Buying a car seat is one of the first things you will do as an expectant parent. Once you have the nursery ready, have gone through the research of figuring out the best feeding methods, and have decided names, the car seat research begins. The only way to take your baby home is in an approved infant car seat. Unlike many baby related preparations, this one must be done before your little one greets the world for the first time. There is a lot to consider when buying a car seat. It sounds easy, but the options can quickly become overwhelming.
In this article, we will help demystify the purchase and we will compare two of the top rated convertible car seats against each other. The Chicco Nextfit convertible car seat and the Britax Boulevard convertible car seat are both great options for protecting your bundle of joy, but there are some differences to consider.
The first thing to consider before you buy any car seat is the size of your backseat and how easy it is to access. For those with smaller cars, a car seat that fits in tight places and remains in the car is the best option. Getting an infant “bucket” seat in and out of a coupe is painful. Sitting next to the car seat in the backseat, while you load a baby, is much easier if you are able to get into the back of a coupe. For people with larger vehicles, and 4 door vehicles, there are more options available. Regardless of what you drive, check the measurements on any seat you buy. Make sure that it will fit in a way that you will be able to use it properly. You should be able to lean over the seat well enough that you can safely secure your child in the center of the seat, and you should have enough room to be able to tighten the harness correctly. If you have a tall front seat passenger, or you are tall yourself, some of the larger models may not work, even if your car is reasonably sized, so keep these variables in mind.
It is also important to consider what kinds of features you need and want. To be marketed in the US, car seats must pass a series of rigorous tests that ensure baby’s protection, so all carseats sold in the US are safe. When you purchase a higher end car seat, like the Chicco Nextfit convertible car seat or the Britax Boulevard, you are mostly paying for extra features. One of the best things to look at, with safety in mind, is the ease of use score for a seat. A large portion of accident-related injuries to children is due to improper use and installation of a car seat. The easier the seat is to use, the more likely it is that you will use it correctly. Using the seat correctly is a major factor in protecting your child. No matter which seat you choose, make sure you will be able to properly install it and it will fit your child. If you have any doubts about the installation of your car seat, have it checked with a professional. Many towns will have an inspector at the police station or fire station, or you can look up an inspector near you at www.seatcheck.org.
Now that we have a picture of what styles are available and how they function, let’s look more in-depth at the convertible car seat category. The top things to look for in a high-end convertible car seat are ease of use, steel frame construction, sturdy and comfortable fabric, shock absorbing features, and extra bells and whistles like cup holders and snack drawers. When we compare the Chicco Nextfit convertible car seat with the Britax Boulevard convertible car seat, the race is pretty tight.
Overall, both seats are good and safe, and each offers a lot of adjustability. The Britax, however, wins out on harness adjustment.
The Chicco Nextfit convertible car seat offers extra padding on the straps and a nice bucket feel. The Britax Boulevard offers extra padding, overall, especially in the headrest.
The specs on size accommodation are pretty much the same, and the Britax is good for an extra two years. Realistically though, most children will have outgrown either seat by age 8.
The Britax Boulevard has some cool added safety features, but it’s hard to tell if they are worth the extra 30 bucks, since the Chicco is as highly rated by federal guidelines. Overall, the Chicco Nextfit convertible car seat is a great buy. It will be easy to install, easy to clean, easy to adjust and it will protect your little one.
The Britax Boulevard will do all those things too, with the added benefit of the Click Tight installation system. The Click Tight system is a big bonus because using the LATCH connectors can be a hassle.
If you have a smaller car, or you move the car seat often, the Britax Boulevard is likely the better choice. If you are sure your kids are going to make a huge mess and you need to bring snacks and drinks with them, the Chicco Nextfit convertible car seat is for you. Whichever seat you choose, just make sure you know how to use it and that it fits in your car properly, so that your little ones are protected.