Family Tested: Diono Radian rXT All-in-One Car Seat

Three Canadian families tested a car seat that’s designed to age with your child from birth to adolescence

Choosing the right car seat is one of the most important decisions parents’ make. Your child’s safety is, of course, the top priority, but there are other factors to consider, too, including size, comfort, ease-of-use and more.

Diono’s radian rXT convertible car seat is designed with premium materials and vital safety features like a steel alloy frame, aluminum reinforced side walls and energy-absorbing EPS foam. The reinforced adjustable head support provides additional side-impact protection. The radian rXT is also designed with your growing family in mind. It’s slim enough to fit three across in most mid-sized vehicles, and because it converts from rear-facing to forward-facing to booster, and boasts a 10-year lifespan, it could be the only car seat your child will ever need.

Chandra S., from Toronto

I’ve been using the radian rXT car seat for the last few weeks and am in love. As a mom of two children, aged two and six, I’ve had a lot of experience with car seats. After trying out this Diono seat, all I can say is: Why didn’t I start with a Diono the first time around?

Installing the seat was easy. The instructions are straightforward and there isn’t much to do when you take it out of the box other than unclip the straps and remove the tags. My daughter is forward-facing so we installed the seat using the anchor and UAS latch connector. Unlike previous seats, I discovered that I didn’t have to “push, shove and sweat” to install the radian rXT. I will, however, note that I found it a little hard to access the “release” button on the UAS latch belt. Other seats I’ve used have had a big red button on the end so you can easily remove. On the Diono radian rXT, the button is on the top and smaller. I had to slide my hand in and feel around to find the release button.

My daughter, who is 26 months old, was thrilled to use a “big girl” car seat like her six-year-old brother. At first, I was worried that the seat was lower than her massive Britax, which would mean she couldn’t see out the window, but this turned out not to be the case. My daughter loves sitting in the seat and can even buckle the chest clip herself (with my assistance to tighten, of course). My favourite thing about the seat is that it is well padded and comfortable for her—while also being a great deal narrower than our previous seat. The cup holder is also great. It seems like a small thing, but it makes life much easier when your child can reach his own sippy. This holder one is removable and fits on either side of the seat, so it works regardless of where you position the seat in the car.

With two kids in car seats, it has been so frustrating that our backseat cannot accommodate a third passenger (due to the large size of car seats). Having switched to the Diono radian rXT, we can now easily bring a friend, family member, or anyone who needs a lift with us when we attend family gatherings or do fun trips with the kids. I actually sat in the back between the two kids last week and was quite comfortable!

At the end of the day I would highly recommend this seat—specifically for the fact that it balances comfort and security in its narrow size. I think it would fit easily into a small car, and it works wonders for parents who need more than one car seat in their car.

Lisa M., from Calgary

My family has had six makes/models of car seat installed in two different vehicles. Upon receiving the Diono radian rXT, I was at first taken aback by how heavy it was, but I quickly saw how the quality of its design, and construction was superior. (Must be the engineer in me!) Everything is solid and has a purpose; it’s like the Swiss-Army Knife of car seats.

This was probably the first seat where I really had to read the instruction manual very thoroughly—there were so many adjustments depending on which child I was setting this seat up for. Of course, that’s the result of the fact that the seat works for children from newborn to school age.

I really liked how the seat could accommodate even a five-pound infant. The seat locked in to my UAS latch easily and securely. It is by far the most secure car seat we’ve owned without having to wrestle with straps for an hour. The shoulder straps are easily adjustable and move fluidly (which is very important), but they also seem like they might be thick for a child under the age of two; I think they would be awkward on a newborn. The instructions note the harness pads can be removed while in rear-facing mode, but must be used when turned forward. The infant insert is nice, but moves around a bit.

It’s great that the radian rXT isn’t so bulky width-wise. It doesn’t take up half the seat next to it, so there’s room for either a passenger or another car seat. That’s great for when you have three car seats in a single row! The shape of the seat allows for easy access to your child when you open the car door: You’re not fighting to reach in or over any additional bulkiness.

Overall, I found the Diono radian rXT to be a fantastic, high-quality car seat. It’s a car seat worth investing in for its safety, flexibility and longevity (10 years before it expires!). I want one for all three of my children!

Brooke B., from Calgary

As a mother of four boys I have owned a few different styles of car seats over the years. I’ve finally found my favorite—the Diono radian rXT. I love its aesthetics—with modern fabric that you won’t get tired of seeing—and its physical design: The seat itself has ample foam padding for ultimate comfort, but even better is that the head rest stops my son’s head from slumping over and bobbing back if he falls asleep.

The width of the seat, however, was my favourite feature. It’s narrow enough that three seats can fit side by side in my minivan (though the configuration would also work in a mid-sized car). The back bench in my van is a 2/3 and 1/3 split, and I often lower the 1/3 section when moving large items. With other car seats I would have to uninstall the seat in order to fold down one section, but with the Diono radian rXT I’m able to lower either section (depending where the car seat is installed) without having to unlatch and move car seats. It’s great to be saved the frustration of having to rearrange the entire car just to transport one item.

The seat is worth its price because of the quality of its design and its overall adaptability. It can seat a child from 5 to 120 pounds and adjust from rear-facing through to a booster seat, meaning it can safely be a part of any family’s travel gear for years.

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