Britax Marathon Onyx Convertible Car Seat Reviews
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Britax Marathon Onyx Convertible Car Seat

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The workhorse of car seats

Nov 6, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Durability:
  • Ease of Use:

Pros:High harness weight, installs easily

Cons:cost

The Bottom Line: The best car seat to purchase after your child outgrows their infant seat and well worth the price if you consider how long your child will use it.


 
~Intended Use~

Rear Facing: 5-35 pounds and 49" or less with a sitting height (butt to shoulder) of 10.5"-16"
Forward Facing: Must be AT LEAST one year old (best not to turn them around until they reach the limits for rear facing regardless of age)
20-65 pounds and 49" or less with a sitting height (butt to shoulder) of 12"-16"
Once your child reaches the weight limit, or the shoulders are above the top harness slots, they have outgrown the seat. This seat also expires 6 years after manufacture, and must be discarded after that time.

~Basic Information~

The Marathon is both a forward and rear facing seat. This seat could technically be used from birth, provided he or she is at least 5 pounds. I would not recommend this seat for any baby under about 4 months of age, because of it's lack of head support for such a young baby.
This seat has 4 harness slots, and accomadates children who weigh up to 65 pounds. This is a great thing, because many of the traditional car seats who accomadate children to 40 pounds, are outgrown in height before they are in weight, long before a child is ready for a booster. My two year old is too tall for many traditional 40 pound weight limit car seats and not even close to old enough or mature enough for a traditional booster.
The Marathon has many added features that are supposed to improve safety. The first of these is the five point harness.  The point of the five point harness, is to make your child safer by making contact with the strongest points of the body. This seat is also equipped with side impact protection, and Britax claims that it distributes crash forces, sheilds the child from vehicle intrusion, and contains the head, neck, and body during a crash. It also includes energy absorbing versa tether (the top anchor) that attatches at two points to help distrubute crash forces. A very important part of what makes this seat so safe, is the EPS foam, that is said to absorb and distribute crash forces. It also features an innovative, energy absorbing base, that deforms in the event of a crash to absorb impact forces. And finally, it includes the HUGS system, which is said to reduce forward head movement and cushions the chest in the event of a crash.

~Cost~

This car seat is probably one of the most expensive on the market. It retails for about $280. I bought mine at target for about that in 2008

However, you will get A LOT of use out of this seat. It can be used both rear and forward facing, and will keep your young toddler in a 5 point harness for quite a while. If you purchase a traditional 40 pound limit seat, chances are you will be buying a succession of seats because your child will outgrow it in height long before weight and won't be ready for a booster. I think this is the best seat to buy once your child is done with their infant seat.
This seat is worth the extra money, and may actually be cheaper than the alternatives if you consider how long your child will use it.

~Installation~

This car seat is a breeze to install. I have successfully installed it in many vehicles.  These include a 1998 Buick, a 2005 Lincoln Town Car, a 1999 Lincoln Town Car, a 2003 Sport Trac, and a 2005 Ford Expedition. It's permanant residence is now in my 2005 Ford Expedition, and my son uses it every day.
Britax has a few added features to aid in installation. These include built in lock offs which secure the vehicle seat belt so that the child seat does not move more than one inch side-to-side or front-to-back at the belt path, A Rear and Forward Facing Recline for child comfort and positioning,
A Small Contoured Base ensures a tight installation in all types of vehicles, And finally (my personal favorite) Premium, Push-Button Lower LATCH Connectors for a quick, simple, and tight installation.
This is a larger seat, and fits fine in my Expedition and all the vehicles listed above. I am unsure as to weather it would fit in a super small car, especially if you are installing more than one seat in the vehicle.
As for ways to install this seat, you can use the seat belt or the LATCH system. If you use the LATCH system be sure to check your vehicle owners manual because they will have weight limits on the usage of LATCH.  You will need to read the instruction manual for both the seat and the vehicle you are installing the seat in, and then have the seat checked by a safety seat technician to be sure it is installed correctly.
I would also like to add that this seat installs like a dream in the rear facing position. I have installed non Britax convertable seats in the rear facing position, and none install like this one!

~Child comfort/usage~

My son just turned two, and has been using this seat for over a year. The cover still looks brand new, and he seems very comfortable. In fact, if I place him in a different seat, he cries and asks for this one. He is about 37 inches tall, and in the forward facing position the harness slots are intalled on the 3rd position. He has at least another 2 years of growth left in this seat. I have washed the seat cover once, and I recommend taking pictures of how the belts are routed, because putting it back together when your ready to put the cover back on can be confusing, and even dangerous in the event of a crash if you don't do it right.
You do have to uninstall this seat to move the harness slots, which is a real pain. I really wish that Britax would have made the type of harness slots that can be adjusted from the side. You can however loosen and tighten the straps from the front, which is a huge plus (my daughter's infant seat was the old school kind that you had to adjust the tightness of the straps from the back)


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 280
Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months


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