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My daughter moved into the Maxi Cosi Pearl car seat when she around 10 months. We purchased the Pearl from Mothercare for around £140, although the price can vary based on the colour option chosen - we went for black but some of the brighter and more patterned versions (it is available in a huge range of colours) can reach around £180. The colour was something though that I didn't care one jot about!
The Pearl car seat is a stage 1 car seat so takes a proper seat style design. It measures around 50cm x 45cm x 60cm so is quite bulky, as well as weighing a lot at 6kg. The Pearl comes with quite a long period of use - it's use is based on the child's weight rather than age, but can be used from 9kg to 18kg. It also came with a 2 year guarantee which gave me peace of mind.
Something New to get used to....
I found this seat extremely different than our last one, the Maxi Cosi Pebble. It faces forward for a start, rather than facing backwards. The idea of the Pearl seat is that it is left in the car - I would see no reason to remove the seat from the car unless to place in another car for use or to clean it. It's bulkiness means that you would never take it from the car to bring to the house as we used to do with the smaller stage 0+ seat when she fell asleep. When the car journey is over, it's a case of taking her out and carrying her now! It certainly also can't be used on a pram/travel system as the stage 0+ pebble seat could be.
The Pearl also has to be fitted via the Familyfix Isofix base - there is no option to fasten it into the car via the seat belt for example. So bear in mind that there is an additional cost to the price of the seat - a necessity - as the Isofix base also costs around £120! The Familyfix Isofix base is also compatible with their Pebble car seat, so we already had the base from using that one so at least we have managed to get quite a bit of use from it.
Most newer cars nowadays have Isofix (a car's manual will tell whether a particular make/model has this feature). They are built in to the seats in the back of the car and the Familyfix Isofix base can be fastened securely to them. Then the Pearl car seat slots securely on the top of the base. The Isofix base is very sophisticated and has safety buttons on there to tell the user when the seat and base are correctly set up by a series of green lights to check (for correct) and red lights to check (for incorrect). I do really like the Isofix idea, although I find due to the seat's bulkiness, it is much more difficult to place the Pearl seat onto it and achieve the three green lights required before using it. That said, because it is not the type of seat to be moved all of the time, luckily I don't need to fix the seat to the base all that often, only if we're taken it off to clean etc.
Using the Seat
The seat itself provides a nice, soft and padded seat. There is a neck and head rest at the back, which unfortunately we found to become dirty very quickly due to my daughter falling asleep in the car a lot and sweating against the padding. There is also ample padding around the seat belt at the shoulders. The belt works by fastening over the child's shoulders and joining at the bottom - they have metal clips that fit on top of each other and then those clip into a button fastening at the bottom. There is then an extra length of belt at the very bottom of the seat that allows the belt to be tightened - ideal for as they grow! I find that this is a fairly easy fastening to use, even in the rain!
My daughter always seems happy enough to go in her car seat, although she has always liked journeys in the car anyway. I think she loves the fact that she can now see a lot more with it being forward facing, she can see through the windows for example so she does tend to stay awake a lot more now in the car than she did. It does come with 5 recline positions that can be adjusted to accommodate sleeping but this is something we've never used - we just leave it in the upright seat position because we never know when she will fall asleep and I would rather her not rely on the car to rock her to sleep.
I really like this car seat, but I do think it's a little cheeky to sell it separately from the Isofix base, which is required in order to use it as not everyone will be like us and have previously bought the stage 0+ car seat that is compatible with the same base. If I were in that position, I would perhaps look at other seats available due to the overall cost. I also think that it's a bit of a pain to fix to the base initially, again luckily though it's not a job I have to do all that often because we keep it in the car most of the time. I've rated 4 stars overall - a great seat but expensive when you factor in all costs.
Thanks for reading :o)
The time came recently to buy a new car seat for my little boy. Up until that point he had been sitting in a Maxi Cosy small baby/infant carrier which faced backwards which is what you should put your baby in as it is safer for them when you brake as their neck is protected and it doesn't snap forward like it would if you were travelling forwards. However, he was getting way to big for this seat so we needed to get him a forward facing one. We decided to stick with the Maxi-Cosi brand as we ahve used this for a long time now. Both my kids had the small Maxi Cosy infant carrier and then when my daughter moved into a big seat a few years ago we bought her a Maxi-Cosi Tobi. I like the Tobi but I am a bit upset with it as the amterial seemed to bobble almost as soon as we put her in it and although the frame is still perfect and its a very safe car seat I wanted to try something different for my little boy as the seat now looks really quite old and would hold no re-sale value for us in the future.
We decided to buy the Maxi Cosi Pearl for the simple reason that it was one of the cheapest car seats at the time when we came to make our purchase. It's not that we are tight but in my opinion car seats are pretty much of a muchness and do the same thing and are pretty much all of very good quality as they have to adhere to such high quality standards in the first place to be able to be sold so thats the main reason we bought this one. At time of purchase it cost us £125 which is still an expensive item but better than some which will cost you upwards of £200. I would definitely recommend looking around though as we found lots of different prices for the car seat by looking in Halfords, Mothercare and on the internet, sometimes the price difference was as much as £40. The price also differs if you make your decisions on colour. We went with the colour total black, which is black as this matches the interior of our car and hopefully will not show up as much dirt as the lighter colours but you can pay more or less for some of the designer colours. For example you can purchase the Pearl in a very girly flowery pattern as well as quite bright reds and blues. These were definitely not for us as I think they look a bit too loud but I'm sure they suit some people.
What I really like about this car seat is thats its quite compact and a lot smaller than the Tobi we have so it does give us a lot more room in the back of the car which really is essential when we pack up the car to go away for the weekend. The seat to me looks like just a bigger version of the normal infant carrier as its doesn't have as big sides as some of the other car seats do. Thats not to say that my son is cramped in it though. He has plenty of room to sit in the seat and to grow into it as this is a Group 1 car seat and is intended for children who weight 9 to 18 kg which is approximately 9 months to around 3.5 years.
The seat has a very good harness which is in my opinion almost impossible for a toddler to figure out how to undo thankfully. The harness straps over each arm and then buckles in front of the child. There are two plastic and metal attachments which fit one over the other and then click into the red clasp. In order to release this you really need to press down hard on it and I think thats an impossible task for a little one as well as being quite fiddly so I am really pleased with this safety feature here. The seat also has a really nice headrest which looks really comfortable and when my son sits back in in he really looks very comfortable and I think it stops his head from rolling about too much when we are driving which is great. The seat also has five reclining positions which is a nice feature although we really only keep it in the upright position as my son can fall asleep like this no problem and then we don't need to keep on adjusting it all the time but its nice to know that you can make it lie down more if you wish.
The seat can be attached to a Maxi Cosi family fix base but we have decided against those in our car and just fix the seat into the car with the seat belts. We often swap the seats over into Grandparents cars and so it was easier for us and they fit in nice and securely with just seat belts in my opinion. So far I have been really pleased with the wear and tear of this seat, I find its much better than the Tobi and am pleased with my Pearl purchase.
"If your child isn’t comfortable they’ll soon let you know, especially as they discover their voice! With five comfortable positions, from sitting to sleeping, the Maxi-Cosi Pearl gives you plenty of options to get your little one sitting perfectly. As your child grows, the headrest and harness belts can also grow to accommodate their ever-developing bodies. Along with the innovative harness system that helps get your child in and out of the car seat easier, the car seat can only be installed with the FamilyFix base (available extra), so you can both sit back and enjoy the ride, knowing that you’re well looked after. Features: Suitable for children from 9-18kg Can only be fitted using the one-click IsoFix FamilyFix Base (sold separately) for the ultimate on-the-go protection. Light and sound indicators on FamilyFix Base confirm correct installation. Five comfortable positions, from sitting to sleeping. Side Protection System offers optimal protection against side impact. Adjustable headrest and harness means the Maxi-Cosi Pearl grows with your child. Stay-open harness lets you seat and fasten your child quickly and easily. The height of the headrest and harness belts can be adjusted at the same time at the front. Group 1 car seat - Forward Facing. Please Note: This Car Seat must be fitted in the car with the Maxi Cosi Familyfix Isofix Base (available extra)"