This is our second convertible car seat.  We reviewed the Britax Marathon 70 a few months ago.  The Britax spends its life in the wife’s car and since the Britax (and most convertible types of car seat) isn’t easily removable, we had to buy another convertible car seat for my truck.  Wanting to try something a little different, we did some homework and came up with the Safety 1st Complete Air 65.

Part of this review will be on the Complete Air 65 alone and some of the review will compare it against the Marathon 70.

One of the nice things about the Complete Air is that the instructions can be kept in a slot behind the car seat.  This makes it easy to find when you forget to figure out how to use some of the features.  A big safety feature of this CA65 is that you can keep your child rear-facing up to 40lbs and 40 inches.  Since crash tests have found children to be safer while rear-facing in an accident, this is a huge plus.  (But, the unfortunate thing is that most parents are eager to have their child forward-facing and won’t use this option…like me.)  I cannot comment on installation of the car seat in a rear-facing position as I have not used that feature.  I’ve read other reviews where people had trouble fitting this seat in a rear-facing position, so borrow someone else’s and do a test fit for your car before purchasing one.  The forward-facing option is recommended for kids 22-65lbs and 34-52 inches tall.

The CA65 is pretty easy to install forward-facing.  I placed my car seat in the center of the back seat of my 1987 Land Cruiser (and it will stay that way probably until #2 shows up in January).  Back in the awesome 80’s, there were no LATCH anchors in the seat and seat belts were for sissies.  (But, then also the speed limit was 55, not 70.)  In my truck, I use the middle lap belt to pass through the forward-facing belt path of the seat and cinch it up tight.  For the tether or top anchorage strap, I also don’t have an anchor that came standard with my car.  But since I do have aftermarket custom anchors bolted in the back of my truck good for 1300 lbs, I use those.  I do NOT use the LATCH connectors that come with the CA65, so I cannot comment on them.  (I will install some LATCH anchors eventually, so this part of the review will be added then.)  But, I do like the fact that Safety 1st have clips built into the car seat that keep the LATCH connectors out of the way if they aren’t being used.

There are two tilt settings in the forward-facing direction.  You cannot adjust these while the convertible seat is still in the car.  You have to remove the seat to change the tilt.  It’s a little annoying, but I guess it’s because if you can adjust the recliner portion of the seat while it’s strapped down, then the car seat is probably not secure enough in your vehicle.

Let’s start with looks.  This car seat looks cool.  I like the colors that are used and the overall shape of the seat.  To me, it’s aesthetically pleasing…and beefy looking, like my truck.  The air protect pads jut out of the seat like Mickey Mouse ears.  To up the cool factor, I tell passengers that the car seat has built in subwoofers and wait for the ooh’s and ahh’s.  I understand the safety feature of the air protect side impact pads, but it does obstruct the baby’s lateral field of vision.  Since I’m not a fan of car seats that act as baby sensory deprivation chambers, I take some points off here.

The cup holder feature is awesome.  I love it.  The Worm loves to use it too.  He’s almost 18 months old and has recently figured out that his crotch makes a poor juice bottle holder, especially when he wants to kick the front seats.  The only downside is that I wish the bottle holder could be mounted on either side of the car seat.

The 5-point harness fits nicely.  It’s got enough padding to it for it to be comfortable for Worm.  I think it fits more snugly than our Britax Marathon 70.  The harness buckle has 3 settings, which is nice.  The only thing I didn’t like about the harness buckle is the amount of force required to release the buckle tongues.  It takes an inordinate amount of force to unlatch.  Me no likey.

Comfort?  I think so.  Worm loves riding in my truck with the windows down and music blasting.  (What can I say? It’s a classic Land Cruiser and he’s got good taste in vehicles.)  But, I also notice that he looks relaxed in the Safety 1st vs. the Britax (Marathon 70).  Even my wife noticed how happy he is to be in the CA65 seat.  I can’t fit into either of the car seats, so I can’t test each of them out personally.  But, if I were to use my powers of observation, I’d put money on the Safety 1st being the more comfortable car seat.  I think part of the reason is that the CA65 seems like it has more shoulder room than the Marathon 70.  Maybe it’s the extra padding that the Marathon comes with.  I don’t know.  Just look at him in the picture below.

Hanging Loose Like the Velcro Straps on My Kicks

Cleaning?  The seat pad is removable and washable.  But, the air protect pads (Mickey Mouse ears) are not removable nor washable.  So, if your child vomits all over the sides of this seat, I foresee a lot of stinky car rides for you.  So make sure your kids vomit on the washable portion of the seat.  (I sprayed the entire car seat with waterproof fabric spray, just to mitigate some damage in case of liquid spillage.)

In the grand scheme of things, I’m really looking for a safe car seat to lug around my progeny and get them through minor to major car accidents safely.  That’s the bottom line.  Could I say that our CA65 is safer than our Britax?  No.  Nor could I say the other way around is true either.  But, I’m comfortable in what I see and how our car seat is designed.

The Safety 1st Complete Air 65 is a great seat and has plenty of features to keep us parents happy and it seems to have enough features to keep our child happy too.

Note that this is going to be an ongoing review as we get more and more usage out of the Complete Air 65.


Overall Rating:  9 Worms

Ease of Use: 9 Worms  (The harness buckle kept me from giving it a 10.)

Performance:  8 Worms

Features:  9 Worms

Durability:  8 Worms  (It’s still early, so this rating will get modified as we use the CA65 more and more.)

Manliness:  9 Worms

Retail Price:  $189.99



Cup holder.  Easy to install (in my truck).  Plenty of room for child.  Approved for in-flight airplane usage. Can hold up to 65 lb child.  LATCH and instruction storage on seat when not using.


That little red harness buckle press button is too hard to press.  The seat’s large size may be a problem in narrow cars.

Things I would modify:

Make a softer push button in the harness buckle.  Have a tilt or rotate setting to turn car seat for getting baby out of vehicle easier.  Make cup holder mount on either side of car seat.

Where to find: