2018 Britax Emblem Convertible Carseat: 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 in 2017, Britax retired their G4.1 line of convertible carseats and focused solely on their ClickTight convertibles. Rather than abandon a solid platform altogether, early in 2018 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. Britax found that change of name to Essentials by Britax was confusing to the average Joe Consumer, so back to Britax it was. The “old” Britax Marathon G4.1 and Boulevard G4.1 are now the Britax Allegiance and Emblem. We focus on the Emblem in this review.
Emblem Weight and Height Limits:
- Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs., and head is 1” below red adjustment handle
- Forward-facing: 20-65 lbs., and 49” or less, and tops of the ears are below the top of the head restraint
- SafeCell™ Technology in the base: these cells compress in a crash, which lowers the center of gravity of the child and reduces forward head excursion
- Energy-absorbing EPP foam that lines the entire back and sides of the plastic shell
- Energy-absorbing, rip-stitch Versa-Tether®
- HUGS chest pads
- Integrated steel bars strengthen the seat and keep it from flexing forward in a crash
- 2 layers of side impact protection: deep protective shell and an energy-absorbing headrest
- No re-thread harness with 10 harness height positions
- 2 crotch strap positions
- Infant cushion for children up to 22 lbs.
- Built-in lockoffs
- Dual lower deluxe push-on LATCH connectors (one strap for each side of the carseat—no feeding it through the belt path)
- Smooth bottom base with grippy edges that won’t damage vehicle upholstery
- $239.99 at Amazon.com
- Harness height: 9”-17”, 6 ½” bottom slots with infant cushion
- External widest point: 19″
- Usable shell height with headrest: 26”
- Shoulder width: 13”
- Crotch strap depth: 4 ½”, 7”
- Seat depth: 11.5”
- Seat weight: 18.6 lbs.
- Rear-facing LATCH weight limit: 40 lbs.
- Forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 50 lbs.
- Installation is color-coded for ease: blue for rear-facing, green for forward-facing
- Top tether length has been shortened, but for the most part, this shouldn’t be a problem. Contact Britax at 1-888-427-4829 for a tether extender.
Center LATCH Installations with Non-Standard Spacing:
Permitted only in designated LATCH positions; if your vehicle doesn’t have dedicated lower LATCH anchors in the center seating position, you cannot install this carseat with LATCH.
Inflatable Seat Belts:
- The infant cushion MUST be used for children weighing 22 lbs. or less in a rear-facing position. DO NOT use over 22 lbs. DO NOT use in a forward-facing position. There’s even a label on it in case you forget!
- Use the lockoff closest to the buckle if installing the Emblem with a seat belt. It’s a bit counterintuitive: you close the lockoff first, then pull the seat belt tight.
- The Emblem expires 7 years after date of manufacture and Britax follows the NHTSA crash replacement policy.
In the following pics, Romeo the doll is about the size of a large newborn, J is 2 and weighs 29.5 lbs., and L is 4 and weighs 40 lbs.
- Deep headwings provide enhanced protection in side-impact crashes
- Durable EPP foam, rip-stitch tether, HUGS pads and SafeCell Technology in base all work together to absorb energy in a crash
- One of the easiest LATCH installs on the market!
- “Non-Handed” lower LATCH straps allow you to easily switch the connectors from rear-facing to forward-facing and vice versa
- No re-thread harness makes it easy to adjust the harness height when your child has a growth spurt
- Relatively easy to tighten and loosen harness straps
- Harness straps are thick and not prone to twisting
- Velcro on harness keeps straps out of the way when loading and unloading child from seat
- EZ-Buckle System keeps belly pad and buckle out of the way when loading child in the seat
- Buckle style is easy to buckle and unbuckle
- Harness straps are replaceable if necessary
- HUGS pads may be removed when the child is rear-facing (but they are required for forward-facing)
- Rear-facing recline angle range of 30-45 degrees allowed
- Doesn’t take up a lot of room rear-facing (especially if you don’t need a full 45* recline). This makes it a good option for smaller cars and for tall parents who may need to have the front seat all or most of the way back.
- Easy to remove cover
- Premium fabrics and extra padding for comfort
- Made in the USA!
- May be difficult to clamp the lockoffs closed in some vehicles if installing with seatbelt
- Seatbelt installation using lockoff is not intuitive—read and follow directions carefully
- Rear-facing legroom is generally less than some other competitive (non-Britax) convertible models
The Essentials by Britax Emblem sample used in this update was provided by Essentials by Britax. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.
This post and others at CarseatBlog contain affiliate links. Please read About CarseatBlog for our affiliate policy and see our Marketing Disclosure.
I know this is an older review, but is the deepest recline okay for a newborn? Or would you need a pool noodle?
Hi Kay, in some vehicles the maximum recline is sufficient. It’s possible that in vehicles with very sloped seat cushions, a pool noodle may be needed. For example, the 3rd row seat in Chrysler Town&Country minivans are notorious for needing a pool noodle with many car seats that allow them.
@Kay – there is a chance you will need a pool noodle for a newborn. The Emblem is based on the Britax Boulevard G4.1 model (prior to the clicktight models) and you can see the recline line on the label along with the single pool noodle that I used here: https://carseatblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/RA55-043.jpg
The blue “level line” on the sticker represents a 37.5 degree angle – the median recline angle in the allowable range of 30* – 45*. So, you can make the seat slightly more reclined than the blue line. Ideally, for a newborn, you want to be a little closer to the max recline angle of 45 degrees. Tip – you can download a free inclinometer app to help you determine what angle the seat is sitting at. Once the seat is installed tightly, place your phone on the area of the carseat where the baby’s head will likely be. And remember that we measure angles from vertical – meaning that 30 degrees is really upright and 50 degrees is too reclined. HTH!
Hi will you please kindly show how to recline a Britax emblem car seat please. We are have a hard time trying to get it to work. Thanks
Hi Jo – it’s easier to pop the seat into recline if you take the carseart out of the vehicle first and place it on a hard surface first like the inside cargo area of your vehicle – or on top of the trunk of the car. Have the front of the carseat either facing you or facing to the side. With your stronger hand, pull up on the red plastic recline tab located just above the base. You will feel the shell of the seat release and recline. There are 3 positions total – fully upright, slightly reclined and fully reclined. Use the fully reclined position if you are planning to install the seat rear-facing. Hope that helps!
Hmmm. I have no argument with most of the changes, but under 22 MUST use the cushion would get problematic fast for some kids.