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Recaro Young Sport

January 15, 2008

The Recaro Young Sport is the car seat that we bought for my son on his first birthday. It is not possible to use this particular car seat in the rear facing position. Children are allowed to ride in forward facing car seats once they are both one year old and weigh at least 20 pounds. This is the law in Virginia. It may vary from state to state.

car seats

We paid $249.99 for this car seat (it’s a good thing his birthday coincided with our tax refund!) and were so happy with the ease of installation. Our car, a 2007 Subaru Legacy, is equipped with the latch system. In the photo above, you can see that the backseat headrest has been removed and the car seat’s upper tether is so tight that it displaces the padding. Tightening the upper tether and the lower latch belt to the point that the car seat leaves marks on your car’s upholstery is the proper way to integrate the car seat with the rest of the car. The Recaro Young Sport is very heavy, but with the latch system, installation is not frustrating or difficult. I imagine that it would not be too much trouble to use the Recaro Young Sport if your family needs to switch between two cars on a regular basis. As long as both cars have the latch system, it would be simple to uninstall the car seat and install it in another car within about 15 minutes.

If your car does not have the latch system, the car’s seat belt can also be used to secure the seat. It is harder to get a tight fit this way, though. In our town, the volunteer firefighters are trained in car seat installation. They help anyone who goes into the station with questions about how to properly install a car seat. Car seats should be installed so tightly that you should be able to rock the entire car by pulling on the car seat. It should not slip or slide at all once “it becomes one with” the car.

Recaro Young Sport Sand

One of the reasons we bought this particular car seat was comfort. Recaro is the brand that makes seats for race car drivers. These race car drivers have to be comfortable because they must drive for hours at a time. Race car drivers also use the five-point harness safety belt to protect them. Parents need to know that just because a car seat meets safety standards in the United States doesn’t mean the car seat is going to do everything possible to prevent the injury or death of the child. Safety standards seem to be very low. The reason I think this is because I have compared other car seats to the Recaro Young Sport and been shocked at the difference. A high-end car seat is a good investment, in my opinion. There’s really no price cap that you can put on the value of your child’s life, although $300 does seem to be the line that car seat manufacturers have not yet crossed.

recaro car seat

We are very impressed with the ease of cleaning the Recaro Young Sport. We vacuum crumbs (a car trip is not possible without snacks) about twice a month and if we ever need to spot-clean it we just use a baby wipe. The entire cover is removable in case of larger messes. It can be hand-washed in a large sink (or the bathtub) with a gentle detergent such as Wool-lite. In the photo below, you can see my son has his hand between the seat and the removable cushion. Also, you can barely see the triangular padding behind the buckle. It sometimes slides off and lands outside the car if we aren’t careful when we take our son out. A band of elastic allows you to remove it by slipping it over the buckle, so you have to get used to that in order not to slide it off unintentionally.

recaro car seat

The headrest of the Recaro Young Sport is adjustable. If your growing child needs the headrest to be a little higher, the straps do not have to be re-threaded through the back of the car seat because adjusting the headrest simultaneously adjusts the straps.

This car seat is great for long trips. My son is usually asleep within a few minutes because of the enclosed and secure feeling of the headrest. His head is supported and he doesn’t get an achy neck like he would in a less supportive car seat.

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18 Comments
  1. January 15, 2008 1:50 pm

    Jesus, that looks so comfortable I think I’ll buy one for myself.

  2. January 15, 2008 2:31 pm

    Hahaha. That’s what my husband said and Subaru said we couldn’t replace our front car seats because it would mess up the wiring and sensitivity of the airbags. 😥

  3. January 15, 2008 4:09 pm

    And the coincidences keep rolling in! We have 3 Subarus, and DH was just telling me he wanted to get the Recaro child seat for our son (he’s a big racing fan).

    I bet Subaru’s wrong – hobby racers replace their seats all the time. Of course, perhaps it really may mess up the wiring and airbags, and they just don’t care – who knows?

  4. January 15, 2008 5:45 pm

    Our sons are somehow connected in a really cool way. Or else consumers just don’t have enough choices and you and I keep making the same choices. LOL!

  5. January 15, 2008 5:51 pm

    About the airbags, the car’s computer senses when someone is seated and when someone puts the seat belt on, so the airbag turns itself on and off accordingly. The Subaru mechanic said they couldn’t do it for liability reasons because the airbag wouldn’t respond if different seats were installed and the computer’s system were bypassed. If you want cool seats you have to ask for them to be installed at the factory before you even purchase the car. We were told that if you purchase the car from the lot you shouldn’t modify it.

  6. January 16, 2008 2:19 am

    You need to write for Consumer Reports – you would make Nader very proud.

  7. January 16, 2008 10:01 am

    Every time I hear something about firefighters I think they are cooler and cooler. I’m convinced that people who genuinely care about their fellow man are drawn to this job. I worked at a camp for abused and neglected children several summers. All of the workers were taking their vacation time to serve on a volunteer basis. Yep, you guessed it: about half of the men who volunteered were firefighters.

    Certainly, buying a high-end seat is a good purchase… just take one look at what it is protecting. Wouldn’t you pay a fortune to protect that little guy? 🙂

    Sounds like you bought this for his birthday present… isn’t that a little like buying a vacuum cleaner for ones wife on a wedding anniversary? 😉 I’m assuming the birthday was actually mentioned because of the 20 pounds and 1 year old requirements.

  8. January 16, 2008 10:23 am

    JP, what a funny commenter you are turning out to be. I love rescuing you from the spam bin. It brightens my day.

    Bikkuri, the firefighters are super-heroes for volunteering to be trained in car seat safety. It is just one of many cool things that they do.

    My son’s car seat that he used his first year sucked big time. It was given to us by “the state” and presumably people in low income brackets don’t deserve to be as protected as people with lots of money to spend on high-end car seats. Supposedly it met safety standards. Excuse my ungratefulness but Fuck That. This is part of why I love Ron Paul’s economic theories. If you subsidize something (for example, crappy car seats) you will just get more of them (the companies will not be motivated to make nice safe car seats because they can count on the state to buy the crappy ones), but if you let consumers have freedom of choice they will do a cost-benefit analysis and learn to prioritize.

    It is like buying a vacuum cleaner for your wife in a way, but he is so much better off now that he can sleep in comfort and in a much safer seat.

  9. January 16, 2008 11:16 pm

    As I thought about replacing the seats – the hobbyists don’t necessarily mind about the airbags not working. Fine in a reinforced racer with Recaro seats, but not a good idea for your family daily driver. FOrgot about the airbag sensors, which really tick me off, even though theya re a good safety item. Problem is, I often put junk on my seat – purse, shopping items, library books – and it makes the alarm go off until I either “buckle up” my cargo or move it all!!

    I think our sons do have some weird connection – when yours is a bit older, they should email each other – they can talk all about Thomas!

  10. January 17, 2008 11:28 pm

    LOL @ the heavy sack of library books. That has happened to me too. Beep beep beep.

    Yes, our sons can email each other and have a blast talking about Thomas. 🙂

  11. Chris permalink
    January 21, 2008 2:32 pm

    We purchased our first Recaro car seat for our oldest son in 2003. It is a Start. It’s an awesome seat and much more durable than the Young Sport. We purchased a Young Sport in 2006 and while the majority of the components are high quality, the headrest pads are very cheap Styrofoam. Recaro advertises: “Extremely long useful life: 1 seat for children from approx. 9 months up to 12 years (9 – 36 kg)” yet this is impossible given the cheap Styrofoam. The Styrofoam has disintegrated, leaving a hard plastic shell underneath the cover. Recaro could have easily clad the Styrofoam in a vinyl skin or something to increase the durability. Unfortunately car seats are only as good as their weakest feature. Considering our son’s head would collide with hard plastic during an accident, I give Recaro a dismal three stars. Maybe they’ll fix the design.

  12. January 21, 2008 3:26 pm

    Chris, thanks for your input. What do you mean when you say the Styrofoam has disintegrated? What conditions would cause that to happen? I’m not saying you all did anything wrong, but you have made me curious.

  13. Naydi permalink
    January 31, 2009 9:35 am

    Even though children are legally allowed to ride forward facing from one and 20 lbs, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. It’s a bare minimum- and an outdated minimum.

    Young children are 500% safer rear facing. Rear facing car seats provide much greater protection for the head and neck from potentially fatal injuries like internal decapitation and traumatic brain injury. A child is safer in a cheap $35 rear facing cosco scenera than a $250 recaro young sport. Children have been killed and endured devastating injuries because they were turned forward too soon. With the car seats available today in the US most children can rear-face until 35 lbs. In other countries, which have car seats with more advanced designs and higher weight limits, children routinely rear face through their fourth birthday!

    I would suggest googling “extended rear facing”. If you e-mail me I would be more than happy to provide links

  14. January 31, 2009 10:49 am

    Naydi, I appreciate your concern. Thanks for the information to consider. It is a weightier decision to make than it seems at the time. That first birthday can be such an exciting milestone, and parents want their children to have room to stretch their legs. I will think more about it this time around!

  15. January 31, 2009 7:46 pm

    Of course, they would be even safer if you never drive them anywhere; however, we always have to balance every decision. Involvement in activities is good for socialization and brain stimulation. Stretching and moving is good for their little bodies. Observing the surroundings through which they are passing has got to be good for orienting themselves mentally and engaging in the world, rather than focusing only inward.

    Learning a few things about the mindset and practice of driving safely and defensively will probably reap greater benefits than the forward/backward facing issue. A child who is not in an accident will come out better than one who is.

    I trust that you are taking your children’s best interests at heart when making your decisions.

  16. Naydi permalink
    January 31, 2009 9:30 pm

    @fightwindmills
    I understand about the milestone, and once felt that way. It is an ingrained part of our culture, and why many children are forward faced when they have seats which fit perfectly fine rear facing. Many older children, who are much more cramped than a 1 year old, say it is more comfortable to rear face than forward face because they are more reclined and have more leg support. Forward facing too early doesn’t matter until it DOES matter, until something horrible happens and you either have a dead child or a catastrophically injured child. And then it’s just too late, as many parents will attest. A little boy named Joel was horribly injured in his forward facing car seat, if you google “Joel’s story rear facing” you will find his grandfathers account of his injuries. Youtube also has videos of rear facing vs forward facing. There is also a very nice forum, if you google car-seat forum you will find it, where you can find lots more information by very educated and trained people about the benefits of rear-facing, harnessing, and boostering children.

    After seeing and reading what I have read, I literally feel nauseous when I see a child forward facing when they could be rear facing- especially a child under 3 years old. It is just so much safer to rear face- I know parents who have turned their 2 1/2 year old, 30 lb children after learning the information because they felt it was *that* safe.

    @the poster above me
    Although I, and most people who support extending the time children remain rear facing, would agree that auto transport is an amazing technology, at the same time we believe it should be conducted in the safest manner possible. The most vocal advocates are often police officers, paramedics, fire fighters, and nurses- people who know through their training and education how important car safety is. Especially considering that automobile accidents are a lead cause of death for US residents age 1 to 34. The point of a car-seat is to protect a child from death or serious injury.

    After you move past issues of misuse and unrestrained children, rear facing a child as long as possible becomes the next biggest issue in safety for children. If you watch the crash tests videos, you will see why- when a rear facing child is in a head on crash (the most common serious crashes are head on) their weight is spread out against the entire shell of their car seat. When a forward facing child is hit head on, their weight hits against the straps of a car seat- their head, arms, and legs are thrown violently forward. In fact, forward facing, the head and neck have no restraint. Because a child has a large head and fragile neck, they can be killed much easier than an adult or older child can. Although the spinal column can stretch 2 inches, the spinal cord can only stretch 1/4 an inch before it snaps. Many children sustain serious injuries that could be prevented just by rear-facing- just that one simple change. Rearfacing is over 500% safer- I have seen parents struggle to install forward seats in the center because it’s safer- it is, 25% safer. If parents struggle that much to install center, knowing it’s safer, why do so many parent not rear face to a convertibles limits? Probably lack of information. In serious side impact accidents have also shown that rearfacing is safer. The only accident where it might be less safe is rear-impact- rear impact collisions also happen to be the least common and most survivable of all serious car accidents.

    It isn’t abstract though, or philosophical belief- it is physics. Most parents do have their child’s best interest in mind, they just are not equipped with accurate or adequate information. When equipped, I have found, most happily turn their child rear facing.

  17. January 31, 2009 9:51 pm

    Naydi, the Recaro Young Sport can only face forward, so we don’t need to discuss turning it around for anyone owning this particular seat. Thanks again for your concern. I understand the physics of the force being spread out so that the spinal cord won’t snap; that makes perfect sense to me. I will take that into consideration when buying a seat for my third child, but these two children pictured are very happy with the way their seats are now.

  18. berryshy permalink
    February 23, 2009 1:30 am

    we bought the same for my son.
    he love it so much!
    even though over here it cost RM 1599 (in Malaysia),but it worth every penny.
    fightingmills,
    we are in the same direction.

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