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2017 Evenflo Maestro 2-in-1 Combination Harness Booster Review

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Evenflo Maestro Quick Review

The 2017 Evenflo Maestro 2-in-1 Combination Harness Booster is a Stage 3 carseat that is most appropriate for preschool and school-aged children. It is safe, lightweight, budget-friendly and stylish. For all of those reasons, the Maestro has been on our list of Recommended Seats for years. It’s easy to install, easy to use properly and the tall top harness slots combined with the 50 lbs. weight limit means most average-sized kids will fit in the 5-point harness until they are the age and size to safely transition to booster mode. The 2017 Evenflo Maestro is a forward-facing only carseat for kids at least 2 years old. It can also be used as a highback booster for kids over age 4 who weigh more than 40 lbs.

Evenflo Maestro Specs:

With 5-point harness:

  • Weight: 22 – 50 lbs.
  • Height: 28 – 50″
  • Age: At least two years old
  • Fit: Child’s shoulders are at, or below, the top harness slots

As a highback booster:

  • Weight: 40 – 110 lbs.
  • Height: At least 43″
  • Age: At least four years old
  • Fit: Tops of child’s ears are at, or below, the top of the child restraint headrest

Maestro Features:

  • 4 sets of harness slots
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • May be installed with LATCH to the full 50 lbs. harnessed limit of the seat
  • Converts to highback booster
  • Can use LATCH in booster mode
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • Buckle pockets (on certain models) keep harness out of the way while loading and unloading child
  • Cover is machine washable
  • Dual cupholders
  • 6 year lifespan before expiration

Maestro Fashions:

2017 Graco Nautilus 80 Elite Combination Carseat Review

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Graco Nautilus 80 Elite Quick Review

The Graco Nautilus 80 Elite is Graco’s top-of-the-line forward-facing combination carseat. It’s the only Nautilus model with the 5-point harness rated up to 80 lbs. (all the other Nautilus models are rated to 65 lbs.) and it has extra bells and whistles like a lockoff for easier installation with seatbelt. This is a forward-facing only seat that can also be used as a highback booster and eventually as a backless booster too. They call it a “3-in-1” which can be a little misleading because many parents think a 3-in-1 carseat always means Rear-Facing/Forward-Facing/Booster. However, in this case it means Forward-Facing/Highback Booster/Backless Booster. This is a Stage 3 carseat that is most appropriate for preschool and school-aged children.

This review will focus on the 2017 Nautilus 80 Elite model. However, there are several different variations of Graco Nautilus models and you can compare their features with our chart below.

Graco Nautilus 80 Elite Specs:

  • 5-point Harness: Forward-facing only for kids 22-80 lbs, at least 1 year old, height 27-52″ tall (shoulders must be at or below top harness slots)
  • Highback Booster: 30-100 lbs., height 38-57″ (top of ears must be below the top of the head support)
  • Backless Booster: 40-120 lbs., height 40-57″ (must have adequate head support from the vehicle)

Nautilus 80 Elite Features:

  • No-rethread harness
  • 3 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • Standard hook-style lower LATCH anchor connectors (LATCH limit is 45 lbs.)
  • Lockoff for installations with seatbelt
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • Fuss-free harness storage holds buckles out of the way during loading and unloading
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Height-adjustable head support
  • 3 recline positions on base
  • Integrated cup holder and storage cubby
  • FAA approved for use in aircraft (with 5-pt harness)
  • 10 year lifespan before expiration

Nautilus 80 Elite 2017 Fashions:

2017 Britax Advocate ClickTight Review- With Anti-Rebound Bar!

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Britax Advocate Convertible Carseat Review

We have reviewed many Britax seats over the years and honestly, they’ve never failed to knock our socks off. Britax has been on the front line of car seat technology for many years and they have devoted themselves to constantly making their new seats better and safer than the previous ones. The ClickTight system is the latest and greatest example of this and thousands of families use these seats every day.

In a lot of ways, this particular review will just be a bit of an update to the already very thorough review of the Britax Boulevard Clicktight, but for a few small differences.

First, and most obviously, it’s an Advocate ClickTight not a Boulevard CT, but the only significant difference between the two models is the external side-impact cushions on the Advocate. Now, that’s not to say they are not significant, as they provide an extra layer of energy-absorbtion and side-impact protection, it’s just to say that the interior of the seat is essentially identical to the Boulevard CT, so there’s not much to add there. Second, this particular version of the Advocate comes with an anti-rebound bar (ARB). You can also purchase a Boulevard ClickTight with ARB if you prefer the Boulevard model. If you already own an Advocate or Boulevard model with ClickTight, you can order the ARB separately for your seat.

What IS an Anti-Rebound Bar?

Some of you may be wondering what an anti-rebound bar is, so before we jump into the review, it’s worth reviewing the function of an ARB. The anti-rebound bar is a U shaped piece of metal that connects to the foot area of the car seat and rests against the vehicle seat back in rear-facing mode only. The anti-rebound bar prevents the seat from rebounding or bouncing back into the vehicle seat back during the final stages of a frontal crash. In Britax’s private crash tests, they found that their ARB reduces the rebound of their seats by 40% and provides improved stability for front, rear-end and side-impact crashes. It may seem like an unassuming car seat accessory, but this chunk of metal does more than meets the eye.

What Comes With the Advocate CT and What Comes Separately?
The Advocate with ARB comes out of the box with the anti-rebound bar, energy absorbing HUGS, the EZ-Buckle System, infant body cusion and strap covers.

There are additional accessories available including a cupholder, a waterproof seat liner and a vehicle seat protector all of which were manufactured and crash tested by Britax.

   

Advocate CT Specifications:

  • Rear-facing 5-40 pounds, head 1 inch from top of fully extended headrest (which is very tall- one of the tallest rear facing seats on the market)
  • Forward-facing 20-65 pounds, 49” or less, a least 1 year old (Britax recommends children rear face to the limits of the seat)
  • Lower LATCH anchor limits: 30 pounds rear-facing, 35 pounds forward-facing
  • 10! Year! Expiration!
  • FAA approved for use on airplanes

Advocate CT Features:

  • ClickTight installation system- a built in lock off that installs the Advocate so easily you will think you’ve done something wrong, except it’s rock solidly installed and you have done everything right. It’s that amazing.
  • 14-position headrest with no-rethread harness
  • 2 crotch buckle positions with EZ-Buckle System, which keeps the crotch buckle out of the way during loading and unloading. Once you have this, you will wish every seat had it.
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • 3 layers of side impact protection:
    1. energy absorbing shell
    2. Foam lined headrest
    3. External side impact cushions
  • Impact-absorbing base – contains cells that are designed to compress down during a crash and reduce forward head excursion for the child.
  • Energy-absorbing Versa-Tether for forward facing
  • 7 recline positions with easy to read angle indication bubble for  rear facing angle. It has 2 zones- newborn and toddler to allow for more upright, but still safe, positioning for older rear facers. There’s no “too upright” when rear facing a toddler in this seat!

Measurements:

Evenflo SafeMax 3-in-1 Combination Carseat Review – Rollover Tested for Maximum Safety

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I just wrapped up my review of the brand new Evenflo Spectrum Booster, and I had mentioned that it was rollover tested.  I recently had the privilege of being able to test out another new Evenflo seat, SafeMax 3-in-1 Combination Seat. This is a forward-facing only seat for kids 2+ that can also be used as a highback booster and eventually as a backless booster too. They call it a 3-in-1 product which can be a little misleading because many consumers think a 3-in-1 carseat always means Rear-Facing/Forward-Facing/Booster. However, in this case it means Forward-Facing/Highback Booster/Backless Booster. This is a Stage 3 carseat that is most appropriate for pre-school and school-aged children.

Evenflo SafeMax 3-in-1 Specs & Features:

  • 5-point harness: Forward-facing only for kids 22-65 lbs., at least 2 years old, height 28- 50″ tall (shoulders must be at or below top harness slots).
  • Booster mode with vehicle lap/shoulder belt: 40-120 lbs., at least 4 years old, height 44 – 57″ (top of ears must be below the top of the head support).
  • 4 harness height positions
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • Height-adjustable head support
  • Rollover tested
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Recline feature on base (reclined position required for kids under 40 lbs.)
  • Harness strap covers (required for kids under 40 lbs.)
  • Buckle Pockets keep harness out of the way while loading/unloading
  • Dual integrated cup holders
  • Basic, hook-style lower LATCH connectors (LATCH limit is 45 lbs.)
  • FAA approved for use in aircraft (with 5-pt harness)
  • 8 year lifespan before expiration

SafeMax 3-in-1 Measurements: