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Old 08-31-2011, 10:39 AM
 
2,186 posts, read 7,640,000 times

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Britax Marathon Classic

Rating: 4 out of 5
  • Currently 4.0/5.0

The Britax Marathon is a convertible car seat designed to hold children forward facing up to 65 pounds and 49 inches, can allow children to ride rear facing from 5 to 35 pounds, and is also certified for aircraft travel.

The most important feature in any car seat is safety, and the safest seat is the one that is installed correctly. With its easy to use LATCH system and easy to access seat belt slots for non-LATCH use, this seat is simple to install correctly. The LATCH system on this seat utilizes an individual LATCH clip, each with own strap, on each side, rather than one continuous shared loop as in other seats. This makes it easier to get a tight, safe fit, since you can individually tighten each side. The clips also automatically latch when pushed into the metal LATCH loop in your car's seats and release with the push of a button. A rear LATCH tether is also included to secure the seat. If you are installing the seat using your car's seat belt instead, the openings for threading the belt though are large enough to easily maneuver the belt through properly with no twisting. There is also a small clip to secure the seat to the top portion of the shoulder belt, also helping to decrease any wiggle in the seat's installation.

The seat cover is soft, comfortable, and removes completely for machine washing. Replacement covers are available, with designs ranging from the plain to more taste-specific prints. The straps are comfortable and nicely padded for your child. The seat cover also has Velcro patches to hold the straps open so they don't get trapped under your child when getting him or her strapped in. However, these Velcro patches are difficult to align well enough to be effective.

There are four shoulder strap height options, safely accommodating infants, older toddlers, and most preschoolers. There are also two slots allowing for different crotch strap depths, while many other seats only have one. It is very easy and quick to adjust the tightness of the straps, whether you have your seat forward facing or rear facing.

The angling of the seat and straps is such that when your child falls asleep, his or her head can tilt into a comfortable looking position rather than awkwardly flopping forward as in other car seats. The seat also can recline for your child's comfort, although the seat needs to be reinstalled to change the recline angle, making this option somewhat impractical to use. The seat lacks cup holders or any kind of storage, options that can be found on other seats and may become important as your child grows into a toddler.

The Britax Marathon is a heavy car seat, so moving it from car to car can be annoying. It stands very tall, and it also takes up a lot of depth when installed rear facing, which could present a problem when in the rear seat of a compact car in any position but the middle. However, it is also thin enough to leave a respectable amount of room on either side for passengers or other car seats.

At an MSRP of $279.99, the Britax Marathon is one of the more expensive seats of its class on the market. This price reflects a unique installation system that fits snugly and is easy to use, a higher weight limit than other convertible seats, and trendy fabric design options. It is a workhorse of a seat that will keep your child safe from birth through preschool.

Review by professional reviewer, Aug. 25, 2011
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