We have reviewed several seats from KidsEmbrace, including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Seat and the Batseat. When KidsEmbrace announced that they were releasing new character seats, we were excited to see which characters would come next. When the news broke that Spiderman was next up in the KidsEmbrace line up, I jumped at the chance to review the seat. My 4.5 year old loves My Little Pony, Frozen, and of course, Spiderman. First, let’s get to the limits of the seat. All of the KidsEmbrace combination seats feature the same limits and shell, just different characters.
CSFTL Quick Stats:
- Forward facing weight range: 22-65 lbs.
- Forward facing height range: 29-52″
- High back booster weight range: 30-100 lbs.
- High back booster height range: 38-57″
- Highest harness position: 17″*
- Highest booster guide position: 19″
- Expiration: 7 years
- Lower anchor weight limit: 45 lbs.
*Important note regarding harness position: some KidsEmbrace seats have been received with only two harness positions, with the top position measuring 16″. Read on in the review for more information and a statement from KidsEmbrace.
- Push button lower anchor connectors
- Lower anchors can be used in booster mode
- Recline setting
Unboxing the seat involves little bit of assembly to get Spiderman ready to roll. He comes in a plastic bag without his head attached.
Attaching the headrest/Spidey’s head is very simple — just slide it onto the body and push in the plastic adjuster piece. This piece also serves as the headrest adjustment when using the seat as a booster. There is a bit of cardboard that is wedged into the adjustment piece that must be removed before attaching the headrest. The tether anchor strap is threaded through the head rest as well. When you are attaching the headrest, make sure that the slack of the tether anchor strap is removed so that it doesn’t get caught in the height adjusters.
The Spiderman seat comes with the manual and registration card attached to the harness. Registering your new car seat is an important part of owning a car seat, because it allows you be notified in case of recall. If you don’t want to register your seat via the good old-fashioned postal service, KidsEmbrace also allows you to register your seat on their website.
The Spiderman seat that Kids Embrace provided to us for review has three sets of harness slots at 13 inches, 16 inches, and one harness slot that is over the back of the shell that is at approximately 17 inches. This last harness slot is hard to find. At first glance, I completely missed it!
Note: As of October 2014, Kids Embrace seats are being shipped with 2 or 3 harness slots. There is no way to know which version is being purchased.
When asked about this, here was Kids Embrace’s response:
In an ongoing effort to make a great car seat even better, while still maintaining our high safety ratings and dedication to excellence, design changes are always being considered and implemented here at KidsEmbrace.
You can be assured that the Batman seats you purchased from us do not have a manufacturer’s defect. The third harness slot to which you are referring was a change we made in design after we had been manufacturing our car seats for several years with only two slots. We implemented the change after Batman had already been in production and available for sale, and as such, they were not always intended to have a third slot.
The car seats that still have two harness slots have in no way been intentionally misrepresented or falsely advertised. There were some advocate groups who reviewed our Batman seat, stating the 3 height levels for each slot, and that may be why you thought they all came with a 3rd slot from first production. Unfortunately, a review from an advocate, or any other person or group is something we have very little control over. They are not paid for advertising or for any review they may give. Each review is based upon the reviewers individual experiences with and knowledge of the item they are reviewing, and they in no way take guidance from or take into account the opinions or advice of the manufacturer of the product.
There is no need for concern, as the change was implemented as a design change only, and not as a safety component change. You can be 100% assured that our car seats with 2 harness slots have passed and exceeded every stringent government standard as our car seats with 3 harness slots have done.
The seat also has two slots for the crotch buckle. One at 5.5 inches from the back of the seat and one at 7′ inches from the back of the seat. When the crotch buckle is in the inner most position, it must be threaded through the back buckle first, and then kept into the first slot. Kids Embrace says that you must use crotch buckle position closest to, but not under the child.
Installing the seat is pretty straightforward as well, but this is where I ran into a problem. The belt path on the seat is very narrow, making it hard to thread the belt through to buckle it in.This makes buckling and tightening the seat, to get a solid installation quite difficult. I had to lift up the cover of the seat in order to even get the buckle through the belt path. On the plus side, attaching the tether anchor was straight forward and easy, as was removing the slack from the top tether anchor.
The seat also features a recline foot that can be used in both harness and booster modes. The recline foot is found on the bottom of the seat. I will note, that with the recline foot out, a solid install of the seat was not possible in either of the vehicles I tried it in.
Installing the seat with the lower anchors was a little bit easier, but still difficult because of the narrow belt path. This seat was made after the new regulations for LATCH so it comes labeled with the weight limit for the lower anchors. Children weighting over 45 lbs. should not use the seat in harness mode when installed with lower anchors. Once the child hits 45 lbs. you must switch to seat belt installation. You may also use the lower anchors and tether anchor in booster mode. Using the lower anchors and tether anchor in booster mode past the typical weight limit is allowed, because they are not restraining the child, merely preventing the seat from becoming a projectile when not in use by a child.
Fit to Child: Harnessed Mode
Our first tester is 4 years old, 43 inches tall and 44 lbs. She is using the last harness slot on the seat. The chest clip is large, making it easy to position in the correct spot; across the bony portion of her chest and not over the soft abdominal tissue, nor high in the neck area. The crotch buckle on the seat is very unique and features a push down button instead of the more standard button style crotch buckle that we see on many seats.
While this type of buckle may be beneficial to caregivers with arthritis or other physical disabilities, it is also concerning because it is easily undone by little hands. A bit of maturity is needed for the child using the seat to know not to unbuckle the harness at the wrong time.
The harness covers, although optional, are bulky and fairly rigid. Despite the harness covers, she was smitten with the seat and has not stated quite loudly several times, that this is the only seat she will sit in.
Spiderman is a forward facing only car seat, making the seat appropriate for kids who have outgrown their rear facing convertible car seat and are at least two years old.
Fit to Child: Booster
Switching the seat from harness mode to boost mode was tricky. There are many hooks, velcro loops, and plastic pieces that need to be undone to unthread the harness and remove the crotch buckle. KidsEmbrace does provide a nice spot to store the splitter plate when using the seat in booster mode. It looks quite different in person than the manual depicts it and was initially threaded through the front of the seat. In order to use it, I had to squeeze it through to the back of the seat. Putting the harness back on was even more challenging than removing it. Thankfully, this is a process that wouldn’t have to be done very often.
Our next tester is 7 years old, 53 lbs., and 49 inches. She is using the middle position for the booster. The booster is secured into the vehicle using the lower anchors and the tether anchor. This doesn’t provide additional protection for the child, but it prevents the seat from becoming a projectile when it’s not occupied.
Once a child is using a booster seat, the seat belt is restraining them, not the seat. The booster function simply places the adult belt correctly on the child. Emma did not care for the seat, claiming it narrow and uncomfortable.
While I have to commend Kids Embrace for making seats that make kids WANT to use them, there are many drawbacks to the seat. The narrow belt path makes installation tricky, the crotch buckle has finicky rules in the closest position, the harness is difficult to remove and reattach. While this doesn’t impact safety, it does increase the chance of misuse. That being said, my daughter is in love with this seat, and is happy to know that “Spidey” will keep her safe in the car. The seat is well padded throughout and does provide an excellent belt fit in booster mode.
Spiderman will be a regular in my car, even if he surprises me in the rear view mirror every now and then!
KidsEmbrace provided this seat for review, however, no other compensation was received. All opinions are that of the reviewer.