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Note: This topic is for discussing car seats. To find out which products have won Mumsnet Best, go to Reviews. If you want to buy and sell car seats, please use our For Sale/Wanted boards. Please feel free to report buying and selling in this topic. - DON'T BUYS - 06/11

(23 Posts)
DingleDangleDiva Wed 08-Jun-11 10:48:52

69% - Group 2/3 - Sunshine Kids Monterey (with back attached) - RRP £55
53% - Group 0/1 - BeSafe iZi Combi X2 (forward facing Group 1) - RRP £235
47% - Group 0/1 - Chicco Eletta (forward-facing Group 1) - RRP £90
46% - Group 2/3 - Chicco Key 2/3 Ultrafix (Belted) - RRP £125
45% - Group 1/2/3 - Britax Multi-Tech (forward facing Group 1) - RRP £240
45% - Group 1/2/3 - Volvo Convertible Child seat (forward facing Group 1) - RRP £158
45% - Group 1/2/3 - Volvo Convertible Child seat (forward facing Group 2) - RRP £158
41% - Group 1/2/3 - Britax Multi-Tech (forward facing Group 2) - RRP £240
39% - GRoup 2/3 - Chicco Key 2/3 Ultrafix (Isofix) - RRP £125
38% - Group 0/1 - Brio Zento (rearward facing Group 0+/1) - RRP £215
36% - Group 0/1 - Chicco Eletta (rearward-facing Group 0+) - RRP £90
34% - Group 1/2/3 - Safety 1st Tri Safe - RRP £102
32% - Group 0 - I'Coo C-Care - RRP £116
32% - Group 0 - Petite Star City Bug - RRP £150
29% - Group 1/2/3 - Volvo Convertible Child seat (rearward facing Group 1) - RRP £158
29% - Group 1/2/3 - Britax Multi-Tech (rearward facing Group 1) - RRP £240
27% - Group 0/1 - BeSafe iZi Combi X2 (rearward facing Group 0+/1) - RRP £250
20% - Group 3 - Sunshine Kids Monterey (back removed) - RRP £55
20% - Group 1/2/3 - Chicco Neptune - RRP £106
20% - Group 0/1/2 - Brio Zento (forward facing Group 2) - RRP £215

aswellasyou Wed 08-Jun-11 11:07:48

I'm really confused. How can these rear facing seats have such low percentages when they've been shown to be so much safer?

NieuweBuurvrouw Wed 08-Jun-11 11:12:36

IIRC it's because they include ease of fitting in the safety criteria, RF seats are more complex to fit and they assume we are too stupid to do it properly.

aswellasyou Wed 08-Jun-11 11:46:38

Oh. That's stupid! I don't care how complicated it is to fit as long as it's safe. The BeSafe Izi Combi non-isofix is seriously complicated when you follow the instructions but actually not that complicated once you've done it for the first time.
Which? has just gone down in my estimation.

Loopymumsy Wed 08-Jun-11 12:54:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

aswellasyou Wed 08-Jun-11 13:10:32

Seriously, why do they put so much of the percentage awarded on these things? It makes it seem that these seats aren't good quality or very safe. Do they really think people are that bothered about fitting them or removing the seat cover? I appreciate it would be nice to be able to do these things easily and quickly but they're hardly essentials.hmm

growingstrawberries Wed 08-Jun-11 13:17:15

I suppose they are going by the fact that a stupidly high percentage of seats are fitted incorrectly, therefore car seats should be easier to install.

I think this is a red herring. I think that actually, if a seat is not so outwardly "straightforward" to install, you will get a higher percentage of people reading the manual to find out what to do.

the FF seats which are all incorrectly fitted at the moment - are supposedly "simpler" to fit than the Rf seats, yet people are not managing to do it properly.

I have a BeSafe seat. yes, it looks complicated. but it isn't. it is a matter of following some simple steps, in the right order, that is all.

yes, it is not easy to move from car to car (as in it takes time, not just a quick swap over). but then it has never taken us any less time to install/move a car seat on holiday, when dc2 is in a FF seat - reading through the manual, checking buckle crunch, checking seat belt tensioning and that it is secure enough - this is not a simple matter if "just swapping over" either.

fact is: car seats take time to install correctly. and even "easy" to install ones, (eg dc1's HBB - isofix, easy to install) have manuals, which should be read. and it still takes me a while to move that - to ensure I have checked all the safety points, haven't overlooked anything etc.

aswellasyou Wed 08-Jun-11 14:01:29

"I think this is a red herring. I think that actually, if a seat is not so outwardly "straightforward" to install, you will get a higher percentage of people reading the manual to find out what to do."
I completely agree!
Anecdotally, I bought a car seat last summer for my daughter born in September. It's a 'simple' seat to install but I was hooking the seatbelt under both hooks at the back rather than just whichever one was closest to the door. It was my sister who pointed this out to me after looking at the fitting diagrams on the seat because she didn't know how to fit it. I felt so stupid that I'd done this. Then on Monday I was installing the BeSafe and, because it looks so complicated, I read, reread and read the instructions again. I've got to move it to the other side of the car and even though I now know what I'm doing with it, I'll definitely read the instruction booklet as I do it.
I don't think there's anything wrong with having a seat that isn't simple to install-it makes you concentrate on what you're doing so you're less likely to miss a step or twist the seatbelt.

TruthSweet Wed 08-Jun-11 14:31:30

Interesting the Volvo convertible and Britax Multi-tech (the same seat) have different scores for forward facing group 2. confused How can the same seat have different scores when the only thing that has changed is the name badge??

DD1's seat is the Monterey and we are really pleased with it. It also gets good reviews in the US so would be interesting to see the full review <hint hint>wink

DingleDangleDiva Wed 08-Jun-11 20:32:18


This Group 2/3 seat is designed to carry children from 15 to 36kg (around 4 years old to 12). The child travels forward-facing, and the seat can be installed with its Isofast latches using the Isofix mounts, or the adult seat belt. The child is secured using the adult belt. To find out how it faired in the Which? Child Car Seat tests, read the full review.

These results are for it with the back fitted. Because of its performance with the back removed, this child car-seat is a Which? Don't Buy.

Crash protection in a front collision is acceptable and even though with the back fitted, side crash protection is good, with the back removed, it is poor. The manufacturer gives the option to remove the back rest for children over 15kg, leaving only a booster and minimal protection for the child if the car is struck from the side, hence the seat is a Don't Buy.

The seat is fairly easy to install, though the belt routing is quite complicated. Strapping the child in the seat is straightforward. The finish quality of this seat is excellent, but the cover isn't machine-washable.

We changed the car body we use for testing in 2011, to more accurately reflect the current typical family car seatbelt layout and design. We carried out some repeat testing, to ensure that previous tests shown online are broadly comparable to the current ones. However, such a significant change means we can't make absolute comparisons.

This result is from our 2009 tests.

Pros: Excellent finish quality, clear instructions.

Cons: Very poor side crash protection with back removed, complicated belt routing, removing and cleaning the seat cover is complicated

TruthSweet Wed 08-Jun-11 22:13:02

Thank you so much for reproducing the review.

I am pissing myself at the thought that the Monterey has a complicated belt routing. It is so easy to install I can't believe it.

The shoulder portion of the seat belt goes through a belt guide at the shoulder and the lap part goes through the lap belt guide.

That's is it.

If that is considered complicated then no wonder the rfing seats get don't buy ratings. The Which? testers must be so baffled by them they give up and stick them to the test sledge with sticky tape.

aswellasyou Wed 08-Jun-11 23:01:05

grin, Truth. I drove myself mad today moving rfing car seats in my sister's car. I hadn't fitted hers before which didn't help. First, I swapped them over, then realised mine was too far from the front seat, so put it in the middle seat and put hers back where it was originally. It took so long, my sister phoned from inside the house to find out if I'd died! The Which? testers would have given up well before I did.

allthefires Thu 09-Jun-11 10:55:02

The which reports should do two reports one for safety - exclude price/colour- just do the crash tests and one for consumer ease.

If a washable cover is more important than safety then the worlds gone mad!

Parents who buy the seats need to know that they need to be trained how to fit their car seat properly not be seduced by pretty colours and rubbish which reports

BertieBotts Thu 09-Jun-11 11:32:04

I think the which reports are a fair guide. Most parents will consider safety first of course, but practical considerations are important too.

PigletJohn Thu 09-Jun-11 11:47:52

I was a bit surprised they have so many "Don't Buys" with fairly high scores. I looked at one of them and the review said "Cons: Very poor side crash protection with back removed, complicated belt routing, removing and cleaning the seat cover is complicated"

Which doesn't sound very good.

I suppose the point, with all Which reviews, is that if you can buy a better product, for less money, then that's a sensible thing to do. Luckily you can read the entire review, free, by calling into your local library and reading their reference copy, which will tell you far more than on here.

Some of the people quibbling here sound to me as if they have already bought one of the seats that did poorly on test, and are trying to rationalise their choice sad

TruthSweet Thu 09-Jun-11 12:09:55

Also, just noticed that the Monterey scores 69% and is a don't buy but the Maxi Cosi Rodi is a Best Buy at 70% confused Same sort of seat (high backed booster with belt guides) but one percent is th difference between a Best Buy and a Don't Buy.

Don't get that at all.

Piglet - if that is the Monterey review you are quoting then I think I can safely ignore the Which? guides from now on.

It's not recommended to remove the back off of a Monterey (or any other HBB) unless the child is too tall for the back. As the Monterey should take a 150cm child with the back, by law the 150cm+ child could have been in no booster for the past 15cm of height (law only applies to children 135cm or shorter). If they are over 150cm and riding with out the back it's still safer than just a seat belt because it keeps the lap belt from riding up over the stomach. The cover is easy to remove to clean or you could use a damp cloth shock plus it's buckets easier to install than any other seat I've ever had.

I just have no faith in their reviews anymore.

aswellasyou Thu 09-Jun-11 13:16:48

Piglet, I think I'd be more concerned that someone woould see a 'Best Buy' and get it even if it's not fantastic in crash tests but you can easily change the covers to wash them.confused The BeSafe Izi Combi has fantastic crash test results so your theory that I'm 'trying to rationalise my choice' is ridiculous. I bought a very safe seat so that my daughter has the best chance of surviving a major crash if she is ever in one. I couldn't care less what colour it is, whether it takes me 2 minutes or 30 minutes to fit, or how easy it is to take the covers off to wash them I'll never do it anyway. I think the Klippan Kiss (my other seat) is ugly but who cares? grin
I was thinking that too about the Monteray. Why test it when removing the back if you're not supposed to?confused And just because a seat is difficult to fit the first time, doesn't mean you don't quickly get used to it.
I feel they should stick to non life saving equipment reviews in

aswellasyou Thu 09-Jun-11 13:17:47

Oh and the 69%/70% do/don't buy difference is laughable.

BertieBotts Thu 09-Jun-11 13:26:40

The 69% is irrelevant - it gets a "Don't Buy" because it scored under 40% in at least one mode (back removed). All of the high-scoring "Don't Buy"s have at least one score below 40%. I think their policy is to judge based on the lowest score, because even if you don't ever intend to use it in that mode, it's still possible (or something like that). Which is how they sell their membership I suppose, since to see the detailed ratings you have to log in.

BertieBotts Thu 09-Jun-11 13:27:24

Why wouldn't you be supposed to remove the back? It's a group 2/3 seat, so it can be used with the back or without.

BertieBotts Thu 09-Jun-11 13:33:46

Oh I see, sorry. It's not recommended to remove the back until they reach a height that the booster would be pointless anyway. I expect it's for convenience. Once DS goes into a booster I'll probably get a group 2/3 - I can't drive so if we're going from home it will be fine and I'll just put the HBB in whoever's car, but if we're going on a train or bus or something and being picked up later, then I'd just take the seat bit.

TruthSweet Thu 09-Jun-11 14:16:49

The thing is most people, rightly or wrongly, swap a HBB for a booster cushion at 5 or 6 anyway so even if they do originally drop £100+ on a HBB booster that's rated a Best Buy and doesn't have a removable back it really makes no difference in the end.

I think that though they should do best/don't buys on each way of using the seat so that if you do follow Which? decrees you know that you can use that seat rfing but not to turn in ffing or it makes a great HBB but a rubbish harnessed seat.

BertieBotts Thu 09-Jun-11 18:25:36

I think the best/don't buys are supposed to be an at a glance thing, though. There's nothing to stop you from looking up the full review and making that judgement yourself, as they are tested separately in each position - but most people will see the list of "best buys" and pick one of the top ones, without looking to see if that rating applies only to one particular usage of the seat.

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