Selecting the right car seat for the most treasured and vulnerable family member is one of the most important safety decisions parents can make. The right car seat can dramatically improve safety for young children riding in cars. Britax is a brand name in convertible car seats that has become synonymous with safety. For over 10 years, the Britax Boulevard has set the mark for safe and easy-to-use car seats that last. Here, we review the long-loved Boulevard and compare it to some others.
The Britax Boulevard, officially launched in 2008, is one of the Britax lines of convertible car seats available. Although, there are rumors that the Boulevard will soon be discontinued and replaced with newer models. Britax has driven the safety standards and user-friendliness of American car seats forward and the Boulevard is no exception. It a car seat that is known for its safety, easy installation, years of easy use, and outstanding two-year warranty.
We cannot emphasize enough, if you choose a new Britax car seat, you are using a car seat that exceeds safety standards set by the federal government. The Britax Boulevard has many features built into its construction, installation, and daily use that are explicitly meant to improve safety. It gets the best overall safety test reviews and performs better than most of its competition.
Britax Boulevard integrated several layers of safety into its convertible seats that well exceed federal safety standards. It starts with a thoroughly researched and repeatedly tested basic design. There is a honeycomb-shaped piece in the bottom to absorb crash impact, a SafeCell impact stabilizing steel frame, and SafeCell impact absorbing harness pads. It uses Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) for its plastic pieces which is more environmentally friendly and less prone to off-gassing than the commonly used Expanded Polystyrene (EPS).
Proper installation is one of the best ways to improve car seat safety. The Britax Boulevard has many safety features built into its installation process that minimize the chance of an improperly installed seat leading to injury. We detail those below in the installation section.
The Anti-rebound bar, available from Britax, is replacing the tether strap for safe rear-facing car seat use in cars with occupancy detectors. It is designed to reduce the amount the seat moves or rotates, thus removing the movement of the baby in the case of an accident. Lastly, clear usage directions and features such as the Britax “Click & Safe” design tells you when the child safety harness is tight enough with an audible click.
Installation is fairly foolproof with the Britax Boulevard. It can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing using LATCH technology or seat belts. Using the LATCH system, this car seat gets perfect scores for safety and ease of installation. When not using the LATCH clips and tethers, store them away in built-in cubbies and pockets in the car seat.
Seat belt installation for both rear and forward-facing orientations is made easy with integrated ClickTight technology. It has a built-in locking system, so the parent does not have to worry whether the belt is tight enough. Open the seat bottom, thread the belt across, remove the slack gently, and close the seat firmly until it clicks. This easy seat belt threading is due to the seat lifting which reveals the belt path and ensures a secure seat belt installation every time.
There are two push-button lower anchor connectors that make adjustments easy. Shortened tether straps have an extension if needed. The installation indicator helps ensure that the seat is installed in the correct angle in relation to the vehicle seat.
The Britax Boulevard, like all of the Britax convertible car seat lines, is designed to be used for several years. It has two adjustable crotch buckle positions and three adjustable reclining positions, additional padding, a padded headrest, and a thick, dense seat bottom which means more years of comfort for the rider. A removable cover is included for easy cleaning but is, unfortunately, hand-wash and line dry only.
The seat expires in seven years, well before most children will reach the weight and height limits. The Britax Boulevard will accommodate babies and children rear-facing from 5 to 40 pounds and until their head is within 1 inch of the top of the seat. For infants up to 22 pounds, there is a positioning pillow included. Front-facing this car seat will fit children from 20 to 65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall. This car seat also has similar harness adjustment options with 14 available positions. The lowest harness position is 7.5 inches with the infant insert and the highest point is 18.65 inches.
We picked a few similar Britax convertible car seats available on the market to see how they compare to the Britax Boulevard.
- Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
- Britax Advocate ClickTight Anti-Rebound Bar Convertible Car Seat
- Britax Emblem Convertible Car Seat
The various Britax car seats we reviewed and compared to the Britax Boulevard have key things in common. They are all highly safety-rated convertible car seats designed to be used for newborns through about age seven (depending on the size of the child and when the seat was bought). They are all FAA approved for air travel. All the Britax car seats we reviewed here have similar size limits, although harness slots and adjustments differ. They all have superior safety ratings with no major concerns.
Overall, we think the Britax Boulevard shines because of its quality, comfort, easy use, and easy installation. A close second was the newer Emblem model, but it still does not get the perfect scores of the Boulevard. We give the Boulevard 5 out of 5 stars and are sad to know it will someday leave the market.