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Help us choose an occasional use car seat?(13 Posts)
Maybe it's because I haven't had very much sleep for many months but I'm feeling really overwhelmed about car seats. Baby is currently 6 months old. We live in London and don't have a car, so we just have a very basic group 0 seat at the minute, which is used very rarely for taxi journeys etc.
I'm flying to visit the grandparents on my own soon and we'll need a car seat while we are there. They'd like to buy a car seat for us to have at their house but I'm tying myself in knots trying to advise them on what would be best, and worrying about our next car seat purchase at the same time. We actually both have similar needs:
- seat should fit a wide variety of cars (taxis, hire cars, parents cars, other relative's cars...)
- can't be very expensive, given that we are talking about very occasional use and neither us nor my mum and dad are very flush with cash
- ideally would last a long time to make it better value and to save me going through this hand wringing again soon (so for the car seat at my parents, from 6mo to ???... For us, from when the current seat is outgrown onwards?)
- ideally would be rear facing for as long as possible and in as many cars as possible
mostly because reading all the posts here make me feel like my child will certainly die if they face forwards, ever
Is there an affordable easy to fit rear facing seat that would suit us and my parents?
We looked at the Joie Stages (which seemed the right sort of price point - by which I mean I think it's really expensive but maybe it could be a Christmas present) but when I googled it I found all the posts about the poor which? review
(Don't buy, apparently).
Have you looked at the joke iAnchor? It's approx £250 and can either be Isofix and belted. It's fairly new so not many reviews, but you might be put off the brand by the Which review. Having said that, my friend has a Joie Stages and loves it. I used to put a lot of faith in Which reviews but have recently started to feel that they're not the be-all and end-all, and it's very liberating!
Alternatively, you might look at the Hauck Varioguard.
Joie stages. Ignore which? They are so bias its unbelievable.
I hatw two £350 ERF. Id happily use the joie stages car seat
I second the Joie Stages. For safety ERF can't be beat so that is what I based my decision on. It took me a week or so to get the hang of getting LO in easily (hence the poor Which reviews) but now it is a breeze. It was easy to get in the car and LO seems very happy in it.
I'm in the same situation as you and I went for the Joie Steadi because its narrower than the stages which for us was a big factor due to fitting my DS in too.
It's £130 and does from birth to 18kg so around 4ish for a standard child.
I have had the Britax Two-Way Elite for DS since he was a year old - he is now nearly four and still loads of room - I think a lot of children fit in them until around age six? It goes until your child is 25kg - most seats in the next stage up only go until 18kg.
It has fitted rear-facing into every car we've every used (hire cars, relatives' cars...) except one, so we had to turn it forward-facing for that and then it worked.
It isn't cheap, I think it's about �200, but it is very easy to fit. So might be one you would consider for yourselves in London, but perhaps too pricey for when you visit your parents.
We ordered ours from the In Car Safety Centre in Milton Keynes, and it took a couple of days to arrive.
Gosh thanks everyone. I think car seats are just shockingly expensive. The £250/£200 options are just not at all possible so I'll look again at the Joie Stages / Streadi. What about the Tilt? Also coming up in Joie related searches?
We have a tilt in each car, they are small so great for fitting three seats alongside eachother or if you need to carry adults/older children in the back too. I have turned dd2 forwards this week in one car after she pulled the adult belt out of the routing (there is nothing to stop this happening whereas the steadi has a belt lock clip thing). The steadi also has much more height adjustment so will fit a taller child rear facing. For the price I think the tilt is a great rear facing option but realistically for most people it won't take a child rear facing to 3.5 unless they are both small for their age and compliant enough to never touch the adult belt.
Joie Stages, or the Kiddy one - whichever is the cheapest Group 1 only one they do now, and then a Britax Adventure. Not sure about Group 0 though. Could they borrow one or you take the one you have until baby outgrows?
You could also look at the Britax First Class for Group 0-1, it's RF until 13kg and then FF to 18kg, and is well known for being easy to fit into multiple cars because it has two different belt routings in FF, so you can choose the one which avoids buckle crunch.
I didn't drive and I had a First Class, which XP took and kept in his car, and I bought a Kiddy Infinity Pro which was the Group 1 only version that they made 5 years ago - they change the names every couple of years for some reason, but that was brilliant for moving between different cars, really versatile, lightweight.
Your child will not die if they face forwards, though I would certainly seek to avoid it before 15 months as a minimum, any car seat is better than no car seat and if the seat has a recline option, that affords some protection from the strong forces in the unlikely event of an accident. The impact shield seats (Kiddy) are supposed to be gentler on the spine too, although there is newer information which wasn't around when I bought mine about rollovers (Kiddy say that rollovers are unlikely in modern cars.)
You can take a car seat in the hold in an aeroplane usually even if you haven't booked a seat for the baby. It costs £10 or so. We brought DS' booster seat with us when we moved from the UK because we didn't want to spend €100+ on one we'd rarely use.
I reckon, TBH, if you stay away from the ones which make you think WTF because they are so cheap, the Nania seats, the Baby Start and Kiddicare own brand, any of those odd brand type ones, you're pretty much good to go with most if not all of the other seats on the market. Yes they might not be the most advanced super duper safety or comfort or ease of use as the top brands, but they're still better than a car seat you could buy 15 or 20 years ago.
So looking at the mid range ones currently:
Group 0, the Mothercare Ziba looks okay. But not really cost effective when 0+1s are so cheap and the baby's 6 months already.
0+1, Britax First Class or Joei Tilt. Joei Stages Group 0,1,2 which would be your absolute super duper budget friendly option, IMO, and your only chance at RF to anywhere near 18kg. If you wanted or needed a low booster (Group 3) then you can buy them for about £10 anywhere later.
Group 1 you've got the Britax Eclipse and Graco Coast. You can still buy the Britax Prince on amazon too which used to be Britax's "budget" option, not sure if they still make it or if Mothercare just don't stock it.
123 tend not to be worth buying IMO if you're looking for budget options. The cheaper ones are either rubbish or not suitable for a child at the younger age stage, and it works out cheaper to buy a Group 1 (or 0+1) and then a mid range high backed booster.
Group 2-3 - will be totally different probably by the time she needs one, but at the moment I'm happy with my Britax Adventure, and I like the Graco ones too. They get terrible Which scores, partly because the side impact is rubbish (in which case, look at the Britax) but partly because one of them can be detached to make a low booster, and they safety test the seat in the least safe position, which is nuts. They should test them as separate seats. But this is also a plus when you're looking at flexibility, taxis etc, because sometimes you'll just want the base rather than the whole thing with the back if you're not leaving it in the car all the time. Although as said earlier, you can easily buy just a booster extremely cheaply. You can also get the portable seats for this age, bubble bum and trunki.
Just coming back to say thank you so much again my dad has managed to borrow a seat from someone at work for now so I've more time to research and will look at the options everyone has suggested!
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