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The Britax Eclipse is a tried-and-tested, good value car seat, which even fits in smaller or three door cars.
First produced in 1999, the Britax Eclipse is a Group 1 car seat for children weighing 9kg to 18kg, which should last your child from 9 months up to 4 years.
The Britax Eclipse car seat can be strapped in using either a normal diagonal seat belt or a lap belt. It can be a bit tricky threading the belt through the back of the chair, but a spring loaded belt locking mechanism then holds it firmly in place.
On the safety side, the Britax Eclipse uses a 5-point safety harness that can be tightened with one pull. Loosening the harness is a bit more difficult however, as you need to press a button between your child’s legs with one hand, while pulling the straps forward with your other hand.
The pitch control system reduces how much your child can move forward, and the seat has deep padded side wings to protect against any side impact.
The Britax Eclipse also comes in six different colour combinations, catering for tastes from matt black to a pink extravaganza called Candy Hearts.
What we love
The Britax Eclipse has a narrow base, so it’s suitable for smaller cars, three door versions or even sporty models with sculptured seats. It also means it doesn’t take up the whole of the back seat so you can still squeeze a couple of adults next to it when travelling with a full car. When we could not face driving all the way from London to Devon, we lugged the Britax Eclipse onto the train with us and it was easy to wedge it onto a train seat so Isabel could travel in comfort rather than wriggling on and off our laps.
In the welcome event that Isabel falls asleep in the car, I can lean back and adjust the recline position while she is still sitting in her Britax Eclipse car seat.
The cover can be removed and bunged in the washing machine at 30 degrees, which is handy if the build up of biscuit crumbs, apple juice and squashed raisins ever becomes overwhelming. The harness straps can also be removed for cleaning.
What to watch out for
Even though there are clear guides on the car seat itself, it is still a bit fiddly threading the seat belt through the back of the Britax Eclipse to strap it in. It becomes easier if you start by putting the Britax Eclipse in the deepest recline position, as this creates a larger gap to wrestle with.
The Britax Eclipse is also quite a hefty car seat, which is not ideal if you need to keep getting it in and out of your car, or have to carry it long distances.
You need to hold the two halves of the buckle together to strap your child in place, which can be a struggle if they’re trying to escape, but the buckle does make a reassuring click when you push the pieces into the right place.
While the deep padded wings may provide great side impact protection, they do restrict how much Isabel can see out of the window.
Who is the Britax Eclipse best for?
Parents after a good value car seat, especially if they drive a smaller or three door car.
The Britax Eclipse is a safe and sturdy car seat, if heavy, that’s easy to recline, easy to clean, fits in small places and has stood the test of time. You can reasonably ask yourself, “Why pay more?” with this option around.