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on November 29, 2012
I've always loved Britax seats and it kills me to write a bad review, but I have to.

I bought this car seat for my son just when he turned three this summer. He weighs about 34lb now, so is well within the weight limit of 70lb for this seat. I have no issues with the safety rating for this seat, and would give that aspect a 5-star rating. My big issue is that the straps on the 5-point harness are ridiculously short. Even in the summer wearing shorts and tshirt, there was very little extra on the straps, and only could be tightened up an inch before they were fully tight. Now he's wearing a thick sweater and/or coat, and it is damn near impossible to get the straps done up. There is nowhere near enough slack on the straps to get a child in easily (or at all when he's wriggling). I even took the seat out to check that the straps weren't caught on anything, but, no, this is just the way they are made. I don't think a child of 70lb could fit into these straps, and I think it is a serious design flaw from Britax. This seat is only a few months old and in perfect condition, but I'm now looking at replacing it for one that my son can actually fit into.

Very disappointed with Britax this time. A total waste of money in my case.
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on December 7, 2013
UPDATE: This got returned. The wings are made entirely out of styrofoam and broke before it was even installed. The Recaro wings have a flexible plastic covered by a thick foam that makes it withstand more! I don't think these wings would stand up to wrestling a toddler who doesn't want to sit down into their seat... which is why we opted to return instead of contact Britax for a replacement part. I wanted to love this but found way too many disappointing features.

We started our daughter in a Chicco KeyFit30, then after much research moved her to a Recaro ProRide. We also have a cheap Evenflo Truimph in her nanny's car. The Evenflo harness tighteners are smashed into the back seat making it virtually impossible to use. She drives with her a lot and I wanted to replace it with a safer tightening mechanism. I bought this in Cowmooflage on lightening deal for 44% off MSRP.

I was really close to returning it based on my initial experience, but after removing the HUGS pads (allowed ONLY when rear-facing) we will give it a try. I thought I would write up a comparison for those of you who are debating. Overall, I would definitely pick Recaro ProRide for ease of use. It is so much easier, but then again it makes me feel good that Britax has steel reinforcement. I don't see any visible on Recaro so I don't think it has any. Britax would be awesome if they fixed the HUGS issues, made the loosening mechanism easier to access (how about a flap to lift up? instead of a slot), got rid of velcro in favor of pockets for chest clips to tuck into (who wants snagged clothes or scratches from rough velcro?).

RECARO ProRide
Pros:
- Pockets on the shell's frame that allow you to tuck the center chest strap up when unbuckled. You don't have to dig straps out from behind your child.
- Very easy to loosen and tighten your child
- Fabric easy to wipe and attractive
- Recline mechanism sturdy, indicators on side as to what recline the seat is at
- Wings made out of flexible plastic covered with a thick foam. Sturdy!
- Easy to follow color coded manual

Cons:
- Crotch harness doesn't "stay forward" so you have to dig it out before buckling
- Difficult to remove the cover for washing.
- Doesn't appear to have any steel reinforcing
- Tall seat can make it hard to get child in smaller sedan. Our seat is now in a minivan and there's plenty of room to get her in and out now.

BRITAX Pavilion CS 70-G3
Pros:
- Stay forward crotch means your kid doesn't end up sitting on crotch harness
- Recommends tether be used at all times (including rear-facing tether)
- Steel reinforced frame visible

Cons:
- Head wings made entirely out of styrofoam - break easily.
- The recline mechanism seemed cheaply made, I thought I was going to break it trying to adjust the seat the first time. It also has no indicator of what "level" it is adjusted to, other seats have an arrow so you can easily tell what setting recline is on.
- Uses velcro to keep straps out of seat, the velcro is low and doesn't align very well. I'm worried it will snag delicate knits, etc as well. The hold back should be higher up on the seat so shoulder straps aren't behind the child.
- Pain in the butt to loosen and tighten harness, even with hugs removed. There are two layers of thick seat cover sewn over the latch to loosen. You must stick your finger in a "slot" essentially and find the slot on the second layer of fabric and akwardly position your finger to depress the loosening mechanism.
- Click Safe feature is useless and may give a false sense of security to those who are not carseat savvy. Just the resistance from the HUGS pads makes mine click even after pulling slack out of hip area and pulling it up. You have to thread all the slack into the shoulder area for it to be even semi-useful. Not a fan!
- HUGS pads attached to seat - My petite 2 year old is rear facing (she's about 30-40th percentile for both height and weight). The HUGS pads make it ridiculously difficult to get a good comfortable looking fit for my child. It took forever to figure out how to loosen the harness to get my daughter in, even with the instructions provided in the manual (to pull only on the chest clip). The loosening happens extremely slow b/c of the HUGS pads permanent mounting to the shell. The manual states HUGS pads are not required for RF for smaller infants under 3 months. Since my daughter is much older than this, I called to ask and was told they are not required for RF even for a larger child, but are for forward facing. I removed the HUGS pads today until she is forward facing.
- Complicated manual, seems like the directions are all over the place and not well organized. For rear facing it tells you to adjust the angle of the seat so it's between a certain number of degrees.
- Not of fan of cowmooflage print but it's what was on sale. The "white" part of the cow has yellow/tan marks on it. It looks kind of "dirty"

General comparison:
Both seats have deep side wings for side impact protection. The Recaro ProRide seems to sit higher in our car, but the Britax seemed to take up more space from the back of the seat to the front of the recline.

Rear facing limits (according to manuals as of 12/2013)
Recaro - weight 5-35 lbs, seated height less than 22.5", at least 1" from top of head to edge of seat back
Britax - weight 5-40 lbs, child's head at least 1" from top of shell, when harness straps are at or slightly below the child's shoulders (doesn't specify here but according to specs top harness slot height is 17.5 in)
For my child who is taller than she is heavy, the Recaro will probably last RF longer than Britax but it is hard to tell.

Forward facing limits:
Recaro - at least 12 months old, 20-70 lbs, harness at or above the child's shoulders, child's standing height is less than 50"
Britax - weigh 20-70 lbs, top of ears are below the top of shell, harness straps at or above shoulders, standing height less than 49"
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on March 2, 2013
Like many other reviewers, when the carseat first came I immediately tried to strap my 8 month old daughter (17lbs) in the seat. I was bummed....the straps were too short! She screamed as I tried to fit her in. I decided to read the instruction book and even watched the video on how to loosen the straps. The Chest clipped has to be clipped together.....pulled them loose and it still was too short. There was no way this seat would last even a year!!! Then I discovered how to adjust the strap height. This did the trick!!! There is a lever on the top of the seat that allows you to adjust the height without having to re-thread the whole seat and this loosens the straps!!! I realize this should probably be intuitive but it wasn't for me as a first time Britax owner. I hope this review helps others that are struggling with straps that are too short! Now we love this seat!
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on August 27, 2013
I have had this seat installed in my car for several weeks now. I love it so far. My son has been very comfortable in it. It was easy to install and set up. The only concern is that my son will outgrow the straps. He is tall for his age. I'll be calling Britax for the extended straps soon, just in case.
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on April 30, 2013
I purchased this seat for my son when he outgrew his infant seat. I've been using Britax seats for more than 8 years, and have owned 3 Marathons and a Parkway.

I chose this particular seat because of the side impact protection, the no-rethread harness (re-threading is a HUGE pain when you need to adjust the height of a FF seat!) and the click-safe indicator.

I know that car seat safety "experts" say "no seat is safer than the other, the safest seat is one you use correctly every time."

In my opinion, the no-rethread harness and the click-safe makes it that much more likely that you will easily be able to use the seat correctly every time, which makes it safer/better in my eyes.

I have children at the bottom of the growth charts, so this will likely take my son through until he is ready for a booster.

I love Britax seats as well as their customer service.
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on August 13, 2014
I bought this because I could keep my child in rear facing position longer before turning him to be forward facing. Once I installed it in my legacy outback, there was no way to position it to the minimum angle for it to be installed correctly because of the depth of our bucket seats. I was a little peeved that there was no more adjusting I could do. Also, when I set my child in it, his legs were totally jacked up into his chest and he's only 34.5 inches tall! So even if the angle of the seat was correct, it was still too tight of a squeeze for him.
That being said......it works great for forward facing. Installed like a champ with the latch system. So tight I couldn't movie side to side at all. Also, it's wonderfully soft and luxurious so I feel happy knowing my child is comfortable when traveling.
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on April 15, 2013
We LOVE this seat! As parents to 8 children ranging in age from 18 down to 22 months we have some pretty good car-seat experience. We have purchased and used other brands of car-seats thru the years and just now decided to try a Britax after reading countless wonderful reviews on their quality and top of the line safety features. Well, let's just say it is quite obvious to us now that you do truly get what you pay for in terms of quality. This seat is OUTSTANDING in quality materials and workmanship. There is just tons of padding in the seat to make it extra comfortable for your child and all the features are built in a way to ensure the utmost comfort for the child sitting in the seat. We love how easy it was to install this seat- less than 2 minutes and we were ready to go! Latch is a breeze- adjusting the harness height is simple. The new HUGS harness system takes a few extra minutes to get use to and to be able to adjust easily. We had no trouble figuring it out. You simply pull on the actual chest clip piece while using the other hand (finger) to push on the little harness button release lever in the front of the seat under the padding (there is a little opening in the fabric where you stick your finger in to access the release lever). We have no issues at this point with feeling the straps are too short or anything...they are plenty long enough when you loosen them the correct way. If you just try to pull on the straps to loosen them you will only be able to pull them out a little bit due to the new HUGS tethering system. Our son is 22 months old and weighs 26 lbs and is 34" tall. He has a long torso and shorter legs. He has plenty of room to grow with this seat and stay rear-facing for at least another year or more depending on how fast he grows. We plan to keep him rear-facing till at least age 3- 3.5, as close to age 4 as possible. This is the safest thing for all toddlers and babies! Protects their delicate necks in the event of a collision. He has plenty of leg room and loves to sit with his legs up on the seat back or crossed in the seat. He is perfectly comfortable in this very plush seat. We got the cowmooflage seat and is a very nice print! Not at all dingy looking as in the pictures on here...the black and white on the seat are very bright! My husband feels this seat is WAYYYY more sturdy and safer feeling compared to other seats on the market. He is a fireman so I trust his opinion! :-) We really love this seat and are so glad we picked this one! We decided on this one over the Marathon due to the click and safe feature and also the extra side impact protection headwings. Glad we did!! GREAT seat and worth every penny!!!
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on June 13, 2014
We have three of this car seat, two in my truck for my toddler and nine month old, and one in my husband's truck. We love them.
We haven't had any strap issues like in some negative reviews. The straps are easy for us to adjust whether they're wearing light t-shirts or heavy winter parkas. We also haven't had any issues with the straps being too short.
These car seats fit great in our vehicles both rear and forward facing. That being said, both my husband and I drive large vehicles. I can't speak to how they may fit in a car or small SUV. I can use one rear facing, one forward facing and still have room for a middle schooler across the middle row of my vehicle.
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on July 15, 2014
Works very well, soft, comfortable, easy to adjust. The only reason I give it a 4 rather than 5 is that built in base makes the seat much higher up towards the ceiling of my car (a 2000 camry) and because of that, sometimes it is a challenge to maneuver my son into the seat while making sure not to bump his head. once he's in, it works fine. Our other seat is a Diono Radian which definitely has more room for him and will probably fit him for longer, but I do think once he's in it this one it might be a little more comfortable and cushy. Head support and every thing else looks safe and good to me.
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on August 19, 2014
The best part about this car seat after nearly nine months of use is the fact that it is very washable. The upholstery is easy to remove, easy to wash and dry, and replace. Kids can be disgusting, especially when food is involved. An easy to wash car seat is key. I was concerned the white part of the cowmooflage would get stained and nasty. So far, so good. I will update over time.

Obviously I agree with all the safety stuff. And the primary negative is that the straps are not always easy to tighten/loosen.
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