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Advice on car infant carriers

  1. #1
    gduck is offline Registered User
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    Advice on car infant carriers

    Greetings all,

    I am a first time mum-to-be, just past 4 months pregnant with twins. It's all a bit new, and I thought I would ask your advice regarding car seats.

    For the number of times I anticipate leaving the house with them both in the first 9 months - is it worth getting car infant carriers? If so - any brand recommendations for something light? Anyone have a pair they would like to sell?

    Many thanks for your advice.

  2. #2
    salevizos is offline Registered User
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    Gduck,

    I just went through the same mental gymnastics about the infant carriers. I am also pregnant with twins (first & second), probably a month or so ahead of you, and when I found out how much these carrier things cost - I couldnt help but wonder if Id ever get my moneys worth.

    Anyhow, I eventually decided to go ahead and purchase two. Here's why:
    1. I live in a location in midlevels that is not conducive to heading out for even a short stroller walk, as there are no sidewalks on my street. Taking a taxi with two infants and one adult is a no go, so Id rather give myself the flexibility to be mobile - than feel like Im stuck inside with no escape, or in need of taking our helper everywhere with me.
    2. There are reversible (backward and front facing seats) which you can use until the kids are older (generally around four years) that you could purchase instead. However, the flexibility of snapping the carrier into a stroller, particularly when the kids are so small and you need to be more careful in picking them up/disturbing them at sleep seems to be worth the trade.
    I may be fooling myself with twins, but Ive read that its important to get out of the house atleast once a day - even for a short 30 minute stroll. That snap in and out might save 5 minutes on each end, which could be valuable time saved in the context of feeding every two/three hours.
    3. Im not sure if you're planning to travel anywhere, but I am heading back home to the US twice in the first six months, and will need to have car seats of some kind with me, as our families live in suburban areas where car transport is the only way - and the car seat law is followed more strictly than it is here in HK.

    It does partly depend on what you are doing about a stroller, too. If you are going with a double wide, which accomodates two bassinets (like the urban double), then it could be redundant to get the carriers. I am going with a P&T, which can accomodate two infants (one in the full recline position, one in an infant carrier above), as I want to preserve some ability to be relatively mobile (with a single pram footprint) in central (getting through door ways & riding an escalator).

    In terms of brands, it seems like most people get the Maxi-cosi, which has been a top seller in the UK for years, and is most similar to the Graco Snugride, which is the top seller in the US. It is not cheap however; I think it retails at B2B for around HK1600 (without the base). Ive read that car seats are not items you want to go second hand on, as you dont know if the seat has been in an accident, which can compromise the integrity/safety of the seat. It might be a marketing gimick, but it worked on me.

    If you do go with the carriers, you can make it less of a financial burden if you go without the base. Most are seatbelt compatible and can be put into a car with not too much effort.

    Anyhow, not sure if this answers your question, but sometimes its helpful to hear other people's thought process. Good luck with your decision making.
    Sarah

    Hey, one last thing: Are you interested to start a group for expecting moms of twins? I noticed there are not many postings in the twin category.

  3. #3
    KatBoo is offline Registered User
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    I am a mum of twins, and have one Maxi-Cosi Cabrio for sale if you'd like to purchase (mine are still using it at the moment, but by the time yours are born they will be in forward facing seats). I only have one because I have already sold the other one to another mum expecting twins.

    I also know of another twin mum who has just moved her girls into forward facing seats so she's selling her 2 Maxi-Cosi Cabrios also. PM me if you'd like more info.
    Last edited by KatBoo; 04-20-2008 at 04:18 PM.

  4. #4
    KatBoo is offline Registered User
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    btw, the majority of escalators in HK are wide enough for a double-buggy (side-by-side).

  5. #5
    gduck is offline Registered User
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    Sarah,

    Wow - it certainly is wonderful to hear your thoughts - thank you for your amazing reply.

    We are going to be doing the whole shebang - moving house around due date, buying a car, etc etc and originally I got all caught up with the ISOFIX standard for car seats. Since then I have reconsidered (the base for the MaxiCosi is $$$ too. Aiyah!)

    But for one of the same reasons as you - I will need to get out or go crazy - so we will get the infant seats. We did buy a pram 2nd hand already - similar to the urban double - but I can't lift it. (I know, I know, long story...) so I plan on getting a frame that the infant carriers can snap into (ie travel system), but haven't really got any further than that.

    I'd never heard of the P&T - they look fantastic - thanks for the tip, I'll have a better look. Do the car seats click into it? Do you/anyone know anything about twin strollers that can accommodate 2 car seats - click in? I was considering a custom frame thing from doubledeckerstroller.com but not convinced.

    I admire that you are planning on travelling! People do it, it must be possible. I'm too scared to plan for it! - but a good point. (Although I think in Aust the standards require more than a seat belt fixing in the car... anyone know?)

    I'm happy to go with a second hand set if they look alright, and if I can find gender neutral colours - KatBoo I'll message you shortly :) I think the Maxi Cosi are probably easiest to get (and no doubt wonderful), but was keen on the Snugride originally.

    I was also starting to wonder if anyone was out there, here in the multiples section :) I hear the Mothers of Multiples group is really worth joining - it's on my to-do list. I'm not sure there are enough of us expecting at any one time to sustain our own Geo thread though..?

    So... what I really want to know is.... how big are you!!?? I can't believe how much my skin has stretched already - and only just half way there!! (Due Sept 15)

    Dale

  6. #6
    salevizos is offline Registered User
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    Dale,

    My actual due date is 21 August, but my OB has declared he will go in to extract them at 37 weeks if I make it that far, which Im totally OK with...because even now Im huge - or at least I think/feel like I am! I measure about 39 inches at the widest, and have put on about 25-ish pounds since this science experiment began. A lot of the size growth has happened in the past six-seven weeks, and people have begun to ask me when Im due; when I have to admit that I have almost 3.5 more months to go, thats when peoples' jaws drop. I dont really mind the weight, but in the last month its become almost ridiculously difficult to sleep at night - but I didnt have any morning sickness, so there's gotta be a trade off in there somewhere.

    Im in pretty much the same boat as you. We just found a new flat, and are actively looking for a car too. Its funny what you said about the ISO-fix thing. The first time I read about it, I was also convinced I NEEDED it, but have clearly gotten my head screwed on straight now.

    I think there are a few brands that make the double infant carrier frames, but I have yet to see any of them in HK. I know Graco makes one in the US, but it only fits the Snugride, which is not available in HK as far as Im aware. There is a Euro equivalent of the Snugride seat that is available here, but Im not sure it would fit the a US Snugride frame. I also found a frame which is more of a double decker configuration (http://www.netkidswear.com/doubledecker.html) on a jogger style frame, but again, only available in the US and only compatible with the Snugride. Graco has clearly cornered the market on these contraptions in the US. Have you seen a double infant carrier frame in HK?

    Otherwise, in terms of the double strollers, I think some of the front-back varieties do accomodate two infant carriers but I dont know of any double wides that do; the double wides tend to offer (i) a double bassinet option (urban double), (ii) individually reclining seats (bumble ride indie twin), or (iii) individually reclining seats, but ability to have one infant carrier only (also bumble ride indie twin). Im beginning to think there is no such thing as a perfect double stroller!

    The P&T sport can accomodate two infants, but only one infant carrier. The travel system they sell accomodates the Maxi-cosi seat. The newer model, the vibe, was just released a week or so ago; they are planning to release a travel system for an infant carrier, but it will only be compatible with the P&T new infant carrier. I have to admit, I do want the vibe, and am kinda holding out for their new travel system to be released and buy the whole package, but if it doesnt in the next month or two, Im going to have to settle for the sport. Either way, Im hoping to get use out of it for the first 1.5 - 2 years, but eventually the kids will get too heavy for the front/back configuration and Ill probably end up having to get a double wide much later but in the meanwhile, I prefer the single footprint of the P&T. All personal preference I guess.

    Ill start a multiples expecting thread over the weekend; there has to be more of us on this site...The HK MOM group (www.moms-hongkong.com) does look pretty good, although I havent joined/been to any events yet.

    Anyhow, good to chat; Im glad all this research is going to help other people as well. It is absolutely amazing how much gear such small people 'require'!

    Sarah

  7. #7
    gduck is offline Registered User
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    Dear Sarah,

    You are a wealth of information! Thanks a lot for sharing.

    I also had no morning sickness. I'm really glad now but at the time I would have liked confirmation that I really was pregnant. My sleeping has been fine so far (but I'm a bit behind you) but my back starts to ache every afternoon in protest of my drastically different weight distribution! :) I've put on just over 8kgs @ 20 weeks but most of that is on my chest I think!!

    The P&T strollers are very sexy. I can imagine they would be so much easier to maneuver around HK streets. My latest thing (today) I have to have is the Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem Stroller (www.kolcraft.com). It fits 2 baby carriers - Graco (and a few other brands I don't recognise). If I can get my hands on Graco carriers (either Snugride or Safeseat) then I think this is the one. As you can tell, I'm all for the travel system. I can see myself being set up for a big disappointment...

    I'm also keen on picking up a single pram cheap somewhere in the hope I can put one in there & carry one in a baby bjorn.... any opinions on this idea? (Isn't it funny that the thought of finding a suitable single pram seems so easy!!)

    change topic -I found a nice picture of twins in the womb at
    http://www.babycenter.com/fetal-deve...mages-20-weeks
    of course with links to other stages - in case you haven't seen it yet. Although if you're anything like me you're spending too much time looking at this stuff!

    Dale

  8. #8
    salevizos is offline Registered User
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    Dale,

    I like the stroller a lot - it looks pretty good, actually. I went online and read a few reviews on amazon.com; its highly rated too, although there seem to be two consistent drawbacks (if you read the lower rated reviews) - particularly the weight and the fact that people dont think they can get use out of it beyond 1.5 - 2 years. If you dont mind those (Im also only going to get 1.5 - 2ys out of my configuration) - the price is great, to be honest. Do you have anyone in the US who could go and check it out at a store for you, or have you seen it here in HK?

    In terms of cheaper single prams, there are pretty affordable ones (standard umbrella style) at Mothercare or B2B, but they are not recommended for kids under 6 - 9 months, since they dont offer much of a recline position. If you want a single stoller that works for an infant, you are probably looking for something second hand (I would peruse asiaexpat & geoexpat), because the new ones are pricey - as they come with the infant carrier option or bassinet. For this, you might just want one of those single frames which allows for an infant carrier.

    All in all, I made a few changes to my own stroller/car seat situation, for a few reasons:
    1. I didnt feel comfortable buying a stroller without first test driving it.
    2. I realised that I could never really carry around two infant seats at once - and since the P&T only accomodates one, there was little reason for purchasing two.
    3. The infant seats without the base are a bit more work to get in and out of the car, which sort of defeats the purpose of a click in, click out solution.
    4. I found something called a 'convertible' car seat which can accomodate an infant from birth to about four years old, as they are both rear & forward facing.

    Anyhow, I decided to go with the P&T Sport, which is available in HK. The vibe looked awesome, but I couldnt properly weigh the cons that I read about online, and the few stores I called in the US seemed to just want to sell the stroller to me, instead of giving an honest opinion - aghrrr. Since it only accomodates one infant carrier, I purchased one Maxi Cosi plus its click in base for the car at B2B, which maximises the usefulness of the infant carrier. Then I purchased a convertible car seat (Maxi Cosi Priori - only available in the US), which I can use for the second infant, since I have to transfer that child to the flat bed in the P&T anyway; it was US$200, but since its good for several years, its a much better buy than the infant carriers. I found a great tote (lillebaby) which is the only carrier that I found where the infant can remain in the carrier, and the car seat buckles over the carrier, which means I can buckle out of the car seat and move directly into the flat bed of the stroller. In any case, I put it all together last night and Im pretty happy - not just that it all seems to work, but that Im not constantly obsessed with strollers & car seats! But still happy to bounce ideas off with you - since I think you're still in the weighting stage...

    Anyhow, Ive gotten a lot bigger in the past 4 - 6 weeks, so if you think you're big now, just wait. I went to the Dr yesterday, who was happy to tell me I had gained 7 pounds since my last visit 4 weeks ago. The way I look at it, its for a good cause, so I cant much complain.

    I did see the pics...babycenter is a great resource; my sister in law recommended it to me a few months ago. I think Im familiar with almost everything on that website!

    I met up with a few impending mothers in the June - Sept due date group. If you have time, you should come along to the next get together.

    Sarah

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