The Diono Radian RXT (formerly known under the brand Sunshine Kids) is a seat widely talked about in car-riding family circles, specifically because of its narrow base—most vehicles can sport three Radian RXTs in a row in one bench back seat. Admittedly, this is the feature I was most interested in when receiving it for use with our 3-year old daughter. We were expecting baby #3 and space in our Honda Pilot was at a premium. Radian RXT to the rescue!
The very first thing my husband and I noticed when pulling the Radian RXT out of the box was its sheer heft. This seat is HEAVY. Clearly, it is made from solid stuff (steel alloy frame and aluminum reinforced sides), which is exactly how I would expect and want a safe car seat to be made. However, this means that this is not a travel car seat. Meaning, even though there is the option to fold the seat flat and carry it on your shoulder with a strap, it is unlikely you would ever want to do this. Once you put this car seat in, you’ll want to keep it there. Another important point to make is that you’ll want to sit your child in the seat before installing to make sure you’ve got the shoulder harness at the correct height level, otherwise you’ll have to install it twice, since the strap height is adjusted from behind the seat. (My husband wanted to make sure I mentioned that, because this may or may not have happened to him.) The Radian RXT is the only car seat rated for LATCH use with a child up to 80 lbs, which is a huge bonus. Also of note is the fact that the LATCH hooks are extra thick, which means the seat is very secure in its spot. And? If you get confused or have questions along the way when you are installing it, the instruction booklet includes QR codes that you can scan with your smart phone, which takes you to a video demonstration. Super duper helpful.
Important to note: we were installing this seat forward-facing, and so did not have to use a detachable base, which is necessary for the rear-facing configuration. The Radian RXT can be used rear-facing with infants 5 to 45 pounds and forward-facing with children from 20 to 80 pounds with the 5-point harness and then as a booster seat with shoulder belt up to 120 pounds! (That’s a big kid!) When it comes to bang for your buck, this seat has it. It can be a “lifer” for your family, from teeny babe all the way to elementary (or middle?) school. The shoulder strap has five positions, the buckle has three positions and the adjustable head support has 12 height positions, which makes it incredibly customizable and comfortable for your child.
Our daughter facilitated our review right away after we installed it by getting carsick on a long trip, so we were able to gauge the ease with which we could clean it. (She’s thoughtful like that.) The fabric of the seat is micro-denier nylon and mesh, which, while maybe not quite as soft as some other materials, is a breeze to wipe down. This is a huge bonus when you’re on a trip and have a mess to spot clean up without removing the seat from the car. The cushions are easily moved around and can be lifted to get underneath for a proper cleaning. Another bonus is the cupholder holes, of which there are four. (Four!) The seat comes with one, which you pop into the hole of your choosing.
All in all, this seat is a great investment. Reliable, easy-to-clean, comfortable, slim for fitting multiple seats into one car and above all, safe. I do think it is a smart buy and a great car seat, and would recommend it wholeheartedly.
To buy: diono.com for stores