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Stupid question alert - car seat depth

9 replies

fairgame84 · 10/04/2023 08:21

This is going to sound really stupid so I apologise in advance.

The depth of my back seat is 48cm. Does this mean I have to get a car seat that's 48cm or less in depth, or can I get a bigger one and it hang off my back seat?
I've seen some of the isofix have a stabilising stick so I'm assuming that they can be used for car seats that are deeper than my back seat?
Is there a limit as to how much overhang is safe?

OP posts:
BertieBotts · 10/04/2023 12:51

It's fine, unless it says in the manual that it can't overhang it's OK.

If in doubt it's always a good idea to get the car seat fitted before you buy anyway. What stage are you looking at? The first one for a newborn, or something for an older child?

BertieBotts · 10/04/2023 12:52

Sorry that was a bit unclear, I mean:

If you're unsure, go to a shop and get professional advice about the model(s) you're looking at.

It is a good idea (for everyone) to have a car seat fitting before you buy. Not all seats fit all cars.

fairgame84 · 11/04/2023 08:24

Thanks @BertieBotts.
We're looking at group 0/1. DD is 6 months and still in her car seat that goes up to 15 months. However DH has just bought a new car and the car seat doesn't feel as secure as it does in my car so I want him to get an isofix seat and I'll carry on belting her seat in my car.
I like the britax dualfix m but there are no stockists within 50 miles.
We might just have to go with whatever is available. We've got a mamas and papas, a smyths, a Halfords and an independent shop. I've been focusing on adac scores but they are useless if the seat doesn't fit.

I'm assuming that all car seats from reputable shops are deemed safe if fitted correctly? And isize is safer than group seats?

OP posts:
IwillrunIwillfly · 11/04/2023 08:34

If you're on Facebook then I'd suggest joining the group car seat safety UK. They're really helpful and if you search your car you might even find people with your car have posted about what seats they have etc.
All seats from reputable shops will have passed a minimum standard of testing, but there are certainly some that are better than others. What seat are you thinking of getting?

fairgame84 · 11/04/2023 09:05

IwillrunIwillfly · 11/04/2023 08:34

If you're on Facebook then I'd suggest joining the group car seat safety UK. They're really helpful and if you search your car you might even find people with your car have posted about what seats they have etc.
All seats from reputable shops will have passed a minimum standard of testing, but there are certainly some that are better than others. What seat are you thinking of getting?

Thanks, I'm not on Facebook so just using mumsnet and online reviews.

I really like the britax dualfix m but it's pricey and we're going to need 2 car seats now as one of us will be dropping off at childcare and the other collecting. Theres no room at store the car seat at the childminder.
DH wants to get 2 car seats for around £400 so is thinking of the cosatto come and go or one of the cheaper joie ones like the tilt or steadi. He has a 5 door car so doesn't need a 360 seat.

I've got a 3 door car so could do with a 360 seat. My plan is to buy a good seat for his car and carry on using our current seat in my car until DD outgrows it. Then we have time to save and buy a good seat for my car as well.

DH thinks I'm overthinking and they wouldn't sell a seat that isn't safe. He only passed his test in February so he's an inexperienced driver.

OP posts:
BertieBotts · 12/04/2023 08:03

Britax Dualfix will be absolutely fine, it has the leg and 48cm is unlikely to be so short that half of it is hanging off.

Remember when you see those depth measurements on sales sites that it probably includes the isofix arms, which will be half inside the seat, and the support leg which is meant to be off the seat anyway.

Is your husband's car new(ish)? Does it have i-size points? That's where you have the little label next to the isofix with a child seat picture and "i" - if it has that, then you can fit any i-size seat in that position so the Britax will be fine.

ADAC scores are useful but never tell you the whole story. You need to take them with other bits of info as well.

In theory yes, any seat with the proper safety mark (ECE R44 or ECE R129) is deemed safe if fitted correctly, but there are differences within the different seats on the market. If you're planning on rear facing, then the safety differences aren't that much because rear facing gives a lot of safety by itself, so in terms of safety, it doesn't matter too much what rear facing seat you pick. Just check that the weight limit for rear facing is as long as you need. However, some of the cheaper/generic/certain brands do have quality of life issues in things like sometimes they can only be used in the most reclined position, which is a bit annoying for older children and takes up more space, or they might have a tendency to move further forward in the car under crash forces, which is less good for safety, or the harness might be hard to use or there might not be very much leg room for older rear facing children. Some of the cheaper spin seats in particular are quite misleading, as they use things like top tether or the seatbelt to avoid the cost of a support leg and you end up not being able to use the spin function! Also if you think you will use the seat forward facing later on, then it's important to make sure that you're looking at seats from brands with good reputation for forward facing seats, as safety features make a much bigger difference when forward facing.

I'd say it's worth going to a few of the shops just to see some models in person. In general, you're likely to get the best advice from the independent store. They may also have some 25kg+ rear facing models to look at. Halfords seem notorious for giving incorrect advice, so I'd double check anything you're told there. Smyths seem to vary based on the staff member. Mamas and Papas quite good but they only ever used to stock Cybex - I'm unsure if that has changed. They are also trained quite heavily in favour of the impact shield seats (these aren't suitable at 6 months anyway). You will probably find at least a couple of the more premium spin seats at Smyths and Halford's, though they both also stock more generic/budget brands.

i-size (R129) is a safer baseline than the old groups (which is R44) seats, so if you're looking at the really cheap models like generic/Halford's own etc then it makes a difference. But with brands that aim at a mid-high section of the market, it makes less difference because they were probably already aiming higher than the old R44 standard anyway, if that makes sense? The one big difference is that all R129 seats are tested for side impact protection, whereas R44 seats might not be - you might be able to look at ADAC for this to see if they have a good score for side impact testing. R44 + good side impact testing is often as good as R129.

This has ended up really long so will answer your second post in a second reply!

BertieBotts · 12/04/2023 08:41

If you have £400 budget in total, then Britax Dualfix M is a big chunk of the budget as it's around £300. I was going to say if you have £300, it's worth looking at the Dualfix M Plus which is about £325, or the Besafe izi Turn which is on offer at the In Car Safety Centre for £309. - The Besafe doesn't need to touch the seat fully at all plus it's just a really lovely spin seat, and the Dualfix Plus has a higher weight limit of 20kg.

But for £400 total I'd probably look at cheaper models. Cosatto are generic seats, so they tend not to do as well in testing and the Come and Go has to be in the reclined position when rear facing which is a bit of a pain. It was ADAC tested under the name Heyner Multifix Twist (generic models are sold under different names in different countries) and it didn't get a very good score, even rear facing was mediocre, probably similar to a purely belt fitted rear facing seat. Let me clarify - when I say a mediocre rear facing score, this is still better than even the best forward facing score. So if you only have a small budget for rear facing it's still worth doing.

Graco Turn2Me i-size is probably the best budget model on the market at the moment, it's £160 from their own website and has the R129 side impact protection. Leg room is a little lacking but other than this a really nice option. Seems to be a clone of Joie 360 Spin with added side protection.

Maxi Cosi Mica Eco is £230 at Amazon at the moment, which is a great price. Graco Turn2Me i-size is also worth a look at £160 - that has the improved side impact compared to the original Turn2Me or Joie 360 Spin.

If you want a spin seat in a 3-door, you will want to check the position of the button or release for the spin. Cybex and GB spin seats are out, because you have to push up between the child's legs. Joie Spin 360 and Graco Turn2Me (including the i-size) also have the button below the child's feet, however Joie i-Spin 360 has a button on the side. Britax, Besafe, Recaro, Maxi Cosi all have the button on the car seat base so it's reachable from the front.

The other issue in a 3-door is checking whether the seat will actually spin. We had a Suzuki Swift, 5 door, but I tried to spin DS2 around in a car wash once and the seat kind of protrudes at the back, so it did not physically fit past the door side. So a fit check might be essential. I don't know how the more budget models fare here, but you'd definitely want to avoid versions with top tether. Sometimes it can make more sense to just get a static seat and take the child into the back on your lap, then sit them in the seat from the side. The Joie belt fitted models work well, as the belt is on the other side, or 25kg+ ERF seats as they have lower sides as a rule.

Joie Tilt has quite a short shell, so does not usually last all the way until 4 for rear facing. Joie Steadi lasts longer because of the headrest that moves up and down. Both of these have the same seatbelt path as an infant carrier, so the seatbelt is in the way, which is a bit of a pain in a 5-door. It's also worth noting that they don't have the improved side impact protection like R129 seats would have, and the seatbelt method of fitting requires you to use the reclined position always for rear facing. It's likely that these seats don't perform as well as a seat with support leg, although they are still better than forward facing. If you are likely to forward face in the seat later, I would not recommend them. Possibly the newer R129 versions are better, although then you're getting close to the isofix spin prices anyway. They are good if you need a portable/spare seat or you want to rear face on a very low budget.

If you are going to invest £400+ in spin seats, lastly, it's worth trying to work out what centile your LO is on and what age roughly they will reach 18kg / 105cm. If it comes out at a much younger age than you feel happy changing to a booster seat using just seatbelt, then you might need to look at 25kg+ seats longer term, or be aware that once the 18kg seat is outgrown, you'll be looking for a 25kg harness type seat, which is more expensive than just a booster seat.

BertieBotts · 12/04/2023 08:50

Ah sorry just seen your idea about investing in a really good seat for DH's car - I had deleted this section but will put it back.

You might also want to look at 25kg+ seats for DH's car as these last longer than 18kg seats (6/7 years as opposed to 3/4 years) and they have typically passed the Swedish Plus Test which is the strictest crash test in the world, which might provide reassurance. They are mostly belt fitted as opposed to isofix which allows a higher weight capacity, but they are still safer as the way to fit them is extremely secure. (Seatbelt, support leg, lower tethers).

The problem is that none of the cheaper models are suitable from 6 months. The cheapest one you would find is probably Besafe izi Plus, although it looks as though this is now discontinued, a few shops still list it at £265 which must have been the clearance price. If you can find stock this might be a good option.

Next step up is around £380 for the Avionaut Sky, or £450 for Joie i-Prodigi (isofix) - which is actually a really good price - or Axkid Minikid 3 and Besafe Stretch (both 36kg limit).

fairgame84 · 12/04/2023 11:14

Thankyou so much for such a detailed reply @BertieBotts
The information about the spin buttons is really useful.
We'll head to the independent shop and try a few seats out.

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