Safety 1st onBoard and onBoard Air 35 Review

(Last Updated On: )

This seat has been discontinued and replaced with the onBoard LT.

The Safety 1st onBoard 35 and onBoard 35 Air rear facing only car seats are packed with features that make them easy to use, long-lasting, and coming in well under $150, friendly on the wallet.

CSFTL Quick Stats


  • Weight Range: 4-35 pounds
  • Height range: up to 32″ (Canada 29″)
  • Shell height: 21 inches
  • Lowest harness position: 5 inches
  • Weight (carrier only): 8 pounds, Air version 9 pounds
  • Expiration: 8 years (seats made before 1-1-2014 have a 6 year expiration)
  • Handle position: any locked positionDecember 2015:  Effective 02/15, the onBoard requires the handle to be in the upright, locked position only when the seat is in use. 


  • Two position adjustable base
  • Three position crotch strap
  • Fits preemies
  • Dual position level indicator on carrier
  • onBoard Air 35 model includes: push-button lower anchor connectors, seat belt lockoff, and more height adjustments on the base.


  • Expiration: 8 years (seats made before 1-1-2014 have a 6 year expiration)
  • Handle position: any locked position  Update December 2015:  As of 02/2015 the seat must have the handle in the upright locked position when in use

With Base

The basic version of the onBoard 35 is relatively easy to install, using seat belt or lower anchors. The lower anchor connectors are the basic clip on style, and the base does not have a seat belt lockoff. There are only two recline adjustments on the base, while I was able to achieve the proper recline for an older infant, the lack of multiple adjustments in between means you may need to use a pool noodle in lieu of the recline foot to achieve the correct angle. The level indicator has two settings: one for newborns under 11 pounds and a more upright angle for older infants over 11 pounds with good head control.

The Air version of the onBoard 35 adds more recline adjustments, a seat belt lock-off, and push button lower anchor connectors.  All of these little things helps for an easier installation with the base.

Without the Base

Without the base, installation is identical between the basic and Air version of the onBoard 35.  Follow the same level on the car seat as you do when installing with the base.  The lap belt is routed through the easy to access belt guides on the car seat and the shoulder belt lays against the vehicle seat back.  No Euro routing is allowed on the onBoard 35.

Fit to Child

Safety 1st onBoard Air 35

Safety 1st onBoard 35

The onBoard Air 35 is slightly more expensive and features Safety Ist’s Air Protect technology in the head rest. It also has a more substantial newborn/preemie insert, more recline adjustments on the base, a seat belt lockoff, and push button lower anchor connectors. We tested out the onBoard Air model with our Huggable Images preemie (Jo) and newborn (Fiona) dolls, as well as 16 month old Freya. The seat was a great fit on all three of them.

The bottom line? The onBoard is a great addition to the world of rear facing only seats, especially for those with smaller budgets. If you can spend a bit more for the onBoard Air model, the extra convenience features are worth the slightly higher price tag, in my opinion.The base can be used with either the basic onBoard or the onBoard Air.


  • Large canopy
  • Front adjust harness
  • Fits preemies well
  • Seat belt lock off
  • Push on lower anchor connectors
  • Provides a generous amount of leg room


  • Straps tend to twist

Our opinions, as always, are all our own!