With baby number four, I didn't feel the need to buy a bunch of new stuff. I had my first son six years ago, then my second two years later, number three two years later and the littlest dude two years after that. I'm nothing if not predictable. I honestly bought well the first few times and felt like I really honed in on most of the necessary baby gear LONG before this dude arrived.
But I learned some lessons along the way, and it seems that manufacturers did as well.
Lesson number one? Babies don't all come in the same size. Mine happen to be GIGANTIC. In the world of car seats, this was always a big annoyance because all the rear-facing car seats were itty-bitty and my kids would outgrow them long before the 2-year-old mark when their bones are developed enough to be turned front-facing.
Lesson number two? Kids these days don't have a single caretaker. In our family alone, we have Mama and Dada and Auntie and Uncle and Oma and Opa and a plethora of other people taking care of – and driving – our children frequently. That means that car seats need to be a piece of cake to install and to take in and out of the car or someone could get it wrong and endanger our kids' lives. With our old car seat, everyone was really confused about how to install the base and then how to actually snap the car seat into place. I discovered a couple times that one or the other was done wrong and there is no worse feeling than knowing that your kids have been riding around in a tin can of highway terror without being properly strapped in.
Enter our sponsor, Graco. They created the SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX Infant Car Seat to provide completely hassle-free installation. They solved our size problem by making this seat have a deep scoop to provide space for babies up to a remarkable 35 pounds or 32 inches, all the way down to 4 pounds with the plush included newborn body and head support.
The base has a one-second LATCH connection, with no loose cords to thread or any kind of nonsense. It stores right in the base so you can just pull it out, connect, yank on one short strap and call it a day. Don't have LATCH connectors in your car? Yeah, a lot of our seats don't, either. In that case, you thread the seatbelt under these convenient hooks, shove this clasp down onto it and you're done. No more pulling / tugging / kneeing the base into place.
Some of our seats are bucket seats and pitch backwards, where as some of us have bench-style forward-pitched seating. This base works for them all, with an easy-to-read level indicator and 4-position recline.
I think my favorite part is this little red button on the handle. Just push it to release and push the handle back. No more need to reach around and fumble for buttons on both sides of the bar! You're not supposed to drive with the handlebar up since it could act as an unsafe obstruction for the baby in case of an accident, so this minor-seeming change is actually a big deal for safety.
Last but not least, the canopy is BIG and closes silently, so you can go from car to house without blasting baby in the face with sun or waking him up with a loud clickety-clack.