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Rear-Facing Carseats With European Beltpath Routing

imageEuropean beltpath routing. If you’re not already familiar with the term – let me explain. It references a particular way to install a rear-facing convertible or infant carseat without using the base. European belt routing is only for installations using the vehicle’s lap/shoulder seatbelt. It does not apply to installations using the lower LATCH anchors or to installation of the infant seat base. Only a few seats sold here in the U.S. allow European belt routing but it has become a popular feature so we decided to make a list of which seats currently available allow it.

Benefits of European Belt Routing:

When the shoulder belt is routed behind the shell of a rear-facing child restraint it helps to maintain a semi-upright position during a frontal crash. Limiting the downward rotation that a rear-facing seat makes during a frontal crash has several potential benefits. Maintaining a more upright angle during a crash means the impact loads are distributed more to the back of the child – which is ideal. The more a rear-facing seat rotates downward in a crash the more the impact loads are applied to the child’s shoulders and neck – as it stretches, pulling away from the body. The other potential benefit of maintaining a more upright orientation during a crash is that it may reduce the likelihood of the carseat striking the back of the front seat or console directly in front of it.

Installation Issues & Incompatibilities:

The biggest potential issue with Euro beltpath routing is that some seatbelts aren’t long enough to accommodate this routing. If that winds up being the case in your vehicle – you can install the seat without the base using the traditional seatbelt installation method instead. None of the carseats that allow Euro bethpath routing actually require it. They may recommend it, but they don’t mandate it. That’s because the carseat manufacturers understand that it’s not possible in all vehicles due to seatbelt length which varies from vehicle to vehicle.

 

Rear-Facing Carseats that Allow Euro Beltpath Routing:

Infant (Rear-Facing Only) Seats

Model Rear-Facing Wt Limits Rear-Facing Ht Limits
Cybex Aton 4-32 lbs. up to 30"
Cybex Aton 2 4-35 lbs. up to 30"
Cybex Aton Q 4-35 lbs. up to 30"
Graco Classic Connect SnugRide 35* 4-35 lbs. 32" or less
Maxi-Cosi Mico AP 5-22 lbs. 19-29"
Maxi-Cosi Mico NXT 5-22 lbs. 19-29"
Nuna Pipa 4-35 lbs less than 32"
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 4-35 lbs up to 32"
UPPABaby Mesa 4-35 lbs 32" or less
www.CarseatBlog.com  © 2014 All Rights Reserved

*Graco now officially allows European beltpath routing ONLY with the Classic Connect Graco SnugRide 35. This update is retroactive and applies to all Classic Connect SnugRide 32/35 models.

 

Convertible Seats

Model Rear-Facing Wt Limits Rear-Facing Ht Limits
Combi Coccoro 3-33 lbs up to 36"
www.CarseatBlog.com  © 2014 All Rights Reserved

coccoro euro beltpath routing

 

Hot Amazon Carseat & Booster Deals for a Cold, Miserable February

I hate February, I’ll admit it. It’s my least favorite month of the year and the fact that it’s a short month is little consolation. It’s 28 days too long as far as I’m concerned. But Amazon seems to like the month of February since they tend to have really good deals this month year after year – at least on carseats. A few of them are listed below. If you see a good deal on something you want or need – I suggest you act promptly since Amazon is fickle and some of these prices may be here today and gone tomorrow. I’ll update the page throughout the month as I notice new deals pop up so check back often. We have complete and thorough reviews on most of these seats. See a list of all our carseat and booster reviews here.

Infant Seats:

Graco SnugRide 30 Classic - Dragonfly

Safety 1st onBoard 35 in Orion Blue  $83.18 with free shipping and free returns

Safety 1st onBoard 35 in Orion Pink  $88.06 with free shipping and free returns

Graco SnugRide 30 Classic Connect in Dragonfly, Forecaster or Lexi fashions – each under $90 with with free shipping and free returns

 

Convertible Seats:

Evenflo Sym65 - Porter

Evenflo Symphony 65 DLX in Porter (Green)  $159.99 with free shipping and free returns

Evenflo Symphony DLX in Ocala (Red)  for $168.94 with free shipping and free returns

Clek Foonf in Phantom $333.25 with free shipping and free returns

 

Combination Seats:

Graco Nautilus Matrix

Evenflo SecureKid 300 in Loy fashion  $93.72 with free shipping and free returns

Graco Nautilus in Matrix fashion  for $120 with free shipping and free returns

Recaro Performance Sport (select fashions)  for $199 with free shipping and free returns

 

Booster Seats:

B540 Booster

BubbleBum inflatable booster for $29.99 with free shipping and free returns

The First Years B540 Folding Booster in Sticks and Stones  for $65.21 with free shipping and free returns

 

 

Chicco NextFit Convertible Updates – October 2013

All Chicco NextFit convertible carseats made during or after October 2013 have some minor updates. The harness strap covers are now entirely optional and remove easily thanks to Velcro on the sides. These new strap covers lack the grippy material that lined the back of the original strap covers. The new strap covers are also slightly shorter as you can see in the comparison picture.

 

 

The 2-position chest clip can now be used in either the more narrow or wider setting with no restrictions – use your best judgement. Newborns and younger babies with narrow shoulders will benefit from the more narrow setting which will draw the harness straps closer together and keep them positioned properly over the baby’s small shoulders. Older babies and bigger kids can use the wider setting. When you switch is entirely up to you.

DSCN5376

 

The crotch strap has also been lengthened just a little bit. The new crotch strap is almost (but not quite) 1″ longer. Replacement [longer] crotch straps will be available after March 1.

  photo (64)

 

You can order NEW style harness pads directly from Chicco here.

Chicco NextFit -new harness strap covers

If you own a Chicco NextFit made prior to October 2013 – you may remove the harness strap covers that came with your seat, if desired. Please carefully follow the removal directions provided by Chicco here:  http://www.chiccousa.com/nextfit/pdf/NextFit_Pad_Installation.PDF

The replacement directions in the link above were written prior to the update so you can ignore the language that says “Never use your NextFit car seat without shoulder pads”. Just follow the directions on how to remove them, put the chest clip and buckle tongues back on properly and reattach the harness safely. *At the end of the process, once the harness pin has been fully re-inserted, check to make sure that the plastic tab is back in its original position preventing the pin from moving forward again.

There is also a video detailing the process here: http://www.chiccousa.com/nextfit/installation.aspx  (the link to the video can be found in two places: on the left side of your screen under “Shoulder Pad Replacement Kit” or under the Rear-Facing Videos “Installing Shoulder Pad Replacement Kit”) Again, this is an existing video meant to detail the process of swapping out the original harness strap covers with identical replacement strap covers so you can ignore the language that warns you to never use this product without the harness pads.

 

Recommended Carseats for Airplane Travel

airplane‘Tis the season for holiday travel and for many families with small children, that includes flying somewhere. Since so many carseats are heavy and bulky, it makes sense in some cases to invest in a lightweight carseat just for traveling. Plus, this spares you the hassle of re-installing your main carseat when you get back to your own car, weary from traveling.

Ideally, a spare travel carseat should be lightweight (under 15 lbs), easy to install with the lap-only belt on an airplane seat and narrow enough to fit in a typical coach seat. With that criteria in mind, here are several options to consider.

 

Infant carseats – no need to buy anything new as long as your current infant seat can be installed without the base. I guess it’s possible to drag the base with you on the plane but that’s just making life harder than it needs to be. As long as your infant seat allows installation without the base (most do but there are some exceptions so make sure you know for sure), it’s easy to install the carrier rear-facing with the lap-only belt on the plane.

KF-airplane  Toddler on plane

 

If you’re leaving the base at home – make sure you practice baseless installation a few times so when you arrive at your destination you know how to install the carseat properly in the car, using a typical lap/shoulder belt.  Here is a video that demonstrates my technique for quick and easy installations of an infant carseat without the base.

 

Stay clear of products like THIS and THIS. These products are NOT acceptable alternatives to using an actual carseat on the plane to restrain your child.

 

Convertible seats - if you intend to install the convertible seat rear-facing on the plane then you’ll be best served by a seat that is fairly compact which will increase your chances of the seat actually fitting rear-facing in the space you have to work with.

 Cherry Pie

Combi Coccoro: Rear-facing 3-33 lbs, or up to 36″ tall. Forward-facing 20-40 lbs., or up to 40″ tall

Cosco Scenera: Rear-facing 5-35 lbs, or up to 36″ tall. Forward-facing 22-40 lbs., or up to 40″ tall

Evenflo Tribute: Rear-facing 5-40 lbs, or up to 37″ tall. Forward-facing 22-40 lbs., or up to 40″ tall

r - stock

Safety 1st OnSide Air: Rear-facing 5-40 lbs, or up to 40″ tall. Forward-facing 22-40 lbs., or up to 43″ tall

Safety 1st Guide 65: Rear-facing 5-40 lbs, or up to 40″ tall. Forward-facing 22-65 lbs, or up to 43″ tall

 

For forward-facing kids, you’ll be best served by a seat that’s lightweight, fairly narrow, with tall top harness slots and a weight limit of 50 lbs. or more. Keep in mind that combination seats (harness/booster) can only be used on the plane in harnessed mode. Booster seats (or combination seats used without the 5-pt harness in booster mode) are not FAA certified and cannot be used on an airplane because all booster seats require a lap/shoulder belt, which airplanes don’t have.

 Keller

Evenflo Maestro: Forward-facing only. With 5-point harness from 22-50 lbs., or up to 50″ tall

 300 Loy

Evenflo Secure Kid 300/LX: Forward-facing only. With 5-point harness from 22-65 lbs., or up to 50″ tall

Evenflo SureRide: Rear-facing 5-40 lbs., or up to 40″ tall. Forward-facing 22-65 lbs., or up to 54″ tall

CARES Harness*: Harness for kids over 1 year old who weigh between 22-44 lbs., and are under 40″ tall. *CARES harness is certified for use on the plane ONLY. It’s very useful for situations where you don’t need a carseat to use on the ground when you arrive at your destination. We have a review of the CARES Harness here.

 

If you want to travel with your usual carseat, or just want to make it easier to travel with any carseat in general  - there are many products that can help you transport it through the airport and onto the plane. Some are just generic luggage carts – other products like the Brica Roll ‘n Go Carseat Transporter, the Go-Go Travelmate products and the Traveling Toddler Strap are made specifically for a carseat.  There are also carseat travel bags with wheels but obviously you can’t put your kid inside it too. Britax, Peg Perego, Clek & Diono all make travel accessories specifically for their carseats too.

 

For more info on flying with kids and carseats – check out our related blogs on the subject:

Carseat on airplane

 

 

Lap Babies on Airplane – A Warning All Parents Must See

Flying with a Car Seat? Know Your Rights!

Flying with Kids & Carseats – the checked carseat controversy

Airplanes, Carseats, and Kids—What You Need to Know Pt. 1

Airplanes, Carseats, and Kids—What You Need to Know Pt. 2

An Open Letter to the FAA