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So we bought this for our son who at the time of buying was 12months old. We bought it from Mothercare and they assisted in checking that it was compatible with both our cars via their computer, and after purchasing, fit this product into our car using isofix.
The product itself is as sturdy as imaginable. The isofix really keeps it locked in and so we do not tend to feel the need to use the additional protection from a seat belt unless we go on long journeys. Due to its sturdiness, it can be quite difficult at times to get the actual seat out of the isofix locks. I know that this especially true of Mini's and it can be quite tempting to push it too far in and then hassle to click the red bits and release them. This is mainly due to angles that you are trying from though, and my partner has seemed to got the technique of this and no longer struggle!
The seat is wipeable. We had a few accidents during potty training months but you would never know. We went for all black, as my partner does not like braiding or colour, he likes to keep it simple. And it looks totally classy in the back of our car.
Our child will happily sit in this seat for long periods of time without any fuss. We call it his bigs boys chair and he is very keen to demonstrate. At nearly 3 he is just starting to outgrow this, though we are adamant on keeping him in this for as long as possible due to safety. Up until this age he has showed no interest in playing with the unlocking straps, but now he is growing more inquisitive and he is wanting to explore them!
I am a childminder, therefore needed a good, sturdy car seat in which wasn't horrendously expensive. I had read about the new ISOFix craze that has been sweeping the nation, therefore thought I should probably invest in one of these, as it seems to be the way forward.
I found this nifty little Britax Duo in Halfords for about £150, and was attracted by how smart it looked. I bought mine in Jet, which is black with grey straps.
The Duo Plus has a 3 position reclining seat and has extra padding for side impact protection in case of a collision. It can be used as an ISOFix as well as with a normal seatbelt. I do find that if you are using this seat in ISOFix mode, if you try and recline the seat, it doesn't work very well because the seat is anchored so securely to the back of the car seat.
The seat has a 5-point harness with one pull adjustment. I find the straps never get twisted like they do on other car seats. It really is only one pull adjustment as advertised; very easy. You make the harness bigger by a button underneath the front of the seat.
The seat comes with chest pads to stop the harness rubbing on your child's neck and chest. These are removable.
The car seat is very softly padded for comfort, and the washable cover comes off very easily and washes up well in the washing machine.
There are spare covers that you can buy, if you get bored of black or have a washing crisis!
The weight of the car seat is 9kgs, and it is probably one of the lightest I have carried in a long time.
I feel that this car seat, when installed using the ISOFix is really sturdy. You literally cannot move it from side to side, or up and down. It simply clicks in to the ISOFix receiver in your car, so takes minutes to put in and is so much easier than installing a car seat using a normal seat belt.
I would recommend this car seat to anyone looking for a group 2 car seat. It is one of the cheaper ISOFix car seats, but you certainly wouldn't think this when using it.
My minded children are very comfortable in the seat.
Our son began to out grow his baby car seat at about a year old. Child car seats are quite an expensive purchase, so I started researching which one to buy. At this point I came across some shocking accident statistics. What really concerned me was research indicating that only a third of child car seats, installed using an adult seat belt, were correctly fitted. By comparison 96% of ISOFIX car seats were correctly installed. I quickly decided to look for an ISOFIX car seat, and we eventually purchased the Britax Duo Plus.
== What is ISOFIX? ==
ISOFIX is basically an anchorage system by which a child car seat can be fitted into a car which has ISOFIX points. The ISOFIX system provides a rigid connection between the child seat and the car chassis. This reduces the forward and sideways movement of the car seat in the event of an accident. Since February 2006 all new cars in the UK come with ISOFIX points on the rear seats.
As our car has ISOFIX points it seemed sensible to look for an ISOFIX car seat. However, safety comes at a price, as ISOFIX car seats are around twice as expensive as those which are installed using seat belts.
== Britax Fit Finder ==
Having decided on an ISOFIX car seat we then had to choose which one. You might think this is a straight forward decision, however, not all child car seats fit into all cars! I found one of the real plus points for Britax is that they have a "Fit Finder" on their website (www.britax.co.uk/car-seats/fit-finder). This allows you to quickly enter details of your child's age / weight and your car model, and a match will be found with suitable Britax car seats. The Duo Plus came up as a suitable match for us.
== Britax Duo Plus ==
Duo Plus is a Group 1 forward facing child car seat. It is suitable for children weighing 9 to 18 kilos, or approximately 9 months to 4 years. The Duo Plus comes in 5 different colours including a number of combinations of grey and black, as well as red and pink. We bought the car seat in "Black Fusion" which looks very smart against the dark grey interior of our car.
== Safety Features ==
The Duo Plus car seat has a number of safety features. For instance, there are indicators at the rear of the seat, which clearly show that the ISOFIX system has been correctly installed. The seat has quite high sides, which are designed to provide side impact protection. The child is secured into the seat by a five point harness. This fits over both shoulders and across the waist, before fastening into a strap that comes between the legs. The harness can be easily adjusted to fit your child by pulling or releasing a strap at the base of the seat. This is very quick and easy to do, even with one hand. As a result, getting your child in and out of the car is quite a straight forward procedure.
== Comfort ==
I wanted to make sure that the seat would be comfortable as well as safe. The Duo Plus seat is padded, and the chest straps also have soft backed padding across the shoulders and down the chest. The seat has additional padding behind the shoulders, neck and head. This can be height adjusted as your child grows. The whole seat cover can be easily removed and is machine washable. I haven't actually removed the cover yet, because small boy has managed to keep it remarkably clean so far. However, I have found the seat easy to vacuum and sponge clean.
Britax will tell you that the seat has 3 recline positions, however, I would be hard pushed to identify them. I would say that the seat reclines at most through 30 degrees, having worked through all 3 recline settings. However, a limited recline seems to be common with all front facing child car seats. We tend to keep the seat reclined all the time. This keeps my little boy fairly upright, but laid back enough to nod off easily. He does seem to find the seat comfortable and he frequently sleeps for fairly long periods of time in it.
The Duo Plus apparently has ventilation channels in the back of the seat to help air circulation. However, my son has still become quite hot and sweaty in the seat in the recent warm weather, so I'm not sure whether the Duo Plus is any cooler than other child car seats. I suspect this is a common problem with all child car seats, given the amount of moulded plastic and padding used.
However, a feature of the Duo Plus which is beneficial in the summer, are little slots in the side of the seat. You use these to keep the metal harness buckles out of the way when the seat is not in use. This prevents you from sitting your child on top of the harness when you are trying to put them in the car. In the summer it also stops the metal buckles from becoming very hot in direct sunlight.
== Installation ==
The car seat comes with complete installation instructions. We bought our car seat from Kiddicare.com, where there is a very useful product video, including a fitting demonstration. It takes only a couple of minutes to fit the car seat using ISOFIX. It really is very simple to align the rods on the back of the seat with the points in the car. You can hear the seat clicking into place, and the indicators also very clearly show when it is correctly positioned.
The Duo Plus car seat can also be fitted using the car seat belt. We have never had to use this method, but it is reassuring to know that we could still use the seat in a car which does not have ISOFIX.
== Dimensions ==
Weight - 9 kg
Height - 60cm
Length - 46cm
Depth - 49 cm
== Cost ==
Britax Duo Plus has a recommended retail price of £199.99. We paid nearer £150 including delivery on Kiddicare.com. It is certainly worth checking on line, as long as you know that the car seat will fit your car. For instance, I have just found Halfords stocking the full colour range for £144.99 (on line price).
== Summary ==
We have been really pleased with the Britax Duo Plus, and I would certainly buy another one. However, we are not alone in our praise of this car seat, as it was also awarded a Which Best Buy in June 2009. It may not be the cheapest car seat on the market, but I was pleased to pay extra for peace of mind about our little boy's safety.
*** A slightly amended version of this review also appears on Ciao ***
My husband and I purchased the Britax Duo Plus Isofix for use in our Nissan Micra last June, not long before my daughters first birthday, as she had outgrown her first car seat. We found there was not a lot of choice in seats that fitted our make of car, but this was one of the ones that was suitable.
The weight class for this seat is 9 - 18kg, which is generally meant to be for ages 9 months to 4 years depending on height and weight.
As I found out the first time round, it is no simple business finding the right car seat for your child. I thought I could just find a seat that looked okay and choose it, but it's much more complicated. It's also not possible to just switch the seat between different cars, you need to check compatibility. It's an expensive business too, with babies needing a rearward-facing seat for as long as possible and then a new one, as well as the fact that it's something that it is recommended never to buy second hand, as it could have been weakened in a bump or accident that you don't know about and may not meet current safety standards. The make and model of car you drive and the year of manufacture all affect which seat you should get. Britax have a 'fit-finder' on their website where you can enter you car details and find out what they have available. I think there should be one of these for all car seats as it really helps to give you some idea of what will be right for you. Buying a car seat is not something to be rushed. If you haven't bought a seat before the website http://www.childcarseats.org.uk is very helpful.
One of the reasons we chose the Duo Plus was because it is an Isofix seat and we have the Isofix anchoring system in our car. Isofix stands for "International Standards Organisation FIX" and is a standard for installing child seats into cars, intended to make fitting them easy. What it is is basically metal prongs, down the back of the rear seats of which we were completely unaware until we made this purchase. It makes for a secure fit as it 'plugs' the seat in and means you don't have to mess about with a seatbelt once it is in place. All new cars are now fitted with Isofix. One statistic on the Britax website claims that only 30% of child seats are installed correctly when using an adult seat belt compared to 96% when using the Isofix system. It is important to check that any Isofix seats you buy are approved for your vehicle as apparently not all Isofix seats fit in every car that has Isofix points! I'm sure they'll make it easy for us one day! I think the best thing to do is to get one of the sales assistants to put the seat in for you and make sure it fits. We did this at three stores and I have to say that in my experience, not just with this seat but with the first one too, Mothercare do seem to have the most knowledgable and well trained staff in this area. A member of staff in Mothercare told me that once a childs head is over the top of their current seat it's time to start looking for another one, as it becomes useless as a head protector once their eyes are level with the top. In my case I think this will probably happen before my daughter reaches the maximum weight as she is tall and slim.
The seat can also be used in cars that don't have Isofix and I have taken my daughter out in an older model Vauxhall Astra using the seatbelt method - the belt is threaded through the rear part of the seat rather than over the front. It is classed as a universal child restraint system, which means it should fit most seats using the 3 point seatbelt. For cars that need a 'top tether', this can be bought separately. Apparently Britax have a unique 'pivot link' which is on the Duo Plus car seat and is meant to make fitting easier as well as reduce the movement of a child in the seat in the event of an accident.
It has a one pull five point harness. The harness straps are easily height adjustable and have padding to pull down over your childs chest for extra protection and comfort. Once you have your little ones arms in place and have buckled her/him in, it is easy to pull the straps tightly or loosen them using the tension adjuster on the front of the seat. There are elastic strips at the side of the seat so you can tuck the harness straps under them when opened, to stop them getting in the way when you put your child in the seat.
There are three positions for the seat; straight up or tilted back slightly, or slightly more. You tip it by pulling a little lever under the front, although it doesn't tip back very far. I only tip it when I think my daughter might want to have a little snooze, parents will know that riding in cars often sends young babies asleep instantly, but sadly this magical effect wears off by the age of about one, unless they are already ready for a nap. The main drawback to the tilted position in our little car is that (not so) little feet easily kick whoever is in the seat in front. Our seat was originally placed behind the driver but we moved it to the passenger side for this reason. As our car has no rear doors it now means that anyone getting in the back has to climb in via the drivers side. However, I realise this would be the same with any forward facing car seat in a Micra! It is a well padded seat and looks pretty comfortable - my daughter would seem to agree as she recently slept almost 2 and a half hours on a journey in it.
Colours available - Ours is the basic black one, they come with more colour choices now; black and grey, pink with candy hearts (yuck!), and there is also a cool green one, called 'Marcel' for some reason. I might have bought Marcel if he had been around at the time I bought ours, but the colour's not really important is it? The cover is removable and washable.
The cheapest price I could find this for was on the website 'baby's mart' for £137.99, although it sells for much closer to the £200 mark at most major retailers. Mail order isn't the best way to buy a car seat unless you are absolutely certain you already know what you need. Car seats aren't cheap, but you really can't put a price on child safety.
Obviously the primary reason for buying a car seat is for safety and I do feel much better about having an Isofix fitted seat as opposed to a seatbelted one, which is what I used to have. It seems very secure and extra safety factors such as the padded side wings and chest protectors make me feel that my daughter is as well protected as can be in the car at the moment. Unfortunately I still don't feel she is safe in our car, but that has nothing to do with the car seat, it's because of some of the crazy drivers on UK roads. I think this car seat was an excellent buy for us and would recommend it highly to others.
Designed for a car with Isofix fittings, this state of the art seat offers the very best levels of protection. Britax Isofix system anchors the child seat directly to the car removing the need for seat belts. This allows far less room for error when fitting and assures superior protection for your child.