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Child car seat fitting -useful to know?

(6 Posts)
Lusi Sun 03-Aug-08 00:57:21

Don't know if this is the best place for this but..
Just had a bit of a nightmare getting a car seat for my 17mo. The cover got ripped and so was looking for a new one when I found out that the seat I was using (Maxi cosi priori from DD1) had expired - didn't realise they had such short 'sell by dates'...

Worse it had 'buckle crunch' -wasn't originally fitted into my current car (Ford Escort)...
The bit you plug the belt into was fixed to a length of belt...common on Fords apparently...so I could only get two seats that would fit -one I had heard bad things about and the other was one of the most expensive and heaviest available... until the Halford's assistant mentioned getting them shortened...brilliant! problem solved - my local MOT garage sorted them out for £20 -although they did say it could cost up to £70 -if they had to start making holes in the body work. Apparently it is safe and I could then choose more or less any seat- Great!
I now have a new MaxiCosi Priori SPS. I could have spent £70 having the seatbelts sorted and still have spent less than buying the expensive seat (which I didn't really like).
Also found out that in certain parts of the UK you can have your seat checked by the Police for free and they give impartial advice (handy -if you want to get a cheaper seat etc) - also I personally wasn't at all impressed with Mothercare - but liked Halfords..could rant how someone in Mothercare told me the seat I was using wasn't fitted correctly -after it had been checked by the police...then she admitted she had just got confused!)
Hope someone finds this useful to know ..wish I'd know it about 3 months ago...

nannyL Sun 03-Aug-08 08:47:54

Can i ask what do toy mean by the seat had expired?

misdee Sun 03-Aug-08 08:49:43

car seats are only good for about 5 years i think.

DontNeedAnything Sun 03-Aug-08 08:52:14

Yes I have never heard of expirey.

I think RoSPA suggest that a seat should not be used for more than about 6yrs but it is only a suggestion and nothing formal from the manufacturers.

Didn't know that you could get seatbelt webbing shortened though. That is handy to know.

I think the fire service also check seats; and I am pretty sure that most years there is a national campaign which travels around hte local supermarket car parks offferign a free fit check service.

We recently bought a new seat and I have to say the girl in Halfords was absolutely excellent, obviously knew her stuff and made sure we were happy with fitting it as well before we bought it.

Interesting that local police might do it too though, although I guess the people who stock and sell all the various seats frequently have good experience of all the models.

Lusi Sun 03-Aug-08 23:20:19

nannyL - Car seat expiry -you need to check with the manufacturer of your seat. Maxicosi say 5-6 yrs because of degradation of the plastic by sunlight. (Mine was 8 yrs old but had been stored for about 4 years -so probably was ok but then if I had an accident and it wasn't I'd never have forgiven myself)
I think in the USA by law seats have to be stamped with an expiration date. It does seem a bit like a way for the manufacturers to make more money (a stage two seat can't be used for more than one child). Surely they could be made to a higher standard...
There is a video, I think I saw it on You Tube, of a 10 year old Britax seat failing in a crash test - which was a bit scary...

Iaterosemaryconleyforbeakfast - the police checking your seat is handy if you are given a seat or like me have changed your car since having one fitted and no longer have the original receipt ... I think Halfords will charge you £10 for checking a seat that they stock but you can't prove you bought from them...
Also useful if you are on a budget - Teamtex (aka Baby Start,Narnia etc -sold online and at Argos) are a well established European car seat manufacturer. They aren't stocked by Mothercare/Halfords but a couple of their seats did reasonably well in the Which tests and they are much much cheaper than the more well known names in the UK

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