The Importance of Baby Sleep Safety On Your Holiday Travels

It can be difficult when you’re on-the-go to maintain the level of safety that you do at home, but there shouldn’t be any exception to the safe sleep guidelines that are recommended to parents. We have some tips that will help if you’re planning to go out of town in the near future.

• Plan ahead and ask questions. Whether you’re staying with friends/family or at a hotel, ask questions! Where will you be sleeping? Is a pack-and-play available for use or do you need to bring one? By knowing these answers ahead of time, you can prepare appropriately for sleeping arrangements and your little one’s needs. Many hotels will provide a pack-and-play or crib for little if any charge. However, the number they have on-hand may be limited so reserve one early.

• Once you arrive, check for safety hazards. Maybe you’re staying at grandma’s house and she has an antique bassinet. Make sure it is sturdy and safe. Sleep guidelines have changed and improved dramatically over the years, and what was once acceptable may not be safe today. (Many of our parents rode in cars that didn’t even have seat belts! It wasn’t that long ago!) This includes checking to make sure cribs or pack-and-plays haven’t been recalled and are in appropriate shape for your little one to sleep in. If your baby is crawling, be aware of outlets and dangers that are within her reach.

• Don’t bend the rules. Ever. Not for one trip, or even just one nap. Accidents can happen too easily, and it is better to be safe than sorry. If it “feels” like you shouldn’t do it/allow it, then don’t. It can be tough when friends and family don’t understand and think you’re overprotective, but that’s OK!

• Car seats and swings aren’t for sleeping. Now, if your baby falls asleep on the drive, that’s OK. But once you take her out of the car, move her to a safe sleep location. The same goes for swings. It can be SO tempting to let the swing soothe our little ones into sleep and then leave them, but the bottom line is that swings were not designed for sleeping. If you DO leave your little one asleep in the swing, you should be right by her and aware of what is going on. Don’t leave her unattended.

• Don’t try anything new. This includes food and medications. While you’re away from your family doctor is not the time to try a new food or medicine. Allergies and side effects can be dangerous. Infants are often already under some stress because of the changes that traveling can pose, so keep things as familiar as possible for your little one.

While traveling can be fun, friends and families’ homes aren’t always childproof or baby-friendly. Plan ahead and put your little one’s safety first and enjoy your time away. As always, we are here to be of support to you.

About Ollie Swaddle




The Ollie Swaddle was created by Hindi Zeidman, an infant mental health clinician, who invented it for a baby boy named Oliver, her foster baby that wasn’t thriving. The Ollie Swaddle helps ensure baby feels calm, peaceful and comforted so babies sleep better and longer. Its patented luxuriously soft moisture-wicking material speeds up moisture absorption and diffusion keeping baby comfortable and preventing overheating. The elasticity in the fabric offers baby freedom of movement decreasing the possibility of hip dysplasia while the opening at the bottom makes it easy to change diapers. And the soft, gentle colors of the new Ollie Nature Collection are designed to soothe and calm baby, promoting restful sleep.

Swaddling your baby also assists in reducing spontaneous arousal, maintains the supine position, reduces the risk of SIDS, and improves neuromuscular development in preemies. See Ollie World’s Collection at https://theollieworld.com/collections/all-products

Walkkings Zip-On Baby Shoes | For Boys and Girls

This is a sponsored advertorial in collaboration with Walkkings.  All opinions are my own.
Baby feet are the cutest little things, ever!  They are so chubby and clammy – but parents know that it can be so hard to get their little stinky pickles into a pair of shoes.  And it’s even harder when they are toddlers and wiggle around.  The struggle is real, my friends!

Recently, The Naptime Reviewer discovered and connected with a baby shoe brand called Walkkings.  The name pretty much says it all.  These shoes were made for walkin’!  What’s more, is that they were also made to get on and off easier than traditional baby shoes.  How?  They zip on (or around, rather)!
The Walkkings mocc-style baby booties open up through the middle to allow for your little one’s tootsies to slide right in, without having to wedge their feet in forcefully.  These shoes are handmade with 100% breathable materials that are allergy-friendly and super comfortable for walking and all-day wear.

To protect baby’s feet from stepping on the zippers, there is a super soft matching sole insert that stays put when getting their feet in and out.  There is also a flap of fabric on the inside of the shoes that covers the zipper.

The idea of a zip-on baby shoe has been around for a long time, but Walkkings has done it completely different.  So much thought and care has gone into the design of these shoes, which is no wonder they have been around since 1996.

Walkkings offers just about every color of shoes you could ever want, with some of my favorites being the Precious Pink Frosting (from these pictures) and the Moon Dust.  Walkkings are made for both boys and girls in US sizes 1, 3 and 5.  My daughter typically wears size 4 in most shoes (she’s 21 months old), so we ordered a 5.  They fit her very well.  She still has a little room to grow, but is able to walk around them without any major rubbing on her heels.

Shop

You can shop the entire collection of Walkkings baby/toddler shoes at www.walkkings.com.   Each pair is about $55 USD, which is a great price for high-quality, stylish, handmade baby shoes.

Giveaway

We’re giving away two pairs of Walkkings baby shoes!  We will draw two winners to receive one pair of their choice.  Simply enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  We will choose our winners after 7/29/16.  Good luck!

Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Swimways Baby Spring Float Review

This was a sponsored post by SwimWays as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received products to facilitate my review.  

For the last three months or so, we’ve been using the SwimWays Baby Spring Float for my youngest, Kendall.  I have posted two updates about how our experience has been going and I’m pleased to say that our most recent experience with the baby float was the best one yet.

Swimways 3-Step Program

In my first article, I talked about ways to teach your child to swim.  The SwimWays website, teachmetoswim.com, has some really helpful resources for teaching babies how to swim.  They have a simple three-step system which begins with introducing kids to the water.  The Spring Float is a great floaty for babies both for at-home use and while traveling, and happens to be perfect for the first step of teaching a child to swim; the second step suggests moving your child to a different kind of pool float which gives them more freedom to paddle and splash; and the last step is like the “training wheels of swimming” step – ultimately leading your child to swimming on their own.

In my second article, I talked about how important pool safety is and highlighted National Learn to Swim Day, which was on May 21st.  While nothing can replace adult supervision when it comes to water safety, SwimWays has been helping children learn to swim for more than 40 years and are experts in the field.  They have meticulously designed their products to help your child be confident in the water, giving parents peace of mind when enjoying a family day at the pool.

Why We Love the Swimways Spring Float

When my youngest was a toddler and was first being introduced to our pool at home, we hadn’t discovered any of the SwimWays products or learn-to-swim tools online.  It was a very slow process teaching her to swim and I am still not 100% confident that she can hold her own in the case of an unsupervised emergency in the water.  We have purchased a few of the SwimWays toys for her and she has also received some as birthday gifts.  Right now she is loving some of the fun diving toys and her SwimWays kickboard, which make pool time much more fun.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, our most recent experience with the Baby Spring Float with our 1.5 year old was the best one yet.  The water has warmed up quite a bit more and this was the first time that she willingly hopped right into the float and started kicking around on her own.  If you follow me on Instagram (@bucket_list_mom), you may have seen the cute little video I shared of Kendall having a blast in the pool.  If you missed it, check it out below.

I’m so relieved that Kendall has adjusted to the pool float.  I have noticed that if I call it a “boat” instead of a “floaty” she’s more willing to hop right in, for whatever reason.  We had even planned to take the Spring Float with us to Puerto Vallarta last week and completely forgot to toss it in the luggage.  It’s super small when collapsed and even fits well in a carry-on bag.  We definitely missed having it on our trip and even noticed another family using one in the pool.

Thanks to the soft mesh seat and fabric covering on the Spring Float, Kendall is completely comfortable and actually relaxes while she’s float and kicking around.  The adjustable UPF 50+ canopy helps tremendously to keep the sun out of her face most of the time, and is a must-have on a baby float.

Overall, my family is very happy with the SwimWays products and will be recommending them both online and offline for years to come.

Where to Buy

You can check out the SwimWays line of products including the baby Spring Float at your local Toys ‘R Us or at toysrus.com/products/swimways.jsp.  They carry a variety of SwimWays products including toys, learn-to-swim products and even adult pool floats.

Stowaway Cosmetics, Makeup Exp. Dates and Travel Prep

Sponsored by Stowaway Cosmetics.

Raise your hand if you are guilty of holding onto old makeup!  Do you have a special drawer that you keep all those old cosmetics in, like me?  I’ve been reading up on makeup expiration dates lately and I am so guilty of hanging onto things too long; and I even USE these cosmetics years after they’ve been opened.  Disgust-o!

I have always known that mascara is a cosmetic that should be replaced every few months because of the bacteria that could be growing in the tube, but I never put much thought into the other cosmetics I’ve been hoarding.

Below, I’ve compiled a list based on the research I have done with the expiration dates of some of the most commonly used cosmetics.

Skincare Products Expiration Dates


Have you ever noticed a little open jar label on the back of your skincare products with a number and a letter on it?  I felt like an idiot when I finally realized what this meant.  I’ve been seeing these for years and never paid attention to them.  Using the example above, this symbol and number means that once that particular product is opened, it should be used within 12 months.


Cosmetics Expiration Dates

Product Expiration Date
Mascara 2-3 months
Liquid Foundation 6-12 months
Powder/Stick Concealer 24 months
Liquid Concealer 12 months
Face Powder 24 months
Blush 12 – 24 months
Powder Eye Shadow 3 months
Eye Liner 3 months
Lipstick/Gloss 12 months (or immediately if you’ve been sick)
Nail Polish
Fragrances 8 – 10 years

Stowaway Cosmetics

To combat this problem of not using your makeup until it’s gone, or makeup waste, Stowaway has come out with really great quality cosmetics that are in perfectly proportioned sizes.  They are designed with expiration dates in mind with the idea that makeup should fit into women’s lives.  Their cosmetics are made in smaller sizes to ensure that you are able to use the entire product before it expires, and that also travel easier for women on-the-go.  All items are paraben-, phthalate- and gluten-free. They are also EU compliant and cruelty-free and most of them include natural ingredients.

I was given the opportunity to test out a variety of Stowaway Cosmetics and I have to say – I am blown away with how much I love them.  In my line of work, I try a lot of cosmetics and have become very picky over the years.  I’m particularly picky with lipsticks, foundations and mascaras.

I have completely fallen in love with the DEFINED LASH MASCARA.  My old mascara from Target usually costs between $6 and $10.  The Stowaway Cosmetics mascara is just $12 and is way better than my old product.  The brush and mascara formula are exactly what I was looking for.  I like a bit of a dry feel to my mascara because I like to layer it on.  I usually do about three layers of mascara and this product is perfect for layering.

I’m also really loving the EFFORTLESS EYELINER and the CREME LIPSTICKS in Muted Plum and Raspberry.

Stowaway Cosmetics are the perfect size for travel.  They take up less room in my cosmetic bag and perfect for my carry-on bag.  I plan to take them with my on my next trip to Puerto Vallarta next week.  The hues are perfect for summer travels!

Recycle Program

Stowaways philosophy when it comes to product waste is “Stowaway, don’t throw away.”  They have an awesome RECYCLE PROGRAM that allows you to trade in your old Stowaway products in exchange for a credit towards more products.  What’s even better is that they pay for the return shipping.  You’ll get a $5 credit for every three products you turn in, which is good towards more Stowaway Cosmetics.  This is a great opportunity to try every shade of lipstick, or every shade of Cheek and Lip Rouge.

Get a Free Lipstick

A great way to give Stowaway a try is to purchase their Basics Kit.

Click the banner above to get a FREE lipstick when you buy THE BASICS KIT using promo code BLOGFRIENDS.

The Best Baby Pool Float

This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received products to facilitate my review.Swimways Baby Spring Float

I’ve been working on our family summer travel plans and naturally, every destination we have chosen has amazing pools.  Some resorts have designated kiddie pools and others have kid-friendly adult pools.  This means we have to brings pool floats of some kind for both girls, which can be a challenge.

My oldest, Charlotte, almost knows how to swim, but she will need a refresher course before vacation; and my youngest, Kendall, is still slightly afraid of the water.  Kendall isn’t to the point where she can wear a life vest to float around yet, so I have been exploring different options for her for travel, as well as at home.

I’ve teamed up with SwimWays this year to help introduce my baby to the water safely with their Baby Spring Float and I’m thinking that this pool float is going to be our new summer vacation must-have.  Going into this SwimWays ambassador program, I was thinking the Spring Float would be perfect for our pool at home, but after seeing it in person, it’s absolutely perfect for traveling.

Swimways Baby Spring Float

The SwimWays Spring Float is designed for babies ages 9 – 24 months.  When collapsed, the Spring Float is just 13″ x 13″ x 3″, making it perfect for taking on a trip.  Once the float is opened up, you can access the two air ports to inflate the outside ring and outer portion of the mesh baby seat.  It’s the single best float on the market today and comes highly recommended on the Toys ‘R US website.

Our first experience with the float was a little traumatic.  Our pool is still a little chilly, so Kendall sort of froze up and whimpered for me to pull her out.  She was much better the second time around and the float gave me the freedom to be able to enjoy the pool with her.  I pulled her around like she was in a little boat and she loved it.  This is going to be great for travel.

Swimways Baby Spring Float

National Learn to Swim Day – May 21st

With Summer coming up and community pools beginning to open, what better time to start teaching your kids how to swim?  SwimWays is celebrating their 5th annual Nation Learn to Swim Day on May 21st to help bring awareness to water safety.  This program is designed to help educate parents and children about water safety and the importance of learning how to swim.

You can celebrate in your own town by throwing a little community pool party.  You can hand out flyers with pool safety tips and educate fellow parents with tips you’ve learned from www.teachmetoswim.com/national-learn-to-swim-day.aspx.   You will find tons of resources, activity sheets and other printouts on this site under the EVENT TOOLKIT AND REWARDS section.

You can even make some fun pool-party themed little snacks for the kiddos like the ones below.

More Resources:

Raising awareness about the importance of teaching children to swim.

We can’t wait to continue the fun this summer with the help of SwimWays and TeachMeToSwim.com.  Be sure to follow our social media pages for updates.

How to Remove Summer Stains and Odors from Clothing – Persil ProClean

This post is sponsored by Persil ProClean.  As always, all opinions are my own.


The smells of summer – sunscreen, chlorine, salt water and salty sea air –  great on vacation, not so great when it’s time to unpack.  After vacations, I’m always left with a huge pile of clothes from the entire family that is covered with stains and musky odors.  I have actually thrown out quite a bit of summer clothes because they get so dingy and seemingly beyond repair.

About a year ago I fell in love with the Persil ProClean scent and it’s ability to deeply clean my clothes.  Their products work wonders on summer stains, but until recently, I was unable to find them at my favorite store – Target.  I just got word that Persil products are now available at select Target stores nationwide and online at Target.com, making it easier for me to get my hands on these great products.

The original Persil ProClean products remind me of mens cologne and the scent remains even after the clothes have been washed and dried.  I have personally tried the Persil Original Pearly Laundry Detergent, the Persil ProClean Power-Caps and the Persil ProClean Original Liquid Laundry Detergent and have loved them all.

While this article is mainly about my love for the Persil products and my excitement about their availability at Target, I do want to share some tips for ridding your clothes of sunscreen stains and summer odors.

How to Remove Sunscreen Stains from Clothing

1.  Making sure your garment is completely dry, sprinkle baking soda onto the stains.  I like to press the baking soda onto the stains to really help absorb the oils.  Brush off the powder after 30 – 45 minutes.

2.  Rub the stains with dishwashing liquid.  Any brand will work.  Work into the stains for about five minutes.

3.  Mix one tablespoon of Persil ProClean Original Liquid Laundry Detergent or empty one Power-Cap into a large bowl of hot water and let it soak for 45 minutes to an hour, agitating it with your hands every so often.

4.  Remove the garment from the water and place directly into the washing machine and launder normally with any of the Persil ProClean products.

A great idea for summer travels is to take along some Persil ProClean Power-Caps so you can easily do your laundry without having to worry about finding laundry soap.  This works great for road trips.  I recommend taking a baggy of the Power Pearls if you’re flying somewhere.

Persil ProClean Products

While out and about shopping this week, I noticed that Persil ProClean now has a sensitive formula.  This sounds like a great fit for my youngest daughter since she has such bad eczema.  They also have an Intense Fresh scent that I found online at Target.com.  I can’t wait to smell this one.

You can view the entire list of products available at Target here.  
Be sure to check the availability in your local store by using Target’s “find in store” tool.


Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory

Giveaway

Enter to win three (3) full sized product vouchers valued at $7 each (expires 5/31/2017) using the Rafflecopter form below.  We will choose one winner after 6/29/16.  Good luck!  (Open to US, 18+ only).



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Travel Gear: gb Pockit Stroller Review

This post was sponsored by @GBChildUsa as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received the gb Pockit to facilitate my review.

Deep down, I think that most of us have a dream of traveling the world or visiting the destinations on our travel bucket list.  The travel bug bit me in 2012 on a cruise to Jamaica, Haiti and Mexico and I was hooked.  Fast forward to 2016 and I have been to more international destinations that I could have ever imagined, and I’ve done it all with my kids.

Most adults imagine a vacation with kids as more of a “trip” and not a relaxing vacation.  Sometimes it can be a little exhausting to travel with kids (packing, snacks, diapers, wipes, extra clothes, car seats, strollers, etc.); but the best way to vacation with kids is just to do it.  Start them young and work through the little struggles one at a time.

Vacationing is sort of like having a baby.  You can prepare as much as the books tell you to, but until you have the child, you won’t really know what your family needs.  And needs are different for every family.

Vacation Prep

We seem to have our family travel routine down pretty well these days.  After our first vacation with a toddler, we learned pretty quickly what we needed and didn’t need.  We definitely over packed in the beginning.

One of the best things to do before a family vacation is do a little digging to learn more about the place you will be staying at.  This might sound like an obvious thing to do, but I run into a lot of “I wish I had thought of that” while on vacation.

You want your vacation destination to feel like your home away from home, especially for the kids.  Some of the items on my “research list” for vacation destinations are:

  • Laundry – Does the resort or cruise ship have a washer and dryer?  Having a washer and dryer helps us to avoid overpacking.
  • Baby Food – If you are traveling with a baby, check ahead to see if the resort offers baby food.  Sometimes they carry a certain brand of pre-made baby food or sometimes they can make it themselves.
  • Room Service – Even if it ends up costing more money than it would to go to the restaurant to eat, sometimes room service is a life saver.  My family loves to order room service for breakfast so that we can eat in our pajamas and get ready at our own pace.


Baby Gear

If you are traveling internationally with a young child, a stroller is a must; but before you load up your extra large, luxurious jogging stroller, consider this:

The airports are really cracking down on oversized strollers right now and are asking parents to check their strollers with their luggage.  I was just recently told that my stroller had to fit through the security scanner conveyor belt so they could check it out.  It was a tight squeeze and almost didn’t fit, but we pushed it on through.  After that trip, I knew I needed a smaller stroller to avoid any potential snags in the security process.
The world’s smallest folding stroller, the gb Pockit, was designed with traveling families in mind.  The creators truly considered the difficulties that frequent travelers experience with baby gear and have finally come up with the perfect solution.
The gb Pockit stroller folds up small enough to fit in a large tote bag, making it so much easier for the entire family to board an airport shuttle, an airplane or even a taxi.  This stroller folds and unfolds extremely fast so you don’t have to worry about a line building up behind you as your fiddle with your stroller.

To give you an example of how handy the gb Pockit is for our family travels, picture this:
4:30am – Arrive at Sacramento International Airport
4:40am – Find parking spot and begin unloading the car
4:50am – Get the toddler in the stroller, hold hands with the 4-year old while rest of family rolls luggage to the parking lot shuttle.
5:00am – Parking lot shuttle arrives.  Everyone in line boards the shuttle with ease ahead of you while you pull the toddler out of the stroller, load the luggage, collapse the stroller and find a seat.
5:10am – Arrive to airport terminal.  Again, everyone on the shuttle gets off with their luggage while you open the stroller, place toddler in stroller and unload luggage with four-year old in tow.
5:18am – Move entire family to ticket counter to check in.
5:30am – After offloading checked baggage, tickets in hand, board the airport tram which takes you to your gate.
5:35am – Arrive at security checkpoint – remove everyone’s shoes, collapse stroller, put diaper bag, stroller and everything else through security conveyor belt while a line begins to build up behind you.
5:50am – Put shoes back on the entire family, retrieve belongings, unfold the stroller, place toddler in stroller and head to the gate.
5:55am – Arrive to your gate where you now wait until your plan boards.
6:10am – Board plan – collapse stroller at the bottom of the jet bridge where staff will grab it to place it under the plane.
6:30am – Vacation officially begins!

The gb Pockit stroller takes some of the stress away from the airport process.  It’s so fast and easy to to fold and unfold, and even load and unload.  Plus, not only is it great for my toddler, but my four-year old loves it, too.  My toddler doesn’t always want to be pushed around, so my four-year old hops right in any chance she gets.

Most of the time, I’m having to push a stroller with one hand while I wheel my luggage behind me with the other hand.  The gb Pockit flexes a little while pushing it but rolls very smoothly and easily with just one hand.


More Product Features

  • Two-step folding technique lets you switch from pushing to carrying the Pockit in seconds
  • Self-standing or ultra-compact fold options offer simple storage and transport in a large tote bag or luggage
  • Lightweight for easy portability
  • Find the best fit for baby with the adjustable harness, which features protective pads for comfort
  • Lockable front tires provide the proper balance between maneuverability and stability
  • Convenient storage basket lets you keep an extra blanket or bottle handy
  • Constructed of lightweight, durable materials for a lasting design
  • Recommended weight: Up to 55 lb.
  • Product weight: 9.5 lb.
  • Dimensions (unfolded): 28″L x 17.5″W x 39.8″H
  • Dimensions (compact fold): 11.8″L x 7.1″W x 19.9″H
  • Dimensions (ultra-compact fold): 11.8″L x 7.1″W x 13.8″H
Check out my Instagram Demo Video:


    Where to Buy

    I can rave all day about this stroller and how great it is for restaurants, airports, shuttles, excursions, etc., but I’ll let you check it out for yourself.  Visit your local Babies R Us to see it in person of visit the Babies R Us website to learn more.

    Frogglez Kids Goggles Review

    Frogglez Kids Goggles - They prevent all the issues of conventional goggles

    Goggles are one of our must-have travel products but are also a favorite at home for our own swimming pool.  My husband is a contact wearer and relies on goggles to keep his contacts from floating away.  My oldest daughter has recently learned how to swim and enjoys using goggles at home, in the ocean and in resort pools.  There’s just one problem with every pair of goggles we’ve owned – they’re extremely uncomfortable.  And for this reason, Frogglez was invented.

    Problems with Conventional Goggles

    If you’ve ever used a conventional pair of goggles, you’ll understand these issues.

    • – Your hair tangles and get pulled by the strap
    • – They’re hard to fit to your head
    • – Goggles don’t stay in place which lead to a break in the seal around your eyes
    Frogglez Kids Goggles - They prevent all the issues of conventional goggles

    Benefits of Frogglez Goggles

    I absolutely love to swim in the ocean but hate the eye burn that I often get from salt water.  Had I known about Frogglez for adults and kids earlier, I would’ve purchased them years ago.  They prevent hair pulling, ear pinching and goggle slippage thanks to their soft, neoprene, patented strap design.

    Where to Buy Frogglez

    You can visit FrogglezGoggles.com to purchase Frogglez directly from their website or you can find them in your local Bed, Bath and Beyond, Kroger, Buy Buy Baby, Walmart, Costco, Target.com, Amazon.com and various swim shops across the US.
    I received a pair of Frogglez to facilitate my review.  As always, my review is based on my experience with the products and is never influenced by compensation.

    Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Car Seat Review

    2016 Top Rated Toddler Car Seats

    A lot of new parents think they need to register for the most expensive car seats at the store.  Price and safety seem to go hand-in-hand in a lot of parents’ minds.  Let me just tell you, I’ve had a lot of experience with various car seat brands and I can tell you first hand that some of my favorite car seats have been from the most inexpensive brands – like the Graco Atlas 65.

    Parenting Myths

    – Baby gear sort of reflects on your status as a parent.  

    – Expensive products somehow prove that you’re a classy parent or that you’re “in the know” when it comes to what’s best for your kid.

    – Other moms will judge me if I have a cheap car seat.

    – Cheap baby gear means unsafe baby gear.

    Honestly, you can get really nice looking and high quality products for not very much money.

    When I’m considering a car seat, I look for lots of different things aside from the safety ratings:

    Weight – as a family that travels quite often, I consider the weight of a car seat and how awkward it might be to carry around at the airports.

    Size – is the car seat going to fit behind my driver seat or in my husband’s mid-sized truck?  Will it accommodate my growing child?

    Color/Fabric – is the color and fabric stain resistant?

    Multi-purpose – I’m all about multi-purpose products so if a car seat can grow with my child, it will totally win me over.

    Price – I’m a big time bargain shopper so if I’m going to spend my own money on a product, you better believe I want to get a good deal.

    Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster Toddler Car Seat

    Weight  – Once your child is out of the infant car seat (unless you have something like the Graco 4Ever All-in-1 Car Seat like I have for Kendall) you’ll need a toddler/preschooler car seat.  As I mentioned above, I’ve had experience with a fair share of car seats.  Most of them have been great but weight is always a huge concern and a deal breaker.  The Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster weighs in at just 18 pounds making it super easy for me to load on and off of airport shuttles, into hotel transportation, etc.

    Multi-Purpose – This car seat is designed to grow with your child from harness booster (22 – 65 lb.) to highback booster (30 – 100 lb.)   In California, I believe the new law is that children under two must be rear facing.  So once your child is ready for a forward facing “big kid” car seat, you’ve got to check this one out.

    Easy to adjust – The ultra-easy Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the harness and headrest together – with no time-consuming rethreading – to 10  height positions.  This is such an easy system to use and takes the headache of rethreading away.  This is especially great for parents with larger hands or little patience (like me).

    Self contained – When your child has transitioned from harnessed booster to highback booster, the car seat stores the harness seat belt in the “handy harness storage compartment.”  I’m all about products with self storage so this feature gets an A+ from me.

    Cup holders – If your car has passenger cup holders but your child has difficulty reaching them, you’ll love the two built-in cup holders on this car seat.  They can easily be removed for washing and hold snacks, too.  My Nissan Pathfinder is a great family car but the rear passenger cup holders are out of reach for my girls.  I always consider car seats with cup holders for this reason alone.

    Machine washable – The fabric on this car seat is machine washable and is pretty simple to remove from the car seat.

    MSRP – $129.99 – This is such a great price for a multi-purpose car seat that grows with your child.  Graco is a trusted brand in baby gear and is a brand that I’ve used for years.

    Rating – 4.9 out of 5 Stars on the Graco Website

    The Graco Atlas 65 has been a wonderful cars eat for our family.  It’s easy to move from car to car, my toddler fits comfortably in it and it is budget-friendly.  It’s been a great car seat to travel with, as well.  It fits nicely in our car seat travel bag and has proven to be very useful in other countries.

    As a family who is always on the go, we let our kids eat in their car seats, which means we have to clean the fabric often.  This fabric is very wipeable and can even be removed and washed as mentioned above.

    I received a car seat from Graco to facilitate my review  All opinions are my own.