When my husband and I bought our first child's car seat, we were armed to the teeth with consumer reports, online reviews, and crash test safety ratings, and even then we ended up buying and returning the seat we initially wanted and going with something else. It's an overwhelming process, and it's only made more complicated every time a new seat becomes available or a new feature is added. Here are ten thoughts every parent has when shopping for a new car seat:
1. Oh my God, there are even more than we thought.
When you looked online it felt like you kept seeing the same few seats over and over again, but when you walk into an actual store for a touch and feel you're startled to find there are actually seven aisles of seats. You should've worn tennis shoes.
2. I've never heard of that brand in my life.
Safe As Hell, Inc.? I've never heard of that. Did we research that? Have we never heard of it because it's super exclusive and we're getting in before everyone else realizes how awesome their seats are and the price inflates? Or have we never heard of them because they make their seats out of drinking straws and lead paint?
3. How do you pronounce Graco?
Gray-co? Grah-co? Bry-tax? Bree-tax? Brih-tax? I feel like I'm ordering food at a fancy restaurant. This is a conspiracy. I don't even want to ask for help because these words are too ridiculous.
4. What do all of these words even mean?
What is ProRide Technology? Do we need that? Car seat manufactures are kind of like Oprah: made-up compound words for EVERYOOONNNNE! They could just tell you they put extra padding on the harness, but why do that when they can advertise exciting new ComfortSafe Technology?
5. Do they upholster these in old hotel carpet?
What is with all the florals and metallics? I feel like these fabrics came straight from a rental car. I'm tempted to check for cigarette burns and forgotten discarded gum.
6. This seat is amazing and ohmygod it's $900.
We will never be able to afford this. We are the worst parents ever. Years from now our child will look back and think we did not love him enough to pay for the deluxe model with the heated armrests, cup holders, iPhone adapter, surround sound, and personal harness butler.
7. Why is the seat we like so cheap?
Oh God, something must be wrong with our seat. It must be the seat for people who don't love their children. We shouldn't be this far under budget. We are the worst parents ever.
8. I need a drink.
This is way too stressful. We should go out to lunch, have a drink on it, and come back.
9. Alright, focus. We can do this.
I am an intelligent, sophisticated human. I have done the research. This is not going to be the thing that takes me down. Get out of my way, bitches.
10. That was totally easy. What is everyone freaking out about?
You buy the seat, get it home, spend 7 years installing it, and then sit back like, no sweat. Didn't even lose your cool for a second. You make awesome decisions -- always -- and that's the story you're sticking with.