K.D. asks from San Francisco, CA on May 23, 2008
Which Britax Carseat?
We need to buy a new carseat for my daughter (soon to be 1 y/o and 20+ lbs.). She is in an infant carseat now but is over the height limits (29"). We are looking at the Britax Marathon but I hate how bulky it looks. I would like to keep her rear-facing as long as possible. I was also considering the Britax Boulevard or Dilpomat. Anyone have experience with those models? Or advice on carseats in general?
So What Happened?™
We are going to go with the britax marathon. I looked at it person and it's not as big and bulky as i thought it was. Thanks for all your advice!
E.C. answers from San Francisco on May 26, 2008
There's a lot of helpful info on the FAQ at http://boards.babycenter.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&n... . The bulletin board host and many of the regulars are certified Child-passenger safety techs. There are now a lot more seats with high harness height/weight limits, much more than when my now-6.5YO twins outgrew their infant seats.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Roundabout will most likely be outgrown by *height* before your child reaches the 40 lb weight limit, so buying a seat with a higher weight limit will also give you a higher height limit. Other convertible seats besides the Marathon and its cousins (the Decathlon and Boulevard) that have high height/weight limits are the Sunshine Kids Radian65 and Radian80, the Evenflo Triumph Advance, and the Compass TrueFit. The Radians look less bulky because they're narrower and sit a bit lower on your vehicle's seat.
Up until this year I would've recommended a Marathon over a Roundabout because a Roundabout will almost always be outgrown before a child is ready for a booster seat (my twins outgrew their Roundabouts by height at age 4 but could still fit a Marathon now). But now that there are more high-weight harnessing "combination" seats (forward facing seats that can be used with harness to 65 lbs and then without the harness as a booster) like the Graco Nautilus, Cosco Apex65 and Britax Frontier, I'd say find a store where you can try out a bunch of seats to see which ones seem easiest to adjust and buckle and go from there
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M.B. answers from San Francisco on May 26, 2008
I just upgraded from the Roundabout to the Marathon. My daughter is about 36" tall and 32 pounds and she was just pushing the height limits of the Roundabout- which she was very comfortable in, and I loved. The Marathon is just right for her now. She would have been swimming in it at 11 months - but it would have held her correctly. (I had to replace the Roundabout it after an accident, or I would have probably kept the Roundabout for another 3 months - so you'd likely get 2+ years from a Roundabout). I'm very happy with the change. The Marathon IS big in my little car, and I happened to get a bright cover, so I don't need a "baby on board sign" - LOL, but she loves it and sleeps great in it. I'm not familiar with the other model you mentioned.
Something else to consider if looking at other brands - the Britax sits high. I bought another brand after one was stolen. The thing I didn't consider is that because it sat lower (didn't have the base the Britax does) - she couldn't see out the window! By they time they're 18+ months, they really like that. If looking at other than Britax, keep that in mind.
BTW - I believe I hold the record for number of carseats in 2 years for one child - 4! Initial, 2 stolen, 1 in fender bender and therefore replaced BY CA LAW by insurance company of party at fault. (If anyone needs info on that, email me directly.)
K.L. answers from San Francisco on May 24, 2008
You should keep your baby to the maximum height and weight that your rear-facing seat allows and keep her rear facing until she reaches that point. There's lots of studies that confirms that it's best to ride rear facing as long as possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics also states this. Your manual will tell you what the maximum is for height, weight and other particulars. My baby stayed rear facing until he got to the maximum and stayed in it well past 1 yr. old & 20 lbs.. Our rear facing carseat was maximum 30 lbs.
Another Britax carseat that a lot of people seem to like is the Roundabout. It's smaller than the Marathon. If you go to the Britax website, you can get the specific dimensions of both of those models to compare. A great website to purchase carseats as well as research others is www.elitecarseats.com.
K.V. answers from San Francisco on May 24, 2008
Britax carseats are the best on the market so I definately suggest you buy one. And you're right, the Regent & the Marathon are big & bulky. It seems that the heavier the child can be in the seat, the heavier & bulkier the seat gets. This doesn't make flying easy w/them & in many cases, they don't fit in people's cars. I highly recommend the Roundabout. Our older son had one & now our 3 y/o son has been in his since he was 8 months & will stay in it til he's ready for a booster since they can be in them til almost 4 yrs. It's their tried & tru original seat & is great! It seems to be getting forgotten about since they started making their bigger seats. The Regent looks like a previous model Brtiax made (I think it was called the King) & then stopped making cuz it was hard to install, huge & bulky. I spoke to an owner of a local, reputable baby/kid store who did not recommend this careat for the reasons I just mentioned. Plus the Regent & the Marathon are so pricey. I think the Roundabout at $215 is high but the other 2 you're lookling at are close to $270! Just too much money! You can get the same quality & safety from the Roundabout so I say go w/that one. Baby gear is getting way over-priced these days! It seems to be a show of who can buy the latest & most expensive gear. Unless your daughter is huge, the Roundabout will fit her til she's 4 &/or ready to move to a booster & won't break the bank! Hope this helps & good luck!
N.C. answers from San Francisco on May 24, 2008
One thing to consider with the Britax Marathon...while it is advertised as having longevity because it can be used up through they are 40-60 pounds, realistically they will not want to have that seat once they move into the 35-40 pound range because they will see it as 'baby seat.' So getting a forward facing seat for this stage works better. We have used the Britax Roundabout with great satisfaction for both our boys. I'm not sure whether the Regent tests the same as the other models. Check out the reports.
N.R. answers from San Francisco on May 24, 2008
I have the black Britax Marathon car seat for my son and I absolutley LOVE IT!! I bought another one for my daughter before she was even born!! It is bulky but my son never complains about long trips, he can see out the window and I can fit my dad or husband in the back seat between the two kids because it sits so high. The straps never twist either and they don't get stuck in the under side of the seat It is probably one of the most comfortable seats on the market and they can sit in it up to 100lbs, so I won't have to buy a toddler's seat.
My cousin had two extra car seats that she gave me and I hated them. The straps always twisted, it sat WAY low and he didn't like traveling in them. So, good luck and I hope this helps you.
J.F. answers from San Francisco on May 24, 2008
We just went through this process and decided not to go with a Britax and instead purchased the new Graco Nautilus.
We had heard that Britax was the best out there so we began our search there. We didn't like the size of what we saw and discovered that most of their car seats required the child to weigh 22 lbs or more (unless you want to buy one of the convertibles). Our daughter is on the small size (17 mos. and weighs somewhere between 20 and 21 lbs.) so that was a major concern for us.
We spent quite a bit of time at Lullaby Lane talking to the AAA expert they had in the store doing installation demonstrations and expanded our search beyond Britax based on that conversation.
As I said, we ended up going with the Graco Nautilus and couldn't be happier. It has a 5-point harness for children weighing between 20 and 65 lbs. and then converts to a highback booster and then a backless booster for protection up to 100 lbs. It is priced at $150.
I hope this helps.