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How a New Car Seat Made Road Trips Enjoyable Again

Until the past month or so, road trips have not been very fun with my daughter. In fact, I started to dread them a bit. When she was an infant in the infant carrier car seat, she would do okay, but needed out frequently to nurse. That was understandable on some level, though the timing was not always ideal. When she graduated up to a convertible rear facing car seat, we thought it might be a bit more fun for her.

But no, she could handle only about an hour, hour and a half tops. The whole rest of the trip (after a meal break and diaper change) required me to sit in the back with her and attempt to entertain her for the rest of the way. I was usually only successful for about thirty minutes before she was just wanting out. Out so bad she was fussing and throwing things… and I felt like we were torturing her. Unfortunately, it takes us about 2.5 to 3 hours to drive to my parents’ house, which we go to once a month. It didn’t matter how many toys, books, or snacks I packed, on the trip home the last half hour was always rough. (We didn’t do roundtrips in one day so it was no more than 3 hrs in one day. We would stay overnight one or two nights before driving back home again.)

Then, I received the opportunity to try out the RadianRXT car seat by Diono. (If you haven’t heard of Diono, you may remember them as Sunshine Kids. They recently changed their name and I think people are still getting used to the switch.) I was very excited to try out one of their seats since they have the highest capacity car seat with a 5-point harness meaning I shouldn’t have to buy another seat for my daughter. We’ll be able to flip this one around to forward facing once she is 2 years old (or reaches the weight/height limit) and then convert it to a booster seat until she is old enough and/or tall enough to be out of a seat completely. And a 5-point harness is definitely great for safety.


Never thought I'd see two rear facing car seats in the back!

Speaking of safety, the RadianRXT has a steel alloy frame and has undergone extensive crash testing to ensure safety when used and installed properly. And for families with multiple children in seats? It fits 3 across in most cars! Now, I didn’t get to personally test that (I wish I could receive 3 seats!), but it took up less space than our old rear facing seat. I could see fitting them in our backseat. It’d be a little tight, but doable!

So anyway, after I installed it myself (yes, all by myself! You can even watch me do it in the video below!) and we ran a few errands in it, we put it to the ultimate test… road trip time!

Diono RadianRXT car seat

Doesn't she look comfortable and happy?

The seat has memory foam and comes with padded harness straps and a buckle shield. It even comes with a cup holder! Talk about a luxury car seat! I used to think the bells and whistles on expensive car seats were just that – unnecessary extras. I mean, this seat has a list price of $339.99 (though I saw it on Amazon for $289.99 recently! *affiliate link)

The other convertible seat we had was only $99. But that was the problem. It must not have been very comfortable…

We left our house around nap time so she would sleep the first half of the trip. When she woke up, she started babbling and playing with her doll. She didn’t cry or whine! We were able to choose our stopping point for a meal break based on where we actually wanted to go and not just to get us out of the car NOW for the love of chocolate. After our rest stop, we buckled her back in (she likes to hear the clicks!) and I stayed in the front seat.

She did not fuss. She did not cry. She played with her toys!

Now, there were points she did get restless and bored, but I was able to hand toys and books to her to keep her occupied. She did not have a melt down like we’ve grown used to… and we had a very pleasant drive back home as well. It never would have been possible if we hadn’t changed seats. And the day I went shopping for my red carpet dress for The Avengers event? She never would have survived all the driving to 5+ stores if she was in the old seat. She could barely handle two stops of errands in the old seat.

We aren’t using that old seat again if I can help it. Seriously.

These RadianRXT car seats are designed for use from 5lbs through 120lbs – a lifetime seat that will grow with your child! If we had to do it all over again, we would have bought one of these. When I told hubby the cost of this seat we both agreed that we would have paid it if we knew Rissa could handle the drive to my parents’ house in it. We thought she just hated road trips, but it must have been the seat.

Now, check out how easy they made installation with the SuperLATCH system – I’ll show you in the video. Once you figure out what all the belts are in the back, it’s easy to install. Oh, and it folds nicely and has straps to make it easier for traveling. You can even use it on an airplane!

Connect with Diono on their website, Facebook and Twitter @DionoUSA to stay up-to-date on their baby gear!


Saturday 24th of August 2013

Hi... Can you help me please???

I want a RXT car seat for my daughter, but I´ve read in some blogs it dont fits very well in midsize cars, it´s very recommend for SUV or VAN. I have a Honda City (year 20120, do you think it fits?

Thank you!

Darcy Zalewski

Sunday 25th of August 2013

I don't know if it fits in your car or not but it fits in our chevy malibu which is midsize car.

Tahlia B.

Saturday 19th of May 2012

This seat sounds fantastic! The price isn't bad considering that it will be used for several years. I've even added it to my Amazon wishlist, lol.


Wednesday 23rd of May 2012

Yeah the price really isn't that bad when you consider the safety, comfort, and length of use. I will never try to cheap out on a car seat again!

Janelle Prentice

Tuesday 8th of May 2012

We don't have a Radian but we bought a more expensive car seat since the little guy would be using it for so many years, and I'm very very glad we did. He loves it! (sometimes I'm kind of jealous of how comfy he looks in the back)


Tuesday 8th of May 2012

"We’ll be able to flip this one around to forward facing once she is 2 years old"

Please do not turn her around for her safety. She can stay rear-facing until she's 45 LBS in Diono Radian XTS. My son is 3 Yrs old and still rear-facing and he's happy. I tried sitting him in a forward facing Britax Marathon once (a spare car seat that allows rear-facing until 30 LBS) and he got upset and yelled "I don't like this". LOL So I bought another Radian XTS for our 2nd car. Also I tried the angle adjuster from Diono to make the car seat more upright (more room in the front seat) but he stopped falling asleep in the we removed that. He loves his Radian.

Catherine S

Tuesday 8th of May 2012

I noticed the same effect! My little guy would scream bloody murder with his old seat until I changed to this one. We LOVE it. I want to sit in it. :-)