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Britax Advocate Click & Safe Convertible Car Seat

December 4th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

4 Stars- techdad

The Britax Advocate CS appears similar to the Boulevard model but with the Side Impact Cushion Technology. The CS stands for Click & Safe Harness Adjuster, which tries to notify you of the proper “snugness” of the harness with audible clicks. What most readers probably want to know is, is this car seat worth the premium and how is it different from the other Britax models? Hopefully this review will help you make the best decision for you, but I cannot provide a definitive answer to the question of whether it is worth the premium. It is to my family.

My Configuration
2002 Toyota 4Runner
Rear Facing
Shoulder Belt Install

PROS

  • Britax safety history
  • Side Impact Protection (including Side Impact Cushion Technology)
  • Fantastic weight range (5-35lbs rear facing) (20-65 forward facing)
  • Comfortable and super soft cover with shoulder pads, belly pads, and infant body pillow
  • Push-button LATCH connectors
  • Versa-tether allows tethering even if your vehicle does not have built-in tether anchors
  • Easy harness adjustment without rethreading
  • Built-in Lockoffs
  • Easy to recline
  • Expires 6 years after manufacturing date
  • Britax website provides manuals and video installation guides

CONS

  • Price premium
  • Enormous size may not fit smaller vehicles well
  • No ball/bubble recline level indicator
  • Serial number difficult to locate

The Advocate CS is one of 4 high-capacity convertible car seats that Britax currently sells. The others are the Britax Marathon, Britax Decathlon, and Britax Boulevard. The Marathon and Boulevard are also sold with CS (Click & Safe). From what I can tell, the Marathon and the Decathlon have smaller bases for installation in smaller vehicles. The Decathlon has an infant body pillow and multiple buckle positions, but otherwise, it is similar to the Marathon, including height and weight ratings. The Boulevard and Advocate CS are very large yet still have the same child size ratings, and include what they call True Side Impact Protection. The Advocate CS is their most advanced, and expensive convertible, because it adds Side Impact Cushion Technology.

The Advocate CS is one of three Britax car seats that we actually own. We started with a Boulevard 2 years ago and recently got a Marathon CS and the Advocate CS. We installed the Advocate CS in our Toyota 4Runner in a rear facing position for our 9 month old. The Advocate CS is HUGE but fit in our vehicle pretty well. The front seat can still be far back enough to be comfortable for adult passengers to ride in. The Advocate CS may not have fit in our VW Jetta as well. We have the Britax Boulevard installed in the adjacent seat to the Advocate CS and the Advocate CS dwarfs it. The Side Impact Cushions make the back of the seat quite a bit wider, but ultimately safer.The shoulder strap installation took about 15-20 minutes, even after having watched the installation video and reading the manual before installing. I recommend that new owners do the same. Because of the sheer size of the Advocate CS, it was difficult for one person to thread the belt through, buckle it, and tighten it. I didn’t have a lot of interior room to work with, but maybe it would be easier in a mini-van. The built-in lockoffs were a bonus and much easier than having to install a separate one. I took the seat to our local police station for a car seat check and they gave it their blessing.

Our baby seems to like the Advocate CS and sits comfortably in the seat. One mistake I made at first was putting the lap belt OVER the buckle strap, under the cover. That made the buckle considerably shorter and as a result, uncomfortably tight. So be sure if you are using a shoulder belt, to put it UNDER the buckle strap. The shoulder pads, belly pads, and infant body pillow help make it more comfortable for our baby. However, the police officer recommended that we remove any pads on the actual harness because they can hinder getting the correct harness tightness. The Click & Safe system is supposed to help alert you when the correct snugness has been reached. At the point it would click, I felt it should be tighter but it was helpful to at least know I was near the correct tightness.

The service life for Britax car seats is 6 years from the manufacturing date. I had to look this up on their website, which has a lot of useful information including installation videos and user guides. It would be nice to have the expiration date located right on the serial number sticker. Until recently, I wasn’t aware that car seats even had an expiration date. The serial number can be hard to find on the car seat itself so be sure to make a copy of your registration card, which has all of the information on it.

For me, there are only two challenges to the Advocate CS. The first is the enormous size. It would be easier to install with two people because of the size and it may not fit smaller vehicles as easily. The second, is the price premium. We could have bought two of the Consumer Reports Best Buy recommended Evenflo models and extra toys or accessories for the price of one Advocate CS. We decided on the Britax anyways because of the number of safety features available along with our previous experience with Britax. The fact that the car seat technicians at the police station and AAA both said that they chose Britax car seats for their children, only reinforced our decision.

We are very happy with the Advocate CS. We feel confident that our child will be safe and comfortable in the Advocate CS and that it will easily last the full 6 years of service life. It is not the best value available, but that wasn’t our number one priority. It probably has the most and advanced safety features of any car seat available in North America. I can only justify the cost for ourselves and I certainly would not fault anyone for going with better value alternatives.

* Review unit provided by Britax USA

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