Author Archive

Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Review – Safety, Comfort & Style

Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 - Devoted Black frontMaxi-Cosi is Europe’s most popular brand of premium carseats. Even though the Maxi-Cosi carseats sold here in the U.S. are not the same seats that are sold in Europe (due to different standards and regulations), American parents are embracing the brand and everything that it stands for – safety, comfort and style.

Let’s clarify that there are three different models of the Maxi-Cosi Pria convertible that are currently available. Four, if you count the less expensive Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 model which is similar but lacks some of the features found on the various Pria models.

Maxi-Cosi Pria collage


Differences between Pria 70 & Pria 85 models: Both models have no re-thread harness; deep head wings with Air Protect technology for enhanced side-impact protection; push-on LATCH connectors; 3 position base and integrated cup holder. Pria 70 and Pria 85 models share the same shell but have different minimum and maximum weight limits. Both seats have Air Protect cushions on the headwings but the shape of those cushions are different. Pria 85 model offers harness holders, a cover that is easier to remove and both machine washable and dryer safe.

Pictured below Pria 70 (left) & Pria 85 (right)

Pria 70 (Blue) ; Pria 85 (Pink) Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 and Pria 80 - naked

Pria 85 Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs., 40″ or less, top of child’s head must be below top of the headrest
  • Forward-facing:  22-85 lbs., at least 1 year old, up to 52″ tall

Pria 85 Features:

  • No-rethread harness with 9 height positions
  • Air Protect® technology for enhanced side-impact protection
  • 3-position base
  • Premium push-on LATCH connectors
  • Harness holder clips (hold harness out of the way while loading and unloading)
  • Easy to remove cover is both machine washable & dryer safe
  • Premium fabrics
  • Separate harness strap covers for kids over 65 lbs. (only required if seat is NOT tethered)
  • Integrated cup holder
  • FAA approved for use in aircraft
  • 10 year lifespan before expiration


  • Lowest harness height: 10″
  • Highest harness height: 18″
  • 3 crotch strap buckle position: 4″, 5″, 6″
  • Max internal height measurement (with headrest in highest position): 26″
  • Widest point: 20″ (across cupholder area)
  • Back of shell width: 11″ (very narrow)
  • Base dimensions: 11″ wide x 13″ long
  • Weight: 18.8 lbs. (according to my digital bathroom scale)

Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 - bottom harness height Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 - tallest harness height Pria 85 - back of shell

Each Pria 85 model comes with optional harness strap covers and a buckle pad. The buckle pad is designed in a way that it stays put so it won’t come off all the time and be easily lost. As a mom it was always the little things like that that I really appreciated! There is a second set of harness strap covers that are hidden in a little pocket on the side of the cover. Those harness pads are ONLY required if you have a kid over 65 lbs. and the seat is NOT tethered. If you have installed the Pria 85 using the tether strap there is no need to ever use those strap covers. The good news is that the extra strap covers are very similar to the regular strap covers so if you ever did need to use them, they shouldn’t be too obnoxious or annoying. The only difference is that the over 65 lbs. covers have grippy material inside and a strip of grippy material on the back.

photo 1 (19) photo 2 (19)

Installation Comments:

Mythbusting: Can you install a carseat too tightly?

SK300 installed with lap/shoulder seatbelt Can a carseat be installed too tightly?

It’s a common question so we wanted to really explore the issue – look at the facts, talk to carseat engineers who know more than we do and set the record straight once and for all.

First, a little background info – when carseats are crash tested in a lab the tension on the belt webbing has to measure between 53.5 N (newtons) and 67 N.  That tension is measured by a load cell device placed on the webbing. This is done to maintain repeatability between tests. The tension range was chosen because it represents the average tightness achieved by parents in the field.

In the real world no one expects parents and caregivers to measure the tension on the seatbelt or lower LATCH belt webbing that is securing their carseat. CPS Technicians are taught that a carseat is properly installed if it moves less than 1” from side-to-side and front-to-back when you check for tightness at the beltpath.

But is it possible to install your carseat too tightly? To the point of it being a detriment instead of a benefit?

Survey says…. No! (with a few exceptions)

In most cases, there is no such thing as too tight – only too loose. If you’re just using typical human strength and maybe a few installation tricks like getting behind a rear-facing carseat or using the reclining seatback trick, you do not have to worry about getting the seatbelt or LATCH strap too tight. Carseats and seatbelts are not delicate objects that are going to be compromised by a really tight installation.

Base installation technique

We know that the tighter you can couple the carseat to the vehicle, the better. This is why rigid LATCH/ISOFIX attachments are so beneficial. On the flip side – the difference between a carseat installed rock-solid (with seatbelt or flexible LATCH attachments) and a carseat installed acceptably with just a little bit of movement at the beltpath, in a crash, is negligible. Don’t convince yourself that a rock-solid install is going to keep that seat tight during a moderate to severe crash – but it’s certainly better than starting out in a crash with a loose installation!

However, there could be cases where too tight is possible. If you’re using a mechanical tightening system that is part of the carseat (or something like a Mighty Tite device) and going overboard with it or applying brute strength to a force-multiplying system like Chicco’s SuperCinch system on the NextFit, you could actually damage the seatbelt, the retractor or the carseat. In cases where you do have a mechanical device or a force-multiplying system you really need to take it easy and carefully follow the directions in the manual.

With typical carseats, if you can use a few tricks or installation techniques and achieve a really solid installation, that’s great. But if you’re fighting with the install and the best you can achieve is just a little bit of side-to-side or front-to-back movement and it’s not more than 1″ of movement, that’s perfectly okay too. It’s not always possible to get a rock-solid install but if you can – there is certainly nothing wrong or bad about that. For the record, in my vehicle with stiff leather seats, I almost always need to put a knee in a forward-facing carseat to get an acceptable install. Occasionally I need to put a knee in the seat AND use the reclining seatback trick. These are easy things for me to do quickly and it sure beats wrestling with an install for 20 minutes.

To clarify, I don’t always need to put my knee in a forward-facing carseat – but when I do, I certainly don’t feel like I’m doing something wrong.

Ultimately, you always want to read and follow the carseat manufacturer’s recommendations. There are situations where getting the seatbelt too tight will prevent you from closing a lockoff (or a Britax ClickTight compartment) or perhaps a lockoff will pop open because there is too much tension on the belt. There are also situations where a LATCH belt with hook connectors is so tight that you can’t get enough slack in the belt to loosen it when you have to take it out. (Tip: if this happens on a vehicle seat that reclines – recline the seat back and that should introduce enough slack to allow you to loosen the LATCH belt). Obviously, in these cases you have a compelling circumstance and you may need to lighten up a little on your regular installation technique.

Bottom line: Unless there is some compelling reason not to, get the carseat as tight as you can with *reasonable* effort but don’t feel guilty if you can’t get it rock-solid. On the flip side, it’s not bad or wrong if you can get that sucker installed like it’s part of the car with reasonable effort.

Evenflo Platinum Symphony DLX & ProComfort Triumph *Giveaway*!

candy-heartHappy Valentine’s Day!!!

How do we love thee? Let me count the ways…

We know we have the most awesome, most thoughtful, most caring readers and followers and we love you all for that! We also know that our most awesome, most thoughtful, most caring readers and followers love giveaways so we thought this would be the best way to show you how much we love and appreciate you.

For this promotion we’ve partnered with our generous friends at Evenflo to give away not one, but two awesome carseats! A Platinum Symphony DLX in the “Emerson” fashion and a ProComfort Triumph in the “Hutchinson” fashion. The first place winner will get their choice of seats. The second place winner will get the seat not chosen by the first place winner. Since both seats are similar in a lot of ways – we thought that was a reasonable way to handle this double giveaway.

The Platinum Symphony DLX All-in-One offers “e3″ Side-Impact protection, self-ratcheting SureLATCH connectors, infinite slide harness adjuster, buckle pockets and Outlast® temperature-regulating fabric.

Evenflo Symphony Platinum - EmersonEvenflo OUTLAST thermal-image

Outlast® technology, originally developed for NASA, utilizes phase change materials that absorb, store and release heat for optimal thermal comfort.This technology has the ability to:

  • Actively absorb and store excess heat, helping to reduce overheating
  • Allow the child to stay at a balanced temperature and prevent chilling during the cooler months; if the child’s skin temperature drops, the stored heat is released
  • Reduces perspiration so the child stays drier

The Evenflo Platinum Symphony DLX is an “All-in-One″ seat rated from 5-40 lbs rear-facing, 22-65 lbs forward-facing, and 40-110 lbs in booster mode. It works well in all modes of usage but it won’t be the last seat your child will ever need because it’s not particularly tall in booster mode.  The infinite slide harness adjuster is a fabulous feature – especially if you want a seat that you can easily adjust to fit multiple kids. Plus, it’s very easy to install with the SuperLATCH connectors which is a real bonus if you move your seats from vehicle-to-vehicle frequently. For more details please check out our full review of the Symphony DLX here.

The Evenflo Triumph ProComfort features an Infinite-Slide harness adjuster, Buckle Pockets and Gel Matrix technology to reduce pressure points and keep kids comfortable even on long rides.

Evenflo Triumph ProComfort - greenEvenflo ProComfort Gel Matrix Pressure Relief graphic

The Evenflo ProComfort Triumph convertible is rated from 5-40 lbs rear-facing and 22-65 lbs forward-facing. The infinite slide harness adjuster is a fabulous feature – especially if you want a seat that you can easily adjust to fit multiple kids. The Gel Matrix technology in the cover reduces pressure points and helps to keep your child comfortable. The buckle pockets are a handy feature and the cover is very easy to remove – and machine washable too! For more details please check out our full review of the Evenflo ProComfort Triumph.

I’m happy to report that both seats are made in the USA at Evenflo’s facilities in Piqua, Ohio!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the fine print (these may be in addition to the rules listed in the Rafflecopter terms): Winner must have a USA shipping address to claim the prize. Only two prizes will be awarded. You are not eligible if you have previously won a carseat or any sponsored giveaway at CarseatBlog.com during 2014 or 2015 (our own giveaways of goody bags and such don’t count if no sponsor was mentioned). Our blog writers and editors are also not eligible. Only one entry per household/family, please. If you leave more than one comment, only the first one will count. We reserve the right to deem any entry as ineligible for any reason, though this would normally only be done in the case of a violation of the spirit of the rules above. We also reserve the right to edit/update the rules for any reason. The contest will close on March 4, 2015, and two random winners will be chosen shortly thereafter. The first place winner will have their choice of either product. The second winner will receive the product not chosen by the first place winner. If a winner is deemed ineligible based on shipping restrictions or other issues or does not respond to accept the prize within 7 days, a new winner will be selected. Good luck!

Please note: If this is your first comment at CarseatBlog, or if you are using a different computer/device or a new email address, your comment may not appear immediately. It will not be lost; it may just take a few hours for it to be approved. Thank you for your understanding and patience as this is the only way we have to reduce comment spam.


CarseatBlog’s Recommended Carseats List – 2015 Update

The-Best-RibbonIt’s been a little over 7 months since we last updated our list of recommended child restraints. In that time some models have been updated, some discontinued and new products have been introduced. A few weeks ago we started the process of revising and updating the entire list and after much thought and discussion we arrived at a consensus. Behold our Updated 2015 List of Recommended Carseats!

We acknowledge that many certified child passenger safety technicians have had it ingrained upon them that they are supposed to act completely neutral toward child restraints. All current seats pass the same FMVSS 213 testing, they are all safe when used correctly, etc., etc. In the course to become certified, most techs were told never to tell a parent that one child seat or brand is better than any other. Instead, technicians are instructed to tell parents that the best seat is the one that fits their child, installs well in their vehicle and is easiest for them to use correctly. Nothing wrong with that.

However, the reality is that once you’ve installed even a dozen different seats, you quickly learn that there are real differences. Some child restraints do tend to install better in general, while some really are easier to use in general. Features like lockoffs for seatbelt installations and premium push-on lower LATCH connectors do make a difference in the vast majority of installations but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every seat that lacks those features is a bust or not worthy of your consideration.

Many years ago, the mighty NHTSA started recommending seats. They didn’t make these recommendations based upon crash testing. No, they were made upon a subjective determination of factors relating to ease-of-use. Ironically, these factors were no more likely to apply to someone’s child and vehicle than the recommendations of an experienced technician! Enter another respected institution, the IIHS. A few years back they began rating booster seats based on fit to a standardized 6 year old dummy. Again, no crash testing whatsoever. Again, no guarantees that the results would apply to your child in your vehicle.

So, who is CarseatBlog to go recommending specific child seats? Well, Heather and Kecia are very experienced Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructors. Darren has been a certified technician for 14 years now and has like a zillion websites on the topic. Our newest blog writers, Jennie (an experienced CPS Technician), Alicia (nurse and former tech), and Andrea (long-time CPS Tech and Tech Proxy) are moms with younger kids who can actually use many of the seats that our own kids have long outgrown. We also like to think that we’ve earned a respectable reputation in the child passenger safety community of manufacturers, agencies and advocates.

Most importantly, though, we’re just parents who have used a lot of different car seats. Collectively, we have 15 kids ranging in age from 1 to 17. We’ve been through every stage, survived every transition, and personally used an astonishing number of different carseats and boosters. So, about 6 years ago, CarseatBlog broke the unspoken rule and began providing expert recommendations for carseats to parents. Like many other products we use daily, we know which ones we tend to like in general, which ones we’d use without reservation for our own kids and which ones we are comfortable recommending to CarseatBlog readers and visitors. And like parents, we know all carseats aren’t created equal!

With all that said, please take our recommendations with a grain of salt. They are merely opinions, after all. And while we did thoughtfully consider the pros and cons of each seat and combine that with our personal experiences with the product – there’s no crash testing involved. Some seats were omitted because we opted to include a similar model from the same manufacturer. For others, we simply didn’t have enough experience with the product yet to form an opinion. There are a number of products that we don’t mention just because a list of every seat we like would be too inclusive. Carseats and boosters not on this list may still be worthy of your consideration! Conversely, some seats we do list may just not work well for you, your child or your vehicle. We’re not saying these are the best or safest choices in child car seats, we’re just saying they’re models we think you should consider. If nothing else, it’s a good place to start when you are carseat or booster shopping!