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Car seat fitting - in store advisor or fit yourself?(6 Posts)
Hi, I'm looking for the next car seat for my 15 month old DS. I want him to stay RF for a bit longer, but money is tight so was thinking of getting a Britax First Class plus. However after looking on their fit finder, it seems it might not fit all that well in my car ( a 2001 Vauxhall Astra Estate.)
So now I think I want to go and try a couple out and get one that fits properly. But...have seen on here in the past that some of the large retailers are a bit rubbish in the fitting department! I would have thought that surely a trained advisor has had at least some training, whereas I have had none, so they must be better?!
Just wondering if anyone can recommend a good retailer, or am I really better off buying online and following instructions/YouTube videos? Or if anyone has a first class in an old Astra?! Or can recommend something else similar?
Sorry, lots of questions!
We tried a First Class in my car originally, before opting for an ERF seat. I had done a lot of research online beforehand, including memorising (the best that I could) the installation instructions so I could have fitted it myself if I wanted/had to.
We went to a shop just to see if it would fit, and be practical in my car - it would be a waste of money and a complete faff if it hadn't fitted right and I'd had to send it back.
As it happened, while it fitted OK, the way the seatbelt ran around the top of the seat while it was rear-facing meant it would have been in the way everytime I wanted to put DD in or out. Not such a bad thing as it would have meant having to move the seatbelt and therefore rechecking the installation every time. Not so practical in a pouring rain/emergency nappy stop/nipping out of the car for 2 minutes where I couldn't leave her behind scenario.
I digress, sorry . My point was, you should be able to get the installation instructions for any car seat off the manufacturer's website (Britax First Class for example). Have a good read, arm yourself with as much info as you can, then go and check it in real life.
Hmm, that does sound like a faff! I think we're going to go have a look at some then I have an idea of what they're like. Another one I am considering is the Joie stages, which I think Babies r us and Mothercare are now stocking. Has anyone tried one of these in store or are they just on the website?
There are stocks in store of the joie stages including in Halfords but I have heard reports of stores not being confident to fit them.
Where are you? A friend of mine stocks them in South London.
Alternatively familiarise yourself with fitting instructions/video and ring ahead to see If store has them.
Joie stages also does the seat belt thing like the first class though but I would prefer the faff of this to the risks of forward facing.
As for your original question "Car seat fitting - in store advisor or fit yourself". I do it myself as Im confident and knowledgeable about things like buckle crunch etc. Otherwise I would recommend an independent, then mothercare, then Halfords/toys r us.
Mothercare are the only ones who send each member on a britax training course. The other retailers rely on drip down training. Eg one area member attending course and then training others. Too much room for error in my opinion
You could get in touch with your local police road safety unit. Some of them do car seat fittings and keep data on which car seats fit in which cars. They might be able to help. As a general rule of thumb, the buckle should not be touching the car seat as in an accident it could break and release the seat, and there should be virtually no movement when you try wiggling the seat. I'd put weight in the seat when fitting it if possible and pull that seatbelt as tightly as you can.
Thank you both, that's very helpful. We're in Cumbria ( retail desert! ) so a bit far to London I'm afraid. Think I'll try our nearest independent first as they seemed pretty good when we got our pram, then maybe a trip out to Mothercare etc.
We have no home computer at the moment and have to rely on mobile internet so watching lots of videos might be a bit tricky, will have a look though.
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