2018 Essentials by Britax Emblem Review

2018 Essentials by Britax Emblem: Bye-Bye Britax Boulevard G4.1!

Britax has always been a premium carseat brand with luxe padding, push-on LATCH connectors, innovative safety features, and more. Late last year, Britax retired their G4.1 line of convertible carseats and focused solely on their ClickTight convertibles. Rather than abandon a solid platform altogether, they shifted it over to a new company: Essentials by Britax, a line of more affordable and accessible carseats for parents and caregivers who want the Britax ease-of-use and safety features without the top-of-the-line Britax price tag. The Britax Marathon G4.1 and Boulevard G4.1 are now the Essentials by Britax Allegiance and Emblem. The changes between the Britax and the Essentials by Britax seats are minor, but just enough to justify the price drop. We focus on the Emblem in this review.

Allegiance Emblem
5-40 lbs. RF 5-40 lbs. RF
20-65 lbs. FF 20-65 lbs. FF
10 no re-thread harness positions 10 no re-thread harness positions with EPP headwings
9"-17" harness height (6 ½” bottom slots with infant cushion) 9"-17" harness height (6 ½” bottom slots with infant cushion)
49" standing height 49" standing height
40 lbs. RF | 50 lbs. FF LATCH weight limit 40 lbs. RF | 50 lbs. FF LATCH weight limit
7 year lifespan 7 year lifespan
$199 $239


RECALL: Harmony Big Boost Deluxe Booster


May 2018 Harmony Big Boost Deluxe Recall

HARMONY BIG BOOST DELUXE 11/01/2015 – 06/24/2017


Harmony Juvenile Products (Harmony) is recalling certain Harmony Big Boost Deluxe booster seats. In the event of a crash, the seat belt may cause excessive force to be applied to the restrained child’s chest. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 213, “Child Restraint Systems.”


The remedy for this recall is still under development. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Harmony customer service at 1-877-306-1001.


Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Recall Information from NHTSA

Head Slump: When it’s a Problem and How (Not!) to Fix it


Putting a newborn baby in a car seat is daunting even in the best of circumstances. They are just so tiny and fragile, the buckles on the seat seem so huge and it often feels like you’re just going to smush (technical term) their insides when you tighten the harness. As they grow, they feel less breakable, but it seems there’s always something new to worry about when it comes to car seats.

One of the most common questions I see on parenting and car seat groups is regarding head slump, typically in forward-facing kids or in older rear-facing children. There are new aftermarket products coming out each day to address this issue, but as a Pediatric Physical Therapist and a CPS Technician, I have some grave concerns that these “solutions” to head slump might be much worse than the problem itself.

What is head slump?

You know when your husband sits next to you on an airplane and immediately falls asleep while you are stuck alone, anxious and bored out of your mind for the next 3 hours? (No? Just me?) Well, that moment when they’re so deeply enjoying their abandonment nap that their head falls forward is “head slump”.

Head slump is when the chin moves towards the chest in a moment of forward flexion of the cervical (upper) spine. It is most common when a person is sleeping upright, and to an adult, it’s pretty uncomfortable. Adults are not terribly flexible and some of us carry a tiny little bit (okay, a ton) of tension in our necks. But thankfully, our kids don’t. Their necks are more mobile than ours and much less prone to tightness from tension, so the forward flexed head isn’t usually painful for them. The person sleeping on the airplane isn’t in any danger from their head slump position and likewise, for most kids, it’s really a non-issue.

When is head slump something to worry about?

The first and most common scenario where head slump is a real problem is in a newborn. The airway in a newborn baby is tiny, about the diameter of a drinking straw, and often it’s a little more flexible than an adult’s, meaning it’s easier to partially block or collapse. Another reason head slump can be concerning for a newborn is that they may not have the neurological drive to reopen their airway. That is, their brain may not be developed enough to realize that it’s being deprived of oxygen or to tell the muscles to do something about it. Finally, because newborns have proportionally large heads on tiny neck muscles, even if they have the drive to lift their heads, they often lack the strength to make that lift against gravity.

The other situation where head slump is a concern is in older children who do not have adequate head control. These are typically children with medical diagnoses of some sort and the problem is essentially the same as in a newborn – if a child cannot lift and maintain their head upright against gravity, then they need to be positioned to make sure that head slump does not occur. The same goes for babies with tracheomalacia, where the trachea is not as rigid and may be more prone to collapse.

These two groups aside, head slump is not a problematic position for typically developing children and older babies. These children have wider airways, the ability and awareness to lift their heads if they’re not getting adequate air, and the position itself isn’t inherently dangerous for the neck. There’s not a universal age where this happens, but once baby can fully lift their head and hold it up to look around for a few minutes during tummy time, they’re likely in the clear.

What should you do about head slump?

New from Evenflo – Maestro Sport Combination Seat, EveryStage All-in-One & Pivot Xpand Stroller

News and Updates from the 2018 JPMA Baby Show

Overall the trend in carseats for 2018-2019 is ease-of-use and technology. We saw that in abundance at the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) Baby Show this year. From mobile apps that tell you if your child has unbuckled their chest clip to QR codes that help you register your carseat and get installation help, to new seats with anti-rebound features, there were plenty of new and updated products on the show floor this year.

2018 Evenflo Updates:

New Evenflo Maestro Sport combination seat is now available at Walmart.com. This a completely new product and not just an updated version of the original Evenflo Maestro. However, the specs and features of Maestro Sport are very similar to those of the original Maestro model. The harness slots on Maestro Sport are a little higher than the harness slots on the original Maestro.


Maestro Sport Specs & Features:

  • Forward-facing only 22-50 lbs., 28-50 inches, and at least 2 years old
  • Booster mode 40-110 lbs., 44-57 inches, and at least 4 years old
  • 4 sets of harness slots: approximately 13″, 15″, 17″, 19″
  • New red tether housing will hopefully draw attention to the tether so parents notice it and figure out how to use it!
  • Dual cup holders
  • MSRP $79.99
Evenflo EveryStage DLX All-in-One

Available this Summer! Check out our complete EveryStage All-in-One Preview with lots of pictures and videos.

EveryStage Specs & Features:

  • 4-50 lbs. rear-facing
  • 22-65 lbs. forward-facing
  • 40-120 lbs. highback booster
  • Unique internal recline feature for optimal infant positioning
  • 10-position no-rethread harness
  • ~17.5″ top harness slots
  • 5-position base
  • Recline angle indicators for both RF & FF
  • EasyClick LATCH installation technology (DLX model)
  • Dual cupholders
  • MSRP $229
Evenflo Infant Seat Handle Update

Evenflo now allows the handle on SafeMax Infant and the similar LiteMax infant seat model to be left up when in the vehicle. This change is retroactive.

Evenflo Pivot Xpand Single-to-Double Stroller

Available this summer, the Pivot Xpand is a modular stroller system which can be a single or a double. Pivot Xpand can be easily configured in 22 different ways without needing extra parts or tools! The height-adjustable handle makes it comfortable to push whether you’re short or tall. Ride-on board will be available separately. This will be an amazing, reasonably-priced option for families with twins or siblings close in age. Even if you only use it as a single, it’s nice to know that you have the option to make it a double, if needed.