Confession time, I have NEVER installed a car seat. I have heard the stats a million times; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 75% of car seats are installed incorrectly. It’s not a risk that I am willing to take. So, I make my husband do it. The first time I made him install our infant seat and we drove it to our local Safety Squad. Safety Squad is trained in car seat installation and will review your home install to ensure it’s been fitted correctly. They informed me that our car seat was one of the best installs they had ever seen; I had never been so in love with my husband. I will only let Harrison ride in a car seat that my husband has installed, which isn’t always practical.
Welcome the new Britax ClickTight! Finally, a car seat with an installation so easy that I even trust myself to do! For the past several months I have been testing out the new Marathon ClickTight from Britax and I can honestly say the new design is brilliant! The install is as easy as buckling a seat belt. Britax, already knob for their top-notch safety features, has truly hit it out of the park with this one, making it fool proof to install their car seat. Let’s review the new Britax Marathon ClickTight!
ClickTight Technology Before we get into the new technology, let’s review some car seat history. The most common way to install a car seat is with the use of the car shoulder belt. This involves threading the shoulder belt along the back of the car seat and securing it with two lockoffs. This tricky process and can lead to improper installation so the LATCH system was invented to simplify the method. However, not all cars are LATCH compatible and in 2014 updated recommendations put weight limits on how long the LATCH system is safe to use were put in place. For more information check out Lindsey’s post, here.
All ClickTight models come with the lower tethers stored in a nicely concealed compartment on the base of the car seat. I imagine that Britax is mandated to continue offering this system because so many cars come with the LATCH compatible anchors. The upside is if you own a travel cart like I do (http://www.thewisebaby.com/
So why develop the new ClickTight Technology? While the newly redesigned line of convertible car seats from Britax does make the car seat itself much safer, it does make it easier to install the car seat properly. The benefit is HUGE: installation could not be more simple!
- Open the car seat using the ClickTight Panel
- There are two belt paths to choose from for Rear Facing vs Forward Facing installation, they are clearly marked. Feed the seat belt through the proper path slots.
- Close the seat shut. You know it is secure when you hear the “click”!
- Attach tether to the car anchor and tighten.
Specifications for the Britax Marathon ClickTight
Seated Shoulder Height 7.6-16.95 Inches
Weight 5-40 Pounds (Please note the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, “Infants and toddlers should ride facing the rear of the vehicle until at least 2 years of age. States may choose to adopt age 1 requirements immediately, and phase in a requirement to ride rear-facing until age 2 within 2 to 4 years, with provision for educating parents in the interim about the benefits of riding rear-facing as long as possible.”)
Seated Shoulder Height 16.95 Inches or less
Weight 20-65 pounds
Child Standing Height is 49 inches or less
The car seat weighs 28.5 pounds
MSRP Is $329.99
The biggest concern during a car crash for a child is the impact against the front seat. Britax designs their car seats with a lower seat which lowers your child’s center of gravity which creates better stability. The seats are reinforces with steel bars reducing forward flexion of the car seat. In addition they created their patent-pending SafeCell Impact Protection which is a cushion deigned to absorb energy to reduce your child’s center of gravity even further and counteract the force that pushes the child forward in a crash.
Britax has also increased their side impact collision protection. You may notice the new rigid shell on the seat. With side impact collisions, there is less crumple zone on the car which reduces the protection it can provide. The shell and deep walls creates a barrier between your child and debris.
Britax has always been the leader in child seat safety and preforms twice as many tests as required by the National Highway Traffic Administration. There are so many other features which help protect your child not mentioned here. Again, none of these features matter much if the seat isn’t installed properly in the first place, which they have now made easier than ever!
Customizable to grow with your child:
The Britax Marathon ClickTight has several customizable features which make it comfortable and safe as your child grows from infancy to toddlerhood. Please note, all of these adjustments should be made PRIOR TO installing the car seat in your car. If you need to make adjustments, remove the seat and fit it properly to your babe and then reinstall.
- There is a 7 position recline feature with an automatic level indicator. Before installing the car seat, adjust the recline to a position that’s most comfortable for your baby. Usually, the younger they are, the more reclined the seat should be. Once you find the perfect position, use the level indicator to insure the proper installation.
- The head harness has 14 positions that can be easily adjusted with a handle. This should also be done prior to installation. Please check the user manual to ensure the proper height for the harness. In rear facing position, the shoulder strap should be at or below shoulder height. In forward facing position, the straps should be at or above shoulder height.
- There are also two settings for the harness at the hips. We were having a hard time fitting Harrison in the seat, the straps always appeared to be too tight for him. He is 2.5 years old and with winter layers, it was a pretty snug fit. We realized that once your child is 2 + years old, you can adjust the harness to a longer length.
- There are two settings for the buckle. For rear facing, the buckle can be in either position. For forward facing, the buckle must be in the slot furthest away from your child.
There are several features I really appreciate about the new Britax ClickTight
-There is a compartment for everything. Both the tether and latch have compartments so that the belts are kept neat and out of sight. On our Britax Boulevard 70 CS the latches and tether were always hanging loose and it was a process to collect all the slack. It’s so much easier (and safer) to carry around a seat that doesn’t have straps hanging off every which way.
– The padding is more luxurious on the Britax CligkTight than on our previous model, it’s also a safety feature by absorbing the impact energy during a crash.
– I have shared several times on the Wise Baby that Harrison gets motion sickness on a weekly basis. The cushions are very easy to remove for cleaning, which is always a consideration for us.
- If you remove too much slack from the car seat belt, the seat of the Britax is very hard to shut. You may have to loosen the slack in the seat belt a bit, but make sure the seat doesn’t move more than one inch side to side when installed
- It is HEAVY. At 28.5 pounds, it’s not the easiest to get in and out of the car. However, convertible car seats are typically stationary and only taken out to make adjustments (or for cleaning, like we have to do all too often).
- The EZ Buckle Pad feature is nice because it holds the crotch strap and buckle out of the way so it doesn’t go under you baby’s bum when you place them in the seat. It’s also nicely padded for comfort. However, I have found it really hard to get to release the button to unbuckle Harrison. Not a deal breaker by any means, but it could be hard especially if a grandparent will be using the seat.
- My girlfriend has the same model car seat and we both find that the straps are hard to tighten evenly. One side is tighter than the other. I’m not sure what’s causing this to happen in both our seats.
Britax has a well established reputation for being a leader in car seat safety. I’m a devoted fan. Regardless of how safe the car seat itself is, it means nothing if it’s not installed properly. With the ClickTight technology, Britax made it fool proof to install a car seat properly. Even for a novice like myself! The easy installation, combined with all of Brtiax’s amazing safety features, makes this my top choice for convertible car seat! If you are in the market for one, this should be a top contender!
We are so excited to be offering a giveaway of a Britax ClickTight of your choice (either the Marathon or Boulevard)! The giveaway starts today, Tuesday, March 31st and ends Friday, April 2nd at 5pm CST. Winner will be selected at random, contacted via email and have five days to claim their prize before another winner is selected.
We would never accept money for a product review but were sent a Briax Marathon for testing as part of this review.