The Britax B-Safe 35 had disappointing overall performances in most test metrics earning it a lower rank compared to the competition. While it received a higher than average score for installation using LATCH, it did not score above average for any other metric. This seat struggles in ease of use and even quality and comfort where Britax products traditionally shine. Even if you are looking for a Britax seat to combine with a Britax stroller, we would recommend looking at the higher-ranking alternatives over this mediocre option.Editor's Note: This gear review received an update on December 20, 2021, to include information on our favorite products and what we would suggest a friend buy
Britax B-Safe 35 Review
Pros: Nice fabric, easy to use LATCH, works with Britax strollers
Cons: Heavy and difficult to use
Our Analysis and Test Results
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 in a motor vehicle. Reports indicate the carry handle can fracture or break, resulting in the carrier falling. Britax offers a repair kit that supports the handle to prevent it from falling. If you currently own the seat, Britax advises that you do not hold or carry it by the handle until the repair is complete. The Britax website has more information on the affected seats and how to obtain a repair kit.
Britax believes parents and children should enjoy every moment and live life to its fullest potential. Britax strives to design gear with intuitive designs that are also safe. They have been manufacturing children's products for over 70 years. The Britax company launched in the United States in 1996 after a successful run in Europe as the best-selling car seat option.
The B-Safe 35 crash test results demonstrate a basic level of protection when looking at the competition.
It exceeds the federal guidelines for safety outlined in FMVSS 213. Still, other seats appear to offer an additional margin of protection compared to the B-Safe 35 based on the crash test analysis.
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 (HIC) is the Chicco Keyfit 30, with results furthest from the Federal maximum allowable score. The Cybex Aton 2 came in on top for the lowest force exerted on the chest (in black).
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 they test these features. It is not a Federal requirement to test this feature or claim, and there is no agreed-upon definition of SIP in the car seat industry. So it is difficult to say what it truly means for protection for a baby.
Ease of Install - LATCH
This Britax earns its top score for installation in the LATCH method, but it is still not impressive compared to the competition with a slightly above average result.
This seat has push-button anchors that click into the LATCH connector. The anchors are easily attached by pushing them into the U-shaped vehicle anchor points. The strap is more comfortable to tighten than much of the competition and significantly easier when loosening, which is rare.
This seat has a built-in recline foot on the base (above left). This feature helps parents find the right angle for installation. The included level indicator (above right) gives a visual cue to guide them.
Ease of Install - Belt
The B-Safe 35 has an average performance for installation using a belt with the base.
This seat has a belt lock-off, but it is one of the harder ones to use, and we didn't like it. Also, 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, it didn't feel stable.
Ease of Install - Without the Base
Installing the B-Safe 35 without the base is below average. This infant seat has the American belt path, which unfortunately is not color-coded. We prefer the European belt path, as it feels more stable, in our opinion, because it utilizes the shoulder portion of the belt around the back of the seat. The American method threads the belt across the lower part of the seat.
This seat's hard 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. We think it might feel more secure if we had used a pool noodle or a towel, but we also believe that it isn't very convenient to take a towel or pool noodle everywhere you go.
Ease of Use
The B-Safe 35 is slightly lower than average for ease of use in the group.
The buckle isn't stiff to push, and the two sides are relatively easy to position. The chest clip has an easy to depress button and slides apart smoothly. It is also pretty easy to mate the two up when buckling.
The harness on this seat is stiffer to tighten than some of the competition, and we worry this will worsen over time as the strap gets grimy. The release button is at the carrier's foot on top of the padding near the tightening belt.
Unfortunately, the harness shoulder height adjustment on this infant seat is a rethread style adjustment with four positions. This design means you adjust the height with the baby out of the seat and from behind. The shoulder straps detach from the splitter plate and thread through the slots on the carrier's back. They then rethread through higher slots and reattach to the splitter. It isn't hard to do, but it is a hassle considering the number of steps involved and the fact that some seats can adjust with the baby in the seat and without rethreading. The corresponding crotch strap has two positions, and together they offer enough variability to achieve a proper fit for most babies.
The handle on this seat is easy to use and adjust. It has dual release levers located on the back of the handle where the sides attach to the carrier. Squeezing both levers allows the handle to rotate. It has four positions, and all are allowable while driving. We did not experience any rubbing with this handle regarding the canopy, which is a plus and somewhat rare.
Carrier and Base Connection
This carrier sits nicely on the base and clicks into place with an audible click. There are no visual indicators to ensure installation, and parents should give it a good tug to make sure. To release the carrier from the base, squeeze the handle on the back to disconnect the carrier from the base.
LATCH Anchor and Manual Storage
The LATCH anchors store by tucking under the base on each side. Storage prevents the straps and anchors themselves from getting in the way of the carrier connecting firmly to the base.
The B-Safe 35 is average for comfort and quality. The padding on this Britax is relatively thin and flexible compared to the competition. The fabric on the seat isn't very plush, and we would have liked to see a little nicer fabric. The shell quality is better than the cheaper products in the review but not as nice as the options in the same price range as the B-Safe 35. However, the overall fit and finish look good compared to a lot of the competition.
We liked the handle better than some other Britax options. The canopy on the 35 is nice and 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.
This Britax weighs 10.57 lbs. Given that parents will lift the carrier on and off the base and potentially carry it with their baby on board, the weight of the carrier can be important. While we don't think making a buying decision based solely on weight is a good idea, we believe that it can be helpful when choosing between two similar options.
Should You Buy the B-Safe?
We know many parents are drawn to the Britax brand because of their reputation of offering safe, high-quality products for little ones. However, in our tests, this seat failed to perform well compared to the competition and earned a surprisingly low score for performance in most metrics. As a result, it is not a seat we would recommend to a friend, and we believe there are better options available for every safety seat goal.
What Other Infant Car Seat Should You Consider?
If you want to combine your car seat with a Britax stroller, then you might be locked into a Britax seat. If this is the case, we prefer the Britax Endeavours, though it still ranked below average in our tests. Alternatively, we think you are better off choosing a higher scoring option with the features or crash test results that are a priority to you. We prefer the high ranking Chicco Keyfit 35, which is compatible with most of our favorite strollers, has a higher crash test result and is easy to use and install. If you need a more budget-friendly seat, the Chicco Keyfit 30 is similar and sports a lower price and the group's best HIC crash test result. Alternatively, if budget isn't a concern and you want the best crash tests score, the Cybex Aton 2 is the one for you. Unfortunately, the Cybex is not compatible with many strollers, but you might pair it with an excellent baby carrier instead.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
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