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Car seat for coach (and car?) in UK

12 replies

Tiramisu71 · 25/09/2015 10:31

Hi, I'm British but living abroad and would like some advice on what 'spare' car seat to bring to the UK for travelling with a 1-year-old (he is currently 9 months and 10kg). We would need to take a car seat with us on a 1hr coach trip from the airport and the bus company is being slow in responding and not very helpful! And perhaps my questions are a bit silly too because I'm a new mum and not used to UK car seat set-ups!
Does anyone know if I have to have a forward-facing car seat in a bus or if backwards works too? Do most only work with three-point seatbelts or do they work with old-style belts and lap belts too? And advice on makes of seats that work any time, any place, anywhere?

OP posts:
myotherusernameisbetter · 25/09/2015 10:38

I've never seen anyone use a car seat on a coach journey and usually babies wont be allocated a seat so maybe that's why they are being slow to respond?

I'd bring whatever seat you want for the car (presume you are hiring?) or ask if you can hire a suitable car seat with the car. Or could you hire the car from the airport and cut out the coach journey completely?

AliceMum09 · 25/09/2015 12:02

There probably wouldn't be room for a rear facing seat on a coach, but your could certainly look at the Britax Prince or Britax Eclipse forward facing seats. They are both approved for airline use, so this means they are not too wide and can be fitted with either a normal seatbelt or just a lap belt.

Are you going to need a car seat for using in a car while you are here? Your son, by law at least' can travel in a forward facing seat because he weighs over 9kgs, but at 9 months old he really should be rear facing.

So maybe you need to decide what's more important - if the coach journey is just an hour and then you'll be using a car while you are here I would just bring your regular car seat (I assume it's a rear facing one). You won't be able to use the car seat on the coach, but your son will be safer in the car for the duration of your trip.

But if it's just going to be mainly the coach journey then having your son fastened into a car seat on the coach is much safer than having him on your knee. We rarely book package holidays, but when we do we never take their transfer coach to the resort but arrange our own private transfer with car seats for our children. I just don't like the idea of babies and small children sitting on your knee on a bus.

Tiramisu71 · 25/09/2015 15:13

It is mainly for the coach journey... from experience it is a very rocky ride down windy country lanes and some faster roads, so having him on our laps isn't wise! We were hoping not to have to hire a car, partly for financial reasons and partly because we didn't like the idea of stepping off a plane and having to learn to drive on the left! :) The 'car use' I had in mind was more like occasional use, for grandparents and so on, so it would be best to have something easy to take out, rather than isofix.
I like the sound of a Britax Prince or Eclipse, particularly as they can be used on a plane too!

OP posts:
Tfoot75 · 25/09/2015 15:20

I've not heard of a car seat that would work safely with a lap belt and I'm not sure such a thing exists? That arrangement wouldn't be legal in UK I don't think so probably not available on the market? Can you get bus or train where child would be secured in buggy? If not I imagine the coach company expects under twos to sit on laps, which if there's nothing to secure a car seat safely may be a safer option?

AliceMum09 · 25/09/2015 18:28

The two Britax seats I mentioned definitely exist and are definitely legal!

Out of the two the Eclipse is possibly the better choice, simply because the Prince doesn't recline once fitted in the car. It does have three different positions (upright and two recline ones) but you have to select what position you want before you fit it in the car and then you can't alter it without re-adjusting the seatbelt. Also, the Prince will probably fit better in your car in either reclined or upright so you might not even have a choice about how you want to fit it! I believe the Eclipse is more similar to the Britax First Class that I have where the seat slides about on the outer section of the seat and can be adjusted with one hand whilst fitted. I've owned the Prince, but not the Eclipse.

Tiramisu71 · 25/09/2015 19:21

The bus company expects us to take a car seat with us. Occasionally they run buses that take pushchairs on that route. But they aren't responding about what type of seatbelts they have and I reckon they can't really say, because newer coaches have 3-point belts and older ones don't! While I don't think lapbelts are as safe an option, they are a better alternative to holding a wriggly 1-year-old on your lap!

OP posts:
CottonSock · 25/09/2015 19:31

I took my daughter to a wedding at 8 weeks where there was a coach. I took my maxicosi cabriofix, but found it wouldn't belt in. I wedged it between the seats which I thought probably safer than holding her on windy roads. Coaches here not really set up for it. My other option was baby carrier. In Scandinavian countries coaches I saw had baby seats built in. I've done all sorts of travel now with my daughter and some countries don't give two hoots about car seats.

CottonSock · 25/09/2015 19:35

Maybe cost up a private car transfer and bring a seat with you that belts in? I found travelling that usually it's best to bring your own. Only Germany I found so far where taxis provided proper age appropriate car seats ( because its the law)

Cupoftchaiagain · 25/09/2015 21:24

We have Britax eclipse as our main seat and r very happy with it. My mum has the Prince and it is fine but not being able to recline mid journey is a pain, (u hAve to unbelt it to switch between upright and recline), also it is slightly harder to belt in. So I would go for the slightly heavier slightly pricier eclipse.
Those seats will do u till child is 18kg which might be 4yrs old, would u get more use out of it on future trips?
Your rear facing (normal baby type) seat might not fit on the coach, I had same prob as poster above and nd to wedge it in, belt wasn't long enough and not enough space.
Depending on how mental the journey is and how much stuff u r carrying, do remember it is legal to go on the coach with no car seat. Grandparents could have a seat ready for u on your arrival for the car journeys. The big car seats are a massive pain to travel with.

Snossidge · 27/09/2015 10:38

I took DS1 in a infant seat on National Express coaches often as a baby. Depending on the coach sometimes the seat would only fit in the front seats though.

Sockattack · 28/09/2015 10:05

Hi . I've used a car seat on a coach before. As AliceMum Britax eclipse and prince both can be installed with ful belt or lap belt. Ideally a rear facing infant carrier is best but only if belts a 3 point and long enough.

Do you know what belts etc on the coach? The coach company can be really helpful if you ask them especially if its aa journey you plan to make regularly.

Sockattack · 28/09/2015 10:11

Just read that they aren't being helpful..... Grrr! I'll be honest the Britax eclipse wasn't an amazing fit in the coach my daughter used however it was better than her using a lap belt. I'm very experienced at fitting a range of car seats and I had to push the seat down hard into the seat foam whilst tensioning off the seat belt ( the type that if you let go locked and needed to be fully pulled out again)

Had I not been able to borrow the eclipse and had only had a forward facing seat I'd have installed it with just the lap belt even if not approved as something has to be better than nothing.

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