Britax Marathon for Older Child - or Your Recommendation

Updated on February 16, 2011
D.C. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
11 answers

HI Moms,

Carseat question - do any of you have an older child in a Britax Marathon carseat? How old was your child when she/he didn't fit in this seat anymore?

My baby is ready to turn around, and my 4 year old is outgrowing his current forward facing carseat. So we are going to give our current forward-facing carseat to the baby and get a new one for our 4 yr old. We know it is safest for a child to stay in a 5 point harness as long as possible (even though the 4 yr old can legally use a booster now, our personal opinion is that it's not as safe and we do a lot of travelling by car). So we are looking for a 5-pt harness carseat that will fit our 4 year old for the next few years - he's 40 lbs.

A friend offered her Britax Marathon, which I know is a highly rated seat, the weight limit is ok for my son, and I know the seat hasn't been in an accident of any kind. It's in great shape. But just because the weight limit is ok doesn't mean it's comfortable for my 4 year old (his current seat is rated ok to 60 lbs, but he's squished in it).

So - is anyone using this carseat for an older child? If not, what carseat are you using that fits an older child?


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answers from Detroit on

I would go with the Britax Frontier 85 instead. My 5 year old still fits in the Britax Boulavard... but we are going to pass the Boulavard on to the little one (It can be rear facing), and get the Frontier 85 for the 5 year old.... once she grows out of the harness... it can be used as a booster!

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answers from San Francisco on

How old is your baby? Is the seat that your 4YO is outgrowing a convertible (harnessed seat that can be used rear-facing or forward facing)? Child Passenger Safety Technicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend keeping babies and toddlers rear-facing to the limits of their convertible seats (links here:

If your 4YO's seat is forward facing only, I'd recommend using your friend's Marathon *rear-facing* for your younger child and getting your 4YO a seat like a Graco Nautilus, which is a forward facing harnessed seat that converts to a good belt-positioning booster when the harness is outgrown



answers from Pittsburgh on

For what it's worth, I just bought the Britax Frontier 85 for my 2 1/2 year old so I could move my 9mos old into our Marathon. We figured the Frontier would be good for her for the next 4 years, though the seat doesn't come apart to be just a stand alone booster (like the Graco Nautilus which I had also considered, but the prob with the Graco is that the straps are really short...I took my DD to BRU to test it and could barely fit the straps on her comfortably now!). So we went with the Frontier as it seemed the safest choice to move her up. We'll probably eventually get a booster for her if/when the baby needs to move out of the Marathon.

Also, I'm like others, where I kept my baby backward facing as long as possible, which was to 21 mos for us.


answers from Chicago on

We moved up from the Marathon to the highback booster that has a 5 point harness and was the top-rated one last year by Consumer Reports. I think Britax makes them but ours was the Eddie Bauer Highback Booster (they had problems a few years ago, so an old one wouldn't be great....but they were top rated again). Our nephew stayed in his Britax Highback booster for what seemed like forever (maybe till he was 6).

Best wishes!



answers from Philadelphia on

Try these websites for help!

....And I second the recommendation below to read about the AAP's recommendations to leave children rear-facing UNTIL they outgrow the rear-facing limits of their particular car seat. (which is really the amount of space between the top of their heads & the seat back).


answers from Philadelphia on

my daughtr was in a britax blvd this year at 4 years old...our car was toaled by a drunk driver, she was on the side that was hit and the side of the car was completely smashed in, no glass, doors a tiny car...and the blvd left her unscathed......wish i was in a blvd.they're still rated highest.....shes in the britax blvd 70 has awesome safety features...and comfy



answers from Philadelphia on

We just bought our son the Britax Frontier. Its a 5pt harness high back booster seat that they can use until they are 100lbs! Its a great seat. Its our 2nd one, my other son is still using his. You will never have to buy another seat for your child. I know they are a bit pricey, but well worth the $. Good luck!


answers from Provo on

As long as your child fits the height and weight limits I'd say go for it. My son wont be in anything less than a Britax. I've had police and firemen say that that is what they put their kids in and that they have seen accidents where the child should have died, but didn't because the were in a Britax. I used to work at Babies R Us and I'd hear that all the time from the PO and FM that came in.
Oh check the expiration date on the seat.



answers from Phoenix on

I would go with the Britax Frontier instead. It has a 5-point harness, but also converts to a high backed booster rated up to 85 lbs. I think you'll get much more use out of that seat for both of your children. Good luck!



answers from Kansas City on

My son moved from a Britax Marathon to a Britax Frontier--my younger son is in the Marathon now. The Frontier goes up to 85lbs and it has a 5pt harness. My oldest is 5.5 and is very comfortable in it. I think Babies R Us is running a deal now--bring in any old baby thing (swing, stroller, carseat, etc) and get 25% off a new one...also they often have 20% off one item coupons. When we bought our Britax Frontier we bought 2 (one for each car) and I went to customer service and asked for a coupon b/c we were buying two. They found a 20% off coupon for me.



answers from Chicago on

We decided by age 4 to move up to a booster seat, however we bought the ones that have the back that detaches when needed. We believe that the headrest provides much needed support in the event of an accident and also works great on long road trips to let the kids nap and rest their heads.

We loved the Marathon/Britax seat and used it since getting out of the infant carrier. It was great until about age 3 1/2, but then their legs dangle, the seat is bucket style, but as they get bigger it's very restrictive for them to move their arms and shoulders. They also complained that the 5 point harness "clicking" in the crotch area bothered them too.

So by age 4 we moved to a Graco Turbo booster. ALL of our friends have the same seat too and we have extras for carpooling from scouting meetings, sports, etc. Most people do not have/use the back support and it can be purchased without (base only). We use the back support for ages 4 and 5 and by age 6 remove it and only use it for the long car rides.

It's a great, safe, easy to use car seat.

If you are going to use the Britax, I'd be ready for the complaints of being squished in that too. Plus I think boys have more issues with the crotch snapping of a 5 point harness.

Best wishes, I hope this helps.

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