This is a quick photo and video review of the all-new, Britax B-Safe Infant carrier and base system. We plan to have another review in the near future with a mom who has an infant to put the B-Safe to good use! The B-Safe is currently available for $179.99 or less at Amazon.com with free shipping and free returns. Initially, there are black and red fashions available. The B-Safe is rated for babies 4 to 30 pounds and up to 32 inches tall. Britax suggests a seated shoulder height of 6.5″ to 11″.
As you can see in the video, it includes some handy features, like four harness height settings and an adjustable crotch strap depth. An infant comfort pillow is included along with harness comfort pads and a belly pad for the buckle. There is energy absorbing foam around the head and upper torso. The carrier is compatible with Britax B-series strollers, but an optional attachment strap or adapter is needed for strollers of other major brands. The handle may be left in any locked position in the car. The locking mechanism is smooth and makes it easy to drop the carrier into place and also to release it from the base. Speaking of the base, it has a built-in lockoff, a 5-position adjustable recline adjustment and indicators for the angle on each side. It also includes premium LATCH attachments with push-button releases. An extra B-Safe base can be purchased for about $80.
Perhaps the best feature is that it fits low birthweight babies very well right out of the box. The bottom of four harness slots is a low 5.5 inches tall, perhaps even lower depending how you measure to the contour at the bottom. So, it even fits the tiny Huggable Images 4-pound preemie doll quite well. There is a little room at the crotch strap, some of which will be filled with a diaper, but as you can see in the video it still fits very well. I had no issues with installation in a variety of vehicles using either the LATCH system or the seatbelt. My only complaint is that the seatbelt lockoff system in my early production model does not seem as robust as some other designs. It worked quite well in terms of installation, but it does require a strong push to close it and gave the impression that I might break it. So far, I have not damaged it during any of my numerous installations, so it probably just gives that impression from the manner in which it closes and the sound it makes as it locks. Most parents will probably be using the LATCH system for installation, so this may not even be a concern at all. Like almost all infant seats, the B-Safe is made in China.
Compared to the Britax Chaperone it is a bit smaller and lighter. It’s about 9.6 pounds vs. 11 pounds for the Chaperone carrier. Both the base and the carrier are shorter, so it should fit smaller cars better, perhaps giving up to almost 2″ more clearance to the front seat. The B-Safe carrier is also about one-half inch narrower at the hub for the carrying handle. In addition to that, the base of the B-Safe may puzzle differently with adjacent carseats. It is a bit narrower at the front, but a bit wider in back. The B-Safe is also less expensive by about $50. On the other hand, it lacks some of the premium features of the Chaperone. Features found only on the Chaperone include a no-rethread front harness height adjustment system, an anti-rebound bar, internal “True” side impact protection wings, a nicer seatbelt lockoff system and EPS foam that extends beyond the torso to the thighs. The lever to release the Chaperone from the base is mounted a little higher on the carrier, perhaps making it a bit easier for small hands. The Chaperone also fits the 4-pound doll very well, perhaps even slightly better, but it does require the installation of the included low birthweight foam insert to do so.
Here are some photos of the B-Safe in the 2011 Honda Odyssey in a three-across setup. In one shot (left), it is in the center, with a Britax Chaperone and Frontier 85 SICT on each side. In the other shot (right), it is on the outside, next to a Britax Marathon 70:
Below, a couple example installations. On the left, the doll is the 4-pound Huggable Images low birthweight model installed in a 2011 Chevy Volt . On the right, the cute baby is 14 months old and 22 pounds, with installation in a 2011 Toyota Highlander. No issues at all with front seat legroom for an average adult in these vehicles.
Finally, harness slot height measurements (left) and a shot of the B-Safe and Chaperone bases installed in a 2010 Toyota Prius (right). Note that the curved bottom can affect harness measurements by a half inch or so, depending how you position the ruler and the perspective of the camera.
The Britax B-Safe should arrive in stores for sale starting July, 2011. From Britax, here are some specifications:
Product Weight (lbs) : 16 (car seat only 9.8)
Product Dimensions (in) : 17.5W x 24.5H x 27.5D (handle up)
Product Dimensions (in) : 17.5W x 15.5H x 27.5D (handle down)
Seat Area Depth/Width (in) : 13/19
Shoulder Width (in) : 10
Harness Slot Heights (in) : 5, 7, 9, 12
Buckle Strap Depth (in) : 3.5, 5.5
Base Product Weight (lbs) : 6
Base Product Dimensions (in) : 15W x 22H x9D
Overall, the B-Safe is a great, lower-priced addition to their Chaperone and is competitively priced among models that fit low birthweight babies down to 4 pounds. If you’re having multiples, are predisposed to early deliveries or just want to be safe in case you have an unexpected preemie, you may have peace of mind by registering for the B-Safe and by knowing it should fit your baby all the way down to the advertised minimum weight. Not all infant seats really do fit the lowest weight they advertise! The B-Safe is also a very nice seat all around with a lot of great features, retailing for $179 or less at Amazon.com and other stores!
And now, the information you’ve been trying to find! As part of the 10th anniversary of our forums at www.Car-Seat.Org, Britax is generously sponsoring our June giveaway of one Britax B-Safe in black. For more details and to enter the contest, please visit the giveaway thread at www.car-seat.org. You may NOT enter the contest here at CarseatBlog, but you are welcome to leave questions or comments about the B-Safe!
Thank you to Britax for supplying the review sample used in this blog. No content or other compensation was provided.