Urbini Petal is a budget-friendly car seat with some luxury features. If you're looking for an infant-only car seat with a nice, high weight limit and a built-in seat belt lock-off, the Petal might have been a great choice. However, Urbini no longer manufactures the Petal car seat. A good substitute is the Urbini Sonti infant car seat. Read on for a comparison of the two Urbini infant car seats.
Let's start with a review of the Urbini Petal features.
- Weight limit is 5 pounds to 35 pounds
- 4 harness heights
- 2 buckle positions
- 2 hip harness positions
- EPS foam liner for side impact protection
- Removable, washable cover
- Preemie padding included
- Costs less than $100
Urbini Petal Pros
First, the price is great. Right at $100, the Petal has some features that even more expensive car seats don't. It has an EPS foam liner for side impact crash protection, which many budget car seats do not have. The built-in seat belt lock-off on the base makes seat belt installation very easy. It's just a simple flip-down clip that you open, put the seat belt under it and buckle, pull the seat belt tight, then close the clip. Having the lock off in the middle of the base helps prevent the tilting from upward pressure of a tight shoulder belt that is common on inexpensive infant seats.
If you install the Petal without the base, you can use the traditional infant seat belt path over baby's legs and under the little bars on the car seat shell, or you can use a European belt route where the shoulder belt goes around the back of the car seat shell.
Instructions for both are in the manual, obviously, so you may need to study up if you haven't used that type of belt route before.
The roller ball level on the base is really easy to read, so you'll know if you have the recline correct on your baby's car seat. It's really cool that there are two different sections on the level, one for babies under 20 pounds, and one for babies between 20 and 35 pounds.
Parents often hear that their baby can sit more upright as they get older, but not all car seats spell out the correct recline so clearly. To change the recline angle, there's a little flip-out foot under the base. There are only two positions - tucked in or folded out.
The harness slots start at a reasonably low 5.5 inches. Along with the preemie insert, which is made for babies from 4 to 6 pounds, that should be small enough to accommodate most newborns, even tiny ones. That's not always the case when car seats are also designed to carry babies who are 30-plus pounds. The Petal does it pretty well, though.
To change the harness height, you'll need to remove the shoulder harness webbing from a metal plate on the back of the car seat, slip them through the harness slots, replace them into the correct new slots, and hook the webbing back onto the metal plate. This is not a difficult process, but I suggest doing one strap at a time to be sure you replace them correctly.
You can also change the width of the harness at the hips, which is not a feature found on most budget car seats. Again, you need to remove part of the harness to do that, so make sure you take a picture of the correct routing or do one side at a time so you can put the whole thing back together correctly.
Another thing that is common on budget infant car seats is a rear-adjust harness. However, the Petal has a much easier front-adjust harness, which is the type I recommend.
I like that there are extra loops on the harness webbing so you can change the total length of the harness. That means there's less extra webbing to pull through when tightening the harness for a newborn, but you can still add some room later for those bigger toddlers.
Urbini Petal Cons
As is typical on inexpensive car seats, the harness webbing is fairly thin. It's perfectly safe, but it has a tendency to twist. It's best to smooth the harness straps every time you use the car seat so you don't end up with ropes instead of a flat harness.
Most babies will probably outgrow this car seat by height before they get to the maximum weight limit.
Again, that's normal among infant car seats. Smaller babies may get 2 years out of the Petal, but taller ones might outgrow it by 18 months.
Overall, the Urbini Petal is a fantastic infant car seat at a sweet price. The hip strap positions, the built-in lock-off, and the Euro seat belt routing are not found on other budget car seats. The Petal also works as a travel system with some of Urbini's strollers.
The Substitute: Urbini Sonti
The Sonti infant car seat costs about the same as the Petal, but it has a slightly different weight range, from 4 pounds to 35 pounds. The Sonti also has a full foam liner, a removable preemie support insert, and a contoured body support cushion. It also works as a travel system with the Urbini Swiftli and Reversi strollers, and comes as part of the Urbini Omni and Emi travel systems.