Pros: Saves lives, Durable, Denim Look, Comfortable, SAFE!
Cons: may be difficult to install in our vehicle for rear facing
The Britax Roundabout is advertised as being the safest carseat out there, its highly rated by consumers too. Heck! Its #1 on this site for carseats and has had tons of Epinions written about it already.
I'd heard the buzz about the Roundabout, and this was the carseat that I purchased before my baby was born. I liked that it could go from infancy to toddler. That definitely made the 200 dollars it cost less of a blow. Yep, its 200 dollars. Thats a lot for a carseat, but you can't put a price on safety. My child's definitely worth it (and more) to me!
The Roundabout is a convertible seat, which means it can be used both rear and forward facing. The seat can be used both rear (5-30 pounds) and front facing (20-40 pounds). I like this, because some of the seats I looked at only went up to 20 pounds in the rear facing position. Also, the infant seat that we purchased (with the Graco Sterling LiteRider Travel System) only went up to 20 pounds, and my son being 9 pounds at birth outgrew it by 3 months! The Roundabout provides a safe rear-facing option for us.
Britax uses a "versa-tether" - meaning that it can be tethered while its rear or forward facing, and it can be tethered either to the back or to the front of the seat. What I learned is that how you tether it not only impacts the safety of the seat, but also how secure it will fit in your car.
The seat has a sculptured base for an "easy fit" in most vehicles. You most likely won't need to use towels or other padding to get the right angle or to brace the seat into position. This is especially good for bucket seats, or seats that have a recline to them.
One of the best features of this seat is that it has built-in EPS side impact liner surrounds child's head and torso. This is basically the same stuff that they use in bicycle helmets to make them safe and absorb impact during a crash. Not only does the Roundabout have this EPS lining, but it also has a layer of foam. All this is UNDER the seat cushion, meaning that the Roundabout is super-comfy.
Overall I like this Carseat because it is:
-Safe, Durable and Comfortable
-The seat comes in a variety of upholstery. We purchased a "rugged" Denim pattern. I like it, it fits our lifestyle and looks great in our Subaru Outback. Plus, its denim. Its wash and wear. I've thrown it right in the washing machine and dryer with a clothing load. Still looks great! (Note: I heard it can fade, but so far mine hasn't)
-Accomodates a forgiving Weight Limits: Five to 30 lbs. rear facing/20-40 lbs. front facing. This means we are going to get some good use out of the seat.
Note: This seat is especially good for larger infants!My child being larger would already weigh too much for some rear facing seats, when he wasn't even 6 months old yet.
-This seat has velcro Anti-tangle belt holders. It really helps make it easier to get the child in and out of the seat and avoid twisted straps! You don't have to route around under your child for the strap, because its held open by the velcro fastener. This is a big plus for me, or for anyone who's loading Alex into the seat.
Things I would improve
-This was difficult to install rear facing in our Subaru Outback Wagon. I wish there was customer support available with recommendations on how to install it in different vehicles. I checked with fire departments, web sites etc. I wanted the seat to be installed absolutely correctly and not budging an inch before I would put my son in it. It took me several tries to get it right.
-A "level indicator" to make sure that its the right angle when its rear-facing. If seats are at the wrong angle then they aren't safe no matter what the seat is rated at as far as safety goes.
> How easy is it to use?
As I mentioned earlier, installation was a bear to get it in for rear-facing to my vehicle. We could get it in easily but the problem was getting the right angle and also getting the seat belt "tight enough". We couldn't install it in the center seat due to the Subaru's design and had to install it behind the passenger seat. In order for it to fit the passenger seatback had to be raised more upright to accomodate the carseat going to the proper angle. Now that its in though, we love it and I could repeat the installation quickly.
The 5 point harness system is wonderful. The straps are soft and don't "cut in". The "puzzle" closure is really cool now but it stumped us at first. Basically the 2 halfs of the buckle have to be slid together just so (they are cut-out like a zig zag) before the unit can be buckled. Now that I've figured it out though I like it alot.
If your child figures out how to undo this buckle, no worries. Britax will provide you a buckle cover free of charge. Just go to their website and order one, you'll have to pay the shipping and handling. We did pick up one of these buckle covers, and I recommend that if you are using the seat with a little Houdini, that you do as well.
> How well has it held up over time?
We have used this seat now for 15 months and it still looks brand new. The buckle clicks and the straps stay in place just like they did in the very beginning. The seat fabric has been spit up and spilled on and even had a few diaper disasters and its none worse for the wear. We got the denim version so it just comes off and goes right in the washer and dryer.
When my parents needed to get a seat for their car, they got a Britax Roundabout as well!
> Why did you purchase this piece of equipment?
Everyone I knew raved about this seat and its safety. I'm glad I gave in to their raving because I love this seat!
****UPDATE**** July 2002 I was involved in a car accident which involved being rear ended by a Lincoln Town Car. My son was 18 months old, forward facing in his Britax Roundabout seat. I am very happy to report that he survived the accident with absolutely no injuries. I, myself, am "ok" too - but got a minor case of whiplash. During our post-accident emergency room visit the EMT said that the safety aspects of this seat, in particular the EPS impact lining was a crucial player in my son getting through the accident completely unharmed. I loved my Britax Roundabout before, now I am in debt to this seat for saving my sons life. Thanks Britax for keeping children safe!
More info can be found on Britax Website http://www.childseat.com
Other Carseats I have reviewed
-Graco Sterling Travel System Infant Carseat
-Century Bravo 5-Point
-Evenflo Secure Advantage I Convertible Car Seat