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I am a bit anal about my children and their car seats. Once I had a conversation with a Police Officer about his experience of traffic accidents and children's car seats and while it scared me, it also reassured me that restraining your child in the appropriate Car Seat for their age/weight/height is invaluable when you are on the road. The policeman told me that he had seen a situation where child, still attached to car seat had been thrown from window and survived. He maintained that even though the Car Seat had not actually remained in the car as it should have, it still saved the child's life from taking all of the impact. I know that this would imply that any car seat is better than no car seat but I am still uber picky.
My two favourite Car Seat brands are Jané and Maxi-Cosi. I own a Maxi-Cosi Priori and a Priorifix for my 18month old daughter, and for my son I have a Jané Indy Plus High Back Booster and a Maxi-Cosi Rodi. This review is about the Maxi-Cosi Rodi. It is his favourite of his car seats, so thats a great place to start.
When your child's eye level begins to appear above the back of their Group 1 Car Seat, it is time to move them on to their next stage, whatever that is that you decide. In the UK it would typically be a High Back Booster at around the age of three and a half, depending on the child. However if we were in one of many other European countries we wouldn't even have changed our child from rear-facing at this age. That's just typical in UK, although I don't necessarily agree with it I have unfortunately followed the flock and moved my child into a High Back Booster.
Now I am all for bargain hunting, but I would never buy cheap when it comes to the children's car seats as I dont believe the cheaper versions have even a fraction of the side-impact protection etc.. that others have. I found that the Rodi was roomy, solid and easily adjustable. It looked very good, but that really was not important to me. My little boy calls it his racing car seat and is keen to get in to it when we go out in the car.
The fabric is soft and it is washable, although the first time I washed it, it took me a while to work out how to get it off the frame. The head rest is adjustable to fit his height, we have just raised it up a notch as he is growing like a weed!
To anchor the Rodi to your car, there is a little bar at the back of the head rest and this slips into the gap between the bars of the car head rest. It keeps the seat from slipping around when you are driving and the seat is unoccupied. You should always fasten the seat belt too, even if there is no child in the seat, as if you had an accident, there would be the chance that the Rodi would fly around the car and cause more damage.
To fasten your child into the Rodi is very simple indeed, you follow the red routing and slip the top part of the belt into the red routing at the head rest, you slip the lap part of the belt over your child's legs and underneath the red routing at the bottom of the seat cushion.
The Rodi is suitable for children from 15- 36 kg, which is approximately aged 4 -11. It can convert to become a Booster seat on it's own, without the back rest which makes it ideal (and legal) for older children. Certainly I would not recommend this for the youngsters. It also has a 2 year warranty.
My little boy is very happy with the Rodi. He much prefers it over the Jané Indy that we have and I am happy that he likes it so much. You always feel like you have bought a good quality product when you buy from Maxi-Cosi.
Two thumbs up from me.