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on November 3, 2010
Don't even blink at the price or anything else that really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of life. We were in a freeway rollover accident yesterday in our Honda Pilot that completely totalled the car. My precious 4 year old daughter was all strapped in tight in this carseat and walked away without even a scratch. As soon as I finish up this review, I am buying another one. Seriously, when you are in an accident like that, won't you be glad you put your munchkin in the safest seat possible, even if it can be a pain in the neck to install and annoying to get the cover off to clean? Also should note my 22 month old son was in an Evenflo Triumph (also gets high safety ratings). Thank God he was totally fine, but the strap that attaches the carseat to the anchor in the car literally ripped in half horizontally. It is a miracle that he is okay, because I shudder to think he could have been flopping around with only one anchor attached in addition to the over the seat tether...
3636 comments|802 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 8, 2011
I own a Britax Marathon which I still use for my younger child, and had purchased the Britax Frontier 85 as a long term seat for my oldest child, currently 3 years old. Occasionally I need to remove the car seats and install in another vehicle. The Marathon can be done with ease. The Frontier, is the most frustrating installation I have ever experienced. I believe it is due to a cheaper design. The Marathon offers 2 independent straps for the latch system. Each is pulled individually for a taught fit. The Frontier however, only offers 1 pull strap for both latches. This may have saved $10 in design and construction costs per unit, but for the customer , far more a struggle than the Marathon design.

What makes it difficult is how incredibly easy it is for the strap to become twisted and tangled in an area behind the seat which you have no visual nor access to. I have read some of the positive reviews here and one individual was questioning intelligence for those that are having difficulty with the installation. I am a technical engineer by day with a master's degree, and can assure you, I am not lacking intelligence. I am also a volunteer firefighter, and have knowledge and experience on how to install, uninstall and in emergency situations, cut these seats in half.

Their customer service is what may save them from losing me as a customer. The representative acknowledged that if you pull taught when the strap is in a twisted state, that could cause it to want to twist during successive pulls. They are sending me a new set of straps to try. Ultimately I'd rather see an independent 2 strap design like the Marathon.
2828 comments|262 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 1, 2012
I was debating and debating for MONTHS on which car seat to choose...the britax or the graco 3 in 1 natalius. I narrowed these 2 seats because they both get awesome reviews for safety. We have britax (roundabout and marathon) so I was already familiar with this great product. I love the frontier and I am so glad that I made this choice! I know that britax is #1 in safety and they are well built...that was not my concern. My main concern was comfort. I wanted to be able to go on car rides (long trips) and rest easily knowing that my boys would nap great in the car...without their heads slumping forward! Nothing drives me crazy like that does......they do not nap well and I can not concentrate knowing their poor little necks are being tossed all over the place. We have been in town and they have fallen asleep with no head slump at all. I am very happy with this pruchase.
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on January 13, 2012
I bought this seat a few months ago, managed to get it installed and everything was fine. Until my daughter threw up in it. It says do not machine wash. Are they INSANE??? After I struggled to get the cover off, I washed it in the sink 3 times with detergent and once with spray and wash, resorting to scrubbing with a toothbrush in the crevices. It still stank. I HAD to put it in the washing machine, it still smells bad, so it's in there again right now. Also, the top section of the cover does not come off, I wiped it down thoroughly, it still reeks. And how on earth do you clean the foam pad underneath the seat? The straps I managed to clean by dunking them in a bucket and using a toothbrush to scrub them. Luckily I still had her old car seat so I have been able to use that for now while I figure out this mess. I really don't have the money to waste on an expensive car seat that can't get washed well. Kids throw up Britax! How realistic is it to have a booster seat that is supposed to last for several years and not expect some poor parent to have to deal with cleaning puke out of the horrendous thing?
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on May 28, 2010
Automobiles are not built to protect small passengers in a crash - even small adults! If you want to increase the odds your child will survive a collision, I recommend keeping him or her in a booster seat as long as you are able to do so. The Britax Frontier 85 is more than just a booster - it is a booster with a top tether which significantly increases the safety of the seat. A 5-point harness is safer than the seat belt, and that's how my petite 9-year-old rides. The law says 8 or 80 but I feel that law should be more stringent. I plan to keep my daughter in the harness until she reaches 85 pounds and the belt-positioning booster until she is 12 or older. I have taught her that safety is more important than "image" - I don't care that all of her friends are allowed to ride in cars with no booster of any kind. The vehicle's seats and belts are NOT designed to protect your small riders. I'll say it again - a Britax Frontier 85 is well engineered to increase small riders' odds of survival in a collision.
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on June 19, 2012
We're very big on car seat safety. We know that cars are one of the top killers of children in the U.S. and we really try to take every step to make sure our kids are as safe as possible in their seats. We got this seat for my 5 year old son a few months ago. He was rear facing until he was 4 years old and by the time he hit 5 he had outgrown his Radian XTSL in height.

We needed to get him a new seat and I knew that the Frontier was the seat with the highest harness slots, highest weight limits and turned into one of the top rated boosters. This seat is far superior in all ways to the competition for this type of seat. The only downfall would be the price for some people but as a single income family making under $37K a year and living in one of the most expensive states in the U.S. we still find a way to make the money stretch to get them the best seats. I know he will be harnessed longer (even being in the 97% for height with a tall torso) and then be put into one of the best boosters on the market.

He claims it is the most comfortable seat he has had and he loves the arm rests and cup holders for his toys and drinks on long trips. The seat portion elevates his legs a little bit as well and it looks very comfortable.

It's SUPER easy to install. You can get a nice tight LATCH fit by pulling the strap through the cover which you can't do on any other car seat that I've seen. The harness slots are easy to adjust and it's easy for my son to buckle and unbuckle himself.

I couldn't be happier with my purchase and I hope that everyone considering it buys it over the other seats. Keep your kids harnessed as long as possible and keep them rear facing as long as possible as well.
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on November 30, 2010
I was all set to buy the Graco Nautilus carseat, but was still wondering if Britax Frontier 85 might be better. Both carseats were not being sold in any stores for me to go and check them out, so I decided to order both and test them out. I am SO glad I did, because in comparison, the Britax was BY FAR the better seat! And believe me, I REALLY wanted to love the Graco seat.

I would recommend to anyone to pay $100 more for the Britax Frontier 85, cause you get so much more in the long run!

Here's why:

1. The furthest crotch strap slot on the Graco Nautilus measured at 6.5 inches from the back of the seat. On the Britax Frontier 85, the furthest crotch slot is 8.5 inches! My son was almost sitting on the Graco crotch strap in its furthest position and he's only 10 months and SKINNY. With the Britax, he has plenty of room to grow and most likely will not be sitting on the crotch strap!

2. When I put my son in the Britax Frontier 85, his back and head were straight and aligned (no curving of the spine). In the Graco Nautilus, my son was hunchback cause the seat or headrest pushed his head forward and curved his spine. That totally made me question how it would affect his developing posture.

3. The material on the Britax Frontier 85 is sooo soft and smooth, but still SAFE (rock hard on the outside, cushiony on the inside). The material on the Graco Nautilus is awful! The seat is rigid and feels like sand paper/cardboard!

4. The harness strap on the Graco Nautilus is kinda short when pulled to the limit and doesn't look like there's much room to grow in it. Pretty disappointing when they claim a child can be harnessed up to 65 lbs! I highly doubt that! BUT the harness strap on the Britax Frontier 85 is LONG!!!!! And here's the best part -- I'M HIS MOTHER AND I WAS ABLE TO SIT IN THE SEAT AND STRAP MYSELF IN! I am 5'1 and 105 lbs, and I was able to sit comfortably in the Britax and strap myself in harnessed no problem! Most importantly, the crotch strap was still NOT under me. That means my son can grow to my size and still remain harnessed! That is phenomenal!!! Not that he'll need to be harnessed when he's my size, but the option is there! That's how I know I made the right decision.

My son hasn't been in the Britax for a drive yet (cause he's still too little), but I imagine it will be very comfortable (to the point of sleeping in it). And when he sits in it in the house, he doesn't squirm or scream (like he did in the Graco Nautilus). He loves it! Go for the Britax Frontier 85 over the Graco Nautilus... you will thank me! I returned the Graco Nautilus ASAP!

UPDATE: I did not realize that this seat specifies the child must be at least 2 years old. So with MUCH regret, I have to send it back. I still love it very much!!! And because I loved it so much, I decided to go for the Britax Marathon 70 -- also a fantastic car seat for my 10 month old son. I am now a total Britax fan! They truly make the best car seats I've ever seen. They are very expensive IMO, but so worth the money! I will be purchasing the Britax Frontier 85 in the future for sure, unless Britax comes out with an even better model by then! All I know is that every car seat I buy from now on is going to be a Britax! :)
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on January 14, 2013
I bought this booster seat because we have been big fans of the Britax car seats. I was really concerned because of all of the comments about how hard the installation was compared to the marathon, which is very easy, but I thought I would try it anyway.

However, one user noted that there is a little slit that is located right next to the child's left but cheek. This slit is actually mentioned in the instruction manual on page 30 under number 4 and it is called the "belt slot." All you have to do is push the strap up through this "slit", put your weight on the seat to push it down and pull up on the strap as tight as you can. Perfect angle, really easy, and I'm telling you it is as tight as any other seat I have installed...it doesn't move at all.

Now, I have car seats that have 2 straps to pull on, one on each side, and I have seats that have only 1, like this one. Once you find this "belt slot" this seat is just as easy as the ones that have a strap on each side.

My little guy is 5 years old and weighs about 40lbs. He has tons of room and appears to be very comfortable. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this booster seat to anyone.
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on January 14, 2012
We own a Roundabout and several Marathons between our kids. When our youngest need to move into the Marathon, we decided to move our oldest move into this seat.
Pros: 1. It is sturdy and appears to be as safe as our other 2 models.
2. It has 2 cup holders which our daughter uses to hold not only drinks, but other treasures as well.
Cons: 1. It is HEAVY.
2. It is difficult to install. The latch on this model is one strap for both sides, not one strap for each side. This is the main feature that makes installation difficult.
3. The arm rests are fixed. They do not go up/down. It makes picking up our 45lb sleeping child awkward.
4. Finally the last "con" is the seat cover and padding. It is not as cushy as the Marathon. It also does not cover/wrap around the whole bottom of the seat. For this amount of money, Britax should spring for a little extra fabric. The seat cover itself also keeps coming unlatched from the hook that is supposed to secure it to the bottom of the seat. Not sure why this happens, but it is annoying to have to keep relatching it.

Summary:
My daughter likes her new seat. It is safe. I just wish Britax could have thought out some of the extra details a little better.

UPDATE
We have now had this seat for just over a year. The arm rest we have to get my daughter over to get her in and out of the seat is now starting to break where the screw fastens it to the seat. I almost feel liketaking it off the seat, but am not sure if it would compromise the integrity of the seat.
The seat cover continued to be problematic. I duct-taped it to the bottom. I repeat this every few months to get the cover to stay on.
Honestly I would not buy this seat again if I had the choice.
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on April 28, 2011
Positives:
1) My son likes his booster seat - the cupholders, the arms, the lower position (and therefore more legroom than a higher positioned seat)
2) easy to wipe clean

Negatives
1) The arm rests are hard and fixed - when climbing in/out, they poke the kid in the side, but also offer a sturdy hand grab for climbing in/ out.
2) Installation is not as easy as other Britax models such as the Boulevard and the Marathon, both of which we have. I've seen so many other reviews on this seat which mention the difficulty, I might as well share my experience. I have a Ford Escape (latch).

Putting in a baby seat is never a delicate act. You have to manhandle the things like alligator wrestling or branding a cow or something.

Other Britax models use a buckle for each latch: Connect the latches loosely, jam both knees (kneel) with your whole weight into the seat pull up hard on straps on either side at the same time, and the seat feels like it's mounted to the frame. I don't dread taking these seats in and out.

The Frontier, OTOH, has a different latch. The buckle is only on the right side - the left side is a continuous belt with the right side buckle. If you latch both sides, then put your weight in the seat and pull the strap, the buckle cannot be tightened as much as it needs to be. Although back-front motion is minimal, the seat has too much side-to-side wiggle. The trick is to position the buckle first, then get the hook to the latch.
1 - latch the left side
2 - on the right side buckle, push it all the way up until the buckle is almost inside the seat's body. Ensure the belt, not the buckle, rests against the booster frame.
3 - position the seat in place.
4 - while holding the latch hook as close to the latch as you can, squat (feet in the seat) in the booster facing the car rear with your whole weight and bounce up and down until the latch catches. You have to have long arms or an assistant. If your traps/ clavicles aren't sore, you aren't pulling hard enough.

Caveat - if you break the seat or a body part, don't blame me. I'm a 6'3, 200 lbs guy and I haven't had issues. Once in there, the seat feels firmly in place.
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