The Good – ISOFIX Base with SafeCell technology; Integrated Steel Bars; HUGS with SafeCell Technology manages crash energy and forward head movement; True Side Impact Protection; No re-thread harness system.
The Bad – No Side Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT); No Click & Safe Snug Harness Mechanism.
The Bottom Line – The Britax Boulevard G4 is a mid-range premium convertible car seat. It comes fitted with lots of great safety features. The only things missing are the SICT that is found on the top-of-the-range Britax Advocate seat. and the Click & Safe Snug Harness Mechanism – if you need 3 seat in a row and are confident enough to fit the seat without the Safe & Snug Harness then this is probably your best option of the Britax convertible car seats. It is a comfortable seat that is easy to install and adjust.
Note: There is a newer improved version of the Britax Boulevard. It is called the Britax Boulevard ClickTight and you can read my In-depth review of it here.
Britax Boulevard G4 – Overview
If you have read any of my other Britax car seat reviews, you will already know that I am a big fan of this company. They consistently manufacture very high quality car seats.
The Boulevard convertible car seat is fitted to a base that is installed in the car using either the adult seat belt straps or the lower LATCH connectors.
It can be used for children weighing between 5 and 65 lbs (or until your child’s height exceeds 49 inches). It can be used rear facing up to 40 lbs.
The Britax Boulevard G4 is very similar to the Britax Marathon G4 convertible car seat. The main differences are that the Boulevard comes with:
- HUGS Chest Pads with Safe Cell Technology (instead of the HUGS Harness Ultra Guard System)
- True Side Impact Protection (instead of Side Impact Protection)
HUGS Chest Pads with Safe Cell Technology – safe cells are engineered structures that are designed to compress in a crash an manage energy to reduce the amount of impact forces experienced by your child.
The benefits of Safe Cell Technology are explained in this video:
Note: The G4 models come with a slightly difference HUGS Chest Pad – it no longer has a strap running through it that attaches to the shell and the loosening mechanism is said to be smoother.
True Side Impact Protection provides greater protection against side impact collisions due to the special energy-absorbing foam that is used to line the head restraint. This enables your child’s spine to remain straighter during side impacts, which in turn reduces the risk of injury.
The benefits of True Side Impact Protection are explained in this video:
Do You Need these Extra Features?
The following features are not included with the Britax Boulevard G4 car seat:
- Click & Safe Indicator
- Side Impact Cushion Technology
#1 Click & Safe is an audible indicator that helps you to determine when your child’s seat harness is within the appropriate range of “snugness”. It is designed to be used as an additional safety feature rather than replacing your own judgment completely.
Obviously, if the indicator suggests that your child is snug enough but they still look a little insecure – just tighten a little more! It is best used as a warning that they are not snug enough rather than an absolute guarantee.
So, if the indicator says that your child is not snug enough, you need to tighten some more. however, if it says that your child is snug enough, you still check with your own eyes and hands that this seems to be correct.
Watch the video below to see how the Click & Safe feature works (it shows the G3 model but remains valid for the G4 model):
#2 Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT) comprises energy-management cushions on either side of the seat that reduce side impact collision energy by 45%. These cushions absorb side impact forces before they reach your child, thereby reducing the risk of serious head injuries.
The Advocate G4 is the only seat in the G4 series to have this SICT safety feature.
The main downside with SICT (apart from the extra money) is that it makes the Advocate G4 seat very wide and you certainly wouldn’t be able to fit 3 seats in a row of you buy an Advocate.
Watch the video below to see an explanation of SICT:
- Base with safecell technology features safecells designed to compress in a crash, significantly lowering the center of gravity and counteracting the forward rotation of the child seat which normally propels the child toward the front seat
- Hugs with safecell technology manages crash energy and forward head movement while keeping the chest clip properly positioned.
- True side impact protection offers a head restraint creating an extra layer of energy absorbing EPP foam, keeping the head, neck and spine in true or aligned, and deep side walls lined with EPP foam to distribute crash forces
- Tangle free, five point harness distributes crash forces across the strongest parts of the body and provides a secure fit
- Premium lower latch connectors for a quick and simple installation featuring a push button for easy release
Peace of Mind
The Britax Boulevard G4 significantly exceeds the minimum required safety standards for child car seats. Whilst the Marathon G4 model is considered to be one of the safest seats around, the Boulevard comes fitted with the extra safety features listed above (True Side Impact Protection and HUGS Chest Guards) and is worth the extra money in my opinion.
If you want the extra reassurance of the Click & Safe feature, you should consider the Pavilion G4 instead.
If you want the extra safety features of Click & Safe and SICT, you should consider the Advocate G4 instead.
Value for Money
The Boulevard is slightly more expensive than the Marathon ($25-30 extra). The higher price is justified by the additional safety features, but if your finances can’t stretch that far, the Marathon G4 is an excellent alternative. On the other hand, if you are unsure about your ability to ensure that your child is properly secured in the seat harness, you could consider the Britax Pavilion G4 seat – it comes with the Click & Safe Indicator to make this process a little easier.
February 2014 LATCH Guidelines
Britax now advises that the LATCH lower tethers should only be used on this model until the child weighs more than 40 lbs. You can still continue to use the seat until the child weighs 65 lbs, but only if you re-install the seat using the adult seat belt instead. You should still use the top tethers as they are not affected by the law change.
Watch the video below to see how easy it us to install the Boulevard using the LATCH connectors:
Where to Buy the Britax Boulevard G4
New Britax ClickTight Convertible Car Seats
Britax released a brand new range of convertible car seats in Autumn 2014, featuring their revolutionary “ClickTight” belt-installation system.
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.
Do You Need More Help?
If you have any feedback or questions about my Britax Boulevard G4 Review, please feel free to leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org