There is one brand of car seat all five of my children have used… Britax. Britax far exceeds my list of features to look for in a car seat. Journey with me as I load five kids in the car!
Five Features to Look for in a Car Seat
In the summer of 2016, I found myself sipping a latte and wondering the baby aisle of Target. I was once again a pregnant mother after raising two beautiful girls for almost a decade. The aisles looked different this time. There were products and brands I wasn’t familiar with. I found myself picking up a box with the photos of an adorable baby only to realize the product was for snucking snot out of a child’s nose with your mouth. (I learned during cold season that this product actually it works!) I grabbed another gadget and placed it back still not understanding it’s purpose even after reading the products label. The baby aisle definitely looked different.
I chuckled now because that day seemed so silly to me. I went from being a “novice” to quickly becoming an expert. In just under 15 months time, the Lord blessed me with three babies since that Target plus latte stroll. I had one baby in the fall of 2016 and two babies in the winter of 2017. In my Target run, I was a “new” mom and starting all over when it came to babies and gadgets. One brand, however, that remained true from my first “set”of kids to my second “set” was Britax.
By the time my youngest boys are out of a car seat, I will have had a car seat in my car for 18 years. That might just make me a car seat expert. One brand of car seat all five (yes, I am a mother of five) of my kids have had is Britax. The seat is reliable, well built, comfy and sleek. There are many reasons I stand behind this brand, but most importantly, the brand exceeds all my exceptions on my Five Features to Look for in a Car Seat.
A picture of my daughter in our very first Britax Car Seat – A Britax Marathon CS in Emma
First: Your Car Seat Should Grow with Age
As much a safety is a concern for me, having a seat that can last a long time is also important to me, as well. I look at a car seat as an investment and I don’t want to make a car seat investment every year. I want to purchase a seat and keep it for a long time. The Essentials by Britax Emblem Convertible Car Seat allows use for a baby as small as 5 pounds to as big as 65 pounds (Minimum Height: 17 inches, Maximum Height: 49 inches). To give you perspective, my ten year old is 66 pounds! She was 49 inches at about 8 years old. To give you more perspective, one of the twins did come home from the hospital under 5 pounds. In this case we would not have passed the car seat test for discharge and we would have to borrow a seat form the hospital or a friend for a week or two since he was too small.
A picture of the arrival of our second Britax , the Britax Frontier 90.
Second: Five Point Harness
This is huge to me. The five point harness. A five point harness is the webbing portion of the car seat that adjusts over baby to hold him in the seat. You want to make sure your hardness it at shoulder level and the buckle connects at your child’s chest. To show you how Britax exceeds my expectations, this seat has a 10-Position harness to easily adjust for your growing baby. The harness heights are 8.5″, 9.5″, 10.5″, 11.5″, 12.5″, 13.5″, 14.5″, 15.5″, 16.5″, and 17.5″ You also have an adjustable head rest getting your baby in that right positioning for safety.
The Essentials by Britax Emblem Convertible Car Seat has side head and body protection.
Third: Side Head and Body Protection
We live on the outskirts of DC, in Virginia to be exact. My car experiences the pot holes of the city, the 12 line highways of the beltway that surrounds it and occasionally a rural back road. Passengers can be toss a bit and it’s important to me everyone is secure, especially for younger babies that lack head support and of course in the case of an emergency like a car accident.
Beyond the standard cushion of this seat, the head area has an EXTRA soft layer of side impact protection. This provides protection against the most harmful type of collisions and the occasional city pothole.
A day on the run with five! Buckling all the kids in one at a time!
Fourth: Easy to Clean
One of the best gifts I got from my husband my past birthday was a year long carwash membership. Guys, I am a mother of 5 and I don’t have “time’ to keep up with the trash and dirt that piles up in my car. Once I week, let me rephrase, at least once a week I drive through the carwash where they vacuum, wipe down, wash, and dry my car. It is the great gift I ever received and I will be asking for it again this birthday.
So the hard cleaning is done in my car. The car seat gets routinely vacuumed, what is left from me is the wipe down. I wet washcloth and I can keep the car seat looking like new. If you child requires more than mine, the Britax Emblem Convertible car seat as an easy remove cover. It makes for easy clean-up without having to remove the harness. Sweet!
The loading process has begun, all the doors are ajar. It takes 6 trips to get this crew loaded!
Fifth: Easy and Safe Installation
So loading the car is a bit of a circus show. The two girls can load themselves in and out of the car, but the three babies cannot. I begin loading the car with our stuff while the kids stay in the house. This takes at least two trips. When I load the car with diaper bags, my purse and my phone, I open all the car doors so ventilation occurs and I can keep an eye on everyone. I keep my keys in my pocket (always on me) so I never get locked out of the house or car. I then go back in the house and pick up my 18 month old. Of all the kids, I load him first. He is a car seat in he third row. I then tell the girls to jump in beside him and buck up. I then run (literally run) inside the house and grab one of the twins. Each twin has their own seat so when one is crying, I know who needs my attention. Once the first twin in loaded, I go for the last. I load the last twin in and go back to the house looking around to make sure no one, or nothing, was forgotten. I lock up. This process takes me six, yes SIX, trips back and forth form the car. I normally follow up cranking the car with a head count. I am sure the day will come when one person is left behind. It will likely be my husband because he lacks a step in this system (chuckle!)
That being said, I need efficiently. I need car seats that can move spots. Car seats that are easy to load in and out of the car. I need easy installation. The Essentials Britax Convertible Car Seat has easy on-off LATCH connectors. You can lock lower anchors into place with a click, and easily release with the push of a button. Whew. Might be easier to do than loading my family of 5!
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I was supplied with two Britax Emblem Convertible Car Seats for review. All opinions are my own and should not be substituted for yours.
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