Is there ever a time that Child Car Seats aren’t a hot topic for parents? With the recent changes to car seat regulations many parents went into panic that the seats they had weren’t going to be suitable. Not us. Nope, we were 100% confident that ours were going to be fine. The reason for this was simple. When we buy car seats we (I) do a deep amount of research into them and their safety rating. Our children are the most precious things in the world to us so of course we want the safest possible options for them. This is why, when approached to review the brand new Kiddy GuardianFix 3 car seat I did a little research before saying yes. If I am to fully review a car seat then I need to put my child in it. Therefore I want to be confident that it is safe and not just a good looking car seat.And I should say it is a very good looking car seat.
The Kiddy GuardianFix 3: First Impressions
The first impressions of this seat were extremely good. I didn’t actually choose the colour (lime green) but it is one of my favourite greens. The first ever pushchair I had was lime green so I loved the vibrancy. Hubby doesn’t believe it wasn’t my choice.
It is heavy. Very heavy compared to the seats we already have. A couple of years ago we invested in some that are similar in shape and design but they do not feel as sturdy and secure as the GuardianFix3.
The design appears so simple and effective but it must be so complicated. I will go into this in more detail but the way each moving component works together with the overall seat is amazing.
The Guardian Fix 3 is categorised as a group l/ll/lll. This means it is suitable from ages 9 months (9kg) to 12 years (36kg) inclusive. For me that is a huge selling point as it means that the seat should be good for 12 years. This is of course in the hope that their are no traffic collisions in that time as it is recommended as soon as a seat is involved in a collision, no matter how small, it should be replaced.
As A Group 1
Group 1 car seats are for children weighing 9kg to 18kg. This is usually 9 months to 4 years but each child will vary. It is also important to remember a childs height. It is recommended they stay in their rear facing group 0 seat all the while they are not too tall for it. But if they weigh enough and are tall enough then the GuardianFix 3 is safe to start using. Their height can be easily checked using the ‘Eye Line’ indicator on the head of the seat. Whilst your child is below 11kg the GuardianFix 3 comes with a cushion insert to ensure the child fits snuggly within the seat under the impact shield. Once they are 11kg this cushion can be removed.
The Impact Shield
The impact shield is also a huge bonus for me as a parent. Our old car seats use this same system rather than the traditional strap restraints. At first I was dubious about the idea of my child being restrained but not strapped in. Something didn’t logically work in my head. I felt so indoctrinated into the thought process of make sure the 5 point harness straps are tight enough and are on the right place on their shoulders and chest. However, I did some research into the Impact Shield and I very quickly decided that it was a much safer method of restraining a child in a car.
Whilst writing this I have tried to find the information I originally found on Which.co.uk but I am struggling. What I don’t want to do is include bias research. I have always tried to find independent research that doesn’t financially benefit from the findings. This includes research that is negative towards the Shields from companies who don’t manufacture them to pro research by companies who do.
So what ever I had read put my mind at ease at the time. The article said that the Impact Shield acts as a roll bar for the toddler during a collision. It causes the child to wrap around the Shield with their whole body which causes less stress on the spine and neck during head on accidents. If a child is restrained with the traditional straps then the only part of them that can move is their head. The force and strain their head puts on their neck during and accident is much greater with straps than with a shield. That made sense to me and sealed the deal for us always using Impact Shields from now on. The Shield is secured using the seat belt of the car which has its own safety mechanism meaning the child can’t come loose during transit or in case of an accident. These may not be for everyone but we love them, and so do the girls. They enjoy the range of upper body movement they still have in the car, rather than feeling pinned in with a 5 point harness.
As A Group 2
A group 2 car seat is categorised as being suitable from 15kg to 25kg. I believe this is usually from age 3/4 to 9/10 but again each child is very different. Trixie, for example, who has been testing out this seat for me is going to need to use it as a Group 1 until she is at least 4. She is very petite.
Once your child hits 15kg, legally you no longer need to use the Impact Shield. The Kiddy shield is suitable until 18kg so if you feel it would be safer to continue with it’s use for a while longer then you can. Again this may be child dependant. Ellie is very trustworthy and knows the rules with just a seatbelt in the car. I trust her to sit properly and wear her belt at all times. Trixie, however, is more likely to break the rules and test the boundaries. Even if she was approaching 15kg I would be keeping the Impact Shield for a lot longer.
This is also where the genius design really gets demonstrated. As you need to raise the headrest for your growing child the sides also expand. This means that you don’t need to make numerous adjustments to the seat as your child grows because it does it for you in one shift movement with one lever.
As A Group 3
This is the group I have least experience with as my two girls are in Group 1 and Group 2 seats. But my understanding is that they simply need to be high backed booster seats that are used in conduction with a seat belt. This is what causes a lot of panic a while ago as the new regulations have outlawed any low back seats as they simply weren’t safe enough.
Here is another bone of contention between people. To “Isofix” or not? We have always been an isofix family from the word go. For me I like the idea that the seat is basically bolted to the car with the K-Fix connectors and the seat belt that goes through the Impact Shield. The K-Fix mechanism on the Kiddy GuardianFix 3 folds up under the seat for tidy storage. To release it you simply twist it around to face away from the seat (this was quite stiff at first but I guess it needs to be to ensure they don’t fall down when picked up from storage). Once facing away from the seat release them using the lever under the seat. They will essentially shoot out and elongate to allow for easier installation into the car. Then once secured to the isofix fixtures pull the lever again and push against the seat until it is against the back of the car seat. It is as easy as that!
The Kiddy GuardianFix 3 has been rigorously tested throughout Europe to meet the high standards of carseat safety. It meet the European Standard. Another little gen of clever safety design is the clip that secures the seat belt in place when it is being used as a group 2/3 seat. This clip means the belt should never slip out of place.
Would I Actually Recommend The Kiddy GuardianFix 3?
I am aware that this post is getting very long so I will get to the point. Would I Actually Recommend The Kiddy GuardianFix 3? Yes. Put simply, I would.
The sturdy build, the clever design, the safety certificates and the ease of use all make it a no brainer for me. I am a huge believer in it being the little things that make all the difference to products so two of my favourite features are the ‘Eye Level’ indicator and the fact that the iso fix attachments store away under the seat when not in use. It has been a pleasure and privilege to review such a wonderful product and I can’t wait to continue to use it.
There are many vendors that stock the GuardianFix 3 seat but you can also get it directly from Kiddy HERE.
*I was gifted a Kiddy GuardianFix 3 in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.