When Summer Infant offered to send me one of their Summer Prodigy™ Infant Car Seats to review, I was very, very excited. Our current car seat has held up great through two kids (actually three since it is was loaned/given to us by dear friends) but I have a sneaking suspicision it's past its expiration date.
So, when a giant box arrived from Summer, you would think I would have run right out and installed it.
Not so much.
Why? Because installing car seats is a D-R-A-G. You sweat and curse and reread directions only to hear that 82% of car seats are still improperly installed. I even resorted to gender stereotypes to get out of installing it - insisting that this was Nicholas's job. Well, guess what he did? Stall. Stall. Stall.
Finally, after a week of moving the giant box from room to room in our house, we finally decided it could wait no longer. So, Nicholas opened up the box and with a heavy sigh of resignation went out to the garage. I told him I was going to gather up my camera and video camera to document the process figuring it would take AT LEAST a half an hour or so.
Y'all. I made it out there JUST in time to snap this shot.
See those adorable green smiley faces? That is the Smart Screen technology telling us the car seat was properly installed within minutes. Before I could grab my camera, Nicholas had snapped in the LATCH connectors, leveled the base, AND tightened the belts. Unbelievable.
Seriously, it was so easy that we UNINSTALLED IT and did it again. I'm not even kidding. The LATCH connectors are amazingly easy to use. However, the best part by far is the tension lever. I never, ever feel like I have the LATCH belts sufficiently tightened. I don't know how the firemen do it, but I can never replicate their tightening skills, especially after I kill myself loosening them enough to unhook the LATCH. Instead of those traditional belts, the Prodigy™ has the tension lever right on the base. A few cranks and TA DA! crazy tight LATCH belts that anyone can see are correct BUT just in case you have the green smily faces to soothe your mind.
Amazing. I really can't say enough about this installation process. Highly, highly recommend.
Now, the only thing I hate more than installing a car seat is adjusting it. Rethreading the shoulder straps every couple months (or weeks!) is a total pain in the butt. More importantly, I think that's where so much improper installation comes into play. For example, I'm sure many of you remember that Amos hated, HATED his car seat for the first few months of life. He would scream and cry and holler the second you buckled him in. It wasn't until he was several months old and it came time to readjust the straps that we realized they were COMPLETELY improperly installed. The hip straps had somehow become hooked to the shoulder straps. No wonder he hated it! I felt terrible that not only had he been uncomfortable, but we had driven hundreds of miles with the seat improperly installed!
It passes the sleep test!
Well, my second favorite feature of the Prodigy™ is that the rethreading straps (and figuring out how to properly reattach them) are no longer an issue. With the SafeGuard 1-Adjust harness system, you just pull the front adjust strap and they automatically fit to your baby. It's like magic! Again, highly recommend.
Now, lest you doubt my objectivity, there were a few small things I didn't love. The chest buckle felt a bit flimsy to me after the more substantial one in my previous car seat. Also, every other car seat I've ever used has the buckle in which you press down into the buckle to unfasten it. The Prodigy™ has a more traditional button buckle. Not a huge deal, but it is nice not to have to reach behind the buckle in order to unfasten it, especially when you do it several times a day.
Other than that, I seriously have very few complaints. On a purely superficial level, I received the Uptown Fashion model and totally loved the gray and graphic print. As y'all know, I'm a big fan of gray but I often find it dreary in baby products. However, they've done a really great job of keeping it light, cheery, and sophisticated. It would be perfect for someone who is not finding out the sex of their baby.
Now to the fun part!
Summer Infant & Born Free Giveaway
This giveaway is now closed!
Carrie McKee (Commenter #4) was selected at random as the winner!!
Summer Infant is going to give one Salt & Nectar reader a Summer Prodigy™ Infant Car Seat!
To enter, leave a comment below telling us why you'd like to have a new car seat, why you like Summer, or your worst car seat experience.
As always, we will use random.org to select a winner. The contest will run from today until next Friday, April 6th at 12PM PST.
No purchase is necessary. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received (duplicate entries will be deleted and only one will be counted). This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and older only.
Neither I nor Salt & Nectar were paid for this review. It is my own opinion based on my use of the car seat, which was supplied by Summer Infant for the purpose of an experiential review.
~ Sarah Stewart Holland