I just want to take a moment to share my 2 cents with you about the two car seats we own.
When Emmett turned a year and it was time for a new car seat, only the best, the safest and unfortunately the most expensive car seat would be good enough for my darling first born. So after researching on Consumer Reports, talking to friends and people at Babies R US, we decided the Britax Marathon was the way to go.
Then Eisley turned one and again, we had to decide if we'd be getting another Marathon ($$$) or something more reasonably priced. Again, I researched and decided to go with something a little less pricey, but still highly ranked on consumer reports. We decided on the Safety First Vantage Point high back booster - it came in orange! We couldn't resist! If only it had come in turquoise!
After using both for a couple months I have strong opinions about these car seats and would like to share them with you. My opinions have nothing to do with actual safety of these seats, merely on the day to day usability. Bottom line, for me, the Britax may be worth the additional $200*. Maybe you don't care about the nitty gritty details, in which case there's no need to keep reading. But if you do, please proceed.
- Straps twisting: The Britax has strong straps that don't get twisted up. The Safety 1st straps feel flimsy are always getting twisted and tangled. I personally am a stickler for flat straps. No matter what car seat you're using, if you're not using it right, it's not going to be able to do it's job.
- Straps on shoulders: I don't know what it is but the Safety 1st straps are always falling off Emmett's shoulders. You really have to check and double check that the straps are in the right place. The Britax straps magically lay in the correct position over the shoulders. I have no explanation for this!
- Velcro: The Britax has this amazingly simple feature of putting velcro on the side of the car seat and the straps. This serves two purposes, holds the straps out of the way when the child is being placed in to the car seat so you don't have to go digging under their bums looking for the straps. Also, it keep the crotch buckle things from sliding back towards the seat, again preventing the behind the bum search. Such a simple thing that makes such a difference for me.
- Height: As you can see in the picture, the Britax is higher off the seat of the car than the Safety 1st. Not sure it really matters, but I think the child can probably see better and overall, I prefer the higher seat.
- Head Comfort/Sleeping: Emmett has slept fine in both car seats, but his head bobbles around more in the Safety 1st. It doesn't have alot of support to either side of the head, so he has no where to rest his weary head so it just bobbles around. In the Britax he'd just lean his head back where it would securely rest until he wanted to wake.
- Drink Holder: Safety 1st has one, Britax doesn't. It's a great idea...in theory. Problem is, you can't change which side it's on. He can't access it because it's either right next to Eisley's seat or right next to do the door, depending on which side his seat is on. Either way, it's pretty pointless.
- Fabric: The Britax pattern we chose is a bit shiny so things wipe right off it. It still looks practically new and we've had it 2+ years. The beautiful orange fabric of the Safety 1st is already looked worse for wear.
- Harness Snap: This snap I'm referring to is the one that is higher and supposed to be placed at armpit height. Britax actually stays where you put it, Safety 1st is always sliding down. Maybe this is why the shoulder straps of the Safety 1st are always falling off their shoulders.
- Crotch Buckle: A few things. 1) The Britax one pops right open when you push the button. It's a one handed deal, which is imperative with multiple kids. The Safety 1st one requires pushing the button and then either having the child push his chest out to pull the pieces out of the buckle, or taking your second hand to pull it out. Annoying! 2) Second thing, the shape of the crotch buckle. Britax has a slightly angled buckle so that in the dark you can feel your way to the correct latch. The Safety 1st buckle is round and looks cool, but is practically impossible to figure out where to fit the buckles in the dark.
OK, so that was my 2 cents - or maybe 99 cents! I of course was not compensated for any of my opinions, I just had to vent somewhere and what better place than my personal blog! For those of you who've made it to the end...Congrats! And I hope it helped somehow!
*Let's look at the price/use difference. Britax is about $280 and the Safety first is about $95. So for practical purposes let's assume the price difference is $200. If you figure you use the carseat for, on average, one trip per day that means you're actually using the car seat 1) strap in 2) strap out at your location 3) strap in after your errand 4) strap out at home. That's 4 uses per day. Your child will probably use this carseat 2 years minimum. 2 years is 365 days times 4 uses per day equals 1460 uses. At $200 price difference/1460 uses equals less than 14 cents/use. So, ask yourself, for $.14 per use, is the Britax worth it? I'm starting to think we maybe should have just gotten another Marathon! Oh well, we are SO grateful to have these car seats. Now that I am done venting and calculating, I'll just start focusing on being grateful!