When selecting gear for my little one, my priorities probably match up with those of most moms. It absolutely has to be safe, it should be easy to use, and it should look cool. I mean, no one wants to be a dorky mom, right? So I was excited to try the Cybex Aton Plus, a car seat known not only for its sleek design, but because it has the “easiest base to install.” It says so right on the box. It has also met the Federal Safety Standards and has won awards for safety in Europe.
The car seat and base came preassembled, so that was easy. Also, the seat looks quite cool, like a little space pod. It comes in six colors. Mine is moonlight, which is a very pretty shade of blue. It has a rounded canopy, giving the seat its pod-like design. However, the canopy does not extend very far, offering little privacy and sun protection. Like a good little mommy, I consulted the manual before getting started. It all seemed simple enough, with pictures and everything, so I was ready to install the base.
“Easiest to install” may have been a wrong choice of words. There are several ways to install the car seat: using the LATCH system, using a lap belt, and using a lap belt with a shoulder strap. It is also compact enough to fit in most backseats. So maybe it is the most adaptable to install. I installed it using the LATCH system. In addition to the instructions found in the manual (which is conveniently stowed underneath the infant seat), there are illustrations with brief instructions printed on the base. The LATCH system works by attaching two hooks on the car seat base to two hooks between the seats of your car. I drive a Ford Edge, and digging between the seats for those hooks was quite a task, but that’s not the fault of the Aton. Once I found the first hook, it took several attempts before I was able to “latch” on. When I finally had that done, it was time to do the other side. The two hooks on the base are connected by an adjustable strap the feeds through the base. The strap needed to be loosened up a bit, which sounds easy enough, but it wasn’t. Millimeter-by-millimeter, I fed the strap through the adjuster, thinking, I am so glad I am not in a hurry. When both sides were finally latched on, after half an hour of sweating in the garage, I was ready to strap in the little one and give this seat a try.
My daughter is 7 weeks old, so we used the infant pads that come in the seat. They can be removed as your child grows. She seemed quite comfortable in the seat and fell asleep promptly. The material on the seat is soft and plush but also lightweight. The seat has a five-point harness, and the straps loosen by pushing a button. I loosened them up and strapped her in. Pulling a loop below the “tightening button” tightens the straps. I pulled, hard, but nothing happened. I pulled again and they tightened slightly. I battled with the loop and button, consulted the manual, and battled some more, and eventually, millimeter-by-millimeter, I got her tightened up securely.
The seat easily clicked into the base and seemed secure. To remove it from the base, you have to push a button and pull a handle down at the same time. This was a little tricky at first, but it gets easier with practice. The car seat is very easy to carry around. It weighs 8.8 pounds and is smaller than some others on the market at 25 inches long and 17 inches wide. It is not bulky, and you can hold it to your side without walking into it. It rocks well when on the floor, but the handle can be moved down to prevent unwanted rocking as well. It can also attach to any Cybex stroller with car seat adapter straps (sold separately), which is really handy.
All in all, the Cybex Aton has some great features and a few flaws. Its design is both eye-catching and easy to carry. The base can be installed in any car, and once installed, it is easy to take the carrier in and out of the car. The drawbacks are working with the difficult straps and the small canopy.
To buy: albeebaby.com