Britax Pinnacle 90 Britax Frontier 90
The Common Features
The Britax Pinnacle 90 and Frontier 90 harness 2 booster car seats have far more common features than differences. Both are excellent car seats and I would very happy for any of my children travel in either of them.
One important common achievement of both seats is that they have been awarded an NHTSA “Ease of Use” Rating of 5-Stars (see below).
The other common features include:
- Tangle-Free, 5-Point Harness with 9 height positions
- 90 lb Weight Limit (Harness Mode)
- 120 lb Weight Limit (Booster Mode)
- Integrated steel bars strengthen the connection to the vehicle and reduce forward flexing of the child seat during a crash
- Easy-Access Belt Paths for simple installation when using the adult seat belt
- Energy Absorbing Tether anchors the top of the car seat to the vehicle
- Front-Adjust Recline
- Comfort Foam provides an extra layer of padding to cushion your child
- Quick-Adjust No Re-Thread for easy adjustments to the harness shoulder height and head restraint
- Integrated Cup Holders and Storage
- Easy Transition from Harness to Booster Mode without removing harness straps
- Easy-Remove Cover allows easy cleaning without disassembling or uninstalling the car seat
- Color-Coded Vehicle Belt Guides provide clear indication of the path and positioning of the vehicle seat belt for use in either harness or booster mode
- Armrests provide a natural and comfortable place to rest arms
- Two Buckle Positions for your growing child
- Click Tight Installation
- EZ-Buckle System and Harness Holders
- HUGS Chest Pads
- Premium Lower LATCH Connectors included
- Certified for Aircraft Travel in Harness Mode
The NHTSA “Ease of Use” Rating of 5-Stars!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the organisation tasked with achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety.
Whilst an Ease of Use rating is not an official safety rating, it is something that you can certainly weigh in the balance when choosing between car seats, especially if you are not very experienced in fitting car seats into vehicles correctly.
The overall Ease of Use rating is based upon the following factors:
- Evaluation of Instructions
- Vehicle Installation Features
- Evaluation of Labels
- Securing the Child
Research suggests that as up to 75% of child car seats are incorrectly fitted and this often makes them unsafe. It stands to reason that a car seat that is easy to fit is less likely to be fitted incorrectly and is, therefore, less likely to present a danger to your child.
February 2014 LATCH Guidelines
Britax now advises that the LATCH lower tethers should only be used on the Pinnacle 90 until your child weighs more than 38 lbs and on the Frontier 90 up to 40 lbs. You can still continue to use them until your child’s weight exceeds 120 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.
The Differences Between the Pinnacle 90 and Frontier 90
There are really only 2 differences between the Pinnacle 90 and the Frontier 90 car seats. They are:
- The Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT)
- The Price
The Side Impact Cushion Technology
This is the main difference between the 2 seats and it explains the difference in price between the seats, The Pinnacle 90 has SICT fitted and the Frontier 90 does not.
So, what is SICT and is it important?
SICT comprises energy-management cushions that are positioned on either side of the seat. Britax claim that they reduce side impact collision energy transfer by 45%. The cushions are said to absorb side impact forces before they reach your child, thereby reducing the risk of serious head injuries. I ought to make it clear that I have not seen any independent test results to support Britax’s claims, but 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.
One thing to bear in mind though is that, even if you do think the SICT cushions are worth paying for, the Pinnacle 90 seat is significantly wider that the Frontier 90 seat due to the SICT cushions – in fact, it’s 3.5 inches wider. This can make it difficult to install if you have 3 children that need to be seated in the same row of a standard sized vehicle. It certainly wouldn’t work for me since I have 3 kids under 6 years of age on the same row. For that reason, I would have to buy the Frontier 90 instead.
At the time of writing, the Pinnacle 90 costs about $267 and the Frontier 90 costs about $247, making a difference of $20.
Here is a Comparison Video of the Seats by “Bibs & Binkies”:
Watch the Britax Frontier 90 Review Video
Where to Buy Britax Combination 2 Booster Seats
IIHS “Best Fit” Ratings
All 3 models of the Britax Harness Booster seats have been awarded “Best Bet” ratings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Best Bet rating is the top award that the IIHS give to booster seats, which is reassuring for any parent purchasing one of the Britax seats.
What does the “Best Bet” rating mean?
In short, the IIHS recently test booster seats to ensure that they fit children properly when installed in various types of vehicle. A Best Fit seat is one that has been found to provide good lap and shoulder belt fit for typical 4 to 8 year olds in almost any car, minivan or SUV.
Achieving a good belt fit whilst using a booster seat an essential component of child car seat safety and these IIHS tests results ought to be high up on your list of things to think about when making a purchasing decision.
You can read more User Reviews of the Britax seats here:
Britax Booster-2-Harness Seats in Canada
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 need any further advice or assistance whatsoever, please feel free to contact me and I will do my very best to help.
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