Welcome to our little space on the net! This blog is just about our family life, and began as a way to keep family and friends updated on what was going on with my pregnancy with our first son, Gage. We've since added Evie to our family, and I continue to blog about family life, car seats, spina bifida, and anything else that catches my attention.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Recaro ProSport Review

I just traded another tech my Radian 80SL for a Recaro ProSport. It's not a very common seat, so I thought I'd do a little review of it.

Recaro is a name racing fans will know. They make aftermarket racing seats and accessories. They now have an almost complete line of child seats. I think they are just missing the infant carrier.

The ProSport is the replacement for the now-retired YoungSport. It's a combination seat, which means it is a forward-facing harnessed seat that converts to a booster.


The weight range for the ProSport is 20-90lbs in harnessed mode, and up to 120lbs in booster mode.   It has a minimum of 30lbs for the booster, but does not list a lower age limit.  It says on page 41:

"A child is ALWAYS safest in a child restraint system that has a 5-point harness system built in. RECARO cannot recommend what age your child has to be in order to ride in this seat as a belt-positioning booster, please refer to your state's law, as each law is different. "

Now, as a tech, I know that there is no data showing that a 7 year old that will sit properly is safer in a harness than a booster.  At least, though, it might help those parents of the 3 or 4 year old reconsider before they switching to booster mode early.

I will also add that this seat is not appropriate for a 1 year old, who should still be rear-facing  a la my previous post.

It has 18.5" top harness slots and 20" top belt guide for booster mode.  This is important since a child outgrows a forward facing seat when their shoulders go over the top harness slots, or their ears go over the seat's shell.  There are 4 harness positions which can all be used in either harnessed mode or booster mode.

The ProSport has some interesting differences from other combo seats I've played with. It has an open belt path. The seat belt or LATCH strap is right behind the cover, with no hole to thread them through. This makes installing really easy, since you can see what you're doing.  *note: the seat wasn't actually installed with the seatbelt in this pic.  I just put it though the path for pictures purposes*

The LATCH strap has 2 adjusters on it- one on each side. Since it is 1 continuous strap, you can tighten using either or both of the adjusters.

In general a booster can either be LATCHed in in booster mode, to keep the unoccupied booster from becoming a projectile, or it can't.  You can't use the lower anchors on the ProSport, but you can, and are encouraged to use the top tether.

The ProSport has a no-rethread harness, which is nice.  Like the Britax Frontier, though, you can't change the harness height without uninstalling the seat.  I've gotten spoiled with my True Fit in this regard.

The ProSport's harness adjuster is buttery smooth. It's so easy to get the harness as tight as it should be without much effort at all. The chest clip is the typical IMMI clip, found on Britax seats and the True Fit line. It has the Safeguard push-on LATCH connectors. Those things make installing so nice and easy. There is no right and wrong side to them, as the strap is connected at the bottom of the clip. If there was 1 feature I wish every seat had, it would be these LATCH connectors.

Side-impact protection is not something that's regulated in the US.  Really, a manufacturer can claim that theirs is the best, but we really have no way of comparing.  If any seat has it, though, it's the ProSport.  Not only does it have head wings, but torso wings as well.  Even if SIP is all marketing, it's still a great place to take a nap.

The ProSport has a recline block that can be flipped forward for a bit of recline, or back for a more upright install.. I can see that in some cars, the recline will help with installation, and in some it would be better without it reclined.  Mine is currently reclined, because it gives just a tiny bit of a gap at the base of the seat for the LATCH connectors to sit.  It installs well without, but the base of the seat itself is wide in the back and pretty much sits right on the LATCH connectors.

I love this seat.  It seems comfortable for Gage.  It looks like a racing seat, and not at all "baby."  He fits with his shoulders just at, or maybe just a tiny bit over the 2nd harness slots, so we use the 3rd.  He has a LOOOOONGGG way to grow before getting to the 18.5" top slots.  I would bet he'd fit in harnessed mode in this seat until at least age 6, maybe longer. 

Right now, we have the Hanna (pink and brown) cover.    I would like to get Gage either Envy or Opal Blue to replace the Hanna (anybody want to trade??).  They all have the same kind of fabric that's kind of slick, not plush, and seems very resistant to getting dirty.  I would imagine it'd be easy to just wipe off if it does get dirty.  The other colors available are Midnight (black) and Misty (gray) and they are plush.

It's very padded and cushy, with an optional pad that can be used in the bottom of the seat if desired.  Gage hasn't been using it, but still thinks it's very comfy.  It has harness covers and a buckle pad, as well.


Jamie said...

How wide is this, in comparison to other seats? Madi has a britax, and it's SO wide and puffy. I love it, but if we are able to adopt Manasa, I'll need to be able to fit 3 car seats in a seat, as Conner will still only be around 6 and Madi around 4, and Manasa around 3, so I'll need seats for all of them that fit in my Acura MDX.

Emmilu said...

cool seat!

Tori B said...

This was a really helpful review. I recently purchased a Recaro ProSport seat for my son. I do not notice that it can recline. In your review you say it can recline, can you please tell me where I would fine the reclining mechanism? I called Recaro and the customer service lady also said she could not find it. In many places online I find information that is DOES recline, but none of the sites say where. Thanks!

Jessica said...

Tori, I believe Recaro has quit including the recline block with the recent Prosport, presumably to cut costs in a way few would notice. I just had to look to see if mine was installed with it flipped forward (reclined) or not. In my experience, the recline block could help with certain installations, but really doesn't do much as far as really reclining noticeably for the child's preference. We do know that a more upright install is generally preferred for forward facing, in order to direct the most crash force to a larger area of the harness (not down into the crotch strap). At any rate, if you feel you need it, I have read that Recaro will send you one (I guess if you talk to the right CS rep!). They also have a piece of foam that is curved to fill the space between the shell and LATCH strap or seat belt. They will send that free of charge.