In case you haven’t been following my little saga, here’s the quick version: The week before Thanksgiving, we were rear-ended – thankfully, everyone was all right, but the car was pretty badly damaged. It’s been in the shop for repairs, and in the meantime, I spent some time trying to decide what new car seats to get. I eventually settled on the Sunshine Radian65, a convertible seat that looks a lot like a booster (pictured).
I ordered two Radians, which arrived on Friday. I tried installing one over the weekend. Aarrrggghhh!!! I was reduced to tears after wrestling with the seat for nearly an hour, because no matter what I did, the seat would not install as securely as it should have. Of course, I knew this might happen – but I had convinced myself that it wouldn’t. And what was so frustrating about it was that it was so close. The seat didn’t move that much – but it was more than we were comfortable with.
I was also frustrated by the top tether. In the picture in the instruction booklet, the tether is at or above the top of the car’s seat. But in our Nissan Altima, the tether was quite a few inches below the top of the car’s seat and the latch for loosening the tether necessarily ended up behind the Radian itself, making it difficult to tighten the tether.
By contrast, re-installing our son’s Marathon when it was time to leave the house was a breeze. It took less than three minutes to get such a secure installation that I can’t move the seat a millimeter.
I’m definitely returning the Radians. And I thought briefly about buying two more Marathons and calling it a day. But if the Britax Regent (pictured at right) installs properly, then we should be set with car seats for our oldest until he doesn’t need a seat or booster anymore. So, I went ahead and ordered two Regents, again with $1 Return Shipping Insurance from EliteCarSeats.com.
However, I have read one review complaining that it was much more difficult to install than other Britaxes, and everyone agrees that the seat is a monster because it’s so large. Still, I’ve got my fingers crossed that this is the last seat I’ll need to buy for our oldest for any reason.