I researched everywhere on the internet and in department stores, and this is the best price, esp. with free shipping site-to-store. I owned an alpha/omega 7 yrs ago with my girls, and went with this one for my boy (and to match my orange car!). He is 22 lbs. and 14 months, and he hates any carseat, but doesn't mind it once he's lost the fight (what baby LOVES their carseat? none! It cracks me up in reviews when people say their kid LOVES their carseat:# I called Safety 1st to see if this was a current model carseat, and yes it is. The 'elite' refers to the material and memory foam cushion they use in the head and butt, and I do feel it is an improvement. The arms pull out and pivot for adjustment, the easy height adjustment is an improvement from before having to adjust the rod in the back for height.
It is amazing to me that the carseat industry can't come up with an 5-stage infant-TO-deatchable booster carseat. Infant, rear-facing, forward facing with harness, booster and backless booster. I guess everyone would buy that and nothing else, but they are ripping us off. That's why I really love this carseat, because it hits the first 4 stages. I started out with a BabyTrend infant seat #which I loved#, but figured sooner or later I'd have to convert anyway. My cousin offered to buy my infant carrier, so I sold it. I should have waited until he was 30 lbs., but what kid who is actively running around wants to be strapped in a baby carrier? 20lbs in a baby carrier is enough work for me, so I moved on.
I looked at all of the major stores #and online#, and here's why I chose this: it rear-faces. None of the 3-in-1 carseats that detach in the end start out rear-facing~and if they do, they only boost to 70 lbs, or they are way too pricey #$200-$300#. Utah requires that toddlers stay rear-facing until age 2 now, so I needed one that did that. The Graco Smart Seat is awesome, but it's very expensive, and I don't need a detachable base for a humongous carseat. Who wants to be carrying around a monster carseat in a Wal-mart shopping cart?! Without a handle, no less? #If it was smaller less bulky #as per reviews# and had a handle, I would have considered it because my baby is still quite little, and I hate waking him up when I have to go inside the store. I guess infant carriers are unavoidable, and it wouldn't be safe to have a compact booster#. The Graco Smart Seat will boost, so it's nice, but not worth the extra money that this Alpha/Omega covers easily. Diono Radian boosts, but only to 70 lbs. Graco Nautilus does everything but rear-face. Anything else out there is converter seat rear-to-front at 60-70 lbs max, and then you still have to buy a full booster seat. When all is said and done, I will only need to buy a back-less booster for $20 after this. I would have preferred the BabyTrend Fastback because I love their products...it starts at 22 lbs. forward-facing, but alas, it doesn't rear-face. I will mostly likely buy another Alpha Omega for my other car OR buy the Graco Nautilus or BabyTrend Fastback when my kid is 2. Those would be my top 3 choices. For now, I love this carseat for the money, you'll love it too!
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