Britax Boulevard Review

Britax is changing things up with their newest seats, using new labeling and a back to basics approach. Britax kindly provided us a new Britax Boulevard (also known as G4.1) so we could review these fresh features and ideas.  Check out what we’ve found out about their most recent line of convertible car seats.

Britax Boulevard installed

Britax Boulevard installed

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • Rear facing weight range: 5-40 lbs
  • Rear facing height range: 49″ or less
  • Forward facing weight range: 20-65 lbs
  • Forward facing height range: 49″ or less
  • Lowest harness position: 7″ (with insert), 8.5″ (without insert)
  • Highest harness position: 17″
  • Expiration: 7 years
  • Lower anchor weight limit: 40 lbs rear facing, 50 lbs forward facing

Features

  • Seat belt lockoffs both rear and forward facing
  • 2 adjustable crotch strap positions measuring 5″ and 7″
  • 3 adjustable recline settings – 1 rear facing, 2 forward facing
  • Push button lower anchor connectors
  • No rethread harness (10 positions)
  • Anti-rebound bar available to purchase separately via Britax (not to be used with the rear facing tether)
  • Rear face tethering available on certain model dates, if stated in the user manual (not to be used with the anti-rebound bar)
  • Positioning pillow for children up to 22 lbs
  • Push button lower anchor connectors

Features

Britax Boulevard lock offs

Britax Boulevard lock offs

Color coded seat belt lockoffs for both rear and forward facing make seat belt installation very user-friendly. Always use the lockoff closest to your seat belt buckle.

Britax Boulevard two position crotch strap

Britax Boulevard two position crotch strap

Two adjustable crotch strap positions measuring 5″ and 7″ allow for plenty of room for both smaller and larger children. Britax states in their manual that for rear facing the strap needs to be in the inner slot when installing via seat belt and the slot closest to but not under the child when installing via lower anchors.  For forward facing, the crotch strap needs to be in the outer slot for children over 30 lbs. You also use the outer slot if the buckle is under the child when using the inner slot.

Britax Boulevard 3 adjustable recline positions

Britax Boulevard has 3 recline positions

Three adjustable recline positions make it easy to get installed at the correct angle rear facing. Only position three (fully reclined) can be used rear facing. Position 1 or 2 can be used forward facing, but position one has to be used for children over 40 lbs when installing via lap belt only.

Britax Boulevard push button lower anchor connectors and storage

Britax Boulevard push button lower anchor connectors and storage

Push button lower anchor connectors make lower anchor installation a breeze.  Just push connector on to the lower anchor and pull tight.  The storage area of the lower anchors are on the back of the seat base.  They clip in nicely for out of the way storage when installing via seat belt.

Britax Boulevard harness positions

Britax Boulevard harness positions

No rethread harness (10 positions) allows the caregiver to move the harness without uninstalling the seat and rethreading the harness.

Britax Boulevard anti-rebound bar

Britax Boulevard anti-rebound bar

Anti-rebound bar is available to purchase separately via Britax (not to be used with the rear facing tether).  This is a nice add-on that Britax has recently added to their online store.  This will be discussed a bit more in the updated features section of the review.

Britax Boulevard rear face tether

Britax Boulevard rear facing tether

Rear facing tether available on certain model dates, if stated in the user manual (not to be used with the anti-rebound bar).  Some older models that still allow rear face tethering come with a metal d-ring.  Newer models that still allow it will come with a loop on either end of a strap.  The instruction manual shows how to use the connector strap. Many vehicles no longer allow tethering rear facing, so contact your vehicle manufacturer with any questions.

Britax Boulevard infant positioning pillow

Britax Boulevard infant positioning pillow

Infant positioning pillow for infants up to 22 lbs.  This insert is required for children up to 22 lbs, at which point, it needs to be removed.  This helps bump small children up so their shoulders reach the bottom harness position.

Updated Features

Britax has taken a back to basics approach with their newest convertibles and updated several features to make them more user-friendly.

Britax Boulevard descriptive wording

Britax Boulevard descriptive wording

Descriptive names for safety features, updated logos and boxes

Britax has moved away from acronyms to spelling out the full features. HUGS, for example, are now referred to as impact absorbing chest pads.  They’ve updated their labels and their boxes to match this change. Britax is also moving away from the white boxes to a brown box that doesn’t show the wear and tear a box goes through in shipping.

Britax Boulevard red adjustment levers

Britax Boulevard red adjustment levers

Different colored adjustment levels

The recline and head support adjustment levers have also switched from grey to red to make them easier to find and thus more user-friendly.

Britax Boulevard lower anchor limits

Britax Boulevard lower anchor limits

Lower Anchor limits

As of February 2014, car seats must have labels stating the child’s weight limit for the use of lower anchors.  The new Britax seats have these updated labels with the current lower anchor limits clearly listed on the side for both rear facing and forward facing.

Britax Boulevard tether and anti-rebound bar

Britax Boulevard tether and anti-rebound bar

Tethers and Anti-rebound bar

Britax has shortened their tether straps, but do offer a tether extension if needed.  The biggest change they’ve instituted is moving away from a rear facing tether to an anti-rebound bar (ARB).  The ARB is available separately via Britax.com.   Many vehicles no longer allow seats to tether rear facing due to occupant detection systems, so Britax has decided the ARB is an easy fix: no more having to figure out if your vehicle allows a rear facing tether or not.  This is a rolling change to the non ClickTight convertibles, so some will still allow you to tether while rear facing; others will not.  If your manual allows it, please make sure to check with your vehicle manufacturer to make sure they allow it as well.

Installation

Rear Facing Installation

  • Lower anchor weight limit:
    • Rear facing – child weight of 40 lbs
Britax Boulevard with lower anchor and seat belt installations

Britax Boulevard with lower anchor and seat belt installations

Britax has one unique feature that most other convertibles don’t have: individual lower anchor connectors on each side.  This means that one strap doesn’t have to be pulled tight through the seat which can sometimes cause it to bind up in the belt path.  The individual adjusters make for an easy lower anchor installation.  Lower anchors can be used until the child weighs 40 lbs. This means the seat can always be installed with the lower anchors when rear facing if your seating position allows. The Boulevard does not allow for borrowing lower anchors from outboard seating positions. It does allow for overhang for those with shallow vehicle seats. Up to 3″ of the seat can hang off the edge assuming you can get a good installation.

Britax Boulevard rear facing lock offs

Britax Boulevard rear facing lockoffs

If a seat belt installation is preferred, that method is easy as well with Britax’s seat belt lockoffs.  They are found by lifting the cover.  Just open the lock off closest to your seat belt buckle, thread the belt through the rear facing belt path, buckle and tighten. Then flip the lock off over the seat belt to lock it into place.  The Britax lock offs can sometimes be difficult to clip all the way.  One tip for using the lock offs is to use the palm of your hand to close them, not your fingers.

Recline needs to be in position three for rear facing installation no matter the installation method.  The crotch buckle needs to in front of, not under the child.  For seat belt installation, the crotch buckle needs to be in the closest position for threading the seat belt through.  For lower anchor installation, the crotch buckle can be in either position as long as the buckle isn’t under the child.

Forward Facing Installation

  • Lower anchor weight limits
    • Forward facing- child weight of 50 lbs
Britax Boulevard forward facing installation

Britax Boulevard forward facing installation

Lower anchor installation is allowed up to child weight of 50 lbs for forward facing.  Recline positions one or two can be used forward facing. Recline position one must be used for children over 40 lbs, when installing with lap belt only.  Both lower anchor and seat belt installations are just as easy forward as they are rear.  For seat belt installation, thread the belt through the lockoff closest to the buckle. Buckle, tighten, then close the lockoff over the seat belt locking it into place.

Fit to Child

Rear Facing

  • Rear facing weight range: 5-40 lbs
  • Rear facing height range: 49″ or less, or 1″ from the top of the head to the top of the shell (not head support  head support (Britax recently amended the manual on G4.1 seats manufactured after Oct 2014 to include the head support)
Britax Boulevard Fiona - Newborn, 7 pounds, 17 inches

Britax Boulevard Fiona – Newborn, 7 pounds, 17 inches

Fiona – Newborn Huggable Images doll, 7 lbs, 17″

Fiona fit very well with the infant positioning pillow.  It bumped her up just enough so that her shoulders were just barely above the bottom harness slots.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that she fit nicely with the impact absorbing chest pads. These pads are highly recommended for forward facing, but can be removed rear facing to ensure a snug fit for small infants.

Britax Boulevard Anders - 15 months, 23 pounds., 31 inches

Britax Boulevard Anders – 15 months, 23 pounds., 31 inches

Anders – 15 months, 25 lbs, 30″

Anders has a great fit in the Boulevard.  Infant positioning pillow has been removed, as he is over 22 lbs. He’s on the third harness position and has the crotch strap in the outer position.  He frequently sleeps in this seat with no complaints of being hot or uncomfortable.

Britax Boulevard Freya - 3 years, 25 pounds, 34 inches

Britax Boulevard Freya – 3 years, 25 pounds, 34 inches

Freya – 3 yrs, 25 lbs, 34″

Freya, like Anders, fits wonderfully rear facing in the Boulevard.  At 3, she’s still safer rear facing. She is actually on the same harness position as Anders and I moved the crotch buckle to the smaller position because she wasn’t sitting on the strap like Anders was. Even with the shallow seat pan that most Britax convertibles have, Freya still has plenty of leg room.

Forward Facing

  • Forward facing weight range: 20-65 lbs
  • Forward facing height range: 49″ or less
Britax Boulevard Freya - 3 years, 25 pounds, 34 inches

Britax Boulevard Freya – 3 years, 25 pounds, 34 inches

Freya – 3 yrs, 25 lbs, 34″

Freya fits comfortably forward facing in the Boulevard as well.  I kept her in the inner crotch buckle position since she wasn’t sitting on it yet.  She has about three or four more harness positions to go on the head support.  I could see this seat lasting her for a long time to come.

Britax Boulevard Chloe - 6 years, 46 pounds, 48 inches

Britax Boulevard Chloe – 6 years, 46 pounds, 48 inches

Chloe – 6-year-old Huggable Images doll, 46 lbs, 48″

Chloe barely fits in the Boulevard.  Since she is 46 lbs, I left it installed via lower anchors (allowed up to child weight of 50 lbs).  Her shoulders are right at the highest harness position.  She still seemed to fit width wise well, although a typical child of this height and weight might be a bit snug. At 6 though, if she can sit properly, switching to a dedicated booster would be a safe choice.

Important information: Where to find

Britax Boulevard date of manufacture & expiration

Britax Boulevard date of manufacture & expiration

Date of manufacture can be found on the side of the car seat near the top, barely hiding under the cover.

Expiration is 7 years and can be found on page 5 of the instruction manual.

Britax Boulevard FAA certification

Britax Boulevard FAA certification

FAA approval sticker can be found on a sticker on the side of the seat, as well as page 6 of the instruction manual.

Britax Convertible Comparison

 Britax G3Britax G4.1Britax Boulevard and Advocate ClickTight
Specifications 
RF Limits5-40 lbs,
1" from the top of head to top of shell
5-40 lbs,
1" from top of head to top of shell
** Seats made after 10/14, rear facing height limit : when head is 1" from the top of the extended head support
5-40 lbs,
1" from the top of the head to the top of the head support
FF Limits20-70 lbs,
up to 49"
20-65 lbs,
up to 49"
20-65 lbs,
up to 49"
Shell height24"24"
27" to the top of head support
24"
29" (fully extended head support)
Lowest harness position9"7" (with infant insert)7.5" (with infant insert)
Highest harness position16"17"18.65"
Features 
Clicktight installation
Seat belt lock offs
Included Infant insertwedge can be purchased from Britaxyesyes
Rear face tetheryesallowed in some, but not in newer versionsallowed in some, but not in newer versions
Anti-rebound baravailable from Britaxavailable from Britaxavailable from Britax

Pros

  • Easy to use and install
  • No re-thread harness
  • Seat belt lockoffs
  • Push button lower anchor connectors
  • Takes up a small amount of front to back space

Cons

  • Small interior doesn’t provide much leg room
  • Outgrown by height earlier than some other seats

Overall Thoughts

Britax has always made go-to seats for ease of use and installation.  The only downfall to this Boulevard, and other previous Britax convertibles, is the short shell and shallow seat pan.  None of these are a safety concern, but if you have larger children these complaints mean the child could outgrow the seat before they’re ready for the next step.  Britax has addressed these issues with their newest convertible line up, the ClickTights. Read our review on the Britax Advocate ClickTight for more information on those.  Overall, I’m pleased with the Britax Boulevard.


Interested in one for yourself?  Britax is giving one of our lucky readers a chance to win one!  Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of the review.
Want one now and can’t wait for the giveaway?  They can be found on Amazon.com.

Britax provided the Laguna Boulevard used in this review, CSFTL was not otherwise compensated and opinions, as always, are all our own. Originally written by Angela Tastad. Edits maintained by CSFTL.
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