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Car seat help
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Northernsoul90 · 04/08/2022 22:59

Hi all, I am a currently looking at car seats for DD who turns 1 next month. The seats I’ve been considering so far are the joie 360 spin (there’s also an ispin I’m not sure what the difference is) the cybex sirona s and the britax romer dual fix.

Our car is quite small - 3 door fiesta and ideally I wanted something that could be attached with either an isofix or seatbelt in case of grandparents taking DD out (the car seats I’ve mentioned are only isofix). The main things I’m looking for are rear facing and obviously safety standards, spin would help due to car being 3 door and having the option to have the seat forward facing as she gets older. It would be great if the seat could be moved easily between cars but I think that may be a long shot.

Any advice/opinions on the above seats or other recommendations would be much appreciated - it’s a lot more overwhelming and confusing than I anticipated!

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LGBirmingham · 05/08/2022 07:48

Buying a car seat is a flipping minefield isn't it? We did it fairly recently.

We have a maxi cosi isize one that spins for our car, possibly called Mica? Isize is the new safety standard but the law hasn't changed yet so you can still buy the non-isize seats. It fits fine in our seat ibiza. The seat in front can still be used when it is rear facing. We were comparing between this and the joie ispin, but the joie seemed to stick out a bit further when we saw the two next to each other in mamas and papas. I think the spinning function is useful in a smaller car, but the whole seat and base are permanently attached do it's bulky and hard to carry so it wouldn't be great if you wanted to move it between different cars.

For my mum's car we also wanted a seat to be used facing both directions and to be fitted with belt/isofix. There could be times it goes in my sister's car too which doesn't have isofix. We got a Cozy 'n' safe Arthur. I think it was recommended on a review on here. It's so good and was about half the price of our other one. It even lasts til age 12 I think? It doesn't spin though, not sure if that is essential for you?

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user1471457757 · 05/08/2022 07:59

The Cybex Sirona is a good seat but it's quite bulky and heavy so might not be the best if you have to change between cars frequently.

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pigletsbiggestfan · 05/08/2022 08:04

We have twins and went for the Joie spin - the spin function is a life saver in tight carpel spaces etc.

Another factor to consider is your child's weight/height. Higher centile children will outgrow the spin before they reach an age to sit sensibly in a high back booster. If your child is on the heavier side then you might want to look at 25kg seats.

If you're on Facebook there is a really helpful group called car seats for the littles

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NothingIsCertain · 05/08/2022 08:10

I have the Joie 360, love the seat and have used it for both my DCs, however the button to spin is located at the front of the seat and so when it is rear facing it faces the back of the car, if you have a 3 door you Eil end up getting in the car to spin it, also in my car (5door) if I try to spin with the closest door closed, it won't spin due to space, so I am thinking that while it may fit your car, the spin feature may not be of use....hope that makes sense.

We rear faced in a 3 door Focus, and it as fiddly at first to climb in and out, but we soon got use to it with a Hauck Varioguard (I don't think they are on sale anymore), but it had low sides and so did assist with putting in and out, esp when the DCs got older and could climb in and just needed us to adjust and fasten.

If you have any independent car seat shops/experts near by I would definitely recommend a visit or contacting for advice, or the FB page Car Seat Advice UK....they are quite helpful

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Sbena · 05/08/2022 08:21

I have the Joie 360 spin and I really cannot recommend it enough. Baby looks so comfy in it and the spin function changed my life. I started off with a 3 door and it was SOOOO easy to just turn it around to get him in and out.

However, if you're going to be moving from car to car semi-frequently, it's pretty bulky and an awkward size/shape.

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Lottie917 · 05/08/2022 19:54

Another vote for the Joie 360 spin. Got it when DS turned 1 (now 18mo) and I wish we'd got it from the beginning tbh. Faces both ways easily so you can decide whenever and tilts in both directions too and the spin makes life so much easier getting him in and out. It's pretty bulky though, so not sure how easy it would be to move between cars but it looks comfy and safe.

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Northernsoul90 · 05/08/2022 21:26

Thanks all! It really is such a minefield @LGBirmingham !

Im leaning towards the Joie however DD is on the heavier side - 91st centile I think at the last check she had. Would this just mean she may have to be forward facing in the Joie sooner?

I think we may have to invest in two seats, one for my car and one that can be fitted using a seatbelt for when she is with grandparents etc. I will have a look at the cozy n safe Arthur… it gets so expensive!

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DappledThings · 05/08/2022 22:16

Would this just mean she may have to be forward facing in the Joie sooner?
Shouldn't do. DD is over 4 and a half (years that is!) and sometimes chooses to still rear face in the Joie 360. Mostly forward facing but she's gone through a phase of wanting rear facing this week and is perfectly comfortable.

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Hugasauras · 05/08/2022 22:26

It's an 18kg seat, either rear facing or forward, so once your child reaches 18kg it can't be used any further. A high centile child will most likely grow out of an 18kg seat well before 4. DD reached 18kg shortly before she hit 3. Financially speaking it's almost always better to go for a 25kg ERF seat especially if you have a high centile child.

But with a three-door it might be a sacrifice that's worth it!

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Hugasauras · 05/08/2022 22:29

We had the Britax Dualfix and it's a great seat. But all the spin seats are 18kg seats due to Isofix limits.

25kg ERF seats tend to have much lower sides than the spin seats so it's not as difficult to get toddlers in and out as it might seem.

It might be worth going to a local car seat specialist (not Halfords or anywhere like that!) and seeing how things fit in your car.

@BertieBotts might have some advice as she's MN's resident car seat guru Smile

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LGBirmingham · 06/08/2022 08:09

Northernsoul90 · 05/08/2022 21:26

Thanks all! It really is such a minefield @LGBirmingham !

Im leaning towards the Joie however DD is on the heavier side - 91st centile I think at the last check she had. Would this just mean she may have to be forward facing in the Joie sooner?

I think we may have to invest in two seats, one for my car and one that can be fitted using a seatbelt for when she is with grandparents etc. I will have a look at the cozy n safe Arthur… it gets so expensive!

We're so impressed with the Arthur. Our son prefers it to the one in our car. I bought it after we got the maxi cosi as I wanted to be able to catch a train to my mum's and not take our car. If I'd come across Cozy n Safe first I would have got one of their rotating seats for our car. It's a proper British company that manufactures in the midlands.

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Applegreenb · 06/08/2022 08:28

@Hugasauras completely agree with this PP. ERF seats might be your best option. My LO was on the 95th percentile and grew out of their 0-4 car seat before age 3 due to height.

We looked at ERF seats to allow them to say rear-facing longer and also in a harness rather than seatbelt. Otherwise I would have had to look at forward facing with a seatbelt much earlier and before they met the minimum weight requirement (always met the height)

A cheaper ERF we use as a spare seat for others cars is Britax TWE (two way elite). Super easy to move between cars.

If you can afford an axkid for your car I would 100% get one but they are pricey!

We eventually moved LO forward facing around 3.5-4 and went for an extended weight harness where it’s upto 25kg. Again issues with heights, they would have been out of the other variants already or much sooner.

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Curlygirlmum · 06/08/2022 08:42

Two things that would have been helpful when I was choosing my seat are:

  1. Choose a seat with some levels of tilt. When we chose our seat we chose one that had one level of tilt and unfortunately found out very quickly it wasnt enough when DD falls asleep her head dangles forward chin on chest very uncomfortable for her whereas more levels of tilt would let her rest head on carseat headrest.
  2. Choose one with a chest buckle in addition because DD learned very quickly that she could get her arms out no matter how tight straps were and she could lean forward and turn around etc. We had to buy a strap that attaches to the arm straps and clips to go across her chest to prevent her doing this. Got on Amazon and very useful for stroller too!

    Best of luck!
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BertieBotts · 06/08/2022 20:50

As you have a three door car, the original Joie 360 Spin and the Cybex Sirona will be no use to you for rear facing (which I'm glad to hear you already know about and want to do 🙂) because the button that you use to make them spin around is located on the seat piece itself near the child's feet. The spin seats that have the button located in a more accessible place for 3 door cars:

Joie i-Spin 360
Britax Dualfix
Besafe izi Turn/Twist
Recaro Salia

I'm not sure offhand about other brands, but these are the brands I would use anyway.

The other concern with 3 door cars and spin seats is that the back of the seat tends to stick out when you spin it, so you will want to do a check before buying to make sure that you can actually fit to spin it facing the inside of the car. They are generally designed to spin facing the door. You can spin it facing where the door would be in a 5 door car with the child in, but bear in mind that the child will need to not have their legs sticking out of the car seat or you'll have the same issue, their legs will be in the way. That's fine if they are old enough to understand being asked to hold up their legs, but a 1yo would not understand that. So you could tuck them in but if they kick them straight out again you will end up having to climb into the back to get them out.

It can work, I have heard of people using spin seats to enable easier rear facing in 3 door cars, I would just urge you to test it first as it doesn't work for everyone in every car.

As for alternatives, the Joie/Graco belt fitted seats are not bad options, budget friendly. Normally due to the belt path routing, this is in the way of getting the child in and out but in a 3 door car you would put the front seat down on the opposite side to the child seat and sit into the back holding the child on your lap, then lift them into the seat while sitting beside them. No belt in the way as this is going past where the "door" would be. I probably wouldn't bother with the ones that go all the way up to 12, as they tend to be a false economy as well as bigger and bulkier.

Or, as other people have mentioned, the Swedish style ERF seats are definitely worth a look. They fit compactly which is always a bonus and they are in the same region price-wise as the spin seats, depending on whether you look at more basic models or more fancy featured ones. For a 91st centile child, definitely worth it for peace of mind as you will definitely get to a safe age to move to booster without needing to buy another seat once the one you buy now is outgrown. They can be a bit of a pain to move from car to car, but honestly any toddler seat is. If you will be moving it to one specific car infrequently, then you can just get a second set of tether straps and install them in the other car (they don't get in the way) and then it's no more difficult to move than any other kind of car seat.

On to some questions...

Will she have to be forward facing sooner in the Joie seat?
With the spin seats, they have the same weight and height limit for forward facing and rear facing, this is around 18kg or 105cm depending on the exact seat model the kg vary a little, but not much. For a 91st centile child this is roughly 3 and a half years, so if she continued on her current line then you'd be looking at the seat being totally outgrown potentially at about three and a half which is a bit too young to move to a booster seat for most children. You might get lucky and she will wait and have her growth spurt after her fourth birthday or she might be really sensible at 3.5 or she might just slow down, but on the other hand she might get even taller or have her growth spurt earlier or she might be just four but you still feel anxious about moving to a belt.

But in these seats, unless they do up to 12 years (which I don't recommend in general, these all-stages seats are almost always a false economy and make too many compromises) when she hits that 18kg or 105cm, you don't turn the seat forward facing and keep using it, you have to buy a new seat entirely. And for the ones that go up to age 12, when you reach the rear facing limit, you have to use it as a booster seat when you turn it around, you can't normally keep using the harness to any higher limit forward facing.

The age 3.5 thing is the main reason it's a good idea to consider a seat up to 25kg/125cm as it just eliminates the whole - is she about to outgrow the seat, is she sensible enough/old enough for a booster, what should we do which occupies the whole of that fourth year. They will fit her until approx 6-6.5 so even if she had a mega growth spurt and outgrew it 6-12 months earlier than that (unlikely) she'll definitely be ready for a booster and you could even just use it until you want to switch to a booster (perhaps around 4-5 ish) and not max it out if you don't want to. It just gives you the freedom of choice.

Difference between Joie 360 and Joie i-Spin
As mentioned, the button to spin is in a different place. The inserts are slightly thinner and less tricky in the i-Spin, they can be a bit awkward in the 360 spin. The i-Spin has an extra recline setting to account for the thinner wedge insert. It has a memory foam headrest for extra comfort and side impact protection. It is approved under the newer R129 legislation and i-size compatible. It has much better side impact protection. It has a height limit of 105cm whereas the spin 360 has no stated height limit, just when head is over the top of the shell (often fits to approx 110cm) and goes up to 19kg on the weight limit whereas the 360 spin is 18kg.

Cozy n Safe BTW are a British company but I believe they don't manufacture their seats, they just import them and distribute them with their own covers on. (I might be wrong - they might be the base maker for the seats I've seen with the same shell under different brand names in Europe). Either way, that isn't a reason not to use them, but just to clarify. They can also be good for budget options (especially harness to 25kg which is rare) and they have a few belt fitted options however beware as some of their seats have lower rear facing limits than the Joie ones. Same issue with BabyAuto who are Spanish.

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AegonT · 06/08/2022 21:09

When we had just one child and a three-door Fiesta we had an Axkid Minikid which is a Swedish 25kg rear-facing only seat. We had it behind the passenger seat and the driver climbed into the back seat, sat there to put the child in the seat then got out to get in the driver's seat. We still have the seat in our 5 door Fiesta and my 7 year old still fits in it! The newer versions of the Axkid look good. We have a Britax TWE in our bigger car but we've also used it on holiday in small cars.

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bumbledeedum · 06/08/2022 21:21

Haven't RTFT, have a look at Axkid minikid. Seat belt and tether fitted, can by spare tethers so easy to move between cars. Rear faces until 25kg/125cm

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Northernsoul90 · 06/08/2022 22:11

Thank you everyone for the answers and recommendations, it’s a big help!

Thank you for such an informative answer @BertieBotts! Are there any specific Joie/ Graco seats (other then the spin ones) which you would recommend looking at? I think I’m now more inclined to get a 25kg seat and forget the spin function if it won’t be as effective in a 3 door. I’ve also been looking at the Britax 2 way Elite… I need to go and have a look in person and see what fits best in the car.

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bumbledeedum · 06/08/2022 22:15

@Northernsoul90 just double check the two way elite, I think (from memory so apologies if I'm wrong) it has quite a restricted fit list and won't go in every car/seat position

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Northernsoul90 · 06/08/2022 22:24

@bumbledeedum ahh right thanks for that, I will be sure to check

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BertieBotts · 06/08/2022 22:34

Joie don't have any 25kg seats at the moment although I think they were hinting at releasing one so if you have time to wait you could keep an eye out for that. I'd look at Joie Steadi, Joie Stages, Graco Enhance. These are belt fitted and rear face up to 18kg. The Stages/Enhance says it goes up to 25kg but it's only a booster seat from 18-25kg, and you might as well ignore the booster function and treat it as a 0-18kg rear facing seat. The benefit of the booster add on is that the headrest goes up really high so you do get substantially longer out of it for height than most 18kg seats. Useful if your child is taller than they are heavy.

The TWE is only stocked/distributed by the in car safety centre. It's an unusual seat so I would definitely see if you can see it in person if you're anywhere near there. It doesn't have a restricted fit list, that's the max way/max way plus/multi tech - it's actually really old so the fit list is next to useless, but that doesn't matter as it doesn't have a support leg, which is the part Britax are fussy about, it fits in basically any car.

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