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When my daughter went into a forward facing seat we bought her the Britax Exclipse in pink. It was a fabulous seat, very comfortable and very safe. Britax is a well known and very trusted brand, some of the safest seats money can buy, so my daughter has always had Britax.
When my daughter started nursery it was much easier for my husband to drop her off on his way to work as it was nearer to his work. I still needed the car and didn't fancy the hassle of constantly having to swap the seats in and out of the car and my husband's work car because whilst it is relatively quick and easy to do, I could see it becoming a nuisance. So we decided to bite the bullet and buy another seat. We also use this seat in her grandad's car if we ever need to, so I have had a lot of experience fitting her in it and fitting it! We tend to use both cars equally - although my husband drives his work car as it is a big hefty thing and I prefer our small hatchback wherever possible! I would say we tend to get a lot of use out of this seat despite it being mostly a spare.
We picked up the Britax King Plus for just under £125 at Halfords, which is about the average price for most Britax seats. Unfortunately it didn't come in pink - it comes in some funky patterns or plain black. However we managed to find a pink cover on eBay for another Britax seat that fit it, so we were pleased!
The seat is suitable from 9 months - 4 years (approx 9-18kg) and is secured into the car with the adult seatbelt. It is a relatively heavy seat, certainly reassuring but not one you would want to be carrying or lifting in and out often! Fitting the seat can be fiddly until you've done it a few times. You position the seat into the car and pull the catches on the headrest - this enables you to slide the adult seatbelt through the back of the seat before pushing the seat back into place. I liked the fact that the seat clicks into place as it is a reassuring sound, though I'm sure you would notice if it was not in properly as the headrest would not be back fully.
The child is secured with a 5-point harness as in most seats. The harness has some pretty sturdy shoulder pads which were not comfortable at first but did wear in eventually (it helps if the child is wearing something thick as it cushions the pads a bit until they wear in). Adjusting the harness is easy - you press the quick-release button on the seat of the seat and pull the straps to lengthen them, or pull the excess strap to tighten. There is a red clip that attaches to the seat belt by the clip at the base, and also a red clip on the outside of the seat at the top to secure the seat belt coming from the feeder area in the car.
The seat is very sturdy once fitted - if you try to wobble it there is minimal movement, something that I find very reassuring as it means should the worst happen I can be assured the seat will remain in place. The seat also has side impact protection - a must have in my opinion. The headrest is well padded and cushioned and very comfortable for my daughter to lean and sleep against. The cover is removable and machine washable - this is also a must have in my opinion as I wouldn't want to drive around with a dirty car seat and we all know how messy kids can be (especially if ill, potty training or even just eating and drinking!) Unlike the Britax Eclipse we have in our car, this seat does not come with a cup holder as standard although you can buy one from Britax and retrofit it.
The only problem with this seat - not really a problem as such - but it is only a group 1 seat, whereas her Eclipse is 1-2-3 and cost a very similar price.
All in all it is a very good, reliable and safe seat with all the features you would want and expect. I fully trust it and feel reassured when she is in it. My daughter no longer complains about the shoulder pads being uncomfortable (although they do look it) so they do wear in eventually!
We've been through a number of car seats with our children so I like to think I know what I'm talking about when it comes to reviewing one.
I got the Britax King Plus at Halfords for £125. There was a really cool cover one that was £199 but I was on a budget so I could only afford the standard black look.
With the instruction booklet open I began the fitting steps. The seat had been confirmed as ok for my car but they don't fit the seats for you. Probably something to do with safety and responsibility if heaven forbid something where to happen. So anyway I read that using the catches on the rear side of the headrest you can pull the seat forward to then put the seatbelt through and then snap the seat back into place. I've never found it very easy to get the seat to come forward and have had some arguments with it over the year and a half we've had it. Thankfully once it's open it's very idiot proof how to put the belt through. The seat itself seemed a good height for my son to be able to look out the window which he thought was great. The recline feature is the same as most other seats and is a leaver at the bottom front of the seat (always ensure that the seat clicks into place).
Oh dear! Car sickness! It can happen on a short journey, long journey or even before the car starts moving! It does amaze me the amount of sick coming from such a small child. Sadly because I'm driving I can't just stop what I'm doing and get a towel under him. Luckily it's usually only on the seat and not elsewhere in the car. I now always have an emergency sick bag with spare clothes, wet wipes, towel and muslins and a small bottle of Febreeze.
When we get home it's time to get the seat out of the car and start cleaning it. Thankfully the cover comes off easily and everything is washable. The smell is something that always takes a few washes to get out and even then I sometimes think I catch a whiff! Took me a while the first few times to get the cover back on but I've got it down to a fine art now.
The hard part is cleaning the inside of the seat. Sick always makes its way into the belt and some random other dips and holes. It was proving too difficult to clean with a bottle of Dettol and kitchen towels so in the end I took the seat outside sprayed in down with disinfectant and then put the hose on full blast. If you don't use the hose method the seat belt shoulder parts are near impossible to clean.
Usually takes a good day for the cover and seat to dry out. Thankfully we still keep the Maxi-Cosi in my husband's car and cab use that when needed.
Going back to the seat functions there is a belt tensioning system that clicks as you tighten the belt. I love that the Maxi-Cosi has a green marker that appears when the belt is tight enough but with the Britax you have to use your own judgement. Not such a horrible thing really but now and again I'll put my son in and then have to stop the car to go round and tighten it some more.
Word of advice: If you have a child like mine who gets car sick regularly it's well worth picking up an extra cover for your car seat. I've got one for each of our car seats so that if he's ill I can remove the cover and move on. Not everything will be caught by the cover but allot will be and makes for a dry seat to put the child back into to continue your journey.
Pick up a cover for this seat on Amazon. I know they are about £25 but well worth the investment. Plus as they are soft it helps keep them cool during warmer months. I found that my little one doesn't end up half as sweaty on long journeys when the cover is on. Our cover is light blue but I think it comes in pink and white too.
Child Car seat suitable from 9 months to 4 years approx (9-18kg)
5-point safety harness with one pull adjustment
Side Impact Protection with deep, softly padded side wings
© oioiyou 2011
We bought this seat when our daughter had just passed the 9kg weight limit, as the baby seat was really restricting her movement. We thoroughly researched the seats which would fit in our car, and chose this option as it was reduced to a very good price for all of the advertised features. It is very easy to install and our daughter instantly took to sitting in the bigger chair and looks very comfortable in the nicely padded upholstery. The features which work well include the adjustable head restraint for additional safety, the patches on the sides which you can slot the harness clips into to avoid them heating up in the sun and to keep them out of the way whilst seating a wriggling child. We also like the fact that it is reclinable, although not by much, can easily be moved between cars as it secured by the seatbelt, and the nicely padded harness. The main problem we have found is the click system for ensuring that the harness is firmly secured. The concept works but in reality it is difficult and very stiff to pull the straps tightly into position. With practice I can now do this quickly, but other family members struggle and worry that they haven't fitted it properly. I do like this chair but would perhaps only recommend it for a second car or for grandparents, as I find using it regularly very frustrating and there appear to be better options available.
When it comes to choosing the correct car seat there is a minefield of information available and I never know whether I am choosing a correct seat for both my child and the car I drive.
The Britax King Plus came my way as a competition prize, but before I received the car seat, I provided my car details to ensure a suitable seat for my car was sent to me.
First impression of the King Plus was good. The seat was heavy to lift out of the box which is always a positive point as if I can barely move it then it's going to be sturdy with my child sitting in it. It was aesthetically pleasing, designed in black and silver. This is a very much unisex car seat which I prefer when choosing something for the car to blend in with the neutral seat fabric.
Made by Britax, a name I trust when buying car seats. We have two cars in the family, and both cars have always had Britax seats in. This is mainly due to the knowledge behind the name, as well as the reasonably priced products we have been able to buy over the years.
The first thing I noticed when we had unpacked the seat was that over sized shoulder protectors. They looked like they belonged on a spaceship in their silver colour which stood out a lot against the black belts.
Eagerly my daughter sat in the seat and we had a trial run, with seeing how easy it was to adjust the straps, click the belt into the buckle area without having to fiddle too much, but also making sure it was safe.
Immediately my daughter didn't like the shoulder pads, and if I'm honest neither did I. They were just too sturdy for my liking with no flexibility. Oh well, they would probably adjust to my daughter as we used the seat.
I found the belt easy to adjust by using the button at the front base of the seat to make the straps longer. It was also easy to pull tight again when strapped in. I always find that due to clothes, the weather, wearing coats etc, the straps are never exactly how you would want them to be and always need adjusting. It's important to me that this is easy to do, as it can get frustrating for the child to be sitting in the seat being pulled this way and that.
Next step was putting into the car. This is always a job I hate doing as I want to make sure it's as tight as can be so my daughter is safe. So many car seats are fitted incorrectly, and it's something I worry about should we have an accident.
The seat is a lot heavier than my last seat that was being removed from the car. It seems to sit a lot higher on the back seat as well.
In principle however, the seat goes in the same way as many other stage 1-2 seats will. The seat belt is fed through the gap at the back of the seat before being buckled in to the D clip on the back seat. To secure, the seat belt is pulled ideally whilst weight is placed on the car seat to secure in place.
There is a red clip that attaches to the seat belt right by the clip at the base, and also a red clip on the outside of the seat at the top to secure the seat belt coming from the feeder area in the car.
Anything red on a car seat is usually used to secure the seat or child.
Once in the car I always give it a good wobble and shake to see if I can move it. If it can be moved then I don't drive anywhere with my daughter in the car until my husband reinforces it.
The seat itself has a lot of features that are designed to aid comfort and safety during the drive. These include, side impact protection, four recline positions, three point harness, removable cover, air ventilated channels within the seat to enable circulation.
You can also buy add ons such as cup holders and snack holders, but these don't come as standard.
During the last six months of use, we have found the seat to be well made and sturdy. Our daughter however always complains about the shoulder pads, as they haven't softened at all over time, and she says they're uncomfortable.
I have found the harness easy to clip, but despite knowing it's clipped safely (I checked with a seat checker to be sure), sometimes the harness clipping point looks unsecure. I always tug on it hard to make sure it's in correctly.
Due to these reasons we have placed the seat in my husband's car as his is used less for transporting our daughter. Again we checked to make sure the seat was suitable for his vehicle.
The seat itself is a group 1 car seat which is suitable for children 9 months to 4 years or 9-18kg. Our daughter is on the petite side, so despite almost being four years old, she isn't quite heavy enough for the next size up, so in her Group 1 she will stay for a bit longer.
The price for the King Plus is around the £100 - £120 mark. Average price for a Group 1 seat, but to be honest a high price doesn't always make it the best.