Historically, it has been very rare to find Convertible Car Seats With Anti Rebound Bars that are available to buy in the USA. They have been far more commonly found in places like Canada due to the fact that they have had different “car seat rebound” safety standards and anti rebound bars have been used to ensure compliance with them.
Although there have not been any significant recent changes to car seat safety laws in the USA that would require companies to start to introduce anti rebound bars to their convertible car seats, there appears to be a trend developing in favor of including them at least as an optional extra.
One of the reasons for this new trend appears to be the fact that there are often vehicle compatibility problems with the other device that is commonly used to combat collision rebound forces; namely, tether straps.
In this post, I will take a look at the science behind anti rebound bars and tell you which US convertible car seats currently come fitted with an Anti Rebound Bar.
So, what exactly is an Anti Rebound Bar and can it improve the safety of your child whilst using a convertible car seat?
What is An Anti Rebound Bar?
The first thing to understand is that an Anti Rebound Bar is only used when the convertible car seat is installed in the rear-facing position.
So, you can see from the image of the Britax Marathon ClickTight ARB Seat above, the Anti Rebound Bar (ARB) would be positioned against the upright part of the vehicle passenger seat upon which the child seat is placed.
Now, imagine a collision in which your vehicle collides at high speed with the back of the vehicle in front of you. In that situation, the initial collision forces would compress the back of the convertible car seat into the back of the seat in front of it. So far, so good – your child’s chances of suffering serious injury have been improved due to the simple fact that they are rear-facing.
This is, however, not the full story. After your child’s seat has been compressed into the back of the front seat, there is then a secondary “rebound” effect that forces the seat back towards the upright part of the rear seat, and this creates a risk of your child’s head and body being thrust into contact with the rear seat.
The purpose of the Anti Rebound Bar is simply to provide extra stability and resistance against these “rebound” forces in order to reduce the possibility of your child being thrown headlong into contact with the upright part of the passenger seat.
You can probably imagine how the Anti Rebound Bar pressing against the passenger seat might achieve this effect of reducing the “rebound” forces.
If you are still a little unsure about how an Anti Rebound Bar works, you can get a better impression of how one would be installed from this short video …
Do Anti Rebound Bars Improve Safety?
The short answer is Yes, they do!
Anything that reduces the rebound forces in a collision must improve the safety of a convertible car seat when it is being used in the rear-facing position.
This is not just common sense and logical, but it is also backed up by Britax’s scientific testing of Anti Rebound Bars on their latest ClickTight series of convertible car seats.
Britax says this about the issue of Anti Rebound Bars improving child safety:
The Anti-Rebound Bar is a padded, steel bar that attaches to the foot-end of the ClickTight convertible car seats to manage rebound or reactive motion in the opposite direction of impact during a collision. In testing for U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS), Britax found the ARB minimizes the risk of injury to rear-facing children by reducing rebound rotation by 40 percent and stabilizes the car seat during frontal, rear-end and side-impact crashes.
So, there you have it – Anti Rebound Bars have been found to improve the safety of convertible car seats by a significant amount in testing.
Which Convertible Car Seats Have Anti Rebound Bars?
Although a trend appears to be developing in favor of manufacturing convertible car seats with Anti Rebound Bars, there are still not many available to buy in the US at the moment.
There are really only 3 manufacturers that sell convertible car seats with Anti Rebound Bars today.
1. Clek Foonf & Clek Fllo Seats
Although you can’t actually see the Anti Rebound Bar on the image above, all Clek Foonf and Clek Fllo convertible car seats are supplied with an Anti Rebound Bar, as you can see on these images.
The Clek Foonf and Clek Fllo are excellent premium convertible car seats and I have previously written an in-depth comparison review of these seats, which you can read if you want to find out what the similarities and differences are between them.
2. Britax ClickTight Convertible Seats with ARB
The Britax ClickTight Convertible Seats can now be purchased with the Anti Rebound Bar included. Those who already own a Britax ClickTight Convertible seat can purchase the Anti Rebound Bar as a separate product and attach it themselves, as demonstrated here …
There are 3 different Britax ClickTight convertible car seats that can be purchased with the Anti Rebound Bar included.
Click on the appropriate link above to read my full reviews of these Britax ClickTight ARB seats.
Please note that the Britax Marathon ClickTight ARB link will actually take you to my review of the non-ARB version of this seat. This is because the ARB version had not been released when I wrote that review – the seat is exactly the same apart from the addition of the ARB.
UPDATE FOR 2022/2023: The Britax ARB seats are very hard to find and you can just buy the standard Britax ClickTight seats and the purchase the ARB separately and fit it yourself.
3. Diono Radian Seats
There are 3 different models to choose from. The image above is of the Diono Radian 3QXT, which is the mid-range option.
Technically, the Diono Radian 3QXT is not just a convertible car seat. Whilst it can be used in exactly the same way as a convertible car seat, it can also convert into a harness to booster seat, and then a belt-positioning booster seat as your child grows.
The top-of-the-range Diono Radian 3QXT Plus seat comes with an anti-rebound bar that even converts into a leg rest panel when the seat is no longer being used in the rear-facing mode.
If you want to find out more about these latest Diono Radian car seats, you can read my comparison review of the Diono Radian 3QXT and 3QXT Plus seats here.
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