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Hands-on Gear Review

Britax B-Safe Review


Infant Car Seat

Britax B-Safe
Price:   $180 List
Pros:  Easy belt install, better crash test scores, lower price
Cons:  Hard to use and heavy
Bottom line:  Consider it for a Britax stroller over the B-Safe 35
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Britax

The Skinny

The Britax B-Safe came in 7th out of 15 car seats in this competition, just slightly above average, which is not bad considering its relatively lower price. It is a nice seat that rides the middle line offering a good seat for a fair price that performed significantly better than average compared to other seats in crash test results. However, it did not perform that well in ease of use testing, which resulted in it not ranking higher. If it had been slightly easier to use, lighter in weight, or had better marks for quality and comfort, it might have been a bigger hit. We like it better than the more expensive Britax B-Safe 35, and we feel it is the seat of choice if you plan to get the Britax B-Agile 3 stroller.

Update May 2016
The base model of the Britax B-Safe infant car seat has been discontinued. For more information on other Britax seats, see below.

RELATED: Our complete review of infant car seats

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief, BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
November 1, 2015

Other Britax Seats


Britax has two other models of the B-Safe, the Britax B-Safe 35, which you can read more about in our infant car seat review, and the Britax B-Safe 35 Elite. The two seats both have greater weight range of 4-35 lbs, rather than the 30 lb limit on the B-Safe. The B-Safe 35 sells for $30 more at $210. The B-Safe 35 Elite is $250, and offers a more supportive head cushion, and no-rethread harness adjustment. Below are the two models, the B-Safe 35 on the left and the B-Safe 35 Elite on the right.

Britax B-Safe 35
 


Hands-On Review


The Britax B-Safe has a 30 pound weight capacity, large canopy, ergonomic handle, and premium LATCH connectors for a quick installation and easy release. It sports side impact protection that distributes crash forces and shields baby from vehicle intrusion. The foam liner also absorbs energy for a safer seat. It has a tangle-free 5 point harness that distributes forces across the strongest parts of the body, and the harness has 4 height and 2 buckle positions for a snug fit for growing babies. The front harness adjustment makes fitting a snap. There is a removable pillow, shoulder pads, and a belly pad for added comfort. This seat is lightweight with an adjustable base that has 5 positions to ensure the proper seat angle in most vehicles. It comes with built in lock offs, easy to read level indicators, and an easy to install seat to base design that self-guides the car seat into the correct position. This car seat is compatible with Britax B-Series strollers.
Eighteen of the most popular infant car seats on the market that we tested for this review
Eighteen of the most popular infant car seats on the market that we tested for this review

Performance Comparison


This comparison chart provides a visual of how each seat compared to the others in this review. The B-Safe is shown in blue.


The sections below provide additional information on how the B-Safe performed in each metric's tests. Metric test results were used to compute the overalls core with an emphasis on ease of installation and crash test results.

Crash Test


Crash test data came from an independent facility that runs sled crash tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and others. We used the data collected for each seat to compare one seat to another for the purposes of determining which seats offer the basic level of protection, and which offer an increased margin of protection over the more basic options.

This chart shows the B-Safe crash test data in comparison to that of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 that has the best crash test results in the group for the chest sensor
This chart shows the B-Safe crash test data in comparison to that of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 that has the best crash test results in the group for the chest sensor

The charts above show the Britax B-Safe scores (in black) in comparison with the seats that had the best crash test results Gs (in green), and therefore an additional margin of protection. All seats in the review have met the minimum Federal guidelines and therefore offer a basic level of protection. The Britax results indicate that it had fewer Gs exerted on the chest region than the majority of products tested and thus can be considered to provide an extra margin of protection. It exceeded Federal safety standards by a wide margin. The seat with the best chest sensor results, is the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 (shown in green).

This chart shows the B-Safe crash test data in comparison to that of the Chicco Keyfit 30 that has the best crash test results in the group for the head sensor
This chart shows the B-Safe crash test data in comparison to that of the Chicco Keyfit 30 that has the best crash test results in the group for the head sensor

For head scores the Britax (black) offers an additional margin of protection by coming in with results better than 11 of the other seats, and exceeded Federal safety standards by a wide margin. The seat with the lowest Gs for the head sensor is the Chicco Keyfit 30 is shown in green.

The Britax B-Safe doesn't offer any additional safety features beyond thicker dense foam padding inside the shell
The Britax B-Safe doesn't offer any additional safety features beyond thicker dense foam padding inside the shell
This Britax does make a marketing claim to offer some level of side impact protection (SIP), but we were unable to determine what, exactly, this claimed protection is. SIP does not have an agreed upon definition in the industry, so it can mean something different for each seat, and it may not mean any measurably higher level of protection is offered relative to competing seats. For example the Graco seats claim SIP, but their version is a test that ensures baby stays in the harness when the side of the car is struck, something we'd expect all seats would do in the event of a side impact. We doubt this is what most parents are thinking of when they read a marketing claim of side impact protection.

Ease of Install - LATCH


The B-Safe earned a 6 out of 10 for ease of install using LATCH which is below average
The B-Safe earned a 6 out of 10 for ease of install using LATCH which is below average
For ease of installation using the LATCH method the B-Safe earned a 6 of 10.
The anchor connectors on the B-Safe are easy to use
The anchor connectors on the B-Safe are easy to use
This is slightly below average, and 1 point lower than its brother the Britax B-Safe 35. The low score for this test is a 3 earned by the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect. The high score is a 9 earned by 3 different seats, the UPPAbaby Mesa, Cybex Aton 2, and the Chicco Keyfit 30.

This seat uses the more substantial anchor connectors that we think are easier to use. They can be pushed onto the U shaped anchor on the vehicle until you hear the click, and are released by pressing the red button on the end. We like these better than the simple clip style connectors that are hard to get off the U and can be harder to attach.

Vehicles with preformed LATCH pockets are easier to use the LATCH system with  and the anchors with a red release button like this on the Britax B-Safe are easier to use
Vehicles with preformed LATCH pockets are easier to use the LATCH system with, and the anchors with a red release button like this on the Britax B-Safe are easier to use
Tightening of these anchors is easier than any of the Graco options and similar to the other Britax. This seat does not come with LATCH guides, but we found we didn't really need them. Of course it is easier to install this seat with easy to see LATCH connections, but the hard to see variety just takes a moment longer and two hands to feel your way to the right spot. We were able to
The level on the Britax B-Safe uses a green strip between two arrows to indicate the proper angle for recline during installation
The level on the Britax B-Safe uses a green strip between two arrows to indicate the proper angle for recline during installation
get this seat relatively snug and secure in the test vehicles, and we considered it to be more stable then the Britax B-Safe 35 once installed correctly.

This seat also offers a level indicator feature on the base of the seat to help parents ensure that it is installed properly. This feature will work with the LATCH system or with belt installation. It will not be available for seat installed without the base. This indicator works well and doesn't have the ball sticking problem we saw on some of the competition.

The B-Safe recline foot is relatively easy to operate
The B-Safe recline foot is relatively easy to operate
This Britax seat also has a foot for recline adjustment. It is located on the base near the foot end. It isn't the easiest to adjust, but it is better than some of the other products we looked at. This foot helps parents achieve proper installation angle of the seat.

Ease of Install - Belt


The B-Safe earned an 8 out of 10 in our tests for ease of install using the vehicle belt
The B-Safe earned an 8 out of 10 in our tests for ease of install using the vehicle belt
For installation using a belt this seat earned an 8 of 10, 2 points higher then the Britax 35 and higher than the average score. This is also the highest installation score this seat earned in our tests. The lowest score in this metric is a 4 earned by the Evenflo Embrace LX and the highest a 9 shared by Phil and Teds Alpha and Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35. The B-Safe tied with the Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air.

The belt lock off on the B-Safe is easy to use
The belt lock off on the B-Safe is easy to use
The B-Safe does have a nice belt lock off that scored 2nd place in our tests for ease of use. This lock off is at least partially responsible for the B-Safe feeling more secure when installed using a belt than the LATCH system install. The belt path is not color coded, but it is easier than the average seat to thread and the path is simple. We had an easier time installing this seat with a middle lap belt only, but it isn't too difficult with the shoulder/lap combo either.

The belt lock off on the B-Safe is easy to use for the most part
The belt lock off on the B-Safe is easy to use for the most part
No matter which type of belt you use, both will thread through the belt path and be tucked into the belt lock off feature prior to connecting to the buckle end of the vehicle belt system. This seat earned the second highest scores for stability when installed with the vehicle belt on the base.

Ease of Install - Without the Base


The B-Safe uses the American belt path
The B-Safe uses the American belt path
The B-Safe earned a 6 of 10 for ease of install without the base, tying with the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40. The low score for this metric is 4 shared by 2 seats including the Orbit Baby G3 and the Chicco Keyfit 30. The high score is a perfect 10 earned by the Peg Perego.

To use the belt path on the B-Safe means you will need to push the seat cover and padding aside  which is sort of a pain
To use the belt path on the B-Safe means you will need to push the seat cover and padding aside, which is sort of a pain
This seat uses the American belt path method that consists of the vehicle belt threading across the lower portion of the carrier. It is not color coded on the seat, and you do have to move some padding and the cover out of the way to get the belt properly threaded which is a pain. Even though it requires moving the seat cover, it is still comparatively easy to accomplish compared to some of the competition.

We did not have to use any towels when installing this seat, but we feel it is a little hard to get it tight enough. It is pretty secure when installed correctly, but we found that it would tip toward the vehicle seat somewhat with enough pressure. This method of install is probably fine in a pinch, but if you plan to use your seat primarily without the base, this may not be the easiest or most secure seat for that purpose. The UPPAbaby seat score well for this form of installation.

Ease of Use


The buckle and chest clip on the B-Safe aren't the easiest or hardest to use
The buckle and chest clip on the B-Safe aren't the easiest or hardest to use
The B-Safe earned its lowest score in any metric for ease of use with a 4. However, 2 other seats earned a 3 in this metric, so it isn't the worst seat in the group. The highest score in this metric is an 8 shared by the Evenflo Embrace and Recaro Performance Coupe.

The buckle on this Britax is stiffer than some of the competition, but it isn't as bad as Graco lineup. The parts on this one are also harder to separate than the B-Safe 35. On the seat we purchased the female portion of the buckle is stiff to get the buckle into and out of, especially on the right side. It is hard to say if this is the standard across the board or just the seat we purchased.

The chest/retainer clip is one of the easier squeeze type chest clips to use. It tends to slide apart when you squeeze to release it, which means you might be able to manage this clip with one hand. It is also relatively easy to mate up the two sides to buckle it. This is not something that can be said for many in this group of products.

The release button on the B-Safe is easy to find and use
The release button on the B-Safe is easy to find and use
Tightening and releasing the harness on this car seat is about average compared to the competition. There is a strap at the foot of the seat that is used to tighten the harness; it is a simple pull procedure that is stiffer than we think it should be. The release button is also located near the foot of the seat above the tighten strap. The button is easy to locate and easy to push; it is under some padding but not too deep in.

The height adjustment on this harness is a rethread method with a T style splitter. It is a little easier on average and has 4 positions for height options and 2 crotch strap positions. The straps have 2 large loops that are a little difficult to get off of the splitter plate, but easy to get back through the slots in the shell. The crotch strap is hard to get in and out of its slot, which might leave parents reluctant to bother. We worry this will result in inappropriately adjusted harnesses.

The carrier release handle on the back of the Britax B-Safe is nicely placed and easy to use
The carrier release handle on the back of the Britax B-Safe is nicely placed and easy to use
The B-Safe is better than average for installing the carrier onto the base. We did not experience any problems connecting the two. It does not have a visual indicator for proper installation, but we found that listening for the audible click and giving it a good tug are enough to ensure proper installation for this seat. To release the carrier from the base, it requires the handle on the back of the carrier to be pulled/squeezed. It is easy to do and can aid parents in lifting the carrier up and off the base with two hands.

The large handle release buttons on the B-Safe are easy to use
The large handle release buttons on the B-Safe are easy to use
The handle on this seat is easy to operate and doesn't rub on the shell exterior. To operate the handle, squeeze both levers on the sides of handle near the pivot joint and then rotate to the desired position. It can be moved to 4 different positions and any are okay for travel in a moving vehicle. the handle does not have a conflict with the canopy like we experienced with all of the Graco products.

The B-Safe does offer LATCH anchor storage with clips that attach under each side of the base; it isn't fancy but it sort of gets the job done. Unfortunately, the storage does not account for the straps of the anchors that can still get in the way of attaching the carrier portion of the seat securely on the base. This means the straps could cause a potential connection problem if parents in a hurry don't notice the strap is over the connection points.

Comfort/Quality


We expected the Britax to perform better in the metric for quality and comfort
We expected the Britax to perform better in the metric for quality and comfort
The B-Safe earned an above average score for comfort and quality with a 6 of 10, tying with the B-Safe 35 and the UPPAbaby. The high score in this metric is a 8 shared by Phil and Teds Alpha and the Peg Perego. The lowest score is 2 earned by the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect.

The padding on this seat has a thick firm head cushion with an average seat cushion. The fabric covering the padding is sort of stiff and coarse, though not as coarse as that found on the seat of the UPPAbaby or the entire Chicco Keyfit 30. It gives the appearance of durability if nothing else, but it doesn't say comfort. The head cushion fabric is stiffer than the seat fabric.

The quality of the shell is better than most in the group, and it feels like it will be more durable over time than many of the others. Overall the fit and finish of the seat is rather nice and the fabric and padding fit the shell well. It is somewhat frustrating that the padding and fabric is in the way of belt threading, but the look of the seat is nice.

Both Britax seats have the largest canopies in the group
Both Britax seats have the largest canopies in the group
The handle and the canopy are also better than the average seat and some of the nicest looking in the bunch. They are both put together well and function properly. The canopy is larger than the competition, but has no peek-a-boo window. Not really a deal breaker, but it would have been a nice touch.

Weight


Neither heavy nor light  the B-Safe weighs in at 9.91 pounds
Neither heavy nor light, the B-Safe weighs in at 9.91 pounds
The B-Safe is 9.91 pounds, this makes it heavier than some of the competition, but not prohibitively heavy like the Orbit G3 that weighs in at 12.5 pounds. Unfortunately for the B-Safe, there are at least 4 lighter seats with higher overall scores. The lightest seat in the review is the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect at 7.06 pounds. Many of the lightest seats did not score that well overall, so we caution parents against making a buying decision based solely on weight. However, given that several better scoring seats are lighter, we encourage parents to use the weight of seats as a tie breaker as opposed to a primary consideration.

Best Applications


Some parents may be drawn to this seat because of the Britax name. Britax in general makes nice products, and this seat performed above average yet sells at an affordable price. If you plan on purchasing a Britax stroller, such as the Britax B-Agile 3 which won our Top Pick for Light and Compact stroller award, this is a good option for a compatible infant seat, and we think it is a better option than the B-Safe 35 that scored lower overall in testing.

Value


With a list price of $180 this seat brings some value to the table for the price. It is a reasonable price compared to the competition and it is cheaper than the more expensive Britax B-Safe 35 that scored lower overall. Only 1 seat with a higher score costs less that this Britax, and it earned our Best Value award, the Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air. However, the Safety 1st is not compatible with many strollers, and so for those considering the B-Agile stroller, will not be as compelling an option as the Britax B-Safe. The Safety 1st costs about $160 on average.

Conclusion


The Britax B-Safe has a removable infant insert cushion
The Britax B-Safe has a removable infant insert cushion
We didn't love or hate this seat, it is probably fair to say we are in like with it. While it rides the middle road on most fronts, it is hard to go wrong with a Britax product and most parents will likely be happy if they find themselves in possession of this seat. However, it is only fair to say that this seat only scored just above average, which means several seats scored higher and offer better features or functionality than this one. If you are looking at this seat, you might want to take a close look at the Chicco Keyfit 30, which scored better overall in our tests, and only costs $20 more. This seat has a better margin of protection as determined by crash tests, which we like to see, but its poor performance for ease of use is a real bummer. Given that the Safety 1st is cheaper and scored higher overall, we think it is probably a better pick than the Britax B-Safe for those on a tighter budget, unless you are trying to find a seat to use with a Britax stroller.

Other Versions and Accessories


Britax makes 3 other seats including the Britax B-Safe 35 that we tested in this review. They also make a BOB B-Safe that appears to be the same as the Britax reviewed here, but slightly different look with the BOB name attached. The other is the Britax B-Safe 35 Elite. The Elite appears to be the 35 with extra side impact padding and quick harness adjustments for height. We did test the Britax B-Safe 35 but found it to be disappointing and don't recommend you spend more to get it. We did not review the Elite or Bob B-Safe seats.

The Cozy Greens back seat mirror
The Cozy Greens back seat mirror
The Back Seat Mirror from Cozy Greens is an accessory we recommend for any parent wanting to watch baby from the front seat. The mirror has a flat base that fits against a backseat headrest and is kept secure by one vertical strap and one horizontal strap. The actual mirror has a convex shatter proof surface that is held out a few inches from the base and is able to pivot and adjust to provide a wider field of view. Once adjusted correctly, there is a device to tighten the pivot point so that the mirror won't be accidentally bumped out of position. This mirror does require an adjustable headrest in order to attach properly, possibly making it unsuitable for some cars. Other than that, Amazon users seem to love this accessory and claim that it provides a much clearer reflection than many other back seat mirrors.
Juliet Spurrier, MD, Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team

User Reviews


Most recent user review: November 1, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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An infant car seat is one of the few pieces of baby gear that is an absolute must-have purchase. Since it is a life-safety device  it is an important decision for you and your baby.
 How to Choose the Best Infant Car Seat

by Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz

Unbiased.