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Frequently Asked Questions about Convertible Car Seats

QUESTION:

Are the cup holders and infant positioning inserts sled tested? Will their use void the warranty?.

ANSWER:

The cup holders and infant positioning inserts have been sled tested and are approved by Britax for use with the new Britax convertibles. Their use will not void the Britax warranty.


QUESTION:

Are the SafeCells a replaceable part?

ANSWER:

No, they are integral to the seat design and cannot be replaced. Consumers should follow the user guide recommendation to discontinue use of a child seat that has been in a moderate or severe crash.


QUESTION:

Can crotch rolls and receiving blankets be used with BRITAX car seats?

ANSWER:

BRITAX rear-facing only and convertible car seats provide positioning inserts with the car seat. As well, offer multiple crotch buckle positions to assist in properly positioning and securing the child in the harness system.

If the positioning insert provided with the BRITAX car seat does not position the child as needed, it is acceptable to place a rolled receiving blanket on each side of the child for lateral support – once the child is properly secured within the harness as instructed in the user guide. The rolled receiving blankets should not be placed between the child and the harness.

It is not acceptable to use a crotch roll with any BRITAX car seat to position a child.


QUESTION:

Can I rear-face tether my Britax Convertible?

ANSWER:

Britax removed rear-face tethering as an option in 2015 to address vehicle compatibility concerns with airbag sensing systems.  For previous Britax Convertible car seats that have rear-face tethering in the manuals, those seats have been tested and approved for rear-face tethering, but would require the approval by the automobile manufacturer to allow for Swedish tethering (where an anchor point is created with the tether connector strap under the front vehicle seat).  The Australian rear-face tethering method (where the top tether is routed around each side of the convertible to the rear vehicle-designated tether anchor) is also no longer recommended due to the large variety of vehicle anchor locations which often make that method incompatible and inconvenient.


QUESTION:

Can I still use the seat with the broken foam while I wait to receive my replacement foam?

ANSWER:

Yes. The seat is still structurally safe to use as long as the foam is positioned in the same place in which it was intended. Sometimes taping the foam in place is suggested in order to prevent it from wiggling. Taping the foam does not compromise the safety of the car seat.


QUESTION:

Can I use an inflatable seat belt to install my Britax car seat?

ANSWER:

Yes. Britax has revised its recommendations and based upon an analysis of vehicle seat belt system testing results, the current Ford Motor Company (Ford and Lincoln vehicles) Inflatable seat belt system is approved for use with all Britax car seats made to date EXCEPT B-Safe 35, B-Safe 35 Elite, Endeavours, Marathon ClickTight, Boulevard ClickTight, and Advocate ClickTight. Britax will continue to evaluate information provided by automobile inflatable seat belt manufacturers and may revise these recommendations as new data becomes available. Please see our Inflatable Seat Belt Policy for our recommendations on installing an approved Britax car seat with a harness and a Ford inflatable seat belt.


QUESTION:

Can you use a pool noodle with the ClickTight Convertibles?

ANSWER:

Yes.  A pool noodle can be used to get additional recline if needed in the rear facing position.


QUESTION:

Do I need to use one or two lock-offs when installing my next generation convertible seat?

ANSWER:

In the spirit of continuous improvement, Britax has revised the lock-off installation method for all Britax U.S.A. next generation convertible car seats (Roundabout 55, Marathon 70, Boulevard 70, Boulevard 70 CS, Advocate 70 CS), allowing you to use only the lock-off closest to your vehicle seat buckle instead of requiring you to use both lock-offs.

This change applies to both rear- and forward-facing installations and eliminates the occasional convenience button interference issues that have been observed. This change only applies to U.S.A. car seats; all Canadian next generation child seats manufactured on or after August 1, 2010 were produced utilizing the single lock-off installation method. The change was implemented in production on October 5, 2010. All seats with a manufacture date of October 5, 2010 or later should be installed using only the lock-off closest to the vehicle seat buckle. A kit can be requested free of charge for seats manufactured that instructed use of both lock-offs. To request a kit, contact Britax Consumer Services at 1-888-427-4829 with the serial number and manufacture date of your seat.

For more information on how to install your seat using either one or two lock-offs, please view these video instructions.


QUESTION:

Does the black shell resin hold more heat than the traditional gray & beige shells?

ANSWER:

Only if the black shell resin comes in direct contact with sunlight. Consequently, the choice of cover set plays a more significant role in our next generation convertible’s ability to hold or dissipate heat.


QUESTION:

How do I adjust the harness on convertible car seats?

ANSWER:

Please visit this page for instructions on how to adjust your harness.


QUESTION:

How do I reattach the cover to the head restraint on my traditional Britax convertible car seat?

ANSWER:

For step-by-step instructions on how to reattach the cover to the head restraint on a Diplomat, Boulevard, Boulevard CS, or Advocate CS, please view our instructional demo.


QUESTION:

How does my child benefit from a seat lined with Energy-Absorbing Foam?

ANSWER:

Injuries may occur when crash forces make contact with your child. Energy-absorbing foam is used to absorb some of those crash forces, keeping your child from absorbing them and therefore minimizing injury.


QUESTION:

How does the Energy-Absorbing Foam work?

ANSWER:

The energy-absorbing foam deforms during a crash when your child makes contact with it. At the point of contact, the foam crushes; the energy required to crush the foam is absorbed by the foam instead of your child. The foam also acts as a barrier between your child and the rigid seat shell and any other intruding objects such as the vehicle door or window.


QUESTION:

How far can my child seat overhang the vehicle seat?

ANSWER:

It is important that the base of the child seat rests completely flat on the vehicle seat. As seen in the illustration, it is permissible to allow up to 3 in. (7.6 cm) of the base to hang over the edge of the vehicle seat. Some vehicle seats do not allow enough of the child seat base to contact the vehicle seat. If this is the case for a forward-facing installation, adjust the seat to the upright position. For a rear-facing installation, choose another seating position. Not doing so could cause the child seat to not perform as intended.


QUESTION:

How long can my child seat be used or when does it expire?

ANSWER:

Please refer to the user guide that came with your child seat to determine its recommended useful life. Britax recommends that the use of a child seat be discontinued after a certain number of years from the date of manufacture, depending on the seat, or if the seat has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. Expiration dates are provided for various reasons: technology has changed, components degrade from the environment (depending on how and where stored), parts get lost or installed incorrectly, or instructions and labels may not be available or not legible. After a child seat has met its expiration date, Britax requests that the child seat be destroyed.


QUESTION:

How long has Britax incorporated Energy-Absorbing Foam in their seats?

ANSWER:

Britax has been incorporating energy-absorbing foam in its products since 1996.


QUESTION:

How should the Versa-Tether be stored?

ANSWER:

When the Versa-Tether is being used to install the child seat in your vehicle, any excess webbing should be secured in the attached elastic strap. When the Versa-Tether is not being used to install the seat in your vehicle, it should be stored in the pouch on the back of the child seat. To avoid damage or injury, be sure that any excess webbing is contained within your vehicle at all times.


QUESTION:

I have been told not to position padding between the child and the child seat.  Is it okay to use the infant positioning system?

ANSWER:

Yes.  Britax certifies both with and without the infant positioning system.  The system was designed and tested with the products.  Britax, however, recommends against using third-party accessories purchased separately that are not made by Britax for Britax products.


QUESTION:

Is it safe to remove the HUGS Chest Pads for forward-facing use?

ANSWER:

In our recall campaign involving HUGS chest pads with SafeCell Technology on select Boulevard 70-G3, Pavilion 70-G3 and Advocate 70-G3 convertible car seats, we indicated that the HUGS chest pads can be removed and the car seat safely used until replacement pads are received for both rear and forward facing use. Current user guide instructions for these same convertible child seats require the use of HUGS chest pads for forward-facing installations. Britax has tested these child seats forward-facing without the HUGS chest pads, however, and has confirmed that these child seats can be safely used without the HUGS pads. The HUGS pads do enhance the performance of the child seats and for this reason Britax still strongly recommends that HUGS pads be used whenever possible.


QUESTION:

Is my child seat aircraft approved?

ANSWER:

A child seat has been tested and certified to meet FAA requirements if it is labeled, “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.”  Even though your child seat may be certified for use on aircraft, it is still a good idea to contact the airline prior to travel to ask. Some aircraft have seating configurations which are incompatible with certain child seats.

Some Britax child seats are not certified for use on aircraft. Booster seats are not certified as a lap and shoulder belt is needed with a booster. Please refer to your product user guide to determine if your Britax car seat is certified for aircraft use.


QUESTION:

Is there a standing height limit for rear-facing?

ANSWER:

When rear-facing the harness should be at or below the child’s shoulder. Please refer to your product user guide for additional information on the appropriate height and weight ranges for your child seat.


QUESTION:

My car seat is expired. What should I do with it now?

ANSWER:

We recommend that expired car seats be discarded. Britax currently does not offer a recycling program at its headquarters, but you may want to contact your local recycling facility to see if the seat can be recycled. However, in our experience, most recycling centers do not have the labor or equipment to properly recycle car seats.

When you discard a car seat, be sure to cut off all of the webbing, cut the cover, remove or blackout the serial number and manufacture date, and write “trash, do not use” on the car seat shell.


QUESTION:

The base of my convertible car seat is missing a screw/nut. What should I do?

ANSWER:

Please review our statement and contact the Britax Consumer Services Department at 888-427-4829 if you have experienced this issue with your convertible car seat.


QUESTION:

The Side Impact Cushions on the new Advocate 70 CS claim to reduce side impact energy by 45% versus 50% on the original Advocate CS. Why has the claim changed?

ANSWER:

All Next Generation convertibles have 50-65% improved side impact crash energy management performance versus our prior convertibles, so our starting base line performance for comparison is much higher. Therefore, the new Advocate 70 CS, which reduces side impact crash energy by an incremental 45% versus the rest of our Next Generation convertibles, has superior side impact crash energy management performance versus the original Advocate CS.


QUESTION:

The tether on my car seat has an extra webbing (a loop) under the cover.  What is this?

ANSWER:

In 2006, Britax began to introduce an energy-absorbing tether assembly to its convertible (infant/child) car seats. It consists of a loop of webbing with colored (red) stitching held under the cover at the top of the seat shell. In the event of a severe crash, the colored stitching will break and the loops will partially pull through the back side of the shell, reducing G-force effects on the child's head and body. If the colored stitching has broken on your tether assembly, discontinue use of the child seat.


QUESTION:

What are the changes from the 2013 70-G3 convertibles to the new 2014 versions?

ANSWER:

The primary differences from the 2013 70-G3 convertibles to the new 2014 versions are as follows:

  • An enhanced Infant Body Pillow offers additional child comfort while ensuring proper fit of the harness for a small infant, eliminating the need to purchase the Infant Positioning Insert Accessory when using the child seat with newborns.
  • The maximum weight capacity changed from 70 lbs to 65 lbs in accordance with the new February 2014 Federal testing regulation change (Marathon, Boulevard, Pavilion and Advocate only; Roundabout remains at 55 lbs).  Other seat dimensions (i.e. seat width, seat height, and top harness slots) have not changed to continue to maintain a seating capacity that fits up to a 95th percentile 6 year old child.  
  • A Seated Shoulder Height label has been added to the cover as a guide to help you know when your child is nearing the capacity of the seat. The child’s torso length is an important measurement that may limit seating capacity as it relates to the top harness slot.
  • Product labels and user guide have been enhanced to improve ease-of-use with improved color-coding and revised content and formatting. The color-coding enhancement includes a change from red to green forward-facing belt path and lock-offs.
  • SafeCell HUGS changed to a softer material and a wave pattern on the front which keeps the chest clip properly positioned during a crash and eliminates the need for the G3 attachment strap (specific to Boulevard, Pavilion & Advocate SafeCell HUGS only).

QUESTION:

What do you get in the bonus pack with the exclusive buybuyBABY XE convertibles?

ANSWER:

The buybuyBABy XE bonus pack includes a cup holder, storage pouch and limited extended warranty.  Starting October 2014, the buybuyBABY XE program transitioned from having a 7-year limited extended warranty to a 5-year limited extended warranty due to the expansion of the XE program into Britax booster seats.


QUESTION:

What is a convertible car seat?

ANSWER:

A convertible car seat is a child seat that "converts" from rear facing for infants and small toddlers to forward facing for children.  Britax convertible car seats can accommodate children weighing up to 65 pounds.


QUESTION:

What is Energy-Absorbing Foam?

ANSWER:

At Britax we use two different types of energy-absorbing foam: 1) EPS or Expanded Polystyrene foam, or 2) EPP or Expanded Polypropylene foam. Both EPS and EPP are closed cell, lightweight and resilient foamed plastics designed to cushion your child from impact forces.


QUESTION:

What is NCAP testing and why do many other car seat manufacturers claim they pass NCAP testing? Does Britax NCAP test?

ANSWER:

NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) is a requirement for automobile manufacturers to test car seats in their vehicles. Although other car seat manufacturers claim that they conduct NCAP testing, they do not disclose which vehicles they have tested within. All vehicles have different crash force “pulse” rates that the child experiences during a crash. Therefore, any car seat manufacturer can duplicate a pulse rate for a vehicle that has low crash forces and claim that they NCAP test. Britax performs tests that represent the forces experienced by NCAP tests across a range of aggressive pulse rates.


QUESTION:

What parts are replaceable on Next Generation Britax convertible car seats?

ANSWER:

EPP foam head rest, EPP foam side pieces, forward facing lock-offs, rear facing lock-offs, harness assembly, Versa-Tether, user guides, adjuster assembly, comfort foam in the seat, Canadian back comfort foam, recline handle, headrest apron, and cover sets are all replaceable parts.


QUESTION:

What should I do if my Energy-Absorbing Foam breaks on my car seat?

ANSWER:

If you have questions or concerns and would like to speak with a Britax representative directly, please contact our Consumer Services department. They will be able to assist with your questions.


QUESTION:

When does a child outgrow or not appropriately fit in a Britax convertible (infant/child) car seat forward facing?

ANSWER:

If any of the following conditions exist, then the child has outgrown or does not appropriately fit a Britax convertible car seat forward facing (example given for a 55 pound (24.9 kg) seat):

  • the child is less than one year of age OR
  • the child is less than 20 lbs. (9.1 kg.) in weight OR
  • the child exceeds 55 lbs. (24.9 kg.) in weight OR
  • the child exceeds 46"" (116.8 cm) in height OR
  • the top of the ears are above the top of the child seat shell OR
  • the top harness slots fall below the child's shoulders.

QUESTION:

When installed rear-facing, the car seat touches the back of the front vehicle seat. Is this ok?

ANSWER:

After your car seat is securely installed rear-facing, you may move the front vehicle seat back JUST until contact is made with the car seat. The vehicle seat should not be pushed back so that the secure installation of the car seat is reliant on the front vehicle seat (“bracing”). However, some vehicle manufacturers prohibit any contact between a car seat and the front vehicle seat, so be sure to check your vehicle owner’s manual.


QUESTION:

Where is the Energy-Absorbing Foam located on the car seat?

ANSWER:

At Britax, we include energy-absorbing foam where it is needed most, along the inside of the shells and head restraints.


QUESTION:

Why didn’t Britax extend rear facing capacity with the Next Generation convertible seats to 45 lbs. like other manufacturers?

ANSWER:

Our design is optimized to 40 lbs. rear facing capacity to achieve the best in class head safety performance in forward facing installations.


QUESTION:

Why does the foam sometimes break when the seat has not been involved in an accident?

ANSWER:

In the life span of a car seat, it is possible that components may be affected by wear and tear or breaking. Britax has replaceable parts available to our consumers to ensure their product functions in the safest manner for the life of the seat.


QUESTION:

Why is there a gap behind the Britax Next Generation convertibles when installed in a vehicle?

ANSWER:

With the addition of the integrated steel bars in the Britax Next generation convertibles, the plastic columns at the back of the traditional Britax convertibles are no longer required, which creates a small gap between the car seat and vehicle seat back when installed. We have added a second forward-facing recline position to allow the car seat to install closer to the seat back for those sensitive to this concern.


QUESTION:

Why is warning language concerning the recline changing position during impact when installed rear facing, included in the Marathon 70, Boulevard 70, and Boulevard 70 CS User Guides and not the Roundabout 55 and Advocate 70 CS User Guides?

ANSWER:

During the development phase of our Next Generation convertibles, the ability for our child seats to change recline during a rear facing impact was considered. This feature was eliminated prior to production and therefore none of our Next Generation convertibles will change recline position during impact when installed rear facing. Unfortunately, our Marathon 70, Boulevard 70, and Boulevard 70 CS User Guides had already been printed with warning language to accommodate this feature. This language will be eliminated from all future Marathon 70, Boulevard 70, and Boulevard 70 CS User Guide reprints. Roundabout 55 and Advocate 70 CS User Guides will launch without this language.


QUESTION:

Why isn't Britax continuing to offer 40 lb. compact convertibles for compact cars?

ANSWER:

Over the past 5 years, we’ve experienced a steady decline in consumer demand for ultra compact child restraints. This decline has been driven by parent’s desire to keep children in a 5-point harness as long as possible, and to stretch their investment over a longer period of time. For these reasons, all of our new convertibles will feature a 40 lb. rear facing harnessed capacity and 70 lb forward facing harnessed capacity with the exception of the Roundabout 55 with a 55 lb forward facing capacity.


QUESTION:

Will a Britax car seat fit in my car?

ANSWER:

"We encourage you to try installing the seat directly into your car at the retail site, because not all car seats are compatible with all vehicles.

If you are considering a convertible (infant/child) car seat, try it in both the rear-facing and forward-facing positions. Also, be sure to check the vehicle owner's manual for the type of retractor on the seat belt and verify that the type of retractor is compatible with your chosen child seat.

Finally, we also encourage you to have your installation checked by a certified child passenger safety technician.  To have your car seat installation checked visit www.safekids.org to find an inspection station near you."


QUESTION:

Will pressure on SafeCells during installation cause them to compress inadvertently?

ANSWER:

The force required to compress the SafeCells in a crash far exceeds the force to install the seat and therefore will not compress them inadvertently.