When Cybex announced an update to their Aton rear facing only car seat, we were eager to see how they’d improved on a seat that we liked so much! The Aton 2 features a higher weight limit, a load leg, and a unique side impact protection system.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Weight range: 4-35 lbs
- Height range: up to 30″ and the top of the child’s head is 1 inch from the top of the carrier
- Shell height: 19.5″
- Lowest harness position: 6″ (with newborn inlay)
- Highest harness position: 10″
- Weight (carrier only): 8.8 lbs
- Expiration: 6 years
- Handle position: must be up when installed in the vehicle
- Super Easy and Tight installation with the belt tensioning plate device
- Push button lower anchor connectors
- Adjustable recline foot
- Load leg
- Euro belt routing
- Linear Side Impact Protection (L.S.P.) system
- Dual range level indicator
- Width at widest point (at the handle): 17.5″
- Width at back of base: 10″
- Front to back, installed with base: 24″
The Aton 2 includes an infant insert that’s recommended for use with infants who weight between 5-11 lbs. The bottom portion of the insert can be folded under the child’s legs to achieve a better fit on the tiniest of passengers.
Installation with the Base
The Aton 2’s base has a couple of unique features — the Super Easy and Tight installation plate and a load leg. The load leg can help to distribute crash forces, but like many other unique features, there isn’t a federal standard to test this feature against so we can only point out the feature. We can’t speak to whether or not it adds to the seat’s overall safety.
The recline indicator shows two different reclines — one for infants who weigh between 4-22 lbs, the other is for infants who weigh between 22-35 lbs. The red handle at the front of the base releases easily and drops the recline foot down.
To remove the lower anchors from their storage location on the base, we found that the recline foot had to be fully extended. Otherwise, they’re stuck behind a bit of plastic.
The lower anchors are threaded behind the belt guides. Installing the seat with the base using lower anchors was fairly straightforward. First, open the Super Easy and Tight panel, then connect the lower anchors to the lower anchor connectors in the vehicle using the LATCH guides if necessary. Tighten the webbing on the lower anchors a bit and close the Super Easy and Tight panel. The panel will not close if the webbing is too tight.
Once the base is installed and there’s less than an inch of movement at the belt path, the load leg can be adjusted as long as the Aton 2 is installed in a seating position that allows the load leg to be used.The end of the load leg has an adjustment handle — squeeze this handle to extend the leg. There are a few limitations on the load leg: The load leg cannot be used if it causes the base to be pushed up off of the vehicle seat, or if it cannot be locked into place. It’s also not approved for use with a Stow and Go type of vehicle floor. Unfortunately, while mentioned several times at conferences and other technician events, it is not written in the manual.
The load leg tucks into the bottom of the base but doesn’t lock into place so it flops around a bit when the base is being moved between places. During the course of writing this review, I carried the base to a number of vehicles, then back into the house so the floppy load leg was an issue for me. This isn’t a big issue for most families since the base tends to stay installed in the car.
Installing the base with the vehicle belt was a little more tricky than the simple lower anchor install for one reason: threading the belt under the Super Easy and Tight panel and into the correct position in the blue belt guides was tough. The panel doesn’t quite open wide enough to slide the belt easily into place but it was pretty smooth when I placed one hand on each end of the vehicle belt and threaded it through the opening.
After a bit of trial and error, I found that there’s a bit of a sweet spot in how much of the vehicle belt to pull out when installing the base using the vehicle belt. The manual suggests that 24 inches (or 60 cm) of slack is the right amount. The logistics of measuring that amount proved more than I could manage alone.
If the vehicle belt is too tight, the Super Easy and Tight panel won’t close. But if the belt is too loose, the installation won’t be secure enough to have less than 1″ of movement at the belt path.
Front to Back Space
Installed with the base in a 2016 Kia Soul, the Aton 2 measures roughly 24 inches front to back. This is pretty darn compact so this seat might be a nice option for families whose vehicles have smaller back seats. Installed without the base, the seat measured the same 24 inches front to back.
Linear Side Impact Protection (L.S.P.) system
The Aton 2 features a little flap on the each side of the seat’s handle. This feature is designed to transfer the initial impact of a side crash into the seat’s shell. The manual describes this feature as:
The optimized structure of the shell absorbs the forces and channels them away from your baby resulting in a 40% increase in safety.
While we’re always excited to see innovative new features on a seat, there isn’t a federal testing standard for the L.S.P. so we can’t speak to whether or not it would increase this seat’s safety over any other seats on the market today.
The L.S.P. has a couple of use restrictions: it is only for use on the side of the seat closest to the vehicle’s door and it cannot be extended toward another passenger or another child restraint.
Removing the Aton 2 from the Base
Since this review was published, one of our fabulous admins has become a foster parent and put the Aton 2 into daily use. Here are her thoughts:
As far as daily use goes: it’s a heavy little seat. There isn’t a convenient place to grab it other than the handle, because the carrier is very smooth and artsy looking.
The handle presents some struggles. If it’s rotated all the way back, the angle where you’d need to place your hands to depress both buttons simultaneously is not conducive to rotating the handle upright. Most of the time, I get it moved one click before I lose either the motion or the buttons and I have to start over.
The mechanism to remove the Aton 2 from the base is a little different than some other mechanisms on similar seats. Instead of one handle on the carrier itself, the Aton 2 has 2 buttons on the back of the base.
To release the carrier from the base, first press the small button, then the large button as shown in the image. Then the carrier can be lifted off of the base.
Moving the Aton 2 in and out of the base is a bit counterintutive. To lock it in place, slide the back bar into the base first while keepig the foot end of the carrier lifted. To remove the carrier, depress the button and slide the lock. Then lift the foot end of the carrier up first, then finally, slide the bar out of the back of the base.
Fit to Child
Our preemie model is a Huggable Images doll. She’s 4 lbs and 17 inches long. The seat’s weight range is listed at 4-35 lbs so we were eager to see how this tiny model fit in the Aton 2.
With the straps on the lowest harness setting and the bottom portion of the infant insert folded beneath our doll’s bottom, the straps were still a bit above her shoulders. We’d suggest checking the fit on this seat before using it with a preemie.
The harness pads aren’t required so we asked our doll to model the Aton 2 without the pads attached. The fit was slightly better but we’d still suggest checking the fit before using this seat with a preemie.
Our newborn model is also a Huggable Images doll. She’s 7 lbs and 17 inches long. Thanks to a recent visit to the consigment sale, she now sports a cloth diaper under her clothes. The harness pads are quite large. This made getting the chest clip into the correct position a bit of a challenge. However, we were able to get a solid fit with a little effort.
Since the harness pads aren’t required for use with this seat, we asked this model to demonstrate the fit without the pads as well. Without the pads, we had to fold the infant padding under the doll’s bottom in order to get a good fit. These adjustments are all within the guidelines listed in the manual.
3 Weeks Old
This model was 3 weeks old, weighed 11 lbs and was 20 inches long at the time of this photo. On the lowest setting, the harness fit him well. We did not need to fold the bottom portion of the insert under in order to achieve a good fit but we did need to tuck the harness pads back under the insert a bit in order to get the chest clip in the correct position.
13 Months Old
At 13 months, 23 lbs, and 27 inches tall, this model should be within the height and weight limits for the seat. However, she’s right at the top of the relative height — if she grows just a hair, she won’t have more than 1″ of shell above her head.
One big issue with the Aton 2 is the canopy size — it’s pretty darn small. The canopy has a reinforced section that makes it easy to expand and retract.
Important Information: Where to Find
The Aton 2 can be used without the base on aircraft. The FAA approval label is on the outside of the carrier’s shell, on the child’s right side. There’s an additional FAA approval label on the underside of the carrier. The base is not aircraft approved. If you are traveling with it, it will be stored overhead or under the seat in front of the baby.
Date of Manufacture
The Date of Manufacture/expiration label is on the underside of the carrier. Both the manufacture and expiration dates are clearly labeled.
The manual stores on the underside of the carrier. There’s a handy compartment with a plastic cover but be warned — getting the manual into and out of that space is a little tricky. The plastic cover is also required, it’s not packing material. Please don’t lose it!
Lower Anchor Storage
The lower anchors store in a tidy little compartment on the base. It’s clearly labeled. The only trick is in accessing the anchors — the base’s recline foot must be fully extended in order to remove them.
The Aton 2 is fairly easy to install with the base. The carrier portion is lightweight and easy to carry. While this seat isn’t particularly likely to last larger children for a long time, it’s a well-featured seat that’s easy to use. Families who would like a well-featured seat would do well to consider the Aton 2!
Our friends at Cybex have generously offered one of our lucky readers an Aton 2 of their own! Enter below for your chance to win!