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.
This led us to three different seats. Rebl Nuna, Cybex Sirona and Maxi-Cosi AxissFix. All priced well over £300 and all offering a swivel function up to four years. We saw these as comfortable for Dorothy, comfortable for us to put her in as I’ve got a bad back and Mrs P has bad pelvis still post childbirth.
Here’s our views:
We really liked the Maxi-Cost, it was easy to rotate and offered enough padding as well as being I-Size. This is going to be the new standard for all car seats. (Maybe not anymore when now we’ve left Europe) It was good looking however there was one issue. It needed an anchor. Now we had one in both the cars however, Resell Value! Those that don’t won’t buy!
I really like the Cybex Sirona. I liked the bright orange, the bar across the middle and the swivel function. We weren’t as happy at it didn’t have I-Size so we had to pass this by.
We really liked the Rebl Nuna. It’s pretty, solid and is also I-Size. It’s got varying levels of tilt so as she grows bigger, we’ll adjust the tilt. We left Mothercare thinking this is the seat for us and it also fit in the car.
Now we’re really lucky where we live, Pramworld in Pemberton is only down the road and they’ve got all of the ranges.
So sitting at home I head to pramworld while Mrs P is at MOSI blogging event and get the Rebl Nuna fitted. It all looks great, it’s actually massive and because of the size there’s actually a lot that’s limited about it’s use. You see, the sheer length of it meant that the front seat had to be pushed forward more and the tilt function didn’t really go all the way as the car seat would rub on the foot rest as it twisted.
Then we put Dottie in it.
She wasn’t as laid back (literally laid back) so she was more upright and did nothing but scream for the whole journey back from MOSI to Wigan.
What have I done!
Having emailed Pramworld straight away and explained my error “I’m sorry I shouldn’t ever buy anything without my wife and baby” they were so happy to help and offered a full refund if we chose. I didn’t want to do this as we’d made a conscious decision to buy a protective shell for our little angel and a refund would only delay the process.
So heading into Pramworld, we see the Cybex Sirona again. Mrs P really didn’t like the bar that goes across when it starts being front facing. There’s no seat belts and when we go through all of the literature, it’s actually come out as safer. We try it in the car and it fits, all the functionality works and we can push the front seat back. This is amazing! We were concerned about resale value due to it not being I-Size but we were told by the assistant (Remember she’s already got our money so no need to lie) that these legislations take years to pass and she doubts they’ll have any impact on our generation.
So we do the baby test and she loves it. It’s like a cocoon. Big, protective, comfortable and looks great as well as swivelling so it’s easy on us. Helpful assistant asks if we want the display one and we say, for something short of £400 we’d like a new version. Please.
Typing our refund into the computer it comes up with a drop in price for the Cybex and if we’d like the Plus Edition, we would also save £60 on retail and could use that in store. Bonus!
We ended up with the Cybex Sirona and I hope that my ramblings above help you in your search for the perfect Car Seat. Don’t pick one straight away, on your own or with a serious hangover. Don’t expect to find a bargain that ticks all the boxes and look at is as an investment. But most of all you’re not using it so pick for them not you. And remember. You can’t put a price on your child’s life.
Now I’ve just released the straps as I’m about to get her out hence the slouch, but she loves it so much she sleeps straight away! It’s bliss and my back hasn’t felt so good in ages.