Britax Boulevard 65 CS Car Seat Wins Hands Down!
Now that I have experienced a Britax car seat firsthand, I understand why they get top consumer reviews; the Britax Boulevard 65 CS is exquisite!
My husband was first in line to receive the box at the front door, and he was definitely surprised at how big it was and how much it weighed – which to be honest, I think is rather a good thing. Would you really want your child sitting in a light-weight flimsy car seat, relying on it to protect them from a high speed collision on the highway? A big contributor to the weight factor is the steel bars running along both sides of the car seat. They are in place to help make a stronger connection between the car seat and the vehicle and help reduce that forward momentum of the child seat in the event of a crash.
While we’re on the topic of safety, the Boulevard 65 CS, as noted on their website, offers 360 degree protection and revolutionary head safety technology. They perform twice as many tests as the highway traffic safety administration (US) requires, and have made it their goal to provide the ultimate in safety features. Another feature to support this safety claim is the Safe Cell technology located in the base of the seat. This helps to lower the center of gravity of your child during a collision, decreasing the forward momentum of the seat.
Britax has also provided an Energy-Absorbing Versa-Tether. This means that the belt attached to the top of the seat to the back of your vehicle will actually be released in stages during a collision to help limit the force of impact on your child. Of course, thank goodness, we were not in a collision during my last month of review, so I can’t really comment on the effectiveness of this technology, but I’ll be honest, it sure sounds good! Thumbs up for the safety components of the Britax Boulevard 65 CS!
Now that I’m through the nitty gritty’s of the seriously important safety features, let’s get down to the ‘every day important stuff’ that is significant to parents and of course the baby spending all that time in the car seat.
Out of the box, this seat required virtually no set-up. Other than reading the user guide, which I’ll admit, is fairly extensive, the seat is ready to go the second you take it out of the box. It was extremely easy to put in the car. My daughter weighs 22lbs so preferably she would be in a rear-facing position. However, due to the size of the seat, combined with our mid-size car (an older Audi A4), she had to be forward facing.
The Britax Boulevard 65 CS can be used for children 5lb-65lb, and can be used in the rear or forward facing position. This seat can accommodate a child in the rear-facing (safest) position up to 40lbs. Technically, according to the manual, once your child is over 1yr and 20lbs they can be forward facing.
My experience with installment included placing the seat in my car, bringing forward the car seat cushions so I could see the back of the seat, easily threading the shoulder/lap belt through the seat and clipping into place with the red “lock offs”, and then attaching the easily adjustable tether. The entire process took me approximately three minutes, and I was impressed with the ease of the process.
Hands down, best feature for me, are the easily adjustable shoulder straps. One quick squeeze of the handle at the top of the seat, and voila, the straps move up and down. No re-threading of the straps required. There is actually a Click & Safe® Snug Harness Indicator that makes you aware when the harness is at the right snugness for your child. Very neat feature indeed! The straps are tangle-free. Not once was I stuck untangling straps while I was inevitably late for an appointment. This happened ALL of the time with my older car seat.
The material is fantastic; so soft, and easy to clean. Our first day out, we got sticky syrup on the seat from my daughter’s pants. I didn’t notice it for a week and it wiped off without a problem. Although I didn’t have to actually wash my cover, it is relatively easy to remove without having to uninstall the seat, but definitely follow the instruction manual to do it
Although my daughter can’t voice her opinion yet, I really think she is comfy in this seat. The foam head cushions, which are ultimately there for increased safety, worked great as head supports during those long car rides when she was due for a nap. She fit in this seat like a glove.
Extra features include a small “belly pad” that goes under the crotch belt buckle for extra comfort, and a HUGS (harness ultra guard system) that is a rubber shield around the chest belts to help resist forward movement during a crash. These features took a second to get used to, making me fumble a bit, but I can see their value in helping to achieve a true fit so I won’t complain too much!
There are ‘harness holders’ (Velcro) to help hold the harness out of the way, but I didn’t really use this feature. Perhaps if I had a smaller infant they would come in handy. There is also an infant insert that is removable to help make your wee one more snug in the seat.
I must say I am super impressed with the Britax Boulevard 65 CS. It is seriously a great car seat, and I am happy to adopt this brand into our family. I now realize why it gets such great consumer reviews. It really seems to hold true to the company’s claim of providing optimal fit for your child at every stage and being a leader in car seat safety.
The price is a bit steep as it retails for $365 C, but really, you get what you pay for. A fantastic car seat that can be used for a good portion of my child’s ‘car seat life’, a fantastic find indeed!
Amazon.com has a great deal going on right now, where you can order the Britax Boulevard 65 CS for $276.26.
*Company sent sample for review.*