Of course a car seat is a must have for baby gear, and while getting a convertible is a money saving option - it wasn't something for us as I suspected our baby would be tiny, she turned out to be under 7 pounds. Plus I definitely wanted the option of not waking the baby when leaving the car. Many argue that car seats are all essentially the same and safe. Maybe at the core they are, but when comparing infant car seats side by side I could not help but notice how 'thin' all of them looked next to a Britax. I was under the impression that a regular Graco infant car seat has very little padding and almost no side impact protection. After some research my gut feelings were proved somewhat right, so we decided to go with a Britax Companion, after all - the company specializes in car seats and not a myriad of other baby gear products.
It is a little on the heavy side and might not work for a mom who will travel with baby on her own after a c-section (I was lucky not to have one). I usually travel with hubby, but even if I am sometimes alone with baby, getting the car seat in and out requires some effort but nothing strenuous. Installing it was a breeze though. A big plus, it is made in the USA - not China! Too bad the stroller I love isn't.
Pricewise it is good value for what you are getting. We were lucky to find it really cheap ($30) from someone who literally used it a couple of times, it was basically new. You should expect to pay anywhere between $150 and $200 for a new one depending on your choice of color and retailer. If you are looking for something more eye-catching but also with good side impact protection and similar price tag you should check out the Maxi Cosi Mico. Kudos to them for design!
Our daughter doesn't always like being put in the car seat (what baby does?), but usually does ok if she is either sleeping or if you talk to her and tell her she is going outside while putting her in. Once she is in there though and we rock her a little or she is on a car ride, forget about it, she is sleeping like a princess. It seems very comfortable and snug for her, she was a small baby so I am guessing she should be comfortable in there until 1+ year old. The infant headrest is perfect, we are only starting to outgrow it at 3 months. It is adjustable though, they thought of everything! It isn't a little 2 inch strip like many other car seats have, this one really cradles her head and her neck is never crooked.
She is a winter baby, so the JJ Cole bunting fit the seat well, it also fits great on a snap 'n go and she sleeps in it transferred from the car, I do all my shopping with her while she sleeps in the car seat. I highly recommend it to any parent!
So the highlighted pros of this car seat are as follows:
EcoMama Green Factor: Made in the USA! But from global components, i.e. from elsewhere in the world. So more like assembled in the US. Otherwise, well - how 'green' can plastic be?
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Loaded with patented safety features, this rear-facing only Companion® Infant Car Seat from Britax® with True Enhanced Side Impact Protection will make every ride a comfortable one for your child. The height adjustable base features our upscale LATCH connectors, complete with LATCH storage right on the base. It also features an angle recline adjuster to help you achieve the perfect angle for your vehicle. The anti-rebound bar on the base helps to reduce rebound movement in the event of a crash. The built-in lock-offs are designed to offer you a better installation, without having to worry about losing any parts. The five-point, polyester harness system is easy to adjust and offers tangle free webbing. The Britax® premium comfort pads protect your baby's delicate skin from coming in contact with the harnesses. The EPS impact foam around your child's head and torso, plus the full comfort foam, provide additional comfort and support.