Britax Advocate ClickTight Britax Boulevard ClickTight
The New Britax ClickTight Convertible Car Seats
Britax convertible car seats have justifiably been very popular with parents and car seat safety technicians for many years now. They have consistently manufactured seats with impressive safety and convenience features and always seem to be on the look-out for new and innovative ways to improve their products to the benefit of parents and their children.
The latest series of Britax convertible car seats has been branded “ClickTight” as opposed to the previous “G4” series due to the fact that they have taken their revolutionary “ClickTight” system that has been used on their 5-Point harness to Booster seats for a number of years and added it to ALL of their newly released convertible seats.
So, rather than being an expensive optional extra, ClickTight is a standard feature on their seats and I am absolutely delighted about this.
There are 2 very important reasons why the introduction of the ClickTight installation system on all Britax convertible cars seats is such an exciting and important development:
- The 2014 LATCH Law changes mean that convertible car seats need to be re-installed using the seatbelt once your child reaches a certain weight (40 lbs for the Britax ClickTight seats);
- Standard belt-fitting systems can be confusing for parents and research suggests that about 75% of seats are incorrectly installed.
As you can see from the images and videos below, installing a convertible seat using the Britax ClickTight system is very simple, very quick and there is even a handy indicator to confirm that you have done it correctly too!
So, ClickTight takes away most (if not all) of the stresses of trying to install convertible car seats using the seat belt, and since it is almost fool-proof, it vastly improves your chances of getting it right the first time and keeping your child safe.
There are 3 seats in the new series of Britax convertible car seats:
The Advocate is the most expensive option, followed by the Boulevard and then the Marathon.
Note: The old Pavilion model name is being phased out altogether and the Click & Safe harness adjustment system will now be a standard feature on the Boulevard and Advocate seats.
Edit: You can now buy all 3 models of the Britax ClickTight seat with anti-rebound bars.
In this post, I am going to compare the Advocate ClickTight and Boulevard ClickTight car seats so that you can make a better informed decision as to which is most suitable for your child and, importantly, whether the Advocate is worth the extra $50.
So, what are the similarities and differences between the Britax Advocate ClickTight and the Britax Boulevard ClickTight?
Before I get into the detail of each seat’s features, let’s take a look at the NHTSA’s assessment of them.
THE NHTSA “EASE OF USE” RATINGS = 5-STARS
Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does NOT carry our the sort of tests that enable anyone to rank all convertible car seats in order of safety, it does carry out pretty extensive “Ease of Use” evaluations on the seats and publishes the data to help parents.
Many people often incorrectly consider the NHTSA “Ease of Use” tests to be comprehensive “safety” tests, but they are NOT full safety tests. The NHTSA makes it clear on its own website that these “Ease of Use” tests should not be mis-used in this way.
They are, however, a useful starting point when considering which convertible car seat to buy.
SO, WHAT ARE THE NHTSA “EASE OF USE” RATINGS?
According to the NHTSA, the safest car seat is the one that:
- is appropriate for your child’s age, height and weight
- fits in your vehicle correctly
- is easy to use
So, a seat’s “Ease of Use” rating is awarded based upon an examination of the following factors:
- The Content & Clarity of the Seat’s Instruction Booklet
- How Easy it is to Install the Seat
- The Content & Clarity of the Seat’s Labels
- How Easy it is to Restrain the child in the Seat
Research suggests that about 75% of all car seats are incorrectly installed – this is one of the biggest car seat safety risks to a child and there is little point in paying $300 for a top-of-the-range seat if you can’t work out how to fit is properly.
Since correct car seat installation is such an important factor in ensuring that it is safe, it is perfectly reasonable to look at these ratings because they are specifically measuring the ease with which the seat can be use safely.
This is why the NHTSA “Ease of Use” ratings are such a useful starting point on your quest for the safest convertible car seat for your child.
You can find the latest NHTSA “Ease of Use” ratings for convertible car seats here.
Each of the 4 “ease of use” factors listed above are given a “star rating” out of 5 and then an overall star rating at the end that takes account these individual factors.
The only series of convertible car seats that can currently boast a 5-Star Overall Ease of Use Rating in the forwards-facing position are the Britax ClickTight Convertible Car Seats.
One of the best things about the Britax ClickTight seats is that their ClickTight Installation System makes belt-fitting the seats pretty much fool-proof … and foolproof installation means there is a much higher chance of the car seat being safe.
Advocate ClickTight vs Boulevard ClickTight – The Similarities
Before I look at the single difference between these seats, I want to just remind you of the most important features that are found on both.
Both seats come with:
- ClickTight Installation System
- SafeCell Impact Protection System
- SafeCell Complete Side Impact Protection (Max on Advocate, Plus on Boulevard)
- SafeCell Impact Absorbing Base compresses to absorb crash energy and counteract forward movement
- SafeCell Impact Stabilizing Steel Frame provides added strength through the spine of the car seat and reduces forward flex
- SafeCell Impact Absorbing Tether minimizes potential seat rotation with our unique two-strap design and slows forward movement
- SafeCell Impact Absorbing Harness keeps your child’s chest clip correctly positioned and absorbs energy in the event of a collision
- Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator gives an audible “click” to help you achieve proper tightening of your child’s 5-point harness.
- Quick-Adjust, 14-Position Harness and 2-Position Buckle allows you to easily move the harness upward and buckle outward for a comfortable, secure fit as your child grows
- 7-Position Recline with Automatic Level Indicator adjusts for your child’s comfort while ensuring the best installation angle for your vehicle.
- Plush Foam Padding in the cover, buckle pad, shoulder pads and removable pillow surrounds your child in comfort at every touch point.
- EZ-Buckle System keeps buckles and straps out of your way when placing your child in the car seat.
- Easy-Remove Cover for cleaning convenience.
- Certified for Aircraft Travel
- Made in the USA with global components
So, you can see that both seats come with an impressive list of premium safety and convenience features, but what about their child weight / height limits?
Both seats have the same height / weight limits:
- Rear-facing between 5 to 40 lbs or 49 inches (standing height)
- Rear-facing limit of 7.6 to 18.65 inches (seated shoulder height)
- Forwards-facing between 20 to 65 lbs or 49 inches (standing height) – must be at least 1 year old
- Forwards-facing limit of 18.65 inches or less (seated shoulder height) – must be at least 1 year old
Note: Although these seats are rated as suitable for forwards-facing use from 20 lbs (if child at least 1 year old), the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that children should remain rear-facing for at least 2 years and preferably longer. So, do NOT rush to switch your child to forwards-facing mode once they reach 20 lbs. Instead, try to keep them rear-facing for as long as they remain within the height / weight limits for that mode of use.
The Similarities Explained
The most important features found on all Britax ClickTight convertible car seats include:
#1 The ClickTight Installation System
I could talk for hours about how great the ClickTight Installation System is, but some things are much better demonstrated than explained verbally.
ClickTight has 3 very simple steps:
- Open the Compartment
- Feed the Belt into the Slots
- Close the Compartment
Although you use the 3 same steps, there are different belt-retaining slots for forwards-facing and rear-facing:
This short video from Britax introduces the ClickTight system:
The promotional video above doesn’t show you in detail how to install seats using the Britax ClickTight system, but fortunately this great video from “The Car Seat Blog” does:
#2 SafeCell Base
The SafeCell Base is designed to compress in a crash, lower your child’s center of gravity, and counteract the forwards rotation of their seat. In so doing, this reduces the risk of your child’s head hitting the back of the seat in front of them.
Here is a short video that demonstrates the potential safety benefits of Britax SafeCell Bases:
#3 SafeCell Impact Stabilising Steel Frame
The SafeCell Impact Stabilising Steel frame is designed to strengthen the seat’s connection to the vehicle and reduce forward flexing in the event of a collision. This is said to reduce the risk of your child’s head coming into contact with the back of the seat in front of them.
Here is a short video that explains how the Britax Steel Frame can help to protect your child in a collision:
#4 SafeCell Impact Absorbing Tether
The Impact Absorbing Tether is essentially a strap that is attached to 2 upper parts of the seat and which is used to secure it to the lower anchors in your vehicle. The upper tether system is a very important safety feature and you should read the user manual very carefully to ensure that it is used correctly.
The safety benefits of using the Impact Absorbing Tether is that it:
- Diverts crash forces away from your child by distributing them across a larger surface area of the seat shell;
- Minimises movement of the seat in a crash (in all directions);
- Helps to slow your child’s body down in a crash.
You can see how the Impact Absorbing Tether helps to protect your child in a crash by watching this video:
#5 7-Position Recline with Automatic Level Indicator
The 7-position recline and automatic level indicator serves at least 2 useful purposes. Firstly, it helps you to find a comfortable position for your child when using the seat. Secondly, it ensures that you can quickly and easily install the seat at a recline angle that is safe for your child. Vehicle seats are all manufactured differently and it can sometimes be difficult to know whether or not you have installed the seat correctly.
The Britax automatic level indicator means that you can get peace of mind that the recline position is correct rather than having to take an educated guess.
#6 Quick-Adjust, 14-Position Harness
As your child grows, you will need to adjust the height of the harness straps and headrest. Many seats require you to re-thread the harness each and every time you need to make adjustments and this can be a real pain. The Britax system makes it quick and easy for you to adjust the harness and headrest heights without having to re-thread anything.
You simply press the red button and pull the top handle until you get the desired position. More information about how to use this feature and choose the correct settings are found within the user manual.
#7 Increased Height Limits
Children often outgrow the height limits of convertible car seats before they outgrow the weight limits, and the Britax G4 series had shells that were considered by many people to be a little on the short side.
However, the Advocate and Boulevard ClickTight seats have significantly greater height limits than the equivalent G4 seats. In fact, they are now considered to be 2 of the most generous seats in terms of height.
The important height limit figures for both seats are as follows:
- Top harness slots at 19.5 inches (2 inches more than the G4 seats)
- Seated shoulder height limit of 18.65 inches (almost 2 inches more than the G4 seats)
Note: Britax have changed the reference point for assessing whether your child has outgrown the seat’s height limit. Instead of using the top of the outer shell as a guide, you should now use the top of the inner shell and ensure that your child’s head is not positioned higher than a a point 1 inch below the read “headrest” adjustment lever. You should read the user manual carefully to check that you fully understand this height-checking procedure prior to using the seat.
As a result of these enhancements, the useable rear-facing height limit is approximately 28 inches to the top of your child’s head with the headrest at the highest setting.
Advocate ClickTight vs Boulevard ClickTight – The Single Difference
The single difference between the Advocate ClickTight and the Boulevard ClickTight is the fact that the Advocate comes fitted with Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT) and the Boulevard does not.
Instead, the Boulevard comes with True Side Impact Protection instead.
So, what is the difference?
Visually, SICT comprises extra wide head wings on either side of the seat:
Now, the first thing that you need to consider when deciding between the Advocate and Boulevard car seats is the significant difference in width due to the SICT head wings.
The Advocate ClickTight is 20.5 inches wide.
The Boulevard ClickTight is 18.5 inches wide.
So, if you need to fit 3 seats across a single row in a standard-sized family vehicle, the Advocate is almost certainly going to be too wide and you would be much better off choosing the Boulevard instead.
However, if this width issue is not relevant to your circumstances, then you ought to consider whether the SICT wings are something that you want to pay the extra $50 for or not.
What is SICT?
Britax Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT) comprises energy-management cushions that are positioned on either side of the seat. Britax claim that these cushions reduce side impact collision energy transfer by 45%. They are said to absorb side impact forces before they even reach your child and, thereby, reduce the risk of serious head injuries. Although I haven’t seen any independent test results to support Britax’s claims about these cushions, that does not mean that they are necessarily false. The cushions certainly do look reassuring and Britax claim that they make a significant difference in side impact collisions.
On balance, if I was choosing between these 2 seats and “seat width” wasn’t a problem, I would probably pay the extra $50 for the SICT and buy an Advocate. The extra head wings certainly can’t hurt and even the smallest chance that they might provide my child with extra protection in a side impact collision would be worth it.
Having said that, just because the Boulevard doesn’t come with SICT, that doesn’t mean that it’s Side Impact Protection is sub-standard. In fact, the Boulevard’s True Side Impact Protection system encompasses some very important and reassuring safety features. So, if your budget can’t quite stretch to the price of the Advocate ClickTight model or if it just won’t fit into your vehicle alongside other seats, you can be pretty happy with the safety features on the Boulevard instead.
The Boulevard’s Side Impact Protection still comprises:
- Rigid seat shell with deep side walls and energy-absorbing foam
- Headrest with energy-absorbing foam
Different Fabric Color Options
Although there is only 1 functional difference between the Britax Advocate ClickTight and Boulevard ClickTight seats, they do also come in very different fabric color options.
When Can You Buy Britax ClickTight Convertible Car Seats?
The MRSP for the Britax Advocate ClickTight seat is $419.99, but there are some better deals available online.
The MRSP for the Britax Boulevard ClickTight seat is $369.99, but there are some better deals available online.
Canadian ClickTight Seats
After purchasing any child car seat, you should always read the User Manual thoroughly before using it. It is also advisable to visit your local Fire Department or NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Centre to ensure that the seat is definitely suitable for your child’s specific requirements and that you have installed it correctly. These services are usually provided free of charge.
You can find your nearest NHTSA Centre here.
Get in Touch
If you have any comments to share or questions to ask about my Britax Advocate ClickTight vs Britax Boulevard ClickTight post, please leave a comment in the box below or send me an email.