A car seat is no doubt one of the most important purchases you will make as a parent. Thanks to the many safety and design features of the Diono Radian all-in-one convertible car seat, it’s definitely one to consider adding to the top of your list.
With a sleek design and slim profile that allows three Diono Radians to fit across in most mid-size vehicles, the Diono Radian is ideal for growing families. Plus, you can’t beat the safety of a steel frame or the ten years of approved use. It can accommodate up to 120 pounds and up to 10 years of use, so the Diono Radian is the only car seat you will need from birth to car seat graduation.
Diono Car Seat Review
Diono specialize in all-in-one, convertible seats; the Radian line is home to six models, in both bold and neutral colors, but their true claim to fame is the steel core interior that comes standard with each seat. Their safety stories don’t lie: Diono is practically royalty when it comes to optimum protection.
Diono’s design thrives at being both chic and long lasting, but their commitment to protection is what makes these car seats top notch. And I should know: I was in a car crash with my brand-new baby and toddler while they were in their Diono car seats. (More on that later.)
Let’s Talk About That Steel Core
No crunches were needed in the making of this steel-strong core–the Diono Radian car seats are engineered with an automotive-grade steel frame. Honestly, it’s was the Diono steel core that first sold me on the Radian.
So how does it work? While you won’t ever see the steel because it’s built into the interior frame, the automotive grade steel frame is expertly connected to thick engineered plastic that holds firm throughout the duration of a crash sequence.
“It's Diono's commitment to protection is what makes these car seats top notch. And I should know: I was in a car crash with my brand-new baby and toddler while they were in their Diono car seats.”
Tic Tac Toe, Three in a Row
Imagine this: you have three little ones and only one back seat. They all need to be secured in car seats and it is looking like you are going to have to upgrade vehicles to insure everyone has a place to safely sit.
Well, think again, because Diono Radians are designed with an ultra-slim profile that can actually fit three in a row in most vehicles. So, before you drop thousands on a new car, why not just upgrade car seats? To fit three across you will need at least 51” from door armrest to door armrest and 54” total from side to side.
Studies have shown that rear-facing your child up to the car seat’s maximum weight/height is the safest position for your child while in a car. In fact, some states require, by law, that children are rear-facing until at least the age of two.
The Diono Radian offers an extended rear-facing weight limit of 50 pounds, which allows kids to ride rear-facing for years. Additionally, the Radian facilitates use from birth to booster, for a maximum of ten years. That means it is the only seat your child will ever need. So, although the price point on Radians is higher than one might expect from a car seat ($200-$400 depending on the model you choose), in the long term, you will actually save money because you will not have to purchase a bucket seat, then a convertible, and finally, a booster. It is one and done with the Diono Radian!
My Experience with the Diono Car Seat
For a decade now I have had a near love affair with Diono. It all started when my youngest was a newborn. She HATED her bucket car seat. She hollered nonstop whenever we drove in the car and I was at a loss as to how to calm her tears. A friend recommended transitioning her to a convertible seat, something I had yet to think of, and as it turns out that was our saving grace. A change of seat offered a change of scenery and the safety features of the Diono allowed me to drive with less worry knowing my daughter was safe and secure.
When my second was born 22 months after his sister, we kicked off with the same bucket seat that his sister had once hated. After all, it had not yet expired. Naturally, he hated it too so we quickly purchased a second Diono Radian. By the time my third baby was born, we went straight to a Radian and the rest is history. There are now a total of four Diono Radians in my van, plus a Diono Solana booster for my oldest who has met the height capacity of the Radian. We are a Diono family through and through.
Surviving a Car Crash
Despite how thrilled I was with making my babies happy, it wasn’t just the content newborns that made me fall in love with Diono. Unfortunately, I’ve actually experienced the crashworthiness of the Diono Radian.
A few years ago, just ten days after my third baby was born I ventured out solo—my first outing as a mom of three. Our plan was to return library books and grab a coffee treat before heading home for naps. Five minutes from home ,we were rear-ended on the freeway during a bout of traffic. My van spun around due to the impact and I braced myself to be hit head-on.
Traffic slowed and weaved around me and with a racing heart, I limped my van to the shoulder. The rear window was shattered, mere inches from my daughter, and the entire frame of my van crunched enough to total the vehicle. Despite being closest to the impact, my daughter was not injured. My newborn stayed fast asleep throughout it all—snug in his Radian—and my son was enamored with the emergency personnel who appeared at his window almost immediately, praising his bravery and commending me for having all the kids properly secured. We were all deemed sufficiently well, no need to transport to the hospital, and I wholeheartedly believe that our Diono car seats kept my babies as safe as possible.
Also, here’s another thing to love about Diono: they offer a voluntary crash exchange program, so if you are involved in a crash with your Diono car seat in the car, you can check if you qualify to get it exchanged for a new one.
“Despite being closest to the impact, my daughter was not injured and my newborn stayed fast asleep throughout it all—snug in his Radian. I wholeheartedly believe that our Diono car seats kept my babies as safe as possible."
Before You Buy
Thanks to Diono’s amazing features and my personal experience, it’s probably obvious that I fully recommend Radians to anyone and everyone. However, the name of full transparency I do want to mention a few considerations to keep in mind before you purchase.
First, Dionos are a bit difficult to travel with. I’ve managed one flight with them, but due to that famous steel frame, they are heavy. If you plan on switching car seats a lot out of vehicles or need a car seat you travel with, you may want to consider a different brand or purchasing a back-up car seat for traveling.
Next, despite the 120-pound capacity, keep in mind that most kids “height out” of their Diono Radian before they reach the weight capacity. Depending on the exact model you choose, keep tabs on your kid’s weight and height regularly so straps are properly adjusted and you “graduate” them at the safest time.
Last but not least, a car seat, any car seat, is only as good as its install. Be sure to read the particularities of how to properly install each car seat in your vehicle. When you buy directly from Diono they actually offer an added bonus of a virtual car seat fitting with a member of their car seat safety team. Definitely something to take advantage of!
Pros & Cons
Birth to 120 pounds
Fits 3 across
Higher price point
Not ideal for travel
Angle adjuster may be needed; sold separately
Frequently Asked Questions
How many years is a Diono Radian car seat good for?
Diono Radian models are good for ten years from the date of purchase. Dionos are approved for harness mode up to 8 years of age and 10 years of age in booster mode.
What is the weight limit for the harness on the Diono Radian RXT?
The Diono Radian accommodates children up to 120 pounds. As your child grows they transition from rear-facing (4-50 pounds), forward-facing (22-65 pounds), and finally booster mode (40-120 pounds).
Which is better: Diono or Britax?
Car seat brands are definitely a category of personal preference. All seats that are sold in the US pass rigorous expectations and are approved by the Department of Transportation requirements. Many who choose Diono over Britax do so because of their slim profile, often necessary when fitting multiple seats in a row.
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