Sunshinde Kids Carseat Question or Any Other Suggestions?

Updated on September 06, 2010
M.P. asks from Orem, UT
14 answers

Hey moms! I have a huge baby. He's 28 lbs and 30 inches at 9 months. When he was 3 months old he out grew his infant seat so I got a britax marathon. I love the seat! But I want to keep my son rear facing for longer than the year. I'm pretty sure by his birthday he'll either be close or past the 35 lbs. (I hope not) So in case he does I will buy a new seat. I've been looking into the Sunshine kids Radian XTSL, but it doesn't look that comfortable since the back looks like it's stick straight. Or do you have other suggestions. I won't use Evenflo, Safety First, Costco, or Eddie Bauer (which is just Costco with Eddie Bauer's name slapped on it and charged $20 more) I used to work at Babies R Us and I hate them. End of Story. If you want to know why I'll send you a message.

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So What Happened?

When I bought my seat, it said 35. They just recently started making them up to 40 lbs. I got it in Feb and just after I got it, a month later I started seeing the 40lbs, but i'll call them and ask if my model does go up.

Ok so might as well tell you why I hate those brands. They are the ones that the plastic feels like a happy meal toy was melted down and shaped into a car seat. They were the ones that were returned the most, and parents came in to get a better one after buying them. Some people swear by them, but from what I saw most parents don't. And I hate 3-1's. They too had parents wanting a new one after a year.

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answers from Missoula on

I have a Radian from 2007 (the one that goes to 80#) and I've been pretty happy with it. It has a good recline when rear-facing but it takes up a good amount of space in the back seat - we had to move the front passenger seat up. I think the recline makes it pretty comfortable rear-facing. It's true that it's not super-padded, but my son never complained. Once it is forward facing it is pretty upright and he did kind of slump over sometimes when napping. I guess the frustrating thing about car seats is you can't get everything in one seat. Best of luck!

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answers from Indianapolis on

I know someone makes one that is up to 40 pounds rear-facing, I just can't remember who :P Keep looking. Consumer Reports said Britax weren't any better than the leading cheaper brands. I don't think Sunshine seats have been tested by Consumer Reports, they hadn't last time I saw a report. But they do well in their own company tests...if that's worth as much as a third-party test?
Recently I saw something from the safety commission that said the safest seat for your child is one that fits and is installed correctly. So find one he fits in, put it in right, and don't worry too much about brand.
Hope that's at all helpful! lol

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Trust me, your son is not that big! My sons were both 25lbs by 4mos old! My youngest rear faced in a Britax Marathon until he was 35mos old, 41" tall! Your seat will rear face to 35lbs, you will be surprised how much his growth slows when he starts moving more and walking. A rear facing seat is outgrown when there is less than one inch of hard shell above the childs head or the child goes over the rear facing weight limit. The harness must come from at or below the shoulders for rear facing. Good for you for wanting to extended rear face.... you are a smart mama!

Now the Sunshine Kids is an AMAZING SEAT! You will really like it, the back does look straight but its super comfy. We've tried it out for both our boys and they both liked it, said it was comfy and it is a nice seat. Its one we are considering for our special needs daughter we are adopting, she will likely be rear facing, she is 3yrs odl but we don't know her stats, just that she's on the smaller side and has cerebral palsy so until we know her physical abilities she will be rear facing.

ANYWAY, give it time, his growth will slow and he will be able to rear face for quite some time. The Graco Myride 65 IS a nice seat, its another we are considerin for our daughter. But the SUnshine Kids Radian is a great seat, alot more comfy than it looks.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I just checked the Britax website, they are listing the weight limit for your Marathon for rear facing to 40 pounds if I am reading their chart correctly.

If you love the the britax and since they have such a great reputation, I would keep it. I have my first Britax (3rd child) and I wished I had known and spent the money on them before. So easy to take in and out of the car and they look very comfortable.



answers from Denver on

You need to consider leg length in the equation, too. My boys were way long in the legs, so we had to switch them around. In my experience, kids aren't happy in the car backwards, anyway. Maybe because we were on the road so much. (120,000 mi. in the first 3 years of my 2nd sons life, and added our daughter half way through). Anyway, I remember with our oldest at 15 months we did a 7 hour round trip day for some medical stuff and he screamed the whole way down. When we got to the doctor, they showed he weighed enough to turn him around. Half way back home we switched him and he quit screaming immediately. I'm just not sure it's worth the investment in an expensive new seat. BTW I totally agree on the car seat brand issue. It doesn't take much research to find out that the seats you mentioned don't even begin to hold up in the average crash test. I do agree with the moms who said your son's weight is going to slow quite a bit now, if that helps.



answers from Detroit on

with carseats I think it is the height that is more critical than the weight.. my kids are 3and 4.. they both weigh about 31 pounds and are 41 and 42 inches tall.. they still fit in the 40 inch 40 pound britax roundabout..

it is really torso height that is the importhant measurement..

so he may fit longer than you thin..

I agree.. costco seats are junk,, britax is good.. ..



answers from San Francisco on

I appreciate your honesty on your "so what happened". Its things like that that are good for us to know and wouldn't know it if you didn't post it.

We are a Britax family. Our son had the Boulevard and Marathon (2 cars). When our daughter grew out of the infant carrier she got the Marathon and he stayed in the Boulevard. He was like 26 lbs at 1 year and finally slowed down with his weight when he started walking. He was in the Boulevard until around 2, we sold it and bought a Frontier, that will be his last car seat litterally. At 2 he was still well within his limits for forward facing and he was rear facing until almost 1 1/2 years (he was too tall, wasn't at the weight limit yet). It is bigger than the Marathon a little and can be an issue depending on the car it's in. I would wait a little longer and then if he does out grow it before he can be forward facing I would try the Boulevard or even a newer Marathon. Honestly his height is going to be an issue for any of them long term. Our son is also tall and at just over 2 when he switched to the Frontier I stopped hitting his head on the car when putting him in the car. It sits lower but he needs to be older/stronger to go to that level.



answers from Denver on

The Radians actually have a recline to them when they are rear facing:). We started carrying these at our store and they have been very popular. I would just caution you to try one in your vehicle if you can first. Some people are finding that the recline when rear facing is actually too much and it doesn't sit correctly against their front seats. Overall though, a really great car seat.



answers from Billings on

Great job mama for keeping him rearfacing as long as possible, great decision!! My sister bought a Sunshine Radian and LOVES it. In our family we also have a First Years True Fit, which I love, and a Graco myRide 65. They both rearface to 40 lbs too. We have a Britax Decathalon and a Graco Comfortsport which rearface to 30 or 35. By far I love the First Years and the myRide the most. They are comfy, easy to instal and adjust, get great crash ratings, etc. I know the myRide and I think the First Years both frontface to 65lbs. My kids are going to be 20 before they are 65 lbs :/. They are both tall too, so its great for tall kids since their heads need to be an inch below the top of the seat.

For switching forward, when DD turned 3 we got her the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It is so easy to install correctly, comfy for her, really awesome cubbies and the right size/kind of armrest, good side impact protection that works for sleeping :) She can stay in the 5pt harness until she is like 80 pounds i think. Maybe 65 and in the hi-back booster with belt until 80. She is never going to be 80 lbs so I haven't looked in a long time ;) (she is barely 30 lbs and 4 in 3 weeks). In retrospect I would still have her rearfacing as well since she could for height and rear..but its hard to make her go rear all the time when she has been facing front for so long. She will for short trips when she's in my sister or my m om's carseat that is already rearfacing, but not in our car. Our DD2 will be rearfacing probably until she's 4, when I anticipate she will grow out of her carseat.

I c/p-ed an earlier post with some carseat links in case that is helpful for you! GL mama! :)

Do lots of research as they are changing and upgrading ALL the time. And I have found that I am more happy with other brands innovations as opposed to the Britax, which is one of the ‘names.’ but that just imho. I would suggest getting a full convertible and leave your son rearfacing until he doesn’t fit the seat anymore. He will likely grow out of length (head 1" below the top of the carseat) before weight (new ones rear face to 40-45 lbs as opposed to 25-30). Then keep him in a front face 5-pt harness as absolutely long as they fit in the seat with the proper strap adjustment. They are SOOO much safer with a 5-pt harness...don’t rush him out of it, its not one of the “milestones” to celebrate like walking :) Be sure to check your vehicle manufacturing guidelines for how long it is appropriate to keep a seat in the LATCH positions (usually up to 85 lbs I think). When they can’t do LATCH and lose that 5pt harness, keep them in a high-back booster as long as possible. I fully expect my girls to be in their 5-point harnesses at least into kindergarten if not longer. It is just plain safe and makes sense...and there is a big trend and support that way so I don’t think it will be an issue in school. My girls are both small for their ages and I anticipate they will have to be in a high-back booster+belt or backless booster+belt throughout most of elementary school.

for info check out



answers from Las Vegas on

I have 2 Sunshine kids radian carseats. We love them. My kids are 3 and 1.5 years old, and they have never complained about anything regarding their car seats. The seats don't recline much, but I really don't think that it really phases my kids. The seats are very well padded with memory foam, and they appear very comfortable.

You may need to purchase a longer crotch strap. My kids both needed them or they would have had a pretty bad wedgy when buckeled.

The big positives: it is narrow enough to put next to each other, it is more solid than any other carseat I have seen, it has a steel framing, comfortable for the kids,

Big negatives: difficult to install (but very sturdy when installed), heavy, will take up A LOT of room when rear facing (the passenger seat will probably have to be ALL the way forward).


answers from Fresno on

We have a family of huge babies and have all used Britax rear-facing to at least 1 year old. My cousin's little boy was approaching 40 pounds at a year (not fat - just tall - daddy is 6'10"!), and he was fine in his Britax at a year. Our Britax Wizard (which is now called something else, I forget what) has lasted us through 2 kids and my youngest daughter is still in it at 5 years old (front-facing, of course). I know people try to tell you that Britax "isn't any better" - but where Britax wins in my book is that the seats are super comfortable. That is a HUGE plus on road trips! For that reason, and the fact that we were in a horrible car accident when my oldest was 9 months and she wasn't even bruised - I won't use anything but Britax. Just my two cents. I'd call Britax and verify the weight limit rear-facing. Pretty sure it's 40 pounds. It MAY also be that you shouldn't use the latch system after 35 pounds. If that's the case, just install it with the vehicle's seat belt. Easy enough.



answers from New York on

Britax just introduced their new line of convertible car seats, going up to 70 pounds. Check out Car Seats Zoko, they show all prices of top retailers and when you use their site you get an additional % off! All Britax car seats: as well as Sunshine Kids:



answers from Denver on

Oh I have to totally agree with Amy B. It reclines a lot and hits our seats. I actually bought it from a store in Denver and I wish I knew the recline was so far back. She is 100% correct on her comment and I would stick with Britax carseats. I loved my Marathon for my daughter, but keeping your child backwards to 4 is a tad long, next will be keeping kids in boosters into teenage years. My pediatrician said at 1 and 20lbs and a certain height they are fine. I'm turning my son around now and he is 25lbs and 12 months. I would also recommend buying either from Amazon who has them on sale or Babies R Us since they always have coupons !!!!

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