Rating: 5/5 stars
When Diono (then called Sunshine Kids) designed the Radian, they clearly thought outside the box. The Radian family of seats includes three different models (the R100, R120, and RXT) that share some rare, clever, and very useful features. They are narrow, which makes them easy to fit 3-across, even if you don’t drive a tank (as in, I’ve heard of people fitting three of them across the back of a Civic—they’re that narrow). Radians are also low-profile; the lower sides facilitate easy loading and unloading of the child, and they are particularly handy in two-door cars where space to maneuver a baby up and over the side is limited. All models of the Radian also fold flat and can be carried backpack-style or with an included shoulder strap, making them a great choice for travel (that is, if you’re pretty strong—the seat weighs in at around 30 pounds).
The RXT model provides some extras not found on the other, less expensive Radians. It has memory foam padding, head wings for extra side-impact protection, an infant insert, and a cup holder. Parents of heavier children will be attracted by the 45-pound rear-facing weight limit, 5 pounds higher than the vast majority of other convertibles. On the downside, some people—myself included—find the ratcheting harness-adjusting mechanism difficult to tighten adequately. Overall though, if you can afford the rather hefty price tag, the Radian RXT is one of the best-quality and longest-lasting convertible seats available; try it and you’re almost certain to love it.
- Very narrow – can fit 3 across in many mid-size cars
- Plush and comfortable
- Low sides make it easy to get child in and out of the seat
- With angle adjuster (sold separately and for use with babies who can sit unassisted and have good head control) is compact enough to fit rear-facing in almost any car
- High height and weight limits for both rear- and forward-facing (American Academy of Pediatrics and NHTSA recommend rear-facing to at least age 2 and as close to age 4 as possible)
- Folds up and comes with a shoulder strap for travel
- Will fit average-size newborns
- Very expensive
- Ratcheting harness mechanism is difficult to operate
- Low rear-facing belt path can make installation tricky
- Difficult to attach cup holder
- Not useful as a booster—the booster mode is outgrown at the same height as the five-point harness