On Britax and Car Seat Safety Standards

I bought my first Britax carseat back when the Roundabout had that funky puzzle-latching mechanism. I guess that means I’m old. Or, at least, my children are. That car seat served us well through all three kids, although I did replace the cover once.

When we graduated my oldest to a booster, I bought a behemoth combination booster seat (also a Britax) that had a 5-point harness to accommodate a child up to 80 pounds. The safety features were impressive, but admittedly, it was a bit inconvenient to move from car to car. Now, with 2 kids in boosters, we have several belt-positioning booster seats that they use interchangeably. They are adequate, but I am aware that they may not be the safest options on the market.

Recently I was given the opportunity to review the Britax Parkway SGL, a belt-positioning booster seat with features only the minds at Britax would think up. I was curious to see what would make this booster stand out over the ordinary belt-positioning boosters I was accustomed to, and I haven’t been disappointed.

When it first arrived, my 5-year-old daughter, to whom the booster will belong, was not happy that it wasn’t pink. Honestly, I was afraid she was going to balk about using it. Yes, she is THAT opinionated.

I could tell to see and feel it that it was cushy, so I set it in the floor and told her to sit in it and see if it’s more comfortable than the ones she has. Then I held my breath. I didn’t really expect her to fall for it, but the next thing I knew she was grinning ear to ear and proclaiming her undying love for her new booster seat. Who knew cushy would trump pink?

The next test was to take it for a drive. It has a featured called Secure Guard Seat Belt Anchor that comes up between her legs and holds the lap belt in place, low across the hips. This provides an extra measure of support and would help prevent abdominal injury in a car accident.

I was afraid that she might find that piece uncomfortable, but as it turns out, she loves that too. Best of all, she can position it herself. In fact, just this morning she was telling me that she loves her booster seat and especially the extra “buckle.”

Other cool features:

The Parkway GSL features the ISOFLEX Flexible Lower LATCH Connection System which secures the booster to your car seat so it won’t move around when there is no child sitting in it, and it also provides stability for the child in the event of a car accident.

It also has High Density Comfort Foam which is what we can thank for the cushy. I’ve never felt a booster seat that feels so plush.

Britax is also a pioneer in side impact safety.  Their True Side Impact Protection “distributes crash forces, shields from vehicle intrusion, contains the head and body, and keeps the head, neck and spine ‘in true’ or aligned, to limit injury.”

In other words, this ain’t your father’s booster seat. There I go again, showing my age.

The Parkway isn’t the only booster seat Britax offers. The Frontier 85 is a combination harness-2-booster. It has a 5-point harness with capacity to hold a child up to 85 pounds. You can read about its safety features on the site. This is the seat I would recommend for someone with a younger child. Since my youngest is 5, and big for her age, I didn’t feel the need to get a 5-point harness at this point, although I suppose it depends on the temperament of the child. Butt I’m getting ahead of myself…

Yesterday I was able to interview Sarah Tilton, a child passenger safety advocate that works with Britax, and Kristen, one of their test engineers. I was curious about the “new car safety standards” I’ve been hearing about, and with kids at transition ages (mine are 5, 8 and 11) I wanted to know their recommendations for moving kids out of booster seats.

Seriously, y’all, I took six pages of notes. I realize that I’m no stranger to lengthy posts, but I think I’m going end this here and write a follow-up post with what I learned about car seat safety. I took questions on Facebook and Twitter and I was able to ask all of them and then some. If you asked a question, stay tuned. And if you have questions, stay tuned. I think we covered it all.

You’ll also want to stay tuned for the Britax sponsored GIVEAWAY I have planned for All Things Chic later this week. Because if this booster seat isn’t chic, I don’t know one that is.