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Car seats

Complete novice - help!

14 replies

Positive21 · 08/11/2021 11:20

I am currently 13 and a half weeks pregnant with my first. I have zero experience with car seats etc and can't really ask family as most haven't had newborns for 8+ years.

I have a few basic questions and wondered if anyone could help.

  1. Is it essential to get an infant carrier to begin with? Obviously I want to keep baby as safe as possible, but I know some of the seats that go to an older age also say they can be used from birth.

2. Is a rotating seat deffo worth the money with a squirmy toddler? A long way off but always like to think ahead 😂

3. How often did you keep baby in the car seat for quick supermarket trips etc? I don't know what pram we will get yet, whether it will be second hand or brand new. If it's brand new is it generally safe to stick with the car seat that comes with the travel system? (Won't be getting a cosatto)

Apologies but I just want to get as much knowledge as possible before things get busy.

Also my OH's car doesn't have isofix (is an old car and doesn't need replacing just yet), can most (if not all) isofix car seats be fitted with a belt? We will be mainly using my car but if OH has the baby without me and needs to go out then he can.

Thanks in advance!
OP posts:
Scotabroad24 · 08/11/2021 11:30

Hey OP, I'm by no means an expert but from experience,
1 - not essential to have an infant car seat, you can get ones which go from stage 0 (newborn) up to stage 3 or 4 I think. However in my opinion it's much easier to have a carseat which attaches onto your pram system, if baby falls asleep on way to shops etc you don't have to wake them when you get out the car.

2 - we don't have a rotating carseat however I can completely see the benefit, getting DS into his rear facing seat can be a nightmare at times and require a sacrifice to the gods to get him to not go straight and rigid so I can't wrestle him in.

3 - I think (happy to be corrected) no more than 30 mins for a newborn to be in their carseat due to not being the right shape for their tiny backs and spine. However if DS fell asleep I would sometimes leave him up to an hour or so and his head hasn't fallen off yet!

I also have an older car with no isofix fittings and both of his carseats (isofix) are strapped into the car with the seat belt!

Congratulations on your pregnancy Flowers hope that's helpful!

Buttons294749 · 08/11/2021 11:30

Hi OP.

I was so clueless until DS was about 1 so you are researching well ahead haha.

  1. No you don't need an infant carrier if you get a seat that is suitable from birth the recline is the same. My DC always woke up when I moved the seat and you aren't supposed to leave them in that long anyway. The joie juva is about £40 and excellently rated safety wise so you can always get that if you change your mind and want the infant carrier.

2. I have never had a rotating seat and never felt the need for one, I usually have estate cars so low down but never had an issue.

3. Most supermarkets you can't attach the seat to the trolley and if you out it in the main space you can't fit food in! A sling or one of the infant trolleys is yoir friend here.

3. Nope isofix is a convenience not a necessity (and in our 3 series the pitch of the bar made isofix really annoying and tricky Confused)

The main thing to bear in mind is rear face as long as possible. If I had my time again I might get a axkid one or of that was too much I would get a joie juva infant seat then an axkid minikid which will allow them to rear face until 6 ish.
Buttons294749 · 08/11/2021 11:33

My main piece of advice is join the face book group "car seats for the littles UK and europe"or "car seat safety UK" because there are loads of very knowledgeable people on there who will help with the cars you have / how you use the seats etc.

LakeShoreD · 08/11/2021 11:35

If your DH’s car doesn’t have isofix then I’d get an infant carrier that can install with the seatbelt unless you’re planning on buying 2 seats. If you prefer isofix then I would pick a seat that can install both ways, put an isofix base in your car but just seatbelt install it in DH’s.

We have a rotating seat for the baby and don’t ever rotate it because it’s behind the drivers seat and there isn’t enough space to do it when DH has been driving, even though we have a pretty big car. My 4YO was in a rear facing seat until 2, it didn’t spin and I didn’t find it particularly tricky to get her in/out.

I’ve personally never felt the need to take the seat out of the car. Young babies shouldn’t be in a seat for very long and older ones are too heavy to lug around like that when you include the weight of the seat. But maybe it’s lifestyle dependent, I don’t drive to the supermarket for instance.

A pram purchase doesn’t usually include a car seat unless you get a specific bundle deal. Maybe see what’s out there and then read some reviews. If you do go second hand for the pram, make sure to buy a new seat as you have no idea whether a second hand one has been in a crash.

Positive21 · 09/11/2021 19:28

Thank you all so, so much for the in depth replies!

I think I'm not going to worry about whether the seat fits the pram as ideally I'd rather just baby in a carrier or the bassinet part if we are going out. Chances of us shopping on our own is very small, my OH isn't keen on taking the baby if we don't have to, and if we just stop off somewhere likely we will be together so should be ok.

Will deffo stay rear facing as long as possible and even if we end up with a second hand pram we will deffo buy a brand new car seat(s).

I think I was looking at either the joie 360 I-spin which states suitable from birth or the maxi-cosi pebble 360. But Id have to check again to see if you can use a rotating car seat without the isofix. Potentially we will have to get a spare car seat anyway so it's not a huge issue. I'd rather invest money in a good, safe car seat.

However I was told that the maxi-cosi Cabriofix was good for proper newborns. But if the other two above are safe then I don't understand the need to buy a proper infant carrier if that makes sense? They both state suitable from birth 🤷🏼‍♀️

At least I'm giving myself lots of time to fret over car seats 😂 thank you all so much x

OP posts:
BertieBotts · 15/11/2021 11:05

You can't use rotating seats without isofix, but the Maxi Cosi Pebble 360 can be belted in without the base, it just won't rotate then, so will work for what you want to do. Most infant carriers can do this, it's unusual to find one that can't. There are even bases which can be fitted with a seatbelt, but none of those are rotating ones.

I've got 3 DC and had a buggy compatible seat with the last two but not the first. It definitely is useful depending on your lifestyle. We often pop in and out of several shops and drive between each, babies hate being moved from this to that so it's handy for those kinds of situations. If we are going to be out of the car for a single longer stretch of time then we move him to the buggy. But it's not worth doing just for a quick 15 min trip. You do need to be careful about length of time they are in the seat but it's mainly an issue during the first 4 weeks, and that goes really fast.

Most of the "big" car seat brands will fit onto most "big" buggy makes as the adapters are universal (ish) - certainly Maxi Cosi fits this bill.

BertieBotts · 15/11/2021 11:11

The Cabriofix has been around for donkey's years and I think it gets recommended a lot because it's familiar if that makes sense. It's OK - certainly it's solidly made, performs well on frontal crashes, simple to use, long lasting and has nice deep sides. But it doesn't have much in the way of newborn inserts or adjustment of the angle for newborns (which more modern seats tend to have) and the side impact protection was good at the time it came out, but modern seat designs have surpassed it with newer technology now.

Positive21 · 15/11/2021 21:46

Thank you @BertieBotts. I figured I could use the rotate seat without isofix/belted and that it just won't rotate so that's good. So I'm thinking potentially I opt for an infant carrier, and then eventually go for a rotating seat and just belt it if we use my partners car.

Definitely makes sense about the cabriofix, I am open to suggestions of other brands/models etc

Do you suggest going for an infant carrier then switching once baby is a bit bigger? As I know some of them say they can do from birth but I heard that the infant carriers generally are safer/better suited to newborns? Thanks again, I really appreciate the advice!

OP posts:
CorpusCallosum · 15/11/2021 22:38

We had an infant carrier and a Joie 360 from birth. I didn't get on with the carrier that much because it was heavy and awkward but stronger DH with a bigger car used it more. DD also woke up instantly on stopping but fell asleep again in the pram. Transferring her from seat to bassinet wasn't an issue and TBH if I had the car at the shop she'd be in the sling or the trolley anyway as you can't get all your big shop in the bottom of a pram.

The Joie 360 we used it from 3weeks+ and it's been brilliant. The spin has just been so great for all the tussles over the years (DD is nearly 3 now). We now have 2x Joie 360s, one in each car.

You can't use it without isofix though. So maybe plan to get a spin for your car which stays in place and a carrier which can be belted for DHs car. Best of both worlds?

BertieBotts · 16/11/2021 09:25

The bigger rotating seats can only be used with isofix, it's only the rotating infant carriers that can be used with both. (There are some cheaper models of belted rotating "all stage" ones but I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole).

For your DH's car a fixed seat that fits using seatbelt will be fine once the infant carrier is outgrown. Something like Britax Max Way or Joie Stages if you want rear facing, or Maxi Cosi Tobi/Axiss for forward facing.

Positive21 · 28/11/2021 12:15

Sorry for the delayed reply. Much appreciate the responses.

I think I'm not worried about getting a car seat to fit the pram, just in my mind I'm not sure if the infant seats are generally safer than the next size up which accommodates a larger range of ages/weights.

@CorpusCallosum that's interesting about the joie not being able to be used without the isofix, that's definitely something I will have to check before buying if we don't go for two seats!

@BertieBotts thank you. Looks like we will invest in two then, not a worry with OH's not being rotating as we will likely be using my car for days out together anyway.

OP posts:
BertieBotts · 29/11/2021 09:28

Re safety, it comes down to which seat you choose. Infant carriers are generally a safe bet regardless of brand, whereas the 0-4 years ones are more variable (and I don't recommend the 0-12 years ones at all).

If you plan to use it from birth you want to check what the angle is like in your car and then these are general yes/no recommendations I'd make based on the suitability of the newborn inserts:

Joie spin seats - yes
Maxi cosi mica - no
Cybex Sirona series - no
Britax Dualfix (non i-size) - no
Britax dualfix i-size models - maybe? (No experience with these but they are supposed to be better)
Recaro salia/zero elite - yes (slope dependent)
Recaro salia/zero (not elite) - no
Besafe izi twist/turn b - yes
GB Vaya - yes

Nuna are also a good quality brand, but no idea what their inserts/recline are like.

dannydyerismydad · 29/11/2021 09:41

A lot depends on your lifestyle. A removable infant carrier was a godsend for us. We had street parking and weren't always able to park near the house. Being able to clip the car seat into the buggy frame when I got home was really handy.

Removable car seat can also be handy for the various gp and midwife appointments you have in the first few weeks (although this may have changed since covid). Not all surgeries allow buggies on the premises and it's handy to have a place to put your baby while you're waiting for your appointment, especially if you have a wriggler that's hard to hold!

We used the infant carrier until ours was around 13 months and then upgraded to a bigger seat.

Positive21 · 29/11/2021 18:26

@BertieBotts thank you so much for all of the information, it is incredibly useful and I really appreciate it!

@dannydyerismydad I definitely understand where you're coming from. I plan on getting a sling/carrier and luckily our parking isn't too bad, I can normally get parked right outside, but it's good to have food for thought xx

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