2020 Britax Grow With You ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat Review
Britax undeniably has one of the strongest reputations in the car seat world and it’s one they’ve earned with dozens of outstanding seats. Britax is constantly pushing the boundaries of technology, with a keen eye on making their seats easier to use correctly than others in their field. And easier installation is the fastest way to a safer child when it comes to car seats. With this in mind, I was excited to get the opportunity to try out something new from Britax, the Grow With You ClickTight. It’s a bit of a reincarnation of the Frontier, it still has the patented ClickTight Installation that makes getting a good, snug install an absolute dream, but a little pared down, which necessarily isn’t a bad thing. With the Frontier no longer being made, the Grow With You stands to fill a pretty big void within the car seat world.
Grow With You ClickTight Specs:
Harness mode: 25-65 pounds AND 34-49”, minimum of 2 years of age
Booster mode: 40-120 pounds AND 44-63”
- Patented ClickTight installation technology
- 9-position one hand no-rethread harness/headrest adjustment
- 2 layers of side impact protection around the head and upper spine
- SafeCell Impact Technology provides a crumple zone within the seat for crash energy absorption
- Industrial-strength steel frame
- 2 cup and snack holders
- Patented V-shaped tether with “staged-release stitches” to help slow forward motion during a crash
- Available from Amazon for $239.99
Britax has also introduced the Grow With You ClickTight Plus, which replaces the discontinued Pinnacle model. Besides having the same features as the GWY CT, the “Plus” model adds a third layer of side impact protection in the form of side impact cushions at the torso.
- Seat Width: 19.5” at the outside of the torso wings
- Seat Height: 36” at highest headrest position
- Seat Depth: 21”
- Internal width at hips: 11.5”
- Harness heights: 12” – 20” at 1-inch intervals*
- Crotch buckle positions: 7” and 9”
- Booster height positions: 13” – 21”
- Seat weight: 26.5 lbs.
*On Britax’s website, they list the heights as a half-inch higher, both the lowest and the highest height. I measured and remeasured and just did not come up with those values. It may have to do with and measuring the heights with the cover off, but I opted to measure in the way that one would use a seat—with the padding and cover present. I did remove the torso padding to expose where the harness emerges from the shell.
In terms of installation, the Grow With You is exactly the same as the discontinued Britax Frontier ClickTight. I found it fit nicely throughout my car, but it is wide just like its ClickTight cousins. It made a 3-across, even with my second row Odyssey on wide mode, pretty tricky. It’s not the most ideal option for a smaller car if you’re putting other seats in, but if you have the room, the install is an absolute dream. Here it is next to an old Frontier ClickTight, for size reference.
Recline and Overhang: The GWY has 2 recline positions, reclined and upright, which can be adjusted by pulling a handle at the bottom front of the seat. When used in booster mode, the seat *must be* in upright position only.
Britax allows the base of the Grow With You to hang over the front edge of the vehicle seat by up to 3″ when it’s used in harness mode. This may mean you cannot use the seat in the reclined position if there’s too much overhang. When it’s in booster mode, though, no overhang is allowed and the entire base of the car seat must be on the vehicle seat.
Seatbelt: You open the ClickTight panel, thread the belt through, remove any substantial slack (no tugging, don’t put your knee in the seat), then close the panel. Once it’s closed, connect and tighten your top tether and that’s it. It is very seriously that simple. I did have to reinstall once because I didn’t get the seat flush against the back of the vehicle seat and I had more than an inch of play front to back, but it was easily fixed on the second try and hasn’t been an ongoing issue, despite me having installed and reinstalled about 10 times now.
Lower Anchors (LATCH): I honestly find using the LATCH strap to be less convenient than installing with the seatbelt. ClickTight was designed to be used with the seatbelt, so unless your situation dictates otherwise, we recommend installing the GWY with seatbelt. The LATCH install is essentially the same process as the seatbelt, but with the latch strap instead. It’s still quick and easy, but definitely not easier than using the seatbelt. With other carseats, there are often advantages to installing with lower LATCH anchors, but not on this seat.
However, you can secure the GWY with LATCH in booster mode (so that it doesn’t become a projectile when the child isn’t using it), so that may be a situation when it makes sense to use the LATCH connectors.
LATCH weight limit: LATCH cannot be used to install this seat in harness mode once the child is over 40 pounds.
Center LATCH with non-standard spacing: GWY CT may only be used in a seating position with designated lower anchors and with standard spacing of 11 inches.
Inflatable seat belts: Not currently allowed, but this may change. The manual says it might be allowed and to consult the website. The website states that Ford and Lincoln inflatable belts can be used with a variety of seats, but the Grow With You is not on the list. I have an email into Britax to find out if this is simply because the Grow With You is so new or whether it is not yet approved or if it won’t ever be approved. I’ll update once I have more information.
I had three models at my disposal. The biggest is Elijah at 48”, 49 pounds and 7 years old. When I initially put him in the seat, I thought he had outgrown it. But when I really aggressively adjusted it, I found that there was one more click of the harness that I hadn’t been getting, and he actually has about an inch and a half of torso growth left. The picture here is his fit on the second to top harness position. The height limit of the harness is 49”, so it seems like a pretty accurate limit if even a little low for some kids with less impressive torso lengths. He said it was very comfortable, and the crotch buckle position was reasonable enough for a kid his size.
My second model is William at 41”, 33 pounds and 5 years old. In harness mode, he was super comfortable once I moved the crotch buckle out to the outermost position. He preferred this seat to his old one and has taken to riding in it exclusively now. He’s a picky kid, so it’s a pretty ringing endorsement.
My third model is Benjamin at 34”, 36 pounds and 2 years old. He is still rear-facing in my car and I debated even letting him sit here, for worry that he might find out what he’s missing. I needed to move the crotch buckle to the innermost position because there was a substantial gap when it was in the outer position. I was able to get him nicely snug and he would very much like to sit in this seat instead of returning to his personal nightmare of rear-facing.
When switching to booster mode, there are 2 options: you can store the harness or remove the harness. I tried storing the harness and honestly, I don’t love it. The instruction manual is extremely unclear on this process (I consider myself fairly car seat savvy and it took me, no exaggeration, 25 minutes to figure out what they wanted me to do and hours later, I realized I misunderstood and had to try it yet again), but essentially you’re supposed to tuck most of it sort of into the side wings(?) and hide the rest behind the padding. I tried and tried and really never successfully stored it, as much as I sort of hid it behind the padding. It might work in a pinch if you really need to switch for a quick trip in a booster, but if not, it is worth the effort to remove the harness completely (which isn’t a complicated process) if you’re using it in booster mode most of the time.
In booster mode, Elijah got a great belt fit. The belt didn’t get caught when retracting in any of the positions of my minivan, including middle positions where the belt comes from the ceiling.
When I went to take the cover off (by faaaaar my least favorite part of trying new seats), I discovered my new favorite feature. This may not be new to people who’ve bought Britax seats in a recent history, but I haven’t had one in several years and I was delighted by the system of keeping the harness covers together and in place. There’s a small piece of fabric that goes behind the padding of the torso, to keep the harness pads in line and not too low. I realize that this may be a silly thing to be enthusiastic about, but here we are anyway. I love it.
Removing the cover is not terribly challenging, but replacing it was a bit more bothersome and I wasn’t impressed with the manual’s instructions for it. There were parts where I genuinely wasn’t sure where to hook things and I hadn’t looked before I unhooked them, which was a mistake and a bummer. If you’re going to remove the cover, snap a picture of where the cover is hooked to the seat; you’ll thank me later.
The manual says to consult the care label for cleaning information, so you’ll need to check your individual seat for information about how to clean.
Grow With You vs. Frontier in Pictures
The Grow With You is FAA-approved for use on an airplane in harness mode only. The airplane seat belt is routed over the top of the ClickTight panel (see GWY manual). Inflatable airplane seat belts are not compatible with the Grow With You.
The website states that it has a 9-year lifespan; my specific model only had a 6-year lifespan, which appears to be an error.
The Grow With You must be replaced after a moderate to severe crash, using the NHTSA guidelines:
- The vehicle is able to be driven away from the crash site.
- The vehicle door nearest the car seat is not damaged.
- None of the passengers in the vehicle were injured in the crash.
- If the vehicle has air bags, the air bags did not deploy during the crash; and
- There is no visible damage to the car seat.
Grow With You Advantages:
- The ease of installation cannot be overstated. This seat, like it’s ClickTight predecessors, will reduce installation errors in a big way.
- I want to give the GWY CT ease-of-installation two bullet points because that’s how substantial of an advantage this is.
- Option to store or remove harness for booster mode, even if a bit clunky, makes it easier to switch modes in a pinch as needed.
- The seat is well-cushioned and lined with foam throughout the head and neck.
- There is a built-in crumple zone designed to absorb crash forces, which is intended to reduce the forces on the child.
- 2 cup holders/snack holders, which were by far my child’s favorite feature.
- Follows NHTSA guidelines for replacement after a crash.
- The harness pads cover connector is by far my favorite part of the seat.
- Made in the USA!
- Did I mention the installation?
- The manual. I have 2 gripes:
First, there are a few instances where the manual refers you to the website, and the website is not as rife with information as it seems. I’m concerned that some families will not bother seeking out a second source of information, especially considering how many don’t refer to the first source.
Second, it does a less than great job of explaining the processes of storing the harness and of reattaching the cover. The pictures aren’t terribly useful and the wording could be clearer.
- My headrest/harness was very hard to adjust once installed, especially in the upper most positions. I almost missed the top harness position as a result of this.
- It’s heavy. It’s a great, great seat for moving between vehicles because it’s so fast to install securely, but it’s also pretty heavy to lug around.
If you’re a fan of the discontinued Frontier/Pinnacle ClickTight models, you’ll love the Grow With You. The soft goods are plush and comfortable, the harness tightens easily and the harness will fit the majority of neurotypical kids until they’re ready to swap over to the booster mode. Once in booster mode, the belt fit is great, the belt retracts easily, but also stays within the guide quite well. The star of this show is, as I’ve made no secret, the installation. Considering the frequency of poorly installed car seats in this country, this seat, and its family of ClickTights, are an absolute vision of safety. Making it easier for families to install their seats is no small act and Britax has perfected it. I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend this seat and the fact that it now lives permanently in my car is about the most ringing endorsement I can offer.