I chose a 5 point harness Britax car seat for my daughter and then chose another 5 point harness Britax car seat (the Britax Regent) for her once she had outgrown the other one. Why? I wanted her to be safe and did not feel that she would be safe in a regular booster. My child has special needs and would never have stayed buckled up in a regular booster nor seated safely. There are few drawbacks to owning this car seat and I would buy another one in a heartbeat. Many things can be scrimped on for a child–generic Walmart brand clothing, Dollar store toys–but when it comes to being safe in a car, the expense of a quality trusted car seat is a necessity. Years ago, many people did not drive much outside of their local small town but these days, we travel a good bit. To see family, go on business trips, vacations, visit friends, go to doctor appointments…we are always on the go! Knowing my child is safely buckled up in the back seat gives me peace of mind and that is worth way more than what the 5 point harness Britax car seat cost. The Britax Regent was previously called the Husky. When I started looking for a Husky car seat, I could not find one anywhere. Then I heard that the Britax Regent is the same except for the change in name.
First let us begin with the advantages to owning a Britax Regent car seat. “The Regent features a large roto-molded shell, comfy extra-thick comfort foam, washable covers, Patented Versa-Tether, flexible buckle LATCH system, patented HUGS system, and tangle-free polyester 5-point harness.” Most car seats say that their harness will not tangle and it just is not true…the Regent’s harness truly does not tangle. Not once has it ever tangled or twisted! The seat cover can be taken off and easily replaced after washing it. Spot cleaning does the job most of the time but we rarely eat or drink in the car. Safest car seat on the market for older children. Children will have a hard to impossible time unbuckling themselves, a definite plus. Easy to ensure buckling correctly every time, even Grandma can do it. The car seat stays stable and is tight against vehicle seat. Much safer than a booster seat and child can not get up and down as in a booster seat. Goes up to age 8 or so according to child’s size and weight. By doctor’s order, some insurances and medicaid will pay for car seat. (If your child has special needs, most states will pay for it if the doctor writes a prescription for it.)
The seat is so comfortable that my daughter sleeps better there than most anywhere! It is so cushiony and the seat cover feels like velvet! I love it! You can really tell that it is made of high quality materials. With the 5 point harness system, my daughter is unable to squirm out of it or squirm into an unsafe position in the seat like I see other children doing in their car seats. The harness has thick comfy shoulder pads to cushion the harness against her shoulders. My child never complains about being uncomfortable in this car seat. With four levels, you can adjust the harness for growth of your child. This is easily done by threading the straps through a higher height level on the seat-the seat does need to be removed from the vehicle to do this. The seat has mesh pockets on each side to hold small toys but it will not hold a drink. Your child can safely be in the Britax Regent seat until they weigh 80 pounds or 53 inches tall. Free shipping from online dealers can often be found. Also there is a pocket in the back of the car seat keeping the manual easily available and not lost! To tighten the harness more snugly, a small metal lever is lifted up so the harness can be pulled tighter or loosened. Once the lever is released, the harness is locked into place. (This is covered by a velcro piece of fabric over it.) Last but certainly not least, the Britax Regent car seat exceeds U.S. safety standards.
Now for the drawbacks of this car seat. This is a large car seat and will not be allowed on planes. It weighs 26 pounds, 30 inches tall, 21.5 inches wide at the bottom of base. I would have liked a cupholder more than the mesh pockets so my daughter would have somewhere to sit a drink when we do stop by a drive-through. Also it may be unavailable in local stores. I had to order online but did get free shipping. The cost is more than other car seats at $200 but is worth it to ensure my daughter’s safety while in the car. Two people are needed to install the seat: one person cannot do it as the seat is so large-your arms will not fit around it, one person needs to hold the car seat close to the vehicle seat while the other person buckles it in. I had it done at a local police station and once at the fire department by technicians. Not for babies under 12 months old AND who are not yet 22 pounds. I was disappointed that the “puzzle latch” was not the same as the other Britax car seat. This one has to be clicked into place in two pieces-one at a time. For children and babies who fight being placed into a car seat, this makes it tougher for parents to buckle it. I could buckle my daughter in more quickly in the other Britax car seat before she had a chance to start fighting. Also the chest clip is easier for my daughter to push down on the Britax Regent unlike our previous Britax car seat.
The Britax Regent comes in a variety of patterns….most are unisex.There is the onyx which is deep dark black against a lighter black color, almost gray. A Madison pattern which has a bright pink with yellow background middle that has different pink colored flowers on it. The Huntingdon pattern has an olive color with a green middle to it. The Sahara pattern has a light beige color with a gray center. The one that I picked out was the Cougar pattern that has the solid black sides and a cougar animal print in the middle. Definitely unisex and everyone always comments on her adorable car seat! Other patterns may be available as the Navy Blue but all choices may not be available at the time you are in the market for the car seat. Costs vary depending on what sale is going on online and which online dealer has the Britax Regent in stock. I found one for $200 on sale with free shipping….look around and you may find a good price on one. The lowest I see right now is $229 and the highest is $269.
This issue is near and dear to my heart. I see children hanging out of old car seats, flipping their boosters over or rocking them, climbing out of their boosters, not buckled in properly….it upsets me to think that these babies and small children will not be protected in the event of a crash. I know that the 5 point harness car seat for older children is expensive but if I can save up for it, anyone can! It is a one time expense unlike diapers! Yes, other brands are on the market but it is hard to trust ones that have not been on the market long. I know many families who are using and have been using the Britax car seats for years and ones who were in crashes….one little girl did not have a scratch on her but her mom had two broken arms and was bruised up, the car was totalled. None of these families have had problems with the Britax car seats and were safe in crashes. This includes us…we have never been in a car crash but have trusted and used the Britax car seat exclusively for years.
Here are some videos about the importance of 5 point harness car seats for older children versus booster seats:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2kO8AxKbrM&NR=1 … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2LFo8vVi04…. http://youtube.com/watch?v=azgBhZfcqaQ….. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66pLXJdVTVg&NR=1.
Here are videos where you can see the child getting buckled into the Britax Regent and see the different aspects of the car seat up close:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij0KhJWuxyg (I think it is best for small children to be rear-facing as long as possible as it is safer-my child did not turn forward facing until the maximum weight/height on our first Britax car seat -the Britax Marathon- for rear-facing).
There are many videos and message boards about this subject. I hope that you will take the time and look at all of the information before deciding on a seat for your older child.