“ Manufacturer: Mothercare / Seat Type: Convertible / Seating Direction: Forward Facing / With 5-Point Safety Harness / Weight Limit 20 - 79 lbs. „
Until I had Harry, I had no idea exactly what having children entailed in terms of what they needed and when. So for me, it's a case of learning on the job, and obviously I have a great family who are willing to depart advice when (and even when it's not!) required. However, car seats is one thing I've always gone to the experts for as its a serious safety issue, and it was no different when we went to get Harry's third car seat (and hopefully last!) a few weeks ago. After a bit of research, we decided on the Advance SP car seat from baby retailer Mothercare, and have so far been very pleased with our purchase.
Car seats are a tricky business, but something every parent needs to know about. Your child will need to be in a car seat until they are 12 years old, or at least 4' 2'' tall. When you buy a car seat, I would suggest that you go to a specialist shop such as Halfords or Mothercare, where they will fit the seat to your car to ensure its safe, and also teach you how to install it yourself as well. We've done this each time for our seats and been very happy with the service. As I said, we went to Mothercare for this seat, and the young lady who served us couldn't have been more helpful, and made the whole experience much easier.
This seat is a group 1/2/3 car seat, which means it is suitable from 9 months old until 11 years old/tall enough to not need a car seat anymore. It is a forward facing car seat and features a 5 point, 1 pull harness (which means it is adjusted using a long strap just below and between your child's legs, which is removable when your child gets to around 4 years old when they can then be restrained with the car's seat belt. When they are old enough for just a booster seat, the back of the seat separates from the seat and that is secured with the seat belt around the child. So theoretically, this is a car seat you can buy when your child is coming out of their Group 0 seat until they are old enough to not need one anymore.
I would disagree with this guidance, and recommend that you really go to the store to see one before you consider buying one for a 9 month old baby. I certainly wouldn't, and am glad I have waited until now to get Harry one of these seats, even though he is almost 3 years old, My main reason for this is that the seat is awfully tall for a 9 month old to be sat in, and the head rest is definitely too high up for a 9 month old too. Also, the seat has no tilting function like many Group 1 seats have (9 months-3 years) and consequently won't be suitable for children who like to doze in the car as Harry does. He fell asleep in it the other day and his head was lolling forward and there was nothing I could do to help, as usually I would tilt his other seat but this doesn't have this. Also, the seat is very upright, your child can't relax at all so again, another reason its not suitable for much younger kids.
Ok, back to the positives! Asthetically, the seat is very good and suitable for either a boy or a girl. It is in black and grey, with red catches on the sides of the backrest. The removable head rest is black, and is easily removed using a large red nut at the back of the seat. I will be leaving this on until I remove the 5 point harness as I feel more confident about Harry being protected this way. The five point harness is also black, with padded shoulder straps for comfort. They stretch using a button system at the lower front of the seat, but do be aware they are not long straps at all. In fact, I can hardly do them up when Harry is wearing his thick winter coat, so I have to remove that before strapping him in to do it quickly and easily. Despite this, I got the seat as I forsee us removing the straps before next winter for him to be restrained with a seatbelt, but if you have a larger child you might struggle with the size of these seatbelts. I have found the branded seats scuch as Graco and Britax have much longer straps.
When your child is ready, you just unhook the seat from your car, slide the straps off the mechanism at the back and they are removed. The same goes for the fastener at the front so it becomes just a high back booster seat. You obviously have to remove the seat belt from around the back of the seat which has held it in place until now, and this then goes over your child as you would wear a belt, and also holds the seat in place. This makes me nervous actually lol, but I suppose he'll be big enough by then to be hold in successfully with just a seatbelt and not a harness and seat belt! And finally when they just need a booster, you remove the seat from the car, slide off the high back and fit the booster onto your seat, and use the belt as normal. Still a few years off for me, but its all in the instructions and looks easy to do.
Harry looks very comfortable in this seat, and I am pleased we made the decision to go for this sooner rather than later. He isn't cramped like he is in his Group 1 seat, and can relax his legs out and has far more room around his back as well. He likes to be in his "grown-up boy seat" as he calls it, and finds it much easier to get into this chair than his other one. The head rest is in the perfect position for now, but will removed by next winter I imagine but I feel confident it will still be a highly safe car seat for him to use. Oh and if you have a messy toddler (like most of them are!), the seat cover is fully removable and machine washable, although I haven't yet done this myself, but its handy to know!
We purchased this seat from our local Mothercare store for the price of £69.99, and it was also fitted into my car to ensure a safe fit. This seat fits in both my Nissan Micra and my other half's Mondeo, so I imagine it would fit in most cars, whatever their size. The seat pad is quite small so it doesn't need a huge back seat to be fitted properly. As is usual with all car seat, DO NOT fit this to a passenger seat where there is an operational airbag, and try to keep it in the back seat as much as possible as it's so much safer for children to be in the back of a car. It is also available on the Mothercare website: www.mothercare.co.uk.
Price: £69.99 (and free fitting)
Seat dimensions: Height 71cm, width 45cm, depth 48cm
Product code: G0357
Thank you for reading.