Best Car Seat For Your Toddler
I have found that finding the right car seat for your little ones is an absolute minefield!
When Phoenix was first born, we decided on the Cybex Cloud-Q and I must admit I really didn’t do that much research. I just thought they would all be equally safe and comfortable for your baby, which of course they should be, but the truth is, they are not.
The reason I chose that particular car seat, was simply because it allows your baby to lie down flat once you are out of the car. As we travel so much, I thought this one would be perfect for us and it was very good. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it never really looked that comfortable for Phoenix. He was really small anyway at 6 pound 1 and for the longest time it just seemed huge for him but then suddenly, he looked squashed in. Not so much when it was out of the car and he was laying down flat in it but definitely when he was in the car in the travelling position. It was also a bit of a faff getting him in and out of it and a few times I managed to bump him while navigating my squirming baby in to the car.
That said though, it was a great car seat for nipping out and about, as the pram attachments and the lie down flat facility enabled me to use it with ease. I rarely took a pushchair or pram on errands because the car seat worked just fine for us and I loved it because it eliminated the ‘mum guilts’ about my baby being in his car seat for an hour while I did essential shopping. My baby was sleeping, on a flat car seat and not all scrumpled up, squashing his little lungs, while I rushed around buying nappies, milk and baby wipes!
I must enforce here though, that small babies should not be in a car seat for longer than two hours at a time without a good 30-minute break, as it is extremely bad for them.
The Cybex Cloud-Q really didn’t grow with Phoenix though and to say it costs more than my first car, it has only lasted him a year and I can report he did absolutely hate it as he got older. I think this was because he was all scrunched in. He would often cry at the site of it, which was an absolute mare and not really what you want for your child.
So, when it came to changing car seats, to take Phoenix on to his next stage of travelling, I did do my own research this time!
I asked you, my readers through various social media outlets, to let me know which car seats you had brought and how they had faired.
127 of you replied to me and there really was an out and out winner and that winner was….. (drum roll please)
The BRITAX DUALFIX
Out of the 127 readers that replied, 38% (48 people) had that car seat and all of you loved it without exception! Actually, some of you that had other makes of car seat, also said that you wished you had paid more and brought that one instead.
The Cybex Sirona came 2nd (with 12% - 15 people)
The Joie Spin 360 came third (with 4% - 7 people)
My requirements were like all parents.
And to be decadent, I really wanted one that swivelled
I asked you and you came up trumps! Thank you my lovely parents….
While doing my research, there was one thing that I had read on Facebook that really concerned me and so I want to share it with you.
It was about the safety issues that occur once you change your child from rear facing to forward facing. The piece was an article about our government guidelines and how in the opinion of many experts they are not safe enough.
It stated that we should not be turning our babies to face forward in the car until they are at least 2 years old, which is actually the law in the US. It also said that some European countries leave their children rear facing until they are 4 years old because rear facing travel is much safer.
The current guidelines are:
On a height i-size seat; Your child must face rearward until they are 15 months old
On a weight based seat; Your child must be rear facing until they weigh 9kg
(full government guide lines will follow at the end of this article)
I just want to say here that I think the US and Europe have it right and we do not. I implore you to please keep your child rear facing until they are at least two years old, no matter what their height or weight is. Please do also make sure that the car seat is big enough for your child and that it is fitted correctly too.
A car seat is the one thing I really don’t thing you can scrimp or take any chances on and the government should step in and help poorer families to buy their car seats, with coupons or something. They could use the money they collect from traffic fines to help pay for this. A good car seat, that is right for your car and your child could be the difference between life and death.
It’s funny but I have been on a speed awareness course before (shamefully) – I was only doing 36 in a 30 but after doing that course I can now appreciate how speed does kill and what a moron I was for speeding, especially in a built up area.
Our government indeed prides itself on the fact that we have some of the safest roads in the world and they believe this is because of our speed restrictions and I think that’s fabulous and hooray for our government for caring. On the course we were informed how the Autobahn in Germany is a death trap. I think speed restrictions are wonderful and they clearly do save lives – but why then is our government less concerned about following or even leading other countries in the quest to keep our children safer in their car seats?
This can clearly be done by keeping them rear facing for just a few months more. It doesn’t make any sense that they are not following other countries in implementing this.
Please, I urge you to consider leaving your children rear facing at least until they are two years old, it could make a huge difference…
Here is a fact to consider:
Rear facing group 1 seats are 5 times safer in a frontal collision. They protect the neck and head by distributing the force along the back of the seat and are much more effective at protecting internal organs
If you had a million pound ming vase on your back seat, you would make sure it was well protected and our children are worth so much more than anything money can buy.
After doing my research, I approached the lovely people at Britax to let them know my findings and congratulate them on being the best in my survey. They were so pleased they sent me a sample of the, DUALFIX car seat for Phoenix.
I bloody love it! Because it swivels I can get Phoenix in and out of the car with much more ease. I can also see exactly how tight his straps are because they tighten while he is facing me. This was always a struggle with his old car seat. He has more room in it and yet he is still clearly safe and well strapped in. He no longer cries every time we are going out in the car (which is a lot). It really is a joy to use and I cannot recommend it enough.
Look out for some vlogs soon of Phoenix and I using our Britax DUALFIX Car seat and if you are looking for a car seat for your babies, I would say this is the one without a doubt. It may seem pricey at £440 but is it really that much when it’s your child’s safety at stake? It’s the cost of £1.20 a day over a year and over the 3 years it should last me, it’s 40p a day. Not even the price of a kinder egg, in fact it’s half the price of a Kinder Egg per day.
Britax have lots of other wonderful car seats too and you can check on their website to see which of their seats are compatible with your car here - http://www.britax.co.uk/fit-finder/
As a manufacturer Britax definitely came out on top in my survey, as you did recommend many of their other car seats as well as the DUALFIX. However, I was looking for a swivel seat which is why the Britax DUALFIX was the one for Phoenix and me.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog and I really hope it has been helpful. Here are the governments guidelines on car seats for you to check out, but please do research other countries guidelines too, so you get the very best for your precious babies.
1. Using a child car seat or booster seat
Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first.
Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt.
You can choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight.
Height-based seats are known as ‘i-Size’ seats. They must be rear-facing until your child is over 15 months old. Your child can use a forward-facing child car seat when they’re over 15 months old.
You must check the seat to make sure it’s suitable for the height of your child.
Only EU-approved height-based child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle and ‘R129’.
The seat your child can use (and the way they must be restrained in it) depends on their weight.
You may be able to choose from more than one type of seat in the group for your child’s weight.
Child’s weight Group Seats
0kg to 9kg 0 Lie-flat or ‘lateral’ baby carrier, rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
0kg to 13kg 0+ Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
9kg to 18kg 1 Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield
15kg to 36kg 2 and 3 Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield
Only EU-approved weight-based child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle and ‘ECE R44’.
Fitting a child car seat
You must only use a child car seat if your car’s seat belt has a diagonal strap, unless the seat is either:
specifically designed for use with a lap seat belt
fitted using ISOFIX anchor points
You must also:
deactivate any front airbags before fitting a rear-facing baby seat in a front seat
not fit a child car seat in side-facing seats