Updated on April 06, 2010
F.V. asks from Columbia, SC
17 answers

So I read all of your posts and there are still so many different choices. All I truly care about is making sure my twin girls are safe in a crash. I think I have narrowed it down to 2 that are good seats. First, the Britax Roundabout and EVenflo Triumph. One more time, what do you think? If you had to tell the companies to make ONLY 1 car seat from now on, which one would it be?

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answers from Denver on

Britax. My husband is an automotive engineer and Britax is the brand he picked after doing an extensive research on products.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

britax boulevard - saved my boys in a terrible rollover interstate collision, they walked away LITERALLY without a scratch.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Those two seats have the same rating from Consumer Reports. So, I figured, why would I spend more than twice as much for a seat that isn't rated more safe?! I got the Triumph.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Barnstable on

Being married to a mechanic, a good car seat is important, but ultimately, in a bad crash, it is your car that decides if you walk away. So if you put a Britax in a Neon and are hit by a Yukon, well . . . good luck to your family!

I love the Graco MyRide 65. I hated the Maxi-Cosi (nightmare to use) and my friend has a Britax, but my Graco seems to have more protection around the back and sides.

Remember too that at 80lbs - that can be a 12 year old! No way they are fitting in that car seat!

If you really want your girls to be very safe in a crash, think vehicle first, then car seat. Think Volvo, Jeep (yes Jeep - they have complete roll bars and the Cherokee line, Commander line and Wrangler Lines are built like tanks), Mercedes, and several others.


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answers from Gainesville on

I am a huge Britax fan. I have one for my 21 month old (goes from 5-65lbs) and one for my 5 year old (20-80lbs). I love that my 5 year old can still be in a 5 point harness.

Britax has a cool feature on their site that will help you find the seats that meet the criteria you plug in so you can see all the choices that will work for what you want/need.

I also want to make sure you are aware the guideline the AAP recommends is to keep little ones rear facing up to age 2 (or even beyond if their seat weight limits allows).

Britax is great because you can keep them rear-facing up to 35 lbs.

Check out the crash test videos on this site for a compelling reason to keep the little ones rear-facing as long as possible.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

britax hands down! we were in a car accident a few months ago. we drive a old and small honda civic and a very large moving van rear ended us. it cause over 2,000 dollars in damage. my daughter had just fallen asleep about 2 minutes before it happened and she never even woke up. my husband and i both had wipplash issues and some brusing. she didnt have a mark on her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

love our britax roundabout. my daughter was able to be rearfacing until about 18 months and my son the same. after that their legs were too long.

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answers from Seattle on

I have the britax marathon a little bigger than the britax roundabout.. so it last longer.. then went to the britax 5 point harness seats for my two girls the regent.. loved them both.. and the features and the car seat covers were easy to clean.. even though it say not to put in washer.. i hand washed the straps.. and then cold water washed the covers and hung dry.. my kids got the stomach flu once on a road trip.. also I learned on this web site from helpful moms nature miracle pet cleaner natural enzymes (sold at petsmart) take away urine smell and work great on car seats or throw up in the car.. would use that first.. then put seat cover in the washer.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Do not trust Consumer Reports. They refuse to divulge how they do their testing, the speed, how they are installed, even the sled they use to crash test them. They are shady and I (and all CPST's) don't trust their info.

How old are your twins? Height and weight?

The Evenflo Triumph Advance is a great seat. IT will rear face to 35lbs and forward face to 50lbs. Most kids can rear face to age 3 in it ,and then forward face to age 5/6 in it. Its a great seat for the price, and you can't beat the harness adjust... no rethread! Its $130 or so.

The Britax and Sunshine Kids seats win for rear facing hands down because you can top tether them while rear facing. This reduces rebound in a collision drastically, and if there were one reason to purchase a Britax or Sunshine kids, the option to tether rear facing is it. Britax seats rear face to 35lbs (Marathon is the best one, forward to 65lbs) and the Sunshine Kids Radian seats rear face to 40 or 45lbs, and forward face to 65 or 80lbs.

Skip the Britax Roundabout... it will only harness to 40lbs and you can find better seats with higher weights for less money. The Britax Roundabout 50 IS a great seat, for a GREAT price. ITs the Marathon shell but doesn't have the seatbelt lockoffs, but its really a good seat and I recommend it.

The Graco MyRide 65 is a great seat too. Rear face to 40lbs, forward face to 65lbs. It has great side impact protection and they fit kids to age 4 easily rear facing and 6+ forward facing.

All seats have to meet the same minimum safety requirements, that is true. However some do go above and beyond the minimums. For instance Britax seats are made from the same plastic as prosthetics... it IS stronger. Sunshine Kids seats are made with steel! They also have the tallest harness slots on the market, and Britax seats have a no twist harness, can be top tethered rear facing, and have seat belt lockoffs.

So go to the store, play with the buckles, check how they install, look for a seat with a high rear facing weight limit, and a higher forward facing weight limit. AVOID 3-in-1 seats like the Alpha Omega. They are jack of all trades, master of none. Ok rear facing and forward facing, but are outgrown height wise way too fast and they make awful booster seats, have failed every single booster crash test. Avoid them, not worth the money.

If I could choose any seat for my child, it would be one of the following, Britax Marathon ($270), Sunshine Kids Radian Xtsl ($300), First Years Truefit ($170), Graco MyRide 65 ($150) or Evenflo Triumph Advance ($140)

Keep your children rear facing as long as possible. A rear facing car seat is outgrown when the child meets the weight limit for rear facing or there is less than one inch of shell above the childs head. For rear facing, the harness should come from at or below the shoulders.

For forward facing, the seat is outgrown when one of three things happens, the ears are level with the seat back, the shoulders go over the top harness slot, or the child meets the weight limit. When forward facing, the harness should come from at or above the shoulders.

THe chest clip should be level with the armpits. No bulky clothing in the car seat. Please google Joels Journey, Extended rear facing, to learn more.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Oh, I have researched car seats more than anyone I know - it was a minor obsession for a while. Britax, Sunshine Kids, Recaro, and Compass are 4 companies that are always way ahead of the safety standards - they drive the trends in car seat safety, like having car seats that can stay rear-facing for up to 35 pounds. (The longer you can keep them facing backwards, the better their odds of surviving a really bad crash - it doesn't matter if their feet have to go up on the seat back. Better to have a broken leg than a paralyzing spinal cord injury.) is a website that has a database of how well a particular car seat FITS into YOUR car. If you can't get the car seat to fit will with your car, it's not going to be NEARLY as safe. Enter the make, model, and year of your car and then the car seat you're interested in.

(And make sure when you make your choice to go back to the website and put in your 2 cents)

I did a RIDICULOUS amount of research trying to find an ultra-safe 5-point booster seat for my older child so that he could stay in a 5-point for as long as possible. (Our 2nd car is a tiny thing, not nearly as safe as our minivan, so I wanted a car seat that could make up for the tiny car.) There's a wonderful informational car seat blog by a woman who's 3-year-old son died in a car crash, and she's made it her life's mission to research car seat safety and start a charity to provide car seats for disadvantaged children. (By the way, her son was strapped in correctly and the installation was good and they were following all the safety standards. But it was a BAD crash, and he was in a 3-point harness booster seat and when her car rolled over, his seat belt failed and he went out the window. Chilling.)

THEREFORE, she has a very, VERY short list of recommended car seats. By the way, the Britax you mentioned is on there, but the Evenflo is not.

The website is:

She has LOTS of great information on the website about keeping your kids as safe as possible

Through her website, I found the Britax Frontier (max weight 80 pounds for the 5-point harness, and then it can be used as a booster for 100 pounds!)
I also have a Britax Roundabout and Decathlon - love 'em both!

Unfortunately, it didn't have a good fit with the bucket seats in my little Honda prelude. But I eventually found an EXTREMELY safe seat that fit TIGHT. (Sunshine Kids Radian XT80 - also 5-point harness until 80 pounds.) That one has a very narrow "footprint" designed to fit 3-across in most backseats.

By the way, I was so impressed and grateful for the information on the Kyle David Miller blog that I ended up purchasing my Radian XT through her retail site, and 100% of the net proceeds go to a foundation that will help purchase car seats for families in need!

-- One last note, regarding the person who said a 12-year old wouldn't fit into a booster - the Britax Frontier can be used up to a height of 5' 5" and 120 pounds. So, *I* could use it, although the side impact wings might create a blind spot while driving, heh heh! Maybe in 30 years when I start shrinking... Also, if you think your older kids won't WANT to get into a car seat, try showing them some of the crash test videos. My son watched the 3-point harness vs. 5-point harness, saw how much better the 5-point held him in, and his eyes got wide and he said "Just get me the safest one! I don't care it's covered with pink flowers and princesses!" :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

Honey, everyone is going to have a different opinion. If you have checked Consumer Reports and these seats are equal in every other way (side-impact tested, good to the same weight-limits, etc.), then it is time to decide on something silly like color-choices, or something practical like cost. Have you been able to try them both out? Are they equally easy to use? My husband and I decided on our carseats because they had very good safety ratings, were easy to use, and were $100 less than the other carseats in its class. Sometimes, things are created equal, and it is up to you to distinguish which you prefer. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Cloud on

We have owned MANY different brands of carseats. (I did daycare for 5 years and had a 12 passanger van so we took lots of field trips.) We purchased a Brittax Regent about 6 months ago for our -just turned 5 in March- daughter and LOVE it! It is by far, the BEST carseat we've ever owned! And it will hold her till 80 pounds! She is still under 40 right now.

So I vote BRITTAX!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Just respponding to put in my usual two cents about the use of carseats and boosters....
It's alarming how many people purchase car seats and do extensive research to pick the "best" O. for their child and then install & use incorrectly!

Please visit and find a FREE car seat check site in your area and make an appointment!

After all, what good is ANY car seat if it is not installed or used correctly!? No matter which you choose--get educated NOW! Good luck



answers from Seattle on

Go to a store and try them out. The only really safe car seat is a seat that you can install properly in your car and that is easy to operate correctly.

That said, we have a triumph for our main car. The downside is that it's huge. I am really not a big fan of having a carseat with such a huge base... but the Britax was financially not a possibility for us at the time.

Because it is so big rearfacing was an issue. We turned it around earlier than I usually would have if I had a good fit (we switched around 16 months).
I really like the strap tightening system on the Triumph. With our tiny car, even forward facing, tightening the strap by pulling in the front would have been almost impossible. With a fast growing toddler their height adjustment is also great!
I wish the straps were a little thicker, they do tend to twist - but otherwise we have been very happy with our choice.



answers from Raleigh on

Sunshine radian xt sl is the best car seat ever!!!!!!!! It has a STEAL frame, and even Britax as good as they are do not. It's trully the only car seat you will ever need !!!!!my 2 cents



answers from Seattle on

We too have the britax marathon, have been in three accidents (one fatality) and my daughter was fine each time. I would never buy another kind!



answers from Portland on

I agree, that if they're equal in their safety rating, then choose one based on other features that are important, tho less so, to you. What was second in importance to me is ease of use. If it's difficult to get your baby/toddler into the seat and safely fastened you're more apt to safely follow thru. I'm speaking to ease of use for you. You may have different nuances in the way you would use it then the person who used the seats in tests.

This hit home for me when I was transporting a baby using the city's car seat. I'd transported before and thought I had the baby safely secured. Then, this time, the fire department was on the scene and said that is not safe when they saw what I'd done. They worked for 15-20 minutes trying to find a safe way. Finally, they found that if they got the correct amount of stuff under the back of the seat it would stay fastened under pressure. They were not trained in seat use but based their opinion and efforts on accident use.

Which takes me to my second suggestion. Talk with your local fire station, that gives car seat training and ask their opinion. Some departments don't know any more than anyone else; so be sure that they have been trained. They can give you opinions based on accident responses. They'll also be aware of such things as ease of use.

I also suggest, as a retired police officer, who has been present after many accidents and who has transported many little ones using different seats, that you can always find one more safety feature, such as keeping your little one rear facing until they are 2. It is good to consider this and factor it into your choice. But there are other factors that might be more important. There are 2 reasons that I suggest this that immediately come to mind. First how likely are you to be in an accident in which having your baby/toddler in a rear facing seat be of importance? Unlikely .

Another consideration, is that at around 1 or sometimes sooner, a baby refuses to be buckled in. I agree that we have to enforce being safely buckled into a car seat at that age and every other age. They will not like to remain rear facing which will increase our difficulty in keeping them buckled in. Many parents already stop buckling their child in at an early age. Will even more stop when the fight continues until the child is older, heavier, and more skilled in their rebellion?

The reason that rear facing is considered safer is because of a whip lash. The angle at which front facing seats are placed can reduce exposure to whip lash. The baby/toddler needs to be mostly reclining. My grandchildren stayed in the front facing seat until they met the weight limit even tho they were just a bit longer than the seat. There are front facing seats with higher weight limits that are also longer.

We may have more knowledge about whip lash in toddlers but I haven't found any. I've not known of anyone that young suffering whip lash. What is important is that the belts are positioned correctly to hold the whole body including the head against the seat. If the upper back and neck do not leave the seat by more than an inch they likelihood of having an injury is extremely low.

Another factor to take into consideration is whether or not you, as a driver, are accident prone. If you've been in accidents then it might make sense to be more safety conscious then the average. I know of people my age, 66, who've never been in an accident or not until they were older and their children were grown. I was in 2 auto accidents as a minor and wasn't injured in either one. This was before seat belts and car seats. Two of my brothers traveled in a car bed that is no longer made because of safety issues. We regularly traveled across 2 states and were never in an accident. Accidents are more common now because there are more cars and more roads. For this reason I do strongly believe in taking all reasonable precautions available. But my focus is on reasonable. If money is an issue, as it is increasingly becoming more so, one doesn't need to spend $100 or more to have the seat rear facing longer.

My final suggestion is that you make your decision based on who you are and what is important to you, as well as what you can afford. Only you know, what style will be easiest for you to use. Only you have an idea of what you need to keep your child buckled up. The goal is to have a reasonably safe way to keep your baby/child buckled up taking into consideration the safety of your car and the traffic conditions in your area.

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