Working with Parents

My experiences of advising parents on child safety

Christmas Trees, Car Seats and Presents!

Another re post from this time last year – last time I posted this it got hundreds/thousands of views – thousands more parents aware!  Let’s get the message out there!

 

Christmas Trees, Car Seats and Presents!

 

“The nights are drawing in and the days are getting colder.

All the hats and gloves are out and our scarves are keeping us warm,

Our cars are frosted with ice, and spider webs glisten in the morning light,

it can only mean that winter is here!

Cold mornings, wind, drizzle, hail and snow, minus temperatures and Christmas shopping, mince pies and chilly toes!

The fun of decorating the Christmas tree with the kids, helping them bake cookies to leave out on Christmas Eve and the excitement of visiting Santa!

A last minute dash to deliver gifts to family and friends whilst Dad buys all his presents for Mum last minute!

Christmas Eve and ET is always on the TV, Mum watches the Corrie Christmas special and the children are full of joy and wonder for the next day!

4am Christmas morning and you awake to cries of “He’s been! He’s been!” and so the day starts!

The morning passes in a cloud of wrapping paper, chocolate and toys,

Then it’s time to wrap up, get in the car and off to Nana’s for a scrumptious Christmas dinner!

6pm and the children are exhausted, time to make your way home on the cold Christmas night and put the Dr Who Christmas special on,

The children dream of their magical day and Mum and Dad reflect on another amazing year.”

Christmas is such a magical and exciting time, especially when you have little ones to make such a fuss of!  The fun of going to visit friends and the joy of seeing family, giving and receiving gifts and eating too many mince pies!  There’s always somewhere to go or someone to see and lots of Christmas parties to attend!

Christmas is unfortunately a dangerous time on the roads too.  From poor weather conditions that we are not used to driving in, drink drivers and drug drivers, to rushing from work to get home for the holidays – they can all cause accidents.  We also tend to take our children out in the car more, to visit family and friends and to go for Christmas shopping and treats, a collision can happen anytime.

Read on for more info on how to protect yourself and your children this Christmas.

How to protect yourself

Be mindful of the amount of alcohol you consume, if you have a Christmas party to attend arrange a lift home with a friend or relative that hasn’t been drinking the night before.  It is quite possible to be over the drink drive limits the next morning.

Keep an emergency kit in the car in case you break down.  Ideally, this should include:

  •       Warning Triangle
  •       Tow Rope
  •       Torch
  •       Hi-Vis jacket/Waistcoat
  •       Tyre Inflator
  •       Blankets/Emergency foil blanket
  •       Spare hats, scarves and gloves
  •       Umbrella

If you are going on a long journey, also take the following:

  •       Flask of hot water/Tea/Coffee
  •       Fresh, bottled Water
  •       Food/Chocolate

Remember, if you break down on the motorway or a dual carriageway it is safest to exit your vehicle from the passenger side and wait for the breakdown recovery behind the barrier.  All children; not matter what age, should also exit the vehicle – but leave pets inside the car as they can cause major hazards if they get loose.  Keep your hazard lights and side lights on.

Protecting your children in the car during winter

The winter months are very cold and we don’t want our kids catching a chill, but did you know a puffy winter coat can cause a child seat harness to fit incorrectly?  Meaning the harness may not work properly if you were involved in a collision.

The puffy winter coat is so warm as it traps air in it.  When you leave a child wearing their coat in the car seat that layer of air is still in the coat and creates a gap between the harness and the child, although not visible.  If you were to be involved in a collision, when the child is thrown into the harness the air is forced out of the coat, and the harness is then too loose.

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This child doesn’t normally travel with her coat on in the car and this picture is for demonstration purposes only!

As you can see in the above picture, the harness straps are not resting correctly on the child’s shoulders; they are at risk of slipping off.  With the coat on it would also make it very easy for her to take her arms out of the harness herself.

Take note of the harness adjusters on her shoulders and see where they are in the next picture.  The harness is also dipping far below her shoulders and there isn’t much harness left to use.

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In this picture (above) the coat has been removed and she is kept warm with a blanket wrapped snug about her.  The beauty of this is that if the child gets too warm they can remove the blanket themselves.

The harness is also at an acceptable level on her shoulders and you can clearly see the harness adjusters that were sitting on her shoulders are now lower on her chest.

This clearly demonstrates how much space the big puffy coat is taking up – if she was in the car and involved in an impact all the air in that coat would be compressed, leaving that much room between her and the harness – which could have devastating consequences.

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If you are still worried about your child feeling the cold, strap them into the seat properly; then put the coat on over the harness, as pictured above.  Again, this does not impede with the harness and the child can remove it themselves if they get too warm.

Keep small babies out of snowsuits too – these cause the same problems!  Use thin fleece all-in-ones and jumpers to keep the child warm and a blanket.  Babies can overheat very quickly in the car when they are in a snowsuit.

Many thanks to John for the photographs and the lovely little Jessica for modelling!

Merry Christmas!

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Repost – Ruby and GINGER cosy car seat cover, keeping your little one safe and warm this winter!

A repost from earlier this year – this is so very important yet so many parents just do not realise. 

 

During the colder months I regularly see parents putting their babies in danger when travelling in the car – and they don’t even realise they are doing it.

As a result of trying to protect their baby, the parent is inadvertently putting their baby at risk of being ejected from the car seat, or at risk of dangerous over heating.

So what is this terrible mistake so many parents in the UK make? 

Answer: Big, puffy snowsuits and car seats.

In the simple act of a parent trying to protect their baby from getting cold, they are putting them at considerable risk.

So why is putting your baby in a snow suit when using the car seat so dangerous?

Snowsuits, as well as puffy or chunky clothing causes a car seat harness to fit a baby incorrectly.  Car seat harnesses need to be as close to a baby’s body as possible to be most effective in an accident.  If big, puffy clothing is between the baby and the harness it creates a gap.  When the harness then has to do its job and restrain a baby in the event of an impact, it is too loose – as all the air that is trapped in the puffiness disperses.  When the harness is too loose, the baby runs a significant risk of being ejected from the car seat.

Take a look at the 2 photographs below, the snowsuit isn’t particularly puffy, but it is thick.  When the baby is in the snowsuit she appears to be strapped in tightly.  I then unclipped the harness and removed the baby from the seat (without adjusting the harness)  upon strapping her back in you can clearly see the gap now created, and that she has also dropped down in the car seat.

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Not only is there a very real danger of a baby being ejected from the car seat, when a baby is in a puffy snow suit they are also unable to regulate their body temperature.  A car heats up very quickly, and whereas adults are able to adjust the car temperature to suit them or remove clothing, a baby is not as able to make herself comfortable.  There are also related health issues linked to babies being too warm.

So what can be done?

Clearly, nobody wants to put their baby in danger – but when it is cold outside babies still need to be kept warm, for the same reason snowsuits in the car seat are dangerous with overheating – they are unable to regulate their body temperature!

There are a few options a parent can take; you can dress your baby in a few layers (base layer, sleep suit + jumper and warm pants) or dress them in their regular clothes and cover them with a blanket.  You can use a cosy toes that comes with some car seats or buy a specially made after market cover to help them regulate their temperature and keep them warm.

There are a couple of covers available to help combat this issue, but the one I am going to focus on is the Ruby & GINGER cosy car seat cover.

Ruby & GINGER cosy car seat cover

I prefer the Ruby & GINGER cosy car seat cover over other options for a few reasons:

1)      Most importantly:  It doesn’t interfere with the harness – so baby can be safely strapped in, giving complete peace of mind to the parent

2)      The cover doesn’t interfere with the seat belt routing when fitting the seat

3)      It’s 3tog, so very effective at regulating temperature and keeping little one warm.

4)      It’s easy to lift it off – particularly useful in an emergency to quickly release a baby from the car seat.

I also love it because!…

5)      It’s quick and easy to pop on and I haven’t yet found an infant seat it won’t fit

6)      They are super stylish!

7)      They come in a handy bag, so you can store it between uses (great for the typical British weather!)

8)      They are incredibly luxurious and well made – the material is soft yet strong, and the attention to detail is fabulous.

The lovely people at Ruby & GINGER kindly sent me one of their covers to help me in this blog, and I was very impressed!

It came beautifully packaged:

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It comes with a handy carry bag:

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It fits loads of car seats!

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As you can see from the photos, the cover simply fits over the seat itself, and as it is 3tog, it very effectively keeps the baby warm, whilst allowing the air to circulate.

It doesn’t interfere at all with the harness and is quick and easy to remove – in case the baby needed to be quickly released from the seat. (After an accident, for example)  It also doesn’t interfere at all with the seat belt routing when fitting the seat and allows the baby to retain free movement to kick and explore their world.

It also fits all ages of babies, I have tested it on a 5 week old and a 15 month old, and both were warm, comfortable and very, very cosy!

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Both babies were very happy with the cover in place and it also looks incredibly stylish to boot!

Not only does it provide a safe solution to snow suits, it can also be used with the pram when being used as a travel system to keep little one warm!  Perfect for parents who pop in and out of the car with baby frequently – on the school run for example!

At an rrp of £30 they really are a must have buy to ensure your baby is travelling safely and snugly!

Ruby & GINGER have a range of accessories designed to assist parents everywhere – as well as the cosy car seat cover I love the Nappy Purse!  Check them out at http://www.rubyandginger.co.uk

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Nania Trio Review

I have been asked by a dear friend of mine to do a review of the Nania Trio car seat.  It is the car seat that is commonly found in Asda or on Kiddicare.com for £25.

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The Seat

Rear Facing: 0 – 10kg

Forward Facing: 9 – 18kg

Forward Facing with seat belt: 15 – 25kg  (Please note that I am NOT reviewing this seat in high back booster mode as I have been given an old model which has been recalled.  I am not swapping it as I have no intention of using this seat!)

Stats:

 

Measurement

Nania Trio

Bum to lowest harness slot

9”

Bum to highest harness slot

14”

Width (bum height)

11”

Width (shoulder height)

12”

Width of head support cushion

9”

Depth of seat (leg length)

12”

 

ADJUSTING THE HARNESS

Adjusting the harness isn’t too difficult, and is easier than some other seats.

Step 1:

Loosen the harness off:

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Step 2:

Turn the seat around, take the metal clip and push it through the slot

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Step 3:

Pull it through the other side, so the harness strap is away from the seat

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Step 4:

Move the harness strap to the desired height and poke back through the seat.  MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE THE METAL CLIP IS RIGHT THROUGH THE SEAT AND NOT JUST THROUGH THE SEAT COVER.

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The back of the seat should have BOTH metal slips lying flat against it at the SAME height!

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Yes I know it’s the same pic from before!!!!

REMOVING THE COVERS

To remove the covers, the entire harness needs to be removed.  Remove the harness shoulder straps as if you were adjusting the height.  The buckle and harness that goes over the hips removes in the same fashion (pokes through the seat!)

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The cover then pulls right off:

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Always keep the harness straight when it is out of the seat to avoid it becoming twisted or tangled!

UNDERNEATH THE COVER:

There is NO additional padding on this seat.  No energy absorbing polystyrene, no additional cushions for comfort, just plastic.  The covers themselves are very thin and won’t give much padding.

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The seat shell is very basic – but then it is a basic entry level seat.

FITTING

Wow… fitting was fun with this seat, as the video will show!

Rear Facing Mode:

The lap belt on this seat goes underneath the seat, and the shoulder belt pulls around the back. The easiest way I found to do this was to clip the seat belt in, then pull the lap belt loose:

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Please excuse the melted crayon!

I then positioned the seat on top of the lap belt and fitted the lap belt through the appropriate guides

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Outside

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Buckle Side – please note the shoulder part of the belt is NOT fitted here and the lap belt needs to be pulled VERY TIGHT at this point!

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Lap belt pulled tight and shoulder belt correctly positioned.

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Correct routing of seat belt

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The shoulder belt routes DIAGONALLY across the back of the seat, passing through the guides. There are 4 guides – this is so you can fit the sea ton the other side of the car.

NOW!!!!  This seat looks like it is absolutely fine!  The belt fits, it is correctly fitted and positioned. HOWEVER – this seat is not compatible with this car!

The lap belt is slightly forward (not pulling the seat back), which is the only reason I can think of for it’s incompatibility, and why the seat was not secure when I tested it – Watch the video to find out more!

NANIA 026

The aftermath….

thick lip from incompatible car seat

Due to the seat being INCOMPATIBLE with the vehicle, it flipped up when I check it was fitted tightly – when it flipped up it hit me in the face – silly me! :(

Forward Facing Mode

The seat is very easy to fit when forward facing:

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Position the child seat on the vehicle seat

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Pass the adult seat belt between the seat shell and cover. The lap belt sitting low down and the shoulder belt sliding up through the gap, to fit diagonally (as it would be fitting over an adult sat there!)

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Click the seat belt in and then pull ALL the slack off! Do this by taking the top part of the belt (the shoulder part) and pulling all the slack from the lap belt through. Then feed the slack that is now on the shoulder/diagonal part of the belt back where it reels out from.

Yet again, although this all looks absolutely fine, this isn’t really a very good fit in this car.  Watch the video to find out why:

To check the seat fits, grasp the harness and give it a good pull:

NANIA 032

BE AWARE!  When you do this the seat belt will start pulling loose!!!!!  There is NO lock off clip for the seat belt with this seat so you must tighten the seat belt before every single journey, without fail!

FITTING

As well as the belt being too far forward, also be aware of buckle crunch! This is where the buckle sits ON or OVER the frame of a child seat and it may shatter in an impact:

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Buckle Crunch

In this situation, you will need to be a different child restraint, as this video shows:

WHICH Recall

I mentioned the WHICH report on this seat and that I have a re-called model.  When WHICH tested this seat, it scored 0% in group 2 mode – high back booster mode.  You can read the report here: WHICH Report

Viral on Facebook

There was also a story on Facebook about a little boy who broke both of his legs in an accident when he was travelling in one of these car seats.

Trio

It’s always saddening to hear of a child being injured in a car accident, and this Mother like so many others simply assumed a car seat was compatible with the car, fitted correctly and just as good as a more expensive alternative.  To read more on what the basic R44.04 crash test is and other crash testing a seat can have, read my blog on group 1 seats here!

Was the seat to blame for this child’s injuries?  I don’t know. I’m not a crash test expert and don’t pretend to be either.  I feel that if the child was travelling in an extended rear facing seat, he maybe wouldn’t have sustained any injuries – but that is just my personal speculation.  I am pleased that the mother has now had a seat professionally fitted in her car by a trained fitter to ensure compatibility.

PROS AND CONS

PROS

CONS

Lightweight

Easy to fit in forward facing mode

Harness is relatively easy to adjust

Some parents will like the individual harness tensioners

No energy absorbing polystyrene materials

Fits poorly in lots of cars

Sold in stores/online with no fitting service.  You have no way of knowing the seat is suitable (this goes for ANY seat sold in this manner)

Hard and little padding

Harness straps very high on lowest setting

No belt lock off meaning seat works loose easily

The entire harness needs to be removed for washing covers; there is a big risk of the harness not being put back correctly.

It’s a very big and upright seat to have a newborn in.

 

PERSONALLY!!!!!!!!!! (In my PERSONAL OPINION) –  I have done my utmost to keep this blog impartial and fairly balanced so it is useful to parents who wish to purchase this seat, however I PERSONALLY really dislike this seat.  I think it is very cheaply made and I am surprised it passed the basic crash test.  I would be very happy to see it no longer available on the market (I have a feeling it has stopped being made now?? I don’t know for sure?).  There are group 0+1 car seats available from £40, and whilst they may not be as good as more expensive seats that are about £70+ (IN MY OPINION) they are better than this – and £40 really isn’t much more to pay for your child’s safety. (MY PERSONAL OPINION AND NOT FACT….!!!!!!!!!!)

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Britax Evolva vs Nania 123

Britax Evolva v Nania 123

This blog is looking at the 2 most popular group 123 car seats, the Britax Evolva and the Nania/Team Tex/Baby Weavers/Pampero/Baby Start etc group 123 seat.  They are 2 quite different seats with quite a large difference in price tags, so what do you get for your hard earned money?

Prices:

Britax Evolva = RRP £139.99 but can be purchased from around £85 onward.

Nania 123 = can be bought from £30/£40 onward up to around £70.

CRASH SAFETY:

Both seats have passed the R44.04 test which is the basic minimum test that every single child seat must be tested to.

It tests:

- 1 frontal impact at 32mph

- 1 rear impact at 18mph

- roll over at 3 – 5* per second rotation

There is NO side impact test.

The only higher impact testing I can find is from WHICH.  The only seat they have listed is this Nania seat which scored just 49%.  There are no results available for the Britax.

Both seats have won parenting awards but I don’t take much notice of these as they are not awarded by safety experts – for those who do want to view the awards that have been won you can find them on Britax’s website for the Evolva, and on the respective parenting glossy magazines for both the Nania and Britax

Weight catagories

- With harness: 9kg to 18kg

- Without harness: 15kg to 36kg

I do NOT recommend that you use either of these seats from 9kg, they are very upright and do not offer enough support for a small baby.  In my opinion, these seats are most suitable from 2 years onward.

***REMEMBER!!!!! Your child can only have maximum protection in a REAR FACING correctly fitted child restraint.  Please do not be tempted to move them up to the next stage too soon, they should remain rear facing until they have COMPLETELY outgrown their group 0 or 0+ child restraint and ideally then travel in a larger rear facing restraint with a higher weight limit.***

(Britax on left and Nania/Team tex on right)

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STATS:

STATS:

MEASUREMENT BRITAX EVOLVA NANIA 123
HEIGHT (bum to harness slots)
Lowest setting 12” 11” (Please note the headrest minimum is 14”, so 3” above the lowest harness slot)
Highest setting 15.5” 14.5”
High Back Booster highest setting 21” 18”
Seat Width 12” back

14” front

11” back

14” front

Seat Depth 15” 14”
Headrest 7” back

10” front

8” back

11” front

SIDE IMPACT PROTECTION DEPTH 8” side wings

7” head support

4” side wings

6” head support

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  measurements!Britax v Nania 123 004Britax v Nania 123 003

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Britax Evolva and Nania on highest harness setting.

Britax v Nania 123 001In high back booster mode – maximum height

So, how easy are the harnesses to move?

Britax Evolva:

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The Britax Evolva is very easy to adjust the harness, you simply lift the black leaver and raise the harness, the headrest increases with it.

Nania/Team Tex 123:

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The harness hook needs to be poked through the seat, back to front.

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Pull it through!

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Increase the harness length if you haven’t already done so! (The harness will be very hard to move up if it is short!)

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Poke it through the desired height.

A couple more comparison pictures!

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From the above pictures, the deeper side wings and head protection is evident.

Removing the covers – how easy is it?

THE BRITAX:

Britax v Nania 123 028lift the head support cover off, unhooking the little catches.

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The head support cover pulls right off!

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The rest of the cover lifts up and over the head support, there are poppers to get it off the harness, so it doesn’t need to be removed. – TOP TIP! Make sure the head support is in the lowest setting!

Britax v Nania 123 031 The poppers!

Britax v Nania 123 032 It is very easy to remove

Britax v Nania 123 033 The harness doesn’t need to be removed, reducing the risk of putting it back in incorrectly, which is very common.

THE NANIA:

Britax v Nania 123 036 The nania head support cover lifts right off

Britax v Nania 123 037 Next is the main body part… the harness must be removed.

Britax v Nania 123 038 again, it is very easy to pull off, no catches!

Britax v Nania 123 039Getting it off the red hooks was a little fiddly

Britax v Nania 123 041The back had to be lifted clean off

Britax v Nania 123 040Random cookie crisp!!!

Britax v Nania 123 051The harness needs to be removed completely, poke the leg strap through the bottom of the seat.

Britax v Nania 123 050Pull it through

Britax v Nania 123 047The buckle also needs to be removed.

Britax v Nania 123 044The cover then lifts off.

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FITTING THE HARNESS BACK ON:

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Poke the buckle back through.  Then clip the harness in and straighten out the straps – this is to ensure they do not get twisted when you put them back on!

Britax v Nania 123 053Poke the harness leg bits back through (see pictures on removing if you are not sure how to do that

Britax v Nania 123 054Line up the back and booster

Britax v Nania 123 055Push down FIRMLY.

Britax v Nania 123 056WRONG

Britax v Nania 123 057CORRECT

Britax v Nania 123 058Pull the harness straps up, check and DOUBLE check there are no twists, and poke through the seat at the desired height.

Make ABSOLUTELY sure the harness metal hooks are right through the seat and not just the cover!  If they are just through the cover your kid will fly right out the seat in a crash!  It’s the plastic bit of the seat that gives the strength to the harness!

LIKE SO:

Britax v Nania 123 019It should look like this.

FITTING:

THE BRITAX:

Britax v Nania 123 059It sounds a little crazy, but sit the seat on an angle, facing the outside of the car (face it the side the seat belt will be coming from)

Britax v Nania 123 060Take a good length of seat belt and straighten it out – no twists!

Britax v Nania 123 061Poke BOTH parts of the belt THROUGH the seat

Britax v Nania 123 063The belt pulls right through

Britax v Nania 123 064BOTH parts of the belt then poke through the next gap.

Britax v Nania 123 065The belt then pokes through the front, at this stage turn the seat to sit firmly and straight on the vehicle seat.

Britax v Nania 123 069Click the seat belt in, at this stage the seat belt will be slack and the seat far too loose.

Britax v Nania 123 071To get the seat belt really tight put your knee in the seat and pull the top part of the belt (the diagonal chest part)  pull all the slack through from the lap belt, until you can’t pull any more! Then pull all that slack up on the diagonal part of the belt near where it reels in.

Britax v Nania 123 072Pull here! This is where the diagonal chest bit fits.

Britax v Nania 123 074What the side where the seat belt comes out of should look like

The Britax Evolva also has a tilt option.  When using the tilt it must be preset and it can be used to ensure a better fit or to give the child more recline.

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It gives a very nice recline, although it won’t tip back this much when fitted!

THE NANIA:

The Nania is very similar in fitment.

Britax v Nania 123 077 Again sit the seat side on

Britax v Nania 123 078Yet again, fit both parts of the belt through, keeping them nice and straight.

Britax v Nania 123 079Again, pull round the back of the seat.

Britax v Nania 123 081Pull through the front

Britax v Nania 123 082On this seat, the LAP BELT goes UNDER the arm rest and the CHEST BELT goes OVER the arm rest and THROUGH the red hook.

Britax v Nania 123 083I’ve clicked, have you?

Britax v Nania 123 084Yet again, pull everything SUPER TIGHT.  You should have NO movement in your seat.  YOU wouldn’t sit in a wobbly seat, why should your child?  Wobble = not safe.

IN CONCLUSION

There is obviously quite a price difference between these seats.  Lets just take a quick summarised look at the differences and what else you get for spending more money on the Britax, or if the Nania will do just fine.

Britax Evolva Nania 123
PROS:

-         Deep side impact protection

-         Head support and harness raise together

-         Easy adjust head support and harness height.

-         Recline option

-         Easy to remove covers

-         Tall harness height in group 1 mode

-         Tall head support height in group 2/3 mode.

-         Snack trays

CONS:

-         Little padding

-         Complicated to fit

-         Heavy if moving between cars

PROS:

-         Lightweight

-         This particular model beeps when the buckle is un-clicked

-         Some parents will like the individual harness adjusters

-         Arm rests

CONS:

-         Little padding

-         Complicated to fit

-         Difficult to remove covers

-         Head support too high when child is using lowest and middle harness slots – offering no protection.

-         Low top harness height, meaning extra safety from 5 point harness usage time is reduced.

-         Low high back booster head support height, meaning reduced length of time using back.  The seat can be converted to a booster cushion, however these offer NO side impact protection.

I hope this helps!  Feel free to comment to ask for any help/advice,  ask questions or to give feedback!

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Good Egg Safety – what I’ve been up to recently!

Good Egg Safety

 

I am currently living up in Edinburgh, Scotland to work on the Good Egg Safety Scottish Car Seat Campaign.  I thought it would be a great idea to write a little bit about what I’ll be doing and where, and also a little about what Good Egg Safety do.

 

I have come to Edinburgh to be based at the offices and to allow me to travel around Scotland doing car seat clinics, offering ask the expert advice and doing mystery shops.  It is lovely to finally be working in an office with the team rather than at home – I’ve missed having colleagues!

 

The car seat clinics are the main thing I am here for – I have done lots clinics – from Galashiels to Thurso!   There are clinics from the Boarders right up to Shetland.

 

As well as doing car seat clinics, I will also be conducting mystery shops for the Good Egg retailer charter, which is designed to promote and advocate best practise.  The individuals who have passed have been mystery shopped by myself and you can go to them and buy a car seat, knowing they are knowledgeable and will sell you the correct seat.  The thing I love the most about this is that the individual gets passed, not the store.  In the past I have spoken to people who have had a terrible experience and been sold the wrong seat, but someone else has gone to the store and spoken to someone else and had great and correct advice!

 

I am also offering ask the expert advice – which I do through here and my facebook page.  Parents and carers can click “ask the expert” on the good egg website and that will come through to myself or 4 other experts, with a combined experience of 80+ years in child seats your sure to get the right answer!

 

- If you want Good Egg clinics in your area and there are not any planned, please get in touch with your local council.  They may be able to check your seat or offer the advice you need, or your council can then contact Good Egg to book a clinic!

 

Good Egg don’t just do car seat safety though – they do a whole host of guides to help keep children safe right through from babies in the car and around the home, up to learning to ride their bikes then on to passing their driving test!

 

The guides they have available are:

- In Car Child Safety

- In Home Child Safety

- Family Cycling

- New Drivers

- Parents of New Drivers

- Older Persons road safety

 

Here is a link to the main website that will take you through each section: http://www.goodeggsafety.com/

 

The car seat clinics:

 

The car seat clinics are brilliant, but I’m quite disappointed by how few people are getting their seats checked.  My worst day has resulted in just 1 check and my best day gained 33 checks.  I understand that it may partly be due to parents being in a rush to get their shopping home – coupled with the stress of food shopping with the kids and feeling like they don’t have the time.  It is also partly due to people not realising that there may be something wrong with their car seat – if they don’t know their seat is potentially fitted incorrectly, why would they get it checked?!

 

I’m currently working on showing parents that not one person who has had an incorrect car seat has done it intentionally – everyone has been surprised and in some cases upset, that the seat wasn’t safe.  Nobody intentionally makes their child’s car seat unsafe, but it’s trying to get across the message that I’m not there to judge, just to help, that is proving quite hard!

 

A day in the life of a car seat expert:

The Clinics:

As soon as I get to a clinic I sign in at the store and get set up!  I have guides to in car safety and leaflets to give out, as well as stickers for the kids!  I have my own car seats with me and I put useful tips and facts up to grab people’s attention!

SAMSUNG

 

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SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG

 

Giving out stickers!

SAMSUNG

 

We even had a policeman come along for a chat!

 POLICE

Then there are the checks themselves!

CRAPERO

 

 

Mystery Shops

I also undertake mystery shops, in the hope of adding people to the Good Egg charter!  My favourite place to mystery shop so far has been Glasgow pram centre – Tracey Smith has been added to the charter.  They had a huge range of extended rear facing child seats and it was so difficult to stop myself getting into a big geeky car seat conversation with her and giving the game away!   Thus far I have been really impressed with the advice given and only a handful of places have failed.

 

The Good Egg Safety campaign is a privilege to work on and little by little more and more children in Scotland are sitting safely.

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Prince George is here!

First off I want to extend my massive congratulations to Will and Kate on the birth of their baby boy!  I wish them all the luck in the world as parents, especially with them having to be first time parents in front of the whole world.  Kate looked simply beautiful when her and Prince William presented him to the world.

 

I am of course writing this to discuss the car seat!  I just want to state categorically that I AM NOT JUDGING WILL AND KATE’S PARENTING SKILLS IN THIS BLOG.  There is enough judging between people nowadays, especially parents!  I almost don’t want to join the “mummy club” because of the judging – and with this particular issue I am going to discuss people seem keen get in an uproar rather than accept the calm and NON JUDGMENTAL message that is being given.

 

Now we have cleared that up, lets get down to business!

 

So Will and Kate decided on a Britax Baby Safe Plus infant seat with ISOfix base for their little boy.  I was really impressed with this choice as everyone seems to go straight for the Maxi Cosi, which is brilliant – but hugely over shadows other infant carriers such as the Britax infant seat which is equally as good, if not better (I think it’s better, but then I love Britax!)

It was clear Will had practiced before hand and it was great to see how effortless he made putting the seat in appear.  I’m really happy they went for the ISOfix base, it will raise the awareness of ISOfix which is brilliant – particularly with the new iSize laws that have come out recently.  He also demonstrated really clearly how easy a seat is to use with a base.  I really hope this encourages more parents to use a base as it hugely reduces the risk of incorrectly fitting an infant car seat and makes life so much easier.

 

As for the Britax seat itself, it has performed fantastically in crash testing and has achieved awards from the German Stiftung Warentest and ADAC.  It has a nice tall back height and 7 positions for the straps to be so it will last longer than some other popular infant carriers, and the harness strap height is really easy to change – always ensuring a perfect fit on baby.  The covers wash at 30* and are super easy to remove, the sunshade can also be completely removed.  Finally, the seat has a 5-point rather than 3 point harness which provides baby with a little more security when strapped in.

The 1 main downside I have come across with the Britax Baby Safe is that is seems very upright for a new born – they look very scrunched in it.  However, babies should spend no more than 2 hours a day maximum – preferably less – in the car seat (obviously if you have a long journey, use the seat!)

Well Done Will and Kate on choosing a fantastic seat and base to keep your son safe!

 

Now – the thing that caught my attention right away when they brought the baby out in the car seat, apart from the seat itself – was that Prince George was not correctly strapped into the seat.  He was swaddled underneath the harness, and the harness was far too loose on him.  (This is the part everyone jumps up and down accusing me of judging them as first time parents…!)

W&KIDIOT

Royal or not – the baby should not have left the hospital strapped into the seat his way.   Not only would he have not been protected in an accident, but he could have easily fallen out of the seat had Will dropped/tipped it on fitting.  Yes they are first time parents, Yes they are allowed to make mistakes.  However, 1) they had any number of aides and hospital staff helping them – did nobody think to tell them how the straps ought to fit? 2) They’ve had 9 months to research this, as does any parent, this should not have happened.  3) Kate had a whole team of stylists helping her – so they were obviously well aware on how scrutinized they were going to be,  everything should have been double checked on the seat to ensure he was safe.

This was a dangerous mistake to make, not to Prince George – the chance of them having a crash was minimal on their way home and that isn’t really what bothers me (too much!).  What bothers me is that thousands of parents are going to see this picture, and if this is good enough for a Royal baby, it’s good enough for their baby – and they don’t know any better either with the distinct lack of awareness on car seats in the UK.  So just how many children are now going to be incorrectly strapped into their seat?   Plenty of people have said that Kate adjusted the straps when in the car, but they shouldn’t have been like that in the first place – and if she did, there are no photo’s to show that Will and Kate strap their son in safely for all the people who may follow in their footsteps to see.

It clearly demonstrates that anybody can inadvertently use their car seat incorrectly (I’m yet to meet someone who has done it on purpose)

 

For information on how to safely swaddle a baby in a car seat, please visit this video post by the American Car Seat Lady https://www.thinglink.com/scene/416412960164937729#tlsite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Group 2,3 High Back Boosters and Booster Cushions

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The Law

Babies, toddlers and children up to 4’5’’ or 12 years of age must travel in a child restraint suitable for their weight and height.

Exceptions

-          Emergency journeys (not school or shops!)

-          Taxi’s (although some taxi’s will allow you to take your own seat)

-          If fitment of two occupied child restraints prevent fitment of a third

 

 

When should a booster seat be used?

-          A child outgrows their group 1 harnessed seat at either 18kg or when their eyes are level with the top of their seat.

-          Children are safest remaining in their harnessed seat as long as possible, until outgrown by either weight or height.

-          They can be moved into a booster once the harnessed seat is outgrown or at 15kg.

-          Children must be tall enough for the seat belt to sit across their chest and shoulder correctly.

-          Children must be mature enough to sit on a booster with the adult seat belt correctly positioned at all times.

 

Why are booster needed>

Seat belts are designed for use by adults, not children.  As children are a lot smaller than adults, the seat belt does not fit correctly over their hips and chest.  In an impact the seat belt will be over the child’s soft abdomen, causing serious and potentially fatal abdominal and internal injuries.

A booster lifts the child up to position the seat belt safely over their hips.  A booster with a back is safer than a cushion as the headrest guides the chest part of the belt correctly.

- The lap belt should be over the child’s hips

- The shoulder belt should be level with the child’s shoulder.

 

Which Seat?

There are two types of boosters – booster cushions and high back boosters.  Your child will have optimal safety if they are sitting in a high back booster.  A high back booster with deep, padded side wings will provide far more protection and comfort for your child.

High back booster Booster Cushion
-          Correctly routes lap and chest belt

-          Deep side wings provide protection from side impacts

-          The headrest raises as your child grows, accommodating them for many years

-          High back boosters generally fit any car and are easy to transport and swap between vehicles

-          Some boosters have a recline function – great if your little one still falls asleep in the car!

-          ISOfix versions are available to provide even more protection

-          A very good quality high back booster starts from just £30!

 

 

-          Raises the child up so the lap belt is correctly positioned

-          Lightweight and portable

 

 

Please note*

Booster cushions do not:

-          route the chest belt

-          provide any side impact protection

-          provide any torso and head support

-          support your child’s body if they fall asleep

-          Will not pass the newest crash test standard that will test side impacts

That is my lowdown on Group 2,3 high back boosters and booster cushions!

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Snowsuits, clothing, car seats and the danger…

During the colder months I regularly see parents putting their babies in danger when travelling in the car – and they don’t even realise they are doing it.

As a result of trying to protect their baby, the parent is inadvertently putting their baby at risk of being ejected from the car seat, or at risk of dangerous over heating.

So what is this terrible mistake so many parents in the UK make? 

Answer: Big, puffy snowsuits and car seats.

In the simple act of a parent trying to protect their baby from getting cold, they are putting them at considerable risk.

So why is putting your baby in a snow suit when using the car seat so dangerous?

Snowsuits, as well as puffy or chunky clothing causes a car seat harness to fit a baby incorrectly.  Car seat harnesses need to be as close to a baby’s body as possible to be most effective in an accident.  If big, puffy clothing is between the baby and the harness it creates a gap.  When the harness then has to do its job and restrain a baby in the event of an impact, it is too loose – as all the air that is trapped in the puffiness disperses.  When the harness is too loose, the baby runs a significant risk of being ejected from the car seat.

Take a look at the 2 photographs below, the snowsuit isn’t particularly puffy, but it is thick.  When the baby is in the snowsuit she appears to be strapped in tightly.  I then unclipped the harness and removed the baby from the seat (without adjusting the harness)  upon strapping her back in you can clearly see the gap now created, and that she has also dropped down in the car seat.

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Not only is there a very real danger of a baby being ejected from the car seat, when a baby is in a puffy snow suit they are also unable to regulate their body temperature.  A car heats up very quickly, and whereas adults are able to adjust the car temperature to suit them or remove clothing, a baby is not as able to make herself comfortable.  There are also related health issues linked to babies being too warm.

So what can be done?

Clearly, nobody wants to put their baby in danger – but when it is cold outside babies still need to be kept warm, for the same reason snowsuits in the car seat are dangerous with overheating – they are unable to regulate their body temperature!

There are a few options a parent can take; you can dress your baby in a few layers (base layer, sleep suit + jumper and warm pants) or dress them in their regular clothes and cover them with a blanket.  You can use a cosy toes that comes with some car seats or buy a specially made after market cover to help them regulate their temperature and keep them warm.

There are a couple of covers available to help combat this issue, but the one I am going to focus on is the Ruby & GINGER cosy car seat cover.

Ruby & GINGER cosy car seat cover

I prefer the Ruby & GINGER cosy car seat cover over other options for a few reasons:

1)      Most importantly:  It doesn’t interfere with the harness – so baby can be safely strapped in, giving complete peace of mind to the parent

2)      The cover doesn’t interfere with the seat belt routing when fitting the seat

3)      It’s 3tog, so very effective at regulating temperature and keeping little one warm.

4)      It’s easy to lift it off – particularly useful in an emergency to quickly release a baby from the car seat.

I also love it because!…

5)      It’s quick and easy to pop on and I haven’t yet found an infant seat it won’t fit

6)      They are super stylish!

7)      They come in a handy bag, so you can store it between uses (great for the typical British weather!)

8)      They are incredibly luxurious and well made – the material is soft yet strong, and the attention to detail is fabulous.

The lovely people at Ruby & GINGER kindly sent me one of their covers to help me in this blog, and I was very impressed!

It came beautifully packaged:

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It comes with a handy carry bag:

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It fits loads of car seats!

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As you can see from the photos, the cover simply fits over the seat itself, and as it is 3tog, it very effectively keeps the baby warm, whilst allowing the air to circulate.

It doesn’t interfere at all with the harness and is quick and easy to remove – in case the baby needed to be quickly released from the seat. (After an accident, for example)  It also doesn’t interfere at all with the seat belt routing when fitting the seat and allows the baby to retain free movement to kick and explore their world.

It also fits all ages of babies, I have tested it on a 5 week old and a 15 month old, and both were warm, comfortable and very, very cosy!

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Both babies were very happy with the cover in place and it also looks incredibly stylish to boot!

Not only does it provide a safe solution to snow suits, it can also be used with the pram when being used as a travel system to keep little one warm!  Perfect for parents who pop in and out of the car with baby frequently – on the school run for example!

At an rrp of £30 they really are a must have buy to ensure your baby is travelling safely and snugly!

Ruby & GINGER have a range of accessories designed to assist parents everywhere – as well as the cosy car seat cover I love the Nappy Purse!  Check them out at http://www.rubyandginger.co.uk

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Group 1,2,3 combination car seats

WEIGHT: 9kg – 36kg

With harness: 9kg – 18kg

as high back booster: 15kg – 36kg

OUTGROWN: 12 years old, 4’5” (4’9” in the rest of Europe – go figure…?) or 36kg.  If your child is over 36kg BUT under 4’5”, it is safest for them to continue using the booster.

Direction of travel:  Forward.  (The Klippan Triofix is extended rear facing, it converts to a high back booster to 36kg)

VARIATIONS:  Some group 1,2,3 impact shield seats are available

WHAT IS A GROUP 1,2,3 CAR SEAT?

A group 1,2,3 car seat is a combination car seat that will accommodate a child from outgrowing the infant seat until they no longer need a car or booster seat.

(An infant group 0+ seat is outgrown at 13kg/top of head level with the top of seat.  Keep your child rear facing for as long as possible for maximum protection.  A group 1,2,3 seat can be used from 9kg, but that is no reason to move your child front facing before they have outgrown the rear facing seat)

WHAT ARE THE PRO’S?

- Presents value for money lasting until a child no longer needs a car or booster seat

WHAT ARE THE CON’S?

- The seat has to last 10 or 11 years, legislation may change in that time that the seat may not be able to meet.  E.G: A Nania car seat will struggle to pass a side impact test, which will be mandatory by 2018 in crash testing.

- Most are very upright, which would be very unsuitable for a child under 2.

- If a recline option is present it is normally a vague tilt at best and often has to be set before fitment – so cannot be done on the move (The Cybex Pallas is an exception, the Britax Xtensafix will be too on it’s release)

- The seat must cover a very wide age range, which reduces the safety offered, as well as comfort.  A younger child will need a well padded seat to fully support their body, which 1,2,3 seats struggle to offer.

WHY BUY ONE?  WHO ARE THEY GOOD FOR?

Yes, there are quite a few cons to group 1,2,3 seats – but they are a very good buy for some families.

- Grandparents car (short, irregular trips – not everyday motorway trips)

- For children who travel infrequently and on short journey’s

- If a toddler seems “too big” for a group 1 seat.  (A 2 year old has rarely outgrown a group 1 seat, despite parents concerns!)

- If a younger child is moving up to an older siblings group 1 seat, the older sibling can have a group 1,2,3 seat to convert to the booster when the harness is outgrown

- If a child has outgrown the group 1 seat by height, but the parents wish to keep the child in a harness to 18kg

-Great buy for childminders or grandparents needing the seat to accommodate a few children of varying ages (not at the same time, of course!!)

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

- A recline/tilt if the child still sleeps.  They can be ‘barely there’ but it is better than bolt upright.

- Side Impact Protection – look for deep, padded side wings, not slight curves to the sides that some cheaper seats have which won’t offer as much protection

- A seat that is easy to convert to the next stage

- Build Quality: The Graco Nautilus has a far better, solid build quality than a supermarket/baby shop own brand seat.  Look out for this!  The seat must last a long time, so the materials ideally need to be very good quality.  You can clearly see the difference in quality in the following pictures:

Chester Zoo 046 DSCF0671

As always, when buying a child seat ensure it fits your car and child, and is fitted and used correctly on every single journey!

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Harrogate Baby Show!

Last month I got to visit the Harrogate baby show!  It is a trade show for those in the nursery industry, with lots of shiny new products on display!  I saw lots of new products, both good and bad – and some that were just plain wacky!

The Good:

 Britax:

Of course Britax are top of my list!  They were displaying their new seats – the Xtensafix and the Max Fix, as well as the Max Way and I must say, they are very exciting new products!

Xtensafix:

At long last there is a good quality ISOfix group 123 seat coming out!  The Xtensafix incorporates style, safety and usability beautifully, which is severely lacking in other group 123 seats.  In group 1 mode there is a fully useable recline feature, not just a vague tilt that you get with other 123 seats.  It has an integrated and easily adjustable headrest and harness and easily converts to the next stage seat.  It is secured with ISOfix points and a top tether, or the adult 3 point seat belt.  The biggest feature of the Xtensafix is that it has a harness weight limit of 25kg – which is fantastic for parents with heavy, but small children or for parents that wish to keep their children in a 5 point harness past the standard 18kg.  However, to utilise the 18 – 25kg harness usage you must fit the seat with the 3 point seat belt AND top tether.

Overall it is a fantastic seat and will fill a large gap in the market for an ISOfix group 123, but I have some reservations at how many parents will fit the seat with the 3 point seat belt and top tether correctly to utilise the extended harness option.

Max Fix

The Max Fix is an ISOfix group 0+1 combination seat that is rear ward facing from birth to 18kg.  It has a rebound bar and foot prop that means there are no tether straps, making installation quick and easy.  I actually got to see this seat being fitted and it is no more difficult than fitting a normal ISOfix seat.  Again, it has the integrated headrest and harness for easy adjustment, and a 7 recline function as well as a newborn insert, making it truly suitable from birth.

Overall it is an absolutely brilliant seat, and perfect for parents that are not interested in a travel system or those that want to move on from the infant carrier but still need/want a rear facing car seat.

Max Way

The Max Way is a new Britax product, although it has been on the market a little while now.  It is a seat belt fitted group 1,2 seat that is rear ward facing only, with a foot prop and tether straps.  The Max Way is really well padded and also has the easy adjust headrest and harness, it’s easy to fit and simple to use!

I have to say, I was really impressed with Britax for having so many extended rear facing seats on display, and the new colour range is fabulous – especially the colour ‘grape’!  For a company making its money from front facing seat sales it really is brave of them (and decent of them, compared to some other companies) to be pushing their extended rear facing range – here’s hoping more and more parents see the huge safety benefits of keeping kids rear facing now such a large manufacturer has extended it’s range!

Britax also had an ‘adult’ test rig! They had 2 adult sized ‘child’ seats, one impact shield one and another with a 5 point harness.  This is an extension from the video they released of the roll over crash test they did http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ik_9_FxAfrI

The demo was to clearly demonstrate the difference between an impact shield seat and a 5 point harness seat – and boy did it show the difference!  The test seat launched you forward!  Here are some photo’s of me having a go!

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There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Britax releasing that video, and some people I spoke to thought it to be a dirty marketing trick and that the seat wasn’t fastened properly.  I must say that I beg to differ – when a car seat is crash tested, the seat belt has to be tightened to a certain tightness, which is done electronically, and you can clearly see in the video that the seat belt is fitted correctly.  Another point, the seat has been de-branded.  Although I can tell what make seat it is, it has had all branding removed.

I don’t think it is a dirty marketing trick at all, and I think Britax had good cause to have concerns over impact shield seats.  The roll over crash test on R44.04 is done at a rotation of 3-5̊̊ degrees per second, so very slowly.  When the Britax test was done, it was at 30mph – which is a much more likely scenario.  If a seat is found to not perform under ‘real-life’ circumstances, then that information should be released so people with that seat are fully aware of the limitations of the seat and can make an informed decision as to whether they are happy with it or not.  I think Britax have done a huge service to parents everywhere by releasing that video.

Snugglebundl

The Snugglebundl – all I can say is WOW!  Generally speaking, I don’t really hold all that much of an interest in other baby products, what with being a car seat expert and not having kids myself.  But the Snugglebundl really is amazing!

The Snugglebundl is a baby lifting blanket, with so many uses!  It’s a strong, but really soft blanket with strong handles, and a head hugger to really snuggle your newborn.  I was first drawn to it as it can be used in a car seat, newborn babies shouldn’t spend too much time in their car seat, but lots of parents are reluctant to move their sleeping baby once they’ve fallen asleep in the car so just leave them in it.  The Snugglebundl can be used to lift baby out of the car seat without disturbing them, and you can then cradle them, rock them or lay them down to continue sleeping, undisturbed – which will hugely reduce car seat usage.

Not only can it be used in car seats, but it also helps mum’s lift and care for their baby when they’ve had a C-section, it can be used in trolley baby seats, to rock the baby, swaddle the baby, to give mum’s discreet breastfeeding if they wish for it and to help make passing the baby easier. I put that last one as I am absolutely terrible at passing babies back, not because I want to keep them!  But I’m so worried about their heads, and fragile little necks and bodies that I don’t know what bit to pass first – with the Snugglebundl I don’t have to worry about that.  I can snuggle the baby then pass it back to Mum, or to my partner for a snuggle by holding the handles, gently lifting baby and passing over – easy!

_MG_8077 Snug_124 Snugglebundl baby blanket

Hauck

I specifically went to the Hauck stand to check out their new Varioguard seat. It’s a group 0+1 seat that rear faces with ISOfix and foot prop to 18kg, or can be fitted with the 3 point seat belt rear facing to 13kg then turns front facing to 18kg.  It’s a really nice looking seat that is easy to use and comes with 5 colour options.  The recline is very generous and the seat features an easy adjust harness.

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High Back Booster

I also saw the bodyguard high back booster whilst at the Hauck stand, and that too is very nice.  It truly grows with a growing child as when you raise the headrest, the side parts of the seat extend – truly accommodating the child right the way through.

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5-Point Plus

I’ve known about the 5-point plus for quite some time, and regularly recommend it to clients as a solution to escape artist children!  It is a simple device to prevent children from escaping from the car seat harness.  It fits into the child seat and wraps around the harness, underneath the harness pads, closing the gap where children get their arms through.  The big thing for me with the 5 point plus is that it has been fully crash tested.  Aftermarket products for car seats do not legally have to pass a crash test, which is why companies can get away with selling things like chest clips, which can cause serious injuries to children if not used correctly.

More info here! – http://5pointplus.com/

Graco

Graco have a new high back booster coming out at long last!  I have despised the rubbish high back boosters they do for years, and I die a little bit inside every time I see someone with one.  They do not pass any side impact test and have been on the which ‘don’t buy’ for ages for lack of safety, yet people STILL insist on buying the awful things!  When I gave the Graco rep this view, he gave me the old “yes, but they are better than nothing”

Well, OK… but does that give you a licence to make rubbish seats?  The Britax Adventure is very similar in price to the Graco and that gives side impact protection.

The old and new seats:

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Ruby & Ginger

Another accessory!  I loved the Ruby & Ginger car seat cover so much!  It’s a warm cosy cover that goes over the car seat to keep little one snug, without interfering with the harness and causing an unsafe fit.

Website: http://www.rubyandginger.co.uk/out-and-about/the-original-cosy-car-seat-cover

Joie

I also made a special trip to the Joie stand to have a nosy at their products!  They have some really lovely stuff and their car seats are innovative and stylish, whilst being easy to use and fit!  They have some exciting new products in the pipeline, but my favourite one by far is the Joie Stages.

The Joie Stages lasts from newborn to 25kg/7 years old.  It rear faces from newborn to 18kg, and is front facing with the harness 9 – 18kg.  It then converts to a high back booster to 25kg.  The seat is really well made and has very well padded, comfy covers.  It is also really easy to fit, and has an easy adjustable headrest and harness!

Downsides:  The two main downsides to this seat for me:

1)     The way the seat fits means that when used rear facing; the seat belt runs diagonally (as it does with an infant seat) which is no problem for a small baby/toddler, but as the child gets older (2.5/3 years) it would be increasingly difficult to get them in and out of the seat.

2)     The seat must be kept in full recline when used rear facing, so an older child may get frustrated with it, and with the way the seat fits there will have to be a height limit for safe usage, which will reduce the rear facing time (although it’ll be longer than other 0+1 seats).

The Stages is a fantastic seat, really well made and comfortable, as well as easy to use.  It’s a brilliant option for parents who want to keep their child rear facing as long as possible, but are unable to afford an extended rear facing seat.

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The Bad.

So, we’ve come to the bad…..  Please remember that these are simply my opinions, they’re not factual and I’m not saying a product is unsafe – I’m just giving my opinion, my point of view, from viewing and operating the product.  All opinions are my own, and I encourage others to form their own opinions and if they like a product – to go buy it!!

Cybex Sirona

It pains me to put this seat in with the bad, and it nearly went in with the good!  The Cybex Sirona is a group 0+1 ISOfix seat that is rear facing from birth – 18kg, and can front face with an impact shield from 9 – 18kg.

Good points? – It swivels, so it is super easy to get baby in and out of the seat.  It has a rebound bar and foot prop so there is no need for tether straps.

The Sirona is beautiful.  It’s sleek, it’s shiny, and it looks like it’s turned up from outer space.  It’s fashionable – since when could a car seat be fashionable?!!!  But there are, unfortunately a few features of the seat that let it down.

1)     It rear faces to 18kg, but it has a very small seat shell.  Having viewed the newest Sirona, you really would struggle to have a 4 year old child in that seat.

2)     Front facing with an impact shield.  Now, I know impact shields are Cybex’s ‘thing’ but why on earth would you make a seat with the option of being really safe and rear facing to 18kg, then throw an impact shield into the mix????  It complicates the seat, and I think parents should at least be given the option of using the harness in front facing mode.

3)     It’s £400 and in my humble opinion, it really isn’t worth it – Sorry Cybex.  Give me the Hauck Varioguard or Britax Max fix any day!

Although it is a stunning seat, and will be perfect for some families – I can think of a fair few other seats I’d rather buy.

Corbeau

Seriously? Corbeau?  Recaro is enough thanks – please stick to your racing seats!

I have to say, my heart sank a little bit when I saw the Corbeau sign, and then car seats.  The rep was also completely sexist with no idea of the car seat market.  He described buyers of car seats as “Dad’s are the ones who make the car seat decision.  So we’re making it easy for them, they’ll see the Corbeau name and know we make racing seats from seeing them on Top Gear.  The seat is normally going in Dad’s car so he wants something that’s going to look good and is stylish – which is where this comes in”

My reaction:

CARSEATOMG

1)     I receive tons of e-mails a week regarding advice on car seats – I have yet to have one from a Dad.

2)     When I worked at a major retailer, my main customers were Mothers, normally coming in during the end of their maternity leave to get the car seat sorted before their return to work.  They had their car with them, and the seat went in that (once confirming if the seat would go in Dad’s car or not).  I worked for Halfords, which is generally viewed as a ‘man shop’.

3)     They want something that looks good and is stylish?  Do they not want something safe then?

4)     Do you really think all Dad’s watch Top Gear?

5)     The seats looked horrible.  The covers were quilted, and the plastics of the seat not the best quality.  They were like a down market Recaro.

Casualplay

I was really looking forward to seeing CasualPlay’s range of seats, but was sorely let down.  They had some lovely looking seats at the back of the display, which looked to be decent quality, but turn to the main display and there was a huge range of cheap looking seats that didn’t look much better than the Nania seats.

They also have something called the Retraktorfix coming out.  It is an ISOfix seat with a 5 point harness, but the harness is on a locking reel (like a seat belt) rather than pre-tensioned like the harnesses you normally see on seats.  I immediately had alarm bells about this, a locking device on a car seat harness??

1)     An older child could easily pull down and remove the harness.

2)     A child would be thrown forward and the harness would lock, snapping the neck forward far more violently than a normal car seat harness.

3)     A child could lean forward in the seat and if an impact happened, they would be outside the protection zone of the side impact wings and also already stretching their neck and spine, which would then be thrown further forward and locked back.

I did not like this seat idea at all, however, I can accept that this would be brilliant for a parent or grandparent that just didn’t have the strength to pull the harness tight – so it absolutely has it’s place on the market, but do I think all car seats should have this?  No.

The pushchairs were gorgeous however!

car seat stuff 011

So that was my trip to the Harrogate baby show!  It was a brilliant day out, although one day is nowhere near enough to see everything – next year I’ll be staying over!

There are some lovely products coming out and there really is going to be something available for every single situation!

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