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Car seat for a small light 4 year old...

21 replies

CatsRule · 06/03/2016 16:35

My ds is 4, he is quite tall although mostly long legs but he is only approx 12 kg. We're in the Uk and I know 4 year olds can use a high back booster with a seat belt but I feel he is still too small and light for that. He is also a bit too tall for a 9 month to 4 year old type seat i.e. a Maxi Cosi Priorifix etc.

His current car seat is quite worn and I feel it's needing replaced for safety. I noticed today that the button that gets pressed to release the belt needs to be manually pulled up to keep any tension on the straps so it definitely needs replaced now.

Can anyone give me advice or thoughts on the kind of car seat that could be good to get at this stage given his age, weight and is the main thing over price. I'm not saying we don't have budget restraints but I would be willing to pay for the safest...he's precious!

My car has isofox and a top tether too.

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Peasandsweetcorn · 06/03/2016 16:48

How tall is he? And are you certain about his weight? My 3.9yo has always been skinny but is looking so at the moment having had a bit of a growth spurt. He is now 100cm and 14.7kg naked. For your DS to be 2kg below that, I think you're going to struggle with car seats as the minimum weight for most high backed boosters is 15kg. Which means you're limited to things like the maxi cosi priorifix. Are you sure he is too tall for it? Remember it is eyes not top of head which is the determining factor. If his length is legs rather than body, you may be okay with the maxi cosi still. DH's side of the family all have short legs which DS has inherited - he wears 4-5yo tops but most of his trousers are 18-24mths and have only looked too short in the past couple of weeks - so he only has another cm or so of growth in his car seat.

IndomitabIe · 06/03/2016 16:51

We got the Britax evolva as DS is on the small side too, but it's not isofix.

This one looks similar but in isofix and twice the price.

IndomitabIe · 06/03/2016 16:53

You'd be surprised, Peas, my DS is nearly 5 and still not 18kg. When he started school he was less than 15kg. He doesn't look that light, and he's perfectly on his growth curve, he's just... little!

dementedpixie · 06/03/2016 16:55

Probably looking at a 123 seat either with a harness or one of those impact shields. Harness is used until 18kg and then removed to make a hbb. 15kg is the minimum weight for a hbb.

CatsRule · 06/03/2016 17:00

My ds is that weight, he has always been very slight...needs 3-4 jeans for the lenght but waist has to be altered. He still has 12-18 month shorts that fit his waist! He is approx 100cm tall. I know is is too light for just a normal car seat and I'd prefer him in a harness for a while yet. I just wondered about the 9 month to 7 or 12 years. I'm just not sure what to go for as I didnt want to get a 9 month to 4 years...even though he still fits into them. Has anyone had any experience or knowledge of the types of seats that have the boosters across the from instead of the harness...they read like they are mean to act like an air bag in an impact.

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dementedpixie · 06/03/2016 17:02

I used the maxi cosi priori xp that a pp suggested. I haven't got experience with the impact shield seats

CatsRule · 06/03/2016 17:02

It's the impact shields I mean...not boosters at the front!

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CatsRule · 06/03/2016 17:05

Thanks...I'm going to visit a few stores and try him in some seats. I can't decide if I think the impact sheilds are a good idea or not. They don't look like they'd support the neck area. I could be wrong so probably best to try.

I appreciate the advice and's always good to know what others are using.

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DesertOrDessert · 06/03/2016 17:05

Min weight for a hbb is 15kg. If he's under that, please use a harness.
Can't help further than that tho - although I'd recommend weighing him on a different set of scales. To be much under 13kg (still to light for a hbb) aged 4 is unusual, especially if he's tall as well. Had he always been high on height /length charts, and low on weight? I know it's not what you asked, but tall and that slight, I'd be keeping an eye on weight DS1 moved into a hbb aged 5 when he was heavy enough, I'm keeping an eye on his weight currently, as he's had mouth issues this month resulting in a very limited diet, and can't afford to loose too much weight

DesertOrDessert · 06/03/2016 17:06

Ignore me, too slow at typing, and you've answered all the points I've made Blush

IndomitabIe · 06/03/2016 17:07

Yeah, I suggested a Britax one up-thread,OP. There aren't many group 1/2/3s around, but they do exist. (Hence the link I posted).

GunShotResidue · 06/03/2016 17:13

DD has the joie shield. She loves it but some kids aren't keen on the impact shields so it's worth trying it in a shop first.

eatingforonemore · 06/03/2016 20:04

My nephew is the same and he has a Britax Advansafix which has a harness till 25kg

Peasandsweetcorn · 06/03/2016 20:32

Do you live near Milton Keynes? There is a specialist car seat place there. They may also give advice over the phone. Do be careful with anywhere like Halfords as, from friends experience, they rarely seem to know what they're talking about. Several friends have put their children into HBB before they were ready because Halfords said they "looked tall enough" but never saw the child in the seat in the car.
I can understand why you don't want to fork out on a new car seat that your DS will grow out of shortly. Do you know anyone with slightly older DC who may have a 9mth - 4yo car seat you could borrow until your DS is ready for a HBB? If you know where it has come from then, personally, I don't see the issue with having a second hand car seat.

CatsRule · 07/03/2016 12:18

I'm not near Milton Keynes and you're not the first person who has advised against Halfords for car seat fitting and advice so I think I'll give them a miss.

Thanks everyone foe the advice...I've been looking into all of the suggestions and I really like the look and functions of the Britax has sone really good reviews so I'm going to on of the stockists nearby.

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WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant · 11/03/2016 15:32

I wouldn't go near halfords! They advised me that the only thing suitable for dd aged 1 was a rally harness. Honestly.

Something along the lines of the britax evolva 1-2-3 would probably suit your needs.

It has the harness until he is 15 kilos. (Can be used up to 18 kilos).

Height adjustable from toddler to big kid. It says up to 12...

Dd is sleeping in hers now.

fluffypacman · 12/03/2016 15:02

have a look at this report in to impact shields.
As the testing scores points due to ease of installation this is why they come out as an acceptable level of safety. They aren't expected to pass the Swedish plus test. I always thought they were supposed to be safer than a harness but apparently not. Speak to the 'in car safety centre' in Milton Keynes. They'll be able to tell (and sell) you a car seat that's suitable for your son. X

CatsRule · 13/03/2016 14:10

eatingforonemore I've bought this seat, the Britax Advansa fix, could I ask a couple of questions?

Is your nephew's seat on with the top tether as well as isofix and is it also on with the car seat belt as suggested on the Britax website? Does the recline function work ok?

I went to Mothercare, where it was tried in my car, all explained and we were happy with that. It fitted well etc. We bought it and they advised we go back once it arrived (had to order) to have it fitted properly...all good.

It arrived yesterday so we went to the store to have it fitted by their expert! The deputy store manager, after a lot of grumping, grudgingly agreed to have it fitted. She put it in the car, said all the points were green and that was it. It was secured with isofix and a top tether, the points that should be green were, but it had a lot of movement and rattled. I questioned it to be told isofix always has movement but it is safe.

Anyway, got ds into it and I didn't realise the harness had to be adjusted prior to fitting which she didn't do (our last seat could be adjusted without moving of thw things I liked). We hot home and I refittwd the sear myself, pushed the seat in more and it fits much better and doesn't move. All good until I tried to use the recline and it appears that the top tether is stopping this feature from working. I've looked on the Britax website and in the guide book and it doesn't say this should or even could happen. I've emailed Britax to ask but I just wondered if you or anyone else had any experience of this. It may be something simple that I'm missing. I did try the recline when I unpackes the seat and it does work and I'm using the right lever so that's not the issue. Any thoughts?

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CatsRule · 13/03/2016 14:12

Sorry for all the typos...fat fingers today Blush

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AliceMum09 · 13/03/2016 19:58

With regards to the recline problem I have seen a few 'visitor posts' on the Britax Facebook page from people having the same problem.

I believe Britax replied saying that they must loosen the tether strap (which allows the seat to recline) and then re-tighten the tether with the seat in it's new position. Which means it's not really the easy, one-handed, recline mechanism that it's made out to be!

CatsRule · 14/03/2016 07:23

Thanks AliceMum09 I suppose that makes sense even if it doesn't do what it says on the tin and is a bit of a faff!

I've seen some car seat instructions say that recline functions may not work depending on installation method but this one didn't so I thought maybe it was due to the design. My last seat, the top tether was on the frame which allowed the recline to work...I didn't think to ask this.

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