I don’t know a single parent that doesn’t take the safety of their child or children incredibly seriously. My husband and I certainly do. From the cot we chose when I was pregnant to the toys we buy. Safety is top of my concern. So naturally when looking for a new car seat the main concern I have is safety. Car seat safety can feel like a bit of minefield and with the changes to the law in 2016 things got a little more complicated.
Car Seat Safety Law
Of course car seat safety doesn’t have to be a minefield if we just break it down in to manageable sections. The thing you really need to know if that the main law change was that children aged 6 and over can no longer be placed on a low back booster seat. They need to be in a child seat with a high back, head rest and side impact guards until the are 12 years old. For the benefit of us consumers that is a group 2/3 car seat.
The First Car Seat
The first car seat you will need is a rear facing seat. This is known as a group 0 seat. These seats are designed to protect a baby in the event of an accident as they stop the force of a crash being felt in the weak neck of an infant. The other thing of note with a group 0 seat is that you should always travel with the handle in the up and locked position. This is because, in the worst case scenario, that handle acts as a roll bar for the seat and will help protect the baby. You can also buy an iso fix base for these seats. This means it is attached and secured to the body of the car and doesn’t solely rely on the seat belt to hold it in place. There is debate over which is better. This is because there is less change for incorrect installation with an isofix but the the seat belt installation absorbs more of the crash impact thus causing less stress on the infant. Perhaps it is personal choice. We had an isofix base because they tell you if they are installed correctly or not with green/red indicators. This minimised the possibility of the seat being incorrectly installed and secured.
These seats can be used from birth until your child weighs 10kg (or 13kg is a 0+). This is anytime from 9 or 10 months but it is recommended that a child remains rear facing for as long as possible and all the while their head is lower that the top of the seat then they are small enough to continue using the seat.
The Second Car Seat
The next car seat is a group 1. This is where things change. This seat can be rear or forward facing and secures the child using a harness or a safety shield. Here again comes personal choice. I have used seats with both harness and safety shield. I am lucky (and touch wood) we have never been in an accident, but so far I much prefer the safety shields. The kids are more comfortable with them as they have a greater range of upper body movement and yet they are very secure in the seat. These seats are for kids 9kg to 18kg.
The Third Car Seat
These are group 2 seats that are generally forward facing, high backed booster seat for children of 15-25kg. They use a harness or the seat belt to secure the child in place.
The Fourth Car Seat
Group 3 seats are as above but are for children weighing 22-36kg.
So do I need to buy four different car seats?
This can see like a lot of car seats but this is why many manufacturers make seats of multiple groups. Such as group 1/2/3 seats. These are what we have as they should last the girls until they no longer need to be in a child car seat. We could of course buy individual seats but that puts unnecessary financial pressure on us.
What about isofix on the bigger seats?
Well, the bigger seats that have ‘isofix’ clips on them aren’t actually isofix. Each company will use a different name for these clips. What they do is secure the seat in place within the car. Whilst driving around with an empty seat there is no need to secure it with the seat belt. In the event of an accident, however, it will be the seatbelt that does it’s job and keep your child safe. The clips will likely detach and don’t have any effect on overall safety. This is because the isofix technology has a weight limit and most children over the group 0 seats exceed this weight limit. In the bigger seats they offer the convenience of not having to remember to belt the seat in place when empty.
Harness or shield?
This is pure personal choice. I have said above why I like the shield more but the reason I got a shield seat in the first place. My reasons were twofold, I wanted a seat that could last until they were 12 and because the seats with a harness that last until the child is 12 have a detachable harness. This is because after a certain height and weight the harness is not needed and instead the seat belt can be used. I like to think that these seats are as safe as others on the market but I was not comfortable with an unsecured or welded harness holding my kids in. I trust the seat belts much more. That was my logic. It may be flawed but that was how I approached our past purchases.
Our New Car Seat
We have two cars in our house and we have two kids. We like to have both cars set up to be able to take both the kids out without having to faff around with the seats. Basically we needed one more group 2/3 seat for Ellie. Our old group 1 harness seat is at the end of it’s requirement and Trixie can use the shield guard group 1/2/3 seats in both cars. We were kindly gifted such a seat from Kiddies Kingdom and my goodness it is good!
Cybex Solution X Fix
The Cybex Solution is a groups 2/3 car seat, so the child is held in place with the seat belt. The X Fix points hold the seat in place during transportation. These X Fix points tuck under the seat and are out of the way so the seat can be used without them if a car doesn’t have fix points. They are easily extracted and they extend out for really easy installation. The Cybex seat can then be pushed back into the car and flush against the seat of the car.
The seat is really cushioned and super comfy for a delicate little bottom over longer (and short) journeys.
The headrest is adjustable, not just up and down for height, but back and forth so your child’s head can be kept rested and against the seat at all times, even if they drift off. By reclining the headrest back you can avoid their heads dropping forward during transit.
The seat belt is held in the right place using the hook under the headrest, next to the shoulder area. The hook on this seat is brilliant and it secures the belt but it is also one of the easiest hooks to extract the seat belt from if needed. Many of the other seats I have used are really fiddly.
The colours of this seat are brilliant. Whilst I am concerned about safety Ellie is more concerned about colour and looks. We chose the Purple Rain seat as I knew the bright pink and purple would appeal to my girlie little lady. There is also a bright blue one, a grey one, a red one and, if you would rather something a little more conservative, a black one.
To be perfectly honest I couldn’t be happier with this seat. I know it has a high safety rating and, all being well, it will last Ellie until she is 12 so I won’t have to buy another seat. Ellie also loves it, she loves the colour and it is really comfortable so she doesn’t mind when I tell her we have to go out in the car. Ever since her first day on this planet she has struggled with comfort in certain car seats. It is a battle I am familiar with fighting but there is no more fight with this seat. So if you want a recommendation from me for a seat, it would be this Cybex Solution.
*We are gifted the Cybex for the purpose of review. All thoughts, opinions and words are my own.