Post car accident replace. of Diplomat

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2004
Post car accident replace. of Diplomat
Fri, 09-24-2010 - 12:01pm

Two weeks ago, my DH and oldest DD were in a rollover accident in our Grand Caravan. Thankfully, neither of them was hurt - not a scratch.

The van has been totaled out by the insurance company and they'll be reimbursing us to replace DD's retired Britax Diplomat, which we'll be destroying this weekend.

DH and I both recognize the severity of that crash and he 100% credits the Britax seat w/ keeping DD safe and unhurt. And, while I mostly agree w/ him, I also know that proper installation is to be credited too, since the most expensive seat can be useless if not installed correctly, while a less expensive one can be as effective as our Britax one was, if it's installed correctly.

So, I can't seem to sway him away from the Britax models ... except that the model we had (Diplomat) had the True Side Impact Protection (the crash was a side impact) and he'd like to have that feature again - but Britax doesn't seem to have that feature anymore w/ any of their seats. :(

We're not terribly fond of the Boulevard anymore, or much of Britax's new lineup of seats. And, I know that DH will not agree to buy a lesser-expensive seat - at least not after that wreck, which I can understand and respect.

But, that means we have NO idea what seat is a comparable replacement for the Diplomat we loved so much. We initially thought we'd replace w/ a Britax model, but the more we read, the less impressed we are w/ their current offerings. He "heard" about the Radian seats, so he wanted me to ask for opinions on those - or on any others that might be a suitable replacement. We're looking to spend in the $200-$275 range.

Thanks in advance! :)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2004
Fri, 09-24-2010 - 8:15pm

I'm glad to hear that your DD in the accident. I hope your DH was also okay.

Was your DD riding rear-facing in her car seat when you had the accident? I'm assuming so since you are mentioning buying a convertible car seat? How big is she?

I definitely think the Radian would be a good option. We actually like our Radian better than our Britax convertible.

09-Melanie.jpg Isabelle and Marcus picture by MathMelanie

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-10-2010
Fri, 09-24-2010 - 10:18pm

Yes, my DH was unhurt in the accident as well - thanks!

DD Megan is 27 mos. old, approx. 29 lbs. and is FFing - although w/ our infant, who's 2 mos., we'll be ERFing w/ her. I wish we hadn't switched Megan as early as we did, but it was done mostly b/c of our other vehicle, a PT Cruiser, and it's horribly ineffective A/C. The passengers in the front of the vehicle get ample cool air circulation, while the back seat passengers get almost nothing. On one of our outings last summer - she was just about 15 mos. and still RFing - she became very sick from the heat. When we went to get her out of her seat, she was lethargic and covered in sweat. As soon as we got her into the cooler air, she perked right up and was herself again. But that's when we realized just how stifling it is in the back seat in the dead of summer - especially facing backwards in a plastic molded seat w/ no circulation - so we made the decision to FF so she'd be cool enough. Even now, we have to put the A/C on the highest setting just to keep it somewhat comfortable in the back b/c of the baby. I can't wait to get rid of that car!

So there's the long story of why Megan isn't still RFing and why I loathe the designers of that car and the bad air flow. But I digress ...

It's funny to "hear" so many people recently say they're not in love w/ Britax anymore. Several years ago I worked for a printing company who printed most of the car seat manuals for Britax's seats and I remember them and their products having an outstanding reputation for quality. So, I was surprised when my DH and I checked out their site and saw how much their product line had been downsized. Makes me wonder if they painted themselves into a corner? But, the only other seat we're familiar w/ is the Graco SnugRide, so we're at a loss when it comes to the the convertibles and beyond.

Are the Radians available in the usual retail places so we can get a feel for them? After being terribly unhappy w/ the Baby Trend infant seat we originally had for the baby, which was bought sight unseen and given to us as a gift, we want to avoid that hassle again by being able to handle the seat in person.

Sorry to go so long-winded, but I wanted to give you the bigger picture w/ our needs. Thanks! :)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2004
Sat, 09-25-2010 - 12:34am

Would you consider put her back rear-facing? It sounds like the reasons you had for putting her forward-facing are not longer relevant - especially with the start of fall. Newer information is suggesting that 4 years should be the minimum age for forward-facing. Have you seen this new 1 minute video?

I am so thankful that your DD was not hurt in the accident. I know the outcome could have been very different. I don't know if you ever heard the story about Joel ( I'm sure that your car seat being properly installed and the fact that your DD was several months older than Joel also made a difference.

One of the reasons I'm asking about rear-facing is that if you are only going to use a seat in the forward-facing position, then you don't really need a convertible. You could look at a combination seat like the Graco Nautilus or the Britax Frontier 85. I definitely recommend the Frontier for people with huge kids like my DS (was about 48in and 60lbs at 5.5 years!).

If you will consider rear-facing, then the Radian is a great option. It rf to 40 or 45lbs and gets most children to at least 3 or 4 years old. Then it works well as a forward-facing seat. Specialty stores like USA Baby and Buy Buy Baby carry it in stock. It looks smaller than the Britax seats, but my kids have more side to side