Well, it’s about that time. Your rapidly-growing baby is about 1.5 inches or so from the top of their infant car seat, and it’s time to move on to bigger and better things: a convertible. Not the Jaguar convertible your husband wishes he had, but the brand new car seat your child most desperately needs. Practicality takes the prize, am I right?
Here’s the low-down on two convertible car seats that are both effective and safe for you and your little one. Whether these seats are rear-facing or forward-facing, you’ll love the peace of mind you feel when you’re ready to rev up and go!
The Britax Advocate Clicktight
Britax is a famous and reliable brand, known for the terrific quality of their car seats. The new Britax Advocate Clicktight convertible car seat has a classic five-point harness equipped with shoulder pads and a removable pillow. The seat can hold anywhere from 5 to 40 pounds rear-facing, and 20 to 65 pounds forward-facing.
It’s recommended that your child is at least one year old before putting him or her forward facing, even if they hit the 20 pound mark before that benchmark. (Remember, the safest position a child can be in is rear-facing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your child rear-facing until two year old!) The harness has 12 height settings, which can be adjusted without the hassle of rethreading, and the buckle has two positions.
There’s also the added convenience of a 7-position recline to make mid-drive naps more comfortable. Additionally, if your child’s sippy cup proves to be less spill-proof than you thought, Britax makes the seat fabric removable and machine washable for a quick and easy clean.
The Advocate Clicktight has standard Side Impact Protection, which has undergone rigorous safety tests (as with all Britax products). As far as additional impact protection goes, the seat has SafeCell Impact Protection that exceeds government safety standards in its harness system. This system is comprised of features including the Impact Absorbing Base, Impact Stabilizing Steel Frame, and a shell structure that surrounds your baby in the event of a collision, shielding him or her from debris and excess shock.
We’ve covered the basics, but now it’s time to get into the technology that makes this Advocate a “Clicktight.” The Clicktight feature of this seat is Britax’s biggest innovation in installation technology. The seat actually opens up like a clamshell, exposing the interior with a clear path for a seatbelt to be run through. Simply open up the seat, buckle it in with the seatbelt, and snap it shut. It’s quick, easy, and safe. Government stats say that 3 out of 4 car seats are installed incorrectly, so knowing yours is good to go is more than a relief.
Overall, the Britax Advocate Clicktight isn’t just a re-vamped version of the much-loved Advocate: it’s a trendsetter in the baby gear safety space. In addition to the reliability of a great brand and the security of their safety technology, you also get the easy install every parent has been waiting for. Who knew such a seat existed?
The Clek Foonf
Clek is one of my all-time favorite gear brands, and not just because of its trendy aesthetics. The Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat also boasts tons of high-tech safety features, and it’s convenient to use, too.
The Foonf can hold your child rear facing from 14 to 50 pounds rear-facing – that’s until some children’s fourth birthdays – and 20 to 65 pounds forward-facing. The weight minimum on this seat is lower than the Advocate; however, the maximum on the rear facing position is 10 pounds higher, making the Foonf a great option for those of you who are planning on keeping your child rear-facing for the recommended period of time or even longer. As your child grows, you will have to rethread the straps on the classic five-point harness (which also comes with shoulder pads) – this is a little less convenient than the adjustment mechanism on the Britax Advocate.
The Foonf’s anti-rebound bar improves the stability of the seat in rear-facing mode and absorbs shock in the event of a collision that would otherwise radiate up to your baby. The side impact protection on the Foonf differs from the Advocate in that the technology used utilizes foam layers lining the inside and outside of its steel-framed headrest, giving the seat optimal absorbency for side collision forces.
The Foonf’s seat has Crypton-treated fabric that prevents liquids from leaving stains or odors, and the fabric is GreenGuard Certified, meaning that it has been tested for hundreds of toxins, specifically bromine and other toxic flame-retardants, to make sure it’s safe for long-term use.
Another benefit of choosing the Foonf is the width of the car seat itself. The base is only 13 inches wide, which makes it very slim and even able to sit three across in a sedan.
One downside of the Foonf is its weight. Due to its advanced safety technology, the seat weighs in at 33 pounds forward-facing and 38 pounds rear-facing. The best way to compare your options is to look into the Foonf’s benefits that make it so heavy. Firstly, the seat is equipped with a steel and magnesium substructure that makes it one of the most fortified seats on the market. Secondly, the forward-facing rigid LATCH system allows for an easy install by simply pushing the Foonf towards the back of the seat it rests on, where the rigid latches conveniently lock onto the bar underneath your car’s backseat.
However, keep in mind that with most convertible car seats, you won’t be moving them around a lot – you’ll just need to deal with the weight when you install your Foonf car seat, when you reverse it, and when you remove it, unless you need to switch cars. So hopefully the weight won’t be much of an issue.
Another major difference between Britax the Clek safety seats lies in Clek’s REACT Safety System. Clek seeks to reduce the forces that could hit your child during a collision, especially when your child begins to sit forward-facing. Since Clek and most other brands have already mastered the technology geared towards safety in the rear-facing position, Clek created a revolutionary system to protect your child as he or she grows.
In a collision, forces hit children because they keep moving as the vehicle comes to an abrupt stop. The REACT system solves this issue by using a crumple zone in the base, made of aluminum honeycomb, that slows down the child’s body and allows him or her to collapse into the seat rather then falling forward, reducing the amount of shock that goes to his or her upper body, preventing injury.
During safety testing, the Foonf endured tests representing 98% percent of all real-life crashes, but Clek added on the NCAP test, which also simulates extreme collisions. In addition, Clek tests outside of regulations on the effect of extreme temperatures and even on the effect collisions have when the car seat is installed incorrectly. I’m sorry, this isn’t fun to think about! But the peace of mind you get out of knowing that your seat has been tested in the most extreme conditions is great.
As you can probably gather, deciding between these two really fantastic convertible seats is a decision that will take some thinking. Both the Britax Advocate Clicktight and the Clek Foonf have their pros and cons, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide what best fits your lifestyle. Be sure to come into one of our stores for a car seat demo or chat online with our friendly staff, and we’ll help you come to a decision!