Convertible Child Seat Options For Discerning Parents

As a mother, the safety and well being of my child is something that often causes me many sleepless nights. It has been that way from the beginning and I am sure it is something that all parents experience. I was so scared to think about riding in the car everyday and trying to find the right safety seat just about gave me an ulcer. Looking back however, I really did not need to stress out that much.

While the experience of shopping for a new convertible seat was a little time consuming just because of all of the options available, in the end I was extremely happy with the seat that I got. Knowing that you bought something that is safe and something that your child enjoys riding in really is a big relief. So to help pass it forward, I will try and help you narrow down the field to find some of the better convertible car seats that will help you exhale and ride easier.

Which Brands Should I Consider?

I won’t get into individual seats, but I will help steer you towards the more reputable brands and what type of budgets that they will fall into. Budget is often a big factor when buying a child seat, but just because you save a little does not mean that you have to give up something for safety. There are many extremely safe car seats that are quite affordable. The latest convertible car seat reviews illustrate the best rated options that cover just about any type of budget.

Once you find a brand that you are comfortable with then you can find the best convertible car seat for your child. Often car seat makers will have a line of different seats with various features and price points. As long as you go with a trusted name you really can’t go wrong as far as safety goes. It will then come down to usability, style and price.

Graco Child Seats

Graco makes a terrific line of car seats for those that have a some money to spend, but where price still matters. Their mid-range seats are widely popular with parents for their durability and safety. They have a wide assortment of colors and their Size 4 Me seat is probably their best selling model. Graco seats pass all required tests to be able to on the road in the US. They have a great record when it comes to making quality products. We have used one of their convertible car seats i the past and we thoroughly enjoyed how easy it was to use. Our child also really loves riding in it and often falls asleep shortly getting strapped in, which is often a good sign.

Britax Convertible Options

This is another well known company that makes some of the best rated convertible car seats that you can buy. Britax’s line of products has always been widely popular with parents and kids alike. They make some excellent child seats but they are not exactly cheap. If you have a decent budget then they would be a great option as their seats can range from $180 to $300. They have had a few hiccups lately and have had to recall some convertible and infant seats, but they owned up and were quick with a fix. They do have a great safety record despite their recent issues and I would still feel confident with my child riding in one of their products. Their seats quite comfortable and have a host of safety innovations that help set them apart.

Peg Perego Seats

This is for parents that have a healthy budget as their seats typically will run north of $300, but if you can afford it then it will probably be a great investment. Their seats are engineered with race car technology that gives them some very innovative features. Excellent side impact protection, super comfortable and plush materials, and solid construction really makes their seats stand out from the competition. We splurged and went for their Primo Viaggio model seat and we were so impressed. This really put our mind at ease and still does to this day every time we put our child into it. This is probably the best purchase that we made for our child to date.

Other Brands

The above names are just a starting point and there are actually plenty of car seat manufacturers with solid reputations. Evenflo, Diona, and Safety 1st also make high quality options for parent that have received excellent ratings. It may be hard to narrow the field but sticking with trusted companies is the best course of action. Their seats are rigorously tested to be certified safe and meet all of the requirements to be legal in the US.

If you are just starting your quest to buy a new seat for your upcoming family, a little research goes a long way. There are also some useful tips for parents to keep in mind when shopping. Finding the best convertible car seat for your family may take a little of your time and cause you an undo amount of stress, but you should be able to find something that will put your mind at ease.

Serious Runners Will Benefit From A Serious Baby Stroller

If you are a competitive runner or just someone who takes their daily runs seriously, and you want to involve your children, then having a capable jogging stroller is a must have. Ideally, it should be comfortable, safe, easy to maneuver, allows you to keep your form, and simple to store. Luckily, there is a particular jogger that meets all of these requirements. The BOB Revolution Flex is an excellent option for serious runners who want to train with their family.

Working out with a jogging stroller requires some extra attention, but it can be worth it for both runner and passenger. Below are just some of the reasons that this jogger is a superb choice for active parents.

Adjustable Handlebar

This is perhaps the greatest advantages for runners. Being able to adjust the handlebars up or down to accommodate various heights allows different sized parents to keep their form while running at speed. This feature will help prevent injury and fatigue for Mom and Dad and ensure that they are able to run comfortably while maintaining control of the jogger. This aspect of the Revolution Flex jogger is something that gets the highest amount of praise from parents who love to run.

Design Quality

This stroller comes in a single or a double design, making it a good choice for families with more than one child they might need to accommodate. It also comes in various colors, giving the customer a choice that could add a little sense of style.

Accessories

Another nice feature is it has additional accessories available for purchase that would go nicely with the stroller. One of these is a handlebar console that attaches to hold things like keys or drinks, and even comes with a portable tire pump.

Easy Fold

Adding to the convenience, it folds for storage in a car or house and is compatible with car seats of the same brand. There are even many adjustable positions for the handlebar, making it a stroller that will pair well with people of many different heights.

Air Filled Tires

Many of the positive remarks about this stroller are the same from a variety of different customers. One of the most frequently referenced features is that the tires hold air and resist holes very well. This is can be a great note as there are many strollers out there with tires that fall off, puncture easily, or are a cheap plastic that do not work well on most surfaces.

Comfortable Ride

Perhaps the most important feedback is the comfort of the stroller for the little one that will be riding in it. Most of the comments spoke highly of the smooth ride their child had and the softness of the material contained in the seat. The seat is also quite padded for the child, making longer rides in the stroller more bearable and probably less of a hassle. Any parent knows those extra thirty minutes of being able to stay in the stroller can mean all the difference in the world, so comfort is important.

The smoothness of the ride is also good for the person pushing the stroller, making it easy to use and comfortable to jog with. Not having to worry about all those pesky bumps in the road when it comes to using this stroller can make the experience much more enjoyable.

Braking

On top of the smoothness of the ride, the brakes on the stroller are very easy to apply and lock nicely in place to ensure the safety of the little one. The brakes also release easily making it quick and simple to get back to your day’s errands. Many customers mentioned that the stroller is easy to put together as well, coming in few pieces that are self-explanatory to install.

Not Perfect

As with all products, there were a few negative comments. One of the common complaints for this product were that it is pretty heavy compared to other strollers, making it a little difficult to lift and put into a car.

Another complaint was the canopy being made to accommodate more for the storage aspect than the child riding in it, it can be noted as flimsy and not stay in place well.

The reclining feature on the stroller is also less than to be desired, not reclining much and being difficult to make it do so.

The last chief complaint of this product was the accessories. If someone wishes to buy the compatible car seat or accessories, they would need to be purchased separately and there is not an option to purchase together.

High End Jogger

Overall, the BOB Revolution Flex seems to be a good bang for your buck if some minor annoyances are able to be tolerated. All in all, the stroller that is bought should be comfortable and durable, and this seems like it’s up to the task. It seems to be built to last, a high quality stroller that would make a great gift for any family who is searching for a good product.

Convection Countertop Oven Perfection

A lot of people would love to eat healthier, but time and convenience is often a deterrent. It is much easier to grab some fast food or order take-out, but that is not always the best dietary choice. Fortunately, both toaster ovens and microwaves have come a long way and offer a great alternative to slaving over a hot stove just to get a home cooked meal. When you are in charge of the ingredients, you have all the control with how healthy you end up eating. But if you had to choose only one, which one of these small kitchen appliances should you pick? We breakdown the major differences below.

If you were to ask someone to name the differences between a microwave and a toaster oven, he or she would not probably be able to do so. Although both a microwave and a toaster oven have an important place when it comes to ease of cooking and convenience, the average person cannot afford buying both, especially if we refer to more expensive, fashion-forward models. The natural question for any caveman would be; which one to choose? The answer is that you can have both if there is enough space and you get the chainsaw off of the counter. If you are looking for the best countertop toaster oven then a good place to begin is to find some reliable reviews. If you man up and decide to get a powerful mini oven that you can burn things in (on purpose) to go next to the food processor you use to shred any and everything you can get your hands on.

Countertop Convenience

First and foremost, countertop convenience: how much space is going to take either of the two? A toaster oven is typically more lightweight and compact in construction, having a more user-friendly design as well. If you are decided to ditch all those heavy gadgets in favor of lighter ones, a toaster oven is going to be infinitely more suitable for your needs. In most cases, microwaves require more countertop space, plus some headroom, which is going to be a great disadvantage if your cabinets are low.

Energy Efficiency

When it comes to energy efficiency, a microwave is clearly the winner, though there are models that still consume more than toaster ovens. On average, a toaster oven uses between 1,200-1,800 watts, while a microwave uses only 700-1,300 watts. While the difference is not that significant, a more energy efficient gadget will definitely help you avoid racking up monthly bills and saving money. If we compare each one with a typical oven, we will soon discover that a microwave uses approximately one third of its energy, while a toaster oven uses more than a half. If you are looking for an energy efficient unit, a microwave is the best way to go.

Heating Time

Another important factor you should necessarily keep an eye on when trying to decide which one to buy is heating time. Think about how you are going to use your microwaves or toaster oven once you have it. While a microwave oven is typically faster in heating, it does not compare to the toaster oven when it comes to the texture, consistency, and appearance of the foods. A toaster oven can distribute heat more evenly during the cooking process, which will automatically result in better-cooked foods, despite the longer heating time needed. As such, your baked potatoes will be soft and fluffy instead of hard and chewy, whilst your sockeye salmon will be flaky, not rubbery. If how your foods taste and look matters to you, a toaster oven is going to be ten times better than a microwave oven, but always remember that the heating time is going to be longer.

Browning

Many cooks are using toaster ovens for their ability to beautifully brown foods. Microwaves are not good at all when it comes to this aspect, so you should give up the idea of buying one if you want a gadget that can brown bread, pizzas, or even cookies. Toaster ovens are equipped with a broiler function that works similarly to a regular oven’s broiler, therefore browning your foods evenly. If you were lucky enough to get one of those more expensive models, a toaster oven will brown them much faster as well, not to mention that it will also handle bread heating and even crispy cooking, if you are planning to do any.

Large Meals

Cooking for a four-person household is decidedly difficult, particularly if you do not have the right gadget to help you handle the process. If you spend a lot of time cooking large foods, like turkey or chicken, a microwave oven is going to be a better option, especially if you go for a larger one where you can fit the dinner for four people at a time. On the other hand, a toaster oven might be just as good, and it will actually cook foods much better due to its broiler function that distributes heat evenly. As a matter of fact, deciding between a microwave and a toaster oven is a matter of preference when it comes to cooking meals. You can even cook a small Thanksgiving dinner in a toaster oven and get pretty awesome results.

Keep in mind that most toaster ovens are generally just as capable as microwaves, and if you are willing to spend your money on a more expensive model, chances are that you will manage to do many other things a microwave cannot do. There are various types of countertop ovens as well that will offer you different capabilities that you may prefer. You will definitely notice that price is not a deciding factor due to the fact that both toaster and microwave ovens sell for the same value in most cases, so you should always shop for quality while making sure to stay on budget if you cannot afford luxury.

What Parents Need To Know About Vacuum Cleaners

If you are like me then you are constantly worrying about the best ways to keep your children safe and protected. I may even go overboard and am probably a little too overprotective. This was probably the case when it came time for me to get a new vacuum cleaner. When it was time for our newborn to start crawling I got to think how close they were to all of the dust and allergens that were in the carpet and I started to research what I could do to remove it. Getting the right vacuum can make a world of difference. There are also certain precautions you should take as well.

What You Should Look For

The one thing that your new vacuum should have is a HEPA filter. This will remove most of the fine particles and keep them inside of the machine. It does not matter if you get an upright or a canister model, this will probably be the most important feature. For convenience you also want something that is easy to use. Bags can be a hassle which is why a lot of parents go with an upright. They are also easier to manuever around tight corners and will probably save your table and chair legs from scratches and dents.

Precautions For Your Babies

There is a slight risk that the dust that is kicked up and released by your vacuum may pose a risk to children. You should keep them out of the room until well after you are done to reduce this risk and let whatever dust may be floating in the air to settle.

You should also remember to keep your vacuum put away and out of reach of your kids. They are curious creatures that like to touch, pull, and climb on things and an upright machine can topple over and injure them. It is always hard to constantly keep an eye on them so keeping a heavy vacuum locked up is a good idea.

Which Type Should I Get?

For a lot of people, deciding on whether to buy an canister or an upright vacuum cleaner can be a little difficult, especially if it is the first time you are shopping for a new vacuum. It can be a little confusing trying to find a model that will be best for you. There is not one right answer for everyone as there are many factors that come into play.

  • What type of floors will you be cleaning?
  • Where to plan to store your vacuum? Is space tight?
  • Do you have pets that shed all over the place?
  • Do you have allergy concerns?
  • How much are you looking to spend?
  • How big of a house or apartment do you need to vacuum?
  • Do you have stairs that you need to clean?
  • What is your budget?

The answers to these questions can ultimately lead you to choose one type of vacuum cleaner over another. They both have their pro’s and con’s, but generally, they both can get the job done. So what are the differences between them?

Canister Vacuum Cleaners

Advantages

Canister vacuums are smaller and able to get under furniture with greater ease. Vacuuming under beds, tables and chairs is usually less of a hassle. Most of the weight is based in the canister, which is on wheels, and the vacuum attachments are not that heavy. This makes cleaning stairs, or harder to reach places easier. A lot of people find that canister vacuums maneuver with less effort.

Retractable cords are another advantage as most of the newer models come with this as a standard feature. You do not have to waste time wrapping your cord around two hooks as is the case with most upright vacuums. A simple tap of a pedal or button on the canister and the cord gets sucked back into the machine. Very convenient.

Canisters are also typically smaller than uprights and take up less square footage to store. However, they can be a little cumbersome to get the hose and the upright attachments to stay upright and out of the way. Some people find that neither type of vacuum has a greater advantage over the other in this regard.

Canisters typically are better than uprights on hard surfaces floors such as wood and tile. With attachments they are also better to clean upholstery, drapes and furniture.

Disadvantages

One of the biggest drawbacks of a canister vacuum is that you have to drag it behind while cleaning. It is hard to look at what your vacuuming while also keeping track of the canister behind you making sure that it does not bump into walls or furniture. It can also get hung up if you turn a corner in a hallway, putting a dent or ding in walls and baseboards.

Another knock that users have with canisters is the need to mess with vacuum bags. It is an added cost as well as a bit of a hassle to remove and install when compared to uprights.

Upright Vacuum Cleaners

Advantages

Upright vacuums are generally thought to do a better job on carpets while having a little less success on harder surfaces. Having an adjustable roller brush that can be turned on or off can greatly improve hard floor performance however. They also have a wider path and can cover more ground.

Convenience is also a personal choice when it comes between uprights and canisters. While uprights may feel a little bit heavier to use since you are pushing the entire unit around, some folks like how they can just get the upright out of the closet, wheel it over and vacuum and then put it back as one unit. It may be a bit more bulky is some regards, but not having to drag the canister around is a big plus for upright owners.

Also pushing the unit in front of you, instead of dragging a canister behind you, enables the user to better control the vacuum and avoid putting minor dings or scratches in the walls or furniture. In this sense it is a lot easier to control.

A lot of today’s new models are also bagless, which saves on overall cost and time. Dirt and debris is collected into a dust cup whose contents can easily be dumped into the garbage. More bagless units today also have started incorporating HEPA filtration which is a big advantage for allergy sufferers.

Disadvantages

Cleaning stairs, under furniture and getting into tight places are areas where uprights tend to struggle. Doing each individual step of a staircase can be a cumbersome chore. Cheaper uprights may not come with all the attachments that a canister might so cleaning drapes or upholstery is nearly impossible.

Unless you get a model that is able to fold almost flat, getting under tables and beds with a typical upright is not something that can easily be done.

Some folks also find that a tall and bulkier upright is not as convenient to store in a closet when compared to an canister vacuum. Like we stated earlier, this is more of a personal choice between the two when it comes to storing the vacuum as some people prefer uprights to canisters when it comes to putting the unit in closet and out of the way.

Bottom Line

Knowing the strong points and weakness of canisters and uprights can ultimately save you a lot of time, money and hassle. It all depends on which factors are most important to you and what type of home environment the vacuum will be operating in. Hopefully this will help make the decision a little bit less confusing and you can find the vacuum that is perfect for you.