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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Thumbs up Britax Marathon review

    The Britax Marathon is a convertible child safety seat that can be used rear-facing for children 5 to 33 pounds, and forward facing up to 65 pounds, as long as the child's height fits within the highest harness slot height.

    I have had my Marathon now for over 3 years, and I still love it! So much so, that I wrote a review on Epinions, just because there were so many others that I didn't think were descriptive enough. I'm including that review here. Please feel free to point out any mistakes I've made, or to leave other feedback! Thank you!

    I bought my Marathon in 2003, when my then 6-month-old son outgrew his infant seat. I researched everywhere and settled on the Marathon, for it's higher weight limit. After all, my kid was in the 95th percentile for both height and weight, and who knows how he was going to grow...

    Car Seat Summary
    The Britax Marathon is a convertible child safety seat that is LATCH-equipped. The seat can be used rear-facing for children 5 to 33 pounds and forward-facing up to 65 pounds for children 18” – 49”. The Britax Marathon expires 6 years from the date of manufacture, unless it has been involved in a car accident. Follow Britax and NHTSA guidelines to determine if a car seat needs to be replaced after an accident. The seat is approved for aircraft use and comes with a 1-year warranty. It also has built-in lockoffs, to use with vehicles that do not have automatic locking seatbelts.

    I have installed my Marathon in a 2002 Nissan Xterra (rear & forward-facing) outboard, 2004 Passat sedan (forward-facing) outboard, and an Acura CL (not sure what year, I think it was a 2003). All installations were with LATCH, which was only allowed outboard in these vehicles. I have been (& am) able to get good, really tight, installs in all vehicles using LATCH.

    I LOVE the LATCH connectors. I have used car seats with LATCH connectors that killed my hands when trying to get them out, so the Britax ones are definitely valued here. You push them in towards the LATCH hooks, and they click when they're in. To remove, just push on the red "button", kinda like the seatbelt release. The LATCH harness straps are easy to release and tighten, and so is the tether strap. However, the tether strap is LONG (for tethering rear-facing), so don't lose the little rubber band that's wrapped around it, so you can keep it in some kind of order once you're done tightening the strap.

    My son is now only 37 lbs, so I haven't tried installing with a seatbelt yet.

    I did not tether while rear-facing in the Xterra, more due to not finding a suitable spot to tether to than anything else. If you are tethering your Marathon while rear-facing, you may have to use the included D-ring. The forum has very helpful instructions on how and where to tether rear-facing.

    One more thing - when switching from rear to forward-facing, you must switch the LATCH connectors, so they're facing the correct way. Instructions are in the manual.

    It is pretty easy to adjust the harness so there's no slack. To loosen, just pull up the lever (hidden behind the velcro flap at bottom of seat) and pull on the harness. I love that you can get at the lever even while rear-facing. I have not had any problems with the harness twisting, in the 3+ years I've used this seat.

    One thing about Britaxes (I think it's with ALL Britaxes) that confuses parents, is that the buckle only clicks when BOTH clips are in place. However, I've noticed on mine that even though it doesn't click with the first clip in place, the clip is still "in" and doesn't come loose.

    Harness Height Adjustment
    The Marathon has 4 harness position heights. My son is now on the highest position (about 17"), with about 1" to grow before he's even with the harness slot and outgrows this seat height-wise.

    To change from one harness slot to another, you have to uninstall the car seat and rethread the harness. This isn't very complicated, but you do have to loosen the harness first, to get the "T" connector in the back of the seat above the plate it's hiding behind.

    My Marathon came with two manuals. One is connected by an elastic strap to the seat bottom, under the cover. The other is either behind the seat, or in a compartment in the base (I forget - I'll check & update this review). I LOVE that I can get at the elastic-attached manual while the seat is installed. The manual also has color photographs with the instructions, which I definitely prefer to the drawing-type pictures.

    Some things that could have been better
    1. Multiple positions for the crotch buckle. Good thing I haven't pinched my son's "package" yet!
    2. Ability to wash & dry cover! I've been lucky in that I have another seat to use if I have to wash the cover. It is air-dry only, and takes a while. NOTE - do NOT wash the straps!
    3. Put all warnings in manual at the front of the manual, organized by rear or forward-facing, LATCH or seatbelt install.

    In conclusion, this is definitely my favorite seat so far in terms of ease of use and installation. I only wish my son wasn't so tall, so he'd last longer in it. Who knows, maybe it'll take him a while to grow that other 1". At any rate, I'm going carseat shopping again, as he's outgrown his borrowed Triumph.

    Other carseats owned:
    Cosco Eddie Bauer 3-in-1 (expired, did not like)
    Evenflo Triumph (outgrown)
    infant seat (don't remember manufacturer, but it was Eddie Bauer branded & part of a travel system)

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    Join Date
    April, 2001

  3. #2
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Re: Britax Marathon review

    Just a quick update -

    DS is now almost 4.5 years, 44lbs, and still in the MA. It is installed solidly in the rear center of my '04 Passat sedan, with the seatbelt. The built-in lockoff is awesome! (I think I have the "old" lockoffs, based on what I've glanced through here on some other threads - it's red, & the belt lays flat through the lockoff)

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