Sunday, August 31, 2008

Product Review: Radian 80 Carseat

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When we made the decision to adopt two children with special needs we knew a few things in our car would need to be adjusted sometime soon.

First, we were going to need another car seat.

Second, three of our four children would benefit from being backward facing much longer than 1 year and 20 lbs.

Third, three of our kids would benefit from a 5 point harness higher than 40lbs.

Fourth and last, with four children in car seats for now a thin seat which fits 3 across a bench would be very helpful

We found all of these things in a seat made by Sunshine Kids called the Radian. Radian comes in two types. One is the Radian 80 and the other is a Radian 65. The numbers refer to the weight limit on the car seat. That means that the Radian 65 holds kids in a 5 point harness until 65lbs. The Radian 80 up to 80lbs in a 5-pt harness!

My first thought was "why would I want an 80lb kid in a 5 pt harness??" My second thought "what would happen to Emma if she wasn't in a 5 pt harness during a car accident?" Not a pretty thought. She'll likely always need a 5-pt restraint in the car. Radian 80 was my answer.

I purchased a Radian 80 in July and have been using it for Emma since then. It comes with head and trunk supports for infants and toddlers. The head support is to small for her gigantic head (kidding, but it is too small) but the trunk supports are great! She sits in a straight line instead of "sinking in" to her car seat! Emma is backward facing and the car seat has been used in the second and third rows of our Chevy Venture. It fit fine in both positions, but it does impede the front seat from reclining much when in the second row. It was behind the driver's seat and I could sit comfortably to drive (I'm 5'4") but my husband feels a little cramped (he's 5'10"). There was no problem with the seat being in the 3rd row. It fit "snugly" between the second and third rows but was reclined plenty and worked fine.

The good things?

  • Comes with support for infants/toddlers, perfect for low-tone.
  • goes rear facing over 33lbs
  • forward facing with 5-pt harness up to 80lbs
  • "low profile" sides makes it easy to get the kids in and out of without having to lift them up and over something high (it also makes kids able to kick each other in the back seat though...)
  • I've put the Radian, an Alpha Omega, and a high back booster across the third row just fine! Three Radians fit well I am told.

So... the down side?

  • It is heavy. So carrying it around isn't recommended. (then again, it IS supposed to be in a car...)
  • It is long (but not so long that it doesn't fit)

I think that about covers it! I am happy with our purchase, would buy it again (probably will, actually for one of my other kids) and would definitely recommend it to others!!


  1. Thanks for this review! I may be needing one of these soon. Looks like a great car seat.

  2. Looks like Emma enjoys the car seat too. She seems to be comfortable and it probably feels good to have all of the support around her trunk area.

  3. I, too, highly recommend this seat! Our almost-six-year old ripped his seat apart (he was the third to use it) and I was looking for something to keep him in a 5-pt. for a long time. We, too, have one and he loves it. He feels safe and secure. He kept undoing a regular seatbelt saying he didn't like it! This seat solved our problems. We also bought one for the residence for neuro kids he's at now so when they transport him he has the exact same safety!

  4. I have 5 of these car seats(no, that's not a typo...I have 5). I LOVE them! My 6 year old "typcal" daughter is still in one because she only weighs 32lbs and I believe that she's safer in the 5 point harness. It's also great for my boys with low tone. I drive a slightly bigger vehicle(Suburban), but we fit 3 across the back and 2 in the front when we use all 5 and still have room for my 9 year old. Yep, I LOVE this car seat and would recommend it to everyone!