Connoisseur – One who enjoys with discrimination and appreciation of subtleties.
For many years I have considered myself a Connoisseur of fine Child Restraints. To those who aren’t into Child Passenger Safety, that probably sounds just as weird as proclaiming to be a Geeky Carseat Freak, but I really do revel in all the small details that go into a well-made seat.
Such is the case with the SafeGuard Child Seat. I’ll admit, it didn’t blow my socks off as soon as I took it out of the box. But honestly, you can’t fully appreciate something like this right out of the box. Especially since there are no cutesy or uber-plush covers here that could make you squeal with delight at first glance. What there is, however, is an extremely innovative, solid, well thought-out and highly-engineered child restraint.
Darren already has a full review of the SafeGuard Child Seat here so I won’t bother to reinvent the wheel. However, I’d like to add my own thoughts and some additional pictures so here it goes…
What I love about the SafeGuard Child Seat:
- The lower anchor Posi-LATCH attachments. It’s like an ALR (automatic locking retractor) feature on the lower anchor LATCH strap. This is so smart! Let’s face it, the majority of consumers don’t get the CR installed as tightly as it should be. That is the beauty of these Posi-LATCH attachments. It could actually tighten itself over time. Every time the child sits in the seat, or shifts his weight, or the vehicle makes a hard turn, the vehicle seat cushion is compressed and the LATCH attachment can ratchet itself a little tighter. Obviously, I’m not recommending that you purposely leave the seat installed loosely and hope it tightens itself. I’m merely pointing out that the seat may actually correct this typical installation mistake on its own and that is pure genius!
- Comfort. I know Darren commented on this in his review too but look at the amount of memory foam that they packed into this seat! And they didn’t just put the memory foam on the bottom, they added some to the back and the headwings too.
- Energy absorbing foam. Here they used EPP foam instead of EPS foam. EPP is more durable and doesn’t crack or break as easily as EPS foam. What’s really impressive is the thickness of the EPP foam. There was clearly no skimping to save money here. They used a ton of really thick EPP foam. I was very impressed.
- Adjustable crotch strap. There is only one position for the crotch strap but the length of the strap will be automatically adjusted depending on the height setting. Raise the headrest to a tall setting and it gives you more crotch strap length. Lower it and it will give you less. Pretty cool! I was originally concerned about my 4-year-old DS not having enough room in that area since it looked like he was sitting on the area where the strap originates from but he said it was fine. I think the buckle pad (SafeGuard’s equivalent to Britax’s Belly Pad) helps him to not feel the actual strap.
- Supplemental Instructions on DVD. I can’t even explain how wonderful it is to pop this standard-sized DVD into my computer or laptop and watch the tutorials. Every CR manufacturer should do this. I think it would really cut down on some of the rampant misuse of carseats. Even the “real” print instruction manual is very well done. Probably the best written manual I’ve ever seen for a harnessed seat.
The only downsides that I’ve encountered so far:
- Sheer size and weight of this seat. It takes up a lot of room front to back and top to bottom. This isn’t a problem in the captain’s chair of my minivan but it could be an issue for others in different vehicles or seating positions.
- The harness retractor feature doesn’t work as well as I had expected. So far, I have always needed to use the knobs to tighten the straps after retracting the harness. And getting those last clicks with the knob takes a bit of strength and force.
- Finally, I’d like to note that the shoulder pads are mandatory. Even though it’s possible to remove them with a little work – they should NOT be removed. One side of the shoulder pad has a grippy surface which serves a function in a crash. Similar, I guess, to the HUGS pads that Britax uses on their higher-weight harness seats. This isn’t necessarily a downside unless you or your child doesn’t like the shoulder pads.
At the original MSRP of $429 it was still a great seat but it was out of the price range that most consumers were willing or able to spend for a forward-facing only seat. For the current sale price of $299 it’s practically a bargain! LOL! Okay, so maybe not, but it certainly puts this seat in the same price range of other popular CRs. Even if you get an older DOM, it’s still worth it IMO because the lifespan of this seat is 7 years from the date it was made. Worst case scenario, you get something that is already a year old and you only have the standard 6 years to use it. Nothing gained but nothing really lost either, KWIM?
Now, not only does the SafeGuard Child Seat have a 7 year life span. It has an unbelieveable 7 year warranty on the seat’s hardware components. SafeGuard is the only company that I am aware of that has a warranty period greater than 1 year. This limited 7-year warranty covers defects and not necessarily normal wear and tear kind of stuff but it’s still way more coverage than any other CR manufacturer will offer you. Here is the exact wording from the owners manual:
IMMI warrants that the SafeGuard Child Seat’s hardware components (buckles, retractors, frame, SmartCore Foam, adjusters, etc.) will be free from defects in material and workmanship for seven (7) years from the date of manufacture. IMMI warrants that the SafeGuard Child Seat’s harness and fabric will be free from defects in material and workman ship for one year (1) year from the date of original purchase.
They also have a crash exchange program for seats that qualify.
My 4-year-old, 41 lb, 43″ tall son loves this seat. He says it’s “very comfortable” and it’s his “favorite seat” at the moment. Not sure how much of that is just the novelty of something new but I have no doubt that he really is very comfortable. He also has a LOT of growing room in this seat as you can see from the picture above. He probably won’t last until 65 lbs in it, but I expect that he’ll fit comfortably in the SafeGuard Child Seat for at least another 2-3 years.
Thank you- the link to the custom template is at the bottom of the page;-)
It’s the first time I commented here and I must say you share us genuine, and quality information for bloggers! Good job.
p.s. You have a very good template for your blog. Where did you find it?
So I got it and loved it so much, I bought another. Only, I paid $50 more for the red because my 2 year old insisted. 😉
I don’t think I ever thought I would be so in love with a car seat. I ADORE it. So do my kids. I think we are going to be very happy together. I’ll have to use the wagon when carting them out to my mom’s car, but the ease in putting them in will more than make up for that small inconvenience (I might do that when carrying 2 car seats out anyway.) I love that it is SO simple to adjust for different kids; when I have a minivan and taking other people’s kids places is an option it will be so easy to put my kids in their backup seats and know that putting a kid whose size I have no idea of in the SafeGuard, I’ll be able to get a perfect fit. It’s so comfortable my daughter chooses it over a chair to sit and play in (since I have it in the living room while I find a spot for it right now.) And I think it is so much more usable and manageable than the Regent, especially for smaller kids. I put my baby in it just to see how a kid with a smaller torso would fit (although I would never use it with a kid less than 35 lbs., of course) and even though since she’s a baby she slouches, she was well over the 12.5 inch bottom slots, and I was able to adjust it tightly. This seat is really designed to fit the whole range of kids it’s advertised to fit, and fit them well!
I bought this seat back in 2005 when it was $429 for my tall, string-bean son. I’m glad to see the price coming down to be more palatable for those who are not car seat geek CPSTs like myself. I love the seat and am finding that it’s the only harnessed seat (aside from beasts like the Regent) that is still tall enough for my son, who was 46 inches/47 pounds and too tall for a Marathon at 4 years old.
However, I do have one quibble that you haven’t mentioned. For the quality of the seat, I would expect the harness straps to be less prone to getting twisty. They’re not twisty in the same way that certain lower-end seats are, but there have been several occasions where the strap got turned over on itself and pulled back through the latch plate the wrong way. Then you have a twist that you can’t untwist without turning the strap back over inside the narrow slot in the latch plate, which is no picnic to say the least. Also, like you mentioned, the strap covers don’t come off, which can be a real pain when you’re trying to straighten the straps out; I wish you could pull them off so you could see the entire length that you’re trying to untwist. Altogether, though, this seat is allowing me to keep my son harnessed until I’m comfortable with putting him in a booster, and I’m very grateful for that!
Oh, I will.
It’s supposed to be here next Tuesday! 😀
Wow! That’s like 60% off the typical $399 price tag! Have fun stalking the delivery guy. 😉
I’m getting one! The one on Amazon, less my $35 gift card I had from a survey site! I just paid $165 for the seat, I don’t even care that it will be a backup only until we get our Sienna this spring or summer at that price! WOO-HOO!
For the skinny set, I have always thought this was such an amazing seat. If you don’t need the weight limit of the Regent, this is the other lazy-boy chair.
And your review reminds me of when my clek olli arrived… the price seems to be so much, till you see what the seat is made of… and how easy everything is… the manual to read, the features to use… and then you realize it is one of those times that the price is for quality.
I’ve been relieved to see the price more doable (sad I missed out on being able to take advantage, but, ah well) and hope that the seat will stay on the market for a long time, cause they did a fantastic job on it.
We only buy Toyotas and they defer to the restraint instructions. 48 lbs. would probably get my daughter all the way to the height limit (at an almost 17 inch torso height, she’s only 36 lbs.)
LATCH limit is 48 lbs. If your vehicle states a lower limit on the lower anchors then you should defer to that lower limit just to be conservative.
I only tried seatbelt install once (in the same seating position pictured above) and it was no problem. Hopefully, once the weather warms up a bit I’ll be more motivated to go out and play with it in different vehicles. I’ll keep you posted!
What’s the LATCH limit on the seat?
I’ve heard that the seatbelt install can be not as love-at-first-try so I was wondering about that.
Oh dear…I do NOT need one…I do NOT need one…I do NOT need one… 😀
We just got the Safeguard Go seat last week when the sale was mentioned in this blog and we adore it… it’s all the IMMI quality with none of the bulk, so it works better in DH’s Ford Escape with two other big kids in the car next to it.
Here’s the direct link to the one for $199:
Awesome! I just went back and checked the 2nd (and 3rd) link in the blog post and you’re right! The first link is different and only shows the red one. Thanks for pointing that out! I’m sure they won’t last long at that price so I hope some of our blog readers score a great deal. 🙂
Did you know it is also on sale through amazon for 199? THe black is anyway. I so want one of these seats.