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Britax B-Safe 35 Rear-Facing Only Infant Seat Review

Britax B-Safe 35 - red centerBritax has taken its popular B-SAFE and updated it to be modern, sleek, and able to handle bigger children. The new Britax B-Safe 35 has a new deeper shell that’s designed to keep your child safe from flying debris and give more legroom with a base that is easier to adjust and install. Britax has brought their signature SafeCell Impact Protection to the base so the smallest of riders can benefit from this technology. These safety items, plus other creature comforts, make for a feature-laden rear-facing only carseat.

Weight and Height Limits:

  • Rear-facing 4-35 lbs., AND 32” tall or less, AND child’s head is 1” below top of head rest

B-Safe 35 Overview (New features are marked in bold):

  • Complete Side Impact Protection – deep protective shell is designed to absorb crash forces
  • SafeCell impact-absorbing steel frame base – these red cells compress in a crash to absorb crash energy
  • Energy absorbing EPP foam
  • Removable head pillow
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions (before 11 lbs./after 11 lbs.)
  • Ergonomic handle to make carrying comfortable
  • Deep seat pan
  • Deluxe push-on style lower LATCH connectors
  • Built-in slide lockoffs for installation with seatbelt
  • Dual recline angle indicators
  • Extra-large canopy
  • Smooth bottom base
  • FAA-approved for use on aircraft
  • 6 yr lifespan before seat expires
  • Made in the USA!

B-Safe 35 black B-Safe 35 red B-Safe 35 sandstone

B-Safe 35 Measurements

Harness slots: 5”, 7”, 9”, 11”
External widest point: 17 ¼”
Width of base at belt path: 13 3/8”
Width of base at widest point: 13 ½”
Internal shell height: 19 ½”
Crotch strap depth: 4”, 6”
Seat depth: 12”
Carrier weight: 10.4 lbs.

Installation

Installation Basics

  • If you need more recline than the extended foot on the base can give you, you can use pool noodles. Squeeze the red handle at the front of the base and push the recline foot back into the base before using the noodle(s). The LATCH straps are short; when used in combination with multiple pool noodles and deeply recessed lower LATCH anchors, the LATCH connectors may not reach the anchors easily or at all. Switch to using the seat belt for installation.
  • Pulling the slack out of the LATCH straps is different than on any other seat just because the slack is attached to the center of the base. The leftover strap stands up in the base, but it’s easy to push it down so there’s no interference with the carrier.
  • Lap/shoulder belt installation is slick. Place the seat belt through the belt path, pull the shoulder belt tight and slide it into the red lockoff on the side opposite of the buckle. The only hiccup in doing this will be that the space for sliding the shoulder belt up is a little on the small side; otherwise, the belt slides in easily and stays in the lockoff.B-Safe 35 baseless
  • If installing without the base, you’ll need to use a triangle of taped noodles or a big, tightly rolled towel to keep the carrier level. The curved shape of the B-Safe 35 makes it want to slide down as you tighten the seat belt. The B-Safe 35 does NOT support a Euro-style belt routing baseless installation.
  • Current trends for rear-facing carseats are anti-rebound bars (ARBs) for energy management. You’ll notice the B-Safe 35 doesn’t have one. Britax has plans to release a base with an ARB. They don’t anticipate that this will be an add-on feature. Date of release is to be determined at this point.

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:

Britax only allows lower LATCH connector installation of the B-Safe 35 in the center seating position when the vehicle manufacturer has designated it as a LATCH location.

Inflatable Seat Belts

Britax has determined that the B-Safe 35 cannot be installed with inflatable seat belts found in some Ford, Lincoln, and Mercedes vehicles, and in some airplane seat belts.

B-Safe 35 LATCH installed B-Safe 35 base LATCH installed B-Safe 35 base seat belt installed B-Safe 35 base seat belt lockoff

Extra bases for the B-Safe 35 can be purchased, if needed. MSRP is $99 but you might be able to find lower prices online.

Fit to Child

B-Safe 35 preemie without head pad circled B-Safe 35 Sam

Fit to the 4 lbs. preemie doll is excellent with the head pad, which is good since the B-Safe 35 starts at 4 lbs. (though we know that not all 4 lbs. seats are great 4 lbs. seats). The preemie doll actually fits to the bottom slots without needing the head pad, but the harness is too loose (see giant pinch in doll’s right shoulder strap). Fit to my 14 lbs. 7 mo. old model was good as well. He’s a tall-torsoed boy and had lots of headroom.

Cover/Maintenance/Ease of Use

Instructions for cleaning the cover are to hand wash with mild soap and water and to line dry. I suggest rolling it tightly in an absorbent towel to get the extra wet out before hanging to dry. Getting the cover off was easy, but tucking it back in around the plastic seat belt guides was tricky. You will have to unthread the harness. And remove the buckle. Sorry.

B-Safe 35 without cover

The slot for the buckle is too narrow for easy removal. In order to remove the buckle—which you must do to switch from the back position to the front position once your child is 11 lbs.—you must turn the metal slide on its side and push it up through the bottom of the seat. It’s pretty standard fare. Except that the slot is too narrow so you can’t actually get enough buckle webbing through to turn the metal slide on its side. It can be done, but not in seconds like on other seats. More like minutes and it will leave you with sore fingertips. Otherwise it’s a top quality IMMI buckle for those who keep track.

Speaking of the harness, it’s easy to adjust the harness tightness. Yeah, you’ll have to manually adjust the harness slot height as your child grows, but you don’t do it often and it saves precious weight on something you have to haul around.

FAA-Approval/Lifespan/Crash Guidelines

The B-Safe 35 is FAA-approved; however, the base is not approved for installation on the plane. I suggest if you become very familiar with installing the carseat baseless and leave the base at home altogether. Bring a towel in your luggage to roll up and use to make sure the recline angle of the carrier stays level.

The B-Safe 35 has a lifespan of 6 years and Britax follows NHTSA’s crash guidelines of replacing after a major crash only.

Stroller Compatibility

The B-Safe 35 & 35 Elite models use Britax’s Click & Go system to fit on any of their strollers. The B-Safe 35 is available as a Travel System paired with the B-Agile stroller. It is also compatible with all Britax & BOB strollers that work with the original B-Safe model. This includes the Britax Affinity, B-Ready, B-Agile, and B-Agile Double strollers. Note: The B-Agile Double can only accept one carseat. The B-Safe 35 & 35 Elite carseats are also compatible with the BOB Motion stroller using the Click & Go attachments. With the Britax adapter bar you can also make this carseat compatible with all the other BOB strollers. Compatibility with other stroller brands will depend on whether that manufacturer offers a Britax adapter.

Britax B-Safe 35 - travel system BOB Motion stroller Britax Affinity Stroller

Advantages

  • Deep shell designed to absorb crash forces and protect child from debris
  • Energy absorbing EPP foam
  • SafeCell impact absorbing base with steel frame
  • 2 crotch strap positions—before 11 lbs. and after 11 lbs.
  • Easy-to-adjust harness
  • Ergonomic handle to make carrying comfortable
  • Deep seat pan
  • Deluxe push-on style lower LATCH connectors
  • Built-in slide lockoffs
  • Extra-large canopy
  • Made in the USA!

Disadvantages

(In all fairness, these aren’t necessarily problems but I list them here to inform potential consumers of specific B-Safe 35 issues.)

  • Short LATCH straps may be a hindrance in some vehicles (but just use the easy seat belt install instead)
  • May need extra noodles/rolled towel to get optimum recline, especially when using carrier without the base
  • Buckle is difficult to move from one position to the next

Conclusion

The Britax B-Safe 35 is a nice update to the B-SAFE. Child Passenger Safety Technicians will love it for its easy to adjust recline and parents will love it for its ease-of-use. The disadvantages are relatively minor and can be worked around. My only wish is for better covers—the choices are a little bland, though the red is a good red. Still it’s a minor complaint considering. The built-in slide lockoffs grab the seat belt securely, the push-on lower LATCH connectors are what you expect from Britax, and the handle is comfortable in the crook of your arm. All-in-all the B-Safe 35 is a commendable and recommendable rear-facing only carseat.

 

Thank you to Britax for providing the B-Safe 35 used for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.