“Car crashes are the number one killer of children 1 to 12 years old in the United States.”
– National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
It’s a shocking statistic. Fortunately, we can all do something to lower the numbers and to better protect our children – educate ourselves. Despite the numerous books claiming to have the best advice on parenting, children do not come with instruction manuals. Most baby gear products, however, do. Have you read them? According to the NHTSA, 3 out of 4 parents do not properly use child restraints. Some even choose to forgo car seats all together. Three out of four… meaning that only 25% of children in the US are safely traveling to school, play dates, sporting events, and even the grocery store. Now, as parents, our number one concern should ALWAYS be the safety and well-being of our children. Britax, a company centered on catering to kids’ safety needs is, thankfully, here to help us do just that.
Most parents have the basic car seat process outlined in their minds as such: infant seat, convertible seat, booster seat, then onto the usual car seat belt. While this is much better than those that choose no restraints at all, it is still (technically) incorrect. The best way to protect your little ones is to let them be your guide. Their ages, heights, and weights ALL play very big factors in determining which seats are correct for them to use. An obvious place to start is the infant bucket seat such as the Britax B-Safe. Most children outgrow these within the first year of life. The next step would be a convertible car seat, the Britax Advocate 70-G3 for instance. The current recommendation, as per the American Association of Pediatrics, (and, in some cases, law) is for children to remain riding rear-facing until they are 2-years-old or meet the height and/or weight requirements of their convertible car seat while rear-facing. Once your child is ready to ride forward-facing they, oftentimes, can remain in their current convertible seat for quite some time. After outgrowing a convertible seat completely, the next step is to find the correct booster seat for your child. This is where it gets tricky.
Booster seats vary extremely and there are different types to cater to the needs of children of all sizes. Unfortunately, many parents choose the backless and/or unharnessed booster seats due to cost related reasons. Although many backless/unharnessed booster seats are sold with a minimum weight requirement of 30-40lbs, your child may not necessarily be ready for it based on that aspect alone. For example, my toddler meets that requirement but you will never, ever, see him riding in one of those seats anytime soon. Why? He is only two and not ready, physically or mentally, for that move just yet. A child’s temperament and maturity level as well as their age and physical attributes all come into play.
“Only 21% of children, ages 4 to 8, are ‘at least on occasion’ riding in a booster seat while traveling in a passenger vehicle.”
– National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The numbers are astounding! Luckily Britax, and I, hope to change that. Offering everything from baby carriers and strollers to, both, convertible and booster car seats, Britax has kids covered in all things safety. The Britax Frontier 85 SICT, a combination Harness-2-Booster seat, helps to create a transition for children that are too big for convertible seats but, yet still, too small for a traditional booster seat.
As continued proof that we cannot make time stand still and keep our children babies forever, our oldest has officially outgrown his convertible seat. As an already huge fan of the company, the Britax Frontier 85 SICT was an obvious choice for him because, hopefully, it will be his last needed car seat. Although he meets the 40lbs minimum requirement for use of the belt-positioning booster mode, the greatest feature with the Frontier 85 SICT is that we can extend harness use for years to come. As a parent, that is allows for a huge sigh of relief. My baby is safe. And with a nine year expiry, this car seat should last him into his “not a baby any longer” teenage years, of course, assuming that he still fits properly by then. With many of his friends making the transition into combination car seats, he was beyond thrilled to receive his brand new “big boy” seat, and in his most favorite color at that!
The set-up was as to be expected with any car seat meaning that it wasn’t a breeze but was not extremely difficult by any means. I’m currently in the process of getting my Child Passenger Safety Technician certification, so I know my ropes around the installation of seats. However, Daddy usually double checks my installs simply because he is stronger than me and can tighten it that last little bit. If you’re having issues with your installation or would just like the peace of mind in knowing that it is done correctly, you can always contact your local CPSTs through any AAA office or visit the nearest NHTSA certified Child Car Seat Inspection Station.
We did have to make a few quick adjustments including changing, both, the harness height as well as the buckle position but each was quite simple to do. I absolutely love that the Britax Frontier 85 SICT features a Quick-Adjust No-Rethread harness! As he grows, all we have to do is quickly slide up the harness and, voila! Another great feature of the Britax Frontier 85 SICT is the new Easy-Remove cover. In the event of a spill or messes of any kind, the cover can easily be removed while the seat is still installed in your vehicle!
Also, unlike many seats on the market, the Britax Frontier 85 SICT has Side-Impact Cushion Technology which features energy absorbing cushions on the exterior of the seat. This feature not only protects adjacent passenger(s) by providing them with extra protection but also diverts crash forces away from your child, reducing side impact crash energy by up to 45 percent!
The Britax Frontier 85 SICT is, by far, the best and my most favorite car seat to date. While there are many more car seat safety tips and tricks that I would love to go over with you, I’ll spare you all the lengthy read. Let’s cut right to the basics…
I love that the Britax Frontier 85 SICT will, very likely, be the last car seat that we will need. The fact that it offers my not so “little” guy the ability to remain harnessed and, therefore, safer for longer is, absolutely, the deciding factor. Now, while it does have a minimum requirement of “2 years & 25lbs” it would be my best recommendation to leave a child of such weight/height in a convertible seat (check out the Britax convertibles here) to allow for extended rear-faced travel. However, if the time has come that your child, too, is not so “little” any longer, then I very highly recommend the Britax Frontier 85 SICT. I am very pleased with how well it fits our needs, our child, and our vehicle. I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to purchase a new, long-lasting forward-facing seat.
Big Boy’s Thoughts:
“It is so, so, SO cool, Mommy! And it’s red just like Lightning McQueen!” He is absolutely over the moon with his new seat and loves every bit of it. I’m now bombarded with requests to allow his toy cars to travel alongside his water bottle in his new cup holders and, although I’m quite adamant about not having possible projectiles in the vehicle, I happily oblige to this specific request. He also thinks that the arm rests are “Awesome! Just like Daddy puts his arm right there (the center console)!”
In addition to making great car seats and baby gear readily available to all parents, Britax is a generous company. With their recent launch of the Britax Registry Rewards Program users can redeem UPCs from select Britax or Bob gear in each of five categories and exchange them for a brand new and FREE Britax Boulevard 70-G3 car seat! There is absolutely no catch! Be sure to keep up with Britax through their social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – for the latest in car seat and baby gear news, products, and chances to win!
As if that wasn’t enough, the lovely folk over at Britax are offering one extremely lucky Eighty MPH Mom reader a chance to win as well! With tax returns coming in for many, this is one of the peak buying times for car seats. However, one of you will get to save that pretty penny and then some because a brand new Britax Frontier 85 SICT will be all yours! And in your choice of fabric! Go ahead, do a happy dance! You know you want to (:
One (1) winner will receive a Britax Frontier 85 SICT in their choice of fabric.
Giveaway open to US and CAN residents only. Ends 3/17/13. ARV of $339.99
*Randi received the above product(s), free of charge, to facilitate this review. All opinions are those of reviewer only.