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Car seat confusion

(31 Posts)
rachc85 Sat 05-Mar-16 14:33:20

Sorry if this is really silly of me...& already covered....but I am sooo confused with the whole car seat thing! Have read the reviews etc but I don't get the practicalities! Any advice appreciated!

So my DS is 7 months, was thinking in a few months he'll prob need bigger car seat (have silver cross travel bundle now). But...we have 2 cars & will both need to collect him from childcare & in mothercare they were all £200 plus each! Some £500!! & the staff member was not at all helpful!

& then on top of this what if a family member / friend offers to collect them - can they never do this without his seat?! & this continues into toddler age & up? So how do people give lifts to other children & stuff? & for holidays etc you always have to bring a car seat with you? Like what if I want a short break to see a friend which involves a 1 hour flight & her to collect us....she can't do this unless I pack a car seat as luggage??

Hmm maybe I am being dumb but right now my heads pickled wondering how we'r gonna manage! Also any recommendations would be good for brands as the staff members shrugged when asked was forward facing still popular as the rearward facing he advised were so expensive & when asked could I swap the seat between cars easily he laughed & said 'try lifting that love'. Helpful!!angry

fluffypenguinbelly Sat 05-Mar-16 19:35:19

How else do you propose you transport a 1 year old? On your lap? Of course they always need to be in a car seat and for many many years to come yet.

Roseberrry Sat 05-Mar-16 19:39:27

You don't have to spend £200+ but I wouldn't go too cheap either. Choose a brand you trust and get the best you can afford, one for each car if you have to.

even if you don't get caught it's not worth travelling without one, can you imagine the damage to your child if you crashed without proper car seats?

Roseberrry Sat 05-Mar-16 19:41:32

Fwiw once they get to a certain weight your family members could use a bumper seat, they're much cheaper and v light. Not as safe as a proper seat but better than nothing.

Thewinedidit Sat 05-Mar-16 19:43:58

Hello op. At that age you should be continuing to have your baby rear facing. We swapped DS from infant seat to brittax dualfix at around 11 months which rear faces until 4 hopefully. We got this as it was one of the safest seats available at the time. There is a cheaper seat my SIL got as like you she needed more than one. It was a Joie (?) possibly and around 70 pounds. Kiddicare I think may do it.

Yes your baby will need a seat anytime it's in a car which can cause a bit of headache trying to sort lifts etc but it's worth it to keep your little safe.

pumpkinbutter Sat 05-Mar-16 19:46:14

here is the current laws on car seats - your DS must be rear facing until 15 months in an i-size seat or until 9kgs in a weight based seat. There are extended rear facing seats which can be used from 6+ months until 18kgs, which means you get a good 4 years of use out of it and £50 per year for your child's safety is a bargain. The Joie Stages is a good seat which has great reviews. Look at rear facing websites such as Securatot and In car Safety centre for options and advice.

missingsleeptime Sat 05-Mar-16 19:55:56

Ok really not appreciating the rude replies!!! As if I would ever transport my child without a car seat!!!! Hence why I am looking advice!! I appreciate the helpful suggestions but the rude replies are very off putting for using Mumsnet!!! Clearly some people think they know it all when u ask for advice as a first time mum not having had experience with this!!

missingsleeptime Sat 05-Mar-16 20:00:50

FYI fluffypenguinbelly when I asked In original post about not being able to be given lifts without it I meant when they were like 7 etc! As if I would let a baby be transported without a seat! When I was a child we didn't have booster seats etc, & I don't have any siblings. As one of the first of my friends to have children I was merely looking practical advice

Rant over, just feeling very wrongly judged! angry

Roseberrry Sat 05-Mar-16 20:06:18

Are you the op then missing?

I don't think fluffypenguin was rude. It did seem as if you were hoping you'd be able to get away without using one. You've cleared that up now though so I wouldn't get het up over it.

BelfastSmile Sat 05-Mar-16 20:07:45

I found it really confusing too, OP! We used the first car seat until DS was about 1, but he has always been on the small side - but you may get a couple of months out of yours yet.

We went to Mothercare and found them really helpful - obviously you haven't been lucky with that (I'd write a letter of complaint, to be honest, but that's a separate issue).

Sounds like you'll need a seat for each car. They can be moved between cars, but not easily, so you wouldn't do it every day or anything. If someone else is giving them a lift, they'd need a seat - as a one-off you probably would lend them yours, by, say, leaving it with the childminders when you drop your child off. However, you'd need to make sure they know how to fit it in their car (it's usually simple one you've done it once!). For a trip, I'd see if the person at the other end could borrow a seat for the duration, rather than you flying it over.

In terms of which seat to get, my advice would be to go to somewhere that sells them and ask. We got one for £75 (reduced from £150) in the Mothercare sale, and the other was about £130 or so, so they're not all hideously expensive. Hopefully someone will be able to recommend another shop, if you've had a bad experience with Mothercare.

squeezed Sat 05-Mar-16 20:10:14

We have two car seats. One is a Britax max way (I think) and the other the joie I-anchor. I'd recommend the joie for getting in and out of different cars, we chose it because pil don't have isofix in their car.
The advice ive had in shops has been awful but securatot are really helpful. If you can, keep DS rear facing as long as possible. We're hoping to keep DD rear facing until 4 years despite pil insistence that she's squashed, she's not!
If I were visiting someone where I couldn't take the car seat with me, I would look at borrowing or buying one when I was there. I get really anxious about being in the car with DD though.

AndNowItsSeven Sat 05-Mar-16 20:10:45

First stage car seats are suitable up to 15 months so you won't need a new one any time soon. Certainly bit at nine months.

SweetAdeline Sat 05-Mar-16 20:16:02

Mothercare are no way near the cheapest option for buying car seats. Id try a few different shops - mothercare, halfords, John Lewis etc then buy online. I'd recommend kiddicare online for price (and great customer service at their showroom If you live near Peterborough). We've bought all our dcs car seats from there, timing it for when we visit relatives near by.

In car safety centre (Belfast and MK) are meant to be very good with advice too but seem pricey to me.

motherigloo Sat 05-Mar-16 20:16:47

That's true in theory andnowits but each infant car seats will be different.

My DS moved into his (rear facing so no need to judge!) toddler seat just before his first birthday. He was under the weight limit but he was too tall for it. The straps were too far down for his shoulders.

Blanket statements are not helpful.

missingsleeptime Sat 05-Mar-16 20:19:10

Thanks for helpful suggestions I will def look into those brands & shops mentioned when the one comes! I know it's a bit off, I figured I had I till he was around a year at least, but I just wanted to get my head round it!

TheFlyingFauxPas Sat 05-Mar-16 20:21:33

I second Kiddicare you can try them in your car. I was a bit 😐 at one visit however when the fitter had fitted it and I said look should it still be able to jiggle about like this ? It seemed a bit loose and he said well he'll (ds) will hold it down when he's sitting in it??????

TheFlyingFauxPas Sat 05-Mar-16 20:24:42

You keeps them in the seat until they're about to exceed the maximum for that seat height/weightwise not when they hit the next seat's minimum. There's a huge overlap (or there was 13 years ago!)

TheFlyingFauxPas Sat 05-Mar-16 20:27:45

As for "Not as safe as a proper seat but better than nothing" boosters. I never used those seat only things. Always used high backed better side impact protection too. Mum had one in hers for ds. I had 2 in mine so we could also transport his friends smile

Rainshowers Sat 05-Mar-16 20:34:57

It is a bit of a pain, when you're used to the portability of an infant carrier. Our parents help with childcare and after two months of constant seat swapping everyone now has their own seat. Fortunately our inlaws are in a position where they could easily afford to buy their own so did (and will keep it for further grandchildren, to lend to friends etc), but if we'd have to buy three it would have been a stretch!

We moved from the maxi cosi pebble to joie I-anchor as wanted to keep her rear facing but to be honest it wasn't the best seat and I found it quite fiddly to use on a daily basis. The final straw came when she worked out how to loosen the straps (at 20 months!) That now lives in my mums car (Joie sent us a cover to stop the escaping) and we have a maxi cosi two way pearl which we love. You probably need to be looking at rear facing for a while longer if he's that little.

On holiday you can rent car seats with your hire car, or all airlines we've travelled with let you check one in for free. Picking up friends kids is more difficult, but if it's a very occasional thing you just have to move your car seat in and out. If you pick up other people's children a lot it's maybe worth buying a cheaper second seat which you can then use on holiday etc.

ODog Sat 05-Mar-16 20:36:42

I got a joie I anchor car seat when DS outgrew the infant carrier. It was £175 for seat and base and is easy to swap in and out of cars if needed. It is rear facing until 18kg and fwd facing until 25kg. Bought from mothercare and easily the best value erf seat I could find. My mum looks DS 2 days a week so we bought a britax grp 0/1 seat for her car for around £70. No base but straps in with belts. Rear facing until 13kg and forward facing for longer (I think 25kg). DS is 75th centile and only just reached 13kg at 21months. He will now go forward facing in my mums car but stay rear facing in ours. I'm going on mat leave again v soon and ahe won't need to watch him so I'm not worried for a couple of days for a couple of weeks. If you go on holiday you can normally hire a car seat with the hire car.

Cel982 Sat 05-Mar-16 20:47:34

We got nearly 2 years out of our first stage seat (Cabriofix), and DD is average weight and tall for her age. The weight limit (on that one anyway) is 13kg. Definitely keep your DS in it until he reaches the max height/weight, it's the safest type of seat for them.
After that we find the Joie Stages brilliant, it's great value for an ERF seat with a good safety profile. It takes a few minutes to switch it between cars, but it's not particularly heavy.

AndNowItsSeven Sat 05-Mar-16 21:14:02

Mother I said up to 15 months and not 9 months. That's not a blanket statement.

ODog Sat 05-Mar-16 21:19:25

I don't want to stir this up at all but to give another perspective...DS was not necessarily too tall or heavy for his infant carrier but he was uncomfortable and miserable on every journey by 6/7mo. He was much happier in an erf grp 0/1 seat as he was less scrunched and they are bigger/higher up. I think you have to judge it on each child. He still happily rear faces at almost 2yrs old in it but infant carriers were just not right for him.

motherigloo Sat 05-Mar-16 21:47:52

"First stage car seats are suitable up to 15 months so you won't need a new one any time soon. Certainly bit at nine months."

We had to think about it when he was 11 months. Our seat was no longer suitable at 15 months.

Just wanted the OP to know that each individual case/seat/child will differ and what works for one or what the box says may not necessarily be 'correct'.

BertieBotts Sat 05-Mar-16 21:48:00

"It seemed a bit loose and he said well he'll (ds) will hold it down when he's sitting in it"

shock That's AWFUL! Totally incorrect. Your child's weight won't hold the seat down if you're involved in an impact. Which is exactly where it matters. I hope you didn't buy it.

OP to answer your questions:

You can definitely buy Group 1 (second stage, 1-4 years about) car seats for cheaper than £200. It's not necessary to spend so much. You should be careful about seats which seem TOO cheap, though, as some of them are not as safe as others. The cheapest trustworthy seat is the Britax Prince which you can normally pick up for about £60 somewhere on sale.

As others have said, your son might fit into his baby seat for a little while longer yet. They can fit into the seat until either the top of his head reaches the seat shell or they reach the weight limit of the seat, which should be printed in the manual or on the underside of the seat and is usually 13kg. It doesn't matter if his feet dangle off the end as babies tend to move their legs around in the car, cross them, kick them, etc anyway. He can rest them on the back of the car seat. If he's getting a bit snug in the seat itself you can try removing any padding which is designed to be removed such as a newborn head support and try not to dress him in bulky clothes when you're going in the car - which you should be avoiding anyway as it can make the straps less tight than they need to be.

If/when he does outgrow the baby seat, the seat you described is not an i-size seat so there is no requirement to rear face until 15 months. However since rear facing is so much safer, it's recommended that you do rear face for as long as possible. If you want to stay rear facing you have two options. You can look for a combination Group 0+1 seat like the Britax First Class (which is normally about £100 somewhere), which will take you rear facing up to 13kg, but can also be used forward facing right up to 18kg (about 4 years) or you can look for an extended rear facing seat which usually allows rear facing for the whole 4 year period. Some of them also turn forward facing if you prefer.

If you look for a Group 0+1 then be careful because some of the cheaper models only rear face until 9kg or 10kg which effectively makes them pointless for this purpose.

For two cars. You'll have to work out whether it's feasible to move the car seat between your cars or whether it's worth it to just buy two. Presumably you're able to move the seat now. I think that the Mothercare assistant's words were pretty unhelpful as LOTS of people move car seats between cars. Any car seat can be moved, so his joke about weight is really unnecessary. With the larger rear facing seats it's sometimes necessary to install tether straps so you can buy two sets of straps, but one seat which reduces time when swapping over. One thing you'll need to be aware of is that not all car seats fit all cars, so you will need to test your chosen seat in both if you want to move it regularly.

There are a couple of options which can make regular moving of car seats easier. You could go for isofix seats which click in rather than being fitted with the seatbelt. To properly fit a forward facing Group 1 seat with a seatbelt you should actually be kneeling in the seat and pushing your full weight into it to tighten the seatbelt to get it tight with each step. That's a bit of a pain to do each time. You could also look at car seats which use a base and purchase two bases but one seat. Some of the bases are seatbelt fitted, if you don't have isofix.

Lastly the solution I went for as a non driver was to buy one of the seats which use an impact shield instead of a harness. I had the Kiddy Infinity which is an older model now but I found this extremely fast and convenient to swap between cars as it plugs in almost like a booster seat. It was also intuituve for grandparents etc which complicated seatbelt fitting might not have been. These seats also tend to be much lighter than others on the market.

When other people give you/your child a lift they'll need to have a car seat suitable for him. So either they borrow your seat or they might have their own seat, for example if they have another child who isn't currently in the car, and once children are in boosters, it isn't a big deal to have one of the £10 basic boosters lying around. I don't think that you need to worry overly about somebody offering to pick up your child from childcare on a whim, because you won't be allowed to do that anyway. Safeguarding procedures mean that children have to be picked up by a person known to the nursery/school/other childcare unless arranged in advance and you let them know about it. In which case, you also have time to arrange a child seat.

If you go on holiday, people normally either hire a car seat, take theirs on the plane (many airlines carry them for free, even Ryanair does) or just wing it when they get there as other countries have different car seat laws anyway. This stage is the one with the bulkiest, most inconvenient car seats for travelling unfortunately but you're not quite in it yet and it won't be forever.

Hope this helps - feel free to ask for more detail on anything.

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