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Harmony Defender 360° Combination Seat Review

Harmony Defender 360° 3-in-1 Harness to Booster Combination Carseat Review

DefendermainHarmony Juvenile Products brings us the Defender 360° combination harness-to-booster seat, a solid performer alongside Harmony’s excellent line-up of booster seats both in Canada and the US.

US customers can purchase from for less than $100, and Canadian customers can purchase from for $169. The Defender is a well-priced seat that comes with features seen more often with a higher price tag.

Samples shown in this review are primarily Canadian. Differences between countries will be noted where relevant.

Defender 360° Specs:

  • With 5-point harness: forward facing from 22-65 lbs. and 27-57″ tall
  • As a booster (high back or backless with lap/shoulder belt): 30-110 lbs. and 34-57″ tall (US) / 40-110 lbs. and 34-57″ tall (Canada)


  • No-rethread harness height adjustment through nine positions
  • Smooth harness adjuster
  • Two crotch buckle positions
  • EPE energy-absorbing foam in headrest, backrest and base
  • Harness covers included
  • May use lower LATCH anchors in booster mode
  • Cup holder swivels and can be used on either side of seat
  • Infinite recline system to best mesh with the vehicle seat shape
  • IIHS Best Bet Booster rating
  • Approved for use on aircraft (in harness mode)
  • Machine washable cover
  • Ten year life span before expiration
  • Available in Moon Rise in the US – black/grey/red, and in Midnight in Canada – navy

Harmony Defender Moonrise 


Britax Releases Anti-Rebound Bar for Canadian G4 Convertible Carseats


20140530_155521_resizedWoohoo! After stalking my mail lady all week awaiting the arrival of the anti-rebound bar (ARB) available upon request to all registered Britax G4 convertible carseat owners in Canada, it finally arrived while I was outside enjoying the sunshine (full review of G4s here).  I’m impressed. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and straightforward to install.  From my very brief test it takes up a tiny bit more front-to-back space (maybe 3/4″-1″ at most, quite possibly less if a person was motivated to gain that space back by compressing the vehicle seat back with a lot of enthusiasm), but the benefits far outweigh that minor issue. It’s already a very compact seat so that 3/4″ isn’t likely to be a make-or-break situation for most people.

20140530_193625_resizedWhy is it such great news? Until now,  Canadian G4 seats must be tethered rear-facing, a marked difference from the G3 seats, and also from American seats (Canada has an anti-rebound standard in our testing process, the US does not).  Britax responded to concerns from techs and parents not keen on having to rear-face tether, and this ARB removes that requirement. In Canada we may only tether Swedish-style (down to a fixed point forward of the seat, using the provided D-ring) if the vehicle manufacturer expressly permits it, and to my knowledge, none do. So Aussie-style it is, meaning straps in the way when loading and unloading, and potential incompatibilities if the tether anchor is too far away. Britax does make a tether extender but in the moment that doesn’t work for a lot of people, and the development of the ARB is a much better solution in my opinion, both as a tech and a parent.  Please note that these will not be shipped automatically to current owners.  You must contact Britax Canada at 1-888-427-4829 to request one free of charge.  Please be advised that supplies are limited and may be subject to shipping delays.

We hope to have more information soon on if/when the ARB may begin to ship with Canadian models or if Britax will approve the ARB for use on American G4 seats (Roundabout, Marathon, Boulevard, Pavilion, and Advocate) convertible carseats.

As my three year old would say…”two thumbs up wide” Britax, well done!

See a full tour including attaching and detaching it (easy!) here:


Dorel Extends Useful Life (Expiration) on Most New Carseat & Booster Models


Dorel LogoDorel (parent company to Cosco, Safety 1st, Eddie Bauer & Maxi-Cosi) has increased the useful life, a.k.a. expiration, on many of their products. It is not retroactive, but it does apply to both Canadian and American seats. In line with many other manufacturers increasing the useful life of their products it deflates the theory that expiration dates are there as a ‘cash grab’ designed to make consumers spend more money. If that were true expiration dates would be shrinking!

Looking for expiration dates on seats not listed here?  Expiry dates on products new and old can be found here.

Model Current Expiration Previous Expiration Implementation Date
Alpha Omega Elite 10 years 8 years 15-Dec-13
Apex 10 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Apt 40 RF 8 years 6 years 16-Dec-14
Comfy Carry 8 years 6 years 13-Dec-13
Comfy Carry Base 8 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Designer 22 8 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Boost Air Enroute 10 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Go Hybrid Booster 10 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Highback Booster 10 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Highrise Booster 10 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Mico 8 years 6 years 12-Dec-13
Mico Base 8 years 6 years 15-Dec-13
onBoard 35 8 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Prezi 8 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Pria 10 years 6 years 13-Dec-13
Priori 8 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Pronto 10 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Prospect 10 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Right Way 10 years 6 years 20-Dec-13
Scenera 8 years 6 years 15-Dec-13
Summit 10 years 6 years 1-Jan-14
Summit 65 10 years 6 years 14-Dec-13
Vantage 8 years 6 years 1-Jan-14

2014 Britax Advocate G4 Review: USA and Canada


Britax Advocate G4The very first convertible seat I purchased was a Britax (a classic Marathon, in crocodile); I loved it, used it for two children, and it has since expired. I’m now a little nostalgic and pleased to be reviewing the latest in the Britax convertible line-up with this evaluation of the 2014 Britax Advocate in Zebra, commonly referred to as the G4 (4th generation).

With the G4 lineup, Britax has added a few convenience features to their well-loved convertibles (Marathon, Boulevard, Pavilion, and Advocate). They have also streamlined the model names by dropping the ‘65/70’ from the end, and due to impending February 2014 NHTSA regulation changes in the US, have reduced the upper weight limit to 65 lbs. Those familiar with these seats won’t be startled by the changes made by Britax, which is well-known for their ease-of-use features and premium options. The basic shell and shape remain the same as the previous G3 models, and continue to fit well rear-facing in small spaces. Although not the longest lasting of convertible seats by height, the Britax Advocate and its sister convertibles continue to be very easy to install and use, frequently fit in tiny back seats where many others won’t, and fill a niche for those not needing to rear-face their tall or long-torsoed children to kindergarten age.

Although Britax has dropped the upper weight limit and generation numbers from the product names, retailers may refer to the newest versions as the 2014 or “G4” models. All the convertibles share the same shell and basic safety features. Here is a list summarizing the main differences:

  • Britax Roundabout:  This is the most budget-friendly Britax convertible.  It lacks the no-rethread harness found on some higher models, but that’s really not a big deal unless you’re frequently transporting kids of different sizes in one carseat.  It has a 55 pound weight limit and a 15.75″ seated torso height limit.
  • Britax Highway: Essentially similar to the Roundabout, it also lacks the no-rethread harness.  It is sold only at select retailers like BuyBuyBaby and Bed Bath & Beyond.  The weight limit is increased to 65 pounds and it has a higher 16.5″ seated torso height limit.  It adds basic HUGS harness chest pads.  The XE version is bundled with an extended warranty (7 years), a cup holder and a storage pouch.
  • Britax Marathon:  This model adds a no-rethread harness, up to 65 pounds and 16.75″ seated torso height.  Compared to the Highway, it also adds the EZ-Buckle crotch strap and an easy-remove cover.  It lacks the deeper headwings found on the Boulevard, Pavilion & Advocate models.
  • Britax Boulevard: This model has all the features of the Marathon, but also has deeper internal headwings for enhanced protection in side-impact crashes.  It also includes advanced HUGS pads with SafeCell technology.
  • Britax Pavilion: All the features of the Boulevard plus the “Click & Safe” snug harness indicator.
  • Britax Advocate: All the features of the Pavilion plus Britax’s exclusive Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT).

All the “G4” convertibles come with an included infant insert cushion (required for babies under 22 lbs,). The Britax Advocate I received also includes optional harness strap covers, the EZ buckle pad and rubbery HUGS chest pads which are mandatory when the seat is installed forward-facing.

An anti-rebound bar is now available for all Britax G4 convertibles. It is available as an accessory (for purchase separately) directly from Britax.

Britax Advocate with ARB

Britax vehicle seat protector matwaterproof seat saver linerprotective travel bags and cup holder are also available for purchase separately.

Britax vehicle seat protector - stock britax seat saver waterproof liner britax travel bagCup holder for Britax G4 convertibles

Britax Advocate G4 Specs:

Rear-facing:  5-40 lbs., outgrown by height when head is within 1” of the top of the main shell (not head rest)


  • U.S.: 20-65 lbs. or up to 49” tall, seated shoulder height of 16.75” or less, tips of the ears below the top of the shell

  • Canada: 22-65 lbs., or up to 49″ tall, seated shoulder height of 16.75” or less, tips of the ears below the top of the shell, and able to walk unassisted

Lowest harness position with infant positioning pillow (required for children under 22 lbs.): 6”

Lowest harness position without infant positioning pillow: 8.5”

Highest harness position: 16.75”