The last step of our hospital discharge was the car seat check. I gingerly lifted the UPPAbaby MESA onto the table and the nurse did her inspection. She diligently checked the various components of the car seat and how it fit my newborn and released us with a cheery, “you’re good to go! You know what you’re doing.”
But I didn’t actually know what I was doing. Four days earlier I’d checked into the hospital to be induced, two weeks after my due date. The delivery was long and resulted in a surgery that left me depleted and confined to a hospital bed long after I expected to be home. Four days of sleep interrupted by my newborn’s cries, my roommate’s snores and blood draws every four hours had me almost delirious as I strapped my new baby into the car seat.
Fortunately, the UPPAbaby MESA is essentially foolproof. I’d read the manual before heading to the hospital but there were adjustments that couldn’t be made until after the baby arrived. My 9+ pounder didn’t require the infant insert (it accommodates babies from 4 – 8lbs) so it was the first to go. There were no fussy snaps or buttons to mess with; the infant insert lifts out easily.
Next, I had to adjust the headrest so the shoulder straps were positioned correctly. I’ve used other car seats where changing the harness meant rethreading the straps behind the seat. UPPAbaby has eliminated this onerous step with its no-rethread harness that adjusts with the headrest. One simple pull on a tab at the top of the seat lets you adjust the headrest and shoulder harness quickly and effortlessly. You can even do it with your baby in the car seat to make sure you’re getting the correct height. I like this feature because it makes the adjustment easier and much faster, but I also appreciate it from a safety standpoint. Whenever I’ve adjusted the shoulder straps in other car seats, I’ve worried that I wasn’t rethreading correctly or I’d somehow compromised the integrity of the car seat. The MESA’s no-rethread harness completely removes that concern.
The installation was similarly uncomplicated. The MESA can be installed with a car’s seatbelt or latch system. The base is colour-coded to make installation straightforward; blue components are for seatbelt installation and orange components are for latch installation. Indicator windows change from red to green when the correct tightness and level have been achieved. If you’re hesitant about your installation abilities, UPPAbaby makes it easy to install the MESA with confidence with their short, informative videos on their YouTube channel. (link: www.youtube.com/user/UPPAbabyCo)
Safety is obviously the number one factor when transporting your baby but the stringent safety regulations in place today ensure that all car seats on the market meet or exceed certain specifications (the MESA scores higher than any other car seat brand on side impact protection). After safety, features and usability are a close second. Car seats that are fussy or difficult to use aren’t practical. I use my car seat daily; I don’t want a seat that’s exasperating or difficult to use. The MESA has a few design features that really set it apart from other car seats. It has an SPF 50+ canopy that collapses fully for a smooth, streamlined look when not in use. The strap that tightens the chest harness has a handy loop on the end so you can fit a finger through and pull it easily if gripping is a struggle (whoever said pregnancy carpal tunnel syndrome disappears after delivery lied.) The MESA is compatible with UPPAbaby’s VISTA and CRUZ strollers, even if you have an older model; if you provide UPPAbaby’s outstanding customer service team with the model numbers of your MESA and VISTA, they’ll send you adapters that snap right in to make them compatible. And possibly my favourite feature: there’s a little pocket on either side of the MESA to tuck the buckles into to make putting your baby into the seat as easy as possible. I’ve even managed to do a sleeping baby transfer from the baby carrier into the car seat without fumbling around for straps and buckles. It’s a great feature that’s made even better when you consider how hot car seat components can become when a car is sitting out in the sun; the metal part of the buckle can be tucked into the pocket so there’s no chance of accidentally touching sensitive baby skin with heated metal.
UPPAbaby’s MESA car seat is designed to make parents’ lives easier. From eliminating worries about safety and installation to providing features that may seem like minor details but affect the daily use of the seat, the MESA can make anyone look like they know what they’re doing, even if they’re just faking it like the rest of us.
Hillary (with two Ls, please!) is a green juice drinking, chocolate cake loving, cancer surviving, feeler of all the feelings. She spends her days in intense negotiations with a 5-year-old superhero and a disgruntled infant. She wouldn’t have it any other way. You can find her at www.hillarywith2ls.com.