After reading Heather’s full review of the Cybex Aton and Jennie’s follow-up review of the Cybex Aton, you may be left wondering if the seat could possibly get any cooler? Turns out it can. Cybex released the Aton 2 earlier this year and I immediately ordered one for the newest version of my spawn. Aton 2 for Shrimp 2…seems appropriate, no?

Declan before turning into a banshee in the car.

Declan before turning into a banshee in the car.

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7lbs, 5oz of pure sleeping bliss.

 

So before I get into my thoughts on the seat, let me briefly review the differences in the Aton and Aton 2. The Aton 2 is essentially the same seat as the Aton, except there is a load leg attached to the base now, and the LSP (Linear Side-Impact Protection) system has been added to the handle on the Aton 2 carrier.  The load leg is popular in European seats, and reduces downward rotation in a collision, subsequently reducing rebound as well. The LSP system is a small plastic “wing” on the handle of the carrier that you flip out when you put the carrier in the vehicle in either outboard position and it significantly reduces side impact forces on the child.

cybex aton2 baseSpecs and Features for Cybex Aton & Cybex Aton 2:

  • Rated from 4-32 lbs; up to 30″ tall
  • Base with unique tensioning system
  • 3 sets of harness slots: 7″, 9″, and 10.5″
  • Integrated canopy
  • Carrier weight: 9lbs
  • European belt path installation when used without base

Stroller Compatibility:

Cybex Aton & Aton 2 carseats are compatible with Cybex strollers and many other popular strollers.  Below is a list of strollers that are compatible with this infant carseat using the respective stroller manufacturer’s Maxi-Cosi adapters. All strollers listed have been tested to the ASTM travel system standard.

STROLLER

MODEL

Cybex

 CallistoOnyx

Baby Jogger

 City MiniCity Mini DoubleCity Select

Quinny

 Buzz, Moodd

Stokke

 Xplory

iCandy

 Peach

Mamas & Papas

 UrboMylo

Bloom

 Zen

 

  

 

Because the carriers are almost identical, both the Aton & Aton 2 are compatible with both the original Aton Base and the Aton 2 Base. Extra bases can be purchased for additional vehicles. The original Aton bases can be purchased separately for $99. The Aton 2 base is available separately for $149.

As mentioned in the blog post about Cybex updates from the ABC Kids Expo, the Aton Q is the next version to be released. It features the same load leg and LSP system, with the LSP now being placed on the shell of the carrier itself instead of the handle. It also boasts added head protection and a no-rethread harness.

I’ve been using the Aton 2 for 6 weeks now and am thoroughly impressed. I used a Chicco Keyfit for Liam (Shrimp the First) and while I loved it as well, the features on the Aton 2 are well worth the high price point of the seat. The installation is amazingly easy, the seat is very lightweight and compact, which makes it nice for my shamefully weak arms to haul around. It’s very easy to dock to the base once you find that sweet spot. And my favorite? The release from the base. It’s a two step process but somehow is the easiest release I’ve ever dealt with in an infant seat. The release button is on the base itself instead of the seat, which makes it easier for me to get to. You push in a portion of the button, and then push in the button itself. It sounds complicated but it’s seriously the easiest release ever, and in the million times I’ve taken this seat off the base, it’s never once gotten hung up. When you have Gumby arms like me (hey, gym-lover I am not), the last thing you want to be doing is trying multiple times to lift an infant seat off a base with a baby in it while juggling a diaper bag and shopping bags in the crook of your arm. This feature isn’t unique to the Aton 2, but I just had to rave about it.

The LSP system is pretty rockin’ too.  It seems simple, but Cybex states it’s actually a very effective safety perk added to the seat. You only engage the system if the carseat is installed in one of the outboard seating positions in the vehicle. If the seat is installed in the center seating position then you don’t need to take this extra step. It’s easy to use since you literally just flip it up on the side of the handle near the door, but I will admit I am sometimes flustered from the screaming baby (if he hadn’t fallen out of my body I would think he’s adopted since he hates car seats) and the non-stop questions from older brother Liam while we are loading up in the car and I forget to flip it up. It also hurts your leg like crazy if you forget to push it down when removing the seat from the car and you bump the heavy baby-occupied seat against your thigh (no, you’re not supposed to leave it up when carrying it, just thought I’d mention this since uh, maybe it happened. To someone. Yeah…someone). I think in 6 weeks I’ve admittedly forgotten to flip it up twice, which I guess isn’t too bad. Don’t flog me Cybex! Sleep deprivation is to blame here.

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The load leg is actually the main reason I bought this seat in the first place. To me, the innovation of this addition is priceless. And it really doesn’t require additional effort. Just squeeze the lever, the foot drops down, locks into place, and there ya go. Just make sure it’s flat on the floor and not on a hump and that it’s not lifting the base off the seat. The leg telescopes in and out to adjust for different heights in vehicles.

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I have a Mamas and Papas Urbo stroller, and it snaps in beautifully with the Maxi Cosi adapter. It makes for a great ride because the seat is so light!

Now for my gripes. I know, I know. Nothing is perfect. But there are some things worth mentioning. First is a common complaint: the canopy. It definitely leaves something to be desired. It doesn’t extend very far, so it doesn’t do a whole lot of canopy-ing (yes, that is a new word). However, I do like the material and the fact that it’s out of the way when folded back instead of flopping around like on some other infants seats.

Secondly, we have the chest clip. It’s really my biggest complaint because it’s, well, big. It looks absolutely massive on my newborn, and he tends to get his hands caught behind it and that makes him scream. I also did a little experiment after talking with Kecia and found that the chest clip actually takes up quite a bit of slack on the harness. I tightened the harness, took the clip off, and was able to pinch a good amount of harness in my hand with it off. That’s no problem with the clip on as it’s supposed to be, but it does make me more mindful of making sure that harness is snug. The harness straps were literally falling off Declan’s shoulders without the chest clip, so it’s definitely needed (it’s required by Cybex but you know, curious minds…). I just wish it wasn’t so big! Due to it’s size, my tiny little guy is able to push his own chest clip down in his fits of rage in the car. His little hands get caught behind it, and he fights and fights till the clip moves down and I discover it when I go to get him out. I try to swaddle his hands down with a blanket after buckling him in, but I won’t be able to do that much longer.

Snug and tight!

Snug and tight!

Without clip. You can see it slides off his little shoulders.

Without clip. You can see it slides off his little shoulders.

Bad cell phone shot, but this is how I found him after a trip to the store. I now swaddle his arms down with a muslin blanket, or tuck it over the clip so he can't get caught on it.

Bad cell phone shot, but this is how I found him after a trip to the store. I now swaddle his arms down with a muslin blanket, or tuck it over the clip so he can’t get caught on it.

 

Despite this seat being rated from 4lbs, I’m hesitant to recommend it for low birth weight babies due to the fit of the harness on my son. While it does fit him, I don’t see the harness straps staying on the shoulders of a baby smaller than him. I also think the chest clip would be excessively large in relation to the baby’s chest, and may not provide the proper positioning of the harness on the shoulders.  Of course every baby is shaped differently, but judging by how it fits my full term baby, I would be hesitant in recommending it for a smaller one.

Lastly, I need to mention some common complaints people have had with tightening the harness while on the base. Some have said it’s difficult to do, and that it gets hung up. I typically put him in the seat in the house, and I also pull the harness taut around him through the back of the seat before pulling the adjuster strap, but I have tried it on the base without pulling through the back of the seat. It’s not as smooth as when I pull it taught first, but it’s pretty seamless and I’ve had no issues with it getting hung up on the base.

In my 2005 CR-V

In my 2005 CR-V. The toys hanging from the handle are soft stuffed toys with no plastic parts.

 

All in all, I definitely recommend this seat. Love it for it’s ease of use, innovations, and adorableness. If Declan wasn’t such a pill in the car, I’m sure he’d give it a baby-thumbs up as well. I will admit I’m having some cravings for the Aton Q, and it makes me feel like I do when the latest iPhone comes out. However, the Aton 2 fills that little infant seat niche in my heart, and I’m starting to think I have a growing crush on Cybex.

More information can be found on the Cybex website: http://www.regallager.com/cybex/cybexaton_2.aspx