Britax has just redesigned and are relaunching their convertible car seat line. Called Next Generation (Next Gen), the car seats offer 360 Degree Protection with Head Safety Technology – designed to reduce the risk of head injury and provides protection from all sides in the event of a vehicle crash. While it’s tough to hear, head injury is the leading cause of death for children up to 12 years old involved in vehicle crashes and makes up 65 % of injuries in both frontal and side impact crashes, according to Child Injury Led Design and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Britax designed its new line to help prevent this. I recommend checking out Britax’s video about the Next Gen Car Seats on YouTube (the video will make you a little emotional, but is not scary)
This new line incorporates features that lower the child’s center of gravity, strengthen the child seat and manage crash energy. Together, they reduce head excursion (which means how far the head travels in a crash) and offer the most advanced protection to children.
Specifically, the new features include:
- A re-engineered lower center of gravity that allows the child to sit lower and creates stability in the event of a crash.
- Integrated steel bars that strengthen the connection to the vehicle and reduce forward flexing of the child seat during a crash.
- Patent-pending Britax SafeCell Technology with SafeCells® that are designed to compress in a crash. This significantly lowers the center of gravity and counteracts the forward rotation of the child seat, which normally propels the child toward the front seat.
- Energy-Absorbing Versa-Tether® with a two-point attachment and staged-release tether webbing to anchor the top of the car seat. This minimizes forward-rotation and reduces crash forces reaching the child.
I had a chance to check out the line twice and was very impressed. Britax designed its new line to improve upon its Side Impact Protection (SIP) and True Side Impact Protection ® (TSIP). The car seats feature deeper side walls lined with energy-absorbing EPP foam that distribute crash forces, shield from vehicle intrusion, and contain the head, neck and body. Britax TSIP car seats also offer a head restraint that creates an extra layer of energy-absorbing EPP foam, keeping the head, neck and spine aligned. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, one in four of all motor vehicle crashes that involve children occur from the side, and these result in a significantly higher injury rate than frontal or rear impacts.
Britax’s new line also offers higher weight capacities to keep children rear facing longer and to allow for extended use of a five-point harness. The convertible car seats can accommodate children from between 5 and 40 pounds rear facing and up to 70 pounds forward facing, and the mid-capacity convertible allows children to sit forward facing up to 55 pounds. The new seats offer a harness position that helps position the harness at or below baby’s shoulder, and an infant insert is available separately to properly position the infant and protect the airway.
The new convertibles also include features that make them easier to install and use properly and consistently.
Non-handed premium LATCH connectors allow the seats to easily transition from rear to forward facing, while an easy access cover and access to belt paths from the front of the seat reduce the time needed for installation. Built-in lock-offs ensure a tight lap and shoulder seat belt installation with minimal effort.
Ease-of-use features include: a quick-adjust head restraint, a no-rethread harness (available on all convertibles except for the line’s mid-capacity convertible), buckle adjustments and multiple recline adjustments. No no-rethread harness makes it super easy to adjust the harness height – no more taking the cover off, undoing that buckle and re-threading it.
The revamped line includes the Roundabout 55 (SRP: $199.99), Marathon 70 (SRP: $279.99), Boulevard 70 (SRP: $309.99), Boulevard 70 CS (SRP: $329.99) and Advocate 70 CS (SRP: $369.99). They will be available in August.
Disclosure: I am a member of Britax’s Blogger Advisory Board, which consists of select bloggers whoÂ routinely test andÂ review juvenile products. Britax gives these board members previews of its new products or product ideas, in return for the bloggers candid assessments. The bloggers are not paid for their service, but are reimbursed for any travel expenses.