BMW is the world’s most popular luxury car brand, with over 100 models to choose from in the US. And while sports cars are central to many luxury brands, that’s not what the average customer is necessarily looking for: if you’re reading this blog, your BMW is probably a family car.
Today’s family car needs to accommodate car seats, so for today’s video, we set out to explore how to install our most popular car seats in two popular BMW models, the BMW X5 SUV and the BMW 528. We’d like to thank our friends at South Shore BMW in Rockland, MA for letting us film in their showroom and tinker with their gorgeous cars!
Before you watch the video, remember: this is NOT an official installation video, and you absolutely shouldn’t use it as the sole source of guidance when you install your infant car seat or convertible car seat. Please do a thorough read of the product manual and consult company installation videos, and when you’re done, consult a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST)! A seat that’s installed incorrectly won’t protect your child the way it’s supposed to, and we won’t feel ok about that (and neither will you). You can find a CPST near you with this simple tool provided by Safe Kids Worldwide.
Also, because there’s so much more to say about installing your car seat in a BMW, and because it’s so easy to get details wrong (even for us, and we do this every day!), we had a friend who is a CPST check through the video to make sure we nailed it. The goal of today’s blog entry is to supplement the video by including some of his comments.
With that said, here’s what to expect with each of the seats we tried:
As with all infant car seats (as opposed to convertible car seats), the part of the Pipa that you install is a separate base; the bucket seat itself clicks on and off, making your baby much more portable.
The Pipa has two great features highlighted in this video: the load leg on the base, which limits the movement of the seat in the event of a collision, providing a safer ride for your child, and the rigid LATCH connectors, which make installation crazy easy! As you’ll see in the video, even in just one brand of vehicle, LATCH anchors may be completely different: the X5’s anchors are nestled deep within the seat and you have to find them by feel, while the 528 has little windows you can pop open to access them more easily. Either way, the terrific LATCH connectors on the Pipa simplify things a lot.
We’re just generally huge fans of the Pipa – you know a car seat is really, really good when the majority of employees at a specialty baby store, when asked, put it on their Dream Baby Registry!
Our expert’s notes on the Pipa installation:
- BMW vehicles do NOT allow for non-standard LATCH spacing.
- The Pipa comes with LATCH guides, which may help to make it easier to install.
- The Pipa also is one of the very few car seats that you can install with both the safety belt AND the lower LATCH anchors at the same time. It’s not necessary, but it’s possible (you can read more about it here).
The Cloud Q is a top pick because it combines the top-notch safety technology of the previous Aton Q infant car seat with one cool new feature: when you take the Cloud Q out of the car, you can recline it so your baby can lie flat! It also has a load leg on the base like the Pipa.
In the video, Eli demonstrates how the belt tensioning plate in the seat simplifies installation, so you don’t need to tug or push hard on the base to make sure you get a nice tight install. The belt tensioning plate can be used in both LATCH and safety belt installation, although it’s not a lockoff, so you’ll still need to retract the seat belt properly, as Eli shows.
- The handle position must be locked in the DRIVE position.
- If your vehicle manufacturer allows it (and BMW does not), you can use non-standard LATCH spacing.
- The Cloud Q also comes with LATCH guides; you may want to grab those to check for that 1” of movement when you wiggle the seat to make sure it’s tightened properly.
The Foonf is another one of our top recommendations, loaded with best-in-class safety features including extended rear-facing, a steel anti-rebound bar, advanced side impact protection, and the REACT system, which is based on the crumple technology found in your car and is designed to absorb crash energy to reduce the forces that reach your child’s body.
In this video, Eli demonstrates how you install the Foonf rear-facing with flexible LATCH, and forward-facing with rigid LATCH connectors. We recommend keeping your child rear-facing for as long as you can – it’s so much safer!
- Don’t forget the top tether – you HAVE to use it when installing with LATCH.
- The best place to grip the car seat when you’re testing to see if it wiggles is the arm rests.
- LATCH forward-facing is limited to 35 pounds; like the Pipa, you can install your Foonf with both LATCH and the safety belt, for a 35-65 pound range forward-facing only.
The Nuna Rava is one of our most exciting 2016 releases, and you can see how it measures up to the Clek Foonf here. The thing that makes the Rava special is the incredibly easy installation system; you can install it with LATCH, but it really shines with safety belt installation. All you need to do is thread the belt through the color-coded guides in a window in the seat, buckle it, and close that window for a super-duper tight installation (plus, don’t forget to retract the seat belt properly). It’s great, and I really think the video demonstrates how great it is far better than any description I could give.
Plus, the Rava nestles really nicely into the seat, so it doesn’t push up towards the driver’s seat or the passenger seat – this is going to be a boon for tall parents!
And, our expert had no comments to add about the Rava. It’s just that great.
With all of that said: here’s the video!
Of course, these are only four of the amazing infant car seats and convertible car seats in our selection, all handpicked for ease of installation and top-notch safety features. So if none of these seats looks like the right fit for your family, we’d love to tell you about some of your other options! Come visit us at your nearest Magic Beans store, and we’ll help you evaluate your needs and will make recommendations tailored to your car, your family, and your lifestyle. We can even take our floor model out to your car and see how it fits!