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Car seat help - save my sanity!

(45 Posts)
NeverGotMyPuppy Sat 30-Nov-19 18:58:38

DS is 14 months and needs a Group 1. He has the Maxi Cosi Pebble with isofix at the moment so the pearl seemed the logical decision.

However - it gives our passenger seat a ridiculously small amount of leg room. We are TTC next month and there is just no way I'm going to be able to ait comfortably pregnant (and frankly not pregnant).

Weve started to look at the combined groups. The Joie every stage FX looks good however:

1. Given I'll have to use the belt for FF, do I have to readjust everytime I get him in and out? The seat will stay in the car, we only have one.
2. I've read something about issues with harnesses? Please could you explain in small words?!
3. We have a Mazda 2 atm. Planning on buying a Skoda Karoq next year. Will it fit ok?!

I've been looking at the damn things all day and my head hurts!!

OP’s posts: |
MuchTooTired Sat 30-Nov-19 19:05:22

We’ve got the maxi cosi pearl for our DTs. Wouldn’t rate them tbh! The harnesses frequently get stuck so have to take the seat out and redo it, and whilst I have a big car, my dh has a small one and the bases don’t fit. I also struggle sometimes to get the seats to recline.

Can’t help with any other brand, at £200 x 2 I’m sticking with the ones I have until they’ve outgrown them!

NeverGotMyPuppy Sat 30-Nov-19 19:12:16

Thanks so much for your reply - god its annoying when you pay so much and they are crap.

OP’s posts: |
BertieBotts Sat 30-Nov-19 19:19:01

Joie every stage (in every version) got really bad safety testing results when used forward facing in harnessed mode. It's ok in rear facing mode, that you can use up to 18kg (and if at all possible this is much safer than front facing especially at his age). And then it's ok after 18kg as a forward facing booster seat. But I stress in both of these modes still only ok, not good or great.

Is it the rear facing pearl that you're struggling to fit behind? I would look at the Joie 360 spin or I-spin as these are quite compact. Then you can save the base to use again with the pebble for the next baby.

FairfaxAikman Sat 30-Nov-19 19:19:56

14 months really is too young to safely forward face. Also there should be 55cm between a FF seat and the seat in front - which most RF seats will fit into anyway.

BertieBotts Sat 30-Nov-19 19:36:52

Sorry, was on phone but am back now.

Not sure about your questions - I believe with the Joie FX models, you can use the isofix for them in forward facing harness mode but in the other modes (rear facing harness and forward facing booster) they fit with the seatbelt.

Anyway, with a Group 1 seat even if it's seatbelt installed, you just install it once and leave it there. It's not like the baby seat where you have to do it each time.

You can check the fit lists for most car seats on the manufacturer's website, but usually unless the car you're looking at has very sloped rear seats or storage boxes in the rear there isn't much to worry about fitting wise. It's just down to your comfort in the front seats, for seatbelt fitting whether you can get a solid install, and for isofix seats sometimes the angle can be loose and cause the seat to rattle - this seems especially common with those seats.

If you let me know your budget and whether you're looking for forward facing, rear facing or both I can probably suggest some seats to look at.

BertieBotts Sat 30-Nov-19 19:37:40

Oops - "especially common with those seats" should read "especially common with Joie spin seats" - we have one and it doesn't rattle but it was looser in my sister's car and did.

NeverGotMyPuppy Sat 30-Nov-19 19:56:05

Sorry I should have been clearer - no intention of putting him forward facing til he is at least 4

OP’s posts: |
SweepTheHalls Sat 30-Nov-19 19:59:01

The britax 2 way elite is a fab ERF seat.

NeverGotMyPuppy Sat 30-Nov-19 19:59:20

Thanks so much!

Budget we are flexible within sensible limits. What we want to avoid ideally is buying loads of different seats and loads of different bases!

OP’s posts: |
NeverGotMyPuppy Sat 30-Nov-19 20:00:09

Thanks! So again do you just belt in and leave it there - I dont have to keep doing the belt?

OP’s posts: |
Whynotnowbaby Sat 30-Nov-19 20:00:52

We had the pearl and as pp said it was rubbish, straps get stuck all the time and we had a few times when we were away and worried we weren’t going to be able to get dd in at all as it was so jammed. No experience with others though.

welshweasel Sat 30-Nov-19 20:03:33

The belt is annoying with the joie seats - and they are relatively big in terms of cabin space needed. Have a look at the axkid move or minikid, take up less space and rear face to 25kg.

BertieBotts Sat 30-Nov-19 20:15:51

OK great that you're on board for forward facing until at least 4 smile

Most Group 1 seats don't have a separate base. It's a bit of a fad at the moment in the car seat companies to produce what they call "modular" systems where they put the Group 1 seat on a base that's the same as the baby seat base and then claim they are saving you money hmm - when many Group 1 seats don't even require a separate base at all! Even isofix seats (e.g. Joie 360 Spin or Britax Dualfix) tend to have the isofix built in. And you can frequently buy an entire seat for less or the same amount as you'd be spending on the upgrade to your current seat, which would tie up the base that you then can't use for your new baby. It's a bit of a con IMO.

This brings me to question 2 - How big is your 14mo? If you know weight, height and/or clothing sizes, any of those would be brilliant with weight/height being best of all.

What you may not be aware of is that the next stage of seat comes in 2 sizes. The most common size like the Pearl (and variants) are up to 18kg or up to 105cm, depending on whether they are i-size or certified under the Group system. These are sold as up to 4 years, but that means that they will last an average child until somewhere around their fourth birthday, which may mean some time before they actually turn four. But you can also get hold of seats which will take a child up to 25kg rear facing, which is usually about 5-7 years, meaning you will definitely pass age 4, if that's your milestone you're aiming for.

Counterintuitively, the 25kg seats also tend to take up less room in the car as they sit more upright whereas 18kg seats are often quite reclined.

As you're planning to have a second child, you could also go for an 18kg seat now and reassess when DC2 is in need of DC1's toddler seat and/or DC1 is nearing the end of their time in the toddler seat, whether to move DC1 into a 25kg seat or high backed booster seat, or get a second 18kg seat for DC2.

BertieBotts Sat 30-Nov-19 20:23:55

FFS I don't know what's wrong with my typing today blush

I meant REAR facing until 4, obviously!!

NeverGotMyPuppy Sat 30-Nov-19 20:27:40

Honestly, I have a degree. A good one. But WHY is it so complicated!?!

DS is on the chunky side. Pretty much is 12 to 18month stuff all the time. Midwife told me off when he was 8 months for being on the 95th centile for weight but he has always been on it - I havent been back since. He isnt particularly tall.

Thanks, this is all very helpful.

OP’s posts: |
BertieBotts Sat 30-Nov-19 20:37:17

It's complicated because you have two separate sets of legislation running at the same time.

You have multiple companies all competing for the same bit of market share. Since car seats became law for all children up to 12 years, this has become particularly fierce because in many ways it's a captive market.

Several different directions in innovation have come and they are all competing for "Use me, use me" as the most important thing to be aware of in car seats.

Then you've got the fact that the law (both of them) differ from the advice from car safety experts about what is best practice.

I'm interested in car seats (I know, sad grin) and I've been following developments for the last 11 years since DS1 was born and it is a LOT more complicated today than it was 11 years ago. It isn't just you. I could go into all of the history etc but people tend to switch off blush

Skyechasemarshalontheway Sat 30-Nov-19 20:37:38

Even if baby is bigger than his age it's still better to rear face as long as possible.

It's about their bones not how big they are. Rear facing is 5x safer than FF and protects baby's neck. Before 4 their necks are not protected enough ff.

BertieBotts Sat 30-Nov-19 20:41:33

For a chunky kid - you'll be looking at a 25kg seat eventually. An 18kg seat is likely to last him to about 3-3.5, even though they all say "Until 4 years" on the box and shop displays.

So it's up to you whether you go for a 25kg seat immediately, which will be OK until he's 5-6, maybe a bit older, at which point change to a high backed booster (using adult seat belt).

Or you could get a standard 18kg seat now with the plan to hand down to younger sibling, and when you're in that situation that DC1 needs to stop using the rear facing seat for whatever reason, THEN you make the decision about whether to get a 25kg rear facing seat to keep DC1 rear facing, or change to a 25kg forward facing seat to keep DC1 in a harness, or to move DC1 into a booster seat.

(Forgot to add to last point too - changing parental expectations about what they want from a car seat - 11 years ago, most parents happy to forward face at 9 months, and move to booster at 3 or even before. These days most people want to rear face until at least age 1 or 2, and want their child in a harness until age 4 or 5.)

NeverGotMyPuppy Sat 30-Nov-19 20:44:57

Well i suppose at least now I know why I dont understand it!!

OP’s posts: |
NeverGotMyPuppy Sat 30-Nov-19 20:55:38

Has the britax 2 way elite been renamed? I can't seem to see it to buy anywhere!

OP’s posts: |
BertieBotts Sat 30-Nov-19 21:06:07

It's been discontinued in the UK, but it's still available to buy in Sweden. There is one importer in the UK - The In Car Safety Centre.

However I wouldn't go straight for that one. If you're looking at 25kg seats, it's a very old model and there are better things on the market today. It's a good choice if you need something very lightweight or without a support leg, or if you're on a tight budget.

Axkid Move/Minikid, Britax Max Way Plus, Besafe izi Plus are good 25kg seats to look at. Also the Diono Radian 5, but that seems to be a love or hate seat.

BertieBotts Sat 30-Nov-19 21:07:35

Sorry meant to say the 2-way elite is still legal to use here, it's just not officially available/supported by Britax themselves.

BertieBotts Sat 30-Nov-19 21:08:47

When you're looking at 25kg seats, generally you will be looking at specialist ERF retailers. They are not popular enough for the high street chains to stock them.

partysong Sat 30-Nov-19 21:11:54

Just to make things more confusing for you- I absolutely love my Pearl, it's been brilliant, it's still comfy for him (aged 3) and it fits easily in everyone's car. I assume it's the isofix leg taking up too much room for you?

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