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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    Combination Seats - which one?

    I've just realized that my almost 6 year old is probably too tall for her current FF seat (Sunshine Kids/Diono Radian) but I do not want to put her in a booster yet, so I'm looking at the Combination Seats.

    Questions:
    - are there any seats other than the Britax ones that have a high harness height? This is what has been the limiting factor in every move we've made and what is doing it now. (I will measure her seated shoulder height tomorrow morning.)

    - can anyone confirm the measurements supplied by Britax: Pioneer 19.5 seated shoulder, Frontier & Pinnacle 20.5 - do these actually play out in real life?

    - the prices I'm seeing for these 3 seats are $300 for the Pioneer, $420 for the Frontier and $480 for the Pinnacle. I'm not opposed to spending to get the best seat that can keep her harnessed the longest, but I don't see me spending an extra $60 to go to the Pinnacle (appropriately named). As for the Pioneer vs Frontier, I'm seeing one extra inch of harness height, two extra inches of overall height, click-tight installation, and something to keep the crotch buckle off the seat - is that extra inch (the only thing that I really care about) worth $120?? How fast do kids torsos grow after age 6?


    We've used her current seat since 5 months (well actually 3 or 4 but replaced it after a crash when she was 5 months) and I'm actually a little sad to be done with it - it still has a few years of life left, is there anything I can do with it, like give it to someone? I wouldn't feel right selling it and I don't want to trash a seat that still has *years* left!

    Thanks in advance,
    Melissa
    Last edited by dogmelissa; 02-07-2016 at 01:04 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    The Evenflo Sureride is a convertible, but its top harness slots rival the Frontier/Pinnacle. My 6 year old rode in one last month and declared that he loved it.

  4. #3
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by lgenne View Post
    The Evenflo Sureride is a convertible, but its top harness slots rival the Frontier/Pinnacle. My 6 year old rode in one last month and declared that he loved it.
    Thanks but I'm looking for a combination seat: harnessed and booster. The Sureride apparently tops out at 19.5" shoulder height.

    And I forgot to measure my daughter's shoulder height this morning. Will make sure I get it tonight!

    Melissa
    Selina joined us Feb 19, 2010
    Calgary, AB, Canada

    Selina RF until 4 years, 1 month, 21 days old. FF in Radian until 6 years, 2 months (too tall). FF (harnessed) in Harmony Defender until 7 years, 2 months.

  5. #4
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    Right. The beauty of the Sureride is that it's cheap, it can harness a kid for a very long time, and you can get it plus a dedicated booster for less than a Pioneer.

    People have found that in the real world, even if tape measures disagree, the Sureride can harness kids nearly as long as the Frontier, and longer than the Pioneer, unless they hit the 65 pound weight limit first.

    To answer your Frontier vs. Pioneer question: some people find that the Pioneer install is difficult to impossible in some vehicles/seating positions. The Frontier will install easily just about anywhere it can fit.

    Also bear in mind that unless she has behavioral issues or special needs, booster training her is probably reasonable at this point. Most 6 year olds are fine in boosters, and we have no reason to believe that properly used boosters are less safe than harnesses for her.

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  7. #5
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    How long are you planning to harness? Before you spring for a fancy combination seat for a 6yo, try it in booster mode. I think you may not be happy with the Frontier in booster mode, especially for a child who still fits in a Radian.

    If you love the Britax seats, have the money, and don't mind selling it later if it's not working in booster mode, go for it. Personally, for a child who is almost booster age, I would also get a Sureride on sale. Then get a dedicated booster later and sell the Sureride.

    As for the Radian, I'm assuming by the age it's a Sunshine Kids Radian. If so, it's not 2012-compliant and therefore illegal to pass on or sell due to Health Canada regulations. I've personally passed on non-compliant seats to trusted friends, but it *is* illegal and technically there could be liability in doing it, so not something I'm recommending .

    FYI -- it's only non-compliant due to labeling, so don't let that concern you in terms of you using it.
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

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  9. #6
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    Yes, it's a pre-2012 SK Radian and we still love it. Should I consider the Diono line? We had a tough evening and I forgot to measure her shoulder height, but she is right even with the top slots in this seat, which should be 17" - so if we did get a harnessed seat (which I think I'm more comfortable with), we could potentially get another year at least out of it. I'm having a hard time finding any information on the top harness slot on Dionos and I'm not sure if they work well in booster mode. I'm SO confused!!!!

    Thanks for letting me know about the compliance issue. I'm not sure I know anyone to pass it on to anyways. A year ago, I would have given it to a family who turned their youngest FF immediately after his first birthday *sob* but now he's been FF for a year and if I couldn't convince them to keep him RF then, I won't be able to convince them to turn him back now. I could offer if they want it, I suppose, and use it how ever they'd like.

    Melissa
    Selina joined us Feb 19, 2010
    Calgary, AB, Canada

    Selina RF until 4 years, 1 month, 21 days old. FF in Radian until 6 years, 2 months (too tall). FF (harnessed) in Harmony Defender until 7 years, 2 months.

  10. #7
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    Ok, I measured this morning, and Selina's seated shoulder height is 16.25" - which surprised me since her shoulders are at the same height as the top slots in her seat, supposedly 17". Either way, if I take 17" as her shoulder height she'll have lots of room.

    Other stats: on Dec 29 she was 47" tall and the first week of Jan she weighed 48#.

    Given these numbers, there should be some options for combination seats though I'm not going to rule out a harness-only chased by a booster later. Suggestions?

    Melissa
    Selina joined us Feb 19, 2010
    Calgary, AB, Canada

    Selina RF until 4 years, 1 month, 21 days old. FF in Radian until 6 years, 2 months (too tall). FF (harnessed) in Harmony Defender until 7 years, 2 months.

  11. #8
    Moderator - CPST Instructor Pixelated's Avatar
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    You won't get any extra time out of a Diono seat re harness height, and they don't make very long-lasting boosters. I'd absolutely skip that.

    You might consider the Defender as well. It's tall, and my 5 year old's current favourite seat. It's also $160 regular price and we're overdue for a $135 rollback at Walmart.

    I don't think I caught what vehicle this will be in?
    Jen ~ Canadian CPST-IT with CPSAC

  12. #9
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    Canadian techs: Is it a yes or no on going over top slots on Canadian Radians?

    I would give the Securekid a try.

    I really don't like combination seats in booster mode. They're so bulky and awkward to buckle around. I think the Tranzitions looks promising, so I might try to keep using the Radian and hope it shows up in Canada soon.
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  13. #10
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keeanh View Post
    Canadian techs: Is it a yes or no on going over top slots on Canadian Radians?
    I honestly don't know. I've been told no. Others have been told yes...and no. It's specifically approved in the US manual, and distinctly lacking in the Canadian one. So
    Jen ~ Canadian CPST-IT with CPSAC

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  15. #11
    CPS Technician tiggercat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keeanh View Post
    Canadian techs: Is it a yes or no on going over top slots on Canadian Radians?

    I would give the Securekid a try.

    I really don't like combination seats in booster mode. They're so bulky and awkward to buckle around. I think the Tranzitions looks promising, so I might try to keep using the Radian and hope it shows up in Canada soon.
    There is no allowance in the CDN manual for harness above THS, though I have heard unofficial rumours of people getting permission.
    Natalie, CRST-I, mum of Greg (15), Megan (10), Benjamin and Samuel (6).


  16. #12
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keeanh View Post
    Canadian techs: Is it a yes or no on going over top slots on Canadian Radians?

    I would give the Securekid a try.

    I really don't like combination seats in booster mode. They're so bulky and awkward to buckle around. I think the Tranzitions looks promising, so I might try to keep using the Radian and hope it shows up in Canada soon.
    We went to TRU today and took my list of 9 possibilities down to 3. Both Graco Argos & Nautilus made the list and we are going to go look at the Harmony Defender tomorrow even though I hate that it's only at Walmart (I haven't shopped at Walmart since 2004).

    The SureRide has a very high top harness, but I can't imagine *any* kid could use them, because they're not very far below the top of the seat! The top of Selina's head was at the top of this seat already, and the padding at the top seemed like it would push her head forward, making her neck uncomfortable.

    I'm not comfortable going over the harness slots in the Radian because I can picture the physics in a crash and if she's a over then there's lots of movement before she's stopped by the harness. We probably don't need to rush but we might as well make the change now rather than waiting and wondering and winding up going through a growth spurt and then panicking. Also, other than price, I'm not seeing much difference from the Tranzitions seat than the current Graco Combination seats that we looked at today: top harness 18" - which is fine, but not worth waiting to see if this one comes here when we probably should move now.

    Melissa
    Selina joined us Feb 19, 2010
    Calgary, AB, Canada

    Selina RF until 4 years, 1 month, 21 days old. FF in Radian until 6 years, 2 months (too tall). FF (harnessed) in Harmony Defender until 7 years, 2 months.

  17. #13
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by dogmelissa View Post
    The SureRide has a very high top harness, but I can't imagine *any* kid could use them, because they're not very far below the top of the seat! The top of Selina's head was at the top of this seat already, and the padding at the top seemed like it would push her head forward, making her neck uncomfortable.

    The top of the seat has to be even with the tops of her ears or higher. She has lots of growing room if the top of her head is even with the top of the seat.

  18. #14
    Forum Ambassador TechnoGranola's Avatar
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    My daughter was basically outgrown the Defender at 5.5 when it arrived in Canada. She is 50th percentile height and torso is on the shorter side (rode in a My Ride RF until 4y8m and still had a 1/2" height to go, outgrew it by weight). So unless it has changed in the last 3.5-4 years, I would try before you buy in case it doesn't work for you.
    Last edited by TechnoGranola; 01-31-2016 at 12:32 AM.
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  19. #15
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    I hear what you're saying, but we can't keep her in her Radian much longer, it is heavier than any of the combination seats we're looking at, we rarely move it (in the last year, twice I think), and I don't really have any interest in spending nearly $200 on *just* a booster - certainly not now.
    I'm no expert but I doubt that being positioned more forward in a thicker seat is going to affect head excursion and if it did then they wouldn't have passed testing. Also I'm thinking if the added weight of a combination seat was concerning if not anchored that would also be a flag for safety testing.
    But it's also why I want to put her in a harnessed seat right now and the convertibles we looked at today aren't going to work for that. Well, the Graco Dimensions would, but it's $20 less than the Nautilus which also has booster and fit basically the same in harness, so for the money it seems silly to consider the convertible. If the booster mode doesn't work well when she gets there, then we look for something else at that point, but if it does then we will have spent $20 on a booster.

    My husband has just spent the better part of an hour tracking down reviews and inventory and there doesn't appear to be any of the Harmony Defender in stock in Calgary Walmarts, not in either colour. Stock online is limited to the black/yellow, which would be fine but of course my daughter would prefer the pink. We're going to go tomorrow to see if they have any in store to try and if an order is coming but we may be waiting on stock before we decide. I'd be quite happy to only spend $160 if it fits her harnessed now and has a chance of fitting her as a booster later.

    I did not like the forward-pushing padding in the top of the SureRide and though it had a high harness, I don't think she'd be comfortable in it for long or make it to the top slot before her head was out the top. It didn't feel like as good a fit as the Nautilus and even though it is half the price, I'd rather spend more now and have future use possibility.

    Melissa
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  20. #16
    Forum Ambassador TechnoGranola's Avatar
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    ---
    Last edited by TechnoGranola; 01-31-2016 at 12:20 AM.
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  21. #17
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    I don't feel that the SureRide is a suitable option. My "little" girl is riding the 85th percentile for height and has a head almost as big as mine, 3 weeks before her 6th birthday. Every move we've made with car seats has been for height, more specifically torso height.

    The Defender now runs to 18.5-19" top harnessed height, in Canada. This review is from a Canadian Tech: http://vicarseattechs.com/2015/harmo...-and-giveaway/

    I can't worry about every variable, there's too much I can't control. I have to put my faith in the testing organizations and manufacturers. I need to believe that the whole point is to keep kids safer and I feel that a HBB, with belt guides, is going to do a better job of keeping my daughter safe in the car than something that simply lifts her butt up a few inches and does nothing to control the seatbelt at the shoulder.

    We are trying everything before we buy. Today we knocked 6 seats off the list, and didn't put a single one in the car. The remaining 3 will be car tested - including an evaluation of current booster fit - before a decision is made. Messages have been sent to Harmony requesting stock information (US, seems the black one is out of stock until mid-Feb) as online indicators are that there is no local stock.

    Melissa
    Selina joined us Feb 19, 2010
    Calgary, AB, Canada

    Selina RF until 4 years, 1 month, 21 days old. FF in Radian until 6 years, 2 months (too tall). FF (harnessed) in Harmony Defender until 7 years, 2 months.

  22. #18
    Forum Ambassador TechnoGranola's Avatar
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    Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by dogmelissa View Post

    The Defender now runs to 18.5-19" top harnessed height, in Canada. This review is from a Canadian Tech: http://vicarseattechs.com/2015/harmo...-and-giveaway/



    That review makes it sound like it just came out last summer...WTH, was it a different Harmony seat available in 2011-2012 (can't remember exact timeframe I was looking at it)? It was new to Canada then too. Maybe I have the wrong name and it was a different seat?
    TechnoAdult · Driver's seat ·
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  23. #19
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by TechnoGranola View Post
    That review makes it sound like it just came out last summer...WTH, was it a different Harmony seat available in 2011-2012 (can't remember exact timeframe I was looking at it)? It was new to Canada then too. Maybe I have the wrong name and it was a different seat?
    They now call it the Defender 360 so who knows. Car seats change so damn fast it's like a whole different range every few months. We've had the same seat for nearly 6 years and I'm blown away by the changes from when we were choosing for our infant.

    Melissa
    Selina joined us Feb 19, 2010
    Calgary, AB, Canada

    Selina RF until 4 years, 1 month, 21 days old. FF in Radian until 6 years, 2 months (too tall). FF (harnessed) in Harmony Defender until 7 years, 2 months.

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  25. #20
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: Britax Combination Seats - which one?

    Techno: I think this might be the Harmony you're thinking of. My kiddo is 3.5 in this pic in a 2012 Harmony something or other.



    Melissa: Here's my daughter at 8yo at the 65lb limit in a Sureride.

    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

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