In August, I learned that Britax was coming out with a new line of ClickTight convertible seats, extending the system that first debuted in the Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90. I was particularly excited to find out that the Advocate, Boulevard, and Marathon would be refreshed in ClickTight fashion. A bit of time passed and I was able to pick up and review the Britax Advocate ClickTight, and now my Marathon ClickTight has arrived, which means it’s time for another review!
2017 update: Nothing significant has changed with the Marathon ClickTight. It’s still a great seat at the 40-pound convertible mark with enough headroom to keep almost all kids rear-facing until they hit the weight limit.
2017 Britax Marathon ClickTight – What’s the big deal?
The Britax Marathon ClickTight is basically a hybrid of the ClickTight technology in seats like the Frontier 90 or Advocate ClickTight and the features of the Britax Marathon G4, along with greater height limits and safety features thrown in. What does this all mean? Well, for starters, we’re dealing with a convertible car seat, so you can set it up to both rear-face for infants and forward-face for older children.
The Marathon ClickTight joins the Boulevard ClickTight and the Advocate ClickTight as one of the three newest car seats in general and convertibles in particular from Britax. According to Britax engineers and designers, the goal was to make it possible for every parent to install the car seat safely and securely in a variety of circumstances. Frankly, I think they did a great job in achieving this goal, and read on to see why.
Britax Marathon ClickTight Limits for Weight and Height
Rear-facing: 5-40 pounds. The 1″ rule applies for your child’s head; it shouldn’t get past 1″ below the inner shell’s top. Previous Britax seats made use of the outer shell, but now that the inner shell is used, the height limits of Britax seats are going to be a lot more impressive. You essentially have around 27″ of maximum seated height, which is about as good as it gets right now for rear-facing in the industry, even when compared to seats like the Fllo, 4Ever, NextFit, and Size4Me!
Forward-facing: 20-65 pounds with a 54″ height limit. The top harness height limit is 17.7″ while the lowest is 8.35″, and the height can be adjusted in .85″ increments. The top harness height of the Advocate is taller, but this is still a good amount of height for most children.
The shoulder height of the Marathon ClickTight can stretch up to 16.95″ while rear or forward-facing, and your child’s ear tips need to be beneath the shell’s top end. Britax recommends that your child be at least two, but I’d recommend remaining rear-facing until 4 if at all possible, and longer if your seat and child permit. The research backs this up, and in Sweden, where the fewest children per capita die in car crashes, the average time spent rear-facing is years. Similarly, after rear-facing for as long as possible, your child should forward-face for as long as possible before switching into a booster seat.
Dimensions of the Britax Marathon ClickTight
The Marathon ClickTight is 18.5″ wide, 23.5″ tall, and 23″ deep. It weighs 28.5 pounds, which is significantly less than the Advocate ClickTight, though still heavier than the previous edition of the Britax marathon. The ClickTight technology is a big part of why it weighs more, and that weight is worth it in my opinion.
Using the Britax Marathon ClickTight
Britax is hanging the entire reputation of their ClickTight technology on ease of use and installation, and it makes sense that they’d prioritize this to such a degree when research shows that most car seats in the United States aren’t installed correctly. Tackling this would make a significant difference in our child mortality rates, and I’m always happy to see a company going after something to benefit children this way.
The entire point of the ClickTight system is to make it easy for anyone to install a convertible seat in a range of conditions and with limited experience. The process is rather straightforward: You open the ClickTight release, route the seat belt of the vehicle through the lower rear-facing slots, attach the seat belt, and then push the ClickTight system into its closed position. The graphic below from Britax summarizes the process nicely; it’s pretty much fool-proof in my experience.
As I’ve said in the Advocate ClickTight review, the process will be highly welcome by most parents, as it takes a lot of the guesswork out of a good install. For me, this reason alone is big enough to seriously consider the Britax Marathon ClickTight. You don’t need any more room than you would for a seat belt install, and it’s probably easier than a LATCH install, which means you get the space-saving benefits of a seat belt with the ease of use of LATCH, all in one convenient package. Not bad, right?
The seat itself is shipped securely with protective padding and fits its box well. I purchase pretty much of all of my seats online through Amazon, and it always makes me happy to see my seats arrive in good condition. You have a number of recline points available on the seat to help you choose the right recline level for your child whether rear- or forward-facing; I counted 7 on the seat, and there’s an automatic level indicator that lets you know if your recline is good or not.
You have a no-rethread harness built into the seat, which is something that should be standard on every car seat, in my opinion, since it just makes life so much easier when using the same car seat with multiple children or when adjusting to quickly-growing kids. You have 12 positions for the harness and 2 positions for the crotch buckle. This is fewer than the 14 harness heights available on the Advocate ClickTight, but it’s still likely to be more than most children will need.
Why Buy the Britax Marathon ClickTight?
This is the most important and relevant part of any car seat review, in my opinion. Yes, it’s nice to have the no-rethread harness and this and that, but why exactly should you buy a seat like the Marathon ClickTight? Well, first of all, it lets you rear-face until 40 pounds, which is a big thing in the United States, since most children are turned around far too early. The more height and weight room you have in a car seat, the longer you can rear-face, and the longer you can rear-face, the better your child’s odds are of surviving a serious car accident if you’re unlucky enough to get into one.
Keep in mind that children in Sweden typically aren’t turned forward-facing until they’re 4; this makes them much more likely to survive the very car accidents that claim so many children’s lives in the United States. Buying a car seat like the Marathon ClickTight and using it to its rear-facing limits can save your child’s life; it’s as simple–and essential–as that. There are a number of seats that allow you to rear-face past 40 pounds, but 40 is still good.
Beyond the safety benefits of rear-facing, however, I am also a huge fan of the ClickTight system, since it makes it that much easier to get a secure and correct installation whether forward- or rear-facing. Since most seats in the United States simply aren’t going to be installed correctly, it’s a great thing when you come across a system that makes it nearly impossible to achieve an incorrect installation.
For additional safety, you get a number of Britax technologies, including the SafeCell Impact Protection system and the SafeCell Complete Side Impact Protection system. Essentially, these are systems that are designed to work together to protect kids beyond what’s required through current federal safety standards. Britax designed a number of components to absorb impacts, including the base, tether, harness, steel frame, and sides.
Essentially, the goal is to slow the deceleration of a child in a crash, which leads to lower forces experienced by the child, which leads to lower risks of serious injuries in collisions. These features aren’t tested by anyone other than Britax, but given Britax’s historical commitment to safety, I’d wager they’ve spent enough time testing them to verify they’re worth using in their seats, and I wouldn’t hesitate to put my child in one of them.
In conclusion, while the Marathon ClickTight doesn’t have quite as much room to grow in it when compared to the Advocate ClickTight due to shorter height limits, it’s also a much cheaper seat and quite frankly, a great deal if you’re simply looking for unparalleled ease of use through the ClickTight feature. It gets you most of the way to the Advocate ClickTight while costing much less, which makes it a much more affordable and practical seat for a number of parents.
I recommend the Britax Marathon ClickTight wholeheartedly. You can buy the Britax Marathon ClickTight in a range of colors here, including Cowmooflage, Twilight, Rio, and Verve. Canadians can buy it here.
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