Britax is a company that is totally obsessed with car seat safety. A few years ago, research started coming out that revealed head injury to be the leading cause of death for children in automobile accidents. Britax took a good look at those findings and then took their existing line of car seats to the crash test lab, wondering if they were doing enough to protect kids’ heads. While all the older seats already exceeded the federal standards for head excursion, the Britax engineers still thought they could do better.
After many hours at the drawing board, the results are really impressive. The new seats look better and perform better than their predecessors. They offer better features and higher weight limits but (surprisingly) there will be no price increase.
Here are some of the highlights:
~ New contours – the shape of the new car seats is really different. The center of gravity is lower, to create a downward rocking motion in a crash, instead of a forward thrust. The shell is more enclosed and protective.
~ Steel reinforcements – the new models have steel bars running down both sides of the seat for extra strength.
~ Crumple zones – Britax has introduced a new SafeCell technology – a honeycomb-shaped plastic zone at the base of the car seat that’s designed to crumple, absorbing and dissipating the impact from a crash.
~ Foam galore – the sidewalls of the new seats are fully lined with energy-absorbant EPP foam.
~ Versa-Tether – it’s not a new feature, but now’s a good time to point out the thought behind the design of this safety feature. The webbing is sewn so that , in a crash, it releases its seams in stages, slowing the forward motion.
~ Easy to clean – the new seats (except the Roundabout 55) have an Easy-Remove cover that comes right off without having to uninstall the car seat – so you can dread those spills just a little less from now on.
~ Quick adjusting – all the new models (except the Roundabout 55) have a quick-adjust harness, which allows you to change the height of the harness straps without needing to rethread the straps.
~ No Slip – there’s a rubberized strip on the base of the car seat, which prevents it from slipping around – a small but very nice touch.
~ Simplified LATCH – the LATCH connectors are now “one handed” meaning they’ll work fine in either position, so you don’t need to switch them around when moving from rear- to forward-facing.
~ Improved lock-offs and belt path – the location of the built-in seatbelt lockoffs has been moved to the center of the seat, and the belt path is more open, so you can comfortably pass through the seatbelt and lock it off even if you’re standing outside the car.
We got a sample of the new Britax Marathon 70 last week, and had a chance to catch up with the amazing Paula Sanders from Britax. You can check out our video (below) comparing the new 2010 Marathon 70 to the original Marathon. You can also take a look at the very charming video Britax produced to explain the redesigned seats.
Take a look at the full line of next-generation Britax seats for 2010 and pre-order now.