Disclaimer 1: The Britax Boulevard that I received for review was installed by a CPST. Before doing anything with your seat, refer to the user’s manual, car manual, and contact a local technician. You can find a technician in your area by clicking here.
Car seats make me crazy and my knowledge of them is basic; strap the kid in, chest clip at armpit level, and rear face until they’re 16 (kidding…). But really, they’re intimidating little devils and everyone wants to make sure that their kid is in there just right. Our previous seat drove Cecelia crazy with the chest clip. She was always figuring a way to move it up and down because it was so uncomfortable for her. Whenever she would ride in my sister-in-laws van she always rode in a Britax Marathon and never once complained about how “this seat is making me crazy” (her words, not mine). Needless to say, we were both very excited to receive a Britax Boulevard for review.
There are so many things to say about this seat, so I’m actually going to break it down and highlight specific things so you’re not reading a HUGE review. Also, for reference, Cecelia is almost 4, forward-facing, 39” tall and 33lbs (roughly).
What I love
HUGS (Harness Ultra-Guard System) chest pads with Safe Cell Technology: I love this feature and feel like there is less worry about how tight I get her chest clip and straps. These pads sit securely on her chest to reduce the amount of forward movement your child would normally experience if in a crash. Extra bonus is that they’re really comfortable. As I previously mentioned, Cecelia never complained when in my Sister-In-Laws Marathon and has yet to tell me they’re bothering her now.
Recline Positions: I love the multiple recline positions the Boulevard has as well as how secure the seat still is when it is in a reclined position. Other seats we’ve owned just looked awkward (safety wise) when they were reclined. Plus, who likes to sit straight up in the back of a car?
Quick-Adjust Harness: The only thing that would make it easier would be if I could have adjusted it with one hand. Seriously, I was shocked how easy it was to adjust the shoulder height of the harness; push in the lever and move up or down and click it into place. That’s it.
True Side Impact Protection: Or elephant ears as Cecelia calls them. No slumping head with these bad boys. The energy absorbing EPP foam keeps their head in the seat, distributes crash forces and keeps their head from flopping around like a rag doll.
Energy-Absorbing Versa-Tether: This is probably one of my favorite features. In our Rogue, the back headrests are not adjustable and I always hated that I had to pull the tether over the top of the rest and back down to the tether anchor. The Britax tether is awesome in the sense that it goes around the head rest on both sides and then connects to the anchor. The tether being this way minimizes movement of the seat in the event of a crash and distributes the force of the crash over a wider area of the seat. The seat is also sturdier in side-to-side movement because there are two points of attachment at the head of the seat rather than one, which is what you find on most seats. I couldn’t get a picture that showed just how awesome the thether actually is, so here is a video from the Britax YouTube channel:
What I don’t love
The foam noises: Gosh, this is dumb, but I really hate that I can OCCASIONALLY hear the EPP Foam rubbing on the steel bars in the headrest. And by occasionally, I mean I’ve heard it once. But that one time for 5 minutes was terrible and was like nails on a chalkboard.
Cup holder: This actually didn’t bother me at all, but the first thing Cecelia said when we pulled it out of the box was “Mom, where did the cup holder go?” However, don’t worry, Britax makes a cup holder specifically for their seats. The awesome employees at Britax so graciously sent us one when they heard about our cup holder dilemma.
As you can see, the pros of this seat definitely outweigh the cons (if those are really even cons). I’ve heard that Britax was on top when it came to car seats and I think it is safe to say that the rumors are true. This is by far the best car seat we have ever had and I’m actually sad that I purchased a different brand infant car seat for our new addition and the 90 day return period is up.
Another piece of information that I find extremely important is how top notch their customer service is. If you have any questions they will do everything in their power to find the answer for you and will discuss your issues for as long as it takes. Britax, in my opinion has some of the best customer service in the baby industry.
Disclaimer 2: I have received the above product for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.