Convertible

Diono Rainier Review vs. Diono Radian

In This Diono Rainier Review will review the safety ratings, the latch system, and the history of the car seat. In addition, we will compare the Rainer car seat to the Diono radian and the Diono Rainier 2AX.

Currently, you will find two different Diono Rainier® convertible car seats to choose from – the 2AX and the 2AXT.

Side by Side Comparision 

Comparing these models side-by-side, you will notice a lot of similarities:

  • Fully integrated steel frame offering exceptional strength and durability.
  • Aluminum reinforced extra-deep sidewalls, and energy-absorbing foam providing superior side-impact protection.
  • SuperLATCH™ System with an audible click helps parents install seats quickly, correctly, and safely.
  • Safe Stop® System designed to help reduce the impact for smaller, forward-facing children during impact.
  • Extended rear-facing capabilities enable parents to keep children in the rear-facing position up to 50 pounds.
  • Infant support cushions and memory foam are included for maximum comfort at all ages.
  • Rear-facing tether helps minimize seat rotation.
  • Airplane friendly – FAA certified, folding flat for easy travel.
  • Removable, machine-washable seat cover for easy clean-up.
  • Convenient cup holder.

Which One Do I Choose?

Rainier 2AX

A decision to purchase the Rainier® 2AX or the Rainier® 2AXT is going to differ from parent to parent.  Both convertible car seats offer the same top-of-the-line safety features, but the 2AXT has a few extras that some families may be drawn to.

Diono has been providing parents with peace of mind and keeping kids safe for two decades. Either model you choose is sure to be fantastic.

Diono Rainier 2AX Convertible Car Seat, Black
  • ALL-STAR CAR SEAT SAFETY & DESIGN: The Rainier 2AX Convertible Car Seat is a luxurious child car...
  • SUPERIOR EXTENDED REAR-FACING SAFETY & SECURITY: Featuring our powerful integrated steel framework,...
  • DYNAMIC HEAD & SIDE IMPACT PROTECTION: Reinforced with memory foam seat and extra deep aluminum side...

Last update on 2021-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Who is Diono?

Diono (dee-oh-no) is an American manufacturing company based in the Pacific Northwest with offices spanning seven countries. Diono designs and sells premium travel products for kids all over the world. Originally founded as Sunshine Juvenile Products in 1999, Diono been focused on safety and innovation for 20 years and counting.

Price Comparison

So, What’s The Difference? 

The shortlist of upgrades offered in the Diono Rainier® 2AXT could help you decide which convertible car seat will work best in your world.  

  • Diono Rainier® 2AXT is a complete car seat system you can use through all three recommended stages:  rear-facing, front-facing with a harness, and booster.
  • The 2AXT design exceeds all recommended safety standards for children from 5-120 pounds.  Yes, you read that right, this car seat supports kids up to 120 pounds!
  • The Rainier® 2AXT also comes with a 12-position adjustable headrest providing additional head support and side-impact protection for kids in all riding stages (rear-facing, front-facing with a harness, and booster).
  • Supplementary seat upgrade options are also available in Diono Rainier® 2AXT including European leather and Merino Wool.

Heavy Car Seats May Mean Better Safety 

Admittedly their car seats are heavier than most, but they’re worth their weight in gold providing ultimate protection in case of an accident.  These uniquely designed seats are also fully collapsible making them easier to travel with.

You will find Diono’s entire catalog filled with award-winning designs keeping our kids safer and making our lives less complicated. Diono is also a champion in their industry – providing a voluntary crash exchange program for those who need it. 

If you purchased a car seat directly from Diono and were involved in an accident that damaged the structure of your vehicle, you may be eligible to receive a replacement seat free of charge. Diono is also a prize in their Northwest community. Partnering with local nonprofit organizations, Diono donated $30,000 worth of booster seats to needy families and foster children. 

Scott McAllister (Brand Manager of Diono) states, “It is important to us that we give back to our community… Diono is a local Northwest business that is passionate about children’s safety no matter where they are in their journey.”

The Diono Rainier® is the most recent addition to Diono’s convertible car seat line.  These innovative seats provide extra options parents love, including an increased rear-facing weight limit in line with updated AAP recommendations.

Safety Commitment 

  • Diono is committed to safety by consistently exceeding all federal guidelines.
  • The steel frame car seat designs are strong and durable when you need them the most.
  • Diono products consistently win awards for “best in class” and “innovation”.
  • The voluntary crash exchange program provides peace of mind for parents.
  • One of the highest rear-facing weight limits on the market.
  • Diono gives back to their community by donating booster seats to those in need.

The Statistics 

Car seat statistics show that motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of injury and death for children in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) found that more than 618,000 kids under the age of 12 rode in vehicles without proper restraint in one year alone. 

Furthermore, it is estimated between 72% and 84% of car seats and/or booster seats are installed incorrectly or misused. The most common mistake parents and caregivers make is using the wrong safety seat for the child’s weight and age.

Pros vs Cons

There are a lot of fabulous features on all Diono Rainier® convertible car seats.  All seats are crash tested regularly and consistently exceed all federal safety standards. The steel frame and extra-deep sidewalls are lined with energy-absorbing foam which will help protect kids in case of an accident.  Additionally, the energy-absorbing harness (SafeStop®) is a standard feature.

Acting a bit like a bungee cord, SafeStop® helps protect little ones from a violent impact. Diono’s SuperLATCH® system is also standard in every seat making the job of installing LATCH hooks seamless and safe with an audible click.

Diono also offers an instructional video tutorial on its website to help everyone install their car seats properly.  Finally, If you choose the Diono Rainier® 2AXT, it will likely be the only car seat you will ever need to buy.

The Drawbacks 

Even with all of the fantastic features, we also need to consider some drawbacks.  Let’s be honest, all this talk about steel frames and extra-deep sidewalls comes with a pretty big downside.  These seats are heavy. Topping out around 30 pounds, you will surely get your workout.

Additionally, despite the handy-dandy online video tutorials Diono offers, the Rainier® can be hard to install.  Another thing to consider is that the Diono Rainier® is a convertible car seat meaning it will not be compatible with any stroller or travel system.

This could be problematic, especially when you have an infant.  And they are expensive. Everyone has a different budget and the Diono Rainier® may be out of reach for some families.

What We Like

  • Crash tested regularly and consistently exceeds all federal safety standards.
  • Steel frame and extra-deep sidewalls lined with energy-absorbing foam.
  • SafeStop® is a standard feature on all models.
  • The SuperLATCH® System is also a standard feature on all models. 
  • The Diono Rainer 2AXT may be the only car seat you will ever need to buy.  
  • Installation videos are available on the Diono website.

Cons

  • Diono Rainier® car seats are heavier than most others.
  • Seats can be difficult to install, even with online videos.
  • Diono Rainier® is not compatible with any stroller or travel system.
  • They are expensive.

What About Installation?

Proper installation is key when it comes to any car seat and Diono Rainier® is no exception.  The statistics don’t lie. Between 72% – 84% of safety seats are installed and/or used incorrectly.  Car seat installation can be complicated. Luckily manufacturers have provided us with tools, LATCH, for example, to help keep us on track.

What Does This Mean?

All car seat and booster seat manufacturers are required to meet strict federal crash performance standards. Recommendations are updated frequently to ensure the safety of our children on the go. As parents, however, it is our responsibility to follow these guidelines, make smart decisions, and learn how to use our car seats and booster seats properly to keep our kids safe.

Diono’s Commitment 

Diono’s commitment to innovation and safety sets them apart from other car seat manufacturers. This commitment can be seen in all of their thoughtfully engineered, family-focused products.

The proof is in the pudding – Diono walked away with multiple awards at the 8th annual ‘Loved by Parents Awards’ including best stroller, best innovative car seat, and best travel innovation. Introducing the first fully-integrated, collapsible steel frame to the car seat market was a game-changer for Diono.

What Are The Current Recommendations?

In 2018, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated recommendations for car seat safety. 

  • Keep children in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible (until they reach the highest restrictions of their seats).  This could keep kids in a rear-facing seat beyond age two.
  • The heads, necks, and spines of children in a rear-facing position are more protected during a crash.
  • Once they outgrow a rear-facing seat, kids need to transition into a front-facing seat with a safety harness until they reach the highest restrictions of their seats.
  • This could keep kids in a front-facing, harnessed safety seat up to age seven (around 65 pounds).
  • Once they outgrow a front-facing car seat with a harness, a booster seat should be used until the lap and shoulder belts fit properly (around ages 8-12, or 4’9”).
  • All children under the age of 13 need to be buckled in the backseat of a vehicle for maximum protection.

What is the LATCH?

LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.  This safety system was introduced in 2002 as a way for parents and caregivers to safely and easily install child safety seats into vehicles without using seat belts.

If your vehicle and car seat were manufactured after September 1, 2002, you will have the LATCH system. All Diono Rainier® convertible car seats are equipped with LATCH (aka SuperLATCH™ to the Diono family). 

The system provides you with an audible click to confirm that the seat is installed properly. Both the Diono Rainier® 2AX and 2AXT can be installed using the SuperLATCH™ System in the rear-facing and front-facing with a harness position.

To install the LATCH in a rear-facing position

  1. Attach the detachable rear base to the bottom of the car seat.
  2. Fold-down the cover on the back of the seat to locate the LATCH strap storage area.
  3. Press down on the red buttons to remove the LATCH strap.
  4. Extend the LATCH strap by pressing the gray button and pulling on the strap.
  5. Unzip the pocket to the right of the storage compartment and move the connectors down the rear-facing belt path.  Feed the LATCH anchors down, out the bottom, and zip up the pocket.
  6. Place the rear-facing car seat, in the backseat of your vehicle centered between the lower LATCH anchors.
  7. Thread the LATCH strap through the rear-facing path (blue label) and out the opposite side.  Do not twist the strap.
  8. Attach LATCH connectors to vehicle’s lower LATCH anchors.  You’ll hear a click if it’s right.
  9. Press firmly in the center of the car seat and pulling on the LATCH strap to tighten.
  10. Grab the sides of the seat and wiggle back and forth, then side to side making sure it doesn’t move more than an inch in any direction.
  11. A top tether is located in the storage compartment in the back of the car seat.  If you want to use the top tether in the rear-facing position, refer to your vehicle manual to find the exact locations of the anchors.

NOTE:  If your child weighs more than 35 pounds, install the car seat using your vehicle’s seat belts for optimum safety in a rear-facing position (instructions below).

To install the LATCH in a Forward-Facing Position:

  1. Fold-down the cover on the back of the car seat to locate the LATCH strap storage area.
  2. Remove the LATCH strap by pressing down on the red buttons to release.
  3. Extend the strap by pressing the gray button and pulling on the strap.
  4. Unzip the pocket to the right of the storage compartment and move the connectors down the forward-facing belt path.  Feed the LATCH anchors down, out the bottom, and zip up the pocket.
  5. Place the forward-facing car seat in the backseat of your vehicle centered between the lower LATCH anchors.
  6. Loosely attach top tether strap (refer to your vehicle manual to find the exact top LATCH location).
  7. Thread the LATCH strap through the forward-facing belt path (red label) and out the opposite side.  Do not twist the strap.
  8. Attach LATCH connectors to vehicle’s lower LATCH anchors.  You’ll hear a click if it’s right.
  9. Press firmly in the middle of the car seat and pull on the strap to tighten.
  10. Pull firmly on the top tether strap while holding the car seat to tighten.
  11. Grab the sides of the seat and wiggle back and forth, then side to side making sure it doesn’t move more than an inch in any direction.

NOTE:  If your child weighs more than 40 pounds, install the car seat using vehicle seat belts for optimum safety in a front-facing position (instructions below).

To install the rear-facing car seat using shoulder/lap belts

  1. Attach the detachable rear base to the bottom of the car seat.
  2. Place the rear-facing car seat in the backseat of your vehicle. 
  3. Thread the vehicle seat belt through the rear-facing belt path (blue label) and out the other side.  Do not twist the belt.
  4. Pull the shoulder belt to tighten.
  5. Tighten any remaining slack by pulling on the shoulder belt and feeding slack back into the retractor.
  6. Grab the sides of the seat and wiggle back and forth, then side to side making sure it doesn’t move more than an inch in any direction. Do not test by grabbing the top of the seat.

NOTE:  If your child weighs less than 35 pounds, install the car seat using the LATCH System for optimum safety (instructions above).

Diono Rainier 2AXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat, Grey Dark
  • Enhanced Side impact protection with extra deep side walls and reinforced adjustable head support,...
  • Unique SuperLATCH Connectors make it easy to install. Low profile make it easy to get your little...
  • Folds flat for easy transportation when traveling

Last update on 2021-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

To install the forward-facing car seat using shoulder/lap belts

  1. Unhook and remove the top tether from the storage area in the back of the car seat.
  2. Place the forward-facing car seat in the backseat of your vehicle.
  3. Thread the vehicle seat belt through the forward-facing belt path (red label) and out the other side.  Do not twist the belt.
  4. Loosely attach the top tether strap (refer to your vehicle manual to find the exact top LATCH location).
  5. Pull the shoulder belt to tighten.
  6. Tighten any remaining slack by pulling on the shoulder belt and feeding slack back into the retractor.
  7. Firmly pull on the top tether strap while holding the car seat to tighten.
  8. Grab the sides of the seat and wiggle back and forth, then side to side making sure it doesn’t move more than an inch in any direction.

NOTE:  If your child weighs less than 40 pounds, install the car seat using the LATCH System for optimum safety (instructions above).

Do car seats expire?

Yes, they do.  Keeping up with the times can sometimes be daunting.  Standards and recommendations continuously change, technology improves, pieces and parts get worn out.  You can be certain your car seat stays up to par by keeping an eye on your expiration date.   

Unfortunately, there isn’t a “one size fits all” method to car seat expiration dates.  They do, however, seem to fall within six to ten years from purchase. Diono helps us out by stamping the expiration date on the manufacturer label on the side of the seats.  Here are some of the general rules that Diono follows:

  • Radian®, Rainier®, Pacifica, and Olympia:  up to 10 years from purchase – 8 years for harness use/10 years in booster mode
  • Monterey Booster Seat – 8 years from purchase
  • Monterey XT Booster, Cambria Booster, Hip High Back Booster, and Solana – 6 years from purchase

Have There Been Any Recalls?

Companies such as Diono are responsible for the safety of children across the globe.  Luckily for consumers, they are also required to report any potential hazards as they come up and will occasionally issue recalls.

In 2017, Diono issued a voluntary recall of over 500,000 convertible car seats including Rainier® models.  Diono claims that there could be a higher risk of injury in children over 65 pounds secured with a lap belt in a forward-facing position.

Diono sent notices to all registered owners of car seats manufactured between January 2014 – September 2017. Everyone affected by the recall received updated instruction manuals, labels, energy-absorbing pads, and new chest clips.

Returning your registration card within 30 days of purchase ensures that you will be notified of any recall that affects your car seat.  It’s also a good idea for any potential warranty issues. Diono offers a “limited one-year warranty” on the Rainier® line of convertible car seats.  This will protect you against any defects for one year.

As with any warranty, it has its restrictions and won’t cover anything that happens if you install unapproved accessories.

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So What About Accessories?  

Unfortunately, Diono Rainier® convertible car seats are not compatible with any stroller or travel system.  They do, however, have a multitude of accessories that can help make your life a little easier. Here are just a few of the available options.

Easy View Mirror™

Keep an eye on your little one while you’re out and about.  This mirror pivots and rotates so you can find the perfect angle in any car.  It also attaches to any headrest without obstructing your view of the road.

Rainier® Replacement Cover

Let’s face it, kids are messy.  Luckily you can always have a second Diono Rainier® car seat cover on hand when life happens.

Stow ‘n Go™ Back Seat Organizer

Your backseat doesn’t have to be a disaster any longer.  This handy organizer has seven pockets and two drink holders to help keep you organized.  It’s adjustable for all vehicle types and is a handy tool for any parent.

Grip It

Keep your vehicle seats protected under the weight of your Rainier® convertible car seat.  Grip It can be used under all Diono car seats and is compatible with the LATCH system.

High-End Car Seat

Diono is a high-end company that proves its commitment to safety by exceeding all safety standards year after year. 

With some of the highest weight limits in the industry, this alone could help reduce injury in case of a crash. To ensure maximum protection, always follow the detailed instructions included with your Diono Rainier® car/booster seat

As parents, we can’t control everything (even though we’d like to).  We can, however, make smart choices when it comes to purchasing our child’s safety seat.  At least the decision to purchase a Diono Rainier® convertible car seat is an easy one, giving us just a little extra peace of mind.

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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