Question Boulevard or Radian, RF longest for my 2.5 DS?

AZmamaof2

New member
First a little background info,

DS is almost 2.5 yo (born 9/08), he currently weighs 30-31 pounds and stands 35-36 in. tall. He is RF in the Boulevard 65 (manufactured 2/09) in my 2002 Honda Civic (primary vehicle). Also BV 65 is occasionally moved to DH's 2002 Toyota Corolla. I would like to RF him until he is 3, possibly 4 yo depending on whether I can find a car seat that works for him at that age according to height/weight. I figure he might be 35 lbs around age 3, and 40 lbs around age 4 if he continues on the growth chart (??). He's average sized, definitely not chunky or tall, but seems to be getting close to the top of the shell on his BV. The BV 65 says he can RF until 35 lbs, and 49 inches, or shoulder height of 16.5 inches. (I will have to check what his shoulder height is, and maybe get a picture to upload if necessary...).

The other reason that I'm looking for another car seat to purchase is that I am expecting DD in February (2011). She will use the Graco Snugride passed down from him until I get tired of carrying it around :p or approximately 6 mo.

So here's my question:

Should I go ahead and get the BV 70 for DS so that I can RF him until 40 lbs, and pass the BV 65 on to DD? Or get a Radian (most likely XTSL for cushy features) so I can RF him to 40-45 lbs, again passing BV 65 to DD? BV 65 has another 4 yrs of use, so it would get her likely to 4 yrs/35 lbs no problem, and then I could pass on the next car seat to her when he's 6.5 yo. (At 6.5 I guess he'd be still in the Radian or move to a Frontier)

I love my BV...love the continuous re-threading harness....love the cushy foam padding and bucket-like seat shape.....love the headwings so my DS can sleep comfortably....love the adjustable pull strap for tightening the harness.....but I'm not sure of how the other new changes in the BV 70 play into my situation. If my DS is going to outgrow the BV by height (16.5 -16.75 in) before weight (35-40 lbs) then am I better off getting another car seat that has a high RF limit and also higher height limits? Such as the Radian 80SL or XTSL? Is the height limit measurement by the actual shell of the BV, and not the headwings? Because the headwings can be raised much higher....is that just for FF use?

Also, I was reading about the "loosening" of the SL harness straps buyers on here are having so I'm a bit scared to switch to a Radian if there are going to be problems with the LATCH. :eek: Should I just wait until he outgrows the BV 70 by height/weight RF and get a Radian then, because my Honda's LATCH limit is 40 lbs anyways and I will be forced to use the seatbelt to secure the carseat then.

Can anyone comment on the ease of use for seatbelt installs RF/FF on BA 70 and RA XTSL? Honda only allows 40 lbs (child's weight) as maximum for RF using LATCH, so I will have to use the seatbelt at that point. I am not looking forward to that. And to confirm, RA does not have a continuous re-threading harness height right?

thank you for your input!

AZ mama
 
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wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
The new Britaxes are an inch shorter than their old counterparts. So while they weight limit is increased, it's unlikely kids will get to four in them. Three is a possibility, if they're smaller in the torso.

Since you want to rear face to the max, I'd definitely go for the Radian. I'd also look at the Complete Air and the new Graco Smart Seat. They're all tall seats with 40-45 pound rear facing weight limits.

It's unlikely a child with a 16.5" torso could rear face in the Boulevards. Kids need 1" of hard shell (not the headrest) above their heads in that seat. 49" is also unlikely. Possible if they have a really short torso, but otherwise most kids of that height have outgrown the seat by torso height.

Wendy
 

Pixels

New member
The Radian has slots that you have to thread the harness through to change heights.

The Radian installs FFing with seatbelt in the Civic. It also installs RFing center with seatbelt, but you won't be doing that with two kids in that car, not unless you get two Radians. There isn't space for independent installs side by side. I don't remember if I've done outboard RFing seatbelt or not. My Radians have 40 pound limits, so I can always install with LATCH outboard RFing.

The height limit for rear facing is measured by the actual shell of the carseat, not the headwings. The headwings raise higher but that is for forward facing.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
If you do not need a new seat now and it might be 6 mo before you need one, I'd wait since new seats come out so often.

I have a Britax Blvd, which I've used RF and FF and LOVE it! My dd has been in it since birth, RF til 2 1/4 when she reached 32# (the limit on that seat) is 3 1/2 now and 37# FF.

My 47# 6 yr old has been in a Radian 65 for 3 yrs. I have not used it RF. But it would def. give you more height.

Sounds like your ds will probably make it to 3 yrs RF in the Blvd. The Blvd is cushier than the Radian, they are both great seats though. The Radian can be hard to install in some vehicles because of its low profile, so try it first.

I just re-read your post. Since you are due in Feb., you won't need another convertible til at least June. I'd wait and watch for sales, but yes I think I'd move ds to a Radian so baby can have the Blvd for 4 yrs, then she can have RAdian and ds will move to a booster.

Katherine
ds 9
dd 6, Radian 65
dd 3.5 Britax Blvd
 

AZmamaof2

New member
Just measured DS, back against the wall seated on the tile floor. He's 13.5" butt to shoulder, and 21 inches butt to head.

So in his BV 65, he can grow until 16.5" butt to shoulder right or 25" to top of his head (or whenever he has 1" of shell remaining)? Is it just a guessing game if he'll reach one of those before turning from 31 to 35 lbs?

Likewise, 17" is the harness limit in a Radian and 25" for internal height? Are the 3 Radian styles using the same basic frame? Because the car seat data on one page says they are and the other page has slightly different height measurements.

Can you point me to where you are getting the stats for new BV 70? The measurements page in car seat.org is "missing data"? I checked here as well: http://sites.google.com/site/carseatmeasurements/ and the stats I want aren't filled in. Why is it 1" shorter?

Grace All-in-one safe seat has 17.5" for harness height, but only 23.5" internal height - I'm pretty sure he'd reach the shell faster in the Graco at 23" than in his current BV, so that doesn't make sense as a next step.

The Complete Air sounds worth looking into: 17" harness ht, 27.5" internal seating (that means shell right?) and up to 40 lbs RF. Though if his torso is growing at the same rate in a CA or Radian, does the extra shell height mean much?

One measurement I can't seem to find anywhere is the total seat depth from the driver's seat back to the backseat of the car....Does the added height of the CA or Radian make it necessary to move the driver's seat way up? It still has to fit in the back seat of my compact Honda Civic, and not push the driver side seat up too far. I already have the snugride on the passenger side because it DOES push the seat nearly all the way up.

Responding to Pixels, I don't want to install the Radian FF, and my Honda does not have LATCH in the center position. Only LATCH on outboard seats. But I agree, I can't see putting the Radian and Snugride side by side, or anything side by side with a Snugride. I'm not even anticipating being able to put a BV and Radian side by side considering the size of my backseat. So my only real question remains, can I install it outboard with LATCH up to 40 lbs (as my car allows) and with seat belt outboard after that?
 
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AZmamaof2

New member
Katherine

The reason for getting the seat now instead of 6months from now is that I can ask for it as a "baby shower" group gift instead of getting oodles of clothes and baby toys that I don't need. Also radian and britax have 25% off sales right now on Albeebaby.com and I don't know if they will have that steep of sales in 6 months. I'd wait until Black Friday, but that is too long I think for me to carry an infant carrier around ;)

Do you think they'll really have more updated seats by then? Didn't Britax and SK just come out with these quite recently?
 

Pixels

New member
Just measured DS, back against the wall seated on the tile floor. He's 13.5" butt to shoulder, and 21 inches butt to head.

So in his BV 65, he can grow until 16.5" butt to shoulder right or 25" to top of his head (or whenever he has 1" of shell remaining)? Is it just a guessing game if he'll reach one of those before turning from 31 to 35 lbs?
Shoulder height doesn't mean anything for rear facing. Rear facing, the straps must come from at or below the shoulder. It's forward facing that the shoulder height matters, because straps must come from at or above the shoulder.

He needs to have one inch of shell above his head in the BV65. So if the BV has a 26 inch shell, then he can grow to 25 inches butt to top of head. Don't worry about measuring him in the house to determine if he still fits or not, it's fit in the seat as it is installed in the vehicle that matters.

Likewise, 17" is the harness limit in a Radian and 25" for internal height? Are the 3 Radian styles using the same basic frame? Because the car seat data on one page says they are and the other page has slightly different height measurements.
I get 18 inches for the top slots of the Radian when I measure. Others get 17 or 17.5. Doesn't really matter, as I said earlier the shoulders can be above the top slots rear facing. Also, the Radian allows use with shoulders above the top slots forward facing as well, as long as the top of the child's ears doesn't go over the top of the shell and the child is under 53 inches standing height.

All of the Radians have the same measurements. They use some different materials to get the different weight limits, and add the headwings for the XT model. But they are all basically the same.

Can you point me to where you are getting the stats for new BV 70? The measurements page in car seat.org is "missing data"? I checked here as well: http://sites.google.com/site/carseatmeasurements/ and the stats I want aren't filled in. Why is it 1" shorter?
Why is it shorter? Because Britax wanted it to be. Dunno, but it is.

Grace All-in-one safe seat has 17.5" for harness height, but only 23.5" internal height - I'm pretty sure he'd reach the shell faster in the Graco at 23" than in his current BV, so that doesn't make sense as a next step.

The Complete Air sounds worth looking into: 17" harness ht, 27.5" internal seating (that means shell right?) and up to 40 lbs RF. Though if his torso is growing at the same rate in a CA or Radian, does the extra shell height mean much?
Internal seating height means shell height, yes. The Complete Air has a 40 inch height limit for rear facing which means virtually no child will get to 40 pounds in it.

One measurement I can't seem to find anywhere is the total seat depth from the driver's seat back to the backseat of the car....Does the added height of the CA or Radian make it necessary to move the driver's seat way up? It still has to fit in the back seat of my compact Honda Civic, and not push the driver side seat up too far. I already have the snugride on the passenger side because it DOES push the seat nearly all the way up.
You won't find that measurement because it varies greatly depending on the vehicle and the way the seat is installed. Pretty much any seat can be installed at various recline angles, while will effect that front to back space.

I also drive a 2002 Honda Civic. I just installed DD's Radian outboard with the seatbelt today. It pushed the passenger's seat up a notch or two, but not significantly. This vehicle doesn't have advanced airbags so you can brace the seat. SKJP has also approved using the front seat to push the Radian more upright, as long as the base of the Radian remains in contact with the vehicle seat.

Responding to Pixels, I don't want to install the Radian FF, and my Honda does not have LATCH in the center position. Only LATCH on outboard seats. But I agree, I can't see putting the Radian and Snugride side by side, or anything side by side with a Snugride. I'm not even anticipating being able to put a BV and Radian side by side considering the size of my backseat. So my only real question remains, can I install it outboard with LATCH up to 40 lbs (as my car allows) and with seat belt outboard after that?

Yup, no center LATCH in a Civic. I can confirm that the Radian and Boulevard will not fit side by side - I've tried with a Marathon, which has the same shell as the Boulevard. You can install the Radian outboard with LATCH or seatbelt, either works.
 

AZmamaof2

New member
Melissa, thank you for the detailed responses to my questions. That's a big help :D

So basically, if the shoulder height doesn't matter because straps can come from below the shoulders, it's just the shell height and weight that matters? Any reason why Radian allows child's head to be higher than shell (up to the ears) and BV requires it be 1" below?

I'm back to the question simply of whether he will reach 35# or shell height first in his BLVD...it seems. Do you think he would outgrow the new BV 70 before the BV 65 then since the shell is shorter? I don't know which to expect first, him putting on 4 lbs or 4 inches...:confused:

Does the Radian have good viewing ability out the passenger window and good leg room? He seems comfortable sitting with his legs bent at knees resting against the sides of the BLVD, and really enjoys seeing the scenery (esp. for longer trips), and since he cannot see me when I'm driving.

side note about the Complete Air...I thought some techs were saying the 40" ht could be ignored, as long as the child is 1" below the top of the shell and under the 40# weight limit? If not, why on earth does it go to 27.5" internal height that you can't even use RF that high?

That's cool that you drive a Honda Civic as well to test the car seat! Have you had any problems personally with the Radian "loosening" in your seat? I read a thread about that and it has me a bit freaked out. Is the install with a seatbelt RF still fairly easy, or is that a pain? I've never installed a car seat using the seatbelt path.
 
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Pixels

New member
Right, rear facing the only things that matter are weight limit and room above the head (shell height). Strap height doesn't matter, as long as it's at or below the shoulder.

Most seats currently require the head to be one inch below the top of the shell. This is to make sure the head stays contained in the protective shell of the seat. During the crash, the top of the seat rotates down and the child ramps up the seat, which could expose the head to injury.

I talked to SKJP CS about the Radian's limit once. They said that "no child" would get within one inch of the top of the shell and still fit by weight, so they didn't bother including information about the one inch rule in the manual. This was when Radians had a 35 pound limit. Well, there is a member here whose son outgrew the Radian RFing by height (one inch rule) and was still under 35 pounds. And of course, since then they raised the weight limits twice, so now there are Radians with 45 pound limits and still no one inch rule in the manual.

As for the Complete Air and its 40 inch RFing height limit, some techs say it's okay to ignore the standing height limit, some don't. Actually, a technician should never tell you to do anything against manufacturer's instructions. The manufacturers have all the data, we don't. One theory about why the 40 inch limit is because of torque. A child who sits taller in the seat will apply more torque (rotational force) to the seat than a child who weighs the same but is sitting lower.

Many seats have standing height limits that reflect when most children will actually be right around the one inch rule. In that case, I'm not a stickler on the height limit and focus more on the one inch rule. But with the Complete Air, it's clear that was not their intention when they said 40 inches. I don't know what their reasoning is, but I think it must be important because otherwise they would have picked a higher number.

The Complete Air doesn't have the one inch rule in the manual. It says that it can be used rear facing as long as the child is over 5 pounds, under 40 pounds, under 40 inches, shoulders are at or above the harness slots, and top of head is below the top of the adjustable headrest. Some people focus on the "top of head below top of headrest" part, saying why would they say that if 40 inches was so important? I think the reason they say top of head below top of the adjustable headrest is because that's when you need to move the headrest up. Otherwise, there's no need to ever move it up as long as the child is rear facing.

The Radian has awesome side-window viewing and gobs of leg room. In fact, the old-style Britax seats are known for having nearly the least leg room, and the Radian has the most or nearly the most.

I haven't had any of the loosening Radian problems. They seem to be limited to the SL seats, and I don't have the SLs.

Seatbelt install is fairly easy. The hardest part is probably getting the seatbelt through the belt path, same as with a LATCH install. Then I just twist down the female buckle stalk 1.5 times, buckle, switch the retractor to locking mode, and tighten.

Have you measured how much room he has in the Boulevard? Measuring in the house is fine for getting an idea, but fit in the seat is much more important. Some seats with the same measurements provide drastically different fit. For example, even though the Radian and Boulevard apparently have the same measured shell height, by fit the Radian has more room. Does he actually have four inches above his head in the Boulevard?

Four inches in the Boulevard is three inches of growing room, not four. So it's three inches of torso or four pounds. An inch of torso growth is about two inches of overall growth. A boy with your son's stats, if he stays on his growth curve, will reach 35 pounds around age 3.5 or slightly after. Six inches of overall growth will take him to approximately age 5.

Having a taller shell height also allows for more height forward facing. Shell height isn't just for rear facing.
 

Kat_Momof3

New member
I also wonder if the CA has the standing limit of 40" because most kids hit 40lbs when they are 40"... remember the 4&40 used to be 4, 40lbs, and 40"??
 

Pixels

New member
No, most kids hit 40 inches before they hit 40 pounds. 40 inches is anywhere from 30.5 pounds (3rd percentile girl) to 43.25 pounds (97th percentile girl). A 40 inch, 40 pound child is just over the 90th percentile, meaning that more than 90 percent of 40 inch tall children are under 40 pounds.
 

AZmamaof2

New member
Is there anywhere to buy the old style Radian without superlatch? The superlatch really does me not one bit of good because it says you can use the LATCH without a seat belt up to 80 lbs, but that's only if the car is manufactured after a certain date in 2005. Both my car and my husband's car were made in 2002. Maybe one day we'll be able to afford a mini-van made in 2005 or newer and use that feature, but it doesn't mean much for me right now. Also my Honda only allows LATCH up to 40 lbs, not even 45 lbs which the Radian allows to RF to 45 lbs.

I guess...if I'm having to use the Radian with a seatbelt to secure it from 40 lbs and onward, then I wouldn't have any problems with the LATCH loosening, right? It's not a problem that is coming up when users install with seatbelts as well?
 

wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
LATCH is how you install the seat. So if you're using the seatbelt there's no worry about LATCH loosening because it's tucked behind the seat in its storage cubbies, not being used.

Wendy
 

AZmamaof2

New member
True, I just don't know when he's going to hit 40 # or maximum shell height....Maybe when he's 3yrs or maybe 3.5yrs?

Seems the BV70 will not do much to extend our rear-facing if he's more likely to outgrow by height - which it looks that way from his current seating in the BV65. That's too bad about the shorter shell. Though I still can't find where that data is located online.....

And the Complete Air having maximum height of 40" seems like he'd reach that at the same time he reaches the shell in BV65 ( I think he's longer in torso than legs.)

Also, the Graco smart seat all-in-one has a really short internal height limit of 23", especially since he's already measuring 21" from butt to head sitting down. (I know it's slightly different in the actual seat, but that only means 1" to grow before the 1" below shell rules that seat out). And I just don't really care for having a base that I'd have to move or buy for a second car.

So moving on, next option sounds like either keep him in the BV65 as long as possible, then decide where to go from there.....Or get a Radian now and use it as a back-up car seat until I give the BV to DD when she's old/big enough.

Are the seats on the Radians nice and cushiony like the Britax or will my son balk at having to change? Anyone out there have similar situations?

I can still LATCH it until he reaches 40#, but now my biggest concern is this "loosening" of the LATCH that people are experiencing with the new SuperLatch. Anywhere to buy the older models for deep discounts?

What's the general age/weight/height recommended for the next step? I was reading some other posts, and figure after the Radian my last step would be the Frontier because it can use harness and position with a HBB and LBB.
 

henrietta

Well-known member
With a torso height of 13.5", overall height of 35-36", & weight of 30-31 lbs...I would say it's a toss-up which way he outgrows the Blvd rearfacing first. Honestly, w/such a "short" torso (short to me--my same age and size kiddo's torso is 15-16" and he outgrew the Blvd rearfacing a few months ago!), he may very well be close to 35 lbs at the same time that he has less than 1" of hard shell above his head. I seriously doubt that your little one will hit 40 lbs before 4 years old. He's going to grow more up than out--weight gain will be a lot slower from here out. You can look at the CDC growth charts and plot his "curve" to get a better idea. I don't think my guy will weigh 35 lbs even when he turns 3 in August, unless he has a major growth spurt. His older brother is much more petite than he is (but he was a super preemie)...nonetheless, he's still only 38 lbs at 5.5 yrs old.

I would buy a different seat to keep him rearfacing and hand the Blvd down to your dd. The Radian is really nice, but the Safety First Complete Air may be easier to install. Also, the Learning Curve True Fit is very tall and goes to 35 lbs rearfacing. I wouldn't expect your little guy to reach 35 lbs for another year, so at least 3.5 yrs old, and he certainly won't outgrow any of those seats rearfacing by height in the next year. I'd think he could rearface to at least 4 in the Radian or the CA, and possibly even the True Fit.

hths

henrietta

check out albeebaby.com for pretty good deals.
 

AZmamaof2

New member
Thanks Henrietta! Yeah, I'm a big Albeebaby.com fan - they have great deals going on right now. Which is why I want to get the seat now rather than wait another 5-6 months in case the sales aren't as good. I could probably save more than the loss of not "needing" it over the 6-8 yr lifetime.

I've looked into the Radians, and the CA. For the CA I followed the growth charts and it seems like by the time he outgrows the BV, he may also reach the 40" total height limit the CA (both about 3 - 3.5 yo)

But I haven't done much True Fit research, which one in particular do you recommend? Do they take up less space than the Radians and have better features?
 

Pixels

New member
The TrueFit takes up less front to back room than the Radian, but more width. The TrueFit has a taller shell, but a 35 pound RF weight limit.

As for the next step, after he has outgrown rear facing, it's forward facing in a harness. It doesn't matter if it's in a convertible such as the Boulevard, Radian, or TF, or if it's in a combination seat such as the Frontier.

I think historically Britax has sales in February and August. Someone else who actually, uh, pays attention to that can confirm or refute.
 

henrietta

Well-known member
Thanks Henrietta! Yeah, I'm a big Albeebaby.com fan - they have great deals going on right now. Which is why I want to get the seat now rather than wait another 5-6 months in case the sales aren't as good. I could probably save more than the loss of not "needing" it over the 6-8 yr lifetime.

I've looked into the Radians, and the CA. For the CA I followed the growth charts and it seems like by the time he outgrows the BV, he may also reach the 40" total height limit the CA (both about 3 - 3.5 yo)

But I haven't done much True Fit research, which one in particular do you recommend? Do they take up less space than the Radians and have better features?

Honestly, I don't know enough about the TrueFits to know which one has which extra features, except to know that it's likely it would take up less space front to back than the Radian (but almost anything will do that LOL!). I wish I had bought one instead of the Blvd that I got (it was a cheap replacement from Britax, so came out much less than the TrueFit when I needed the seat and we didn't and don't have the $$). My little guy could still be rearfacing in the TrueFit, but instead he's ff'ing in the Blvd.

As for the CA's "height limit" for rearfacing....well, that's only if you follow their "rule". I'm not advocating not following manufacturers rules, but since I have yet to see a safety reason as to why that one exists, I personally would make the parental decision to continue to rearface my child in the seat until the top of his head reached 1" from the top of the shell (or the headrest, whichever the manufacturer specified, b/c that one has safety reasons). I know we shouldn't pick and choose, but pretty much every seat on the market has the 1" from the top in rearfacing mode rule--some, esp in years past and not as much anymore, used to be until the top of the head was even w/the top of the seat. For your child, he may be 42" tall, before the top of his head is 1" from the top of the seat (or he may be 40"). It's hard to say. He's only 36" tall right now, the seat back of the CA is the tallest on the market-taller than the Radian, and that's 4" away. It would take him 2 years to grow those 4 inches. So, if the CA fits your budget, your car, and your kid and you like it...the 40" rearfacing limit is likely more than adequate. My long torsoed kid on the other hand, would probably have his head at the top before 40"! LOL

If it helps any, the internal seating height on those seats:
Blvd 65 25" (the 70 is supposedly 1" shorter)
Radian 25"
True Fit 26.5"
CA 27"

hths GL!

henrietta
 

henrietta

Well-known member
Just adding:

A boy falling at the 50 percentile will hit about 36 lbs and 40" tall around 4 years old. Your ds is falling b/t the 25th & 50th percentiles for height and weight (35-36" tall and 30-31 lbs). That will put him at 38" tall and 32 lbs (or less) at 3 yrs old. Since he has a fairly short to normal torso length, any one of those three seats is likely to get him to almost 4 yrs old or beyond rearfacing.

I sure hope I did that right! LOL I've looked at it a million times for both my ds's, so I should have! My younger one and yours are only a few weeks apart and the roughly the same size. He was due at the end of September, but was born at 35 wks.

henrietta
 

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