In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360 Review

Average crash results and performance prevented this option from measuring up
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Price:   $170 List | $158 at Amazon
Pros:  Budget-friendly, tested SIP
Cons:  Hard to install with belt, heavy, limited stroller use
Manufacturer:   Safety 1st
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Dec 6, 2019
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Crash Test - 20% 6
  • Ease of Install - LATCH - 20% 7
  • Ease of Install - Belt - 10% 6
  • Ease of Install - w/o Base - 5% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6
  • Comfort / Quality - 15% 6
  • Weight / Size - 15% 6

The Skinny

The Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360 is an infant car seat with a budget-friendly price, but the overall average and lackluster performance in our tests hurt its ability to win an award or impress testers. This seat struggled compared to the Safety 1st option it replaced with below-average installation scores in two forms of installation and lower crash test results than the older model. While this option offers an average weight, ease of use, and comfort, it falls short in the metrics that really matter. When combined with the lack of compatible stroller options, of which there are very few, the 360 is not a favorite and we think there are better options available even if they cost a little bit more.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Editors' Choice Award 
Price $170.00 List
$158.41 at Amazon - 7% off
$300.00 List
$244.99 at Amazon - 18% off
$320.00 List
$209.99 at Amazon - 34% off
$350.00 List
$349.99 at Amazon
$280.00 List
Check Price at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Budget-friendly, tested SIPBetter crash test results, anti-rebound bar, easy installBest crash results, easy LATCH, additional safety features, comfyLoad leg, easy belt install with and without baseSuper easy LATCH install, easy to use, nice comfort and quality
Cons Hard to install with belt, heavy, limited stroller useHeavier, harder to install LATCH system, few strollers are compatibleHigher price, hard to usePrice, heavy carrierHeavy, only compatible with limited strollers
Bottom Line Average crash results and performance prevented this option from measuring upA great all-around seat with good crash test results, but limited stroller optionsCompelling, quality seat with additional safety features and the best crash test scoreImpressive performance but somewhat heavy and more money than mostEasy to install and use seat made with quality materials, but has limited stroller options
Rating Categories Safety 1st onBoard... Peg Perego Primo... Cybex Aton 2 Peg Perego Nido Chicco Fit2
Crash Test (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Ease Of Install LATCH (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
10
Ease Of Install Belt (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
Ease Of Install W O Base (5%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
Comfort Quality (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight Size (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
2
Specs Safety 1st onBoard... Peg Perego Primo... Cybex Aton 2 Peg Perego Nido Chicco Fit2
Minimum Passenger Weight 4 lbs 4 lbs 4 lbs 4 lbs 4 lbs
Max Passenger Weight 35 lbs 35 lbs 35 lbs 35 lbs 35 lbs
Max Passenger Height 32" 32" 30" 32" 35"
Belt Routing Style American European European European American
Seat Weight 9.4 lbs 9.6 lbs 9.3 lbs 10.2 lbs 12.1 lbs
Recline Positions 5 Infinite 4 Infinite 5
Shoulder Harness Positions 4 6 3 6 7
Crotch Strap Positions 3 1 1 2 2
Built in Lock Off No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Anti-rebound Device High Back Base Yes High Back Base Yes Yes
Load Leg No No Yes Yes No
Locking Handle Positions 4 5 3 5 4
Allowed Handle Positions For Auto Travel Any 1 for Base Install (even with the top of the seat),
1 for Seat Only Install (all the way forward)
Carry Position 1 for Base Install (even with the top of the seat),
1 for Seat Only Install (all the way forward)
Stage 1: Any
Stage 2: Base Storage Position (behind the seat)
Head Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Newborn Insert Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
No Rethread Harness No Yes No Yes Yes
Onboard Manual Storage Clips under the seat towards the toe of the seat. Stores in a hard flip down pocket on the back of the seat. Stashes in a pocket under the bottom of the seat. Stores in a hard flip down pocket on the back of the seat. Slot in head of base
Level Indicator On Base None Bubble Vial Ball In Tube Bubble Vial Bubble Indicator
Level Indicator On Seat Ball In Tube Line On Decal Line On Decal Line On Decal Level Line On Seat Label

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison



The 360 boasts additional side impact protection in the head area of the carrier that consists of a cushion encased in plastic.
The 360 boasts additional side impact protection in the head area of the carrier that consists of a cushion encased in plastic.

Crash Test


The 360 crash test results are lower than previous Safety 1st options we've tested. New test result analysis indicates a slightly below the average overall score for the crash test metric.

Comparison of the 360 HIC result to the best performing head sensor results from the Chicco Keyfit 30 crash test.
Comparison of the 360 HIC result to the best performing head sensor results from the Chicco Keyfit 30 crash test.

This chart includes the actual test results of the Air 360 from the head sensor (HIC) in the crash test dummy's head. It compares the results to the Chicco Keyfit 30 (green line) that has the best HIC result in the review. The 360 HIC result is 398 where the max allowed by law is 1000 (lower numbers are better). These results are better than average for the group and suggest that the 360 offers additional head protection over the Federal safety standards.

This chart is a comparison between the 360 chest sensor result and the top-performing Cybex Aton2.
This chart is a comparison between the 360 chest sensor result and the top-performing Cybex Aton2.

This chart includes the 360's results for the chest sensor (in black), and the Cybex Aton 2 (green line) which has the best chest sensor results. The 360 chest sensor result is 53 where the max limit is 60 (lower numbers are better). Fifty-three is higher (worse) than the average chest sensor read-out for the seats in this review. It indicates only a basic level of protection compared to the competition. Please note, all of the car seats in the US provide a basic level of protection by meeting or exceeding Federal requirements.

Safety 1st claims that this seat's "Air Protect" side impact technology feature located in the head region of the carrier has been crash tested. This feature is a foam cushion inside a plastic cover that allows the air to escape upon impact so it can absorb a portion of the energy force generated during a collision. Unfortunately, we weren't able to obtain crash test data that shows what kind of protection this provides or its efficacy. We love safety features that help reduce the chances of injury or death, but without verifiable details and test results, it's challenging to determine exactly what protection this feature offers.

Installing the 360 using the LATCH method is only about average when it comes to ease of execution.
Installing the 360 using the LATCH method is only about average when it comes to ease of execution.

Ease of Install - LATCH


The Air 360 offer slightly below-average performance for LATCH installation. It isn't challenging, but many competitors are easier. The LATCH concept is designed for simplicity so it should be the easiest installation method for any seat.

The 360 has the less expensive clip style LATCH connectors. These are safe  but harder to use when you need to remove them from the vehicle's LATCH anchors.
The 360 has the less expensive clip style LATCH connectors. These are safe, but harder to use when you need to remove them from the vehicle's LATCH anchors.

This seat has the harder to use clip connectors, which is just as secure as the push-button style, but harder to detach from the anchor. Connecting the clips is relatively easy.

The 360 has the typically uninspired strap tightening for each LATCH connector.
The 360 has the typically uninspired strap tightening for each LATCH connector.

Once the LATCH anchors are connected, the straps are more challenging to tighten and loosen than competitors with unique tightening systems. The car seat should feel more stable using a method that is supposed to be easier to use and it doesn't in our tests.

The base on the 360 has an angle adjustment button to help the user install the seat at the right angle.
The installation angle of the 360 is child weight dependant and the level is located on the carrier instead of the base  which is the typical location.

The 360 base has a foot on the bottom that adjusts the angle of e base and carrier (above left). Adjusting the foot angle is easy, but the level is located on the carrier (above right) not the base like it is on most products. This means the carrier must be in place to determine if the seat is installed at the right angle. While not the worst thing in the world, it is a design flaw in our opinion that makes the installation process more convoluted than it needs to be.

Installing the 360 using the vehicle belt is somewhat of a problem as it lacks a built-in lock-off to prevent the base from creeping up the vehicle belt.
Installing the 360 using the vehicle belt is somewhat of a problem as it lacks a built-in lock-off to prevent the base from creeping up the vehicle belt.

Ease of Install - Belt


Installation using the vehicle belt is the most difficult installation method for this seat, a shift from past Safety 1st seats we've tested. While installation feels more solid in the beginning than the LATCH anchors, the base can tip towards the buckle of the seat belt and becomes pretty loose and wiggly after it does. There is NO lock-off on this seat, which is a downgrade from the last Safety 1st, and a real bummer because it prevents the kind of loosening we experienced during installation. The belt path is not color-coded but it isn't hard to follow either. A lock-off would have been a game-changer for this seat's installation.

Installing the 360 without the base utilizes the American pathway pulling the vehicle belt across the lower portion of the carrier through the side clips.
Installing the 360 without the base utilizes the American pathway pulling the vehicle belt across the lower portion of the carrier through the side clips.

Ease of Install - Without the Base


The Safety 1st's easiest installation method is without the base. For urbanites who may frequent taxis or other forms of public transportation, this installation method can be an important criterion.

While not color-coded  the belt pathway on the 360 is still easy to determine.
While not color-coded, the belt pathway on the 360 is still easy to determine.

The 360 carrier installation utilizes the American pathway across the lower portion of the carrier. The beth path is not color-coded like it is on some of the higher-end competition. The Safety 1st is easy to thread the belt with only minor intrusion from the padding, and it doesn't require a towel or pool noodle to obtain the right angle. The installation of the Safety 1st without the base feels secure.

Ease of Use


The Safety 1st isn't the easiest to use in this group.

The 360 buckle and chest clip are easy enough to use and don't require excessive thumb strength  but they aren't the easiest in the group.
The 360 buckle and chest clip are easy enough to use and don't require excessive thumb strength, but they aren't the easiest in the group.

Harness


The 360 buckle is somewhat stiff and not the easiest to operate, but it isn't the worst and only requires one thumb. The chest clip is average with a stiff button and sides that sort of drag apart.

The 360's harness release button is under a few inches of padding but is easy to press. The harness tightening strap moves smoothly.
The 360's harness release button is under a few inches of padding but is easy to press. The harness tightening strap moves smoothly.

The 360 harness is average for tightening and loosening. The harness tightening strap is somewhat difficult to pull, but not the hardest in the group. The release button is under a few inches of padding making it more difficult to find quickly.

The 360 uses a rethread style harness height adjustment. This style includes shoulder straps, height slots, and a T splitter for strap attachment at the back of the carrier. The strap loops are medium-sized and move easily through the height slots to reach the splitter. The seatback has four height slots for the shoulder straps and three positions for the crotch strap adjustment. The crotch strap is harder to change than the shoulder height as the strap struggles to go through the slot. Non-rethread harness height adjustments are much easier and can be performed on the fly.

Rotating the 360's handle requires simultaneously pressing in the buttons on each side of the carrier handle.
Rotating the 360's handle requires simultaneously pressing in the buttons on each side of the carrier handle.

Handle


The 360 handle has levers on both sides you squeeze simultaneously to rotate. It has four possible positions and all of them are allowable when driving. The handle does rub the canopy somewhat when in the closed position, but we didn't experience any rubbing or collision when the handle and canopy are both upright.

You can release the 360 carrier from the base by using the grey push handle located on the back of the carrier.
You can release the 360 carrier from the base by using the grey push handle located on the back of the carrier.

Carrier and Base Connection


The 360 carrier attaches to the base easily and typically doesn't need fussing or other adjustments. We consistently were able to install the carrier without attachment issues. The carrier can be detached from the base by squeezing the handle on the back. The 360 handle/pull works well and is easy to pull.

The manual stows under the carrier  but it doesn't look that secure to us. however  we prefer this over those that store in the base where you won't have it if you need to figure out how to install your carrier sans base.
The manual stows under the carrier, but it doesn't look that secure to us. however, we prefer this over those that store in the base where you won't have it if you need to figure out how to install your carrier sans base.

LATCH Anchors and Manual Storage


The LATCH clips attach onto the base in a depressed tray space. As long as the straps are contained, it is unlikely they will cause a conflict when connecting the base. The manual is contained under the carrier with 4 clips holding it in. While we like the manual stored on the carrier as opposed tot he base, it does look like it culd fall out if all four clips aren't in the proper place.

The 360 has a simple yet elegant look  but the materials and execution are on par with the lower price point.
The 360 has a simple yet elegant look, but the materials and execution are on par with the lower price point.

Comfort/Quality


The Safety 1st offers average comfort and quality, though it is on par for the price. The padding is better than average with plenty of cushion and soft fabric that feels like an upgrade from other Safety 1st options of yore. The shell isn't too convoluted and the overall fit and finish are nice enough considering the lower price.

The 360 canopy looks nice  but it is relatively small and doesn't cover much of the carrier.
The 360 canopy looks nice, but it is relatively small and doesn't cover much of the carrier.

The Air 360 has a large canopy that works well and looks better than previous Safety 1st models.

The 360 is one of the lighter options in the review with a below-average carrier weight.
The 360 is one of the lighter options in the review with a below-average carrier weight.

Weight


The 360 weighs 9.44 lbs, which is relatively light compared to most of the competition. Seat weight can impact a buying decision if you need to carry it for longer distances or time. We suggest using the seat's weight to help you decide between two otherwise similar options.

Manufacturer Video




Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz