I am a huge fan of Britax carseats!!!! We bought our first convertible carseat from Britax when Big Brother was about 7 months old. We have been so happy with the sturdiness of our Britax convertible carseat that I contacted Britax to see if I could review their toddler booster seat and they graciously agreed!
We received the Britax Frontier 85 (not to be confused with the retired Britax Frontier) a little over a month ago. Here are just a few of the “specs” that specifically appealed to me. The Britax Frontier 85 features:
- 5-point harness until 85 pounds. Almost every other booster seat is only rated to 40 pounds with the 5-point harness. The only other booster seat with a 5-point harness I could find above 40 pounds still only went to 65 pounds. This is a really big deal to me, especially since the AAP says here that “it is best for children to be in a forward facing carseat with a harness for as long as possible.”
- True side impact protection. “True Side Impact Protection is a system that encompasses multiple areas of the seat including the deep side walls of the seat shell and the adjustable head restraint. It also includes the energy-absorbing foam that lines the head restraint” (from the Britax website). Although the unbiased research is still unclear about just how much benefit this gives a child, it is reassuring to know that it certainly does give some extra protection. You can read more about the True Side Impact Projection technology that Britax has developed here.
- Cupholders and Armrests. I know these aren’t really important in light of the safety features shared above, but they are particularly convenient!
- Adjustable Harness Height. With the Britax Frontier 85, you don’t have to detach the straps from the metal piece. All you have to do is lift the lever on the back of the seat to adjust the harness height.
- Transfers from a forward-facing carseat with harness to a booster with the shoulder belt. I love that this carseat will carry Big Brother until he is 120 pounds by switching to the booster with the shoulder belt.
A few drawbacks are:
- The price. This carseat is not cheap. The list price on Amazon is $279.99 (though it is substantially cheaper once you add it to your cart). However, Prince Charming and I have come to the consensus that we don’t mind spending a little extra initially to purchase products for our children that are safe and will last through multiple uses. We have had a much cheaper forward-facing carseat we bought as an “extra” for Prince Charming’s car and it has all but fallen apart. The straps are impossible to tighten. It is light and feels cheaply made. We can’t get it secured tight enough in our older car. Our Britax convertible carseat we bought over 2 years ago feels and looks brand new and will last well through Little Brother and beyond.
- Difficult to secure in older cars. One of our cars has the LATCH system and the other does not. The Britax Frontier 85 is a breeze to install in our newer car, but like EVERY OTHER carseat, it is much more time-consuming when only using the belts to get it secure. But then again…that’s why they started the LATCH system in the first place!
In my opinion, you can’t find a better Combination Booster carseat. I would HIGHLY recommend this carseat to anyone with a child 2 years (and at least 25 pounds) all the way to 120 pounds. Hey, if I were a couple inches shorter and about 12 pounds lighter, I could still fit in it!
And just in case you’re interested, you can also check out the Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings (from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) for Combination carseats here. You won’t find a combination carseat rater higher than the Britax Frontier 85.
DISCLOSURE: I received a Britax Frontier 85 in exchange for this review. All opinions are solely mine and I attempted to include unbiased research from reliable sources (like the AAP and the NHTSA) to further legitimize my review.