Britax Frontier 85 SICT
Our children are our most prized possessions. It is a top priority for me that they are protected to the best of my availability in all situations. I’ve lost one child due to another person’s negligence, I’m not about to lose another due to my own.
When it comes to choosing a car seat for my babies, one of my first places I look to is Britax. I wasn’t surprised when I stumbled on a press release in November about several of Britax’s booster car seats and their ranking compared to other seats.
Four popular booster seats from BRITAX Child Safety Inc. — the FRONTIER® 85 SICT Combination Harness-2-Booster™ seat, the FRONTIER® 85 Combination Harness-2-Booster™ seat, the PARKWAY® SGL belt-positioning booster seat and the PARKWAY® SG belt-positioning booster — were given “best” and “good” ratings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in a 2011 study released in October, 2011. The independent study tested how well various booster seats provide proper vehicle seatbelt positioning on a child.
The FRONTIER 85 SICT, FRONTIER 85 and PARKWAY SGL were among 31 booster seats to receive a “best bet” rating, and the PARKWAY SG was among five to earn a “good bet” rating. Researchers evaluated 62 boosters.
“At BRITAX, we encourage parents to keep their children safe in car seats as long as possible,” said Jon Chamberlain, president of BRITAX. “We work to develop car seats that can accommodate older, larger children while still offering the most advanced safety features. These favorable IIHS ratings for our entire line of BRITAX combination and booster seats reflect our long-standing commitment to keeping children safe.”
The BRITAX FRONTIER 85 SICT and FRONTIER 85 Combination Harness-2-Booster seats allow children who weigh up to120 pounds to ride in booster mode. The booster seats accommodate older children and have unique features to help parents ensure a correct fit. Color-coded vehicle belt guides, arm rests and an option to add the SecureGuard™ accessory, help position the booster seats properly and safely secure the child. Additional features including Side Impact Cushion Technology® on the FRONTIER 85 SICT and True Side Impact Protection® on both the FRONTIER 85 SICT and FRONTIER 85 divert crash forces away from the child.
All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, which is typically between 8 and 12 years of age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Many states have age, height and weight requirements for the use of child restraints which can be found at the Governors Highway Safety Association website.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, non-profit, scientific, and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries and property damage — from crashes on the nation’s highways.
After speaking to the rep about this particular press release they agreed to send their new Britax Frontier 85 SICT for Emma to review. Emma just turned 5, and although she had already graduated to a belt positioning booster I had always thought that I wish she was still in a five-point harness for maximum safety.
The Frontier 85 is designed specifically for that purpose. Designed with advanced technology, the Frontier 85 will keep children protected and in a five-point harness for as long as possible. This particular model is one of the few booster seats on the market that will allow a child up to 85 pounds to safely use the five-point harness.
One of the features of this particular seat that I am thrilled with is the longevity of use. It has a combination harness-2 booster seat design that will help safely graduate children who are at least two years old and weigh at least 25 pounds from their convertible car seats. Personally, this is a fabulous point. All of my children became dissatisfied with their convertible seats around 2 years old and complained about discomfort. I have rather large children for their age and they felt “squished” and “confined”.
Later down the road the Frontier 85 SICT will convert to a booster seat for older children who are at least 4 years old and 40 pounds. With all of the comfort of the original Frontier 85, the new Frontier 85 SICT also features Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT) for advanced side impact protection.
The car seat arrived and I we excitedly installed it in the mini-van. I especially love how easy Britax makes installing their car seats with their premium lower LATCH connectors. With a push and a release of the button the LATCH hooks were installed and a quick pull of the strap and the seat was in snug and tight (I put my knee into the seat and pull the strap at the same time to get maximum snugness).
The Tangle Free, Five-Point Harness allows for longevity with 10 harness height positions (up to 20″) and three buckle positions for a snug and secure fit as your child grows. For added safety, Britax uses a Harness Ultra Guard System (HUGS™) that provides resistance to reduce forward movement of your child in the event of a crash. The rubber guards grip and add friction to the harness against the child as they move forward.
As I mentioned earlier, my children complain about discomfort in their convertible seats around the age of two. If you’ve ever peeked under the cover… you will see why. Britax’s foam serves several purposes. It gives an extra layer of padding to cushion the child and the Energy-Absorbing Foam Liner (EPS) absorbs and distributes crash forces. Britax went a little further when considering your child’s comfort and added armrests to provide a secure fit, but also a comfortable place to rest their arms.
Another feature I am incredibly fond of is the Energy-Absorbing Base that deforms in the event of a crash to absorb impact forces. Any feature that will reduce impact on my babies is a bonus in my book.
Some features that make it easier on mom include the easy-remove cover. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to remove a cover to wash it after a child gets sick or just makes an incredible O.M.G. … HOW on earth did you do THAT? type of mess. Sometimes manufacturers don’t take that into account. Fortunately, Britax did.
The seat also features a Quick-Adjust, No-Rethread Harness. This is particularly helpful when you children grow an inch in two months (yes, I just verified that Emma HAS indeed grown overnight). You can reposition the harness shoulder height without disassembling the harness straps or uninstalling the seat to do it. Just grab the red lever on each side of the headrest and pull up.
Finally, but definitely NOT least important is the side impact protection. During a side impact crash, the energy-management cushions in the SICT compress to absorb the incoming crash forces, safely expelling the air through strategically placed vents, and transferring crash force energy AWAY from the child. The result is a 45% reduction in side impact crash energy (THANK YOU BRITAX!).
I seriously could go on and on about this seat and if you made it this far through the review, bless you. I am extremely thankful to have Emma back in a five-point harness and although I thought she might have a problem with “regressing”… she hasn’t made a peep about it. She can climb into the car and snap the harness together while I am getting Ethan into his seat. Most times I don’t even have to adjust the snugness of the straps as she has done that as well. When we get to our destination she has mastered unlatching the harness and gets out with ease. I must remind you that Emma is five and that your younger children will probably still not be able to get out of the harness on their own.
I would highly recommended the Britax Frontier 85 SICT with 100% certainty that this seat will grow with your child and be an incredible investment. Emma will be in the five-point harness until she is 85 pounds (she is currently 43 pounds) and I have no doubts that she will still be comfortable in this booster and take a seat without complaint.
(photo taken for display only… I noticed later that she is slouching and usually does not wear a coat when the car is moving)
You can purchase a Britax Frontier 85 SICT in onyx (the color above) for $242.99 at Amazon.com (RV $339.99)
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