The Britax Advocate 70-G3 is the biggest, most expensive seat in the Britax line. It offers more side-impact protection than the company's other seats and a harness that clicks to tell parents when it is secure -- a feature that has caused some controversy. The seat receives mainly glowing reviews, but some dislike the bulk that the seat's side wings add. Others say the straps are tricky to adjust, and that the seat's short shell means tall children may have to ride forward-facing sooner than parents would like.
Beefed-up side-impact protection. The Britax Advocate 70-G3 has head-stabilizing wings on its deep, protective sides, a seat base with cells that compress in a crash to reduce forward thrust, and integrated steel bars for greater stability. Large side-impact cushions add another layer of air-filled padding to the top of the seat around the head area. This makes the hard walls of the seat softer for other backseat passengers and acts like a shock absorber for the seat. The Advocate also has a five-point harness that clicks audibly when it has reached the correct tension. Britax says this feature is secondary to parental oversight, but experts counter that it might give parents a false sense of security and urge them to always check the harness themselves. Britax voluntarily recalled Advocates and certain other seats manufactured from June through August 2012 because children could bite off parts of the chest pads, posing a choking risk. The company provided replacement pads to remedy the issue.
Some complaints about straps. Like other Britax seats, the Advocate 70-G3 has a no-rethread harness-height adjuster that allows you to change the harness height from the front with one hand while the seat is installed. However, some owners complain that the seat's straps are too short to comfortably accommodate larger children, while others say the chest pads can make the straps hard to adjust. Reviewers say LATCH attachments click on easily, and that the built-in seat-belt lock-offs allow you to install the seat confidently without LATCH connectors. However, they can be tricky to access, experts say. The machine-washable seat cover comes off easily, though some say it can start to slip off while the seat is in use. The seat receives 4 stars for overall ease of use in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ratings. Testers say the seat labels are incomplete and installation can be tough for those with larger hands, but praise the clear instructions.
Side wings can pose a few issues. Reviewers say the Britax Advocate 70-G3 is plush, roomy and generously padded, and like that it reclines in the forward- and rear-facing positions. But the seat's size and weight are important considerations, too. Some say the side wings make loading and unloading rear-facing kids hard, and that some children dislike how the wings limit their view. The Advocate's side cushions also mean the seat takes up more room in the backseat. While other rear-seat passengers may like the seat's soft padding, they may not appreciate the extra space it commands. The Advocate is also quite heavy, experts note. The seat can be used rear-facing for children from 5 to 40 pounds and forward-facing for children up to 70 pounds. It has an overall height limit of 49 inches. However, experts caution that the seat's shell is relatively short, meaning parents may not be able to keep tall children rear-facing as long as they like -- children must be turned forward-facing when there is only an inch of shell remaining above their heads.
Few service complaints. Britax receives solid customer-service reviews across the web. The Britax website offers comprehensive installation instructions for all models, but you must know the date of manufacture to access the information. All Britax car seats have a one-year limited warranty. The company must authorize all returns. The seat expires and should not be used after seven years. Britax recommends seats be replaced after a moderate to severe crash and lists specific criteria on its website.
1. Baby Bargains
"Baby Bargains" covers the Britax line in general and the Britax Advocate specifically. Authors Denise and Alan Fields consider performance, ease of use and the brand's track record to come up with their overall rating.
Review: Car Seats: Picking the Right Child Safety Seat, Denise and Alan Fields, Tenth Edition, 2013
ConsumerReports.org tests 27 convertible car seats. The ratings are reliable and unbiased, and they include editors' highs and lows for each seat -- helpful for parents who want a quick summary of each seat. However, there are a couple of discontinued models listed, and it's unclear when the tests were performed.
Review: Convertible Car Seat Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
This website, run by professional child-passenger safety technicians and instructors, names the Britax Advocate 70-G3 one of its top recommended convertible seats. This update builds on a previous review of the seat, praising improved buckles, thicker chest pads and an energy-absorbing tether.
Review: Britax Advocate 70 G3 Convertible Carseat Review -- 3rd Generation Improvements and Updates, Darren Qunell, July 30, 2012
4. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The Britax Advocate 70-G3 earns 4 stars out of 5 for overall ease of use in the NHTSA's tests. The Advocate is penalized for poor labels, receives 5 out of 5 stars for evaluation of instructions and securing the child, and 2 to 3 out of 5 for installation features.
Review: Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings, Editors of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, As of February 2014
In more than 300 owner reviews, the Britax Advocate 70-G3 earns 4.5 out of 5 stars. Most give it a perfect 5 stars, but a few say the seat is too bulky. Several say it came with straps that are too short and they had to call Britax for a larger set, while others complain the straps are hard to adjust because of the chest pads.
Review: Britax Advocate 70-G3 Convertible Car Seat, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2014
Horton praises Britax's 3G seats, which all have SafeCell technology in the harnesses and easy-to-use buckles. She also likes the energy-absorbing foam, ease of installation and no-rethread harness adjustments, but does not distinguish between seats.
Review: Babble Blogger Favorites: Infant and Toddler Car Seats, Michelle Horton, Nov. 12, 2012
The Britax Advocate makes this list of 17 convertible seats with extended rear-facing capacities. Rosen says the Britax Advocate is similar to other Britax seats, albeit with a "few more safety bells and whistles" that include souped-up side-impact protection.
Review: 17 Convertible Car Seats with Extended Rear Facing, Melanie Monroe Rosen, Not Dated
Hollie Schultz includes the Britax Advocate on her list of the five best convertible car seats. However, she doesn't include a full review of the seat.
Review: Convertible Car Seats, Hollie Schultz, Undated