By Published On: August 12th, 2013

I didn’t think installing a car seat would be child’s […]

I didn’t think installing a car seat would be child’s play, but I certainly hoped it would be. As new parents-to-be and first-time car seat installers, my husband and I need all the breaks we can get. The Britax BOB B-SAFE rear-facing infant car seat didn’t take it easy on us in the areas I thought it would; however, it did cut us some slack in unexpected departments. Let me start from the beginning.
Since we were treading unfamiliar territory, I took time with the manual to become acquainted with my new accomplice. The illustrations and language are clear and useful. In fact, I relied on them heavily throughout this whole process. My one gripe about the manual is that some steps seem to be in an odd order. (For example, it would be helpful to know how to remove the car seat from the base before jumping into installing the base in the car.) Regardless, I quickly identified every feature and component of the Britax BOB B-SAFE, from the canopy and comfort pads to the LATCH connecters and recline angle indicators.
Now if only I could remove the car seat from the adjustable base! It took a few tries pulling the release lever as indicated before it came apart. My husband, however, got it to work without any issue, so please don’t let my learning curve deter you. Adjusting the recline angle on the base did take multiple attempts to move down, but it was much easier to push up.
Carrying the Britax BOB B-SAFE to the car gave me a glimpse into the muscles I’ll no doubt form in the future. The ergonomic carry handle was comfortable, but the car seat was a bit heavy—and that’s without a baby in it. As my husband pointed out, there’s probably a reason we often see the dad carrying the baby around in a car seat more often than the mom, besides chivalry being alive and well. (To be fair, though, I’ve yet to hear a parent exclaim in reference to their child’s car seat: “It’s so lightweight!”)
Installing the base and car seat into the car, which I thought would be the Everest of this expedition, was surprisingly the easiest part. It took less than 10 minutes for my husband to install everything, and my whack at it took only a few minutes more. While the unit is equipped with LATCH connectors, our car is not, so we went with the lap-shoulder belt installation. (It can also be installed without a base.) Strength is needed to make sure the seat belt is taut and secure in the base lock-off, but working together took less time and made it more secure. That base wasn’t moving an inch in any direction. Attaching the car seat to the installed base was also a cinch with a handy click announcing our success. The whole kit and caboodle didn’t take up as much space as I feared, considering the size of our Volvo S80. Two adults could still fit comfortably in the backseat. A quick Google search also revealed that a separate second base could be purchased (maybe for grandma’s car).
The harness straps are simple enough to adjust, with four different heights and two buckle positions to accommodate our baby’s growth up to 32 inches and from 4-30 lbs. I can foresee sliding the straps through the back of the seat to adjust for growth as being tedious, but hey, I can cool my jets for a few minutes to ensure my child’s snugly and safely. I like that comfort is a consideration for little ones, with a pillow, belly pad and shoulder pad included. I can rely on the large canopy to block out UV rays and other elements in a multitude of positions.
Style wise, it’s pretty basic. We chose black for the fabric option, although you can also pick from navy and orange. Fortunately, I’m not looking for anything jazzy, just something practical to safely carry my baby in—and in that department, Britax BOB B-Safe delivers. It’s also compatible with both Britax and non-Britax strollers, leaving us options to use a travel system.
We already had a chance to test out how easy it is to clean, thanks to our dog coming in from the outdoors with a dirty and curious nose. A simple wipe down with a dampened paper towel did the trick.
The price of Britax BOB B-SAFE seems on target for what you get: a safe, simple infant car seat.
Price: $200
To buy: