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When it comes to my little one and her car seats, I'm not going to lie, I am a little bit OCD! As I do a lot of driving, naturally, I wanted to find the safest seat on the market to ensure my daughter is well protected in the car. After a LOT of research I found a car seat that had a 5* rating for everything, so I bought one for my car for when I do long journeys. To make it easier, I always buy a second car seat to be used in my partners car or as a spare. The other seat was very expensive and, unfortunately, I simply couldn't afford to spend another £250+ on one of the same, so I looked at the cheaper options and found the Maxi Cosi Rodi XP, which was coming in at around £100.
I was going to order it online, but wanted to check it out in the flesh first. I went down to my local baby store and tried it out in my car. First impressions were really good! It's not as trendy as some of the other car seats about, but still looked really attractive and comes in a range of colours to suit your taste. I sat my daughter in it and she said it was really comfortable and didn't want to get out! The fabric is good quality, and you can tell that its going to be quite hard wearing and not to hot in summer. The cover is really easy to remove and is machine washable too, so keeping it clean shouldn't be a problem. The seat is nicely contoured and not too wide, so fitted around my daughter well, and, as you can see, there is a lot of side protection (especially around the head), which would obviously be a great benefit if, heaven forbid, there was to be an accident. Also, I have since found that this head/side protection acts as a great pillow too, when little one falls asleep in the car!
One thing I would say do if your looking at purchasing a car seat, is checking with the manufacturer that the seat you're looking at is compatible with your car. The majority of the time they're fine, but some seats don't sit as well in certain models of car, so it's always best to find out before buying one to avoid any problems afterwards. I did this, and the Maxi Cosi Rodi came back s compatible. When trying it in my car the first thing I noticed was that it was really lightweight, which is great if your going to be moving it between cars, as I often would be. When fitting my daughter, at first I did find threading the seat belt through the shoulder clip quite fiddly, but after a few goes I got used to it and soon found it really simple. Its clearly marked in red where the seat belt needs to lie, so fitting it wrong is virtually impossible! When fitted in, because it is quite light there is a bit of movement, but to be honest, I found that with all the booster seats that aren't fitted with an Isofix base.
I tried a lot of different seats that day, but in the end I did go for the Rodi as I felt it was the best buy there. I had previously checked out the safety ratings of various different booster seats available and it had earned itself a good 4* rating (3* front impact protection, 4*side impact protection, 4* overall), one of the highest rated car seat I could find in that price bracket, and a lot of great reviews.
I've only had the seat a couple of months but I have no complaints so far. As I said, this was bought as a second/spare seat, but I have found it excellent for everyday use and short journeys, and would definitely recommend! However, personally, I do still think that if you are someone that does a lot of long journeys and motorway driving it is worth spending the extra money to get a slightly higher rated 5* car seat, to ensure your child has the extra protection.