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Britax B-Safe 35 & B-Safe 35 Elite – Sneak Peek at New Infant Careats from Britax!

This week Britax USA will officially unveil the newest members of their carseat family – the B-Safe 35 and B-Safe 35 Elite rear-facing child safety seats.  We will have more coverage tomorrow for the official launch.  Britax will have official product pages, a press release and more information at that time as well, so if you have questions for Britax please wait to contact them until Wednesday (Nov 12)!

B-SAFE 35: Coming Soon to Amazon.com

B-SAFE 35 Elite:  Coming Soon to Amazon.com

The B-Safe 35 currently retails for $209.99 at The Right Start, the B-Safe 35 Elite retails for $249.99 at The Right Start and an extra B-Safe 35/Elite base retails for $99.99 at The Right Start.

 

B-Safe 35 Elite

Providing advanced levels of safety, comfort and convenience, the B-Safe 35 Elite is the ideal infant car seat to keep your baby safe and secure on the journey ahead. SafeCell Impact Protection surrounds your baby in safety features that work together to protect beyond the established standards. The Impact Absorbing Base absorbs crash energy and our Impact Stabilizing Steel Frame gives strength where you want it most. Complete Side Impact Protection PLUS offers an advanced layer of protection with an energy-absorbing headrest designed to keep your baby’s head and neck extra secure in the event of a crash.

To ensure the best fit, the Quick-Adjust Harness grows taller with your baby at the push of a button and our SafeCenter LATCH Installation features convenient center-pull straps that make correct installation painless. The B-Safe Elite also features an Easy-Remove Cover that pulls right off for convenient cleaning and Premium Fabrics with Plush Foam Padding for superior comfort.

The B-Safe Elite Infant Car Seat is rear-facing only (for babies 4 to 35 lbs) and has been designed to surround your baby in comfort and best-in-class safety, giving you the peace of mind to travel with confidence.

Bulleted List – Features & Benefits

Safe and Secure

  • SafeCell Impact Protection is an integrated system of safety components that work together to protect your child beyond the established standards.  Including our Impact Absorbing Base, Impact Stabilizing Steel Frame, and Complete Side Impact Protection PLUS, SafeCell means your child is surrounded in best-in-class safety.
  • SafeCell Complete Side Impact Protection PLUS gives your child an advanced layer of protection with an energy-absorbing head restraint designed to keep your baby’s head and neck extra secure.
  • SafeCell Impact Absorbing Base reduces the potential for injury by compressing to absorb crash energy
  • SafeCell Impact Stabilizing Steel Frame gives you peace of mind knowing there is strength where you want it most, at the connection point to the vehicle.
  • Made in the USA with global components

Fit & Comfort

  • Premium Fabrics with Plush Foam Padding surround your child in comfort.
  • Ergonomic Handle makes carrying comfortable for the hand or forearm.
  • Removable Infant Body Pillow ensures newborns are properly positioned and cozy.
  • Extra-Large Canopy provides sun and rain protection.

Smart & Simple

    • Streamlined Design takes up less space in your vehicle while providing best in class comfort and protection.
    • Quick-Adjust Harness grows taller with your child at the push of a button ensuring a proper fit without needing to re-thread the harness straps.
    • Easy-Remove Cover pulls free of the car seat for convenient cleaning without having to remove the harness.
    • SafeCenter LATCH Installation provides simple, convenient LATCH installation through the use of easy center-pull straps that cinch down quickly.
    • Easy-On / Easy-Off LATCH Connectors lock into place with an audible click and are easily released with the push of a button.
    • Built-in Lock-Offs ensures a snug vehicle seat belt installation with minimal effort.
    • Spring-Assisted Recline and Dual Level Indicators make setting the proper installation angle simple and easy.
    • Click & Go System featuring a quick-release handle makes for an easy and secure attachment to the any Britax stroller.
    • Easy-Release Button makes it simple to loosen harness straps.

 

B-Safe 35 Specs & Features:

  • 4-35 lbs., 32″ or less
  • 4 Sets of harness slots: 5″, 7″, 9″, 11″
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions: 4″. 6″
  • New lockoffs for installation with seatbelt
  • Deep, protective shell for enhanced SIP
  • Impact-absorbing base with SafeCell Technology
  • Center-pull lower LATCH strap installation
  • Premium push-on lower anchor connectors
  • Easy-to-read level indicators (one on each side of base)
  • Extra large canopy
  • Compact design takes up less space in vehicle
  • Wide beltpath guides for easier install without base
  • Carrier weight: 10 lbs.
  • 3 fashions: Black, Red & Sandstone

Britax B-Safe 35 - Stock red Britax B-Safe 35 - Stock red 2 Britax B-Safe 35 - base 2 Britax B-Safe 35 - base

B-Safe 35 Elite Specs & Features:

  • 4-35 lbs., 32″ or less
  • No rethread harness: 5.5″ – 11″
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions: 4″. 6″
  • New lockoffs for installation with seatbelt
  • Complete Side Impact Protection PLUS
  • Impact-absorbing base with SafeCell Technology
  • Center-pull lower LATCH strap installation
  • Premium push-on lower anchor connectors
  • Easy-to-read level indicators (one on each side of base)
  • Extra large canopy
  • Compact design takes up less space in vehicle
  • Wide beltpath guides for easier install without base
  • Carrier weight: 11.5 lbs.
  • 5 fashions: Cowmooflage, Red Pepper, Vibe, Domino, Cactus Green

Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - stock cowmoo Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - stock cow 2Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - cactus green Britax B-Safe Elite B-Agile together Britax B-Safe Elite TS

 

Stay tuned for more info from the official launch event tomorrow!

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The Safest Booster Seat for Your Child: Can IIHS Ratings Tell You Which is the Best for You?

The IIHS released its 2014 Belt Positioning Booster Seat Ratings recently. The Institute released its first results in 2008. Thirteen models were Not Recommended that year. In contrast, this year only 3 models were added for a total of just 5 boosters on the Not Recommended list. In 2008, only 10 models rated a “Best Bet”. This year, 27 new models rated a “Best Bet” making a total of 62 top performing boosters. That is great progress in a very important evaluation of safety!

It’s still important for parents to understand that the IIHS booster ratings are NOT based on crash testing results. They are also not based on a wide sampling of real-world fit evaluations with actual children who move around on their own. The ratings are standardized assessments of how well each booster fits a specific crash test dummy (6-year-old Hybrid III) in four test configurations that simulate a range of popular vehicle designs. Of course, kids and vehicles may vary significantly. So, this rating system doesn’t guarantee that a ”Best Bet” product will fit your child better than a model that is listed as “Check Fit,” especially if your child is significantly larger or smaller than the 6-year-old Hybrid III dummy (which weighs 51.6 lbs, has an overall height of almost 45″ tall, and a seated height of 25″). The same goes if your car has unusual seating or seatbelt design.

IIHS Good Belt Fit

The bottom line is that if you know how to make sure a booster fits properly on your child, in your vehicle, only you can determine the best booster for your situation, even without ratings! This is done with a simple 5-step test you can do easily in a couple minutes on your own. We do think the IIHS ratings are a great place to start when looking for a booster, but they don’t tell you anything else about the booster in regard to features or value. For that, we always suggest that parents browse CarseatBlog’s detailed reviews! For example, some boosters have poor shoulder belt guides that can catch the seatbelt and prevent it from retracting, a potentially dangerous situation. This type of problem is not identified in the IIHS testing, but we mention it in our reviews if we observe it in our testing.

All that said, the IIHS booster ratings have become a powerful shopping tool in the last 6 years. Witness the introduction of the Britax Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 a year ago. We evaluated them among the top combination booster models on the market, and they fit a wide range of children very well in both harness and booster mode. Unfortunately, the IIHS initially rated them a “Check Fit”. Many shoppers may not realize that this rating means that many kids may still fit very well in this booster in some vehicles, as we discussed in our coverage of the 2013 IIHS ratings. Britax even offered owners of the original Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 models a free SecureGuard clip that not only improves booster fit, but also provides a unique 4th point or restraint for the child.

BritaxPioneerIIHSSide2Even so, consumers have driven manufacturers to achieve the “Best Bet” rating. A few months ago, Britax released updates to these models along with the Pioneer 70, in order to obtain the top rating. You can see the design change in the photo (right). In our real world evaluation of fit, we found that the improvements from “Check Fit” to “Best Bet” can be very modest, especially on larger children who would be most likely to use booster mode in these products (photos, below).

BritaxPioneerIIHSoldA BritaxPioneerIIHSnewA


Like the IIHS vehicle crash testing program, the booster program has become an industry standard and has driven design. Some manufacturers now work with the IIHS to make sure their products will achieve Good Bet or Best Bet ratings. While the IIHS can’t predict if any specific booster will be the safest for your child, in your own vehicle, it does give you a good idea which models have the best chance to fit well! Savvy parents will also check out CarseatBlog’s detailed reviews and Recommended Carseats list for many details that the IIHS does not provide. But there’s always the question that concerns every parent:

 Should I buy a different booster because the one I have didn’t get a “Best Bet” or “Good Bet” rating?

If your kid is riding around in a booster that has a “Not Recommended” rating then you probably do need to get a different booster seat. You should still assess the situation first because there is a slim chance that maybe it’s positioning the seatbelt correctly on your child in your vehicle. But there is a good chance that it isn’t. Some seats that have been included in the “Not Recommended” list are notorious for doing a lousy job in booster mode. There is nothing wrong with them if they are combination seats being used with the 5-point harness, but in booster mode these models just don’t do a good job of positioning the seatbelt properly on many kids.

If your booster didn’t receive a “Best Bet” or even a “Good Bet” rating, it may still provide good protection for your child, but regardless, you need to check the belt fit.  If it doesn’t fit optimally, try a different seating position in your vehicle to see if it works better in a different spot. And make sure you read the instruction manual that came with your booster! You would be shocked at the number of mistakes many parents make when using booster seats. The IIHS goes strictly by the manual when it evaluates boosters and so should you, if you want your booster to perform as well as it did in their testing!

Consumer Reports on Potential Britax ClickTight Boulevard & Marathon Convertible Carseat Safety Issues

Britax ClickTight convertiblesSome New Britax ClickTight Convertible Carseats May Have Loose or Detached Harness Straps

Today Consumer Reports published an article detailing safety concerns over the new Britax Boulevard ClickTight and Marathon ClickTight convertible seats. Although not mentioned in the article, it is possible that the Advocate ClickTight models may have the same issues. We want to emphasize that this only applies to the brand new “ClickTight” convertible models. All other Britax convertibles, such as the “G4″ models, are NOT affected. Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 Combination seats with ClickTight are also NOT affected. 

Link to full CR article:

Two Britax car seats could pose safety risk
Consumer Reports finds potential problem with the Britax Boulevard ClicktTight and the Britax Marathon ClickTight

Fortunately, this should be easy for customers to remedy. In fact, the five-point harness design allows for repositioning the straps on their anchors to adjust for different-sized children. Our car seat installation experts found that if they followed Britax’s online instructions for adjusting the harness length, they were able to properly re-secure the harness strap themselves, paying particular attention to engage the straps inside the hook.

Here at CarseatBlog, we agree completely with the advice to check your Britax CT Convertible models and make a correction if necessary. Once the straps are properly secured to the anchors they should NOT be able to free themselves from the anchor. The thickness of the harness strap webbing combined with the shape/design of the anchor makes it highly unlikely that the strap could free itself from the anchor if it was attached properly in the first place. We’re not in the business of speculation but it seems highly probable that the issue with these seats is an error somewhere in the factory assembly process. 

Britax CT Infographic

 

We’ll keep you posted on this issue as more information becomes available from Britax in the near future. Parents can find basic instructions and video on how to locate and adjust the harness straps at the Britax USA Website. These videos show the basic procedure to attach the harness straps in the shorter or longer length as needed. They also demonstrate how to reattach a loose harness strap if yours is not secured properly:

In the mean time please share this info with your friends and family so we get the word out to as many Britax CT convertible owners as possible. There does not appear to be an immediate need to stop using the carseat, as it only takes a minute or two to re-attach the harness strap if it is found to be loose. In this case the only thing we need to keep children safe is information on what to look for and how to fix it!

2014 IIHS Booster Ratings: Where Does Your Booster Rank?

 

Top Rated Child Booster Seats: IIHS Awards 27 Best Bets

IIHS Booster-fitting-testParents searching for a great fitting booster won’t have to look far anymore because manufacturers are doing a great job of getting belt fit right, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The IIHS has just released their 2014 survey of 41 booster models and a record 27 models received their “Best Bet” designation, more than any other year since they began rating boosters in 2009. Belt fit is determined by fitting a 6 year old dummy in each booster and seeing how the seat belt lies across the shoulder and the thighs. The booster is then given a rating of either “Best Bet,” “Good Bet,” “Check Fit,” or “Not Recommended.”

A recent Safe Kids Worldwide survey shows that the vast majority of parents, 9 out of 10, still don’t know how long their kids should be using boosters and are moving them from booster seats when they are still too small. Parents based their decisions on things like state laws, which often lag far behind safety standards, their child’s comfort, and their spouse’s opinion. It’s often said that children need to be 4’9” (57”) tall and around age 8 to ride safely without a booster seat, but our experience here at CarseatBlog is that our children have been much taller and older than that before they fit in our seat belts well. Seat belts are designed to fit adults and children don’t become adult-sized until around ages 10-12.

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro Evenflo SecureKid  - booster mode Kids Embrace - Turtle Booster

If your older kid or tween objects to riding in a booster, try the Safety 1st Incognito Kid-Positioning Seat. It doesn’t look like a booster seat and boosts bigger kids up just enough; it’s an awesome choice for them and their carpool friends.

Jack Incognito

One thing the Safe Kids survey doesn’t address is parents who move their children to boosters too early. Moving a child from a harnessed seat to a booster, especially a backless model, before the child is big enough can be deadly. It’s especially important to follow the minimum weight limit listed for the booster seat and remember that a child should remain harnessed until age 4 at the *very* minimum. If a kid puts the shoulder belt under her arm or behind her back, she can be ejected from the booster seat in a crash.

To see if your child can ride safely without a booster seat or kid positioner, have him try the 5-Step Test:

        1. Does the child sit all the way back on the vehicle seat?
        2. Are knees bent comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat?
        3. Does seatbelt cross the shoulder properly? (it should be centered over the collar bone)
        4. Is the lap portion of the seatbelt low – touching the thighs?
        5. Can the child stay seated this way for the entire ride, every ride (awake and asleep)?

Bonus step – feet planted firmly on floor

Danny - passing the 5 Step Test with label Passing 5-Step Test

What do the ratings mean? A “Best Bet” rating means it should correctly position the seat belt on a typical 4-8 year old child in most vehicles. But remember, your vehicle may not be “most” vehicles and may have a different belt geometry. Always try before you buy, if you can, and hold onto the box and receipt in case you need to return the booster.

A “Good Bet” means that the belt fit will be acceptable in most vehicles and these boosters shouldn’t be automatically shunned because they aren’t “top tier.” “Check Fit” means just that: it may fit a larger child better than a smaller child in some vehicles or vice versa. I’ve used “Check Fit” boosters quite successfully before with my kids in my cars—it definitely doesn’t mean you should chuck the seat out with the baby’s bathwater.

What does good belt fit look like:

Recaro Performance Booster Recaro Performance Booster - lap belt fit


 

New or updated for 2014 booster models are listed in the tables below. Previous models that retain their ratings are listed after each section of the chart.

  '14 IIHS Best Bet Booster Logo Best Bet

Manufacturer and Model Can Use LATCH CarseatBlog Review CarseatBlog Recommended Seat
Baby Trend Hybrid 3-in-1 (Backless mode only; Highback mode rated Good Bet)
Baby Trend Hybrid No Back Booster
Britax Frontier 90   (Redesigned belt guides for 2014) Y  Review Y
Britax Pinnacle 90   (Redesigned belt guides for 2014) Y Review Y
Britax Pioneer 70   (Redesigned belt guides for 2014) Y  Review
BubbleBum Neon
Cosco Pronto (Highback mode only; Backless mode rated Check Fit)
Cybex Solution X-Fix  Y  Review
Diono Solana  Y
Dream On Me Turbo Booster (Highback mode only; Backless mode rated Check Fit)
Eddie Bauer Deluxe Belt-Positioning Booster (Highback mode only; Backless mode rated Check Fit)
Eddie Bauer Deluxe Highback 65
Evenflo Chase  Y
Evenflo Symphony 65  Y  Review Y
Graco 4Ever All-in-1  Y  Review
Graco Argos 80 Elite 3-in-1 (Highback and backless modes)  Y  Review
Graco Milestone All-in-One  Y  Review
Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 with Safety Surround (Highback mode only; Backless mode rated Check Fit)  Y  Review
Kids Embrace Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle  Y  Review
Maxi-Cosi Rodi AP (Highback mode only; Backless mode rated Check Fit)
Maxi-Cosi RodiFix  Y  Review Y
Peg Perego Viaggio HBB 120 (Highback mode only)  Y
Recaro Performance Booster  Y  Review
Safety 1st Store ‘n Go (Highback mode only)
Safety 1st Store ‘n Go No-Back
Safety 1st Summit 65

Previous models that retain their “Best Bet” ratings include the Britax Parkway SG, Britax Parkway SGL (highback mode only), BubbleBum, Clek Oobr (highback mode only), Diono Monterey (highback mode only), Diono Radian R100, Diono Radian R120, Diono Radian RXT, Evenflo Amp, Evenflo Big Kid Amp, Evenflo Big Kid Amp High Back (backless mode only), Evenflo Big Kid LX (backless mode only), Evenflo Big Kid Sport (backless mode only), Evenflo Maestro, Evenflo RightFit, Evenflo SecureKid 300/400, Ferari Beline SP (backless mode only), Ferari Dreamway SP (highback mode only), Graco Affix, Graco Backless TurboBooster,  Graco Nautilus (highback mode only), Graco Nautilus Elite (highback mode only), Graco Nautilus Plus (highback mode only), Harmony Carpooler, Harmony Dreamtime, Harmony Olympian, Harmony Transit Deluxe, Harmony V6 Highback, Harmony Youth Booster Seat, Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro, Kiddy World Plus, Recaro Performance Sport, Safety 1st Boost Air Protect (highback mode only) and Safety 1st BoostAPak.

Remember, even “Good Bet” boosters make excellent boosters if they fit your child and vehicle well:

Good Bet

Manufacturer and Model Can Use LATCH Review CarseatBlog Recommended Seat
Baby Trend Hybrid 3-in-1 (Highback mode only; Backless mode rated Best Bet)  Y
Cybex Solution Q-Fix Y  Review Y
Diono Rainier Y Review

Previous models that retain their “Good Bet” ratings include the Combi Kobuk Air Thru, Evenflo Symphony LX, Ferari Beline SP (highback mode only) and Maxi-Cosi Rodi (highback mode only).

Check Fit boosters simply mean you should check the fit of the seat belt on your child in your vehicle. The fit of the belt may be excellent on your child, as may be the case with a larger child while the belt fit may be marginal on a younger sibling.

Check Fit

Manufacturer and Model Can Use LATCH Review
Dream On Me Coupe Booster
Dream On Me Turbo Booster (Backless mode only; Highback mode rated Best Bet)
Eddie Bauer Deluxe Belt-Positioning Booster (Backless mode only; Highback mode rated Best Bet)
Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 with Safety Surround (Backless mode only; Highback mode rated Best Bet)  Review
Harmony Folding Travel Booster
Maxi-Cosi Rodi AP (Backless mode only; Highback mode rated Best Bet)
Peg Perego Viaggio HBB 120 (Backless mode only; Highback mode rated Best Bet)  Y
Safety 1st Store ‘n Go (Backless mode only; Highback mode rated Best Bet)

Boosters on the Not Recommended list are there because of poor seat belt fit in most situations. In these cases, it’s unlikely that child size or vehicle belt geometry will make a difference.

Not Recommended

Manufacturer and Model Can Use LATCH Review
Diono Olympia Y
Diono Pacifica Y
Kids Embrace Batman No Back Booster

For the complete 2014 IIHS Status Report, visit their website: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/49/9/1

Please note that many very good boosters are not included in our Recommended Carseats list.  This may be simply because we have not yet reviewed them.  In other cases, we may feel they were very good products, but just didn’t offer quite as much as others we did recommend.  Even if a product is not listed as a “CarseatBlog Recommended Seat”, it may still be worth consideration if it works well with your child and vehicle!