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Advice pls - carseat for a newborn?

7 replies

IndigoOrchid · 06/02/2011 06:45


I'm pg and trying to decide which carseat to buy for a newborn. This is all new to me so I'm trying to find out what's important and what's available etc. I expect there are a few people in this situation. It'll be a spring / summer baby if that's relevant.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or info. I have a few Qs and would appreciate some input... also if anyone has any recommendations pls let me know.

I don't plan to use the seat for long car journeys but it'd be nice to have the option. I don't mind which pushchairs it fits onto (I don't intend to use the seat on wheels.)

I am keen on a seat that will recline (for reducing the risk of oxygen desaturation etc) as well as the obvious - one that performs well in safety tests. I'm a bit disappointed that Which? don't review all seats but that's life.


Are there any reasons not to leave the carseat in the car at all times? (Theft? The seat won't overheat as it's kept under cover)

Isofix - Are the benefits mainly about ensuring the seat is properly fitted each time it's moved into the car? I.e. it's safer than a belted seat as it's more likely to be fitted correctly?

If both options are available in the car, is it better (easier/safer) to get an isofix base that uses the car's top tether restraint or one with a floor support leg?

Is it realistic to buy one isofix base and seat to use between two cars? (It'd be used in one car almost all the time but would be handy if it can be easily swapped around.)

If buying an isofix base for the first car seat, would the same base be ok for subsequent seats made by the same manufacturer? Or am I likely buying a seat plus base for each growth stage?


OP posts:
NickiAndAlex · 06/02/2011 08:55

Hello there.

We have a Britax Baby Safe Plus SHR with Isofix base, so I can answer some of your questions about Isofix in particular.

For the seat itself, I'd recommend it, particularly since it's bigger than a lot of infant seats - I keep hearing people moving their babies into the next stage seats because the infant seat is too small for them, when they are smaller than my daughter who's still in hers. However, it doesn't recline, so you might prefer another one.

So to answer your questions:

I don't think there's any reason not to leave the car seat in the car at all times. We do. When she was a baby, it was easier to take the seat out with her in it, but now she can climb out herself (once unstrapped), it's easier to leave it in.

Isofix is partly about correct installation, but it's also about being securely mounted - the seat is effectively attached to the car chassis and isn't going anywhere. With a seat belt, there's always a little give, and in some cases quite a lot. With isofix, you know the seat isn't going anywhere.

I'm not aware of any Isofix bases for infant seats that use the top tether rather than a support leg. Both are to stop the seat rotating in an accident, so I don't think it matters though. However, you're not supposed to use a support leg in a car with an unreinforced foot well storage box.

We have the one isofix base in my car. When we use the car seat in other cars, we usually use it belted, though it doesn't feel as secure. It's possible to move the base between cars though, and isn't too much hassle really.

Most stage 1 car seats (the next one up) with isofix have the isofix integral to the seat, because you don't typically remove that sort of seat regularly like you would an infant carrier. So you wouldn't need to buy a new base again, just the seat. One exception is the Maxi Cosi Familyfix base, which fits the Pearl group 1 seat and an infant seat that I can't remember the name of. I'm not aware of other exceptions.

I hope this helps a bit! I know it's all very confusing, and there's so much information around. I would recommend you go to a store and have a look at some seats just to get a feel for what's there.

castleonthehill · 06/02/2011 10:05

New born seats don't recline as they aren't that upright.(some are more upright than other. Having a base is easier especially as you baby gets bigger as it is easier to get it in without having to fight with a seatbelt being in the way. You are also not trying to strap it in while you child is kicking its leg against the seat.

You need to go and try a few seats in the car as the angle depends a bit on your car. A good solution might be to get a seat with a base but only use the base when baby is a bit bigger as seats on bases can be a bit more upright.

The two seat that keep coming out top are britax and maxi cosy. Both have similar features and go on a range of wheels.

The maxi cosy pebble if on the family fix base does sit up but you would need to check if it fits in your car like this as I think it takes up a lot of room. It would also tie you into getting the next maxi cosy seat.
It may be better to look at the next stage up when you get there as you may want to consider extended rearward seats which are safer and becoming more common by the time you need to by in about 18mths time you may have much more choice

tigermummy35 · 06/02/2011 11:01

We went to Kiddicare at Peterborough, the fitters there are really good. We found that our car could only accomodate 3 types of seat (and not the one I had my heart set on!), so I'd recommend going somewhere like that (or Halford, Mothercare or Babies r us) to get their fitters to test various seats in your car.

I think the Jane Matrix is the only infant seat that can be totally flat, but also has reclining positions. I wanted that seat, but it was too big when in the sitting position to fit our car.

sazm · 06/02/2011 11:54

most important thing is to make sure the carseat fits in your car,
as tigermummy said - you may choose a seat you like,but it might not fit your car safely.

my sister had the jane atrix and liked it,but it was voted as a 'dont buy' by which,i dont know if the newer model is safer - the matrix pro??

britax do the babysafe sleeper,which is like a carrycot which is used on the pram and also in the car until 6months -ish.

personally i preferred the infant seat you can lift in and out of the car,as we often make short journeys,so the seat was in/out every 10-20mins.
my friend had one that stayed in the car (britax first class) and was very happy with it,she walks to school and shops and back home,and only uses the carseat for a long journey at the weekend,so suited her perfectly,also lasts until 4yrs unlike an infant seat,so for her it was a very good buy

IndigoOrchid · 06/02/2011 12:32

Thanks everyone. I haven't got to the stage of trying any car seats but should maybe have started with that. I (mistakenly?) just did the online checks that said a certain seat was fine in a certain position in my car.

sazm - I also fancied the Jane Matrix and was surprised to hear it scored low on safety tests.

OP posts:
NickiAndAlex · 06/02/2011 12:48

The main reason the Jane Matrix scores low on Which? seems to be because it's complicated to install. It's the Matrix Cup they tested (the new name for the Pro) and it came out OK (but not great) on safety. More reviews on it here:

The online checks for fit are ok, but aren't completely comprehensive, so you do have to check before you buy too. Also, I prefer to have a look at things like this to get a feel for them before I buy.

As for use, a base is great when the baby is little, you can simply lift the seat out with one click and use as a baby carrier. Even just carrying him/her into the house, I found this is more convenient.

A base also means you don't have the seat belt across the baby's lap, which can be a nuisance to get the child in and out, especially if you want to leave the seat belted up in the car later on.

Loopymumsy · 06/02/2011 13:56

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