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  1. #1
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    Radian or complete air: Final questions! Added another one!

    Let me say ahead of time thank you for all of your help. I am pretty sure I want to get the Radian..but I also want to make sure it is going to work before I order it. My second choice is the Complete Air.

    The primary reason for me wanting the Radian is that I can RF until 45 lbs possibly. I say possibly because I am not sure it will fit in my Subaru outback wagon ('01) in the rear facing position. Other positives that I find include that if I have to go FF, it is safer than our current set up (Britax Blvd) and that it can accomodate a taller child until 80 lbs.

    However, I have one big question remaining about size/height issues. Currently, my 2.5 year old is 30 lbs. and 37" tall (22" from head to butt when sitting). At what point is a seat TOO big for a child...as in the purchaser is buying more seat than will ever get used. I am would love to have my children stay in a 5 pt harness as long as possible. It is feasible to expect that they will be able to use the carseat to the upper restrictions? The reason I ask this is because the the biggest drawback for me right now against the complete air is that it cannot go RF as long and will not last past 50 lbs forward facing. However, I can get it locally, it is significantly cheaper (though cost is not an issue when it comes to safety but hey saving is always nice), and the rear facing issue. If I cannot use the Radian rear facing at all due to size, then I am buying it strictly as a FF carseat. The complete air would at least get me a few more lbs RF--but I would prefer to not have to go and buy another car seat after this.
    Last edited by pumpkin; 03-01-2010 at 07:56 AM.

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician An Aurora's Avatar
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    I haven't read your other posts, but why can't you just use the Blvd RF?
    Anna~ RN and expired CPST (hoping to recert soon!)

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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by An Aurora View Post
    I haven't read your other posts, but why can't you just use the Blvd RF?
    We currently do use the Blvd RF. It is tight, but we make it work. My second child is crazy long and is already growing out of her snug ride. Instead of purchasing another Blvd for our second child, I thought I would get a new chair for DD to allow her to RF longer as well as be safer when she had to go FF. Though I have read online the upper limits RF for the Blvd are 35 lbs, my manual and their website says 33 lbs. I figure I have 3 more lbs and/or the time it will take the baby to out grow her snug ride to make a good choice

  5. #4
    CPS Technician An Aurora's Avatar
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    I see, that makes sense.

    The Blvd RF weight limit changed not too long ago (January 2009 possibly?). If you have an older model it does only RF to 33 pounds.

    I know some people have had success with RF Radians in Subies. You could always buy from a place with either return shipping insurance or a brick-and-mortar return option.
    Anna~ RN and expired CPST (hoping to recert soon!)

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  7. #5
    CPST Instructor Carrie_R's Avatar
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    I definitely get what you're saying about not wanting to get more seat than you'll need. I had a daycare parent ask me about new seats for her girls, and I had an awful time recommending something -- her girls are total peanuts, 32lbs at age 4 and 19lbs at 22mos. It just seemed silly to recommend a MR or Radian.

    You may not be able to get "limits" use from the Radian -- in fact, it's almost positive you will not be using it to its upper weight limits, forward facing. My understanding is that it's very rare for a child to do so. Most kids don't need it, though. Even my very solid dcks that I watch -- C, for example, was 60+lb and 48" at 5.5 years. He was ready for a booster before he would have outgrown the Radian. His older brother was 7.5 and about 51 or 52" before hitting 80lb.

    OTOH, my concern is that the CA wouldn't last you long enough FFing. It's definitely possible (although not certain) that your child would hit 50lbs before you want to booster them. Better to have too much seat than not enough, know what I mean?

    I can't help with the install issues; have you checked the Radian Succesful Install thread? I second the pp, get it from somewhere you can easily return it to. Have you tried finding it in person to check it out? BuyBuyBaby around here has them -- I had no idea until someone posted it on this board.

    Since the price point is so similar for both seats, I would say get the Radian... better to pay a smidge more for enough seat now, then pay a lot more to get an additional seat later. But, I think that you'd be okay getting the CA, if that's what you'd prefer... I guess I'm thinking the CA would *probably* be enough seat, but the Radian would *definitely* be enough seat.
    Down to just a spare Radian, folded in the hall closet for my Godbaby.

    Check out this thread for a Pilot overview!

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  9. #6
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Carrie_R View Post
    I definitely get what you're saying about not wanting to get more seat than you'll need. I had a daycare parent ask me about new seats for her girls, and I had an awful time recommending something -- her girls are total peanuts, 32lbs at age 4 and 19lbs at 22mos. It just seemed silly to recommend a MR or Radian.

    You may not be able to get "limits" use from the Radian -- in fact, it's almost positive you will not be using it to its upper weight limits, forward facing. My understanding is that it's very rare for a child to do so. Most kids don't need it, though. Even my very solid dcks that I watch -- C, for example, was 60+lb and 48" at 5.5 years. He was ready for a booster before he would have outgrown the Radian. His older brother was 7.5 and about 51 or 52" before hitting 80lb.

    OTOH, my concern is that the CA wouldn't last you long enough FFing. It's definitely possible (although not certain) that your child would hit 50lbs before you want to booster them. Better to have too much seat than not enough, know what I mean?

    I can't help with the install issues; have you checked the Radian Succesful Install thread? I second the pp, get it from somewhere you can easily return it to. Have you tried finding it in person to check it out? BuyBuyBaby around here has them -- I had no idea until someone posted it on this board.

    Since the price point is so similar for both seats, I would say get the Radian... better to pay a smidge more for enough seat now, then pay a lot more to get an additional seat later. But, I think that you'd be okay getting the CA, if that's what you'd prefer... I guess I'm thinking the CA would *probably* be enough seat, but the Radian would *definitely* be enough seat.

    This sums up exactly why I have some stalling issues before buying the next carseat. While I am not against paying what is needed for safety, there is no need to waste money needlessly. The problem is that this is my "first go" at some of these issues since my eldest is only 2.5 years old. I can understand how the CA would possibly be outgrown for FF as it has much lower weight limits and height limits (even less than our current seats). However, I do not understand how the Radian cannot be used to the full limits. Does that mean at some point, I am going to have to purchase a backed booster seat regardless of which seat I go into? Why is it not possible to use the Radian to its limits...and how much should I expect to get out of it?

  10. #7
    Senior Community Member SuzaBanana's Avatar
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    Hopefully I can answer some questions for you...

    Quote Originally Posted by pumpkin View Post
    I say possibly because I am not sure it will fit in my Subaru outback wagon ('01) in the rear facing position.
    I have recently installed a Radian XTSL in a 2000 Outback in the outboard passenger position using the seatbelt with no issues. The passenger seat could be almost completely back, so there was ample legroom for the front seats. The XTSL was completely incompatible in my 2003 Forester, though!

    Quote Originally Posted by pumpkin View Post
    However, I do not understand how the Radian cannot be used to the full limits. Does that mean at some point, I am going to have to purchase a backed booster seat regardless of which seat I go into? Why is it not possible to use the Radian to its limits...and how much should I expect to get out of it?
    The reason is because the vast majority of kids grow out of the seat by height before they reach the weight limit. That said, if your kids have heavier builds & short torsos, you may get nearly full life from the seat. But your kids will likely be ready for a booster nearer to 55 lbs. Despite being one of the tallest shells of the convertible set, rarely do kids need a harness until they are 80 lbs.
    In regards to buying a booster, I believe the answer is yes. I defer to the Techs expert opinion, but I haven't heard of a child going directly from a harnessed seat to a seatbelt. I believe that boostering is to be expected. Additionally, if you're planning on handing things down from one child to the next, it's important to keep expiration dates in mind. To that end, your older child will likely need to go into a booster if your younger is to get any use from the Radian you intend on purchasing. Just some food for thought...
    integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching

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  12. #8
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by pumpkin View Post
    This sums up exactly why I have some stalling issues before buying the next carseat. While I am not against paying what is needed for safety, there is no need to waste money needlessly. The problem is that this is my "first go" at some of these issues since my eldest is only 2.5 years old. I can understand how the CA would possibly be outgrown for FF as it has much lower weight limits and height limits (even less than our current seats). However, I do not understand how the Radian cannot be used to the full limits. Does that mean at some point, I am going to have to purchase a backed booster seat regardless of which seat I go into? Why is it not possible to use the Radian to its limits...and how much should I expect to get out of it?
    The Radian top slots are not high enough to fit most 80lb children. By the time most children reach 80lbs, their shoulders are well over the top harness slot. Most children will outgrow the radians by 65lbs. The height limit is 53 inches but many children will be well over the top slots before reaching this height. Most car seats are outgrown in height before weight.

    With any convertible seat you purchase you are still going to have to buy a booster of some kind eventually. Many children need a booster until 8-9 yrs old and most have long outgrown convertibles by that point. The Radian will fit most children rf to 3.5-4 yrs old and ff to around 6-6.5 yrs old.
    Caleb Joshua: 8/17/2007; 45.5 inches, 46-47lbs, 17 inch torso; FF in a FN85 and Complete Air Sarah Rose: 05/15/2011; 22lbs, 31 inches; RF in a Britax Roundabout 50 and Combi Coccoro

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  14. #9
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by SuzaBanana View Post
    I have recently installed a Radian XTSL in a 2000 Outback in the outboard passenger position using the seatbelt with no issues. The passenger seat could be almost completely back, so there was ample legroom for the front seats

    The reason is because the vast majority of kids grow out of the seat by height before they reach the weight limit. That said, if your kids have heavier builds & short torsos, you may get nearly full life from the seat. But your kids will likely be ready for a booster nearer to 55 lbs. Despite being one of the tallest shells of the convertible set, rarely do kids need a harness until they are 80 lbs.
    In regards to buying a booster, I believe the answer is yes. I defer to the Techs expert opinion, but I haven't heard of a child going directly from a harnessed seat to a seatbelt. I believe that boostering is to be expected. Additionally, if you're planning on handing things down from one child to the next, it's important to keep expiration dates in mind. To that end, your older child will likely need to go into a booster if your younger is to get any use from the Radian you intend on purchasing. Just some food for thought...
    Quote Originally Posted by armywife12 View Post
    The Radian top slots are not high enough to fit most 80lb children. By the time most children reach 80lbs, their shoulders are well over the top harness slot. Most children will outgrow the radians by 65lbs. The height limit is 53 inches but many children will be well over the top slots before reaching this height. Most car seats are outgrown in height before weight.

    With any convertible seat you purchase you are still going to have to buy a booster of some kind eventually. Many children need a booster until 8-9 yrs old and most have long outgrown convertibles by that point. The Radian will fit most children rf to 3.5-4 yrs old and ff to around 6-6.5 yrs old.

    Thanks for the responses. It is good to hear that the Radian can fit in the subaru wagon. Was it installed RF?

    I think I probably should have clarified that I expected my kids to go into a booster at some point. However, I have never fully understood the backed boosters, such as the Britax Frontier. What is the advantage of using one of these seats instead of an installed convertible seat or forward facing seat? Is it necessary to go from car seat to backed booster to booster or can you purchase a car seat that will last a child long enough until they are out of the backed booster stage? A car seat just seems safer to me.

  15. #10
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    In my '01 I had a radian installed rfing with latch behind the passenger (checked by a tech). It required the front seat to be far enough forward that it wasn't very comfortable to sit in. With a lot of work and some very sore hands I did manage to install it in the middle so it poked mostly between the seats and that was better. But it was a next to impossible install.

    A CA would work great rfing in a subaru without making the seat be really far forward.
    Mommy to two wild little boys and a little princess!
    DS1 (01/05, 46 1/2", 44 lbs), Boring Gray Turbobooster / Harmony Literider
    DS2 (07/07, 39 1/2", 40lbs), Harvest Complete Air / Booster Training in a Maui Blue PWSG / RSTV
    DD (07/09, 33", 23lbs), rfing Flair MyRide / rfing Scenera

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  17. #11
    Car-Seat.Org Ambassador bree's Avatar
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by pumpkin View Post
    Thanks for the responses. It is good to hear that the Radian can fit in the subaru wagon. Was it installed RF?

    I think I probably should have clarified that I expected my kids to go into a booster at some point. However, I have never fully understood the backed boosters, such as the Britax Frontier. What is the advantage of using one of these seats instead of an installed convertible seat or forward facing seat? Is it necessary to go from car seat to backed booster to booster or can you purchase a car seat that will last a child long enough until they are out of the backed booster stage? A car seat just seems safer to me.
    A Britax Frontier is a combination seat. That means it is a forward-facing harnessed seat and it turns into a highback booster. Another example of a combination seat is the Graco Nautilus. It is a forward-facing harnessed seat that turns into a highback booster then it also turns into a backless booster. Backless boosters are for older children who have outgrown highback boosters. I've seen it mentioned on this board that many people aren't comfortable using a backless booster until a child is at least 8 years old, and even beyond that, a highback booster would still provide support for a child's head.

    Kids go from rear-facing to forward-facing in a harness to a highback booster to a backless booster. (If a child could fit rear-facing in a convertible to the 5 or 6 year old range, then it may be possible to go from a rear-facing convertible to a highback booster to a backless booster.) If the child has a really tall highback booster (like the Frontier when it's in booster mode), the child good possibly go straight from the highback booster to the seatbelt only (sometimes kids can fit in seatbelts in the 10-12 year old range, and the Frontier in booster mode can last that long for many kids) without needing a backless booster.

    There's no convertible that will last a child until they are ready for a backless booster, in my opinion. Even a seat like a Radian that will last from birth to at least 3 or 4 years old rear-facing then forward-facing after that will still mean that a child goes into a highback booster after they done being harnessed forward-facing. It's my impression that even the best of the 3-in-1 seats (rear-facing to forward-facing to highback booster, like the Evenflo Symphony) will still need another highbacked booster before a kiddo is ready for a backless booster.

    I'm not all that familiar with the Complete Air as a forward-facing seat, so I don't know if you will have to buy another another harnessed seat for forward-facing in the future because it will be outgrown before your kiddo is 5 or 6 years old and ready for a booster. The plus side is that even if you have to buy another seat a couple of years down the line, the combination seats like the Frontier and the Nautilus are really great seats, and there could be even better seats out by then. Also, you'll be able to pass the Complete Air down to your youngest, so it will still get a lot of use even if you decide that you want or need something like a Frontier or Nautilus in 2 or 3 years for your oldest.
    DD (9 years old) & DS (6.5 years old)

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  19. #12
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    Booster seats help the seatbelt (designed for an adult man) to fit a child properly. Most kids need boosters until age 10-12, when they can pass the 5-step test. Harnessed seats just aren't big enough to hold a child who is big enough to pass (or almost pass) the 5-step test.

    The reason for having a high-back booster is that the high back properly positions the shoulder belt and also provides side impact protection.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

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  21. #13
    Senior Community Member SuzaBanana's Avatar
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by pumpkin View Post
    Thanks for the responses. It is good to hear that the Radian can fit in the subaru wagon. Was it installed RF?
    Yes, RFing in both the Outback & the Forester.
    integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching

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  23. #14
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    Just when I thought I was down to my last questions...now I have more.

    I measured the seated shoulder height of my child and it is 16". This is the limit on the Britax Blvd for both FF and RF. Thus, she needs to be switched ASAP to her new seat. As a side note, I am not really sure how the Blvd can be used to the 49" height max unless a child was all legs with an itty bitty torso! Anyways, I am not sure how the Complete Air and the Radian XTsl measure up for seated shoulder height.

  24. #15
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    The Radian gives 17.5-18" torso height, depending on who is measuring. The Complete Air has a 40 inch rear facing height limit. I'm not sure of its top harness position.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pixels View Post
    The Radian gives 17.5-18" torso height, depending on who is measuring. The Complete Air has a 40 inch rear facing height limit. I'm not sure of its top harness position.
    It makes it so hard to decided. For the complete air...my daughter has 4 inches left heighwise and 10 lbs weightwise. I am not sure how long it would take her to grow out of that but it does not seem like she would be in the chair for longer than 1 year. On the other hand, she is 1-2" from the limits of shoulder to seat measurement for the Radian. Does this mean she is going to outgrow both chairs relatively soon?

    My first thought was to buy the Radian and try to use it RF in the car (if it would fit) but to use it FF if it did not fit--as I was going to have to turn the Britax Blvd around anyways. However, it seems now that the complete air might work better since I will get another 10 lbs of RF whereas I might not get to use the additional 15 lbs RF the radian gives if it will not fit in my car. From the impression I am getting, my child will be out grown both of the chairs heightwise before the weight limits so I might as well use the cheaper car seat that CAN for certain RF and then get a frontier for FF.

    ETA: Does this sound sound?

  26. #17
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    The RadianXT's headwings don't adjust any higher than the top slots. The 65 and 80 don't have the headwings to get in the way. The Radian can be used with the shoulders above the top slots, but the headwings on the XT can prevent that from a practical perspective. The Radian is the only seat that allows use with the shoulders above the top slots forward facing.

    You can use the Radian rear facing as long as your child is under the weight limit and has at least an inch of shell above her head. The Radian has the second-tallest shell for rear facing. Only the TrueFit has a taller shell, by an inch or two, but the TF has a 35 pound rear facing limit.

    I guess the question is what's going to happen first? Is your child going to gain more than 5 pounds before gaining too much height for the Radian, making the Radian the best choice? Is your child going to gain more than 5 pounds before growing 3-4 inches and outgrowing the Complete Air by height? Or will she (?) need the height of the TrueFit before gaining 5 pounds?
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    I am really thinking the CA is what we need to get. While it is impossible to know for certain (crystal ball anyone?? ), I really think she will grow out of the carseat by height way before weight.

    I am still shocked that she has out grown the Blvd while being under 35 lbs too light and 10" too short. I wonder how often a child out grows by the seat to shoulder measurement.

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    Re: Radian or complete air: Final questions!

    I have another question (of course!). For the complete air, I have seen there are two models with the number of recline settings being the only difference. Are several recline settings (4) worth an additional $40? Right now the plan is to us this car seat with toddlers...though I am not sure what I might do with it in the future.

    Thanks!

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