How does the new Diono Radian series of seats compare to the precedessor Sunshine Kids Radian car Seats. This blog explains some of the differences.
The new Diono car seats have hit the market and we are getting a lot of questions about the differences between the Sunshine Kids Radian seats and the new Diono Radian car seats. Here is a list of some of the bigger differences:
Although the exterior dimensions of the new Diono Radian seats are the same as it’s predecessor the new model has some really nice enhancements to make the seat roomier. It is wider at the shoulders making it one of the widest interior seats on the market. The seat is also deeper and wider at the hips. They have introduced new pop down sides to the seat giving even more room for the child as they grow. The pop down sides also allow the child to sit cross legged in the seat much easier.
The new Diono Radian seats are an infant/child/booster seat, also commonly referred to as a 3 in 1, but for which Diono has termed the phrase “birth to booster”. The new addition of the booster mode means that once your child has out grown the 5 point harness you may then use the seat as a booster.
Infant/child/booster seats do not have a great reputation among car seat advocates mainly because it is very difficult, if not impossible for a single seat to do a great job through all 3 phases. After playing with this seat and trying different children in it for a while now, I’d have to say that this also applies to the Diono Radian. So let’s take a moment to look at what it is good at and where it falls down.
The infant/child components of the seat have not changed with the new version, still allowing children to rear-face to 40/45lbs and forward face in a 5 point harness to 65lbs or 51 inches. The increased interior space mentioned above actually allows for increased room for an older child allowing them to stay in the seat longer.
The booster component of the seat, is the newest addition and in my opinion this is where the “not best fit” may apply. The limitations of the new booster mode are mainly due to the belt path height adjustments and the height restrictions of the child in the seat.
The belt shoulder height is controlled by a belt path guide under the side impact head support in the RXT model which I believe will work quite well for most children. However on the R100 and R120 models the belt path is controlled by a metal clip at the top of the seats which is not adjustable. For shorter children this will cause the shoulder belt not to be in an ideal position.
The specifications for the booster mode is 57 inches which is a lot less than many high back boosters on the market today. Also the middle of the ear rule applies whereby if the middle of the child’s ear is at or above the top of the back of the seat, the child may no longer use the seat.
One great feature of the booster mode is that according to the seat specifications a child must be 50lbs and their shoulders must be above the 4th harness slot before they can use this mode. By doing this Diono is forcing parents to keep there children in a 5 point harness, which is a much safer practice for the child. It also will address some of the shoulder height issues mentioned above as a 50 lb child is a lot taller than a 40 lb child.
My concern with the 50 lb booster mode limit is that having an increased minimum weight for a booster seat is not a standard practice among car seat manufacturers. In most provinces in Canada children can be put in a booster at 40lbs. While this increased weight provides a safer experience for the child I believe it will be a huge area of misuse for this seat. Uninformed parents will put their child in the booster mode at 40 lb because “that is when you can” and let’s face it most people don’t read the manual!
So given the limitations of the new booster mode, is the Diono Radian series of seats a good investment for your child? Is there increased value to support the $30 in increased price over the Sunshine Kids predecessor? I believe the answer is yes. While you may not get much use out of the booster mode, it is there for emergency situations and will work for a while for most children coming out of the 5 point harness. But don’t plan on never purchasing a booster seat because most children will outgrow the booster mode. There is also value in the increased interior room of the seat and the child cup holder that is included with the seat for which a lot of competitors charge $16.99 -$19.99.
While I’ve been hard on the new booster mode, I have to admit that as seats go in this category this seat is way better and has much higher specifications than any other 3 in 1 seats currently available on the market. At the time of this writing, it is also the only 3 in 1 seat that you will find at Snuggle Bugz.
I hope this answers some of your questions about the differences of the new Diono Radian series. If you have questions or comments please ask or leave them in the comments below as we would love to hear from you! As well, take a second to check out the selection of Diono products at SnuggleBugz.ca
And check out this video if you have the chance –
Till next time,