Berkeley Parents Network >
What/Where to Buy >
Car Seats >
Different Types of Britax
Traveling with a Britax
I'm a future-mom and considering getting the Britax Roundabout
for a car seat. Is it safe to use this ''convertible'' model for
both infants and toddlers? Or, is it safer to purchase a
separate infant seat and then use Britax for toddler stage?
I'm aware of the so-called advantages of having infant seat to
use as carrier (too heavy!), so that's not part of my
Also, is this Britax not too big for small infants? Can head
rests, etc., make up for the extra space?
Thanks for the advice!
I would definitely recommend getting a separate infant car seat.
They fit small babies better and seem more comfortable. When
reading reviews for the Britax seat the only negative comments
were for people who used them from birth and said the straps
were too wide and the angle uncomfortable. And while now you
don't understand wanting to use the seat as a carrier, we just
used ours to carry him from the car to the house so he wouldn't
wake up! This is a very important consideration because trust me
you won't want to wake up your sleeping baby! Even though our son
weighs around 19 pounds now and the carrier weighs a ton we are
still using it (we got an infant seat that goes up to 22 pounds).
A Mom of Five Months
I have the Britax Roundabout for my infant and I think it's fine.
It's supposed to be the best/safest carseat around. The only
thing that was a consideration when my baby was really little (1-2
months) is the fact that you cannot recline the seat too far for
an infant. I found this not to be too big of a deal by using
little head accessories (mini boppy pillow, small blanket, etc) to
keep the baby's head in place and prevent it from coming forward
or dropping sideways. You can also tuck a couple of towels under
the front part of the seat to make it ''recline'' a little more. Now
that my baby is almost 5 months old it's not even an issue
anymore. I'm glad I don't have to think about buying another
carseat for a while!
My friend was in a serious car accident when her baby was 3
months old. The baby was in the Roundabout and was completely
uninjured after the car was hit at the passenger door and spun
three times (the car was totalled). That sold me on it and I
have had my own baby in one since she was 5 months old. I
believe they are for use for babies and kids from 5 lbs to 40.
It is simple to use, anchors very securely and seems comfortable
for baby. It is pricey but after seeing how well it performed
when needed, I wouldn't use anything else.
I would not use a convertible car seat for an infant. They
don't recline far enough so the baby ends up getting squished
since they can't hold their upper bodies up. It's a hassle
having to buy 2 car seats but it is a good investment.
All car seats that are sold with the proper government
certification are safe when properly installed! In particular,
the Roundabout has something very few detachable infant seats
do -- a tether -- which probably adds to its safety level. We
used a detachable seat when our preemie was very small, but we
quickly switched to the Britax because we didn't like hauling
the thing in and out of the car -- it was easier for us to just
pick up the baby. With the help of a head rest and a baby boppy
pillow to support her neck, she always did fine in the
Roundabout -- you just have to set the shoulder straps on the
lowest setting. And actually, I think the Britax reclines a
little more than the detachable did. If there's a minimum size
for the Britax, it should say so in the product information
packet. In any case, unless you have a 4-pounder (as we did), I
can't see any reason the seat would be too big!
We bought a Britex Roundabout and intended to use it for our
daughter (now 13 mos) from newborn until she was too big for
it. But, when we put her in it to come home from the hospital,
we realized it was not going to work. She was fairly big newborn
(almost 9 lbs.), but she still seemed to be swimming in the
Britex, even with the head/body cushion we had in it. We ended
up using a used infant seat from some friends for the first 4-5
months. We were going to sell the Britex (I tossed the box, so
we couldn't return it), but I decided to go see a car seat
installation person first. I'm very glad I did. She showed me
how to use cut up swim noodles underneath the Britex so that it
would sit level. Apparently, part of our problem had been that
the seat couldn't tilt at the right angle in our car. It's a
great car seat - but the bottom line is, if it doesn't fit well
in your car, it's not going to be safe. I'd definitely
recommend going to an inspection place to make sure it works in
your car first. As far as using it for an infant, I've had
friends who used it for newborns just fine. And, we probably
would have had better luck if the seat had been installed
properly in the first place, but I still think the seat would
have been too big and stiff for a little newborn.
We tried to use the Britax Roundabout for our infant and found
that it did not work as well as the infant carrier type.
Firstly, the Roundabout facing backward and tilted back to
accommodate an infant is VERY long and forced the front
passenger seat into a position that was painfully (and
dangerously) close to the dash in our Audi A4. Secondly, the
infant carriers do seem to cradle the baby in a semingly more
natural and comfortable shape. thirdly, it is nice to be able
to transport a sleeping baby while they are still in the car
seat by carrying the top portion of the baby carrier type. Our
children stayed in the carrier for 12 months, then transferred
to the Roundabout, and now our older has graduated at four years
of age to the booster style. We have used only Britax for each
and been very happy with the quality and comfort.
Britax is a great for when your baby grows out of the tiny
infant carseat. I put my kids in it at about 6 months and they
stay there until close to three years. I have to say, I think you
are making a HUGE mistake dismissing the infant carrier car seat.
As far as I'm concerned (and every other parent I know agrees)
it is indispensable. I never carried mine, but I put
it into a snap 'n go. The day my 3 kids outgrew that seat I went
into mourning. The first time you have to wake up a sleeping
baby to pull her out of a car seat and into a stroller, you will
understand why these items sell so very well.
We bought the Roundabout for our son after doing very extensive
research about car seats. By the way, we got it on sale at
Lullaby Lane... check them out. We didn't want an infant
carseat because we wouldn't be using it as a carrier (my husband
has had wrist problems), and we knew we'd probably be having a
very big baby. Low and behold, we had a heavy and extremely
*long* baby... he would have outgrown an infant seat lengthwise
(the length limit is generally 26'') before he was 3 months old.
Needless to say, he always fit well into the Roundabout. If you
have good reason to suspect that you'll have a baby on the large
side, I'd definitely go with a convertible seat instead of an
infant seat. We love our Roundabout, and it is very secure in
our car... there's absolutely no wiggle whatsoever, and our son
seems very comfortable.
I used the Britax Roundabout from the day I brought my son home
and highly recommend it. It's a very safe and highly rated car
seat. The key to it facing backward is the anchor tether which
makes it very secure. However, not all cars have a good place
to anchor the seat and some backseats may be too tight for it.
When you decide to buy, have the store try it out in your car
first. As for the size, I used a Nojo head rest for the first
couple of months which worked well.
I would not recommend using a rear-facing, tethered Britax for
very young infants. Although it would only matter in very
severe forward collisions or rear collisions (which are less
common), its important for the car seat to ''give'' towards the
back of the car.
This is the same logic that recommends against putting children
under one year in a forward facing position - their necks and
spinal cords can get hurt. In the forward facing situation,
this happens when the car stops suddenly (in the relatively
common forward crash).
When a child is rear facing, this can happen when the car
accelerates suddenly (is hit from behind) or, after a large
forward crash, the car seat rebounds backwards. The Britax is
tethered while rear facing, so a child is at risk. Now, the
accelerations towards the rear are both less common and less
severe, typically, than to the front. But, very young infants
are more susceptible to the spinal cord problems. The relative
risks are hard to determine, but an expert (Kathleen Weber) gave
me the rule of thumb that she wouldn't recommend a child under 6
months in a rear-facing, tethered car seat. Again, though, it
will only matter in severe rear crashes or very severe forward
crashes (and depends on the size of your car, driving habits,
Unfortunately, I don't think you should use the Britax without
tethering it while rear-facing, since that is the way that
Britax has tested it. It was disconcerting to me that our (non-
Britax) infant seat could rotate all the way up to the back of
the rear seat, but for the issues above this is a good thing.
We used the infant carrier until about 8 months, when our baby was
too long for it. We found the infant carrier very convenient, as
others have said, in case our baby fell asleep and we wanted to go
into a store, restaurant, etc. What really made it convenient was
using a snap'n go stroller. You can lift the infant seat out and
put it straight into this stroller, then wheel the carrier around
instead of carrying it. We use the Britax Roundabout now that she
is older and wait until she wakes up to go into stores, or carry
her to her crib when we get home. It is a great carseat too but we
do miss the convenience of the infant seat.
Just read the postings about the Britax round-about and wanted
to add that we also loved it. We just used a nojo headrest at
the beginning as did others who wrote. I mostly wanted to add
that we always transferred our sleeping son from car seat to
sling. If he woke at all, a bit of swaying or jiggling with him
in the sling and he was fast asleep again. Once in the sling
we'd either wear him or put him down in a bed from the sling.
The latter is easy to do by laying down and unhooking the sling
or slipping it off your neck.
Hi - I just noticed recently that the Britax Marathon is now shipping. Has
anyone gotten one yet? I would be interested in hearing opinons of what you
like and what you don't like. We are considering it for our 4-year-old
daughter who is petite and still in her Britax Freeway. She is 38 1/2
inches tall and 30 pounds and I figure the Marathon would probably last a
good long time until she hits the maximum weight on it. As an aside, I
would be curious to know if others with any kind of 5-point-harness booster
seat (not car seat) have found their children unhappy in any way because
their friends have the ''other kind'' of booster seat that buckles
like grown-ups buckle up in the car. I would anticipate such protests with
my daughter (not that she gets a vote when it comes to safety). Thanks.
Want my kid safe and happy, too
I recently bought a marathon at rockridge kids in oakland, and
it's fine. I had considered the britax husky (the 5-point
harness booster that goes up to 80 lbs). Besides the fact that
the husky was unavailable at the time, when I had tried the
earlier model it was so huge it wouldn't fit in my car! The
marathon is fine - somewhere between the roundabout and the
husky. It isn't much different than the roundabout looks-wise or
features-wise. The buckle is a little better to use, the belly
pad worse (falls off all of the time) but no important
differences. It does have the latch system if you have a new car
(which I don't) but apparently you still can't use the latch
over 40 lbs anyway.
I love our Britax Marathon. My son is very tall for his age (41
inches, just turned 3) and his shoulders were way past the
top slot of our other two convertible (or is it combination?)
seats, the Century NextStep and the Cosco Summit. He's
too young and thin to use those seats as belt-positioning
boosters, so I was stuck until the Marathon came out. It'll
work for him as a five-point harness seat until he's
something like 48 inches and 65 pounds. It feels more
substantial than our other seats--basically just like the
Roundabout but with a higher back. It's also more
comfortable (at least, my son starts falling asleep as soon
as he sits down--with the others, he might eventually fall
asleep, but he looked totally uncomfortable) and more
reclined, and it's easier to install. And the straps don't twist
like the Summit's do--there's a rubber thingie on each strap
to prevent twisting. Like the Roundabout, it has velcro on the
arms so you can keep the harness out of the way. I have no
complaints about this car seat--it's definitely worth the $250!
The post for a Britax car seat prompts me to ask: I just bought a Britax
for my son, figuring the money was worth the extra safety, since "everyone"
says they're the best. But the latest issue of consumer reports actually
ranks them lower than one of the century models, and says that the tether
can make safety worse, not better, in the rear facing position when attached
toward the front of the car rather than "toward the rear". I realized I
don't have anything solid to back up the word of mouth on Britax. Has anyone
done the research enough to contradict Consumer Reports? and does anyone
know how one could attach the tether, when the seat is rear facing, toward
the back of the car? it seems physically impossible. I must say that I
hope consumer reports doesn't have the full story, since otherwise I just
spent an extra $100 for a less safe seat. Thanks for any information!
As for if the Britax is worth it, that depends how worried you are about
car accidents. I think the thing about the Britax that makes it "safer" is
that it has passed the European safety tests as well as the ones in the US.
In the book Baby Bargains they explain the difference between these two
sets of regulations. Some of these differences are that in the US car seat
manufacturers are on the honor system to test seats while in Europe the
government does the testing. Also, in the US the tests are done on a flat
bench seat with a 2 point seat belt (while most cars have a bucket seat
with a three point seat belt) and only test the seats in head on collisions
with dummies sized at 9 mos., 3 years and 6 years. In Europe they test with
bucket seats, three point seat belts, they require side impact crash tests
and use 6 sizes of crash dummies (newborn, nine month, one and a half year
old, three year old, six year old and ten year old.) I think the reason the
Britax didn't score so high in the Consumer Reports article is that they
tested it without the tether and found that the infants head moved farther
forward than the standards allowed. They then explain that if the tether is
used the performance of the seat improves. Having said all this, we are
simply trying to find a car seat that fits in the back of our car since
proper installation is really the most important thing of all.
I have the Britax roundabout carseat and am currently using it
rear facing. I did not need to buy any additional anchor's for
my car. There is a thether anchor strap that comes with the car
seat (or purchased from Rockridge Kids) that enables you to use the
hardware under the front seats as the anchor. It is quite simple to do.
I am going to turn the seat around to forward facing soon and I did
purchase an anchor from our car manufacturer (Ford) to use the thether.
When it is forward facing, I'm not sure if the thether is really needed,
or just more of an added safety measure, as I would imagine the seatbelt
alone should be able to prevent any seat movement. Good Luck!
I highly recommend getting the Britax Roundabout car seat versus any other.
After discussing car seats at length with the CHP and the NHTSA (?), I
believe that Britax has the safest car seats on the market. I would also
recommend contacting your local police station about where you can get the
tether anchors installed. In addition, you can make an appointment with
them to actually install the car seat for you...or you can go to one of the
quarterly car seat checks that is open to the community. After having them
install the car seat for my daughter, I was amazed at how many mistakes I
made installing it, and therefore, would only trust them to do it now or in
the future. Having two 250 pound policemen (who are trained to install car
seats) put in your car seat is going to make it a lot tighter and safer than
you could ever do...I know this from experience.
Re Car Seat for 10-month old: We got a Britax which we love, but got a Century
STE1000 as a second seat. Pros: it is a fraction of the cost of a Britax
(about $55 at Target), was highly rated by Consumer reports (I'm told) and
is easy to install and relatively easy to clean (takes a bit of patience to
take off the cover, but it washes in the machine and is quite easy to put
back on). Cons: it's not as cushy as the Britax, you have to be patient with
the straps so they don't twist, and it's less fun for the babe since it
doesn't sit as high so they can't see out the car window as well (and our
little guy is tall). If you can swing the Britax expense, we've found this
is a good combination.
this page was last updated: Oct 12, 2006
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network