Choosing an infant car seat is often one of the toughest choices expecting parents make. Afterall, it will likely be one of your most used pieces of baby gear. If I had to guess, the most important consideration is safety and the seat we are reviewing today, the CYBEX Aton 2 ranks high on the safety chart but quite a few features that set it apart from the other infant car seats on the market. Of course, we are going to cover all those features, lend our real mom thoughts and give a CYBEX Aton 2 to one of you lucky ducks!
Here’s what makes the Aton 2 so special…
- The base of the Aton 2 has an attachment that no other infant car seat base sold in the U.S. has – a load leg. The load leg is an adjustable extension of the base that goes to the floor/base of your car’s seat to provide additional stability to the base. In the event of a crash it absorbs and distributes weight reducing the force felt to the child. For everyday use, I like the added stability and security it provides.
- The release mechanism for the car seat is actually located on the base. This reduces the weight of the seat and allows for nearly one handed release. For my application, this means I can be holding Eloise and reach around with the arm I am holding her with, pop the release lever and with the other hand pull Margaux out. I have tried this with the traditional car seat releases and it does not work. For me, this has been a total lifesaver and a by product of CYBEX’s genius design!
- Fabric quality. Of any infant car seat I have tested (and that is a lot) the Aton 2 has some of my favorite fabric. It is high end, soft, sleek, breathable and comfortable. It isn’t nylon-y or scratchy and simply put it is just really, really nice. The seat is amply padded with firm but soft padding for extra comfort. And as a testament to its comfort it takes Margaux all of about 3 minute to fall asleep in her Aton 2!
In my mind those are three pretty unique features to the Aton 2. While these features may not be unique they are nice to have…
- I mentioned the light weight of the Aton and it is light weight at just under nine pounds. As Margaux grows the seat gets heavier (of course) but it is nice to start on the lighter end of infant car seats and the Aton 2 is certainly that.
- The Aton 2 comes with a newborn inlay and infant insert both of which are not only nice to have but help to position your child correctly. The seat comes with pads for the shoulder straps but we removed them before leaving the hospital – they were just a little too large to fit teeny Margaux (she was 7 pounds 6 ounces leaving the hospital). I think we will add them back on in the next month or so now that she takes up a little more of the car seat. That being said, the straps are soft and we’ve had absolutely no issues with them rubbing her skin or fitting uncomfortably.
- Overall design of the Aton 2 is sharp and modern. It is a bit more rounded than some others and dimension wise a bit smaller on an overall basis (not the seat). For us urbanites and those with small cars this is a great feature. I have many friends in the City who love the Aton for lots of reasons one of which is works well in small cars.
- Overall ease of use. The Aton 2 base is super easy to install. The LATCH connectors are premium and sturdy. For those of you buying a seat for the first time you may not think those two characteristics are of that much importance but trust me they are. The infant seat itself is easy to get in/out of the base. Lastly, it is a very easy seat to get your baby in and out of. The five point harness adjusts smoothly and the buckles are easy to use (again, not always the case in other models we’ve tested).
- Safety. One thing that cannot be underscored with the Aton 2 is the superior safety ratings. We talked about the load leg on the base but when it comes to crash test safety ratings the Aton 2 ranks at the top of the class. Among all its high marks, the Aton 2 has superior side impact safety ratings due to its Linear Side Impact Protection (L.S.P.). This unique L.S.P. feature transfers the forces of a crash to the shell of the seat, away from the child resulting in a 40% increase in safety. Combined with the other safety features like energy absorbing foam and a flexible shell the Aton 2 gives parents peace of mind that in the event of a crash, your most precious cargo is protected.
At this point it is pretty clear I am a big fan of the Aton 2 so what bad can I say? Honestly, not much. I have a couple minor complaints…
- While the canopy is sleek and made of premium fabric that boasts SPF 50 protection it is on the small side. Unfortunately, we aren’t battling much sun in Chicago these days but I have a feeling when we do I may be wishing for a bit larger canopy.
- I mentioned how much I love the rounded design but one minor setback is that some car seat buntings don’t work as well as they do on more square infant car seats. I don’t see this to be really be too much of a negative just a minor detail worth mentioning. For many of you, a car seat bunting is a purchase you may never make and a product you may never need so in that case, this is a totally moot point. However, I have been using the 7am Enfant Le Sac Igloo and it works perfectly – you need a bunting with an adjustable back strap as opposed to a fixed length elastic strap. It is important to note that manufacturers and car seat safety technicians preach to not have blankets, thick padding or clothing behind the child because in the event of a crash it could compress and create slack in the five point harness. Please keep this important safety fact in mind when purchasing your car seat bunting.
- The last negative is more of a personal one that one that is the Aton 2’s fault. The Aton 2 works with some Maxi Cosi stroller adapters (full list, here). Generally sparking, this is a positive as it gives you many great stroller options. However, I have a Bugaboo and the adapters have not been endorsed by Bugaboo as compatible. That being said, I went ahead and bought it any way (as this is my only double stroller) and it does work but it is tough to get the seat in/out of the adapters and it has taken some getting used to. While it doesn’t operate as smoothly as other car seat adapters I have tried for the Bugaboo, it is a minor pain point I am willing to deal with to have all the other, incredible features of the Aton 2.
Bottom line, I love the Aton 2. Not only do I personally use it everyday but I have recommended it to all of my friends I have helped with baby registries. In fact, it has made both our Bells & Whistles Baby Registry Guide and Best Of Baby Registry Guide AND was named the Best Infant Car Seat of 2013.
As mentioned, we feel super lucky to be bringing you a giveaway of the CYBEX Aton 2! The winner will have their choice of any 2014 color (based on availability). The giveaway starts today, March 3rd and ends Saturday March 8th at 3pm CST. The winner will be selected at random, contacted via email and five days to claim their prize before another winner is selected. This giveaway is open to United States residents only (sorry).
We would never accept money for a product review but we were sent a CYBEX Aton 2 for use and testing as part of this review. All of the opinions expressed herein are that of The Wise Baby.