So saving you the boring math and reading recap, just know that I wound up buying a Graco Nautilus for Adam's car (Even though I HATE the way the Graco seats buckle. The clasps are always wonky to me.) and a Britax Frontier for my car. Why didn't I buy identical seats? First, I love the Britax product so wanted to make sure I at least had ONE Britax, preferably in the car that Ethan spends the most time in. They are admittedly expensive, but also the safest seat around. All my Britax seats have worn well, have been easy to install and worth their weight in gold. Why didn't I get two of them, then? Because they are admittedly expensive. The Graco Nautilus had the same safety ratings that the Frontier had and since Adam has Ethan in his car so rarely, I couldn't justify the hefty price tag for a second Frontier.
As if the decision making process for these darn seats didn't seem complicated enough, fast forward to the installation of said seats. The Nautilus, which I considered to be the stepchild of car seats, was an absolute breeze to install. I barely had to glance at the directions and was able to install it correctly on the first try.
Not so much with the Frontier. I think it took me two hours. Maybe that's not true. Maybe it was three. Seriously. HORRIBLE!!! First off, the LATCH clips are situated in a horrible way where you are required to thread them through the front of the seat to the back. Which would be fine, except the pathway for the clips and the part that you tighten them with is too narrow. So it is impossible to tighten them all the way because they get hung up on the back of the carseat. UNLESS you position the seat the way you would if you were using it as just a belt-positioning booster. And then wear a red shirt while you install the seat on the third Tuesday of the month and spin around three times before opening the box.
But seriously, going against the safety instructions really freaks me out. So, in order to position the seat the WRONG way to make it work the RIGHT way, you have to flip a platform underneath the seat in the the opposite direction you are supposed to flip it for the five-point-harness seat installation. Have I mentioned I don't like going against safety rules? And it took me two hours to figure this out. I finally won the battle with the car seat and emerged from the garage sweaty, my hands and fingers scraped and bleeding practically beyond recognition and my patience was nowhere to be found. I think I kicked things on the way into the house.
We've been riding around in Britax bliss (well, blissful except for the safety recall as well as the issue with consistently twisted straps, which I believe is related to the recall) for the last 10+ months. Fast forward to today. I had taken Ethan's seat out (which I NEVER do. For obvious reasons.) and had to reinstall it on the fly this morning. It did not go well. But I didn't have time to fool with it because we were running late (me!? late!? how odd!!). I decided at the moment where I scraped my hand and hit my head on the ceiling of the car that no car seat is worth the aggravation (or the injuries) that the Britax Frontier has caused.
Plus, the stupid cup holders (which is a feature I LOVE since my oldest son is always "completely thirsty" in the car) are BOTH broken. All in all, the Frontier is not a good design and a big disappointment. I should've stuck with the Nautilus. And in a fit of irritation, I strapped Ethan into his improperly installed Frontier to run to the store to purchase my second stepchild of carseats and am now the proud owner of two Graco Nautilus seats.
My friend over at www.babybunching.com asked me today, all this over installation? Well, yes. With Ethan starting kindergarten in the