Explaining why we’re so excited about the upcoming Britax Boulevard Clicktight ARB Convertible Car Seat (available this June!) requires some in-depth car seat geekery – but we’re fine with that, because if there’s anything we love, it’s nerding out about car seats. Before I get started, though, here’s the short version of this blog:
It will provide superb protection that’s compatible with a wider range of cars.
Ok, with that said: let’s start by talking about rear-face tethering for convertible car seats. As you probably already know, if you’ve been doing your homework, it’s vastly safer to ride rear-facing in a car, and that’s why infant car seats are rear-facing, and convertible car seats should be kept rear-facing for as long as possible.
The rear-facing tether is part of the all-around protection provided for your child by some convertible car seats, including Britax models. According to The Car Crash Detective website, the “Swedish style” of tether has the following advantages:
They reduce rebound (backward movement of the car seat after a frontal collision).
They provide some degree of rotational stability during side impacts.
The tether doesn’t interfere with loading a child in a car seat.
They limit head excursion during rear collisions.
However, according to the car seat geniuses at Britax, automotive manufacturers haven’t necessarily been making it easy to use this terrific safety feature. A lot of auto seats just aren’t compatible, creating what Britax calls “a conflict for caregivers when following both car seat instructions and their vehicle owner’s manual.” Their press release elaborates:
“Of particular concern is that today’s vehicles are more likely to be equipped with electronic components, such as an occupant detection system located under the front vehicle seat, and Swedish-style tethering involves attaching a connector strap to this area of the vehicle. Some vehicle manufacturers have expressed concern that such tether anchor points could inadvertently affect the operation of these detection systems.”
Yikes! We don’t want that. But Britax seats are known for having some of the most advanced protection for your child in the car, and subtracting the rear-facing tether meant losing a component of that all-around protection. So that’s why they created the Anti-Rebound Bar Accessory (ARB), and will be making the Britax Boulevard Clicktight ARB Convertible Car Seat available this June (same Boulevard Clicktight Convertible Car Seat, just with the ARB already included).
The Anti-Rebound Bar is a piece at the foot of the car seat, designed to fit against the back of the seat in front of your baby, and which serves to limit the movement of the seat in the event of a collision. Heather Corley at About.Parenting writes: “Rebound is movement after the initial crash, and for rear-facing babies, the rebound usually means the car seat bounces up and back toward the vehicle seatback. The rebound forces can be severe enough to allow a rear-facing child to strike the vehicle seatback.” In other words: less motion is better, and the ARB reduces that motion.
The manufacturers do warn you that while more might sound like better, you don’t want to use the rear tether and the ARB at the same time. It’s also ONLY for use in rear-facing installations – when it’s time for your child to ride forward-facing, the ARB is done.