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  1. #1

    Smile trying to decide on a convertible seat for BMW 328i - Canada

    Hi there,
    First I want to thank you all for this website. There is so so so much information and it is the most helpful resource I have found on the 'net. We live in Canada (read: much less options for seats and the ones we have are more expensive) and have an 8 month old baby girl. She is soon going to outgrow her Chicco Keyfit by height- we have about an inch left to grow before she will be too close to the top of the shell. I love the Chicco because it has been so easy to install and feels really safe and secure and so much more solid than the Graco we borrowed while traveling. I am trying to plan for her convertible seat so that I can watch for sales over the next few months, etc. We will keep her RF as long as humanly possible. She is currently 50% for both height and weight, so not a huge baby.
    We have a BMW 328i (actually an imported US car). She is currently in the middle position using the seatbelt with her infant seat and I want to keep her there if at all possible as I know it is the safest spot, although there is no LATCH and we cannot share the outboard LATCH.
    We are looking at the Britax advocate or pavilion (do the airbags really make enough of a difference? Britax doesn't even use them on their European seats, hmmm) the Diono radian RXT or the new Clek foonf. We went to test the radian and the advocate yesterday. I found RF install with the seatbelt in the middle to be difficult with both without the manual.
    The radian fit well in the middle but the tug-tug-tug of the harness was really a pain and I am not confident that I will be able to get a good fit. I don't want to just keep it snug and wrestle her in and out- she will hate her seat that way. I liked the lower profile of it as it made it easier to get her in and out. I was looking at European carseats and was impressed by their structure for side impact. The Radian just has so little structure out there it does not instill confidence for me.
    The advocate is a huge beast in the backseat but it does fit and she seemed comfy and happy in it. I couldn't even get it to sit flat on the humped middle seat and worry about getting a good install there with the seatbelt. She was difficult to get in and out of it as it sits so high. I liked the convenience features of it- velcro for the harness, the stay-front buckle pad, and the CS.
    We have not seen the Clek foonf in person yet as BRU does not carry it in Canada (I am not sure it is even out just yet). What impressed me most about it is that it looks very similar to European carseats (you know, where they have requirements for side impact and rear face much longer).

    In Ottawa, there is only one agency that does car seat inspections and it is very difficult to get a spot in their monthly events. They fill up super quickly. So I want to get a seat I feel confident with the install until we can hopefully get to see a CPST.

    I guess the heart of my question is: is it safer to put her in the middle with the seatbelt or use the LATCH outboard? Are my concerns about side impact structure valid? What do you feel is our best option for our specific vehicle? We are not as concerned about long-term as purchasing another FF seat down the road is an option if it means she will always have the safest fit. Also, we plan to have another baby in about 18 months so we can pass this convertible on to that baby in the future. (I guess then the middle vs outboard will not be an issue anyway).

    Thanks so very much for your assistance.

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  3. #2

    Re: trying to decide on a convertible seat for BMW 328i - Canada

    there are no side impact test standards for canadian seats so there is no way to answer your question about side impact safety unfortunately. ultimately that comes down to a parental decision and what you feel comfortable with because we have no way of knowing if those safety features are safer or not.

    i'm really happy you're open to rear facing as long as possible the foonf is not out yet but should be shipping very soon if you want to wait to try it out, but sales are unlikely as this seat is brand new and in high demand.

    my personal pick for your situation would be the radian.

    of the three choices, the radian has the highest weight and height limit, followed by the foonf, then the britax. I googled a picture of your rear seat and I think you're only going to get a narrow seat like the radian in the middle seat because of the way it's shaped. if you plan to have another child the radian being one of the narrowest seats out there would also fit beside a second seat nicely (you would want the infant in the middle and the older child outboard at that point). for older kids that can climb in themselves, the radian's low profile is a really nice feature.

    edited to add: a middle seatbelt install is perfectly safe, no worries there
    hope that helps!

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