The Britax Parkway has been an outstanding booster for many years. The latest versions are the Britax Parkway SGL 2013 and Parkway SG 2013. The difference between the two being a $30 price increase for the SGL model that includes LATCH attachments for securing the booster to anchors in most newer vehicles. CarseatBlog is reviewing the SGL model, but most comments apply to the SG model as well.
We previously reviewed the Britax Parkway SGL Booster, introduced three years ago. The original version is an IIHS Best Bet high back booster. With mostly minor changes, we expect the new, 2013 version to have similarly great performance. We are also pleased to see the return of the look of the discontinued Britax Monarch booster, with side torso wings extending much higher for taller kids.
There are various noteworthy changes in this model year refresh:
- Revised base now has SafeCell technology to reduce head excursion
- Overall height and shoulder height roughly one-half inch shorter
- Side impact wings extend higher, slightly deeper
- Torso wings now have EPS foam lining (photo, right)
- Shoulder belt guides revised
- Front adjuster easier for small hands
- SecureGuard clip is modified; now adjusts from top
- Armrest design slightly changed
- About 0.4 lbs heavier
- $10 MSRP price increase
For the most part, the specifications remain largely the same for the Parkway 2013 SGL. The weight rating is 40-120 lbs. Kids may use it in high back mode if they are between 38″ and 63″ tall. (For backless mode, this depends on the vehicle’s head restraint for height limits). The seated shoulder/torso height can accommodate kids from 15″ to 21.5″ tall. The SecureGuard crotch strap depth also remains the same at 7.5″. All identical to the original Parkway SGL. Britax specs indicate that the SGL 2013 is slightly wider and heavier than the previous version. I can confirm that it is a fraction of a pound heavier, but I find the base measurements to be about the same all around. The increased width is at the shoulders, due to the design of the higher side impact protection wings. Below are some comparison photos of the previous Parkway SGL (left side of each photo) and new Parkway SGL 2013 (Right side of each photo).
Fit to child and vehicle:
In frequent use over the last two months, I’ve found the Parkway SGL 2013 to fit my 8-year old son very well. He is around 53″ tall and close to 63 pounds. He generally still requires a booster, because he does not quite pass the 5-step Test for seatbelt fit in most vehicles. In both our 2010 Toyota Prius and 2011 Toyota Highlander, I found the belt fit to be very good in most seating positions, whether used as a high back booster or backless booster. The lap belt fit flat on his upper thighs, while the shoulder belt remained nicely centered on his shoulder with the height adjusted correctly. Of course, the design of the base and shoulder belt guide of any booster may work better in some vehicles and some seating positions than it does in others! For that reason, it’s always best to first try any booster in your own vehicle, with your own child and also be sure to get a good return policy when you buy!
We also appreciate that Britax does not allow the use of the Parkway boosters for kids under 40 pounds, in either high back or backless mode.
- Good height range to fit kids until they pass the 5-Step Test
- SecureGuard clip helps prevent submarining
- High and deep side wings for head and torso
- Well padded and comfortable
- LATCH system for holding booster in place
- Can be used as a backless booster
- In highback mode can be used in seating positions that do not have a head restraint or in cases where head restraint needs to be removed to allow booster to be flush with vehicle seat.
- Relatively expensive ($159.99 MSRP on Amazon.com)
- LATCH release button can be a little finicky sometimes
- Made In China
Overall, the Britax Parkway SGL 2013 is a nice update from the previous model. Many of the changes appear to be in direct response to customer feedback! I have found no major complaints (outside of the minor disadvantages listed above) so far about the improved design. If you have a squirmy kid like I do, you may also appreciate the unique SecureGuard clip that provides one extra point of restraint to help keep them from sliding under the lap belt, even if they’ve moved around a bit. The Parkway SGL has an MSRP of $159.99 and the Parkway SG is $129.99, but prices are already dropping on Amazon.com now that some fashions are in stock! For example, the SGL model in Phantom was $120.07 and the SG model in Gridline was available for pre-order at $99.42 at the time this review was published. The new Parkway SGL 2013 is a great booster and I’ve been using it daily for almost two months now with no complaints from my son in regard to comfort or fit. And when you’re in the car, a happy child is a happy driver!
Thank you to Britax USA for providing the the Parkway SGL 2013 used for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.