* Prices may differ from that shown
When our elder son grew out of his first carseat we bought a basic forward facing one from Mothercare that was pretty dull but perfectly adequate, and at only £50 it was quite the bargain. When baby number two was due to arrive we set about looking for a new carseat. We wanted one that was suitable from birth in the rear facing position but also able to change in front facing when bubs got a bit older. Our elder son was still in his carseat from Mothercare so we went back there to buy another, only to find that the exact same one was now £90. This isn't a huge amount to pay for a carseat but knowing that we could find one cheaper we set about searching for a new one.
We have used Kiddicare a few times and they seem to be much cheaper than other baby stores and also offer a price match guarantee so after Mothercare that was our next port of call. We had a nosey at the carseats on there and found this little beauty for only £45 instead of £90. We had a look at the reviews and they were, on the whole, positive so we bit the proverbial bullet and bought one.
* Appearance *
The Baby Weavers Shuffle carseat comes in a variety of colours and we chose the black and green version. The main body of the chair is black fabric like the majority of carseats, but has green detailing and polka dot design on the padded head protectors which makes it look a little bit more fancy. It looks like it cost a lot more than it did and the first time my parents saw it my dad said it looked "posh". I didn't bother telling him how cheap it was! It has a small "Baby Weavers" logo on the seat which isn't too large to take away from the simplicity of the design. It looks sturdy which can only be a plus point in a product like this.
The carseat comes with a removable padded inner section that makes it suitable from birth. It ensures that your precious newborn is nice and snug and their head is protected and supported. Our little one looked really comfortable in it and the speed in which he falls asleep in it is probably a testiment to how comfortable it really is! The straps have pads on them to prevent them digging into sensitive skin. I found that without these (such as on cheap pushchairs) they would dig into my son's neck when he fell asleep and his head tilted to the side. It also reclines into 4 different positions so you can have it reclined at it's lowest for a newborn and tilted higher as the child becomes older and has better head control. The reclining function is also good for older babies when they want to go to sleep and find it difficult in the upright position. The harness is fully adjustable so you can alter this when you're child grows, and also when they have thicker clothes on! My little one has a padded snowsuit that means that we have to lengthen the straps on the carseat or otherwise he looks like he's sat in a heap!
* Safety *
It's easy to be snobby about carseats and want to fork out a lot of money to buy the best brands. After all, you can't put a price on a child's safety. I agree with this to a certain extent but all carseats have to meet safety regulations so as long as they are deemed safe, the extra money you're paying for the top brands are purely for the design or convenience. This carseat has the recommended 5 point safety harness and also has a handy little extra that I've never seen on other carseats. When the harness is released from the buckle a beeping alarm goes off for a few seconds. This is brilliant for when your child gets to toddler age and tries getting out of there themselves while your driving completely unaware of what is going on back there! My two year old occasionally uses this child seat and when he heard the alarm go off he instantly looked at me in a panic and said "naughty alarm". The naughty alarm is what we call the security alarms that go off in shops when someone tries to shoplift something! On hearing the carseat make the "naughty alarm" noise, he soon realised that unbuckling the carseat was naughty and that he wasn't to do it.
The car seat also has extra deep sides which give greater protection if, god forbid, you were in a car accident and were hit from the side. This feature gives extra protection to their delicate necks and heads and is reassuring to know that if an accident did occur they would be protected.
The carseat is suitable from birth up until the child is 4 years. The law states that all children should be strapped into a suitable carseat up until the age of 4, when a booster seat is acceptable. The carseat is suitable from 0-10kg in the rear facing position and 9 - 18kg in the forward facing position. It is safer for the child to be rear facing for as long as possible so I'm keeping my son in that position until he reaches 10kg.
* Ease of use*
The carseat is relatively easy to get in and out of the car. It isn't one that you just clip onto a base - you need to fasten it in with a seatbelt. The slides forward enabling you to safely attach the seatbelt with the red clips ensuring the carseat doesn't budge. It's hard to explain but I promise it's easier to do than I make it sound! We have taken it in and out of the car a few times and swapped it from rear facing to front facing depending on which child is going in it and it is easily done and takes no more than a few minutes. It's easy to recline the carseat into the position you want it in without disturbing the child who's sat in it. Another bonus is that the covers can come of to be washed, which is great when you have a sicky baby like we do!
The harness straps are also very easy to alter. Some carseat and pushchair harnesses are a complete nightmare to alter but these have a plastic bit to hold in while you either tighten or slacken the straps to the appropriate length and this can be done in seconds, rather than a few frustrating minutes like I have spent with other straps!
* Value for money *
Ordinarily I'm a firm believer in you get what you pay for but in this case it really isn't true. You could easily pay more than 3 times what we paid for a carseat and I honestly don't think it would be any better. You can buy second hand carseats reasonably cheaply, but it is recommended that you don't because you don't know their history - such as accidents, faults etc. It's really not worth the gamble when you can get such a lovely looking, practical and reliable carseat for such a good price. It even won silver for group 1 carseats by Practical Parenting and Pregnancy.
The carseat should be £90 full price but we bought the carseat over 6 months ago and we have never seen it for more than £50 on Kiddicare, and it is currently still half price at £45.
It's worth noting that not all carseats fit in all cars. We have a Vauxhall Meriva and it fits into our car perfectly but due to it being quite bulky, it may perhaps not fit as well in a smaller car.
* To summarise *
Absolutely perfect for what we want it for.
*Seat Dimensions: H:62 x W:44 x L:50 cm (Approx)
*Seat Weight: 6.7 kg (Approx) :
*Fixes into the car rearward facing 0-9kg
*Fixes into the car forward facing 9-18kg
*Easy to adjust 4 position recline
*5-point safety harness with easy one pull harness adjustment
*Removable padded cushion, harness & buckle pads.
*Extra deep side wings for increased side impact protection.
*Removable / Washable Seat Covers
*Suitable from birth - 4 years (0-18kg)