Britax is known for safe, innovative car seats, and parents say the Parkway SG delivers on that reputation. The seat features ample side-impact protection and a SecureGuard feature that keeps kids from slipping under their lap belts in a crash. It also has a narrow profile that reviewers like for carpools or fitting multiple car seats in one row. However, some complain that SecureGuard makes the seat uncomfortable and hard to buckle for kids.
Unusual anti-submarining feature. The Britax Parkway SG is a belt-positioning booster that uses a vehicle's existing seat belts. It features side-impact head and side protection, energy-absorbing foam and a SecureGuard seat-belt plate that keeps children from slipping under their lap belts (called submarining) in a crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) names the Parkway SG a "best bet" for proper belt fit in high-back mode and "check fit" in backless mode, meaning it doesn't offer proper belt fit in as many vehicles as some other boosters. Like many belt-positioning boosters, the Parkway SG should be belted to the seat even when unoccupied -- otherwise, it can become a projectile during a crash. The similar Britax Parkway SGL offers LATCH connectors that eliminate that risk for about $30 more. The seat expires six years from its date of manufacture.
Tricky for some kids to buckle up independently. Reviewers say the Britax Parkway SG is easy to install, and they like the quick-adjust headrest. Most say the color-coded belt guides are easy to use and understand, but some parents say their children have trouble independently buckling themselves because of the SecureGuard plate. In ease-of-use ratings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the seat receives 3 stars overall, with testers criticizing needed assembly and incomplete or unclear labeling. However, the instruction booklet is clear and installation is simple, they say.
Narrow seat is good for tight spaces. The Britax Parkway SG converts from a high-back to a backless booster. It has two retractable cup holders and padded armrests. Some reviewers complain that the armrests are too low and small to be comfortable, though. The seat cover, available in muted colors including tan and gray, is removable and machine washable. Reviewers give the seat mixed reviews for comfort. Some say it is amply padded and the head wings are ideal for car naps, but others say the seat is too upright and the SecureGuard plate puts the squeeze on their kids. The seat is relatively lightweight, even in high-back mode, and its narrow width makes it a good pick for carpoolers or families with multiple car seats. It is recommended for children who are 40 to 120 pounds and 38 to 63 inches tall.
The Britax Parkway SG is a pick for best booster seat. Editors praise the seat's versatility and high height and weight limits. They also like the SecureGuard belt clip, cup holders, removable back and one-hand height adjustment. However, the SecureGuard clip may irritate some kids, they say.
Review: Recommended Carseats, Editors of CarSeatBlog.com, September 2013
2. Baby Bargains
"Baby Bargains," a comprehensive book by Denise and Alan Fields, reviews baby gear and common brands. The authors review popular car seats based on expert testing and parents' reviews, as well as information from manufacturers and retailers. Their website offers up-to-date information and forums for parents to discuss baby products.
Review: Car Seats: Booster Seats, Denise and Alan Fields, 10th Edition, 2013
The Britax Parkway SG receives 4.5 out of 5 stars in more than 180 reviews. Reviewers like the safety features, narrow profile and ease of use. Some say their children seem uncomfortable, citing the SecureGuard plate, angle and low armrests. Others say it can be difficult for kids to buckle themselves in.
Review: Britax Parkway SG-2 Booster Seat, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2014
Editors test 13 combination and 33 belt-positioning booster seats, including high-back and backless models. The ratings are reliable and unbiased, and they include highs and lows for each seat. However, there are a couple of discontinued models listed, and it's unclear when the tests were performed.
Review: Booster Seat Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety evaluates booster seats on how well they make a seat belt fit an average 6-year-old. The Britax Parkway SG is rated a "best bet" in high-back mode and a "check fit" for backless mode.
Review: Booster Evaluations for 2013, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Not dated
The Britax Parkway SG receives 3 stars out of 5 for ease of use, with testers criticizing the needed assembly, unclear conversion to a backless booster and unclear or incomplete labeling. Installation is simple, testers say.
Review: Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Not dated
Editors praise the Britax Parkway SG for its narrow profile, safety features and high capacity. However, the armrests don't adjust as much as those of some competitors, and the SecureGuard plate may be uncomfortable, they say.
Review: The Best Booster Car Seats for Big Kids, Editors of BabyCenter.com, Not Dated