Tallest top slots? Answers here...

CDNTech

Senior Community Member
I took the boys on a trip to several stores today and now have answers I've been procrastinating on getting... :D

We are constantly wondering which seat will last the longest and trying to measure slot height. Slot height is really subjective to how the seat actually fits *installed* in the vehicle *with* a child in it.

So today, I went out and installed the 5 most popular Canadian seats and used the same two models in the exact same vehicle position.

Here are the results...

From tallest to shortest...
1. Britax Frontier
2. Sunshine Kids Radian
3 & 4. Compass/First Years TruFit & Evenflo Triumph Advance
5. Britax Marathon

Model #1
Aiden is 6.5 years old, 46.5" tall, with a 16.25" torso
.

Frontier... in top slots with about 1.5" to grow
2753683009_7c6027a7d3.jpg


Radian... in top slots with about .75" to grow
2753683013_331c87e597.jpg


TruFit... just over top slots (outgrown)
2753683039_5f99698c24.jpg


Triumph Advance... just over top slots (outgrown)
2753683037_aaa50c7713.jpg


Marathon... over top slots (outgrown)
2753683031_09788b72d7.jpg



Model #2
Mikkel is 29lbs, 38.5", with a 13.75" torso.


Frontier... 4th notch from the top slots with at least 4" of growing room
2754483704_8e9360ec71.jpg


2754483710_c4428ce18a.jpg


Radian... even with 2nd from top slots with about 3" of growing room
2754483716_f0d7e96ecd.jpg


TruFit... even with 2nd from top slots with about 2" of growing room
2754483740_54b1f55ca6.jpg


Triumph Advance... about 2" of growing room (to the top harness setting - slit in cover goes higher)
2754483734_ce56324cdb.jpg


Marathon... top slots with about 1.5" of growing room
2754483730_4f27e37e7d.jpg


Note: Some of the pictures are slightly misleading due to covers shifting/angle of picture/ect. I've included which slot they are on and how much growing room they have left so that you have a more accurate idea of how the seat really fits (rather than just going by picture alone).
 
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CDNTech

Senior Community Member
Ummm... they may or may not have been bribed with a chocolate brownie sundae from Cheesecake Cafe if they co-operated nicely. :whistle: It was gooood! :D
 

wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
Wow! Thank you! What fabulous pictures. And I'm sure the brownie that may or may not have happened might have tasted quite yummy. :) Nothing like a good bribe to make everyone happy. hehe Bribed in the name of science and passenger safety.

Wendy
 

Loves2sing

New member
Thanks for taking the time to do that! It's great info to have.

OT: I love that Aiden is still such a poser. :love: Somethings never change!:D
 

snowbird25ca

Moderator - CPST Instructor
So the Frontier only gives 3/4" more than the Radian. I wonder how the Nautilus will compare when it arrives. :cool: :whistle: ;)

So if you took the rf'ing tether out of the equation, do you think that the MA is worth the $300 it is in Canada with other options that cost less and harness longer? (assuming all other options install well)
 

CDNTech

Senior Community Member
So the Frontier only gives 3/4" more than the Radian. I wonder how the Nautilus will compare when it arrives.

So if you took the rf'ing tether out of the equation, do you think that the MA is worth the $300 it is in Canada with other options that cost less and harness longer? (assuming all other options install well)

I suspect that the Nautilus will be around the same height as the Radian when installed. From the few pictures I've seen, it appears to have more of a recline when installed and that generally means you are losing some of that harness height (similar to the TruFit). We'll see once the seat actually makes it here.

I was really surprised at the slight difference in the Radian and Frontier... I thought it was more. I installed both seats two separate times just to be sure it really was only that small of a difference. :D

My thoughts on all the seats (sorry, this is probably going to be long)...

TRUFIT
I still can't stand the straps on the TruFit. :eek: Sorry, they are just difficult to use compared to the other seats... I had to do the side to side adjustment to straighten them out with both kids. With Aiden, they got stuck when I was tightening. I gave a pretty sharp tug and they did pull tighter, but the average parent would probably think that was as tight as they go.

They were also pretty folded over in the buckle tongues after just two kids in the seat and I can't stand folded straps. This was the second TruFit I've tried out (from different stores, with different covers), so I don't think it was just a case of I got a difficult seat. :eek: Yes, it can be worked with... but the parent needs to decide if the other features make that worth it to them.

I also think the recline is way too much FFing for an older kid (from a comfort point of view) and I really tried hard to get it as upright as possible... both for less recline *and* for higher strap height when comparing the seats. Aiden's legs were actually coming slightly up (instead of straight out) because of the deep recline of the seat. I think on a long trip that he would complain about legs falling asleep. The sides are a little higher, so I think he would also have a little trouble with crossing his legs in this seat.

Height adjustment was *slightly* finicky thanks to the slightly sculpted vehicle seatback, but it was still easy enough to change.

I like that the headrest comes off for rear facing, but it doesn't really matter for me. I like to have an infant seat that lasts a long time (preferably for the first year). With older kids and running in/out of school pick-up/drop-off, I prefer to have a carrier so I don't have to keep disturbing the baby for a 5 minute trip in/out and I *won't* leave my baby in the vehicle.


TRIUMPH ADVANCE
Straps could possibly twist (since they are the thinner, silkier material), but the buckle tongue is wide enough that they don't fold over at all. So as long as the parent is making sure the entire strap is straight when they buckle the child in, you're good to go. I could live with these straps with no issues.

Straps are also super easy to adjust with the knobs... but I know they can be a possible issue when rear facing. :(

Love the height adjustment, but the tabs were bugging Aiden on his neck. Mikkel didn't even notice them. I'd like to see a strap cover idea around the red tabs to solve that problem... some soft material permanently attached with *no* seams on the inside by the child's neck would be really nice.

High base, which I'm not totally fond of, but again, could live with this. I prefer baseless once kids reach about age 4... easier for them to get into and looks a little sleeker (yes, I'm slightly vain, sorry :D).

With this seat having the same strap height as the TruFit (as long as the knobs work for rear facing), this seat would win out over the TruFit... especially once you factor in the cheaper price of the Triumph Advance.


MARATHON
Still easy to adjust the harness, straps definitely do not twist... I think the hugs help with the non-twist as well.

The inside shoulder width is on the narrow side once kids get older, wish it was wider like all the other seats.

Again, another high base seat... so don't particularly like it for the 4+ crowd, but *my* 4+ crowd doesn't really fit in this seat anyway. ;)

Top slots are shorter than the TruFit and EFTA... about .5 - 1 inch shorter... which could be quite a bit of torso growing room. For us, it would have meant outgrowing the Marathon at 4.75 vs. outgrowing the EFTA/TruFit at about 5.5 - 6 years old... big difference when we're talking about putting our children in a booster once they outgrow the convertible.

To be fair, my children have long torso's... so a child with a shorter torso would probably make it to 5 or 6 in the Marathon and be just fine. For kids with long torso's and parents wanting to go straight to a booster after the convertible, I'd choose one of the other options.

*Love* the rear facing tether... I'm just in the camp that would prefer to RF tether my children. IF the rear facing tether is out of the equation *and* the Radian does not fit rear facing in the vehicle, then the EFTA would win out.

RADIAN
I need to preface this by saying I :love: this seat. As long as it fits into your vehicle rear facing, it wins hands down in my book.

I rarely change strap height, so I don't really care if it's the typical one sided splitter plate... no big deal to me, once you've done it a few times, it's pretty easy.

Straps are fairly non-twist now that they have the wider buckle tongues on the seat (mine got switched out for wider tongues within weeks of getting the seat... all new ones come with wider tongues). Fairly easy to adjust straps once the seat is broken in a little. FFing definitely has a trick of holding the strap straight out with 1st hand and pushing straight down on the strap with the 2nd hand (between adjuster and first hand).

Tallest top slots of all the Canadian convertibles. I have no issues with telling parents this seat *will* last them until their child is ready for a booster. At 6.5 yo with a tall torso, Aiden still has some growing room in it!

Incredibly easy to install and use on an airplane and I :love: the backpack straps for carrying through an airport... and yes, I've made the trek with it on my back through a few different *large* international airports. ;)

Tons of legroom rear facing and low sides to drop long legs over the edge if need be.


FRONTIER
I'll add this one as well, since I'm on a roll. ;)

Silkier straps, so you need to be careful with twisting... but the buckle tongue is wide enough that they do not fold over in the buckle tongue. Clearly folding in the buckle tongue is a deal breaker for me... I just don't want to deal with that on a daily basis.

I wish they would put velcro tabs on the bottom of the straps, ala Marathon/Blvd/ect. It would stop the buckle tongues from falling all the way down to the hips, but I can deal with that.

Fantastic top slot height and even better in booster mode. With a 9 year expiration, combined with the incredible height in booster mode, this really can be the last seat you'll purchase until they are ready for seatbelts alone.

Same exterior width as the Marathon (even though it looks much bigger). Nice and wide interior... lots of shoulder room space for older kids and incredibly easy for older kids to cross their legs when driving on longer trips. Nice seat depth for older kids as well. I love this seat and would happily pay $300 for it again even though I would never want to take it on a plane with me... too heavy to lug around and would be on the wide side for an airplane seat. This is the exact reason I kept a Radian in my possession... it's the spare seat for Mikkel in dh's car *and* it's my airplane travel seat.


VERDICT
If I was only having one child and needed a seat to last all the way to booster age, the Radian wins hands down... providing it fits rear facing in the vehicle I drive.

If it does not fit and I'm only having one child, then the Marathon would probably win out. No straps folding over in the buckle tongues, no tabs at the neck to bug my child and easy to install anywhere. If they outgrow it before they're ready for a booster, they go into a Frontier and I'm set. This is a more pricey option, but I really :love: my rear facing tethers. If I have more than one child, then this option works even better since the MA can be passed down to child #2.

If the Radian does not fit, the MA is too pricey (or I don't care about the RFing tether), then the Triumph Advance wins out (provided the knobs don't get in the way RFing).

The TruFit has a few issues that need to be worked out before I'd be putting it closer to the top of the list...
- adjuster strap is too low and gets caught in the vehicle seat when rear facing
- buckle tongues need to be wider to stop the folding/twisting
- less of a recline for forward facing (especially for older kids)... maybe if the foot would flip back and stay at a 90 degree angle to the seat (ala 3 in 1 seats when used baseless) it would be more upright and work better

As you can see it really does depend on the individual person buying the seat. There are so many different needs/wants that no one seat is perfect for every parent. :)

ETA: WOW! That's a long post. Sorry! :eek:
 

CDNTech

Senior Community Member
awsome thanks! so which is your favroite? which is the boys favroite?

I think Mikkel prefers the Frontier... he loves to cross his legs in it and he sleeps well.

For RFing, I know he preferred the Radian, he'll still ride in it RFing with no issues and drops his legs over the sides.

Aiden likes the pillows on the Frontier for sleeping and likes to cross his legs in the seat.

He also tells me he likes the colours of the Trufit... this is exactly why I tried to get pretty much all black seats, so he could actually tell me which he liked better. :D

I love the Radian and Frontier for different reasons. If the TruFit could fix the issues I have with it, I would love it. It had nice interior room and was really cushy. I just can't get over the other issues yet. :eek:
 

TechnoGranola

Forum Ambassador
I'll sit in seats for you and get my pic taken if you buy me brownie sundae! :D Thanks for your family's effort in getting these pics, they are very helpful!

As for the True Fit straps, honestly, they get WAY easier to use after having the seat for awhile. I found them a bit tough at first (although not any tougher than the Marathon which never did get easier for me), but after several weeks of use, they are much smoother when pulling and the only time I've had to do any side to side adjustment when harnessing, is when I've purposely adjusted side to side when UN-harnessing prior. My seats are RF though, I wonder if that makes a difference?

And as for the straps folding over, haven't had an issue with that, and we have 2 seats that get used daily. :confused: I thought it might be an issue when we first got the seats, but it seems after real world use, it isn't a problem (at least not with either of my seats).
 

CDNTech

Senior Community Member
And as for the straps folding over, haven't had an issue with that, and we have 2 seats that get used daily. :confused: I thought it might be an issue when we first got the seats, but it seems after real world use, it isn't a problem (at least not with either of my seats).

I don't necessarily mean folding over and getting twisted in the buckle tongue. I mean they are scrunched up and permanently slightly folded because the buckle tongue is narrower than the strap... same issue the Radian originally had before they switched to wider buckle tongues.

A lot of people were finding their Radian straps fraying after months of use due to the straps being folded in the buckle tongues. I can see the potential for the same thing to happen with the TruFit straps.

Also with respect to the permanently folded strap in the buckle tongue... the older AO's used to have this issue as well. After months/year(s) of use, the straps would become rope like around the buckle tongue area. Since we want the strap as flat as possible to spread crash forces, this is a big issue. I also worry about long term effects like this with the TruFit.

The side to side adjustment would also be much easier if the buckle tongues would slide freely on the straps. Right now the buckle tongues get in the way of sliding the strap back and forth freely because the buckle tongues get caught on legs or the seat itself.

Only time will tell, but I'd really like to see them change the buckle tongue to be wider and actually accommodate the strap width properly. I believe if they work on these issues, they could have a fantastic seat. :)

As I said in another thread... if I have a heavier child that needs the 35lbs rearfacing limit of this seat, I would still pick it in a heartbeat and just deal with the issues. I would just prefer if they fixed the issues. ;)
 

TechnoGranola

Forum Ambassador
I don't necessarily mean folding over and getting twisted in the buckle tongue. I mean they are scrunched up and permanently slightly folded because the buckle tongue is narrower than the strap... same issue the Radian originally had before they switched to wider buckle tongues.
Well THAT makes a lot more sense! Thanks for clarifying! I am going to take a look at mine today. Last time I looked, they weren't folded over on the sides, but a little scrunchy, yes! No permanent fold marks yet, but maybe over time?
 

horseymom

New member
Well THAT makes a lot more sense! Thanks for clarifying! I am going to take a look at mine today. Last time I looked, they weren't folded over on the sides, but a little scrunchy, yes! No permanent fold marks yet, but maybe over time?

I haven't noticed any of this either:scratcheshead:
 

CDNTech

Senior Community Member
The picture of Mikkel in the Trufit shows the fold... I cropped and enlarged the picture so you can see what I mean.

2756857065_7761d75c7d.jpg


This is exactly what the Radian with the narrow buckle tongues did and multiple people noticed fraying after a few months use... especially those that adjust their seats when kids are getting in/out.

ETA: For comparison...

The Frontier has a *slight* fold...
2756877551_2107369437.jpg


The Radian has no fold with the wider buckle tongues (no pictures, but the Triumph Advance & Marathon have no fold either)...
2756871157_ee15dc41e4.jpg
 

TechnoGranola

Forum Ambassador
The picture of Mikkel in the Trufit shows the fold... I cropped and enlarged the picture so you can see what I mean.

2756857065_7761d75c7d.jpg


This is exactly what the Radian with the narrow buckle tongues did and multiple people noticed fraying after a few months use... especially those that adjust their seats when kids are getting in/out.
Mine did that at first, but after about a month of use, it just bunches a little and no fold anymore. We've had 2.5 months of daily use and so far no fraying. We do adjust the harness straps each and every time DD is put in or taken out. I will watch for it though. Thanks for letting us know how this affected the Radian.
 

CDNTech

Senior Community Member
Before I start a panic... this should not be a huge safety issue. Straps undergo some serious abrasion testing, that a *tiny* amount of fraying should not affect the harness' performance.

This just happens to be a major annoyance of mine and I don't want to deal with twisty straps (ie. ropes like the 3 in 1 seats) 3 or 4 years down the road. Since the seat is so new, we have no idea if the straps will twist or not... only time will tell. :eek:
 

snowbird25ca

Moderator - CPST Instructor
Before I start a panic... this should not be a huge safety issue. Straps undergo some serious abrasion testing, that a *tiny* amount of fraying should not affect the harness' performance.

This just happens to be a major annoyance of mine and I don't want to deal with twisty straps (ie. ropes like the 3 in 1 seats) 3 or 4 years down the road. Since the seat is so new, we have no idea if the straps will twist or not... only time will tell. :eek:

The harness on the TF isn't thin the same way that the 3in1 seat's harnesses were, so I don't see the harness becoming ropes in the same way. I periodically flatten out the straps in the buckle tongues of dd's seat, and haven't seen any sign of the strap wanting to stay folded. I also think that the straps on the radian are just different enough to rub more - they're thicker, good for lack of twisting, but also created more bulk when they folded...

I agree time will tell, but I haven't seen the same type of problem as the 3in1 seats as of yet. The 3in1's once they got a fold then getting rid of it was near impossible - it stayed folded forever, and even folded at the hip as it was going under the seat... I really think it was a harness strap issue because when they switched harnesses sometime in Aug 04 the problem decreased tremendously, and people who requested a replacement harness didn't have the same problems.

I will say that with the EFTA the buckles sometimes manage to flip. They're also easy to flip back though and I fix the buckles less on it than I do on the Frontier display model at work. But then again, the Frontier harness twists at the shell under the seat as well, so having two places for it to twist makes it more likely to twist. ;)

Anyone finding the newer MA's have more twisty straps? I'm starting to see more twisting in them at seat checks, which is why I ask.

My personal opinion on straps twisting, is that as long as you're diligent about always flattening them out, then they won't turn into ropes. Our 3in1 did get folded at the hip where it slid under, but the straps never turned into ropes the way I've seen others. So I think that some of the factors in twisty straps are user related. Although the average parent likely isn't being exceptionally cautious to make sure the straps aren't twisted... only way to explain how twisty I've seen some MA's recently. :eek:
 

joolsplus3

Admin - CPS Technician
:whistle: Have you guys even been 'around' long enough to have seen what the old nylon straps were like? This is nothin' :cool:

(though, honestly? If they KNOW how to do it right, I'm not seeing any reasonable excuse for them NOT giving us nice nontwist noncrumple straps on every seat on the market... even crummy cars have seatbelts about as nice as good cars, why shouldn't all straps be as nice as the old Fisher Price ones? They were even nicer than Britax :( )

But, uh, back on topic <blush> Jen, your pictures are really great, I'm glad you had your brownie-bribed models for such a great photo shoot :)
 
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