Remember that 6-piece Graco Hathaway bundle from Costco.ca we previously talked about in our Britax B-Ready stroller review? Well, it also included an infant car seat, the Snug Ride 30, also known as the enemy of our child on any car ride.
So when it came to finding a replacement car seat, we were looking at convertible models and withered down our choices to the Britax Advocate (G4).
This car seat can support your child in rear facing from 5 to 40 pounds (2.3 to 18.1 kg) and forward facing from 22 pounds (and walks unassisted) up to 65 pounds (10 kg to 29.5 kg).
Since this car seat in rear facing mode can safely support a baby from as little as 5 pounds, we had our son in this seat when he was around the 12-13 pound mark.
The Britax Advocate car seat weighs 22 pounds, so it’s not exactly light but also not super heavy either, rather a nice weight. What makes the Advocate different from all the other Britax car seats is the following:
- HUGS with SafeCell Technology (Boulevard and Pavilion too)
- Side Impact Cushion Technology (Advocate only)
- Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator (Pavilion too)
So essentially Britax car seats all have the same design, but as you move up you pay for more features. For $30 more than the Pavilion, the Advocate is the only seat to have Side Impact Cushion Technology, which essentially are larger side cushions. That small difference seemed worth it to us. It’s worth noting this extra cushioning will reduce the rear passenger seating space for that third person in the back.
Unboxing and installing the Britax Advocate was very easy and straightforward. We used their Universal Anchorage System (UAS) Connectors to install the seat in rear facing mode; these connectors have a push button for easy release. The seat can recline to a few positions and there’s a sticker line on the seat that should be parallel to the ground for a safe and perfect install.
As for the rear-facing tether, this is now required by law in Canada as stated in a Transport Canada ruling change dating back to 2012. So you can either do the Australian tether (where the tether hooks to an anchor behind the rear seat headrest) or the Swedish method (tethered to the bottom behind the rear passenger seat). The bottom of the Advocate has an anti-slip contoured base, making it easy for your seat to stay in place as you’re tightening it down. The seat also does allow for decent leg room for the front passenger too (well, maybe if you’re not over 6 feet tall).
Britax supplies an attachment tether which we were able to loop around the rear passenger seat rail in our 2011 BMW 3-series, which is much more convenient than the Australian method, which is a pain for taking a baby in and out of the car seat.
Britax has updated their FAQ documentation recently and will be supplying anti-rebound bars for their new car seats made after June 2014. We emailed Britax customer service and they are sending us an anti-rebound bar free of charge!
Q. Do we have to use a vehicle manufacturer’s authorized anchor point to tether rear facing?
A. If a vehicle manufacturer does not support the Swedish method of rear facing tethering, the option to tether Australian method is available. Any difficulties getting the child in and out with the Australian method can be overcome by loosening and retightening the tether. Installation of the car seat on the passenger side provides the easiest access to the tether adjuster. Otherwise, Britax will be providing an anti-rebound bar with all Canadian convertible car seats beginning June 2014 as an alternative to rear-face tethering if needed. The anti-rebound bar is also available free of charge through Britax Customer Service to any former G4 convertible owners.
Okay, so once your child is in the Advocate car seat buckling the HUGS Chest Pads is a breeze and the lower harness buckle (available in two positions) is amazing because it automatically bends forward when your child is out of the seat. So when putting your baby in the seat, they will never sit on the bottom buckle! It’s ingenious. The infant positioning pillow is required in rear-facing up to 22 pounds in weight.
The Click & Safe Snug Harness is great as all you do is pull and then there’s an audible “click” sound to alert you the harness has been tightened to the appropriate snugness. You can also tighten beyond this point if necessary.
Once your child grows taller, it’s incredibly easy to adjust the shoulder straps with the Quick-Adjust Harness. You don’t need to disassemble the car seat—all you do is press down on a top latch and the buckle height will slide up and down with ease. There’s also a max indicator line built into the seat to notify you of the maximum shoulder height for the seat itself.
So far, our baby loves the Britax Advocate. He actually can fall asleep on car rides now and lasts much longer than before, when he used to have a crying fit. The Britax is incredibly comfy and the best part is the Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator, as you no longer have to fine tune snugness.
With the rear facing tether this seat is locked down like a tank and is a seat that gives us the peace of mind whenever we hit the road with our baby, as this is one of the best car seats you can buy.
The Britax Advocate for 2014 (pre-rebound bar) can be found for below $400 from Amazon.ca, with some sales bringing it down to $359.99. Of course, if you’re Canadian your car seat needs to be purchased in Canada to ensure it meets our safety regulations.
For those in the USA, you can find the Britax Advocate from Amazon.com for $304.