User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Pros:Higher weight/height limits. Super cool, plush fabrics. Great latch buckles.
Cons:PRICE PRICE PRICE. Buckles could click into place easier.
The Bottom Line: All Canadian approved car seats have to pass the same tests, so maybe it wasn't worth the $. But they do make great fabrics!
I was putting my 19lb boy in his infant carrier that is good up to 22lbs the other day and noticed that the back label on the seat said it's only good for kids up to 26 inches! They don't advertise that anywhere on their site, packaging, etc.. just on that label and in the manual. So since he had technically outgrown that seat a month ago, we had to buy a new rear facing car seat.
Recommend this product?
Why did I chose this seat? I liked the fabric. Sad, but true. It took a while to convince hubby into cow print though. If Britax had bad ratings, I wouldn't have bought it for the fabric. Other reasons for buying it were the higher weight limit which I'll discuss later, and I thought it might be narrower than others (some day we hope to fit 2 car seats and a booster in our SUV).
About the carseat:
It's nice and plush. Very soft to the touch, and can be removed for washing (hand wash, hang dry). In the photos, the cow print looks black and white, but when I got it it's black with a off white marbled texture for the 'white'. I was a bit disappointed, but it will look clean longer.
Rear facing is 5-33 lbs
forward facing is 20-48 lbs (in the USA you can use it forward facing up to 65 lbs if you use the belts and not latch system, but Canada only allows up to 48lbs)
Height up to 49 inches.
It does NOT convert to a booster seat. Backless boosters are cheap enough, and they're not mandatory where I live.
One problem I see with these limits is the 5lb rear facing part. There is no way a child that young could use this seat. My average sized 8 month old uses the lowest shoulder strap height on this thing. (the shoulder strap should be below the top of their shoulders, and the 2nd lowest one is half an inch above his shoulders). Additionally, it doesn't come with a head hugger. My 8 month old fell asleep in it today, and his head was flopped forward.
It can be installed using either latch, shoulder/lapbelt, or lap belt only in BOTH forward and rear facing. It has its own built in lock off for lap belts and shoulder belts so you don't have to worry about those locking clips that get lost. With any car seat, there is a bit of a learning curve for installing it, but now that we have done it it's easy to do (we've only tried rear facing with Latch). However, we were not able to use the V-tether. Basically, Britax seats are designed so you use the top tether in rear facing as well as forward facing. But there was no where for us to attach the strap to. They say if you don't have a spot, to anchor the strap to a fixed metal part of a seat (that isn't an adjuster bar), but we don't have anything like that in our vehicle either. (lexus rx300). So we had to leave that. It says it's optional anyway, and the seat is very solid how it is now. It moves less than our infant carrier did.
The seat is really big.. but I think any forward facing seat is. We have it installed behind the driver in the rx300 SUV, and my 6foot hubby has his drivers seat back within 1.5 inches of hitting the car seat. That's pretty close. In a couple more months we need a seat for in our other vehicle -- a mustang -- so we might have a hard time finding something that fits! If anyone knows of a rear facing car seat that fits in a mustang let me know!
This is my main beef with the car seat so far. The buckle that is between their legs is difficult. It is on a short strap which makes it awkward. And when you put one side in the buckle, it doesn't click into place until you insert the 2nd buckle as well (this is how it is designed). With a squirmy 8 month old, it takes some coordination to keep on side in place while inserting the other half.
They have their 'hugs system' which seems nice. For a child under 5 months or so you would have to remove this because the child's body wouldn't be long enough to use it. But it's a rubber comfort strip on each shoulder strap that keeps the chest clip from resting right on their chest. It slides up and down easily and you can adjust the chest clip to the right height without moving the hugs system. The shoulder straps also have coordinating cow print shoulder pads so the strap isn't digging into his neck. I think I noticed they have velcro that opens to take them off.
The seat has up front adjustment which is handy for when your child is wearing a thinner or bulkier outfit.
Adjusting the height of the shoulder straps wasn't too hard, but we had to uninstall the seat to do it.
One thing that is really cool is how the latch system is designed. On our infant carrier the latches were short metal clips, and you had to get your fingers between the seats to undo the little metal clip. But the marathon has a big buckle with a red button. Just push the button, and the Latch clips open up and release.
Overall, I like the seat, but if it weren't for the cool cow print I don't know how I'd feel. It's really big, and anyone who doesn't own an SUV or Minivan would have trouble fitting it in their car. And the buckles could be easier to do up, and have a better 'click' sound to know you've done it right. I'm happy that the chest clip is metal though. Our evenflo one was plastic and I questioned the quality of it.
I've noticed that he sits up very high in this seat compared to an infant carrier, and rear facing he has the same (maybe less even) legroom than he did in his carrier too.
When we buy our 2nd car seat, I'll have to update this review since I'll have something to compare this car seat to.
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Amount Paid (US$): 245
Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months