Updated: Thanks for all your tips and recommendations! I'll let you know what we decide.
The time has finally come. My daughter's little toes are hanging off the end of her bucket car seat and it is becoming increasingly hard to buckle her in. We need to get a toddler car seat, or as they called it when I was a toddler, the back seat. We're behind most of our friends with babies because Sophie Bean is small and I've kind of liked being able to carry her in the bucket if I was going somewhere, like the library, that required she be under control. And under control is something she is increasingly NOT. She's crawling like the wind and has a gift for finding that one thing in a room that I don't want her to have. She also has very poor spatial perception as evidenced by the fact that she keeps getting wedged in between things in her quest to get at those forbidden things. As she spends more time standing and cruising, I just know that she is on the cusp of walking. That's what we call trouble with a capital T.
Here's the thing. There are about a thousand different car seats. You can spend anywhere from $75 to $400, and probably more but I'm not even looking at anything that goes over that amount. Knowing that they all must meet certain safety standards, how do you pick one? Or do you basically just pick an amount you want/can spend and find the best one for the money? Part of me wants to keep up with the Joneses and have a fancier one but the other part of me wonders if we really need to spend the extra $200 so Sophie can sit her tiny tush on a memory foam seat that perfectly conforms to her contours. I also got to looking around to see what fun seat covers were out there and I ran across this beauty. Yikes. And it's $195 to boot! Which is exactly what should be done to anyone that considers putting this monstrosity in their car. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for fun kid prints and I even enjoy a good animal print from time to time, but the sides appear to be adorned with what looks like mini zebra pelts. No heads or legs. That goes into the area of creepy that I prefer to avoid.
So here's where I call out to my peeps out there in blogland because I need some help. Do you have any recommendations? What seat did you use? And does a 10 month old really need two cupholders?