Gray seatbelt lock-off plate at center of
belt path on anti-rebound base.
The Chaperone's base with anti-rebound bar,
one-hand turn angle adjustment and push-button LATCH clips in stored in
Easy one-hand adjustment lets you find the
perfect fit even while your child sits strapped into the harness.
Installed on base with anti-rebound bar in a
Installed with seatbelt, without base.
"True Side Impact Protection" doubles as a
comfy head rest.
Very generous canopy compared with other
infant car seats.
A comfy fit at 29.9" and 20 lbs.
Level indicator is on the car seat, not the
base you might leave at home.
Having owned and traveled with other Britax car seats in the past, I
was very happy to be invited by Britax to review their newest infant
car seat, the Chaperone, and give one away to a lucky reader (sorry,
contest closed now!).
As you'd expect, the Chaperone infant carrier
car seat offers superior safety protection features that are synonymous
with the Britax brand, and like many competing models it offers
higher upper weight and height limits to help parents make the most
of the investment, in this case $229 retail.
What I couldn't help but notice right
away was the incredibly solid base for the car seat that left no
question whether the car seat clicked into it would be secure--as
I've wondered at times using thinner plastic bases with other car
seats. With the anti-rebound bar and easy twist level adjustment,
the car seat snugged right into place easily.
As with all Britax seats, I also
appreciate the seatbelt lock-offs that help any belted installation
feel that much more secure--even when traveling in an unfamiliar car
with older seatbelts (taxi!). However, in this case the lock-offs
are on the base only, as is that great anti-rebound bar. Since
travel with car seats encompasses road trips as well as air travel,
I've reviewed the seat with both modes of transport in mind.
The Britax Chaperone at a glance:
- Rear-facing only, 4 to 30 lbs.
- Up to 32" tall or 30 lbs.
- FAA-certified for flying
- Car seat can travel without base
- Anti-rebound bar on base
- Base Weighs 10 lbs.
- Car seat alone weighs 10 lbs.
- 18"W (at outset of carrying handle)
x 17.8"H x 27"D without base
- 18"W x 24"H x 29.75" D on base
(including raised canopy)
Great everyday features I like:
- Seatbelt lock-off plate for
extra security and stability
- Anti-rebound bar
- Heavy-duty base (10 lbs.)
- Carry handle can be left in any
position during drive
- Push-button LATCH clips
- Recline knob on base just twists
for adjustment while seat is in place
- Extremely easy-to-use no
re-thread harness and headrest with 7 height adjustments for a
Travels without the base - One
of the great advantages of traveling with an infant carrier car seat
over convertible / toddler car seats is the ease of having your baby
pre-buckled into his car seat's 5-point harness as you board and
deplane aircraft, and load and unload from cars, shuttles, and taxis
(you can also do this with the convertible
Sit N Stroll). I don't recommend infant carrier car seats that
cannot be used without the base for travel, and where this base
weighs in at a hefty 10 lbs. (same as the seat itself), I think most
anyone would prefer air travel without it.
Generous canopy - I noticed
right away that the Chaperone's canopy extended more than those on
most competing infant car seats. It offers good coverage for rainy
waits at the taxi queue as well as sun protection in the car during
road trips. Better still, it will help keep airplane reading lights
and turbulent air vents from disturbing baby's slumber in flight.
Level indicator on seat, not base -
Since most parents will take the seat on trips by airplane without
its base, and will be installing the car seat quickly in some other
vehicle with differently shaped seats, it's nice that the level is
on the seat itself for easy reference when you might need it most.
(Let's face it, you probably won't have much use for the level at
home after you've installed the base properly in your own car.)
True Side Impact Protection -
Not only does the extra
shielding provided by this layer (the off-white supports around the
head) offer excellent protection for the head, neck, and spine, but
it also helps cradle the baby's head and minimize nap-squelching
rocking and "bobble head" on windy mountain roads without the need
of extra add-on products.
Durable wipe-clean fabrics -
With the exception of the soft, fuzzy fabric used in the protective
head rest, I was impressed by the choice of fabrics used in the seat
cover and canopy (Savannah
in this case). The seat itself seems sleek, but not slippery, and
like any variety of spills or leaks will wipe off easily with a damp
cloth, which can be critical when you're 3,000 miles away from your
Cushy ride for long trips and
higher weight - As with all Britax car seats, you can expect
cushier padding in the Chaperone than you'll find in most other car
seats of its class, including a layer of high-density foam. This often overlooked detail can make a
tremendous difference for little people expected to sit for hours on
the road or in the air, especially as they grow heavier and can appreciate
more more cush beneath the tush.
Rear-facing fit - When
traveling with any rear-facing car seat, the rear-facing fit can
sometimes pose problems in smaller economy and compact rental
cars--especially overseas where the vehicles may be even smaller
than North American models. Any of the infant carriers rated up to
32" in length like this may pose more of a "fit problem" than other
infant carriers like the Graco SnugRide that is rated up to 29" in
length. Depending on the nature of your family's travels, and
certainly the car you drive at home, this may be an important
consideration when choosing an infant carrier. The photos above show
installation in a minivan. Given the design of the base with
anti-rebound bar, a little space is saved when installing the
Chaperone without its base.
Much magic is in the base (only) -
The anti-rebound bar, seatbelt lock-off plate, and push-button LATCH
attachments are all in the base for this car seat, which means that
when you're traveling without the base, you're traveling without
many features that most consider to make the Chaperone a more
valuable and safer car seat. The large canopy, side impact head
rest, level indicator, and extra cushion still travel with you,
Strap needed for use with other
strollers - The Chaperone car seat can be used with the Baby
Trend Snap N Go stroller frame when used with the strap provided by
Baby Trend. No strap is needed for use with the matching Chaperone
Stroller. Although it's labeled as being "compatible with
major stroller brands," you will need to use the strap provided with
the car seat to use the Chaperone with the Graco
Quattro Tour, Peg Perego Pliko P3, and the Chicco Cortina. The
Chaperone also works with the
Maclaren Techno XLR when used with the
Maclaren car seat adapter frame and strap. Note that the Chicco Key Fit 30 and some other larger
infant carrier car seats also face the same stroller compatibility issues.
Bottom line and my suggestions for the
"Travels with Baby" edition (or future enhancements):
There is no question that the
Chaperone is a
good quality infant carrier car seat, and its extra comfort and
safety features make it a very desirable road trip companion. I
think its ease of installation, and for babies of such a range in
sizes, also make it a great candidate for baby gear rental agencies
and car rental agencies who provide car seats to travelers--though the
rear-facing fit caveat remains (more reason to upgrade your rental
As far as air travel and extended travel are concerned, I would
request these upgrades from Britax for a "Travels with Baby" edition of
the Britax infant carrier car seat (in case someone's listening):
- Add Britax's signature seatbelt
lock-offs to the car seat itself, especially since LATCH is not
an option when traveling without the base and you can never be
sure what kind of seatbelts or latch plates you'll encounter while traveling.
- Move the anti-rebound bar to the car seat
itself so that the benefit travels with the car seat in every
installation (as it does with the Combi Shuttle).
- If the anti-rebound bar is not added
to the seat itself (which I realize would add weight the seat), I would like
to see a Britax-patented Versa-tether strap included with storage
pocket on the car seat.
Find it online at:
SHUTTLE 33: If you like the
idea of the anti-rebound bar (as I think most of us do), but you'd
prefer to have it travel with you when the car seat base stays home,
you might prefer the Combi Shuttle 33 (original Shuttle is being
discontinued). It also features push-button LATCH clips and an
easily adjusted harness. On the downside, the seat has a much
smaller canopy, as you can see, and lacks some of the extra padding
and safety features. Being a narrower seat may have its advantages
at times during travel, but it may also not accommodate a full 30
lbs. with such grace as the Britax Chaperone (worth considering if
your child might max out weight before height for these seats). Read
more about the Combi Shuttle 33 in
Infant Carrier Car Seats for travel.
Although it is not an infant carrier, the
does include seatbelt lock-offs, a tether strap, push-button LATCH attachments,
a two-position adjustable recline your child can still enjoy when
forward-facing later on (not available in most toddler car seats).
As he rides rear-facing into toddlerhood, it is also easier to
decrease the recline from 45 degrees to around 30 degrees than it
would be with an infant carrier. The Roundabout may also be used rear-facing up to 33 lbs, and then
continues to serve forward-facing up to 40" tall or 40 lbs. Plus, the Roundabout has a
simple push-button harness adjustment system that is easily accessed
even when the seat is rear-facing. At 17"W, it also has a narrower
footprint than the Chaperone, which makes it a favorite for many air
travelers and families with dueling car seats. Read more about the
Convertible Car Seats, and see how to get it around with ease in
Seat Travel Bags & Carriers.
'N' STROLL: If you're looking for a good option for travel both
rear-facing now and forward-facing down the road, you might consider
the Sit 'n' Stroll car seat and stroller in one. At 21"H, it's an
easier fit rear-facing, though you may need to add your own Sit Rite
leveler or rolled blanket for enough recline with a young infant (there
recline adjustment). It is also 18"W and installs very easily with seatbelts
routing around the seat as they do infant carriers without their
bases. It also
gives you the convenience of wheels when needed--plus a shade canopy
that now comes standard and gives it that additional advantage over
other toddler car seats when your child grows.
If you're interested, be sure to read the Travels with Baby
feature review of the Sit 'n' Stroll.
Infant Carrier Car Seats Car Seat Alternatives
Car Seat Accessories
Car Seat Travel Bags & Carriers
FAQs & Popular Topics
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Car seat provided by Britax USA.