The Britax Marathon ClickTight – Overview
The Britax Marathon ClickTight is the entry-level seat in the series. Despite being significantly cheaper than the Advocate and Boulevard seats, it still comes fitted with some pretty impressive safety and convenience features.
Any review of the Britax Marathon ClickTight seat should probably start by explaining what the “ClickTight” part of the model name refers to.
The ClickTight label is a reference to the unique and foolproof seatbelt installation mechanism that has been developed by Britax. This belt installation system has been a feature of Britax’s “harness to booster” range of car seats for many years and they recently made the excellent decision to extend the ClickTight mechanism to their convertible car seats as well.
You can find out more about the The ClickTight installation system further down this page.
Unlike the Advocate and Boulevard models, you cannot buy an “ARB” version of the Marathon seat.
The Boulevard ClickTight ARB and Advocate ClickTight ARB seats come pre-fitted with an anti-rebound bar, but the Marathon ClickTight seat does not.
Although you cannot buy a Marathon ClickTight ARB seat, you can buy the Britax Anti-rebound bar separately and fit it yourself. The ARB is designed to provide more stability in the event of a collision. The anti-rebound bar, which is only used when the seat is in the rear-facing position and which is placed at the foot end of the seat, would press into the vehicle seat in a crash situation and help prevent the seat (and your baby) from rebounding into it instead.
Edit: Britax have now released the Marathon ClickTight ARB version.
Marathon ClickTight – Safety Features
What are the main safety features that can be found on the Marathon ClickTight seat?
#1 Child Height & Weight Limits
The Marathon ClickTight has the following child height and weight limits:
- Rear-facing from 5 to 40 lbs, or 49″
- Forwards-facing from 20 to 65 lbs, or 49″ (must be at least 1 year old)
Note: Although this seat is rated as suitable for forwards-facing usage from 20 lbs and upwards, the American Academy of Pediatrics 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.
There are some “seated shoulder height” limits to consider as well though:
- Rear-facing – 7.6 to 16.95″
- Forwards-facing – 12 to 16.95″
The “seated shoulder height” limits for the Marathon ClickTight are 1.7 inches lower that the Advocate and Boulevard versions.
The rear-facing weight limit is lower than other seats on the market (the same as the other ClickTight seats though), but your child should still be able to remain in the rear-facing position for 3 years or so.
It is quite common for convertible seats to have 40 lb rear-facing limits, but there are extended rear-facing seats on the market that have 50 lb limits.
#2 The ClickTight Installation System
The ClickTight installation system involves a simple 3-stage process. You open the compartment, feed the seat belt through the appropriate route, and then close the compartment until you hear the “click”.
The ClickTight installation mechanism on its own does not make the car seat any safer, but there is a very important indirect safety benefit for some parents in using the ClickTight system.
Installing convertible car seats using the vehicle’s seat belt can be difficult for many parents and, as a result, mistakes are often made. Research suggests that up to 75% seats are installed incorrectly, which makes them unsafe.
So, any mechanism that makes it easier to achieve a safe installation is to be welcomed.
The ClickTight installation system is important even if you intend to start off by installing using the LATCH connectors. LATCH connectors have a maximum child weight limit and so there will come a time when you have to switch to belt-installation because your child is too heavy to continue using LATCH (see User Manual for full details).
There are different seat belt routes for forwards-facing and rear-facing and you must make sure to use the correct one.
Note: In 2015, Britax phased out the rear-facing tether so pleas check the user manual for up to date information about this issue.
#3 SafeCell Base
The Britax SafeCell Base is comprised of a honeycomb structure that is designed to compress in a crash. It also lowers your child’s center of gravity and counteracts the forwards rotation of the seat, which is said to result in a reduced risk of injury to your child.
#4 SafeCell Impact Stabilising Steel Frame
The Britax Marathon ClickTight seat enjoys the benefit of a SafeCell Impact Stabilising Steel frame. This provides added strength to the seat’s structure and acts to reduce its forwards flexion in the event of a collision.
#5 SafeCell Impact Absorbing Tether
The Impact Absorbing Tether is a strap that is used to secure the top part of the seat to to the lower anchors in your vehicle. It is an important safety feature that helps to prevent the seat from being thrown forwards in the event of a collision.
#6 Multiple Recline Positions with Automatic Level Indicator
The Marathon ClickTight seat has 7 different recline positions that are adjusted using the red handle situated under the front of the seat. It also has an automatic level indicator to help you find a suitable position for your child.
The Britax automatic level indicator means that you can feel confident that the recline position is safe rather than simply having to guess.
The ability to choose from a variety of recline positions also makes it easier to install the seat into smaller vehicles.
#7 Quick-Adjust Harness & Headrest
As your child grows, you will need to adjust the height of the harness straps and headrest to ensure that you can maintain a correct fit. Many seats require you to actually re-thread the harness each and every time you make these height adjustments, but not the Marathon ClickTight.
The Britax Quick-Adjust simplifies the process of harness and headrest adjustment and can be done without needing to ever rethread the harness straps.
In order to make the necessary adjustments, you just press the red button that is found at the top of the seat and then pull the handle upwards.
#8 Side Impact Protection
The Marathon ClickTight comes with the Britax Complete Side Impact Protection.
This comprises a deep foam lined shell.
It does not come with the Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT), which is only found on the Advocate version of this seat, or the enhanced foam-padded headrest, which is found on the Advocate and Boulevard versions.
The Marathon also does NOT come with the Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator that can be found on the other 2 seats. The Click & Safe mechanism provides an audible “click” to tell you when the harness is tightened correctly, rather than requiring you rely entirely upon your own judgment.
The NHTSA “Ease of Use” – 5 Stars
Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does NOT carry out official safety tests that allow you to rank seats in order, it does carry out pretty extensive “Ease of Use” evaluations on the seats and then publishes the data to help parents.
These “Ease of Use” ratings are a useful starting point when considering which convertible car seat to buy.
What are the “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
A seat’s “Ease of Use” rating is based upon:
- 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
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 used safely.
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 Britax ClickTight seats are the only convertible car seats that currently boast a 5-Star Overall Ease of Use Rating in the forwards-facing position.
Marathon ClickTight – Other Features
The other notable features include:
- Plush Foam Padding in the cover, buckle pad, shoulder pads and removable pillow.
- 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
Marathon ClickTight – My Verdict
The Britax Marathon ClickTight seat is missing some of the extra features that can be found on the Advocate and Boulevard seats. The absence of these features is reflected in the much lower price point and you will have to decide whether or not you want to pay extra for the enhanced Side Impact Protection features and/or, the extra 2 harness and headrest positions and/or the Safe and Snug harness mechanism.
Where to Buy the Marathon ClickTight Seat
You can currently buy the Marathon ClickTight convertible seat at a discount to the recommended retail price of $339.99.
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 or questions in relation to my Britax Marathon ClickTight Review, please leave a comment in the box below or send me an email.