History first. During the later part of 2017, the G4.1 line of car seats from Britax was retired so the company could focus on the ClickTight convertibles. In early 2018, they released Essentials by Britax. This is the new line of car seats that are more affordable, but still carries the safety features and ease of use that Britax car seats were known for. Essentials by Britax composed of the Emblem (old name: Boulevard G4.1) and Allegiance (old name: Marathon G4.1).
This review used to be for the Britax Boulevard G4.1. I have updated it to apply to the Britax Emblem model.
|Rear-Facing Weight:||5 to 40 pounds|
|Rear-Facing Height Limit:||The top of the baby’s head is 1 inch below the top of the head restraint/head pad.|
|Forward-Facing Weight:||20 to 65 pounds|
|Forward-Facing Height Limit:||Up to 49 inches|
Good All-In-One Car Seats
Will It Fit In My Car?
Britax is known for making large car seats and thus, many suggests that you search for a store that will allow you to have a test fitting of this product in your vehicle if you have a compact car.
Good Two-Way Car Seats
|Do I need to use a pool noodle/rolled towel?||Yes|
|Easy To Install Rear-Facing by LATCH?||Yes|
|Easy To Install Rear-Facing by Seatbelt?||Relatively|
|Easy To Install Forward-Facing by LATCH?||Yes|
|Easy To Install Forward-Facing by Seatbelt?||Relatively|
|Easy To Uninstall?||Yes|
Unboxing any car seat, one of the highly important things to look for aside from the seat itself is the manual. You can find Emblem’s user manual stored in a cover flap behind the back of where the child must sit.
Many have found that LATCH installation for this seat is the easiest way of setting it up in a car.
I find the manual easy to read and navigate through, although some reviewers find that the illustrations in the manual are insufficient.
Regardless of the installation mode, there are important factors to ensure:
- The vehicle seat belts must be compatible with this product. Incompatible seatbelts include motorized, automatic seatbelt, lap-shoulder belts with top/bottom anchor points on the car door, and lap belts that have sewn-in latch plate with retractors that lock during sudden stops. Not all inflatable lap-shoulder belts are also compatible.
With the car parked on level ground, the recline angle in the rear-facing should be at a minimum of 30 degrees for children and only up to 45 degrees for babies who still could not control their head and neck. We can use a pool noodle or a rolled towel to achieve proper recline angle. Not all parents feel comfortable relying on towels (that could eventually become flat) to rectify the recline problem.
The manual says that there is a line guide on the seat that can be used for setting up the seat in the proper angle, but you might miss this line guide since they do not illustrate this in the manual. You might miss this line in case the seat cover somehow conceals it. Look carefully.
Other expensive Britax convertible car seats may also be propped with towels and noodles, but they at least have bubble recline indicator instead of the line guide.
The lower anchor connectors of Emblem are those stapler-like connectors that work with a simple push which makes the Emblem easiest to install using LATCH. The more costly Britax models have the ClickTight system that makes them optimized for vehicle seat belt installations.
In rear-facing, keep in mind that the lower anchor weight limit is 40 pounds. Change the installation into the vehicle seat belt once the child’s weight reaches this limit.
How To Install The Britax Emblem Rear-Facing Using LATCH
First, prepare the lower anchors stored in the slots at the base of the child restraint. Recline the seat to position #3.Then, firmly press connectors to the lower anchors of the vehicle seat until you hear a click. Push down on the child restraint as you pull the connector strap to tighten it.
No straps must be twisted. The securely installed Emblem should not move over one inch at its belt path. You may watch this video demonstration of the rear-facing LATCH installation.
*Take note that the model used in the next four installation videos uses a different model of Britax, but the installation procedures are the same.
How To Install The Britax Emblem Rear-Facing Using The Seat Belt And Lock-Off
- Loosen the harness.
- Set the appropriate recline angle.
- Access the rear-facing belt path by pulling the head pad up and the seat cover forward.
- Release the blue lock-off that is closest to where the car seat belt would be buckled.
- Route the belt into the right rear-facing belt slots.
- Once you are certain that the belt is not twisted, buckle it.
- Remove any slack from the bottom and from the shoulder belt part before closing the lock-off and before putting back the seat cover and head pillow in place.
Note: In the manual, you’ll see that the installation can be done with just the lap belt. The installation is basically the same with lap-shoulder belt installation. The steps not included are those regarding the use of lock-off (lap belt installations do not use lock-offs) and removing the slack on the shoulder belt area.
How To Install The Britax Emblem Forward-Facing Using LATCH
The lower anchor weight limit in the forward-facing position is 50 pounds, so be sure to monitor the child’s weight and change the installation mode accordingly.
In this mode of installation, you need to prepare not just the lower anchor connectors but also the tether connectors. Set the appropriate recline angle in either position #1 or #2. Press the connectors to the lower anchors and tighten the strap as you push on the Emblem as you could see in this video demo.
How To Install The Britax Emblem Forward-Facing Using Seat Belt
- Adjust the recline angle.
- Loosen the harness.
- Access the forward-facing belt path by pulling up the head pad and seat cover.
- Thread the belt into the correct path.
- Push down on the child restraint to remove slack on the bottom part and into the middle section to remove slack on the shoulder area then close lock-off.
- You must attach the tether to the designated anchor in your vehicle.
Note: The lap belt installation in the forward-facing is also similar to that of lap-shoulder belt rear-facing installation except for the steps regarding lock-offs and removal of slack in the shoulder area. Here is a forward-facing lap belt video guide.
They also include troubleshooting problems and solutions in the manual, such as when harness adjustment to full height seems impossible or when the adjuster strap frays.
Regarding the recline position, you will realize from the installation procedures above that Emblem only has three positions. If you have ever used other Britax models with 7 recline positions before, you will find this to be inadequate.
|Country Of Origin:||USA|
|Side Impact Tested:||Yes|
|Approved For Airplane Use:||Yes|
|Easy To Buckle And Unbuckle?||Yes|
They make these Britax seats in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Its harness has 10 position slots heights. For rear-facing the harness straps must be the closest to or below the shoulders of the child. In forward facing, use the harness slot that is closest to at above the shoulders of the child.
It measures up to the applicable FMVSS 213 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. It is likewise certified for air crafts. The price of Emblem sure is lower than other Britax seats, but its safety features are not inferior.
They also endow it with the patented SafeCell Impact Protection (impact-absorbing base, stabilizing steel frame, impact-absorbing harness, and impact-absorbing tether) from Britax that keeps the crash force away from the sitting child. It also has two layers of side impact protection (adjustable headrest and deep shell).
Its safety standard is remarkable that it scored high, even higher than more expensive Britax models.
One disappointed parent claimed that the head protector of the seat they bought “unknowingly” snapped off into pieces. They only discovered this when they needed to remove the cover to wash it (might have been already snapped off upon purchase). This is a rare incident, but worthy to keep in mind.
|Is The Material Breathable?||Yes|
|Seat Weight:||19.5 pounds|
|Machine Washable Cover?||No|
|Comes With An Infant Body Support?||Just body support|
|Easy To Remove Cover?||Yes|
|Comes With A Cup Holder?||No, sold separately|
|Shoulder Harness Has Pads?||Yes|
At the bottom, there is a rubber rim that will help prevent the seat from slipping. There are also no rough edges that could damage the vehicle seat.
While we may remove the cover, it can only be hand-washed and line dried (so are other Britax models’ cover) as per instructions on the manual. One reviewer admitted that they machine-washed the cover with mild detergent and the cover does not seem to be damaged. If you have a cover of the (retired) Britax G4.1, you can apparently interchange it with Emblem’s cover.
We should use the provided infant body support for babies up to 22 pounds only in the rear-facing. The pillow is not for the forward-facing children over 22 pounds in weight.
Some parents who have used the Emblem have noted that their children’s head slightly slumped forward with the infant insert in rear-facing.
Other more premium Britax models have a 10-year expiration, but Emblem has only a 7-year expiration.
The Emblem does not come with any cup holder so you would need to purchase separately. For replacement parts, call Britax for help.
The chest pads are optional in rear-facing, but recommended in forward-facing.
Price-wise, the Britax Emblem costs less than the high-end Britax models, but still not as cheap as other more wallet-friendly convertible car seats in the market.
This is where you can make your decision on whether to buy the Emblem. Other car seats are surely a lot cheaper, but their safety and ease of use features do not match up with the characteristics clear in Emblem. The additional safety features definitely come at a price.
As parents who have used the Emblem would say, its functionality and features are simple, intuitive and effective. This child restraint is admittedly far from perfect, but it is sturdy and safe.
This seat requires a little effort for its seat belt installation and adjustment, but so do other costly convertible car seats. Thus, if you want to somehow experience the Britax excellence at a lesser price, you could buy this Emblem convertible car seat.
Understand that you get what you pay for so you must not expect that you will get the entire Britax promise (ClickTight, Click-N-safe and Anti-Rebound Bar).
What do you think?
I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments section below!