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Hands-on Gear Review

Britax B-Safe 35 Review


Infant Car Seat

Britax B-Safe 35
Price:   $210 List | $142.70 from Amazon - 32% Off
Pros:  Nice fabric, easy to use LATCH, works with Britax strollers
Cons:  Heavy and difficult to use
Bottom line:  Not the best Britax we tested, we prefer the B-Safe
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Britax

The Skinny

We had high expectations for the Britax B-Safe 35, but we were surprised to find that this higher priced Britax seat scored significantly lower in our overall performance points than the less expensive sibling the Britax B-Safe. While it did perform slightly better for ease of use than the lower-end B-Safe model, it didn't really impress us all around. In general, it is hard to go wrong with Britax for quality, and parents might like that this seat works for babies up to 35 pounds and its easy install using the LATCH system, but it didn't do well compared to the competition. If parents want a Britax seat, the Britax B-Safe (not 35) earned more points overall than this product, and we'd recommend you save $30 and consider that seat instead.

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
The Britax B-Safe 35 infant car seat provides support for babies from 4 to 35 pounds. It features what Britax calls their "SafeCell Impact Protection" and "Complete Side Impact Protection" in a shell designed to absorb crash forces and protect baby from potential debris. Britax describes its key safety features as an impact absorbing base, stabilizing steel frame, complete side impact protection, and "SafeCenter" LATCH Installation. It has a design that takes up less space, while still offering adequate protection. It comes with a removable head pillow for proper newborn head positioning, in addition to a canopy, easy on/off LATCH connectors, spring assisted recline, and dual level indicators. This car seat works with any Britax stroller with the Click & Go system and quick-release handle.

RECALL NOTICE
Britax has issued an important safety recall for the Britax B-Safe 35 and B-Safe 35 Elite. This recall concerns the carry handle on the seat and does NOT affect the performance of the seat as it is used in a motor vehicle. Reports indicate the carry handle can fracture or break resulting in the carrier falling while being held by the handle. Britax is offering a repair kit that consists of a bracket that supports the handle to prevent it from failing. If you currently own the seat, Britax is advising that you do not hold or carry it by the handle until the repair can be made. The Britax website has more information on the affected seats and how to obtain a repair kit.


We compared the top 15 infant style car seats side-by-side in an extensive 5 month testing process for this review
We compared the top 15 infant style car seats side-by-side in an extensive 5 month testing process for this review

Performance Comparison


The chart provided below is a comparison of the overall scores for each car seat tested in this review. The Britax B-Safe 35 is shown in blue.


The sections below detail test result information for each metric. Metric results were used to determine the B-Safe 35's overall score and rank.

Crash Test


This chart shows the B-Safe 35 crash test data for the chest sensors vs the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 data  which has the best crash test results for the chest region
This chart shows the B-Safe 35 crash test data for the chest sensors vs the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 data, which has the best crash test results for the chest region
The B-Safe 35 crash test results indicate a basic level of protection compared to the competition. It exceeds the Federal guidelines for safety outlined in FMVSS 213, but some other seats, including the Britax B-Safe, appear to offer an additional margin of protection relative to the B-Safe 35 based on crash test result analysis.
This chart shows the B-Safe 35 crash test data for the head sensors vs the Chicco Keyfit 30 data  which has the best crash test results for the head region
This chart shows the B-Safe 35 crash test data for the head sensors vs the Chicco Keyfit 30 data, which has the best crash test results for the head region
The charts show the Britax 35 (in black) compared to the top performing products in each sensor region. The best performing seat for the head sensor is the Chicco Keyfit 30, with results furthest from the Federal maximum allowable score. The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 has the best results for force exerted on the chest (in black).

The B-Safe 35 offers relatively thick dense foam padding that potentially increase safety
The B-Safe 35 offers relatively thick dense foam padding that potentially increase safety
This Britax claims some level of side impact protection (SIP) and a specially designed shell for absorbing forces. We couldn't find information on if or how these features have been tested. It is not a Federal requirement to test this kind of feature and there is no agreed upon definition of side impact protection in the car seat industry. So it is difficult to say what it truly means for protection for baby. For example, the Graco seats claim SIP, but their definition is based on a test which showed the harness offers the ability to keep baby in the seat in a side-impact, which we feel is probably not what most parents think SIP is supposed to mean.

Ease of Install - LATCH


The B-Safe 35 earned its highest install score for the LATCH system
The B-Safe 35 earned its highest install score for the LATCH system
This Britax earned its highest installation score for LATCH installation in our tests. It has a 7 of 10 in this metric; this is a higher than average score and is shared with Phil and Teds Alpha and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35. The high score for this test is a 9 shared by the Chicco Keyfit 30, Cybex Aton 2, and the UPPAbaby Mesa. The low score is a 3 earned by the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect.

The LATCH anchors are definitely easier to use on vehicles with pre formed LATCH pockets
The LATCH anchors are definitely easier to use on vehicles with pre formed LATCH pockets
This seat has the nicer anchor clips that simply click-in to the LATCH acnhors more like a traditional seat belt latch than the functional but harder to use standard clips. The anchors are easy to attach by pushing them into the U shaped vehicle anchor points. The strap is easier to tighten than much of the competition, and significantly easier than the competition when it comes to loosening, which is rare and nice.
The B-Safe 35 recline foot can be adjusted from two different locations
The B-Safe 35 recline foot can be adjusted from two different locations

This seat has a built in recline foot near the foot portion of the base. This feature can help parents find the right angle for the best installation. The included level indicator can also ensure parents install the base correctly by giving a visual cue to guide them.
The recline indicator on the B-Safe 35 is easy to use and works as expected
The recline indicator on the B-Safe 35 is easy to use and works as expected

Ease of Install - Belt


The B-Safe 35 earned a below average score for installation with the belt despite the seat lock off
The B-Safe 35 earned a below average score for installation with the belt despite the seat lock off
This seat earned a 6 of 10 for ease of install using a belt with the base; this is just below the average for the group, but there are 4 other seats with this same score. The high score of 9 is shared by the Phil and Teds Alpha and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35. The Evenflo Embrace LX earned a 4 of 10 for the low score.

The lock off on the B-Safe 35 is not in the middle of the base like most seats
The lock off on the B-Safe 35 is not in the middle of the base like most seats
The lock off on the B-Safe 35 is a result of side threading mechanisms that prevent the belt from sliding through
The lock off on the B-Safe 35 is a result of side threading mechanisms that prevent the belt from sliding through
This seat does offer a belt lock off, but it is one of the harder ones to use, and we didn't like it as much as other products in the group. In addition, the belt path is not color coded and it is hard to thread the belt through. It took us two tries to get the seat installed tight enough, and even then we didn't feel like it was as stable. The cheaper B-Safe feels more stable installed using the vehicle belt than the B-Safe 35. It is easier to install using the lap style belt than the shoulder/belt ombination.

Ease of Install - Without the Base


The B-Safe 35 uses the American belt path across the lower portion of the carrier
The B-Safe 35 uses the American belt path across the lower portion of the carrier
This seat earned a 5 of 10 for ease of install without the base using just the vehicle belt, this is a tie with Graco SnugRide Classic Connect. The high score for this metric is a 10 earned by the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 and the UPPAbaby Mesa. The low score is a 4 shared by the Chicco KeyFit 30 and the Orbit Baby G3.

The larger side clips on the B-Safe 35 make threading the belt a little easier
The larger side clips on the B-Safe 35 make threading the belt a little easier
This seat has the American belt path and is not color coded. We prefer the European belt path, as it feels more stable in our opinion than the American path, because it utilizes the shoulder portion of the belt around the back of the seat. The American method threads the belt across the lower portion of the seat.

This seat is difficult to install without the base compared to the competition. It did not require a towel to get the proper angle, but it didn't feel as secure as the Britax B-Safe probably because the foot of the seat is smoother. We think it might feel more secure if we had used a pool noodle or a towel, but we also think it isn't very convenient if parents have to take a towel or pool noodle every where they go.

Ease of Use


The buckle on the B-Safe 35 is easier to use than the buckle on the B-Safe
The buckle on the B-Safe 35 is easier to use than the buckle on the B-Safe
The B-Safe 35 earned a 5 of 10 for ease of use, a score slightly lower than average for the group. The Britax B-Safe scored lower with a 4. The high score for this group is an 8 shared by the Evenflo and the Recaro Performance Coupe. The low score is 3 shared by the Orbit Baby and the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40.

The buckle on this Britax is easier to use than that on the B-Safe. It isn't as stiff to push, and the two sides are easier to position than its little brother. The chest/retainer clip has an easy to depress button and slides apart smoothly. It is also pretty easy to mate the two up when buckling. We preferred this clip over the one used on the other Britax.

The release button on the B-Safe 35 is easy to press but also easy for baby to play with
The release button on the B-Safe 35 is easy to press but also easy for baby to play with
The harness on this seat is relatively easy to tighten with a strap located on the foot of the carrier. However, it is stiffer than some of the competition and we worry this will get worse over time as the strap gets grimy. The release button is also located on the foot of the carrier on top of the padding as opposed to under it like most of the competition. This makes it easier to access and easier to depress, but also easier for baby to mess with using their feet.

The harness shoulder height adjustment is a rethread style adjustment with 4 positions. This means parents will need to adjust the height with baby out of the seat and from behind. The shoulder straps are detached from the splitter plate and threaded through the slots on the back of the seat. They are then rethreaded through higher slots and once again attached to the splitter. It isn't necessarily difficult to do, but it is kind of a hassle considering the number of steps involved and the fact that some of the seats can be adjusted with baby in the seat and from the front without rethreading. The corresponding crotch strap has 2 possible positions and the two together offer enough variability to achieve a proper fit for babies of most sizes.

The carrier release handle on the B-Safe 35 is easy to use
The carrier release handle on the B-Safe 35 is easy to use
This carrier is easier to install on the base than many of the others we looked at. It sits nicely on the base and clicks into place with an audible click. There are no visual indicators to ensure installation has been properly achieved, and parents should give it a good tug to make sure. Releasing the carrier from the base is done by squeezing the handle on the back of the seat to disconnect the clips on the carrier from the base. The carrier is then easy to lift off the base.

The handle on the B-Safe 35 is easy to use
The handle on the B-Safe 35 is easy to use
The handle on this seat is easy to use and easy to adjust. It has dual release levers located on the back side of the handle where the two sides attach to the carrier. Squeezing both levers simultaneously allows the handle to be adjusted. It has 4 handle positions and all are allowable while driving. We did not experience any rubbing with this handle in regards to the canopy in any position, which is a plus and somewhat rare. The two work well together, as opposed to those of the Graco line up that all struggle to work harmoniously.

The LATCH anchors store by tucking under the base on each side. Storage is good and prevents the straps and anchors themselves from getting in the way of the carrier connecting firmly to the base. Some of the other products in this review allowed the straps of the anchors to potentially flop over the carrier connection points on the base, this means the carrier might not install correctly.

Comfort/Quality


The Britax B-Safe 35 is somewhat disappointing for comfort compared to the other seats in the group
The Britax B-Safe 35 is somewhat disappointing for comfort compared to the other seats in the group
The B-Safe 35 earned a 6 of 10 for comfort and quality, a score that is better than average for the group, but below the high of 8 earned by the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 and the Phil and Teds Alpha. Two other seats tied this score including the B-Safe, Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air, and the UPPAbaby Mesa. The low for the group is a 2 earned by the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect.

The padding on this Britax is a little on the slight side; it is fairly thin and flexible compared to the competition. The fabric on the seat isn't as plush as the competition, but isn't as stiff as the other B-Safe in this review. We would have liked to see a little nicer fabric on the Britax offerings in general, given their usual attention to quality and detail.

The shell quality on this seat is better than the cheaper seats in the review, but not as nice as some of the more expensive options or its cheaper brother the B-Safe. However, the fit and finish of the fabric and padding on the seat, and fabric on the canopy is rather nice and looked good compared to a lot of the competition.

The B-Safe 35 has a very nice looking canopy
The B-Safe 35 has a very nice looking canopy
We feel the handle on this seat is a durable part of the carrier and will wear well over time; we liked it better than the B-Safe handle style. The canopy on the 35 is also nice and looks like it will survive the average user life of the seat. The canopy is large compared to the competition, it doesn't have a peek-a-boo window, but is one of the better looking canopies in the group.

Weight


This is the heavier of the two Britax seats we reviewed
This is the heavier of the two Britax seats we reviewed
This Britax weighs in at 10.57 pounds while its little brother weighs in at 9.91. The B-Safe 35 is on the heavy side for seats in this review, with the average weight for the 15 products coming in closer to 9.4 pounds. Given that parents will be lifting this seat off the base and into the car, and potentially carrying it from place to place with baby on board, the overall weight of the carrier portion is important. While we don't think making a buying decision based solely on weight is a good idea, we do think it can be a good deciding factor when choosing between two otherwise similar seats you are having difficulty deciding between.

The heaviest seat in this review is the Orbit Baby G3 with a weight of 12.5 pounds. The lightest is the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect with a weight of 7.06. pounds. Neither seat scored very well in our tests overall, proving that weight has little to do with price, ease of use, or installation. So while seat weight is important it is not the most important factor when weighing one seat against another (pun intended).

Best Applications


Parents drawn to the Britax name who plan to use their infant seat as long as possible might be drawn to the B-Safe 35. However, if you are looking for a good Britax seat we think the lower end model, the Britax B-Safe, is nicer and it will save you some money. Yes, it is only good for children up to 30 pounds, but that is still a reasonable size for switching to a convertible car seat that still allows for rear facing installation. If you opt for one of the Britax strollers, such as the impressively light and compact Britax B-Agile 3, then you may be limited to one of the Britax infant seats, and in that case we still think the B-Safe (not 35) is the better of the two Britax products.

Value


This is simply not the best value for your dollar compared to the other seat options we looked at. It scored so similarly to the cheaper B-Safe, but with less impressive crash test results, that you should save yourself some money and get almost the same seat for $30 less. However, several seats in this review scored higher than both Britax products and sport similar list prices. Overall, this makes the B-Safe 35 not the best value in the group. Sure the price isn't huge, but it isn't great for what you get either. The Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air earned 8 points more and costs about $50 less on average, making it a better value than this Britax model. In addition, the Chicco Keyfit 30 and Phil and Teds Alpha also scored higher than the Britax products each with $200 price tags, cheaper than the B-Safe 35.

Conclusion


The Britax B-Safe 35 has a small infant insert for positioning
The Britax B-Safe 35 has a small infant insert for positioning
Too many seats in our review earned higher scores than this Britax, with several selling at the same or lower prices. No matter which metric is the most important to you, there is probably a car seat in this review that does it better than the B-Safe 35. Even if your plan is to purchase the nice Britax B-Agile 3 stroller, you're still better off getting the $30 cheaper basic model Britax B-Safe car seat. It isn't so much that we don't like the B-Safe 35, or that there is anything drastically wrong with it, it's just that so many products in our review offered more or functioned better.

Other Versions and Accessories


Britax makes several car seats including the Britax B-Safe 35 Elite (not included in this review), the Britax B-Safe (included in this review) and the BOB B-Safe 35, which appears to be the exact same product as the Britax B-Safe 35 but with the BOB logo and a different color scheme with a higher price tag.

Other accessories for the seat include:
  • The B-Warm Insulated Seat Cover $50, fits over top of any Britax seat with an elastic band and then has a zippered opening to allow for full or half coverage, or fully open for easy access.
  • Britax also offers a Vehicle Seat Protector for $30, to keep the bottom of the seat of the from being damaged by long term installation.

The Cozy Greens back seat mirror
The Cozy Greens back seat mirror
The Back Seat Mirror from Cozy Greens is an accessory that we recommend for any parent wanting to keep an eye on baby from the front seat while they are rear facing. The mirror is attached to a flat base that rests against the back seat headrest. It is kept secure by two adjustable straps that fit both horizontally and vertically around the headrest. The mirror is held out a few inches from the base and is able to pivot and adjust. It also has a convex shatter proof safety surface. Both of these features help to provide a much wider field of view without distorting the reflection. Once adjusted correctly, there is a device to tighten the pivot point so that the mirror won't be knocked out of position. This mirror does require an adjustable headrest in order to attach properly therefore may not be compatible with all cars, but aside from that, Amazon users seem to love this accessory and claim that it provides a very clear reflection compare to that of other back seat mirrors.
Juliet Spurrier, MD, Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team

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User Reviews


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

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
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3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 100%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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