I’m sure I’m like just about every other mom out there when I say that safety is so important to me when it comes to my kids! When we went looking for a car seat for my daughter after she grew out of her infant carrier, I figured that, although car seats might look different, they were generally created equal…..so we just went out and bought a cheap one at Walmart.
When I was contacted by Diono about reviewing one of their RadianRXT car seats, I figured it would give me the opportunity to see if I was right, so I eagerly said “yes!” Let me take a minute and give you a quick description of this car seat, then I’ll get into my review!
The RadianRXT is a highly versatile car seat that could be the only seat you’ll ever need. It comfortably seats rear-facing children from 5-45 lbs, forward-facing children from 20-80 lbs in 5-point harness, then converts to a booster for children up to 120 lbs. It’s built for strength and safety with a steel alloy frame, reinforced sidewalls, adjustable head support and our patented SafeStop® energy absorbing harness. EPS foam surrounds the child’s head and body to provide complete side impact protection. Our unique SuperLATCH system makes installation easy. The RadianRXT is NCAP crash tested, the industry benchmark for verifying child seat performance in severe accident conditions, and the only car seat rated for LATCH use with a child up to 80 lbs. The RadianRXT sits low on a vehicle seat for easy child boarding, features memory foam padding and infant support pillows. Expandable sides and a longer seat bottom provide extra room and comfort for your growing child. One cup holder is included, with the option to add up to 4 cup holders. In addition to all this versatility, it folds flat for travel and storage, has a 10 year life and offers amazing safety, comfort and convenience your child won’t outgrow.
- Rear-facing: 5 – 45 lbs
- Forward-facing: 20 – 80 lbs (and up to 57″) in a 5-point harness
- Booster to 120 lbs
- Steel alloy frame and aluminum reinforced sides
- Safestop® energy-absorbing harness system
- Adjustable head support, reinforced for complete side impact safety
- Energy-absorbing EPS foam panels on all sides
- Rear-facing tether capability
- LATCH installation up to 80 lb child
- Infant body support cushions
- Memory foam padding for superior comfort
- 5 shoulder and 3 buckle positions for custom fit
- Expandable sides and longer seat bottom for leg support and comfort
- 12 height positions for adjustable head support
- 2 recline positions in forward-facing mode
- Sits low on vehicle seat for easy child boarding
- Fits 3 across in a mid-size vehicle and offers more shoulder space
- Add up to 4 cup holders (1 included)
- Folds flat for travel and storage
- Rubber bottom grips for no-slip installation
- 10 year life
When the car seat arrived, the first thing I noticed was that dragging the box inside my door was TOUGH! That thing was heavy, and I was shocked. The car seat alone weighs 24 pounds! I almost had to wait for my husband to help me lug it up the stairs of our townhouse, but I got the box up the stairs by flipping it up the stairs….yeah, I was eager to get it out of the box and see it in person and did not want to wait!
Upon getting it out of the box, my daughter and I both marveled out how stinkin’ cute the “Spring” print on this car seat is! What girl wouldn’t love a seat that looked like this? Maggie, my almost 3 year old daughter, couldn’t wait to sit in her new flower seat!
Whenever we install a new car seat for the first time, we like to take it to the local fire station to make sure it is install properly. So, I loaded the kids into the car and that’s just what we did. When the firemen (there were 2 of them helping to install this new seat) lifted up the seat, they both mentioned how it was the heaviest seat they had even installed. I mentioned that it was made of steel and they said they could tell! They also made the comment that in a crash, they wouldn’t be surprised if this seat held up MUCH better than the plastic car seat it was replacing. This made me feel really good (and also a little bad that my daughter had been in that cheap plastic seat for so long!).
Well, wouldn’t you know it, the next time we left our house I ended up with a tire that blew out on the Interstate and we had to get our van towed. This also meant that we had to take the Diono out of the van and put it in my husband’s car (he’d come to rescue us!). This turned out to be a great way for my husband to really get a good look at the car seat AND try out the LATCH system himself. Every single time he had to re-install our old car seat in the van (in case you haven’t noticed, we review new vehicles every few weeks, so they have to get moved for that) he would talk about just how HARD it was to use the LATCH system and how it was almost impossible to really get the seat in there tight–they way it should be. He was eager to see how this seat would stack up. So, what did he think?? He said the new Diono is far, FAR superior when it comes to installing it with the LATCH system! He said it is not only easy and quick, he also can get the seat SO much tighter now. He said, without a doubt, he believes our daughter is safer in this seat, not only because of the tough steel frame, but also because he’s able to get it installed so much tighter.
A few other things I love about this car seat:
- It is easy to adjust the tightness of the straps by pulling the strap at the front, bottom of the car seat. This allows me to loosen the straps when my daughter gets out, and tighten them again once she’s strapped in, to make sure she’s in there snugly.
- The seat comes with one cup holder–enough said!
- At the front of this seat, there is a flap for emergency information. SO smart! We wrote our emergency info on there so if there is ever an accident and, God forbid, I’m unable to talk to the rescue personnel, they will still be able to see this and reach our family.
- Folds up for travel or storage.
- You can use it with a newborn baby (as long as they weigh at least 5 lbs.) all the way up to 120 lbs! SO, if you skipped buying a newborn carrier you can save some money by using this the entire time your child needs to be in a car seat or booster!
- There are covers on the straps to help keep the straps from rubbing against your child’s neck.
In conclusion, I now realize that I was wrong; all car seats are NOT created equal! Yes, a Diono RadianRXT IS going to cost you more than a cheap car seat you’ll find at Walmart. The suggested price for one is $339.99, however I just saw them on sale at Diapers.com for $271.99. The fact of the matter is, I believe my daughter is much safer in her RadianRXT and you just can’t put a price tag on that! I’ve already decided, when it is time to move my son out of his current infant carrier, I’ll be looking into buying us a second Diono RadianRXT!
And what does Maggie think of her new seat? She LOVES it!
Find out more about Diono and their line of awesome car seats and boosters by visiting their website, www.diono.com.
*UPDATE 2/16/14: We have owned this seat for over a year now and still love it! You may notice that in this review my daughter is forward facing. After doing more research, I realized that she would be safer if we rear-faced her seat again. She will be 4 in March and is still rear facing in her Diono car seat, with plenty of room to grow. She never complains about this seat, and I would certainly still recommend one!