“ Manufacturer: Mothercare / Type: Highback booster „
We bought two of these car seats for our twin sons. We wanted car seats that would last a decent amount of time which is why we chose this convertible car seat. It is suitable for 9kg/20lbs - 36kg/79lbs, or from 9 months onwards and has three modes. First, it is a high back booster seat with a five point harness. then it can be used with the car seat belt and then it converts to a booster seat. It can only be used front facing.
The seat is fairly easy to install, and the instructions are printed on the side, should you ever forget. Once in, I was satisified that it was very secure. The straps are adjustable, though I have to say, it sometimes takes a bit of fiddling. The straps are also padded, which makes them comfortable on long car trips. The seat itself doesn't have a huge amount of padding, and my sons often complain of being sore if we've been in the car too long.
At around £40, this car seat is quite cheap, certainly cheaper than branded seats, and I suppose that shows in the lack of padding, basic appearance and rather tricky strap adjustment. But, at the end of the day, my major concern with car seats is their safety, and this seat seems as safe as any more expensive model. It doesn't wiggle around when installed and has never come loose. If you're going to be taking a lot of long trips, it might be worth investing in something more comfortable, but otherwise, it is perfectly suitable for the job.
Right firstly, the all important specs from the mothercare website.
Group 1-2-3 car seat that converts to a booster seat for an older child
Suitable from 9kg/20lbs to 36kg/79lbs (approx. 9mths to 11yrs)
Baby/child faces forwards in the seat with an integral harness, secured in the car by an adult seat belt
Up to 18kg/40lbs (approx. 4yrs) always use a high back booster with a 5-point harness
Adjustable headrest and harness
5-point, 1-pull harness
Chest and buckle pads
Removable, washable cover
Seat dimensions: H71cm x W45cm x D50cm (front to back)
Mothercare 2-year guarantee
We have this in the red/black model. This version is no longer on sale, we bought it late 2009 when our son was around 15 months old. We don't drive so for the car seat we decided on, it has to have the following specifics for us. It couldn't have a base and it had to be easy to get in and out of taxi's and had to be universal for almost all cars. This car seat ticked all those boxes for us, and it's reasonably priced.
It's well padded for little bottoms if a little hard, the chest straps adjust fairly easily, though they can be a bit stiff at times. For cleaning the cover can be tricky to get off and then back on again but takes about 15 minutes maximum generally and gets easier every time you wash it.
Installation - If you drive installation isn't a problem as you don't have to keep taking it in and out of cars. If you don't drive it's slightly more tricky, to get the seat in safely you have to pull the seat belt, split it over the first arm, tuck it in the gap between the seat and the side, pull it round the back, through the gap on the other side and split back over the other arm and then fasten it in. The tricky part is making sure you have enough of the seatbelt to begin with and then if you do, holding it firmly enough so it doesn't snap back, therefore having to start the whole process again. It also doesn't work very well in mini buses as the seatbelts tend to be shorter.
For this reason I get my other half to do it, and dread when I go anywhere by taxi on my own, as I just can't seem to get the hang of it! And unfortunately well meaning taxi drivers try to help, but tend to be more of a hindrance than a help.
It also means we can only really go to other people's houses or somewhere we won't be moving for a while if we decide to go by taxi, as it is heavy to carry around as there is no handle and it doesn't fit on the bottom of a pushchair as it's too big and pretty unwieldy, if we want to go anywhere else we use the bus, even though this isn't always a practical move and can add upto an hour longer on our journey depending on where we're going. As a result we're still looking for a different carseat and hope to find one that will be easier to use, but with how long it took us to find this one we're not holding out much hope!
If you want a basic car seat that does the job it's supposed to and protects your child in a crash. This fits the bill. If you want something uncomplicated but still does the job, keep looking. Whether I'd recommend this to a friend, depends on their budget, if they have a fairly low budget I would probably recommend it but let them know my experience with it. If they have a higher budget I would tell them to keep looking for something better.
** Also posted on ciao under the same name **
@ About @
I bought this for my son when he was 1, and it has so far proven to be an extremely good purchase. The car chair is suited for 9 months up but we borrowed a different car chair before this, and it made me look back and realise what good value for money this was. Before I had never really looked at what is good value for a car seat, but this, is actually one of the good value ones, simply because it combines comfort, durability, space, practicality and more, all in one, for less than £50.
It's not like you will just throw it when your child gets older, it simply unclips from the sides and back, and immediately becomes a simple booster seat. The clips are secure to ensure safety, and they are stiff when you try to unclip them.
@ Safety @
With the straps securely fastened, your child is safe in the seat, particularly under heavy braking. I remember not that long ago there was a line of cars in lane three of the motorway suddenly braking, and over a short distance I braked from 70MPH to approximately 30MPH and it withstood the force with no damage or strain.
@ Comfort, wear and tear @
The cushions are padded, with a little more padding on the bottom and around the sides of the head. The straps have small padded covers on them to stop irritation or chaffing on the straps - this is especially useful when the child is thrown forward by braking.
The seat is well structured and is very sturdy. The clips are very stiff which is a difficulty when moving the seat but is a good safety feature so your child can't escape. Believe me they will try and fail! At the moment the car seat has crinkles in from just general sitting down in it for the many hours of use it's had, that's it, just a few creases. The material hasn't worn away or split, cracked etc and is still intact. As a used car seat, it's in pretty good condition.
@ Practicality @
The covers are smooth and therefore, quite easy to clean. Getting chocolate off requires a simple wipe and you're done. Getting the Hoover in isn't a problem and there are only a few small grooves for crumbs to get into around the back and sides.
The clips at the front were a little stiff to get into the slot when it was new, a little WD40 fixes that in no time, and the small front clip is very simple to use, just one button which slides down and inwards, and it pops out.
Moving the seat within the car can take some time to do, but that does not bother me, the number of clips is just an added bonus incase one of them came undone. There are some seatbelt clips at the rear with a bar which goes across to hold the back of the seat in place. This can of course be taken off so when your child is older they an just have the booster seat.
@ Overall @
An excellent all in one car seat that was most definitely worth the value. Strongly recommended.
Once my daughter was nearly 9 months old, we started to look for a new car seat for her. We wanted one that would grow with her so that we didn't have to buy more later on. We looked around and found this one in Mothercare that fitted our needs perfectly and bought it around April 2010.
The Mothercare Sola Car Seat is a group 1-3 car seat. It is therefore suitable for 9kg/20lbs to 36kg/79lbs which is approximately 9mths to 11yrs. It starts as a highback booster with integrated seat belt, then converts to a highback booster using the car seat belt and lastly converts to a booster seat. It is forward facing and has no adjustable seat or back. It has a five point harness and is secured with a hard to press push down button. The cover is removable and washable although I haven't had to try this yet. The seat comes in either black or pink and costs around £40.
Our daughter was about 9 months when she started using this seat. She really enjoyed being able to see forwards especially as we put her behind the passenger seat so she could see whoever was driving. She was comfortable in it and the straps held her in nicely. The arm straps are easily adjustable via a button easily accessible under the front of the seat. They also have pads on them to make it more comfortable.
The seat took a while to work out how to fit it (instructions are given on the side of the seat), but once I had learnt how to do it, it was easy to move to other cars and we have not had a problem fitting it in several different makes. Whilst the seat is not the most padded of seats, my daughter has been quite comfortable in it.
I have two main concerns with this seat. The first is that the strap that goes over the crotch is not adjustable and I worry that it will not fit my daughter when she is older although I might be worrying uneccessarily. The second was that as there is no integral head hugger, my daughter spent a number of weeks trying to work out how to fall asleep in it so that her head didn't fall forwards. She never had any issues arising from this and from about 11 months was perfectly happy falling asleep with her head turned sideways instead.
Overall I am very happy with this car seat. It is quite cheap but as it is from Mothercare I trust that it is of a good quality. They also do fitting for you to make sure it is compatible with your car. My daughter is very happy in it and finds it easy to fall asleep in it. I would definitely recommend this car seat.