

After polling just about everyone we know with kids, we opted to buy the Britax Marathon to cushion Abner's little bum for the next few years. It was a little on the pricey side, but it has a fantastic safety rating. I especially love the denim fabric that we picked out. I imagine it a few years from now all soft, worn in and faded - just like an old pair of jeans (albeit a pair of jeans with food mashed into 90% of the material).

Who knew it would take all day to buy and install a bloody carseat! We had to drive across town to buy the thing which took a fair bit of time (seriously, what is with all the traffic on the roads?Aren't people supposed to be on holidays or something?) Rather than installing the thing at the store (where we would have had some professional help) we decided to take it home and install it while parked in our parkade. It seemed like a good idea until we got the thing out of the box.

First of all...who's brilliant idea was it to tether the instruction manual to the seat? The tether is only six inches long for Pete's sake! Plus, you need to stow the manual under the seat in order to properly fit the cover before securing the seat. If you need to refer to the instructions for any of the next steps, you have to undo the whole damn thing. Are you supposed to read ahead and just hope and pray that you remember all of the next steps correctly? "I don't know what these are for honey...I'm pretty sure it said they weren't very important."

Secondly, why not write the instructions in the order in which they will be needed? How am I supposed to know that the first thing I should do is adjust the harness height if it's not the first instruction written? If it's so important, why is it in chapter six? If you follow the steps exactly as they describe, you would have the whole thing installed before realizing that you need to adjust the harness height - which requires the seat to be out of the vehicle! I've seen better instructions come with my Swedish furniture.

Finally, if providing an instructional video to assist consumers, make it realistic. The woman on the video must have been installing her seat in a freakin' limo for the amount of space she had to work with. She could comfortably crouch on the floor of her car with her beautifully manicured hands, and effortlessly install her Marathon in minutes. I, on the other hand, had my ass crammed up against the windshield, my left foot braced against the driver's seat, my right leg sticking out the window and my fingers crammed into the tiny space between the latching mechanism and the seat belt buckle. Well, maybe it wasn't that bad, but it did take at least an hour to finally get everything just right.

And then I discovered the optional instructions...arggghhhh!

You know what though? It was all worth it. Both times Abner has been in her new seat, she's fallen asleep within moments. She hasn't slept in her old carseat in months. A high safety rating AND it puts her to sleep! I must go do my happy dance.


  1. Don't even get me started on those things. Those items you mentioned are why I let Michelle handle the seat adjustments these days...otherwise I'm pissed off for hours.

  2. yay - a sleeping baby is worth ANYTHING! :-)

    I didn't even want to look when Jamie installed our Britax Roundabout before Cole came. And I didn't help him the second time a few weeks later when I let it slip that i didn't like the seat where it was installed, behind the driver's seat originally. i'm pretty sure i would have been steaming if i had to do it...

  3. Oh, you guys are just so funny! Thanks goodness things were so much simpler in the "old" days €;}

  4. So you can help us install ours when we get it right? tee hee Great choice, can't wait to see Abner in it!


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