Product Type: Maxi Cosi child car seats
Newest Review: ... so easy to click your car seat in and out. We found it a little tricky to initially fit the base in the car as it felt quite stiff and al... more
Maxi Cosi Make It Maxi Easy At A Maxi Price
Maxi Cosi EasyBase
Member Name: Hishyeness
Maxi Cosi EasyBase
Advantages: Practical, convenient and improved safety.
Disadvantages: Only works with Maxi Cosi seats. Pricey.
Anyone with young children will know the hassle and bother of fiddling with infant car seats to get them secured properly. It usually involves a veritable dance of up, under and over as you loop seatbelts this way and that while trying your best not to tie yourself in knots.
When we invested in a new Maxi Cosi Cabrio car seat for our newborn son, I resigned myself to at least another year of back seat ballet, but my resourceful wife rode to the rescue, informing me of a product made by Maxi Cosi called "Easybase" which allows the car seat to be clicked in and out of place very simply, without the pfaff of using the seatbelt. Intrigued and hopeful, I decided to investigate.
WHAT IS IT?
Put simply, the Easybase is a heavy form fitted base suitable for most cars which uses the three point seat belt on the back seat, plus an extendable retractable leg, to create a solid and practically immovable base for compatible car seats. Maxi Cosi car seats have two metal bars underneath, and these easily click in to the retaining mechanism.
It is currently available on Amazon for £71.50 and it also comes in a more expensive Isofix version (£92.69) for cars which have the facility (our 55 reg Ford Focus Zetec did not). It is suitable for children up to 13 kilos - so from birth to about a year old.
HOW IS IT FITTED?
A word of warning - at around 11 kilos, the Easybase is very heavy - an essential feature to ensure it provides a solid platform for the car seat. Our version was simply but securely packaged (with completely recyclable materials) with manuals and a list of compatible cars.
This seems to include most popular makes and models and will also tell you where in the car you can fit the product. The most common area is either directly behind the passenger or driver seat. If you are driving something unusual, I would advise checking out the web site at www.maxi-cosi.com before ordering. The web site also has a wealth of information on the company and product - including a fitting instruction film.
Apart from the base, there is an extendable leg that rests in the foot well that supports the main body and provides stability. This clicks into place when you extend it out from the base at a 90 degree angle. You then release the retractable leg and adjust it for height. A colour coded indicator then changes from red to green to show that the leg is locked in place and placed in the correct position. To be frank, it's actually easier than I am making it sound.
You then pass the seatbelt through the base of the device, threading it around a locking mechanism and into the seat belt catch. Once the seat belt is pulled tight, you click down the locking lever and the Easybase is ready to go. If done properly, it's actually quite difficult to shift, and I was well pleased with its security. It certainly felt safer than using the seatbelt alone.
Next, you insert the car seat onto the base and push down gently until both bars on the bottom of the seat engage with the locking mechanism. Again, colour indicators on either side of the base will go from red to green to confirm the locks are properly engaged. To release the car seat, with one hand you grasp a grey lever at the front of the unit, pull up a small lever underneath simultaneously and pull it out in one fluid motion to disengage, while the other hand pulls the car seat free. It takes one of two goes to get it right, but once you have the hang of it, it's a real doddle. Helpfully, the fitting instructions are repeated in colour pictograms on a sticker on the side of the Easybase, so there is no need to worry about where the manual has got to.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
Getting the infant car seat in and out of the car is now completely hassle free. When you have a second child (ours is four) to deal with, getting the immobile one into the car quicker means less chance for the other nipper to get themselves up to mischief. It's also easier if you are carrying something else in the other hand as you can literally click it in place one handed.
The only negative is that it takes up a fair bit of space. The back "bench" style seat on our Focus is fairly generous, but with both an infant car seat and our daughter's booster seat installed, there is little room for an adult in between them (a child or pre-teen would be OK). Obviously, the amount of space will differ from car to car, but it's worth keeping in mind given the substantial cost of the unit.
In addition, given its weight, it is more than likely to be a permanent fixture in the back seat, and although removing it, placing it in the boot and then re-installing as needed is an option, it's not a practical one given its relative bulk and it would also be something my wife would be hard pressed to do (especially as she is still recovering from a C-section).
IS IT WORTH IT?
I have found the Easybase to be a very practical piece of kit, however, if you are going to treat it as a long term investment (i.e. you intend to have more kids) keep in mind that you will be tied to using Maxi Cosi branded car seats. Whilst this is no bad thing (they are amongst the best rated seats in the industry) it does limit choice.
At £70 - almost the same cost as the car seat itself - it's a lot of money to pay for a little convenience. However, when the safety angle is taken into consideration, it's a lot more justifiable. In addition, for us, its long term value (it's very well built and put together) makes it a worthwhile investment.
Every once in a while, you find a product where you think "I wish I'd found it sooner". This is one of those. Had we secured one of these for our first kid, then the Easybase would undoubtedly have been great value. It still is - for us - but whether you can justify the expense (even dearer if you go for the Isofix) is a call only you can make. Price aside, it's an excellent product - convenient, practical, well built, really useful and an appreciable improvement on the safety of your child. Recommended.
© Hishyeness 2009
Summary: Makes getting infant car seats in and out of the car a doddle.