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to buy a cheap carseat?

(99 Posts)
bollywoodfan Fri 11-Jan-13 19:01:50

My DH is of the opinion that more expensive =better, esp when it comes to buying carseats. In DH's car we have got very expensive isofix seats. I need one for my car now and I would probably only be doing local driving.I have seen some carseats for about £30 which are suitable for 9months - 11 years. That just seems so cheap! Is it U to buy this or would I be compromising on safety?

YesIamYourSisterInLaw Fri 11-Jan-13 19:02:48

YABU the one thing I would never scrimp on is car safety

YesIamYourSisterInLaw Fri 11-Jan-13 19:03:59

And it's not always most expensive= better I would check out the ratings and do you research. How old is your dc?

CatsRule Fri 11-Jan-13 19:11:29

Expensive doesn't always equal best but money does but slightly more safety features. Some expense is in the seat looking nice and non safety features.

I would always research and I bought our seat based on safety features rather than it looking pretty.

13Iggis Fri 11-Jan-13 19:21:24

Do you really need to ask? I very much doubt you could actually use the seat for over ten years, many have an expiry date of around five years. The idea that local journeys means you don't need a good seat is odd - don't most accidents happen near home? Even low speed accidents can really throw the child about - mine was in one, and his maxi cosi cracked, but he (thank God) didn't.
Surely this is a reverse aibu?

HellsBellsHoratio Fri 11-Jan-13 19:21:54

When we were looking the 9months-11years seats didn't come out very well on reviews and tests compared to the 9months-4 years seats and the 4years+ seats. Worth looking at the reviews then it is a personal call. For us, we bought the best seat we could afford. 'Best' for us was the seat that fitted our car well, without buckle crunch and a decent amount of side impact protection.

VinegarDrinker Fri 11-Jan-13 19:24:28

YANBU. All seats have passed minimum safety tests. You need to use your discretion in terms of what you use your car for. We don't even own a car but need a seat for short local trips with grandparents, my Mum has a Britax Prince and MiL has a M&P one, both were under 50 quid (the 9m+ type).

maddening Fri 11-Jan-13 19:24:58

I would also go by the safety reviews (not just customer reviews)

AndMiffyWentToSleep Fri 11-Jan-13 19:25:24

Which/NCT have a guide. In my opinion, in the UK at least, the cheap ones are fine. That is what we have. But I'm not an expert.

MrsKeithRichards Fri 11-Jan-13 19:28:17

All cataracts have to meet certain standards so yanbu. People like to think they are safer by throwing money at things but it isn't always the case.

MrsKeithRichards Fri 11-Jan-13 19:29:08

cataracts? seriously? car seats

MamaBear17 Fri 11-Jan-13 19:37:17

I bought at £50 car seat for my car (hubby's has the £150 one in his car - kindly bought for us by the in laws) They both passed the same safety test. The more expensive seat is heavier, and looks more luxurious, but DD always falls asleep in the cheaper one because it reclines further. I agree with the posters above, check the safety ratings. I couldn't afford £150 for a car seat for my car so did my research and went for the best one I could afford.

lovelyladuree Fri 11-Jan-13 19:39:47

YANBU.They couldn't be sold on the British high street if they were sub-standard. I would worry much more if you were buying one at a jumble sale for 50p.

Fairylea Fri 11-Jan-13 19:47:44


Definitely look at the reviews and safety ratings.

I am currently looking at buying a birth to 4 years seat (obviously rear facing) for ds and there are ones on kiddicare for about £40 which have 5 star reviews, passed all tests and even have a gold star from mother and baby magazine.. so I'm assuming they must be okay (possibly naive maybe).

I think like everything else you do pay for brand and comfort. But safety has to be of a certain standard to enable them to be sold at all.

I just wish retailers would stop marketing seats forward facing from 9 months. No child should be forward facing at that age. And quite really for a very very long time afterwards.

13Iggis Fri 11-Jan-13 19:53:50

Remember reviews will relate to comfort, ease of installation etc - parents won't have crash-tested the seats! The Which guide does get you thinking there are quite different levels of safety - I agree all will have passed a basic level, but when you read one does a lot better than another in, say, a side impact situation, of course you are going to want that one - I don't think that is "throwing money at it". Of course the price of seat is irrelevant if you don't fit it correctly (looking at you dh).

MrsKeithRichards Fri 11-Jan-13 20:13:44

What I mean is some people are easily led into buying a sense of security.

Rikalaily Fri 11-Jan-13 20:21:23

I have Britax ecplise seats for 1.5-4y olds, they rated really well in the Which reports and are now about half the price that I paid for them. They recline a fair bit, are really comfy and quick to install, they also have a narrower base which is great for a better fit with bucket type seats. They are about £90 now (I paid £140 a few years ago).

I have Britax Hi liners for the older ones, they are about £40 now and always rate highly, especially for side impact protection which is usually very lacking in HBB.

I would never put a 9m old in a seat with an age range of 9m-11y, no seat can protect an age range that wide very well. Buy the best seats you can afford, god forbid anything happened, could you forgive yourself for being cheap with your kids safety?

justforinfo Sat 12-Jan-13 00:23:56

All seats have to pass the minimum crash test, so are "safe" the problem is deciding if you think the crash test is adequate. The test is:
1 frontal impact simulation at 32mph
1 rear impact simulation at 18mph
There is no side impact test.

I would recommend you opt for a seat that has passed the German Stiftung warentest and ADAC testing. These test to 40mph+, and do test side impacts also.
It is also vitally important that your chosen seat is a safe fit in your car and is suitable for the child in height and weight - and obviously, is used correctly. I properly fitted, suitable and used £50 seat will be safer than a £150 incorrectly fitted seat with the harness round the child's waist!

More money doesn't generally mean better - the britax first class can be purchased for £100 and is fab, the Maxi Cosi Opal is very difficult to use, bulky and heavy and costs anywhere around £160+

9mth - 12yrs seats are ok... they are very unlikely to last that long however, especially cheaper ones. Child seats have a shelf life of 6-10 years. Also, because they span such a huge age range something has to be compromised - which is generally safety. You are better getting a group 1 seat designed for your child's toddlerhood.

What is the weight of your child? They can stay in a standard group 1 seat to 13kg or until their head is level with the top of the seat. Children are 5x safer being rear facing so please keep your child in this seat for as long as possible. Some seats can accommodate a child right up to 18 months +. Take a look at for more info and statistics on the safety of rear facing.

If you would like any further advice on what car seat to buy and what would fit your car, please do not hesitate to contact me.

IOSH accredited child seat expert
Good Egg Safety Manager

justforinfo Sat 12-Jan-13 00:40:41

WHOOPS! Group 0+ seats last til 13kg normally - NOT group 1! typo!

justforinfo Sat 12-Jan-13 00:44:47

Sorry, me again - I just want to add that I really like the Maxi Cosi Opal, but I was just trying to demonstrate you can get a seat that is easier to fit and use for less!

SirBoobAlot Sat 12-Jan-13 00:46:51

I have a cheap, lightweight but sturdy one, think I got it from the Asda baby event. I don't drive, and am disabled, so need to be able to lift it. My mum has a heavier Britax one on her car, which is left in place. I only use this one a few times a month, and when secured correctly, it feels as safe as the heavy one in my mums car.

TuftyFinch Sat 12-Jan-13 00:48:10

justforinfo do you know of a group 2 car seat that can be secured with a lap belt? Preferably with it's own integral harness?

justforinfo Sat 12-Jan-13 00:54:22

tuftyfinch Group 2 is a high back booster, just to make sure this is what you're referring to?
group 0+ - rear facing infant seat
group 1 - harnessed front or rear facing (depends on seat)
group 123 - harnessed then high back booster
group 23 - high back booster or booster cushion
which one are you after?

TuftyFinch Sat 12-Jan-13 00:58:38

Front facing for 5 year old. We've got a camper van that only has lap belts in the back so a seat that has it's own harness but can be secured with a lap belt. There are group 1 ones but I can't find a group 2.

ProtegeMoi Sat 12-Jan-13 01:09:18

Have you seen the crash test for those £30 seats? One I saw actually threw the dummy head first into the window! Money does not always equal safety but cheap car seats are usually cheaply made and only pass the bare minimum of safety standards.

I find it amazing that people pay hundreds of pounds for a pram but then think £100 is a lot for something that may save their child's life!

In Sweden they use rear facing seats much longer and there was not a single child death in one of their car seats, the UK can't say that.

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