This might be an unpopular opinion, but I’m not the biggest fan of the new car seat laws in New Jersey that require children under two years old to be seated rear-facing. With babies the choice is clear, but it can be difficult to get a larger toddler (which all of my children are) strapped in a rear-facing seat. It seems they never have enough room to truly be comfortable. They usually can’t straighten out their legs and the side panels make them feel isolated from the rest of the passengers in the vehicle. I always looked forward to the time when I could use a front-facing car seat and enjoy rides with my children.
I wasn’t so sure the Diono Radian rXT would be different from the other rear-facing car seats that I’ve used, but I was ready to give it a try. I’ll admit that when I first picked up the Diono, I was surprised that it was very heavy, and because of its weight I naturally assumed it would be a large bulky seat; most of the convertible seats on the market are, in fact, bulky in the rear-facing position. In the past, I’ve actually needed to keep the front seat as close to the dashboard as possible so a bulky car seat could fit, which made long trips in the car uncomfortable for my family. Let me tell you: I was so pleasantly surprised that the Diono wasn’t bulky at all! It fit well in my small SUV and left ample room for my two other children and an adult passenger in the front seat. I especially love the feature that allows the base to fold up when other children need to climb in the car. When in the forward-facing position, I can lift the base and my passengers can easily get to their seat. (Note: The weight is due to the steel frame, which makes it much sturdier than the mostly plastic frames you find on a lot of other brands.)
My big, strong husband was kind enough to assist me with the installation, and he thought it was relatively quick and simple. We asked a NJ Child Passenger Safety-Certified police officer to inspect the set up and the fit of the harness around my thirteen-month old daughter. Once he assured us that the seat positioned my daughter properly and the harness was very secure, we were ready to let the little lady take it to the road. This face says it all, don’t you think? [Read more…]