Maxi – Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit Review

Looking for a convertible that is easy to use from birth and can fit in a small space?  The Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit is a great convertible seat that should fit your needs perfectly.  The Pria 70 comes in two different models, with and without the TinyFit infant insert.  This review will cover the model with the TinyFit.

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70  installed

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • Rear facing weight range: TinyFit 4-22 lbs, without TinyFit 9-40 lbs
  • Rear facing height range: 40″ or less
  • Forward facing weight range: 22-70 lbs
  • Forward facing height range: 29-52″”
  • Shell height: 26.5″ (top of fully extended head support)
  • Lowest harness position: TinyFit 5″, without TinyFit 10″
  • Highest harness position:  17.5″
  • Expiration: 10 yrs
  • Lower anchor weight limit: 40 lbs

 

 

 

 

Features:

  • Three position adjustable crotch strap (5″, 6″, 7″)
  • Three adjustable recline settings
  • Push button lower anchor connectors
  • No re-thread harness
  • TinyFit infant insert
  • TinyFit body pillow
  • Two sets of harness comfort pads
  • Head pillow
  • Two sizes of chest clips

Unique Features

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit crotch buckle positions

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit crotch buckle positions

 

 

Three position adjustable crotch strap (5″, 6″, 7″) allows a wide variety of children to fit the Pria without being uncomfortable.  It must be in the smallest and middle position when rear facing without the Tiny Fit.  When using the Tiny Fit insert, the buckle must be in the furthest out position.  Forward facing it can be in any position.

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit recline positions

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit recline positions

 

 

Three adjustable recline settings allow you to be able to adjust the seat to the correct recline depending on your seat slope and child’s weight.  When rear facing the recline position must be at angle 2 or 3.  Forward facing for children from 22-40 it must be at angle 2 and forward facing children from 40-70 lbs must be at angle 1.

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit push on lower anchor connectors

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit push on lower anchor connectors

 

 

Push button lower anchor connectors help with those deeply buried vehicle lower anchors and makes for an easier install and uninstall.

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 no rethread

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit no rethread harness

 

 

 

 

The no re-thread harness is adjusted by just the squeeze of a button at the top of the head support.  It is a nice addition so you don’t have to move the harness straps manually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit

 

TinyFit infant insert –   This insert is like a seat within a seat.  It does take some extra effort to install into the seat due to this.  The TinyFit fits infants from 4-22 lbs and must be used until the infant’s shoulders reach the bottom harness position without the insert (10″).

TinyFit body pillow is a welcome addition for those little infants that need a bit of extra side to side support when using the TinyFit infant insert.

The Head pillow can be used to help support a newborn’s head.

 

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit harness comfort pads

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit harness comfort pads

 

 

Two sets of harness comfort pads are included.  The smaller set is used for any size child, whereas the larger pads MUST be used with a children over 65 AND if there is not a vehicle tether anchor available.

 

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit chest clips

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit chest clips

 

 

Two sizes of chest clips are included for smaller and larger children.  There is no stated weight or age limit on the use of the different chest clips.

 

 

 

 

TinyFit Insert Installation

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit furthest position

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit furthest position

The TinyFit Insert is a seat within a seat.  It is a plastic insert that is actually installed into the seat for small infants.  This takes the hassle out of using a rear facing only seat for a newborn and allows a parent/caregiver to use the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 from birth.
The installation can be a bit time consuming so here’s a quick run down of how it works.

 

1.  Make sure the crotch buckle is in the furthest out from the back position.

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit unthreaded

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit unthreaded

 

2. Unthread the harness from the back of the car seat and pull everything except the buckles off, if you will be replacing the large chest clip for the smaller one.  If not, it can all be left on, but can be a hassle to get through the holes in the insert.

 

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit rethreaded harness

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit rethreaded harness

 

3.  Set the insert on the seat and thread the harness and buckles through the holes at the bottom of the insert.  Thread the chest clip, harness comfort pads, and head pillow onto the harness, then thread the harness through the appropriate harness slot in the insert.

 

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit harness through insert and shell

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit harness through insert and shell

 

 

4.  Pull the harness all the way through the insert and into lower set of harness slots on the seat shell.

 

 

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit splitter plate

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit splitter plate

 

 

5.  Attach the harness to both sides of the splitter plate.

 

 

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit lowered head support

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit lowered head support

 

 

6.  Move the head support down so it secures the insert into the seat.

 

 

 

 

Installation

  • Expiration: 10 yrs
  • Lower anchor weight limit: 40 lbs
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit rear facing installation

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit rear facing installation

Rear Facing

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit lower anchor connector strap behind crotch strap with TinyFit installed

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit lower anchor connector strap behind crotch strap with TinyFit installed

When installing with the TinyFit insert, the crotch buckle needs to be in the furthest out from the back position and the lower anchor strap or seat belt is routed behind the buckle.  Make sure the head support is fully extended so you can push the insert up a bit in order to route the lower anchor strap or seatbelt under it.

 

 

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit lower anchor connector strap in front of crotch strap without TinyFit installed

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit lower anchor connector strap in front of crotch strap without TinyFit installed

When installing without the TinyFit the crotch buckle needs to be in either the smallest or middle crotch buckle position then the lower anchor strap or seat belt is threaded in front of the the buckle.

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit belt positioning guide

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit belt positioning guide

 

Like other Maxi-Cosi convertibles the Pria 70 also incorporates a belt positioning guide on either side of the rear facing belt path.  The lower anchor strap or lap portion of the seat belt needs to be threaded through this before tightening.

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit level to ground line

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit level to ground line

 

Maxi-Cosi also incorporates the use of a single level to ground line to judge what angle the seat needs to be at when rear facing.  This line is a raised portion of plastic at the top of the seat right above a green sticker.  When installing rear facing the angle can be adjusted to either position 2 or 3.  I noticed that it installs pretty upright with the level to ground line.  This is nice for both front to back space and for older children who would like to be more upright.  The TinyFit insert reclines smaller infants more so there isn’t head slump.

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 forward facing installation

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit forward facing installation

 

 

Forward Facing

The forward facing install is very typical.  The lower anchor strap or seat belt needs to be threaded through the forward facing belt path.  Make sure to lock the belt if installing with that method.  Then put yours weight into the seat and tighten.  Needs to be 1″ or less of movement at the belt path.  The only thing that is a bit different is that for children from 22-40 lbs and 29-43″ it needs to be in recline position 2 and for children 40-70 lbs and 43-52″ it needs to be in position 1.  As a forewarning, there will most likely be a decent gap between the seat bight and car seat.  This has been okayed by the manufacturer as long as you still have a tight (1″ or less of movement at the belt path) installation.  Also, the larger harness pads need to be used for children over 65 lbs if the seating position is without a vehicle tether anchor.

 

 

 

 

Child Fit

Rear Facing with TinyFit insert

  • Rear facing weight range: TinyFit 4-22 lbs
  • Rear facing height range: 40″ or less
  • Lowest harness position: TinyFit 5″
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Jo - Preemie, 4 lbs, 17"

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Jo – Preemie, 4 lbs, 17″

Jo – Preemie Huggable Images doll, 4 lbs, 17″
The TinyFit insert was a perfect fit for her!  I used the head pillow, body support, and small chest clip.  All helped with fit tremendously.  The TinyFit adjusts the lowest harness height down to 5″, one of the shortest harness positions on the market.  Her shoulders were actually quite a bit above the lowest harness position, almost up to the 2nd harness position, which is very rare for Jo.  The biggest downfall I had with using the TinyFit with her was tightening the harness straps.  Due to the extra routing through both the TinyFit insert and seat shell it adds quite a bit of friction making it harder to tighten.  It would be necessary to tighten from the back of the seat typically by pulling the harness straps from the back of the seat, then pulling on the tightening strap tail by the child’s feet.

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Fiona - newborn, 7 lbs, 17"

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Fiona – newborn, 7 lbs, 17″

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

Fiona had an amazing fit as well.  I kept all the inserts and smaller chest clip on for her and she had a very similar fit to Jo.  With her being just a tad taller in the torso than Jo, she was a bit closer to the 2nd harness slot, but still not quite there.  I also had the same tightening issues as I did with Jo.

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Anders - 8 months, 20 lbs, 26"

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Anders – 8 months, 20 lbs, 26″

 

 

Anders – 8 months, 20 lbs, 26″
He fits, but was extremely uncomfortable and had very little excess harness length.  At his size and fit, I wouldn’t use the TinyFit insert for him normally since his shoulders come right above the bottom harness position without the TinyFit insert.  Even though the insert is approved for use up to 22 lbs, I think 15 lbs would probably be a better limit for it.

 

Rear facing without TinyFit insert

  • Rear facing weight range: without TinyFit 9-40 lbs
  • Rear facing height range: 40″ or less or top of the head at the top of the fully extended head support
  • Lowest harness position: without TinyFit 10″
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Anders - 12 months, 23 lbs, 29"

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Anders – 12 months, 23 lbs, 29″

Anders – 12 months, 23 lbs, 29″

Anders fits perfectly without the TinyFit insert now.  His shoulders are still just barely below the 2nd harness position, so he is still in the first.  Even without the TinyFit insert, the harness is still pretty difficult to tighten, so we just keep doing the tightening trick I mentioned with the TinyFit.

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Freya - 1 month shy of 3 yrs, 25 lbs, 33"

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Freya – 1 month shy of 3 yrs, 25 lbs, 33″

 

 

 

Freya – 1 month shy of 3 yrs, 25 lbs, 33″

Freya also fits perfectly in this seat with quite a bit of growing room still.  Like Anders, she loves how upright she sits in it.  It has decently low sides, so I don’t have to hoist her too much over the sides.  Although the base is rather high, so it sits quite a ways above the vehicle seat.

 

 

Forward Facing

  • Forward facing weight range: 22-70 lbs
  • Forward facing height range: 29-43″
  • Shell height: 26.5″ (top of fully extended head support)
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Freya - 1 month shy of 3 yrs, 25 lbs, 33"

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Freya – 1 month shy of 3 yrs, 25 lbs, 33″

Freya – 1 month shy of 3 yrs, 25 lbs, 33″

Freya doesn’t ride this way, but is within the limits of it forward facing.  We recommend rear facing until as close to 4 as possible.  This is just a model of how a smaller child would look forward facing in it.  Since she is between 22-40 lbs it is on recline position 2.  I like how reclined it is for her.  It would be a good choice for a smaller forward facing child due to this.  It was near impossible to tighten the harness forward facing.  I would most likely tighten it before installing, then not loosen it, unless necessary.

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Chloe - 6 yrs, 46 lbs, 48"

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit: Chloe – 6 yrs, 46 lbs, 48″

 

 

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

Chloe is right at the limit of the Pria 70.  Her shoulders are right at the top harness position.  Her head seems a bit squished in between the air protect SIP.  She had very little harness length left as well.  I don’t foresee the Pria 70 fitting any 70 lb children.

 

 

 

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit important information

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit important information

Important Information: Where to find

FAA certification can be found on page 46 of the instruction manual and on a sticker on the side of the seat.

 

Date of manufacture can be found on the side of the seat along with the model number.

 

 

 

Expiration date is stamped into the plastic on the bottom of the seat.

 

 

Updates made on newer versions of the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with (and without) TinyFit

Since we received this seat to review Maxi-Cosi has released a newer version of the Pria 70 with a few updates.  These updates include a more breathable fabric cover, easily removable and washable cover (similar to the Pria 85 and Vello 65 covers), new color patterns, and slimmer Air Protect SIP (also similar but not the same as the Pria 85).  These are some nice additions!

Maxi-Cosi Convertible Comparison

Vello 65Pria 70 Pria 70 with Tiny FitPria 85
Specifications
Rear Facing Limit9-40 lbs.
Up to 40"
9-40 lbs.
Up to 40"
Tiny Fit 4-22 lbs.
Without Tiny Fit 9-40 lbs.
Up to 40"
14-40 lbs.
Up to 40"
Forward Facing Limit22-65 lbs.
29"-49"
22-70 lbs.
29"-52"
22-70 lbs.
29"-52"
22-85 lbs.
29"-52"
Lowest Harness10"10"Tiny Fit 5"
Without Tiny Fit 10"
10"
Highest Harness17.5"17.5"Tiny Fit 9"
Without Tiny Fit 17.5"
17.5"
Shell Height26.5"26.5"26.5"26.5"
Features
Accessories
  • Removable cupholder
  • Removable storage pocket
  • Tiny Fit includes:
  • body pillow
  • head pillow
  • small chest clip
  • Harness holders
  • Air Protect
    Body Pillow
    Easy Remove Cover
    Note:The 2015 Pria 70 has an easy to remove cover. The previous version do not.
    Buy OnlineAmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon

    Overall Impression

    Overall I’ve been very impressed with the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit.  The TinyFit fits newborns well thus taking away the need to buy and use a rear facing only seat to start with.  The 22 lbs limit on the TinyFit is a bit overinflated and I would foresee most children closer to at least 15 lbs being ready for the seat without the TinyFit insert.  The 70 lbs may be a bit overinflated as well as most children that size will have already outgrown the top harness slot and be uncomfortable with the tight head support.  The head support can also be a bit of a hassle to adjust fully down or up.  You typically have to push it from the back of the seat.  The last downfall is the difficulty in tightening the harness.  Maxi-Cosi has stated that they will be releasing new seats with an adjusted harness system to solve this issue.  The updates they’ve made to the newer models are also a very nice addition.  I love how small the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 is in my van and the cushy fabric is great.  Both my kids regularly sleep in this seat when we’re out and about.  Installation is a breeze and the cupholder is a nice bonus for storing all the little kid trinkets.

    Maxi-Cosi is giving one of our lucky readers a chance to win a Pria 70 with TinyFit for themselves (model shown in review).  To enter, follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the review.

    Want one now?  The Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit can be found on Amazon.com

    While Maxi-Cosi provided the seat free of charge to the author, Maxi-Cosi did not pay for or influence this review.   All opinions expressed, as always, are entirely our own.
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    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 Review

    We would like to introduce the newest model in Maxi-Cosi’s convertible lineup, the Maxi-Cosi Vello 65.  This is a simplified version of their popular Pria convertible seat and we’ve been very impressed with it.

    Maxi cosi Vello install

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65

    CSFTL Quick Stats

    • Rear facing weight range: 9-40 lbs
    • Rear facing height range: 40″ or less
    • Forward facing weight range: 22-65 lbs
    • Forward facing height range: 29″-49″
    • Shell height: 26.5″
    • Lowest harness position: 10″
    • Highest harness position: 17.5″
    • Expiration: 10 yrs
    • Lower anchor weight limit: 40 lbs (child weight)

     

     

     

     

    Features

    • 3 position adjustable crotch strap (5″, 6″, & 7″)
    • 3 recline positions
    • Push button lower anchor connectors
    • No re-thread harness
    • Removable body pillow
    • Removable storage pockets and cupholder
    • Easy remove cover

    Unique Features

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 adjustable crotch strap

     

     

    3 position adjustable crotch strap is easy to adjust by just pulling the metal plate through the slot on the bottom of the seat.  For rear facing, it must be use in the closest 2 slot positions.

     

     

     

    Maxi-Cosi Vello recline positions

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 recline positions

     

    3 recline positions help to get the correct recline for both rear and forward facing.  Recline 2 and 3 can be used rear facing and recline 1 and 2 can be used forward facing.  Recline 1 must be used for children 40-65 lbs forward facing and recline 2 must be used for children 22-40 lbs forward facing.

     

     

     

    Maxi-Cosi Vello lower anchor connectors

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 lower anchor connectors

     

     

    Push button lower anchor connectors help to attach to buried vehicle lower anchors.

     

     

     

    Maxi-Cosi Vello no rethread harness

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 no re-thread harness

     

    No re-thread harness allows the harness and head support to be adjusted when seat is still installed.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Maxi-Cosi Vello removable body pillow

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 body pillow

     

     

    Removable body pillow can be used at any weight or harness position.

     

     

     

     

    Maxi-Cosi Vello removable storage pockets and cupholder

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 removable storage pockets and cupholder

     

     

    Removable storage pockets and cupholder and are easily removed for tight spaces.  They can also be switched between sides for easy access for any child.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Maxi-Cosi Vello cover removes easily

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 easy remove cover

     

     

    Easy remove cover can be taken off and washed while the seat is still installed.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Installation

    • Expiration: 10 yrs
    • Lower anchor weight limit: 40 lbs (child weight)
    • Lower anchor borrowing is not allowed

    Rear facing

    Maxi Cosi Vello rear facing installed

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 rear facing installed

    Rear facing installation is pretty typical with the Vello 65.  Set the seat on the vehicle seat and check the recline.

    Maxi Cosi Vello rear facing level line

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65  level line

     

     

    At the top of the seat there is a line right above the green sticker.  This line needs to be level to ground.  The recline foot will need to be in position 2 or 3.  Once you’ve achieved the correct angle, thread either the lower anchor connector strap or seat belt through the rear facing belt path (under the child’s feet).

     

     

     

    Maxi-Cosi Vello crotch strap

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 lower anchor strap routing

     

     

    The crotch strap needs to be in one of the 2 closest positions to the child, whichever is closest to the child.  The lower anchor connector strap or seat belt then must be routed in front of the crotch strap (covering the furthest slot out).

    Maxi Cosi Vello rear facing belt positioning guides

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65  belt positioning guides

     

    If installing with lower anchors, the connector strap is required to be threaded through the belt positioning guide in the belt path on both sides, then tightened.

     

     

     

    If installing with seat belt, the lap belt is required to be threaded through the belt positioning guide. The shoulder belt lays over it, then just buckle and tighten.

     

    Forward Facing

    Maxi Cosi Vello Forward facing install

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 forward facing install

    The Vello also has a typical forward facing installation.  Recline position must be either 1 or 2.  Recline position 2 is for children weighing between 22-40 lbs and recline position 1 must be used for children 40-65 lbs.

    This caused a bit of a problem for me when installing in my Nissan Quest.  The Quest requires the vehicle seat to be fully upright when installing any car seat.  When installing the Vello in recline position 2, it caused a very large gap between the vehicle seat and car seat.  We are currently in contact with Maxi-Cosi to find if this is an incompatibility with the Vello.  We will update when more information is available.

     

    Child Fit

    Rear facing

    • Rear facing weight range: 9-40 lbs
    • Rear facing height range: 40″ or less, or top of the head even with the top of the fully extended head support

    The Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 is not meant for newborns. With a weight minimum of 9 lbs and bottom harness height of 10″ the Vello is meant to be the next step after a rear facing only car seat.

    Vello65

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65: Amelia – 6 weeks, 9 lbs, 22″

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65: Amelia – 6 weeks, 9 lbs, 22″

     

    Amelia – 6 weeks, 9 lbs, 22″

    Even though Amelia meets the minimums, is using the insert, and is in a cloth diaper, she still does not reach the bottom harness position.  This is a good example of why the Vello is a great next step after the rear facing only car seat, but not as a first seat.  This is why it is always suggested to a try a seat before you buy it.

     

    1 year oldmodel

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65: Anders – 1 yr, 23 lbs, 29″

     

    Anders – 1 year, 23 lbs, 29″

    Anders is a perfect fit in the Vello.  He is at the 2nd click up on the harness/head support position.  I took the body pillow out due to his wide thighs.  He has the perfect amount of room side to side.  The only downfall I’ve found with using this seat is tightening and loosening the harness.  Due to how it’s routed through both the head support and shell, it makes it very hard to tighten.  There is an easy fix for rear facing though.  Instead of just pulling on the adjuster strap by the child’s feet, you can tighten by pulling the harness straps tight from the back, then pulling on the adjuster strap.

     

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65: Freya - 2 months shy of 3 yrs, 25 lbs, 38"

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65: Freya – 2 months shy of 3 yrs, 25 lbs, 34″

    Freya – 2 months shy of 3 years, 25 lbs, 34″

    Freya is also a great fit in the Vello.  It’s shallow enough that I don’t have to heave her too far over the sides and she has plenty of foot room.  She likes playing with the cupholder and storage pockets and has no problems with falling asleep in it.  I have the same trouble tightening her as I do with Anders.  Since she is still rear facing though, I use the same easy fix for adjusting it.

     

    Forward Facing

    • Forward facing weight range: 22-65 lbs
    • Forward facing height range: 29″-49″
    • Lower anchor weight limit: 40 lbs (child weight)
    Maxi Cosi Vello Olivia

    Maxi-Cosi Vello 65: Olivia – 6 yrs, 51 lbs, 47″

     

     

    Olivia – 6 years, 51 lbs,  47″

    Olivia is right at the forward facing limit of the Vello.  Her shoulders are right at the top harness slot with no harness length left.  She liked how plush it was and how high she sits up in the seat which allows her to see out the window better.  It was very difficult to tighten the harness with her in it.  Since it’s forward facing, you can’t do the trick with tightening from the back, though, which is easy to do for rear facing children.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Important Information: Where to find

    Maxi Cosi Vello Important information

     

     

    FAA certification can be found on page 30 of the instruction manual and on a sticker on the side of the seat.

     

     

    Date of manufacture can be found on the side of the seat along with the model number.

     

     

     

     

    Expiration date is stamped into the plastic on the bottom of the seat.

     

     

    Maxi Cosi Convertible Comparison

    Vello 65Pria 70 Pria 70 with Tiny FitPria 85
    Specifications
    Rear Facing Limit9-40 lbs.
    Up to 40"
    9-40 lbs.
    Up to 40"
    Tiny Fit 4-22 lbs.
    Without Tiny Fit 9-40 lbs.
    Up to 40"
    14-40 lbs.
    Up to 40"
    Forward Facing Limit22-65 lbs.
    29"-49"
    22-70 lbs.
    29"-52"
    22-70 lbs.
    29"-52"
    22-85 lbs.
    29"-52"
    Lowest Harness10"10"Tiny Fit 5"
    Without Tiny Fit 10"
    10"
    Highest Harness17.5"17.5"Tiny Fit 9"
    Without Tiny Fit 17.5"
    17.5"
    Shell Height26.5"26.5"26.5"26.5"
    Features
    Accessories
  • Removable cupholder
  • Removable storage pocket
  • Tiny Fit includes:
  • body pillow
  • head pillow
  • small chest clip
  • Harness holders
  • Air Protect
    Body Pillow
    Easy Remove Cover
    Note:The 2015 Pria 70 has an easy to remove cover. The previous version do not.
    Buy OnlineAmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon

     

    Overall impression

    Overall I’ve been really impressed with the Maxi Cosi Vello 65.  The biggest downfalls I’ve found to the seat are how hard it is to tighten/loosen the harness and the difficulty in getting the head support to click into the lower most and upper most positions.  Since my kids are rear facing still, neither downfalls are a real problem for me, but I could definitely foresee them being issues when using it forward facing.  I love how plush it is, how easy the cover is to remove for washing, the removable cupholder and storage pocket, and how narrow it is front to back.  Plus installation and adjustment of everything is very easy.

    Maxi Cosi is giving one of our lucky readers a chance to win a Vello for themselves.  To enter, follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the review.

    Want one now?  The Maxi Cosi Vello can be found on Amazon.com

    While Maxi Cosi provided the seat free of charge to the author, Maxi Cosi did not pay for or influence this review.   All opinions expressed, as always, are entirely our own.

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    Cybex Solution Q-Fix Review

    Cybex_FeaturedImageThe Solution Q-Fix is one of Cybex’s high back booster offerings.  The Q-Fix has been on the market for some time now;  offering both comfort and ease of use features.  Today, we’ll take a close look at this booster.

     

    CSFTL Quick Stats

    • High back booster weight range: 33-110lbs
    • High back booster height range: 38-60″
    • Highest booster guide position: 22″
    • Expiration: 6 years
    • High back booster only

    Features:

    • Three position reclining headrest
    • Rigid lower anchor connectors
    • Linear Side Impact Protection

    Unboxing

    Cybex_unboxing

    Cybex unboxing.

    Straight out of the box, the Q-Fix comes in two main separate pieces, the lower portion and the upper portion.  While it does come separate, it is important to note that the Q-Fix should not be used without the upper portion attached.  It is a high back booster only. There is a tag on the seat to indicate that it should not be used without the back and another warning label on the seat itself. The assembly of the top and bottom portions of the seat is very straight forward.  Line the pieces up and move the top portion up so that they snap into place.  Once together it’s a very solid seat that is not prone to the back falling off.  While the back falling off while carrying is not a safety concern, some parents find that it’s annoying and prefer to use a seat that stays intact during movement.

     

    Cybex_Warning

    Cybex Q-Fix Headrest Warning label

     

     

    Cybex_LSPWhen the seat arrives, the linear side impact protection bolsters are not attached to the seat either.  These need to be attached to the torso wings of the seat during assembly.Cybex_LSPAttach

    The linear side impact protection bolsters have three posts which connect them to the torso wings  To connect them to the torso wings, line them up with the holes on the torso wings and slide down to attach.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Manual Storage

    Manual Storage

     

    The manual is shipped loose within the packaging. There is a pocket on the back of the seat that can be used to store the manual when it’s not in use.  We always suggest keeping the manual with the seat so that it’s readily accessible should questions arise at any time.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Installation

    The rigid lower anchor connectors that come with this seat are a little bit different from most anchors we see in use today.  I’d never seen anything quite like them before!

    Cybex_LACollageInstead of being separate pieces, they are on a bar that rotates towards the seat when they’re not being used.  The rigid lower anchor connectors rotate towards the back of the seat when they’re in use.  Since they are fixed on the bar, it makes attaching the rigid lower anchors slightly more cumbersome than more typical lower anchors.

    The bar is free moving as well, so they have to be lined just right in order to attach them to the lower anchors.  Once they are attached to the lower anchors, grab the lower anchor adjustment handle, and push the seat into the seat back. You’ll know the seat is in correctly when the indicator on the lower anchor connectors are in the green.

    Good to go!

    Good to go!

    Cybex has a very specific set of rules about how the booster must sit on the vehicle seat.

    The vehicle head restraint must not interfere with the booster, the booster seat must not overhang the vehicle seat, and the backrest of booster must rest against the vehicle seat.

    These rules can account for an excellent fit when all of the conditions are met but it could make fitting the Q-Fix a challenge in vehicles that have fixed head restraints, seats with small footprints, or overly contoured vehicle seats.

    One of the unique features of the Cybex booster is the reclining headrest.  There are three positions on the headrest that can easily be moved by the child to adjust the headrest to minimize head slump.

    Cybex_BeltGuide2

    The belt guide on the Cybex is  unique as well. Once the seat belt is threaded into the belt guide, another red piece keeps it in place.

    With my vehicle and set up this was fantastic because it made it hard for the belt to come out of the guide.  The belt guide is also fairly open, meaning the belt didn’t get caught in the belt guide and not retract correctly.  That’s always a plus!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Fit to Child

    Two finger width measurement.

    Two finger width measurement.

    The Q-Fix requires that the headrest be positioned two finger widths above the child’s shoulder.  This makes it seem like it needs to be higher, but is the correct position for the shoulder belt for this seat.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Cybex_Emma

    Cybex Q-Fix fit: 7 year old model

     

    Now that both of my daughters are of booster age, I was able to get two opinions of the seat and see how two totally differently sized children fit in the seat.

    Both of my girls initially thought the seat was squishy and comfortable.  Bonus points from the little one because of the bold color!  I first used the seat with my oldest daughter, who is 7 years old, stands 50 inches  tall, and weighs 49lbs.

    The belt fit on her was optimal and she enjoyed the automatic adjustment of the torso wings. As the headrest is raised, the torso wings adjust outward to provide a comfortable fit.  She was not too terribly impressed with the reclining headrest.  As a seasoned booster rider, she knows how to properly sit and how to stay upright while sleeping so this wasn’t as important for her.

    Staying upright while sleeping and sitting properly are two of most important factors to consider when deciding when to put a child in a booster vs. a 5pt harness.  You can read more about when to make the transition in our article here.

     

    Cybex_Olivia

    Cybex Q-Fix Fit: 5 Year Old Model

    My other daughter is 5 years old, 44 inches tall, and 46lbs.  She is brand new to the booster world and was very excited to show me how she could sit still and buckle the seat all by herself.

    The Q-Fix provided an excellent belt fit for her.  She was more pleased with the reclining headrest than her sister was.  She said it reminded her of her pillow in bed.  This would be a great feature for kids who are just learning to use a booster.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Cybex Q-Fix Leg Overhang

    Cybex Q-Fix Leg Overhang

     

    The one complaint that both of these models had was that they said they felt like they were sliding forward.  The depth of the seat is 13.5 inches, which is rather shallow.  Both my girls’ knees bent far beyond the edge of the seat, which caused the feeling of sliding forward. While this was a downside for my vehicle and children, the depth of this seat would be beneficial for those with vehicle seats that are small front to back.  Remember, Cybex does not allow the seat to overhang the vehicle seat.

     

     

     

     

    Overall Impressions

    Q-FixThe Q-Fix cover is nice and plush, and the seat comes in a variety of colors.  The range of bold colors can be appealing to a child.  The Q-Fix would not be a good seat if you are trying to fit three seats across in a row.  While the base is quite narrow, the torso wings make it a quite bulky.  The armrests also do not fit well underneath other seats.

    Overall, the Cybex Q-Fix provide an excellent belt fit for a booster.  Because of the relatively shallow seat pan, the Q-Fix might be better suited for a child with shorter legs.  The Q-Fix would be a good booster to use with a child who is booster training because of the reclining headrest feature.

    Cybex did not provide a seat for this review and as always, opinions are that of the author.

    GB Asana 35 AP Review

    Ready for another rear facing only car seat review?  The GB Asana 35 AP is another new rear facing only seat that the new company GB has just released.  We have many good things to say about the GB Asana 35 AP!

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

     

    CSFTL Quick Stats:

    • Weight range: 4-35 lbs
    • Height range: 32″ or less
    • Shell height: 20″
    • Lowest harness position: ~6″ with insert, 7.5″ without insert
    • Weight (carrier only): 9.2 lbs
    • Expiration: 6 years
    • Handle position: Any locked position

     

     

    Features:

    • Adjustable recline foot
    • Push button lower anchor connectors
    • Infant insert for smaller infants (required 4-6 lbs, optional 6-10lbs)
    • FirmFit system includes FirmFit load leg, arm, and harness
    • Storage area for instruction manual
    • Multiple crotch and hip strap positions (crotch buckle positions measuring 3.5″, 5″, and 6.5′)

    Unique Features

    GB Asana recline

    GB Asana Recline

     

     

    Adjustable recline foot – Push the red button to easily adjust the recline into one of the 3 positions.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    GB Asana lower anchor connectors

    GB Asana lower anchor connectors

     

     

    Push button lower anchor connectors are stored in bottom of the base.  Thread through the holes and slide into the hole in the base for storage.  To attach, unthread in the opposite order and click right onto the vehicle’s lower anchors.  Tighten using the tail on the lower anchor connector strap.

     

     

    GB Asana Infant Insert

     

     

    The infant insert for smaller infants is required for infants weighing 4-6 lbs and optional from 6-10 lbs.  GB recommends removing when the insert presses the child’s thighs uncomfortably against the buckle.  It’s a very large insert and I could foresee it getting cumbersome quickly.  Due to the narrowness of the seat, it isn’t necessary for very long.

     

     

     

     

     

    GB Asana FitFirm System

    GB Asana FitFirm System

    FirmFit System

      • FirmFit load leg – many new rear facing only seats on the market are now incorporating a load leg into their base, which helps with downward rotation in a crash.  It can be adjusted to a wide variety of lengths to accommodate both deep and shallow foot wells.  GB even claims that it will work on middle floor humps, and it can be used on stow and go compartments if the vehicle manufacturer allows it.
      • FirmFit arm – This is essentially a large seat belt lock off.  When installing via seat belt, lift the arm up, thread the seat belt through the belt path, then push the FirmFit arm down until it latches.  You will need to slightly tighten the seat belt before pushing the arm down.  You don’t want to tighten the belt as much as possible though, otherwise the arm won’t latch.  Make sure it latches all the way when pushing down on it, which can take a bit of force.
      • FirmFit harness – This is one the most unique features of the Asana.  The harness and headrest adjust together each time you tighten or loosen the harness.  When tightening via the tightening strap by the child’s feet, it pulls the headrest and harness to the child’s shoulders thus eliminating the need to change the harness height as the child grows.  This takes all the guess work out of deciding when the harness straps need to be moved up or down.  When the harness release is depressed, the harness and headrest snap back up to the top of the seat.
    GB Asana Manual Storage

    GB Asana Manual Storage

     

     

     

    Storage area for instruction manual is a nice addition so the manual is always on hand, conveniently located on the top of the base.

     

     

     

     

    GB Asana crotch and hip strap positions

    GB Asana crotch and hip strap positions

     

     

     

    The multiple crotch and hip strap positions allow the Asana to be used with a wide variety of children.  There are no set weight limits for each position, so the harness can be adjusted whenever necessary for each individual child.

     

     

     

     

     

    Installation

    • Expiration: 6 years
    • Handle position: Any locked position
    • The Asana allows use of lower anchor borrowing if the vehicle manufacturer also permits installation in seating positions with non-standard lower anchor spacing.

    With base

    GB Asana installation

    GB Asana installation with base

     

    The GB Asana 35 AP has a very straight forward easy installation with either seat belt or lower anchors.  The FirmFit lockoff arm must be utilized with any installation.  The FirmFit arm eliminates the need to lock the seat belt and assists in achieving a tight installation.  The push button lower anchor connectors also make that installation method very simple.    Before installing with either method, check and adjust the recline angle by depressing the red button on the base near the seat bight.

    GB Asana Recline Indicator

    GB Asana Recline Indicator

     

     

    Two different recline angles are allowed, the most reclined for infants 4-20 lbs and a more upright position for 20-35lbs.  My vehicle seats are very flat and I routinely have issues getting seats installed at a more upright position.  This base installed perfectly with no problems. If you cannot achieve the correct recline using the foot on the base, the manual does allow for use of a rolled towel to increase the base’s recline angle.

     

    GB Asana FirmFit load leg removed

    GB Asana FirmFit load leg removed

     

    The FirmFit load leg is recommended for all installations, but can be removed if not being used or prohibited per your vehicle’s owners manual.  To remove, push the button in the instruction storage area and pull straight out on the leg.  It is no easy feat to remove it though and can still be used with the leg stored under the base.

    GB Asana FirmFit load leg lengths

    GB Asana FirmFit load leg lengths

     

    It has several adjustments to reach the necessary length.  For the initial adjustment, pull the bottom portion of the leg down until it touches the floor.  If it doesn’t rest flat on the floor, either push the lower portion back up, press the black button on the leg and extend the top portion only, or you can leave the bottom portion extended as well as extending the top portion.  Always make sure the load leg rests flat on the floor and it can not lift up on the base thus changing the recline of the base. Also be sure to check your vehicle owner’s manual if installing over a covered storage area.  Some vehicle manufacturers allow this, some do not.  Once the recline and load leg are set, you can install with either seat belt or lower anchors.

    GB Asana FirmFit arm

    GB Asana FirmFit arm

     

     

    Now that you’re ready to install via seat belt or lower anchor connector strap, flip the FirmFit arm up.  If installing via seat belt, thread it through the belt path under the FirmFit arm, buckle, and slightly tighten the belt before flipping the FirmFit arm down over the belt.  Flip the FirmFit arm over the belt and make sure it clicks into place.  A green window will show by the FirmFit arm release when it is filled latched into place.

     

    GB Asana lower anchor strap clipIf installing via lower anchors, the strap will need to be pulled out of the storage clip under the FirmFit arm.  Attach the push on lower anchor connectors to your vehicle, tighten it so that all slack is out of the strap, but not fully tightened.  Then push the Firm Fit arm down on the lower anchor connector strap and tail that tightens it.  Make sure you have a green window once it’s locked into place.

     

    Baseless Installation

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

     

     

    The Asana also has a very easy baseless installation.  The seat belt guides are easy to find and easy to thread.  Due to it’s compact size, it’s easy to get behind it to put your weight into it to tighten.  It doesn’t allow Euro belt routing, but the installation is still very easy and tight.

     

     

     

     

    Fit to Child

    • Weight range: 4-35 lbs
    • Height range: 32″ or less, at least 1″ of shell above the child’s head
    • Infant insert for smaller infants (required 4-6 lbs, optional 6-10lbs)
    • Multiple crotch and hip strap positions

    The GB Asana 35 AP fits a wide variety of children due to it’s multiple crotch and hip strap positions and versatile infant insert.  There are no set weight limits on the different harness positions so you can adjust according to your individual child.

    GB Asana hip strap positionsCrotch buckle strap needs to be at the closest slot to the child without them sitting on it.  To adjust, pull the metal retainer up through the shell and reinsert in the correct slot.  The 3 positions measure 3.5″, 5″, and 6.5″ deep.  The hip strap positions are a little more intricate to adjust and the metal connector needs to be flush on the inside of the seat in every position.

    Smallest position – insert the metal clip into the inner position, then slide through the outer position so it sits flush on the inside of the seat.

    Middle position – insert the metal clip into the middle position, then slide through the outer position so it sits flush on the inside of the seat.

    Largest position – insert the metal clip into the outer position, then slide through the middle position so it sits flush on the inside of the seat.

    Asana 35 Preemie Fit

    Asana 35 Preemie Fit

     

     

    Jo – Huggable Images Preemie - 4 lbs, 17″

    Since Jo is under 6 lbs, the infant insert is required.  She fit with her shoulders right at the bottom harness position.  The insert did a great job of bumping her up enough for a good fit.  The one thing that I found a fit disconcerting was the adjustable head support pushed her head back into the seat when it pulled down behind her.  I held her head forward a bit when I tightened to eliminate this issue.  The harness is quite a bit below where the sides of the head support are as well.  I could foresee an infant’s head easily falling to the side without that support there.  This isn’t a safety issue, more of a comfort issue, but a rolled receiving blanket on either side of the infant should solve this problem.

     

     

    GB Asana Fiona

    GB Asana Newborn Fit

     

    Fiona – Huggable Images Newborn – 7 lbs, 17″

    I tried Fiona out both with and without the infant insert.  I actually preferred her fit in the seat without the insert because she didn’t seem quite so squished in the thigh area.  She fits right at the bottom harness position without the insert.  Her head did fit in between the head support a bit better with the insert, however.  I kept the harness in the smallest hip and crotch position with Fiona as well.

    GB Asana Older Infant Fit

    GB Asana Older Infant Fit

     

     

    Anders – 10 months, 25 lbs, 29″

    For Anders I removed the infant insert, moved the crotch strap to the farthest position and the hip straps  to the outer position.  He is right at the top harness/headrest position and seems a bit squished.  The narrowness is definitely nice for the smaller infants, but Anders is getting to the point where he’s about ready to be out of this seat.  He does still fit though and hasn’t complained about it at all.  I also have him in the more upright position in the car and he loves being about to sit up and look around better than some rear facing only seats.

     

     

     

     

    Important info: Where to find

    GB Asana DOM and expiration sticker

    GB Asana DOM and expiration sticker

     

     

    Date of manufacture and expiration date can be found on a sticker on the underside of the car seat and on the inside of the base.

    GB Asana FAA certification label

    GB Asana FAA certification labels

     

     

     

     

     

    FAA certification can be found on the side of the car seat as well as on page 12 of the instruction manual.  The manual does not discuss how to properly install it in an aircraft.  However, the airplane installation will be similar to a lap only belt installation in a  vehicle.

     

     

    Overall Thoughts

    Overall, the GB Asana 35 AP is an exciting new addition to the marketplace.  The 35 lb weight limit is a bit over inflated compared to it’s height and most children will likely outgrow it closer to 25-30 lbs.  The installation is a dream in my van, making me a bit sad that Anders will be outgrowing it soon.  The child fit is also great with no worries about when to move harness straps up or down.  As long as the harness passes the pinch test, it will be set at the correct height.  The narrowness of the seat is good for small back seat spaces, but can be a downfall for bigger infants.

    GB AsanaGB has given us the opportunity of sharing a GB Asana 35 AP with one of our lucky readers!  To enter, please follow the directions on the rafflecopter widget at the end of the review.  Contest is open to residents of the US only, ages 18 & up.

    ***Congrats to Cressie V. on winning the GB Asana 35 AP***

    Need one now and can’t wait until the giveaway is over?  The GB Asana 35 AP can be found at your local Toys R Us/Babies R Us or online at toysrus.com.
    While GB provided the seat free of charge to the author, GB did not pay for or influence this review.   All opinions expressed, as always, are entirely our own.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Graco Affix Review

    Graco_AffixBuckledGraco is a master at creating good boosters that are easy to use, well priced, long-lasting and provide an excellent belt fit.  We have previously reviewed the Graco TurboBooster here.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    CSFTL Quick Stats

    • High back booster weight range: 30-100 lbs.
    • High back booster height range: 38-57″
    • Backless booster weight range: 40-100 lbs.
    • Backless booster height range: 40-57”
    • Highest booster guide position : 20″
    • 10 year expiration
    • Lower Anchor connectors

    The Graco Affix comes in two varieties.  You can purchase it with the back and remove it once the back is outgrown, or you can purchase it as a backless booster.  Graco requires children to be 3 to use the highback booster, and 4 to use the backless version.  CSFTL recommends that you wait until a minimum of 5 to move a child to a booster.  Read more about when to make the switch from a 5 point harness to a booster here.

    The Affix is an easy to use seat that will fit children of a variety of sizes. The Affix is similar to the Graco Turbobooster in many ways, but also very different. The two main differences are that the Affix does not require you to add the screws into the armrests and the Affix comes with lower anchor connectors.Graco_AffixLowerAnchor  The benefit of having a booster with lower anchor connectors are it keeps the seat secured while the child is not in it.  This saves the kiddo, or you, from having to remember to buckle the booster in once they get out.  An unsecured booster becomes a heavy projectile in an accident if it’s not occupied.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The high back booster comes unassembled; the base, armrests, cupholder, and back are separate, and you are required to assemble it yourself.  The armrests are straightforward, and even labeled left and right.  The back snaps onto the bGraco_AffixAssemblyottom while laying down, and to lock it in, you adjust the back up. Unlike the Turbobooster, the Affix is not prone to “falling apart” when you lift it, making transferring from car to car easy.

    If you are purchasing the backless version, the cupholder is Graco_AffixCupholder copyhidden underneath the seat in a little compartment.  Unlike the TurboBooster, there are no screws to be added to the armrests.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Fit to Car

    The Affix fit nicely in both of our family vehicles. Tightening the lower anchors is done by pulling on the two straps at the front of the seat.  There is a single strap for each lower anchor connector strap.  The lower anchor connectors on this seat are standard, clip style connectors on flexible webbing straps.  Some boosters feature rigid lower anchor connectors, and as the name suggests, rigid lower anchor connectors are on a fixed bar rather than flexible webbing. In order to use the standard connectors, attach each connector to the vehicle’s lower anchor, then tighten.  As mentioned above, the lower anchor connectors are a convenience feature, they provide no additional protection to the child. Graco_AffixLatchadjustment Utilizing the lower anchor connectors on a booster prevents you or the child from having to remember to buckle the seat when not in use.Graco_Affix

    The Affix is not an overly wide seat.  At the widest point with, the Affix measures at 18 inches.  If you pull out the snack holder, it adds 2.5 inches to the width.  At the base at the back of the seat, the Affix measures a mere 16. inches.  The Affix does not require headrest support from the vehicle head restraint behind it.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Fit to Child.

    I now have two booster aged kiddos, so it’s nice to be able to see how each of them fits in the seat with their varied size and age.  The Graco_AffixBeltguidefirst thing I noticed about this seat is the easy to use belt guide.  Once the belt is threaded through, it curls up around to secure the belt in the guide, reducing the likelihood that the belt will come out of the guide.  The guide is also nice and wide, which makes running the belt through the guide easy. Having a wide belt guide also prevents the belt from getting hung up within the guide.

    The lowest belt guide position is 15 inches, and the highest position is 20 inches.  The internal width at the hip is 10 inches.  At the thigh area, the width is 15 inches, so it tapers out quite a bit to make it rather roomy.  The length from the front to the back of the seat is 15 inches.  This allows for a lot of leg support for the occupant, and reduces the probability that a child will slide forward in the seat.

     

     

     

     

    Graco_AffixBeltEmmaOur first tester is 7 years old, 50 inches tall, and 56lbs.  She’s a very picky booster rider.  It must be cushioned on the butt, easy to buckle, and lots of Graco_AffixEmmaBacklesssupport in her legs.  She has been the tester of many a variety of boosters, and says that the Affix is her favorite yet.  The lower anchor connectors keep the seat in place, and the wide open belt guide and roomy arm rests make it easy for her to buckle.  She says the padding is ample, and her legs feel “not funny.”  Not funny is 7 year old speak for supported, in case you were wondering. The belt fit provided by this seat is optimal.  The shoulder belt is flat across her shoulder, and the lap belt is low and snug on her hips, protecting her soft belly tissue.

     

     

     

     

    Graco_AffixOliviaOur next tester is 5 years old, 45 inches, and 46lbs.  She is a new booster rider and is unsure about the whole situation yet.  She doesn’t have set views of how she likes her booster seats. When I asked for her opinion of the seat, she said she liked the snack holders. The belt fit on her is optimal as well.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Other information

    The expiration of the Affix is 10 years from the date of manufacture.  The sticker with the model number and date of manufacture is on the bottom, right by the compartment that is used to be stored the cupholder. Graco_AffixEXpiration The expiration information is at the top of the bottom of the seat.  There is also a handy place to store the manual for the seat in the bottom.  As with all boosters, it is not allowed to be used on an airplane, or with any seating position that has a lap belt only.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    GracoAffixHBBFinal thoughts

    The Affix is a fantastic, easy to use booster.  It provides a fantastic belt fit on a variety of children.  At the time this was written ,it had been in use constantly for nearly two months.  This booster ticks off many of our boxes on the must have lists for my picky booster rider.  It has quickly become a favorite in our house. If the Affix is right for your big kid, you can find it at Amazon.com.

     

    As always, the thoughts and opinions in this review are that of the reviewer.  We were not compensated for this review.  Graco did not provide this seat for review.

    Britax Advocate ClickTight Review

    AdvocateCT_rearfacing

    Britax Advocate ClickTight rear facing

    In 2013, Britax shook things up with the introduction of ClickTight technology on the Frontier combination car seat. This technology has made installation simple, to say the least, and we hoped and waited for Britax to add ClickTight to their convertible car seat line. The wait is over — the ClickTight convertible seats: Britax Advocate ClickTight, Boulevard ClickTight and Marathon ClickTight seats are here to stay!

     

     

     

     

     

    Britax Advocate ClickTight forward facing

    Britax Advocate ClickTight forward facing

    CSFTL Quick Stats: Rear facing weight range:  5-40 lbs

    • Rear facing height range: child’s head 1″ from the top of the fully extended head restraint
    • Forward facing weight range: 20-65 lbs
    • Forward facing height range: up to 49″
    • Shell height: 29″
    • Lowest harness position: 7.5″ with newborn insert
    • Highest harness position: 19″
    • Expiration: 10 years
    • Lower anchor weight limit: 30 lbs rear facing, 35 lbs forward facing

    Features:

    • ClickTight Installation
    • Two position adjustable crotch strap
    • Seven recline settings for rear and forward facing
    • No re-thread harness
    • Allows use of the tether rear facing

     

     

     Installation

    AdvocateCT_clicktight

    Opening the ClickTight panel to install the Britax Advocate ClickTight

    Installing the Advocate ClickTight is unlike any convertible car seat you’ve ever installed. In fact, forget everything you know about car seat installation. As the name states, the biggest feature of the Advocate ClickTight is the ClickTight installation. Just open the ClickTight, thread the seat belt through the appropriate belt path, and close the ClickTight. There are a few other steps, but it’s basically as simple as that.

    Seat Belt

    AdvocateCT_beltpath

    Britax Advocate ClickTight Seat Belt Installation

    To open the ClickTight, push with one finger on the dimple of the ClickTight dial. The dial will flip-up and can be rotated 90 degrees, which will open the ClickTight. The belt paths, as well as everything else on the seat, are clearly marked with blue for rear facing and green for forward facing. Thread the seat belt through the appropriate belt path and buckle it; and this is the part where you need to forget everything you know about installing a car seat. Don’t pull the seat belt tight as you would with most car seats, because the ClickTight is going to do the tightening for you. Remove the excess slack, close the ClickTight, and in most cases you’ll have a secure installation with less than 1″ movement at the belt path. The ClickTight functions as a lockoff, so there is no need to engage the seat belt’s locking retractor if using a typical lap/shoulder belt with a sliding latchplate and switchable retractor.

     

    Advocate CT installed with a lap-only seat belt.

    Britax Advocate ClickTight installed with a lap-only seat belt.

    If you are installing in a vehicle with a lap-only belt or a lap/shoulder belt with sewn on latchplates, it is important to make sure the seat belt is locked according to the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.

    Not sure how your seat belts lock? Learn more in our article: Lock It Up.

    Lower Anchors

    Advocate ClickTight installed with lower anchors.

    Britax Advocate ClickTight installed with lower anchors.

    The Advocate ClickTight is equipped with lower anchors, which are stored in a compartment in the lower bottom portion of the seat. Because the seat belt installation is so simple, Britax has chosen to use j-hook style connectors rather than the premium push button connectors you may be used to with other Britax seats. To use the lower anchors, remove the strap from the storage compartment and thread through the appropriate belt path after opening the Click Tight. Attach the lower anchors to the lower anchor connectors in the vehicle, remove excess slack, and close the ClickTight. It is important to note that the Advocate ClickTight only allows for lower anchor installation in seating positions with standard 11″ lower anchor spacing, and that the child must weigh less than 30 lbs rear facing or 35 lbs forward facing to install using lower anchors.

     

     

     

     

    Tether

    Advocate CT using the tether while rear facing.

    Advocate CT using the tether while rear facing.

    The tether can be used both rear and forward facing, and you can find the tether neatly stored in a panel on the back of the seat. When rear facing, the tether can be attached using the enclosed tether connector strap attached to a fixed location that is bolted to the floor. It is important to note that this strap is different from previous generation “d-ring” tether connector straps, the ClickTight connector strap has a webbing loop on either end, as opposed to the metal ring users of previous generation Britax seats may be familiar with.   Also important to note is that some vehicles may prohibit the use of a tether connector strap in this method, so it is important to consult your vehicle owner’s manual prior to use of the tether while rear facing. A second option for rear facing is to attach the tether to the anchor typically used for forward facing, which means the tether strap will run around the child seat and may make it difficult for loading and unloading the child. If the tether anchor is too short to reach the anchor or the provided rear facing tether connector webbing, Britax can provided an extension.  It is important to note that the tether extenders for forward and rear facing are different, so you must specific which direction you intend to face the seat when you call to request the extender.  Britax recommends, but does not require, use of the tether while rear facing.   An anti-rebound bar is predicted to be available for purchase 1st quarter 2015, which can be used in place of rear facing tethering.

     

     

    Advocate CT forward facing tether.

    Advocate CT forward facing tether.

    Forward facing, the tether should be used at all times and must be attached to a tether anchor that is approved by the vehicle manufacturer. If your vehicle has tether anchors located on the ceiling or floor of your vehicle, you may find the Advocate ClickTight tether strap to be too short to reach your vehicle’s tether anchor. If that is the case, contact Britax and they can provide an extension so that you may utilize the tether anchor. My Honda CRV has ceiling mounted tether anchors, and the tether strap attached with room to spare.

     

     

     

     

     

    Recline

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    Britax Advocate ClickTight Recline Level Indicator

    The Advocate ClickTight features seven recline positions. To adjust the recline, squeeze the handle located at the bottom front portion of the seat. The Advocate ClickTight can be in any of the recline positions provided the indicator reflects the appropriate position for the age and direction of the child. The rear facing zone is clearly labeled in blue, keeping with the blue labels for all the rear facing components of the seat. The light blue zone is required for infants without sufficient head and neck control, while the darker blue can be used for older infants and toddlers that can safely sit more upright. The green zone represents the allowable recline settings for forward facing, any of which can be used if the indicator rests in the green and the Advocate ClickTight does not overhang the vehicle seat more than 3″. I was able to install the Advocate ClickTight forward facing in three of the more upright recline settings without exceeding the overhang requirements and while keeping the indicator in the green zone. This provided a nice recline, which may be particularly useful for children with special needs that require them to sit at a more reclined angle. I would love for there to be an additional indicator that shows which of the seven recline positions the seat is in, as I found it a little difficult to tell whether I had gone one click or several clicks when adjusting the recline. If necessary, a pool noodle or tightly rolled towel may be added to further adjust the recline of the Advocate ClickTight, but with 7 adjustable positions and a generous range of allowable angles, there are very few scenarios in which it would be necessary.

     

    Fit to Child

    Rear Facing

    Advocate ClickTight fully extended

    Advocate ClickTight fully extended

    The Advocate ClickTight is rated for children from 5-40 lbs, and does not state a standing height limit for rear facing. Unlike previous Britax convertible car seats that only allowed rear facing until 1″ from the top of the shell of the car seat, the Advocate ClickTight has a reinforced head restraint which allows for rear facing until the child’s head is 1″ from the top of the fully extended head restraint. Fully extended, the head restraint of the Advocate ClickTight measures 29″, making it competitive with the tallest rear facing convertible seats currently available. Most children will reach the 40 lb weight limit before ever reaching the maximum height capacity of the Advocate ClickTight rear facing.

    With the lowest harness position measuring 7.5″, and the fully extended head restraint measuring 29″, the Advocate ClickTight has the potential to fit a large range of children.

     

     

    AdvocateCT_preemie

    Britax Advocate ClickTight Preemie Fit

    Preemie:

    Huggable Images doll Jo is 4 lbs, 17″. She is below the 5 lb weight limit of the Advocate ClickTight, but I wanted to try her in the seat to get an idea of whether or not a 5-6 lb newborn would truly fit in the seat. I was able to get the straps nice and snug, and even had several clicks to go before the harness was at its tightest. Unfortunately, the harness straps were well above her shoulders so she would not be able to ride in this seat. Small or premature newborns that are longer in the torso may fit appropriately, but if you are expecting multiples or a premature birth, it would be a safe bet to have a rear facing only seat available to use from birth.

     

     

     

     

     

    AdvocateCT_newborn

    Britax Advocate ClickTight Newborn Fit

    Newborn:

    Huggable Images doll Fiona is 7 lbs, 17″ and she fit beautifully in the Advocate ClickTight. The straps were just a bit below her shoulders and easily passed the pinch test. The Advocate ClickTight’s seven recline positions came in handy here, I placed it in the most reclined position and it was well reclined enough for a newborn.

    The impact absorbing chest pads are a little bit bulky for Fiona, so I removed them along with the comfort pads and found it much easier to tighten the harness on her small body. She is using the infant insert, which can be used or removed at any time provided the child fits correctly in the seat with or without it.

     

     

     

     

    AdvocateCT_toddler

    Britax Advocate ClickTight Toddler Fit

    Toddler:

    Grace is 21 months, 23 lbs and 31″. She fits great in the Advocate CT, there is plenty of leg room and she will be able to ride rear facing for years to come.

     

     

     

     

     

    AdvocateCT_sleepingI find it very easy to get her in and out of the seat, and I love the multiple recline options that allow her to be comfortable enough to doze off in the car, yet upright enough to see out the window and fit easily behind the driver’s seat. I have moved the crotch buckle to the outer position for her, as I found the inner position to be uncomfortably digging into her thighs.

     

     

     

     

     

    AdvocateCT_RF4y

    Britax Advocate ClickTight Big Kid Fit

    AdvocateCT_RF4yo

    Britax Advocate ClickTight has plenty of legroom for rear facing big kids

    Big Kid:

    Lillian just turned 4 and is 30 lbs and 39″. She loved the Limelight pattern on our Advocate ClickTight, and had plenty of room to grow rear facing, both in height and weight. The main downside for her is the length of the crotch buckle, which is rather short and can make it uncomfortable for the child while getting buckled. The Advocate ClickTight doesn’t offer quite as much leg room as some other seats, but still offered plenty of space for her to easily climb in and out of the seat and ride quite comfortably.

     

     

    Forward Facing

    Forward facing, the Advocate ClickTight is rated from 20-65 lbs and up to 49″. We at CSFTL commend Britax for recommending several times in the manual that children ride rear facing until a minimum of two years old, ideally until they have reached the maximum rear facing weight or height capacity of the seat before riding forward facing.

    Installation of the Advocate ClickTight forward facing is nearly the same as it is rear facing. Open the ClickTight, thread the seat belt through the forward facing slots, close the ClickTight, and then attach the tether.

     

    AdvocateCT_6yearold

    Britax Advocate ClickTight Big Kid Fit

    Big Kid: 6 Years Old

    Sam is 6 years old, 43 lbs and 47″ and has lots of room to grow in the Advocate ClickTight. Initially, I had him sit in the seat and was concerned because the harness barely had enough slack to get around his body. I was able to buckle him in but there was no growing room to be had.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Britax Advocate CT has lots of growing room for this 6 year old model

    The Britax Advocate CT has lots of growing room for this 6-year-old model

    Upon further investigation into the manual, I found information that the harness can be lengthened several inches to accommodate older  children. Once I made that adjustment, there was plenty of room for him, and he has several inches of growing room before he will have outgrown the Advocate ClickTight.

     

     

     

     

     

    AdvocateCT_outgrownFF

    This 7 year old model has outgrown the Britax Boulevard ClickTight

    Big Kid: 7 Years Old

    Zeke is 7 years old, 53 lbs and 51″. As you can see, he has outgrown the Boulevard ClickTight he is sitting in, which features the same limits as the Advocate ClickTight.

    This label clearly marks the maximum seated height limit.

    This label clearly marks the maximum seated height limit.

    I wanted to try a child at the upper end of the limits for this seat, while he is within the 65 lb weight limit, he has exceeded the 49″ height limit and his shoulders are higher than the “maximum seated height” label in the shoulder area of the seat, though the harness straps are right at his shoulders. Zeke is also physically too large for the harness to be buckled. Even after extending the harness straps, they were not long enough to be fastened.

     

     

     

     

     

    AdvocateCT_harness

    Adjusting the harness length on the Britax Advocate ClickTight

    To adjust the harness strap length, open the ClickTight and you will find that the hip portion of the harness is wrapped around the anchor. To lengthen the harness, detach the strap, and slip the sewn on end over the anchor. You can find full instructions from Britax here.  When the ClickTight convertible seats initially became available, some parents found that this portion of the harness was not fully attached from the factory. It is important, with any seat, to check that all components are functioning correctly before use. You can read more about that issue and how to check in our article here. 

     

     

    Features

    AdvocateCT_clicknsafeClick & Safe Snug Harness Indicator
    The Click & Safe is designed to give an audible “click” when the harness is snug enough on the child’s body. It definitely clicks, but not always when the harness is tight enough. The clicking mechanism is located behind the child’s shoulders, so it’s very easy for it to think there is enough tension if the caregiver hasn’t made sure to remove all the slack from the hip & torso area prior to pulling the tightening strap. It’s a great helper, but it’s still important to make sure all slack is removed from all areas of the harness before travel, don’t just rely on the click.

     

    AdvocateCT_norethread
    No Rethread Harness
    To adjust the harness, simply squeeze the red handle and pull the head restraint up or down to the desired position. Position the harness straps at or below the child’s shoulders for rear facing; at or above for forward facing.

     

    AdvocateCT_comfort
    Comfort Pillow
    The comfort pillow goes underneath the child’s bottom and helps provide a secure fit for newborns and small infants. Britax directs the caregiver to remove the comfort pillow  after the child can sit comfortably in the child seat without additional support.
    AdvocateCT_hugs
    Impact Absorbing Chest Pads
    The impact absorbing chest pads are highly recommended for forward facing, but can be removed when rear facing to ensure a snug fit on infants and smaller children. To remove the impact absorbing chest pads, the harness must be detached from the splitter plate on the back of the seat. Most of the back of the seat is enclosed, and I found it rather difficult to thread and rethread the harness.
    AdvocateCT_cbuckle
    Adjustable EZ Buckle
    The EZ Buckle pad keeps the buckle in the forward position when unbuckled, making it easy to load the child without having to dig the buckle out from underneath them. The buckle has two positions, measuring 5″ and 7″ deep , with the strap measuring 3″ in length. Whichever slot is closest to, but not under the child, may be used for rear facing. Forward facing, Britax requires use of the outer slot. To switch between positions, open the ClickTight, rotate the buckle strap and slide it into the next position.
    Advocate_SafeCell
    SafeCell Complete Side Impact Protection MAX
    If you’re familiar with previous generation Britax car seats, you are probably familiar with this feature under the name SICT, or Side Impact Cushion Technology. Britax has changed the name, and also slightly changed the design of the external cushions, designed to divert energy away from the child in a crash. They are sleeker and less obtrusive than previous models, while still providing the same crash protection to the child.
    AdvocateCT_manualstorage
    Storage Spots
    We love it when a manufacturer thinks about the little things – like where can you stow the instruction manual for easy reference whenever a question comes up? The Advocate ClickTight has a handy little storage pocket underneath the cover for convenient storage and quick access to any question that comes your way. We also love the tidy storage spots for the lower anchors and tether, shown earlier in our review.
    Cover Removal and Cleaning
    The cover has four separate pieces. The manual directs that it should be hand washed and line dried, not machine washed or dried. Removal of the cover is a little bit time-consuming but not overly difficult. You do not have to disconnect the harness in order to remove it. One note that we found, after handwashing the cover, it retained quite a bit of water and had to air dry for a couple of days before it was ready to be used again.

     

    AdvocateCT_domlabel
    Looking for a label?
    You won’t find the label containing the date of manufacture and serial number in its usual spot by the left shoulder, if you’re familiar with Britax restraints. The Advocate ClickTight has hidden this important label underneath the cover near where the child’s knees would be bent if in the seat, a bit of a throwback for those of us who have been car seating for a little while now and shall remain nameless. The great thing about this label though? Add ten years to the date, and that is the Advocate ClickTight expiration. With generous limits AND expiration, this is a seat that can get almost every kid well through birth to the age when they’re ready to move to a belt positioning booster seat.

    FAA Apprvoval
    The FAA Approval information is written in red letters in the label at the base of the seat. It’s right below the recline indicator.
    Note: if you’re flying with the Britax Advocate ClickTight, Boulevard ClickTight, or the Marathon ClickTight and using the Gogo Kidz Travelmate, you’ll need to order a longer strap for the Travelmate.

     

    ClickTight Family

    The model used in this review is the Advocate ClickTight, with a brief cameo from the Boulevard ClickTight. You can find the ClickTight technology on the Marathon, Boulevard, and Advocate ClickTight models. The Boulevard and Advocate ClickTight share the same specifications, the Boulevard is simply less the external side impact protection cushions. The Marathon ClickTight features the ClickTight technology, but has a somewhat lower height capacity: 16.95″ seated height versus 18.65″ seated height of the Boulevard ClickTight and Advocate ClickTight and lacks the reinforced True Side Impact Protection head restraint that the Boulevard and Advocate ClickTight feature.

     

    Overall Thoughts

    AdvocateClickTight_stockThe Britax Advocate ClickTight is simple to install, long-lasting, and easy to use. The few minor drawbacks we found were the high price, heavy weight, and tendency for the parent to try to over tighten the seat belt unnecessarily with the ClickTight. The ClickTight family will be a great addition to many back seats, and we hope it keeps kids rear facing longer, and helps more caregivers install their seats correctly with ease. You can find the  Advocate ClickTight on Amazon.com,

    Want to win an Advocate ClickTight for your Little? Britax has generously offered to provide one Advocate ClickTight for CSFTL readers, enter using the Rafflecopter widget below! Contest is open to residents of the US only, ages 18 & up. a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Eddie Bauer Deluxe Highback 65 Review

    Eddie Bauer is a child restraint brand manufactured by Dorel Juvenile Products, which also produces the Cosco, Safety 1st, and Maxi-Cosi brands in North America.

    The Deluxe Highback 65 is a combination seat, meant for forward facing children using a 5pt harness and also to transition into a high backed booster for older children. With a 65lb 49″ forward facing harness limit, and a 100lb 52″ booster limit, this seat promises to last a child for a long time, hopefully until that child is ready for a no back booster. This seat also made it onto the IIHS Booster Rating list as a “Good Bet,” so we were eager to review it. I received a Deluxe Highback 65 in Hunnicut fashion from Dorel for this review.

    collage01

    CSFTL Quick Stats

    • Forward facing weight range: 22-65lbs (and over one year of age)
    • Forward facing height range: 34″- 49″
    • High back booster weight range: 40-100 lbs (and 4 years or older)
    • High back booster height range: 43-52″
    • Crotch buckle positions: 3.5″, 5″, 6.5″
    • Lowest harness position: 10″
    • Highest harness position: 17″
    • Highest booster guide position: 21″
    • Expiration: December 31st of the 10th year
    • Lower anchor weight limit: 40lb

     

    Features

    • 3 position adjustable crotch strap:
    • Adjustable headrest
    • Adjustable belt guide
    • Padded, movable, armrests
    • Cup holder
    • FAA approved in 5pt harness mode
    • Cushioned harness pads

     

    Forward Facing

    10385377_10152512224361452_1008759964883339727_nThe Deluxe Highback 65 comes out of the box with the harness in the bottom harness setting, and with the kickstand folded in, both of which need to be changed. It is imperative that one reads the manual when preparing to use and install any child restraint, but there are a few details in the manual that will be very important to note when using this seat.  The bottom harness setting is 10″ which is far too low for any forward facing child, so you’ll need to move it up. The kickstand must be out for use in both harness and booster modes. The harness is continuous, which means that there is one harness strap that is threaded under the seat and attached in the back to the splitter plate.

     

     

     

    1976928_10152512223841452_5476782659607730991_n

    Headrest Adjustment

    While the headrest adjusts with simple manipulation of a metal bar on the back of the seat, the harness must still be re-threaded when changing from one harness position to another. Adjusting the harness is a little different from other seats, because of the unique routing required by the manual; the harness must be threaded over the bar, but under the plastic on the headrest adjuster mechanism. This can present a bit of a funny looking routing, and could present an opportunity for misuse. I found that the headrest adjuster mechanism was sometimes not very easy to use. It seemed to “stick” a little.

     

     

     

    The cup holder snaps onto the side of the seat. There are no specific instructions for placement of the crotch buckle, other than it should provide a good fit for the child. Since the first setting is very close to the back of the seat, I had to move this as well.  Your mileage may vary on this note, but I found that it was necessary for all three of my children who were put into this restraint. Installing the cup holder was very easy. There are instructions in the manual, and a spot for it on either side of the seat. I found that it sat at an angle, which may put it out of reach for Littles using the harness, and it also may present a problem for heavier bottles or cups. We don’t usually have water bottles in the car, so again your mileage may vary  and you may find that it is a good fit for your needs.

     

     

    The "J-hook" tether and lower anchor connectors have designated storage spots on the shell.

    The standard “j-hook” lower anchor connectors  come attached to the seat, but not threaded in the belt path, so you’ll need to thread it through. The lower anchor limit for this seat is 40lb child weight only, so after that point, or if you choose to install the restraint with the vehicle belt, you’ll attach the connectors to specific spots on the shell so they don’t become a projectile hazard. In the manual, there are instructions for this and also for storing the tether anchor, however we would always recommend using the tether anchor for any forward facing child. I installed the Deluxe Highback 65 in our Honda Odyssey and Pontiac Grand Am without much difficulty.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Fit to child

    The Eddie Bauer Deluxe Highback 65 is a forward facing only seat with a one year, 22-65lb, and 34-49″ limit  for use. The manual of this seat states that the harness must be at or above the shoulders, and as I’ve mentioned, the bottom harness slots are too low for children of forward facing age. A child with a 10″ torso is going to be an infant, likely not even a year old. For curiosity, I placed my four-month old infant in the seat after I had installed it in my Honda Odyssey. Obviously she cannot legally or safely ride forward facing, and she won’t be forward facing for several years to come, but  she would have outgrown the bottom harness slots already. The other harness slots are 13″, 15″, and 17″ and my models are three, nearly five, and seven, so let’s see how they fare in this seat. I feel that it is important to note that the particular seat I received had an issue with the cover not lining up with the harness slots. At the most, there was around a .5″ space between where the cover’s holes for the harness and the shell’s holes for the harness.

    slots

    Five Point Harness Mode

     

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    This model is three years old, 37 inches tall, and weighs 27.5 pounds;  she’s happy to sit in the Eddie Bauer Deluxe Highback 65.

     Fit to Child: 3 Years Old

    Our first model is three years old, 37 inches tall, and weighs 27.5 pounds; she’s wearing a size 3T pretty regularly but she’s on the smaller end of the range for her age. She was using the third harness setting, as her shoulders are above the bottom two settings. Even still, there would be years of growth available in this seat for her.

    This model felt that the headrest pushed her head forward  but she rides rear facing regularly  and is used to a more reclined angle. CSFTL recommends rear facing until around age 3-4, so she is within the recommendation to forward face.  The harness covers were a good size for her, and she appreciated that they were nicely padded. She loved the armrests and felt that the seat was very comfortable. Since she’s three and also has room to grow in her rear facing seat, that’s where she’s going to stay for now.

     

    Fit to Child: Almost 5 Years Old

    E1harnessEibhlin is almost five, 39″, and 34.5lb. She’s wearing a size 4t, and is just about in the 50th percentile for a four-year old; she’s really small for her age and not really representative of an average five-year old. Nevertheless, the third harness setting is just barely above her shoulders, and she’d quickly outgrow it; needing to use the fourth harness setting. In the fourth harness setting, she has room for growth.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    harness

     

    Since this model is under the 40lb lower anchor limit, we could install the Deluxe Highback 65 with either the lower anchor connectors or the vehicle belt. Neither installation method is safer when used properly, though there are weight limits to the LATCH system that we must be aware of.  Dorel provides clear guidance in the manual and on the seat itself about the 40 pound LATCH limit for this seat.

    This model felt that the harness uncomfortably close to her neck on the 4th harness setting, which is probably due to the fact that the setting is so far above her shoulders. She felt that the third harness setting was more comfortable, but it seemed to be very close to being below her shoulders and it has to be at or above for forward facing.

     Fit to Child: 7 Years Old

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    This model is 7 years old. 49″, and 48.5lb. He has outgrown this seat.

     

    This model is newly seven years old around 49″, and about 48.5lb. He’s wearing a size 7-8 shirt and is a little taller for his age, but not overly so. At 49″, he is at the maximum limit for the harness mode on the Deluxe Highback 65 and it shows. The top harness slot is well below his shoulders, and would have been outgrown some time ago. He felt that the seat was “cushy” but didn’t like how the headrest fit, which was probably because he had well outgrown the harness already. This model is now using a highback booster full-time, but still fits by height into many other combination seats, and several convertible seats as well.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Highback Booster Mode

    The Eddie Bauer Highback Deluxe 65 has respectable limits for booster mode; at least age four, 40-100lb, and 43-52″. CSFTL recommends keeping children in harnesses past age four, usually closer to age 5.5-6. In booster mode, you’ll store the lower anchor connectors and the tether anchor to the designated spots on the shell since neither can be used when the seat is being used as a booster. The kickstand still has to remain out in booster mode. There are instructions for removing the harness, which is required for booster mode. Removing the harness and replacing it again is not difficult, so I do not consider that to be a big issue at all. There are six height settings for the belt guide: 16″, 17″, 18″, 19″, 20″, and 21″. While 16″ is low, 21″ is pretty good. PicMonkey Collage6

     

    I found that the belt guide adjuster seemed a little difficult to move, but it was not as difficult as the headrest adjustment mechanism. I did not have problems putting the Deluxe Highback 65 in either our Grand Am or Odyssey  in booster mode. However, in both of our vehicles, the vehicle belt bunched at the lap belt guide and wrapped around to the buckle in a way that created some very weird belt geometry.  In our Odyssey, the vehicle belt kept rolling in the shoulder belt guide, causing a twist.

     

     Fit to Child: Booster Mode, 4 Years Old

    E belt fitOur 4 year old model does NOT meet the height, weight, or maturity requirements to use this seat as a booster.

    Yes, she’s four. NO, she is not 43″ or 40lb as the seat requires. An average five-year old would meet the limits to use this seat as a booster, though.

    I did put her into the Deluxe Highback in booster mode because I was curious about the belt fit. As I expected, she did not get a good belt fit. The lap portion of the belt was acceptable, right across her thighs, but no matter what belt guide position I used, the shoulder belt was not actually touching (or near to touching) her shoulder. There was a large gap there, which is not a good thing. As you can see, it was a pretty significant gap.  Since she does not meet the limits to use the booster, I thought that perhaps the belt fit would be significantly better with my older child.   Additionally, this model could not buckle herself into the booster, but she is not using a booster yet, and she has not had much practice buckling her self up using the vehicle belt.

     

     Fit to Child: 7 Years Old, Booster Mode

    PicMonkey Collage3Our 7 year old model also did not get a good belt fit, unfortunately. He is well within the limits to use the booster properly, is mature enough to use a booster seat, and physically fits into the seat, although the headrest could not move up any further and, I believe, would have become uncomfortable in that position for him eventually.  Because of the width and shape of the bottom of the Deluxe Highback 65 and the way the belt had to wrap around it to reach the buckle, it was difficult for him to buckle himself and even more so to unbuckle. As a pretty independent seven-year old, this was a problem for him.

     

     

    oneboosterThe lap portion of the belt was also  acceptable for our 7 year old model but, once again, the shoulder portion was not touching his shoulder. I tried each of the settings, and only one was close, but there was still no contact there. On page 47 of the manual, it states “The shoulder belt should lay snugly across the center of the child’s shoulder and across the chest (not the face or neck).” This could not happen, so he could not properly use this seat.

     

     

     

     

     

    Features

    Adjustable Headrest And Adjustable Belt Guides

    PicMonkey CollageThe headrest moves up and down, accommodating a growing child. It provides support and comfort, which my children definitely liked. The adjuster mechanism for the headrest is on the back of the seat and adjusts independently from the harness itself, though the harness does route over the bar of the adjuster mechanism. It wasn’t particularly easy to use while I had the seat, but it could get easier to use over time.

    Our 7 year old model is especially picky about headrests and head support because of sensory issues, and he felt it was very nice because it was not too overwhelming and still padded just enough for him. The belt guide is also adjustable, and has six positions.

     

     

     

    Resilient, Removable Cover

    10452300_10152512222126452_2649704548436253743_n

    Padded and soft, but durable.

    In a few steps, the cover can be removed for hand-washing. This is one of those things that we all need to do sometime, because kids can be messy little monsters. Being able to remove the cover and I really liked that there were fewer crevices for “stuff” to get into. Even the cup holder was minimalistic and could easily be cleaned. My own little minions got dirt, sand, and crumbs on the  Deluxe Highback 65  in the two days we took photos for this review. Everything brushed right off. Even the baby spit up from our tiniest little wiped right off. One isn’t likely to have spit-up on this seat, since it isn’t for newborns, but weird things can happen if your baby has really good aim like my baby does. I could see the cover standing up to LOTS of abuse. There was just the right amount of cushion under the bum for my three, whose car seat cushion preferences run the gambit. It seemed like a Goldilocks zone of cushion.

    Padded, Movable Armrests

    armrestsFit for a king or queen, the armrests are soft and give a high-end feel to the Deluxe Highback 65. We could all agree that everyone loved them, and finding something that three children ALL enjoy is very difficult, so having two universally liked features on the same seat was a big plus. We liked that they could move so that getting in or out wouldn’t be hindered. For Saoirse, the big bonus of movable armrests was that they were fun to play with. If the three-year old is occupied and happy, Mama is happy.

     

     

     

    Overall Thoughts

    The Eddie Bauer Deluxe Highback 65 combination seat seemed very appealing on paper. When we got down to the meat of it there were just too many drawbacks. For a smaller child, this seat would be fine for  forward facing harness use. I have two smaller children, and they would have years of room for growth. The seat is 19″ wide on the outside and has a depth of 16″; it is not a compact seat. The inside is pretty roomy and has a 12″ seat pan on the inside which tapers to around 11″ up at the shoulders. There’s plenty of room for Littles and not so Littles inside the seat. We found that the harness was really not especially roomy, though. When our 7 year old model was fully buckled, there was a very small amount of harness slack left even though he’s 17lb less than the harness maximum weight limit. I don’t think that there would be much room for a heftier child.

    In booster mode, we saw issues with the shoulder belt fit. While all seats are safe when used properly, I can see that there will be fit issues with this seat. It is very important to read the manual of any seat you have so you can be aware of the requirements for use. Since we did not get the proper belt fit as specified by the manual, there was no way for us to use the booster function of this seat. Many parents purchase a combination seat hoping for years of use. The 10 year expiration range is very generous, but average children will probably not get many years of use in this seat. At $119, the seat is in a budget friendly price range.

    Dorel provided a restraint for this review. As always, this review reflects my own opinions and does not represent that of Eddie Bauer or its parent company Dorel. This review and the content within do not take the place of a seat check with a CPST. Please have your installation checked by a CPST and, when in doubt, contact the manufacturer of your restraint with any questions you may have.

    RECARO Performance Coupe Review

    PerformanceCoupeFans of RECARO child seats have long-awaited a rear facing only car seat to join their Performance line up of convertible, combination, and booster seats. Wait no longer, because the Performance Coupe is here.

    CSFTL Quick Stats:

    Weight range: 4-35 lbs

    Height range: up to 32″

    Shell height: 21″

    Lowest harness position: 6.5″

    Expiration: 6 years

    Handle position: Rebound position required in vehicle

     

    Features:

    2 Position adjustable crotch strap: 3″, 5.5″

    Adjustable recline foot with Quick Flip

    Euro belt routing

    No re-thread harness with five harness positions

    Push button lower anchor connectors

    Safety Stripe System

     

    Installation

    With the Base

    PerformanceCoupe_baseThe Performance Coupe base allows for installation using either lower anchors or seat belt. The lower anchor connectors are premium, push-button style with a single tail to pull the strap tight. There is a tidy little storage slot for the connectors when they are not in use. Unlike many premium rear facing only seats, the Performance Coupe does not have a seat belt lockoff. This is a disadvantage for many families who may want to install their newborn’s seat in the middle of their vehicle, where many vehicles do not have lower anchors.

    PerformanceCoupe_overhang

    The Performance Coupe base is not a small one – measuring at 20.5″ long. This may cause the seat to be incompatible in vehicles with shallow vehicle seats if too much of the base hangs over the edge. The manual doesn’t specifically address overhang, but upon my inquiry, RECARO has stated to follow the industry standard of no more than 20% of the car seat base overhanging the vehicle seat.

     

     

     

     

    PerformanceCoupe_reclineThe recline indicator is a bubble that must fall in between two black lines for a successful installation. The Performance Coupe has a vast array of recline adjustments, making it a snap to achieve the correct recline in just about any vehicle. There is a knob on top of the base, referred to as the “micro adjuster knob” which extends and retracts the foot with a twist of the knob. If that isn’t enough, the quick flip foot extends the recline foot even further.

     

     

     

     

    Without the Base

    Performance Coupe baseless with standard routing

    Performance Coupe baseless with standard routing

    PerformanceCoupe_eurorouted

    Performance Coupe baseless Euro routing

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Performance Coupe can be installed without the base, and offers two methods for installation: standard belt routing and European belt routing. The manual recommends using the European belt routing if possible, however I found two things difficult. First, the carrier is large and my seat belt was only just barely long enough to successfully route the shoulder belt around the carrier, a problem I have not experienced with other Euro-routed seats installed in this vehicle. Second, the shoulder belt has to be routed underneath the release handle to unlock the carrier from the base. In order to do this, one must route the seat belt around the head of the car seat, lift up that release handle in order to slide the shoulder belt underneath it, all while using every inch of seat belt available and trying to keep the seat at the correct angle. It was cumbersome to say the least, and I could’ve used another set of hands.

     

    Using the Carrier

    PerformanceCoupe_installedThe Performance Coupe has four handle positions and requires that the forward rebound position be used at all times during travel. The carrier snaps easily into the  base, and removes by pulling a handle at the head of the seat.

    The no re-thread harness has five positions which adjust using a squeeze-handle on the back of the seat. The crotch buckle  has two positions that can be adjusted by threading the retainer through the slot on the bottom of the carrier. The manual does not state a specification on when to change the buckle position.

    The carrier does sit a little ways back in the base, which is great for leg room for an older infant, but contributes to the large amount of front to back space that is required to use this seat correctly.

     

    Fit to Child

    The Performance Coupe states it can  be used from 4-35 lbs, up to 32″ as long as the straps are at or below the child’s shoulders and the child has at least 1″ of shell above their head. There are two newborn inserts: a body insert and a head insert. The manual says they can be used from 4-12 lbs and can be removed earlier if desired, as long as the child fits correctly.

    PerformanceCoupe_preemie

    4 lbs, 17″ Preemie

    Preemie

    With a substantial newborn body insert and bottom harness slots measuring a respectable 6.5″ with that insert, I had high hopes for the Huggable Images Preemie doll to fit in the Performance Coupe. The 17″, 4 lb doll, sadly, did not fit properly. The straps were right at her shoulders, but the harness left far too much slack around her small body.

    PerformanceCoupe_newborn

    7 lbs, 17″ Newborn

    Newborn

    The Huggable Images Newborn doll fit perfectly in the Performance Coupe. He measures 17″, 7 lbs and had a nice, snug fit using both newborn inserts, the lowest harness position and inner buckle slot with the straps snug enough to pass the pinch test.

    Toddler

    PerformanceCoupe_toddlerGrace is near the upper limits of the Performance Coupe. She is 21 months old, weighs 22 lbs and is 31″ tall. she is well under the weight limit, but just slightly under the 32″ height limit. She fit with just over 1″ from her head to the top of the shell, but her shoulders were very cramped in the seat. Grace is small for her age, but I appreciated that the Performance Coupe offers a long life span for those who prefer the convenience of an infant seat for as long as possible.

     

     Features

    PerformanceCoupe_nakedThe Performance Coupe carries over the Safety Stripe and Hero harness system from the rest of its Performance line. The Safety Stripe system features stitching on the side of the harness straps to make it easily visible for the caregiver if the straps have become twisted. The Hero harness pads are somewhat fixed into the back of the seat and also help keep the straps free of twists while providing comfort around the child’s neck. One downfall I noticed with the Hero straps is that with an older child, they sit so far back in the seat that they don’t really protect the child’s neck from the edges of the straps, which may not  be comfortable. It was also a little difficult to make sure the Hero pad stayed in the proper position when moving between harness positions.

    The main cover can be easily removed without un-threading any of the harness, but must be hand washed if soiled. The harness must be un-threaded to remove the Hero harness cover portion. Under the cover, the Performance Coupe is fully lined with EPS foam. around the head and torso area and features memory foam in the seating area. It comes in several bright colors and neutral options as well.

     

     

    Overall Thoughts

    Performance CoupeThe Performance Coupe has a suggested retail price of $269.99, placing it in line with other premium rear facing only car seats. It packs a lot of features, but a few disappointments as well with its lack of a seat belt lockoff and not providing a secure fit for a premature child. The large footprint of the seat also may not fit in many small vehicles correctly. The wide variety of recline adjustments and clear labeling on the base made for an easy installation, and the generous weight and height capacity make it a long-lasting option. If the Performance Coupe might be right for your Little, you can find it on Amazon.com.

    No compensation was provided for this review, opinions, as always, are all our own!

    Cosco Scenera NEXT Review

    The Cosco Scenera has long been a staple of the child passenger safety toolkit, especially for caregivers who travel or are on a budget, or coalitions who need to make their seat dollars count.  With an under 40 dollar price point, the Scenera has long stood as an example of how seats are available to keep kids safe in any budget.

    The Scenera has had a few rebrandings over the years.  The Scenera 40RF was short-lived but dearly loved by advocates until it was replaced by the Cosco Apt 40. Cosco’s sister brand, Safety 1st, markets the Onside Air, which sits on a Scenera shell with a fancier cover and side impact ‘air bags’, but the seat available at box stores today is pretty much the same seat it was 9 years ago.

    At Kidz in Motion Conference, Cosco surprised at us all with the announcement that the Scenera was getting quite the makeover.   I was lucky enough to get one of my own preceding the official commercial release, and without further ado, here is the new Cosco Scenera NEXT, which will be available for around $46 retail price.

    SceneraNext1CSFTL Quick Stats

    • Rear-facing weight range:  5-40 lbs
    • Rear-facing height range: 19-40″
    • Forward facing weight range: 22-40 lbs
    • Forward facing height range: 29-43″
    • Shell depth: 23″
    • Lowest harness position: 5″
    • Highest harness position: 13″
    • Expiration: 8 years from date of manufacture
    • Lower Anchor limits: 40 lbs

     

     

     

    Features

    • 3 buckle strap positions: 2″, 3″, 4.5″
    • No moving parts to adjust between rear and forward facing
    • Smoother shell with more rounded edges
    • Compact, lightweight, simple to install

    INSTALLATION

    Rear-facing Cosco Scenera Next

    Rear-facing Cosco Scenera NEXT

    Rear Facing:

    Weight Restriction: 5-40 lbs
    Height Restriction: 19-40″
    Fit Restriction:  Harness positioned at or below the child’s shoulders, and head below the top of the 23″ shell
    Age Restriction: Birth

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Scenera Next buckle position 1

    Scenera NEXT buckle position 1

     

    The buckle may be in either the 1st or 2nd position for rear facing use.  The harness may be threaded through any of the provided slots as long as it is placed at or below the child’s shoulders.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Quite frankly, the Scenera NEXT doesn’t need a forward facing belt path.  The inclusion of forward facing capability is simply a nod to market research (without the forward facing ‘capacity’, the seat won’t sell).   However, Cosco intended from the start to build a new seat that would work for even tiny newborns, and keep them rear facing as long as possible, to at least 3 for most kids, and possibly to 4 for those kids who carry more height in their legs than their waists.

    The lower top harness position and the bare minimum of 2 years for forward facing use again emphasize this seat’s suitability for extended rear facing use.  In comparison, the original Scenera’s height limit of 36″ for rear facing, got 50th percentile kids to around 2.5 rear facing.  This limit wasn’t shoddy in 2005 but certainly doesn’t rate in 2015.

    Unlike the original Scenera, the Scenera NEXT does not have a moveable ‘foot’ that must be swung back or forth depending on the direction the seat is installed. Over the years, experienced technicians  have learned the ‘tricks’ necessary for placing a Scenera at the required angle.  It often involves a pyramid of pool noodles and a bit of maneuvering.

    It is unlikely you will need such ‘extras’ with the Scenera NEXT– with the possible exception of extremely sloped vehicle seats.  Read our tips for installing a seat without using noodles, even in a sloped vehicle seat.  Place the seat in the vehicle, apply force where necessary as you tighten, and you will have the correct angle without further intervention.

     

    10860956_10152441898906447_7594420464240145218_o

     

     

    Remember that whether installing with lower anchors or with the seatbelt, the connector strap or vehicle belt must be routed in front of and not behind the buckle strap.

     

     

     

     

    10687420_10152441908821447_5843472664626248963_oThe seat has a molded recline line on the side of the seat.  For newborns, the line must be level with the ground.  For babies who can sit unassisted, the seat may be  more upright per the manual.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A shallower seatpan, as well as the deletion of the prominent protrusion at the front of the original Scenera means that the new Scenera NEXT takes up a less room in the rear facing position.  This means the Scenera NEXT will work well even in smaller cars, and will be a great choice in airplanes.  In the image below, the Scenera NEXT has a gap of about 4″ between it and the back of the driver’s seat (in the furthest back position).  The original Scenera is actually touching the similarly positioned passenger seat, which is not permitted by the vehicle manufacturer.  They are both positioned at the required angle.

    10847234_10152441899046447_120736338326832500_o

    Scenera NEXT:  2 years 7 months,  2y 7m, 34.75", 25 lbs

    Cosco Scenera NEXT: Model is 2 years 7 months, 34.75″, 25 lbs

    This image shows a 2 year 7 month child, who currently weighs 25 lbs and is 34.75″ tall.     As you can see she has at least 2″ above her head, and her growth percentiles put her on track for not surpassing 40″ before her 4th birthday.  She could use the Scenera NEXT rear facing to four years.    She runs in the 20th-30th percentile for height, compared to same-age peers.

     

    Scenera NEXT: side-by-side installation

    Scenera NEXT: side-by-side installation

    The broadest point of the Scenera NEXT flares at just shy of 17.5″ . Due to its low profile, you can see it puzzles nicely next to the original Scenera here, in a tight space but with independently tight installations (both seatbelt.)

     

    Newborn Routing for the Harness:

    Scenera NEXT with newborn Huggable Images doll

    Cosco faced a unique challenge in the Scenera’s lowest harness position redesign.  The original Scenera had a 7″ bottom harness position, which was adequate for most newborns, but didn’t work particularly well for smaller or premature babies.  Placing an additional slot at the 5″ mark solved the harness fit position, but created a new problem to solve: the amount of harness needed to work for the whole seat couldn’t be drawn tight enough for a little 5 lb baby.  The splitter plate on the back would get hung up on the back of the shell before all the slack was drawn out of the harness.

    The solution requires a bit of clever routing for the smallest newborns.

    Like the original Scenera, the Scenera NEXT employs a ‘continuous harness’.   If your newborn requires the lowest slots (the baby’s shoulders do not reach at least the second harness position from the bottom), you must weave your harness through two additional slots provided in the seat, under the pad where the baby’s bottom will rest.   The harness strap will end up effectively UNDER the adjuster strap when looking at the seat from the bottom.

    If the baby’s shoulders reach at least the second harness position, the harness maintains the standard position, hovering OVER the adjuster strap when looking at the seat from the bottom.

    Scenera NEXT: Standard routing on the left; Newborn routing on the right

    Scenera NEXT: Standard routing on the left; Newborn routing on the right

    The Scenera NEXT comes out of the box in the standard position and not the small newborn position.  If you are expecting an early delivery, have a history of tiny newborns, or are carrying multiples, it behooves you to adjust the harness prior to delivery.

    FORWARD FACING INSTALLATION:

    Cosco Scenera Next: forward facing installation

    Cosco Scenera Next: forward facing installation

    • Weight restriction: 22-40 lbs
    • Height Restriction: 29-43″
    • Fit Restriction:  Harness placed at or above the child’s shoulders and ears contained within shell of seat
    • Age Restriction: TWO YEARS +

    If I had one wish for this seat, it would be that a ‘forward facing installation’ section of the review were not necessary.   However, the two-year minimum for forward facing is a sufficiently soothing salve that I won’t hold it against Cosco or their marketing department.  In fact, the low top harness position (13″ from the seat pan) means that many children will have outgrown the forward facing capacity of torso height before they’ve even reach the age minimum permitted.   And because the seat can be used a lot longer rear facing than forward facing, the parent has the choice of either buying a new seat at that point, or just continuing to use a perfectly serviceable and safe seat for another year or more, rear facing.    I know what most budget conscious parents will choose!

     

    Cosco Scenera Next: She will outgrow the forward facing mode within the next few months, but has several years left rear facing

    Cosco Scenera NEXT: She will outgrow the forward facing mode within the next few months, but has several years left rear facing

     

     

    Cosco Scenera Next: 3rd buckle position

    Cosco Scenera Next: 3rd buckle position

    Any of the buckle slot positions may be used for forward facing.  There are no other fit restrictions — they can be used or not used based on comfort and convenience.

    Realistically, the most outward position will be the most reasonable for a forward facing child.   Due to the 40 lb harnessed max of this seat and the weight of only 7.59 pounds, lower anchor weight restrictions do not come into play.  If your seating position is equipped with lower anchors, you may use them for the life of the seat.

     

     

     

     

     

    Cosco Scenera Next: tether anchor connector

    Cosco Scenera Next: tether anchor connector

    Remember that for a forward facing seat, the tether anchor connector should always be attached to a dedicated tether anchor position.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Cosco Scenera NEXT left and Cosco Scenera, rightThe seats fit well next to each other forward facing.   You can also see here the difference in forward facing torso height capacity between the original and the new seats.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Cosco Scenera NEXT has room to grow for this 2.5 year old model

    The Cosco Scenera NEXT has room to grow for this 2.5 year old model

     

    The same toddler is featured here.  You see at about 2.5 years she has maxed the torso capacity of the seat forward facing, but could easily fit rear facing in it for another year and a half or more.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    LATCH STORAGE:

    Cosco Scenera NEXT: LATCH storage

    Cosco Scenera NEXT: LATCH storage

     

     

    When installing with a seatbelt, attach the lower anchor connectors to the provided rungs toward the foot of the seat, under the flare.

    When installing rear facing, attach the tether connector to the provided spot on the center of the back of the seat.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    CUPHOLDER:

    Cosco Scenera NEXT cup holder

    Cosco Scenera NEXT cup holder

    The detachable cupholder may be attached to either side of the seat, or removed entirely (recommended when attempting to install seats next to each other).

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    LOCKING THE BELT:

    All vehicles manufacturers have required some sort of locking mechanism in passenger seatbelts since after 1996.   Lower anchors for installation have been required in vehicles since September of 2002.  In the event that your vehicle predates model year 1997, you may need an external mechanism to secure the 3-point vehicle belt into a locking mechanism, called a locking clip.  Cosco will no longer be providing locking clips as a standard piece of equipment with the seat.  However, you can find a locking clip at many baby product retailers, or by contacting Dorel Juvenile Products directly.

    A TALE OF TWO SCENERAS

    FEATURE SCENERA10446023_10152442061081447_6020436184266841410_o SCENERA NEXT10848811_10152442061076447_4308694740757905229_o
    REAR FACING WEIGHT RESTRICTION 5-35 LBS 5-40 LBS
    REAR FACING HEIGHT RESTRICTION 19-36″ 19-40″
    REAR FACING FIT RESTRICTION Head even with the top of the shell Head even with the top of the shell
    FORWARD FACING WEIGHT RESTRICTION 22-40 LBS 22-40 LBS
    FORWARD FACING HEIGHT RESTRICTION 34-43″ 29-43″
    FORWARD FACING FIT RESTRICTION EARS CONTAINED WITHIN THE SHELL EARS CONTAINED WITHIN THE SHELL
    HARNESS POSITIONS 4 positions: 7.5″, 10″, 12″ 14.5″ 5 positions:5″, 7″, 9″, 11″, 13″
    BUCKLE STRAP POSITIONS 3 positions:4″, 5.5″, 7″ 3 positions: 2″, 3″ 4″
    WIDEST FLARE 17″ 17.5″
    SHELL DEPTH 23″ 23″
    SHELL SIDE DEPTH AT SHOULDERS 6″ 8″
    SHELL SIDE DEPTH AT HIPS 6″ 8″
    SEAT PAN: 11.5″ 10″

     

    WHERE TO FIND IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

    Cosco Scenera Next date of manufactureThe date of manufacture is found on the label on the right side of the seat, directly in front of the rear facing belt path

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Cosco Scenera NEXT expirationThe expiration information is molded into the plastic on the middle rear of the seat.

     

    Cosco Scenera NEXT:  FAA approval sticker

    Cosco Scenera NEXT: FAA approval sticker

    The FAA certification is found on the label on the left side of the seat, directly in front of the rear facing belt path.  It is also printed in the manual.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    THE TAKEAWAY:

    This seat will fit all but tiny preemies from birth, and will last almost all kids to 3 rearfacing, or even longer.  It is narrow, compact, lightweight and easy to install.  It should work well in subcompact cars, SUVs and airplanes, and when seats need to be installed next to each other.     The pricepoint of under 50 dollars makes it a reasonable option for nearly every parent’s budget, and a great choice for coalitions trying to maximize their purchasing power.       We are very pleased to give this seat a Car Seats for the Littles, Inc. seal of approval.

    While Cosco provided the seat free of charge to the author, Cosco did not pay for or influence this review.   All opinions expressed, as always, are entirely our own.

    The Scenera NEXT is slated to hit stores next month sometime. Our friends at Cosco were generous enough though to give one away to our readers though before you can buy them! To enter, follow the Rafflecopter instructions below.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Diono Rainier Review

    Since the first Diono Radians were introduced, Diono has developed a legacy of narrow convertible car seats that work well for some specific situations. Their newest entries into the market, the Olympia, Pacifica,and Ranier, continue that trend while offering additional features that build on the well known Radian.

    Diono Rainier installedCSFTL Quick Stats

    • Rear facing weight range: 5-50 lbs
    • Rear facing height range: 44″ or less, or head 1.5″ from the top of the head to the top of the shell
    • Forward facing weight range: 20-90lbs
    • Forward facing height range: 57″ or less
    • High back booster weight range: 50-120 lbs
    • High back booster height range: 40″ and taller, and child’s shoulders at or above 4th harness position
    • Shell height: 24.5″
    • Lowest harness position: 8″
    • Highest harness position: 16.5″
    • Highest booster guide position: 16.5″
    • Expiration: 8 years (harness), 12 years (booster)
    • Lower anchor weight limit: rear facing 35 lbs, forward facing 40 lbs

     

     

     

     

    Features

    • 3 position adjustable crotch strap: 4″, 6″, 8″
    • 2 adjustable recline positions in forward facing position
    • Push button lower anchor connectors
    • Allows use of lower anchors in booster position
    • SuperLATCH system
    • Folds flat for travel and is FAA certified
    • Rear-facing tether capability

    Special Ease of Travel Features

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

     

    One of the biggest pros to the Rainier is how easy traveling can be with it.  Diono makes the only convertibles on the market that can fold flat and be worn for easy transportation through an airport and used on a plane.

    Diono Radian, folded with Diono carry straps.

    Diono Radian, folded with Diono carry straps.

     

    Although the seat weighs around 30lbs, carry straps can be bought separately.  You can attach one for a single shoulder carry or 2 for a backpack style carry.  It is also FAA approved.  One thing you will need if installing rear facing on a plane is a seat belt extender.  These can be attained via your flight attendant.  To find out more about air travel with children check out our article ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ and On The Road Again — Another Look at Travel with Littles

     

    Installation

    The Rainier has several special requirements when installing that differ from other car seats on the market.

    Rear Facing
    Diono Rainier rear facing boot

    Detachable Boot 

    In rear facing position, the detachable boot is required for any install.  To install this, start with making sure the built-in forward facing recline is pushed into the seat.  The forward facing installation section will help you with this step.

    To attach the boot, slide the posts into the hole, then push it towards the front of the seat where the child’s feet sit.  This allows the seat to be reclined enough for rear facing.  Once it is in place, the metal latch needs to be pushed in to lock it into place.

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

    Then place the seat on the vehicle seat, sliding the feet of the base into the seat bight.  Thread either the lower anchor strap or seat belt through the rear facing belt path and either buckle or attach the lower anchor connectors.  If installing with lower anchors make sure the arrows point up on the connectors.

    Diono Rainier Angle Adjuster

     

    Angle Adjuster

    Due to the base having only one recline level, Diono sells an angle adjuster to help make the seat more upright, if needed.  It can only be used with children who can sit unassisted and have good head control.

    Diono Rainier angle adjuster comparisonThis can help with front to back space as the child gets older and allows the seat to be at a more upright recline.  To install the angle adjuster, loosely install the car seat and then slide the adjuster between the car seat and vehicle seat bottom.  It should rest against the back of the recline boot, but not under it.  Then tighten using whichever install method you choose.

     

    Appropriate Newborn Angle

    Newborns have special requirements in the car.   A too upright seated position may lead to oxygen desaturation (lessening of the oxygen supply in the blood), as a newborn has poor head control.   Diono convertibles are unique in that their recline is extremely dependent to the slope of the vehicle seats on which they are installed.

    Some very sloped vehicle seats may lead to a too upright position for your Diono convertible for a newborn.  If your baby’s head is slumping forward and can’t be safely positioned with the included infant insert, you may need to either move your seat to another seat in the vehicle and try again, or consider a different seat option until baby has better head control and can sit up safely.

    If your seat is too upright you can install putting your weight where the baby’s bum sits when tightening.  If it’s too reclined, you can put your weight into where the baby’s feet sit when tightening.  These techniques have limited effectiveness in Diono convertibles, but may be enough to solve the problem in your vehicle.

    Diono Rainier rear face tether

     

    Rear Face Tethering 

    Once the seat is installed, Diono allows the use of rear face tethering via tether connecting strap.  This strap connects to an immovable part of the vehicle, usually consisting of a front seat rail.  The tether is then attached to the D-ring on the strap.  I’ve found the tether anchor can sometimes be difficult to attach to the d-ring.  The tether should be tightened to the point where all the slack is pulled out.

    Before performing this step, make sure to check your vehicle manual to find if there are any restrictions when attaching it to the front seat rail.  Rear face tethering is optional, so if your vehicle doesn’t allow it, you can still properly install the seat without it.

     

     

     

    Forward facing

    Diono Rainier forward facing recline

    Forward facing recline

    Diono requires the vehicle seat to be in its fully upright position when installing the Rainier forward facing.  Diono provides a forward facing recline foot to help to properly install on different types of vehicle seats.  To engage the built-in recline squeeze the 2 metal bars together on the underside of the seat and pull out.

     

    Diono Rainier SafeStop SafeStop

    The SafeStop is required for children under 40 lbs in the forward facing position.  Do NOT use it rear facing.  To install, detach the harness straps from the splitter plate, slip the loop on the SafeStop over the splitter plate, and attach the harness loops to the hook on the SafeStop.  While you have the harness straps off, you will want to adjust the harness to the correct position.  For forward facing, the harness needs to be at or above the child’s shoulders.  Only the 4th harness slot and above are allowed for forward facing use.  If the child is over 65 lbs, the larger harness pads will need to be used.  Please see the forward facing child fit section for more information on this.

     

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    Easy reach installation path

    The Rainier incorporates a ‘trick’ that all Diono convertible seats have had.  They provide a nice slit on each side of the cover for easy access to the seat belt or lower anchor connector strap.  To tighten either the connector strap or belt, just reach through the cover and tighten.

    Diono Rainier forward facing seat belt bunch

     

    I had an extremely difficult time installing the Rainier via seat belt in forward facing mode.  My van (2012 Nissan Quest) has rigid belt stalks which can be cumbersome with some seat belt installs.  The Rainier was no exception.  I was able to get it nice and tight when it was pushed all the way back into the back of the vehicle seat, but every time I would pull the harness adjuster, it pulled the front of the car seat out and loosened the install.  The belt was also very bunched in the latchplate.  So I enlisted the help of some other Diono knowledgable techs and it was suggested I pull the built-in recline out and pull it away from the vehicle seat back a bit.  Using this method I was able to get a good tight install without the tip forward, but I would still be concerned if an active child jumped into the seat quickly, it would push back into the vehicle seat back and become loose again.  Overall, I just wasn’t pleased with the forward facing seat belt install in my van and would be afraid of misuse by an everyday parent with no Diono experience.

    Booster

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESConverting the seat to booster mode is a bit more labor intensive.  Overall the installation in the vehicle will be the same as the forward facing LATCH installation.  The Rainier allows you to install it with LATCH while being used as a booster as long as the lower anchor connectors don’t interfere with the seat belt.  This allows the seat to not have to be buckled when unoccupied.
    Before installing in the vehicle the harness needs to be removed.  This is not an easy feat, unfortunately.  I’ll walk you through step by step on how to do this.  You will need a Phillips head screwdriver.

    Diono Rainier harness removalStep 1

    Buckle the harness and chest clip and remove the harness pads.  Then disconnect the harness loops from the splitter plate on the back of the car seat.  If the over 65 lb pads are being used, those will need to be removed at this time as well.

    Step 2

    Slide the harness straps through the front of the seat and slide the chest clip and buckle tongues off each strap.  Keep in a safe place.

    Step 3

    Detach the buckle.  Use the same method to remove this as you do to adjust the position for the child.  You will either need to slide the plate through by sliding your hand into the rear facing belt path or folding the seat bottom up and sliding your hand through space that provides.  The only part of the harness left on the seat at this point should be just the actual straps.

    Diono Rainier harness removal 2

    Step 4

    Unscrew the 2 screws holding on the plastic piece on the side of the seat.  Under this piece, you’ll find the plate where the harness is attached to the bottom of the seat.

    Step 5

    Maneuver the plate through the hole on both sides.  They don’t leave much room for this step, so you may need to do some precise maneuvers.

    Step 6

    Using the harness plate attachment piece,  pull the harness straps through the bottom of the seat to remove, then screw the plastic pieces back on to cover holes.  I highly recommend keeping all the harness parts in a large bag to keep it all together.

     

     

    To reattach the harness, follow these steps in reverse order.  Making sure everything lies flat and untwisted once finished.  Pulling the harness all the way back through can be a bit of a hassle.    The seam where the harness plate is easily gets caught up on the hole to slide the harness through on the seat bottom.

    As you can tell, this is not something you will want to do often and has potential for misuse due to not getting everything threaded back through correctly.

    Child Fit

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDiono Rainier side bolsters

    Support Inserts

    It comes with both toddler and infant support cushions which helps with smaller child fit (can be used with any height or weight of child) as well as adjustable side bolsters for larger children.  These adjust by pulling out on the bolsters.  They feel sturdy but I am a bit concerned about how long they’ll hold up and not become damaged from kids getting in and out of the seat.

     

     

     

     

     

    Diono Rainier headwing positionsHead wings & Low Profile Sides

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe low profile sides and adjustable head wings are nice features.  The biggest downfall with them is that the headwings cannot be used until the child in on the 3rd harness slot.  Before then, they need to be all the way up.  Although not a safety issue for kids with head control and the ability to sit unassisted, there is still considerable head slump, which can become a comfort issue.  The headwings can also be difficult to adjust as well.

     

     

    Diono Rainier harness pads

     Harness Comfort Pads

    The Rainier comes with 2 sets of harness comfort pads.  The seat is always required to have one set of harness pads on at all times.  The pads it ships with have attachment points both above and below the chest clip.  These are to be used until 65 lbs.  Once the child reaches 65 lbs, they need to be switched out with the larger pads.  These pads have a grippy material on the back of them, along with being attached to a clip that slides into the harness slots at the back of the seat.  These will most likely not be used by many children due to an overinflated harness weight limit in combination with the headwings, as will be discussed in the forward facing child fit section.

     

    Diono Rainier harness pad instructions

    The instructions for use with both sets of pads are on a tag on the inside of each.  The manual doesn’t say anything about the installation of the larger pads.
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    Crotch Buckle Positions

    There are also 3 crotch buckle positions that can be used to help with child fit measuring 4″, 6″, and 8″.  The outermost position must be used with children over 30 lbs.  Changing the buckle position can be a bit difficult.  With it being in the closed belt path you can either remove and adjust it by reaching into the side of the belt path or folding the bottom of the seat up and reaching through that area.  Make sure you are threading it through the corresponding slot in the shell, comfort foam (under the cover), and the cover.  I found that mine don’t match up well, so I really had to double-check to make sure its was in the correct position on all three.

     

     

    Harness Tightener

    The Rainier (like all Diono convertible seats) has a ratcheting harness tightener.  This means that it pulls smoothly until it’s just about tight enough, then you use a tug, tug motion to get the last bit of slack out of the harness.  I’ve found that I also need to pull from the back of the seat to get it nice and tight.  This can be a misuse issue due to parents/caregivers believing the harness is tight since it won’t pull smoothly anymore, whereas it still needs a few tugs to get that last little bit tight.

    Rear Facing

    • Rear facing weight range: 5-50 lbs
    • Rear facing height range: 44″ or less, or head 1.5″ from the top of the head to the top of the shell
    • Lower anchor weight limit: rear facing 35 lbs

    As stated before due to the Rainier’s taller shell and upper rear facing limits, this makes for a great extended rear facing car seat.  With the low sides it makes it easy for children to climb into the seat by themselves, which we know most toddlers and preschoolers would like to do to show their independence.

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    Fiona – Huggable Images doll -newborn, 7lbs, 17″

    Fiona fits well with the newborn and toddler insert.  The was right above the bottom harness slot. The harness was tightened to the end of its length with just barely passing the pinch test.  I would be concerned with getting the harness tight enough for babies any smaller than her.  The large chest clip in conjuncture with the large harness pads made tightening the harness a bit of a struggle with her.  The extra padding in the harness pads also had me second guessing whether the harness was tight enough with her.  Since she was only on the bottom harness slot, the headwings were in the highest position.

     

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    Anders – 8 months, 20 lbs, 27″

    He had a very good fit in the Rainier without the toddler and infant support.  As with Fiona, the large chest clip and large pads made me second guess fit as well as tightness.  My other concern was the harness possibly sliding off her shoulders due to the wide distance between the harness straps.  His shoulders were slightly above the 2nd harness position, so the headwings were left at their top position.  He definitely had a head slump issue, as you can see in this photo.  The infant head support would help with smaller children, but his head is too big to fit inside of the support.  This side to side head slump isn’t an issue with older children with head control and can sit unassisted, but as a parent I don’t like to see this.  Due to the lower profile and wider seat of the Rainier I also needed to make sure he was centered well in the seat before adjusting anything on every ride.  Overall, he seemed comfortable and has fallen asleep several times in it with no complaints.

     

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    Freya – 2.5 yrs, 23 lbs, 33″

    Freya also fit well in the Rainier sans inserts.  She is right at the 3rd harness position so the headwings were adjusted down for her to the lowest position so that her head fit nicely between the headwings.  I had the same issue with judging the tightness of the straps with her.  She’s also so narrow that I worry about her being able to wiggle her shoulders out of the harness.  The openness of the seat allowed for her to have much more leg room that other seats as well.  She was able to throw her feet over the sides and put her feet in many different positions so she could sit comfortably.  Remember lack of legroom does not equal a seat being outgrown rear facing or that she will be uncomfortable.  It just means she has more options.  She also seemed very comfortable with no complaints.

     

     

     

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESKenzie – 4 yrs, 34 lbs, 39″
    Kenzie is right at the limits of most convertible seats available, but has plenty of growing room in the Rainier still.  She consistently asks to ride like her little sister  does (rear facing), but she is too big for most seats.  With this seat she would be able to ride rear facing for quite a bit longer.  She is on the 3rd harness slot, so like Freya, the headwings have been adjusted down to the lowest position for her.  The crotch buckle has been moved to the outer most position since she is over 30 lbs.  The lower anchor limits for the Rainier is 35 lbs rear facing, so the seat can be installed with lower anchors for another pound before switching to a seat belt installation.  She was really excited to be rear facing and was comfortable in this seat.

     

    Forward Facing

    • Forward facing weight range: 20-90lbs
    • Forward facing height range: 57″ or less
    • Lower anchor weight limit: forward facing 40 lbs

    I actually had a hard time finding a child that fit forward facing in the Rainier.  The combination of the tall shell height, tall maximum height limit rear facing, and the high maximum rear facing weight limit, most children can rear face until they fit the booster.  One of my models would actually still fit rear facing, but is showing what he looks like forward facing in it.

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    Landon – 4 yrs, 40 lbs, 36″

    *Disclaimer- the headwings are too high on him.  The pink line on the photo shows where it should be.  I had him harnessed in the seat and ready for the photo before realizing they weren’t adjusted correctly.  The headwings are extremely difficult to adjust with a child in the seat.*

    Landon fit well in the Rainier with plenty of growing room until he reaches 50lbs and is mature enough for booster use.  Since he is 40 lbs, the SafeStop is not being used and the seat is installed via seat belt.  His shoulders were just barely over the 2nd to top harness slot, so he is on the top harness slot in this photo.

     

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    Chloe – Huggable Images Doll – 6 yrs, 46 lbs, 48″
    Chloe is still too light to use the Rainier as a booster, but as you can tell, she is right at the limits of the harness.  Diono allows the use of the harness with the child’s shoulders over the top harness slot, but the headwings pose a pratical impedence to this extended use.  The child’s shoulders will bump into the bottom of the headwings before the max height of 57″ or restriction of ears at the top of the shell are reached.  So she will technically reach the limit of the harness the same time as the booster, height wise, but may not even reach the minimum booster weight before outgrowing it.  Her overall fit is good in the harness though.

     

    Booster

    • High back booster weight range: 50-120 lbs
    • High back booster height range: 40″ and taller, and child’s shoulders at or above 4th harness position

    Once the parent/caregiver has removed the harness and used LATCH to attach the car seat to the vehicle seat, the seat belt needs to be routed through the shoulder belt clip behind the headwings.  This is no easy feat and can cause the belt to bind up in it.

    Diono Rainier Adam

     

    Adam – 7 yrs, 57 lbs, 52″

    Adam has the perfect fit for the Rainier in booster mode.  His shoulder is below the headwings, yet above the top harness slot.  The belt sits nicely across his upper thighs as well as squarely on his shoulder.  He was comfortable with not much wiggle room.

    Diono Rainier Brenna

     

    Brenna – 9 yrs, 64 lbs, 55″

    Although Brenna is quite a way from outgrowing the stated limits in booster mode, she didn’t fit as well as Adam.  The headwings pushed down on her shoulders causing her to have to keep from slouching down to get comfortable.  The belt fit was great though, similar to Adam.  Legally, Brenna is old enough to be in the adult belt only, but still doesn’t safely fit with no booster.  So she would need another booster before moving on to adult belt alone.

    Diono Rainier Leif

     

    Leif – 9 yrs, 115 lbs, 52″

    I was very interested to see how my child would fit with being only 5 lbs away from the weight limit of the seat.  He also has a taller torso than both Adam and Brenna, even though his overall height is shorter.  He was extremely uncomfortable and had an unsafe fit.  His shoulders were above the bottom of the headwings.  The lap belt also kept slipping off the red belt guides at his hips.  Like Brenna, he is also legally able to ride without a booster, but cannot safely do it.  So he would also need another booster until he’s ready for the adult belt alone.

    Diono Rainier Thomas

     

     

    Thomas – Huggable Images doll - 8 yrs, 80 lbs, 57″

    Thomas is right at the top height limit of the Rainier in booster mode.  As you can see, there’s no way that he would fit correctly at his height, even though he’s 40 lbs under the weight limit.  This is also an unsafe fit.  Like Leif and Brenna, even though he’s at the legal age and size to use the adult belt, he still doesn’t fit it properly.  So he would also need a different booster before he’s ready to move up.

     

    Important Information: Where to find

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    Date of Manufacture can be found on the side of the seat’s left hand side.  It states the model and manufacture date.

     

     

     

    Diono Rainier Expiration

     

    Expiration is only listed in the Rainier instruction manual on page 7.

     

     

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    FAA approval sticker can be found on the back of the seat towards the top where the strap storage compartments are located.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Diono Convertible Seat Comparisons

    Diono currently has 6 convertible car seats on the market each with very slight variations.  Check out this chart to find out how each differs.  Also check out the following real life comparisons of the Diono Radian RXT, Diono Rainier, and Diono Pacifica.

    Radian R100OlympiaRadian R120PacificaRadian RXTRainier
    Specifications
    RF Limits5-40 lbs
    Up to 44"
    5-45 lbs
    Up to 44"
    5-45 lbs
    Up to 44"
    5-50 lbs
    Up to 44"
    5-45 lbs
    Up to 44"
    5-50 lbs.
    Up to 44"
    FF Limits20-65 lbs
    Up to 57"
    20-70 lbs
    Up to 57"
    20-80 lbs
    Up to 57"
    20-90 lbs
    Up to 57"
    20-80 lbs
    Up to 57"
    20-90 lbs
    Up to 57"
    Booster Limits50-100 lbs
    Up to 57"
    50-110 lbs
    40"-57"
    50-120 lbs
    40"-57"
    50-120 lbs
    40"-57"
    50-120 lbs
    40"-57"
    50-120 lbs
    40"-57"
    Features
    Headwings
    Width (at widest point)17"18.5"17"18.5"17"18.5"
    Depth (at top of seat)7"9.5"7"9.5"7"9.5"
    IIHS Booster RatingBest BetNot RecommendedBest BetNot RecommendedBest BetGood Bet

    Diono Rainier vs. Diono Radian RXT

    Diono Rainier Radian RXT comparisonDiono Rainier is the updated version of the Diono Radian RXT.  The Rainier being the newer model has updated deeper and wider sides behind the headwings, as well as adding 5lbs to the rear facing weight limit, and 10 lbs to the forward facing weight limit .  Everything else about the 2 are the same.

    The Rainier is 9.5″ from front to back at the deepest point (not including the headwings) compared to the RXT at 7″.  That 2.5″ doesn’t sound like much, but you can definitely see the difference.  What does this mean to the parent?  Not much besides making parents feel like it has a bit more side impact protection.  At this point, there are no side impact standards in the US though, so we don’t know how they compare in tests.

    The Rainier measures 18.5″ from side to side at the widest point.  The RXT comes in at 17″.  The Radian has always been a great seat for those looking for a narrow seat for 3 car seats across a back seat.  This is where the side to side measurement makes a difference.  This 1.5″ can mean the difference between being able to fit 3 across versus not being able to.

    So depending on your needs, make sure you look at these measurements as well as weight limits.

     

    Booster Fit: Diono Rainier vs. Diono Pacifica

    The Diono Pacifica is part of their newest line up of convertible seats along with the Rainier.  The Pacifica is the updated model of the Radian R120 and like the Rainier, adds 5 lbs to the rear facing weight limit and 10 lbs to the forward facing weight limit.  As well as adding deeper and wider sides.  The only difference between the Rainier and Pacifica is the headwings and how the seat belt is routed in booster mode.  The Rainier’s booster guide is behind the headwings and the Pacifica’s is at the top of the shell.  I wasn’t very pleased with the belt guide on the Rainier due to the extra effort it takes to get it threaded and it has to be threaded back up after releasing the buckle.  I was thinking the Pacifica would have better booster fit due to the belt guide being less encumbered.  So it surprised me that the 2014 IIHS booster ratings put the Rainier in the good bet category and the Pacifica in the not recommended category.  I was able to get my hands on a Pacifica to test the difference and it was pretty surprising.

    Diono rainier Pacifica Adam

     

    Adam

    As we saw earlier, Adam had perfect booster fit in the Rainier with the lap belt positioned over his upper thighs/hips and the shoulder belt centered on his shoulder.  The Pacifica definitely had a worse fit with him.  The lap belt was still positioned correctly, but the shoulder belt isn’t on his shoulder at all and it cuts into his chin/neck.  Not a good fit at all.

     

    Diono Rainier Pacifica Brenna

     

    Brenna

    Brenna was  a bit squished under the headwings of the Rainier so I thought the lack of headwings would help on the Pacifica.  She’s leaning forward a bit in the Pacifica and it still is pulled away from her shoulder and too high on her neck/chin.

     

    Diono Rainier Pacifica Leif

     

    Leif

    Leif, like Brenna, has the issue with his shoulders being pushed down by the headwings.  The Pacifica solved this problem, but his shoulders were still very tight inside the sides of the Pacifica.  He also had the issue of the shoulder belt sitting too far forward.  With Leif being only 5 lbs away from the weight limit of the seat, this shows me that both the Rainier and Pacifica have a overinflated booster maximum weight limit.

     

    Diono Rainier Pacifica Thomas

     

    Thomas

    Thomas had outgrown the Rainier already due to his shoulders going over shoulder belt guide.  He fits in the Pacifica, but like the other models, the belt sits too far forward from his shoulder.

     

     

    Overall Impressions

    Pros

    • Tall seat shell  and high rear facing height maximum for a long-lasting rear facing seat
    • High weight limits in all modes
    • Narrow to fit small spaces
    • Deep and low sided seat pan leaves lots of leg room
    • Headwings for extra head support when sleeping
    • Good booster fit for children within the lower limits of booster mode

    Cons

    • Over inflated limits – Most children will not be able to fit to the high weight limits, thus giving parents a false sense of longevity.
    • Cumbersome to switch between modes, especially booster
    • Although it has good booster fit, the booster is outgrown by height about the same time as the harness in forward facing mode.
    • Ease of use – too many steps and directions to follow thus increasing the likelihood of misuse
    • Booster won’t last until a child is ready to move to an adult belt.

    Interested in a Diono Rainier for your little (or big) one?  Diono is graciously offering to give a Rainier away to a lucky reader.  This giveaway is open to both US and Canadian residents!  Follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter for a chance to win!

    Can’t wait and need one now?  The Diono Rainier can be found on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

    Diono graciously provided the Rainier car seat used in this review.  As always, the opinions are our own.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway