Going from a carrier to a fully installed car seat was a journey with more twists and turns that our planned trip to France. You see, we’re having our first driving holiday to France in a few weeks and it’ll be Dorothy’s first time out the UK. Before you ask, it’s in a quiet remote part of Brittany thanks to Dottie’s hard working god parents and their little holiday home. So that’s a lot of driving! You may ask yourself why didn’t they fly? If it was a hotel with everything there to cater for a baby then maybe, but we need the family wagon and all of the toys, prams and cots that will also travel with us. This kind of journey, while it’s doable in a newborn car seat, we want our baby to be as comfortable as possible reducing the strain on her and her growing body. Driving home from work, a few days short of bonus time, I get an email from Mothercare showing me this birth to 12 years old car seat. This beast of a thing was massive but bigger means better right? Did I also mention it was reduced to £145 from £200. I saw £200 and thought that was expensive, just you wait. We were given an amazing service by the assistant in the Warrington Mothercare and after scoping out our needs, and budget, Jane (Let’s call her Jane) lugged this monstrosity outside. I did offer but for insurance purposes only paid staff were allowed to be inflicted with early broken back syndrome. Having set up she reveals it’s a belt in model and when pulling and pushing about in our car Jane announces “It doesn’t fit”. Great! She also tells us that out of the 10 cars she’s tried with, only 2 it’s fitted to their standards and she cannot sell unless 100%. So what now Jane? Can I just point out that at this point I’m hungover thanks to a helpful pint or two the night before. My head is beading sweat and my stomach is holding on to last nights donner kebab literally by inches. Jane’s struggling now, we had a budget of “Cheapest” that will do us for the “Longest” period of time and it’s boiling down to this one for a year, the this one for two, then this one for another two. Money keeps rolling and all these options are making me queasy! So I’m feeling queasy, getting baffled by numbers and can’t understand the logic in what she’s saying. We could of had a 0-12 years car seat for £145 but now we have to have about 4 to get us to the same stage at a price between £150 and £300 each? I quickly forget about the price for a second and I think about what we’re doing here. We’re looking for the most comfortable way to take Dottie on car journeys, for as cheap as possible and one which will last the longest. In my haze I deduced a plan:
- No matter what price, negate all those that don’t look comfortable or will restrict her growth as we think she’ll be tall. Check.
- They seem to go up to age 4 in a series of systems, so work out the cost of each option per year, for the first 4 years. Check.
- Look at connectors and ask about car fitting. Check.
- Resale, is it ugly, will it get ruined quickly. Check.