Review following major car accident!
I was just in a major fwy car accident. Hit at 60mph and spun through three lanes of traffic with my kids (ages 1,2,&3) three across in this car seat. The kids did not move an inch and the car seats withheld the impact to a degree I never thought possible. My kids came out with no injuries aside from a tiny (1 inch) skin irritation from the strap on my only forward facing child on the side of impact.
Incredibly thought through car seat
We have 3 children ages 7, 3 and 3 months. I have used various seats from infant to booster over the years for my children. In addition to being an end user of these types of products, I am also an 18 year firefighter a major metro city fire department. I have seen more motor vehicle accidents involving children than I care to recall. My endorsement of this seat falls into two categories; first as a parent, second as an emergency worker.
As a parent this seat is extremely well thought through. If you've used other seats you have asked yourself "why didn't they do this?" you will have finally found the seat that answers that question. If you are new to car seats... you are making a very good choice.
Something as simple as having the buckle fall forward when not in use. Not having to dig out the buckle from under your child's rear end is genius. Big buckles that are easy for an adult for operate one handed. Our 3 year-old has been an escape artist in every other seat has finally met her match. The buckle is simply too big for her hands to manipulate simultaneously. One of the best conveniences is not having to swap out car seats when picking or dropping off other kids from school, practice, etc...
As an emergency responder these seats look like they are designed for a NASCAR. It seems to me that relatively, all car seats provide some reasonable protection during a crash. The incidents I have responded to that a child was injured was due to the child not being properly secured in the seat. This seat sets itself apart because it is very easy to buckle your child properly with one hand. No fishing around for buckles, no way for buckles to improperly latch (or not be latched).
We have placed our 3 year old and 3 month old in this seat. It takes less than a minute to make the necessary adjustments.
This is great, convenient seat that is very well engineered that will last a long time and accomadate one child through the years or adjust to many types of children that you may be transporting.
Kiddo loved flying in it (Diono vs. Britax comparioson)
I bought this seat for my tall (38in) and thin (28lb) 2 year old daughter. I was impressed with the height the seat allowed for, given that my child will out grow a seat in height long before weight. I needed a seat that would fit in a 2012 Focus and was FAA cerified. The seat is very compact. It was easy to install using the seat belt and the latch. Since the seat is so compact I had enough room to get in the car and put my knee in the seat to help get a solid install. I was able to do this myself in just a few minutes, even in an airport parking lot.
My kiddo loved the purple color. That particular color is a micro suede type fabric that is super easy to clean. The wings support her head well when she is sleeping. She can climb in and out of the seat very easily since it is much shorter in rise than her old seat (an Evenflo Symphony). The clips are all great quality and the shoulder pads are nice and soft. She feels less boxed in sitting in this seat. She loves that she can reach things if she drops them next to her seat.
I used this seat for air travel shortly after purchase. I found it fairly simple to deal with. I am a 5'5" woman with a broader frame. I travelled by myself with two kiddos, 2 and 8 years. We did not check anything, we carried all our luggage on. So that fact that this seat can be carried like a backpack was very helpful.
Some tips for air travel with this seat:
Get two (2) carry straps for the seat so you can wear it as a backpack. This makes the weight easier to bare, is better for your back and keeps your hands free.
Have rubber bands handy to roll up extra strap length. The latch straps are very long and can get in the way when trying to install on the plane.
Easy to install (FF, I have not used it RF)
Easy to clean
Weight and Height limits
Mulitple (up to 4) cup holders can be used
Easy to carry as a backpack for travel
Cupholders can be removed and washed in the dishwasher if they get icky.
Cup holders can be removed by child (This has never bothered me.)
Overall this is an awesome seat. I'd recommend it to all that can afford it.
Diono Radian RXT vs. Britax Frontier 85:
If you're like me your decision has probably come down to these two seats. My daughter rides in both seats. I have the Radian in my vehicle (2012 Focus hatchback). My husband has the Frontier in his vehicle (2009 Vibe). She is equally happy with bith seats.
My husband and I are pleased with both seats. We have likes and dislikes for each. I'll try to give a good comparision.
The Frontier wins here simply because it is lighter.
Both seats were super easy to install in either car. The bothe all install well in our 2005 Trailblazer on the odd occassion we use that car. I have never in stalled the Radian RF so I can not comment on that. We use th latch system on both seats. I have also used the belt paths when using in other people's cars. Belt path installation is also easy. The Radian is much heavier than the Frontier, making it more difficult to lift.
Here I feel the Radian wins.
The cover on the Radian is machine washable and is easily removed. The cover is one piece. The straps do have to be unthreaded to remove the cover. The cup holders can be put in the dishwasher.
The cover on the Frontier is supposed to be handwashed- not machine washable. Seriously... hand wash something my kid vomited on. Anyway, my washing machine has a handwash cycle so I used that. It turned out fine. Britax sells the cover for $80. The cup holders are intergrated into the seat so you have to wipe them out.
It's a tie. Both seats have to be completely remove from the car to make adjustments.
The Radian has straps that need to be rethreaded to adjust. But, it's super easy. The crotch strap is easier to move than the Frontier. But, the head wings can be a pain. I have to put my knee in the seat and apply a lot of force to move them. But this means the stay in place once adjusted. When putting a kiddo in the seat the ratchet mechanism to tighten the straps can be annoying. My husband does not care for it.
The Frontier has a mechanism on the back that moves the straps and head rest up and dowm. But the adjuster is the piece I always seem to grab when picking up the seat causing the straps to move. I then have to wrangle my daughter to sit in it so I can adjust the straps again. Sort of annoying. Once she is in the seat adjustments are easy. But we didn't like the HUGS. They made her sweat under them so we took them off.
The Radian is much narrower than the Britax. This could make a big difference if you want to fit 3 across a back seat or have a tiny car. Otherwise It does not matter.
I have only used the Radian for air travel. It is easier to bring into an airport, hands down. I wouldn't even consider air travel with the Frontier.
All in all, either seat is a good pick. It will just depend on your needs. I have found I really like them both and would recommend them equally.
Car Totaled...ordering 2 more RXT's
My Toyota Sienna was a total loss after a guy ran a stop sign at a speed of at least 45 MPH. Kids, ages 4 and 6, were in car seats and only six year old experienced minor bruising. Thank you Diono Radian RXT car seats.
Sturdy, secure car seat.
After months of researching convertible car seats, I finally settled on the Diono Radian RXT (in the Storm color) for my then-15 month-old, who was about to finally outgrow the height limitation on her infant car seat. I chose the Diono Radian RXT mainly because it's the only convertible/toddler car seat besides the (extremely expensive) Orbit Baby G2 which isn't doused with hazardous chemical flame retardants. For obvious reasons, car seats must be flame resistant, so they must either be made of inherently flame resistant materials or be treated with flame retardant chemicals. Fortunately, the seat-pad of the Diono Radian RXT in the Storm and Rugby colors is made of a microfiber material that meets flame-resistance regulations without the need for treatment with chemical flame retardants. (NOTE: The other colors of the Radian RXT have seat pads made of a material that is not inherently flame-resistant, and are therefore still treated with chemical flame retardants. Please be sure to choose the Rugby or Storm colors if this issue is a concern for you).
While I initially chose the Diono Radian RXT because of its low toxicity profile, I quickly came to appreciate it for its many other features. First off, it was very easy to install. My husband and I used the LATCH connectors in our car as well as the top-tether belt to install the car seat rear-facing, behind the passenger seat of our Lexus RX350 SUV. It took us a total of 15 minutes, even with our curious/active toddler poking around! The user manual was very easy to follow, and if you prefer a more visual demonstration, there are scan codes throughout the manual that you can scan with your iPhone or Android phone to access installation help videos from Diono.
Plus, my daughter took to the Radian RXT car seat right away, without any of the fussing and squirming that would often accompany my efforts to put her in her infant car seat, especially when it began to get a bit cramped. It's pretty easy to get my little-one in and out of her Radian RXT. Sometimes, I do have to fish the shoulder straps out from behind her back and the buckle from under her bum before fastening the restraint system, but it doesn't seem to bother her any so it's fine with me. The Radian RXT is a long, slim car seat, so we had to move the passenger seat so far forward in order to accommodate the car seat that the passenger seat became virtually unusable. The Diono Radian Angle Adjuster was a quick, easy and inexpensive solution to this problem. The Angle Adjuster foam pad tilts the rear-facing car seat forward by about 20 degrees (towards the rear of the car), freeing up space between the car seat back and the back of the passenger seat. Thanks to the ten-dollar Angle Adjuster, a 6-foot adult can now sit comfortably in the passenger seat of our car with the car seat safely installed behind it.
I only have a couple of minor complaints regarding the Radian RXT. Firstly, the harness adjuster can be tricky to use with the car seat in the rear-facing position. In this position, there is just a tiny amount of space between the harness adjuster and the back seat of your car, so there's not much room to pull out and down on the harness adjuster strap in order to tighten the shoulder straps, especially if your child is already in the car seat. It doesn't help that the harness adjuster mechanism is pretty stiff, so I have to give the shoulder straps a pretty strong yank in order to loosen them enough for my daughter to fit comfortably in the restraint system wearing bulkier winter clothes. Secondly, the cup-holder feels a bit loose, even when properly installed. (I actually re-installed it twice before realizing that the issue was with the cup-holder itself and not my installation). My toddler doesn't yet do a lot of drinking while in her car seat, so this isn't really a problem for us yet. But I could see how it might become one if the cup-holder can't stay steady when drinks are put in it. (Potential for back-seat spills).
But, other than those two minor issues, I'm very pleased with the Diono Radian RXT (in Storm). I'd buy another one in a heartbeat, and would definitely recommend it as a solid choice for anyone shopping for a convertible/toddler car seat.
UPDATE: A couple of weeks after writing this review, we had to stop using the cup-holder that came with the Radian, because it was getting too dangerous. No matter what we tried, we just couldn't get it to install securely. And then, my 18 month-old daughter started pulling it out of the car seat and playing with it while we were driving. There's no latch or other mechanism for snapping the cup-holder securely into place when properly installed, so it's very easy for curious toddlers to pull out. The cup-holder has an "arm" that you install by pushing it into a hole in the car seat, and that arm tapers to an extremely pointy tip. It's all-too-easy for a young child to poke him/herself in the eye with this sharp tip; or worse yet, it could become an extremely hazardous projectile in the event of an accident (even a low-speed one). I actually contacted Diono's customer service department about this issue, and the representative told me that they're aware of the problems with the cup-holder and are working to correct it for future versions of the Radian. I ended up tossing the Radian cup-holder and getting the BRICA Deluxe Snack Pod Stroller Drink and Snack Holder, Gray, which clamps onto the car seat. It's not a perfect work-around, but it'll have to suffice until Diono (or 3rd-party manufacturer) comes up with a better cup-holder alternative.
Pretty deserving of 5 stars, once you figure out how to use the darn thing
We have a mostly love and a little bit of hate relationship with our Dionos. We're not the most patient people, but we've finally put a little muscle into these seats and we've come to love them. If you can stick with these seats, I think you'll find, like we do, that they're a great investment. But, I'll also tell you why they will make you cry at times. If you can bear with this lengthy review, I will let you in on the secrets of the awe-inspiring and tear-inducing Radian.
Why we love these seats (we own two, one for each car):
(1) The Radian is a tank. To my knowledge, it is one of only two seats on the market that is fully steel-framed. The Clek Foonf is the other one, which is unpronounceable, more expensive, and doesn't last as long: your child has to be able to sit upright before using it and it only lasts until the child is 65 pounds. At the rate my child eats, he will be 65 pounds by a year-and-a-half, which would be not long after he started sitting up. Now, with the Radian, although all car seats have to meet government safety standards (quite easy to forget in the guilt/hype advertising of buying baby products), we feel a great sense of peace and security when going on long car trips with it.
(2) The Radian is narrow and therefore still lets you have some of your backseat. When my wife and I were young and naďve (approximately 1 1/2 years ago, while expecting our aforementioned first child), we thought we would have three children, or we at least didn't want to have to re-buy car seats because of that possibility. So, we initially gravitated toward the Radian because it's a super narrow seat and allegedly fits three across the backseat of cars. Well, now that the shock of having a toddler is with us, I can assure you that my wife and I have not measured or tested whether three Radians can fit across our backseats, nor do we plan on testing that out. But, if you are blessed with more baby-patience than we are and plan to have lots of young'uns, then you will probably like this feature of the Radian. In any case, the narrowness of the seat is nice when I'm schlepping my coworkers to Denny's for lunch and two of them can fit in the back of my tiny sedan with no problem.
(3) The Radian's dimensions are compact, but if they don't make sense for your car, buy an angle adjuster. Speaking of my tiny sedan, the Radian probably will fit in your car. Before we bought our Radians, we read about people fitting these in Honda Accords and Honda Fits all day long. So unless you're driving a Pinto, I would think you'd be able to get the Radian installed. But, with that being said, the fit isn't necessarily going to be perfect (especially because the seat is so tall). Although the Radian fits perfectly into my small, older sedan, it was a mess at first in my wife's larger sedan. So, we researched and bought the $10 "angle adjuster" on OnlineShopDealer that Radian makes, and that solved the problem. Just that inch of foam somehow made a huge difference, such that without the angle adjuster she couldn't see out the rearview mirror, and with the angle adjuster she can barely see that the Radian is even there. Her cousin also had fit problems (even with a mid-sized SUV) until she bought the angle adjuster, though her cousin had to end up installing the seat behind the passenger side instead of in the middle. So, to make a long story short, the fit of the Radian may not be perfect for your car, but you can likely rig it with the angle adjuster to make it work. In any case, I would definitely recommend choosing the shipping option that also offers free returns. I remember seeing that some colors would ship with free returns (I'm not sure if that's a Prime-specific thing or a seller-specific thing or what).
(4) The Radian has high weight limits for rear-facing (45 pounds), which is important to us, so we can have our young'un rear-facing for as long as possible. This is higher than some other seats we were considering.
Why we used to curse these seats (but we're over it now, we promise):
(1) We bought these seats with the idea that this would be the only seat we'd have to buy for our young'un, because it's supposed to go from newborn in rear-facing mode to 120 pounds in booster mode. He was born a hearty size, not preemie but not humongous, yet the angle was so steep that he would have probably been taken away by CPS right then and there at the hospital if we had tried to drive him away like that--seriously, it was more like a 75 degree angle, not the desired 45 degree angle; he would have looked like Hannibal Lecter strapped to the almost-upright gurney in Silence of the Lambs. Maybe it was the slope of our sedans' back seats, and maybe you'll have better luck in your car, but we had to buy a Graco bucket seat (with two bases) that we used for the first several months. So, we weren't happy about spending the extra money on another seat, but in the long run, it didn't turn out to be too much money and it was convenient to be able to carry our infant in a bucket seat.
(2) It took an act of Congress and many test runs with a very upset little boy for us to figure out how to tighten the straps properly. We find this to be a major downside to this seat, or at least a major frustration. The instructions are complicated and the seat is not intuitive at all. You can google it, and terms like "ratchet" and "tug tug tug" will pop up, and to us, that didn't help at all. Basically, what we learned is that there's a little metal bar at the bottom middle of the seat (almost at the base of the seat, in the front). It's a metal clip that resembles an airplane seat belt clip. To tighten the straps, you have to pull up on the metal bar/clip with one hand and pull on that section of the strap, while at the same time putting your other hand behind the car seat where the "slack" in the straps is and using that hand to pull the straps as tight as you need them. Some people say it helps to do this while having only the chest clip strapped; we found this to be true. Two things to note about this: you usually have to adjust the straps every time you get in the car, and the metal clip, at least in our cars, is wedged between the car seat and the backseat. So although we have figured out how to tighten the straps, the Radian is not known for being the most user-friendly car seat.
(3) Finally, we won't talk about the long nights that my wife made me install the seats. We just won't. My only advice on that is to watch the video instructions that come with the instruction booklet (through the QR reader on your smartphone), google, google, google, and beer, beer, beer. Then, once you think you have it installed, definitely don't forget to have a local fireman (or two or three) check your work.
Basically, the Radian makes you feel like it's possible to get close to being Parent of the Year for buying a steel-framed car seat, until you realize that you have no idea to use it. And then slowly, you learn how to use it, and then you feel kind of awesome again.
LOVE Our Radian RXTs!
We have an RXT in plum (purple) for our 20-month-old and just recently purchased another in spring (floral) for our baby girl due in 3 weeks. We absolutely love these seats. They have a few minor cons, but overall, it is well worth the price. They install quickly and easy (with seatbelt, have not tried LATCH), fit great in our car and will accommodate my off-the-charts toddler rear-facing for at least a few years. If you have issues with it being too reclined or not fitting in your car, I recommend purchasing the angle adjuster aold by Diono. It will give you about and extra 4" of space front-to-back.
- High limits for big kids
- Low profile means kids can climb in by themselves and more leg room for older kids
- Much deeper (higher sides) than it appears; excellent side impact protection
- Excellent quality; material wipes clean, soft and comfy, cute colors/patterns
- Folds for storage and travel
- Heavy due to steel frame (27 pounds, I believe)
- Cupholders do not attach securely meaning a projectile risk (whether in an accident or at the hands of bored toddlers)
- Price; although I believe the seat is worth the price, it is simply out of budget for some. If you like the RXT but not the price, I suggest the R120. Exact same seat without the headwings.
Just a couple of notes:
- Newer seats are being shipped with the newer harness covers which are nice for older children but much too large and bulky for babies and small toddlers. You can call/email Diono and they will send you the smaller ones free of charge (and vice versa. I needed the large covers for my son and the small covers for baby girl, and they sent me both sets for free).
- This seat does NOT come with the backpack carrying straps.
- Because of the limits set on the seat, most children will outgrow the booster mode about the same time that they outgrow the harness. Unless your child is heavy and short, you will likely need to purchase a dedicated booster when they outgrow the harness.
- I must commend OnlineShopDealer, Diono and FedEx. I ordered this seat Friday morning and selected overnight/Saturday delivery (only $16!). The seat arrived before noon on Saturday with the box, packaging and contents in pristine condition.
Overall we LOVE this seat and are very impressed by the ordering process! Highly recommended!
Our baby girl arrived on 7/29 and has now been using this seat for a week. I was a bit worried that she would be swimming in it and flop around. I am pleased to report that she fits perfectly, nice and snug! The head support cradles her head perfectly and the body support keeps her nice and secure. The harness adjusts down tight enough and the bottom slots are below her shoulders like they should be. Chest clip is huge, but that's not really an issue. I'm not sure I'd put a very small infant in this seat, but my 8 pound, 5 ounce little girl fits great!
Not a purple people eater
My very tall 5 year old daughter outgrew her car seat. After some online research and reading reviews, I decided on the Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat. DD chose the plum color. She is very happy with the color choice.
My husband, 2 daughters and I were in a car wreck 12/2010. My daughters were in different brand car seats and were not injured. My husband and I both fractured and broke bones although we were wearing seat belts and had air bags. The replacement car seats we bought after the wreck were from Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Due to our injuries, we needed immediate replacements and did not have time to wait and make a purchase.
In my search I wanted the best. The review on the Diono web site of the car seat that survived the parking garage collapse really sold me. I love the birth to 10 year range. I chose the RXT model due to the side head supports. Every car seat I have tried does not support the child's head from rolling forward even when rear facing.
I have a 2001 Kia Optima. My 5 year old is forward facing and my 2.5 year old is rear facing. I am due with a third child and needed to fit 3 car seats in the back. The Diono Radian RXT is rear facing behind the driver's seat. I sacrificed a little leg room to keep the seat RF. I just purchased the Diono angle adjuster. I hope this will give me more leg room. The head supports keep my 5 year old and 2.5 year kids' heads supported while they sleep.
I just ordered the third seat in less than a week for the new baby on the way. I was able to install the seats with the latch system in my 2001 Kia Optima. I also tried using the shoulder belt and found the installation equally simple RF and FF. I had to read the instructions several times to complete the latch installation. I found the photo instructions useful. The seats were easy to tighten and did not move after I installed them.
I like the feature with the ability to list the child's emergency contact information found by the seat belt adjuster. I was able to speak when we had our car wreck. It is comforting to have this additional feature in the instance we were not able to communicate or unconscious.
The option for 4 cup holders that do not fall off are wonderful. I am really happy with both my purchases so far. I look forward to testing the car seat with the new baby when it comes. I wish I had known about these car seats before now. I found the cost to be justified. The kids are excited about the colors. Both kids can climb into their car seats unaided. My 5 year old cannot unbuckle the car seat easily which is helpful.
I really could not be more pleased with the Diono Radian RXT. In conclusion the birth to 10 years feature, steel frame construction, ability to fold flat, side head supports and overall comfort to my kids are the reason I love these seats. I wish they made them for adults. After sustaining a fractured pelvis, I am happy to have my kids in such safe and wonderful car seats. The cost is worth every cent.
i called diono customer service and asked about the material...
the plum, cobalt, daytona, shadow are nylon (midcromesh) material, she said most parents that have children with skin problems (eczema, rashes) purchased this item. also its easier to clean she said.
rugby, spring, storm are micro fiber. harder to clean but the material she said breaths better.
so its really up to you ... my son has eczema so i am def. going with the nylon material..;
these ROCK - no flame retardants on the fabric!!! but my first smelled like chemicals.. say what?
I bought this seat for two reasons. A. it rear faces until 45 lbs... totally awesome.
But... the first one I receive smelled horribly of chemicals.. it smelled like oil based paint. It even stunk up my washer. I had several people come smell and they all agreed that I was NOT insane. We narrowed it down to the foam on the backing of the seat pad. I returned it and received another in rugby and it had the same smell but more faint. I washed it times and aired it out outside for several days and the odor is gone. This was very off putting though. Whats strange is I have a radian in the grey color that I had also just purchased and there was no smell what so ever.
I have a little guy who is only 28 lbs but he was sooooo camped and uncomfortable in his evenflo titan elite. We put him in this and he adores it and has tons of room... a LOT more leg room. Now he will be able to rear face until he is at least 4 years old. We also bought one for our 9 mo old. It is such a high quality seat. Her buckle never slips down and the straps never get twisted. It is also super easy to loosen and tighten the straps. Unlike most seats that aren't ideal for rear facing the tightening strap mechanism allows you to pull up instead of out which is a problem when the seat of the car is in the way. It tightens in small incriments and I can get baby nice and snug without screwing around and fighting a strap.
THe super latch system is awesome. Sooo easy to install and tighten.
Another thing that is amazing about this seat is that there are NO flame retardants used on the outer fabric (grey and rugby). In the testing done a few years ago, the Diono radian was the oNLY seat that had zero amounts of nasty toxic crap.
My only complaint is that it leans back very far and is a tall seat. I totally understand that this is necessary for its rear facing capability but its a huge pain in the butt to install at a different angle. It is approved and tested to be at any angle between 45 and 30 degrees yet the only way to acheive this is to purchase the foam angle adjuster. I just bought two and am annoyed about being out another $20! I wish there was a recline function that would allow the seat to lock into place. If I had a tiny baby that needed the 45 degree angle I don't know how this would fit in our car. I am struggling to get two of them installed rear facing in a MINIVAN and still allow room for my older child and other passangers. That said... the fact that my kids love it, are super safe, can stay rear facing for a LONG time and aren't exposed to nasty brominated flame retardants on the fabric it is well well well worth it. I would not buy any other seat.