Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Our last car seat

Kiddicare Traffic SP Car Seat - Black/Red ~ Suitable from 9 - 36kg
The Traffic SP is a Group 1-2-3 high-backed booster with added side impact protection and comes complete with an integral harness.

It is lightweight, robust and very easy to transfer between vehicles. Simply remove the harness when your child is approx 3 yrs of age, this then leaves a substantial booster seat with arm rests and back support. The car seat easily fastens into the car with the vehicle's 3-point harness.

  • The seat cover is removable and washable
  • Added side impact protection
  • Suitable for children from 9 kg - 36 kg (9mths - 11yrs approx)
  • Simply fits in the car with the vehicle's 3-point seat belt
  • Lightweight
  • Fits most vehicles so it is ideal if you have more than one car
  • Side impact protection
  • Luxury padded seat and armrests
  • Padded head support
  • Harness pads
  • Grows with your child
  • Removable harness and back which leaves a booster seat
  • 5-point safety harness with easy one-pull adjustment

The Kiddicare brand is all about nursery essentials at amazingly low prices. Thoughtfully designed with reassuringly high quality, their award-winning range includes all the essentials from car seats to pushchairs to nursery furniture packages. And it's loved by parents and parenting press alike!

Advantages: cheap, easy to insert in car, safe
Disadvantages: not the most ideal for a 9 month old in my opinion!

I have gone through several different car seats since having my son. My first was the Maxi Cosi Cabriofix car seat that fitted nicely in the car and on the buggy. This was a brilliant car seat and lasted a good 10 months before my son outgrew it. I then moved onto the Brittax King Plus which was is recommended for 9 months to 4 years. My son isn’t the biggest of 3 year olds, but he is rather tall for his age and I could see there was a bit of difficulty with doing up the straps. They were adjusted to as far as possible and it was a stretch to do up so of course even though he wasn't 4 years yet he had reached his capacity, so it was definitely time to find the next one up! I had bought both previous car seats through Kiddicare and with their fantastic range, reviews and above all service, I went straight back on the website to find a Car Seat suitable for him and I found this Essentials Traffic SP Car seat for a steal at £29.99 and knew I had to buy it! 

I purchased this product on Kiddicare for £29.99 and as I needed 2 I was entitled to free delivery and got a discount of a couple of pence per seat. I ordered the car seat at around 11am on a Thursday and by teatime I was informed that the car seat was dispatched and would be with me on Friday! I was impressed again by the impeccable service and first thing on Friday morning I got a text that it would arrive between 11.30am and 12.30pm and by 11.45am my door was knocked by a cheery delivery man! I have to give Kiddicare 10/10 for service in this respect as the payment was swift and easy and the delivery was simple and straightforward. 

The car seat came in a large cardboard box with a picture of the item on the outside and compared to previously, when inside it was stuffed with polystyrene which of course would protect it from damage throughout transportation, it was actually bare inside! Luckily though the car seat was all still intact. Inside the box was simple instructions which were perfectly straightforward (and in plain English!) and I found I could easily understand them myself! The box was easy for me to recycle and in stead of throwing it away we have made a shop stall for my son.

To be honest the product requires almost no assembly at all! The car seat arrives as a whole in the box, and putting the car seat in the car was simple enough, The website is excellent so on clicking on the car to add into the basket it also has a 10 minute commentary explaining the features and benefits of the car seat and how it fits into the car using the vehicle seat belt. I am no genius and of course the video is explained in clear layman's terms and is extremely easy to follow. I simply watched the demo and then trotted off outside to put it in and found it straightforward and simple to do. At first it looked rather bulky and seemed to sit awkwardly in the back seat but with a little adjusting it sat well and I was happy to rock about and get using it! 

Specifications of the car seat:
The main reason I purchased this car seat was the fact it had a lot of multi-purposes and for the price I paid it has a lot of features which I could benefit from.

1. It is suitable from 9 months to 11 years. As my son is only 3 years old, and I do intend to continue to drive for the foreseeable future, it means this car seat has a lot of practicality and value for money in that it offers a lot more use and growing room. It is suitable for children who weigh from 9 - 36kg giving a very clear guideline for buying parents.

2. The car seat does not require an isofix belt but can be done so really easily via a seat belt fitting which is already installed in the car. This allows it to be put in place securely and easily but also allows it to be really flexible and moved from car to car without lots of fiddling and hassle.

3. This car seat has a removable cover for washing, shoulder pad protectors and padded head and back support cushion. I like this feature as I wanted my son to feel snug and cushioned so to protect him from any impact should the worse happen. I asked my son if he found this car seat comfortable as on first inspection it didn't seem as padded on the seat base but he has not complained and so it has been good. I have found removing the covers necessary only on one occasion when my little one spilt a drink and I found it held up well in the washing machine and was really easy to wash and put back on.

Features and Safety:
1. The car seat I chose comes in 2 colours; a mixture of black and red. I think this is actually quite a good balance as it is rather unisex so although I have a son if I had a daughter I would have had no issue with the colour of this car seat as it is quite balanced. My son had a previous car seat in grey/black, so the red actually seems quite sporty!

2. The seat weighs 4.7kg, which compared to the Brittax equivalent 6.9kg, is super lightweight. Slightly heavier than those without the 5 point safety harness, so brilliant with plenty of padding for a 3 year old plus.

3. The car seat has a removable harness and back which leaves a booster seat so the seat is almost like 2 seats in one. When in use as a complete seat it uses the 5 point safety harness and when this is taken apart to leave the booster seat it can use the usual vehicles 3 point seat belt.

4. This car seat has a 5 point safety harness, extremely important for any children's car seat. The five-point harness is preferred as a safety mechanism for its high amount of safety compared to other designs. The five-point harness consists of five straps, two are located at the shoulders, two at the hips, and one at the crotch that all come to connect to a buckle release mechanism. This way of buckling up holds the child's body tight in the seat, which in turn protects the upper body from injury. After reading this safety perspective, it made me feel at ease to buy this for my son. I know that he is growing up, but I want him to be sufficiently protected should anything happen, and I don’t want him playing with the seat belt which I’m sure he would be tempted by!

My personal opinion and personal use:
At first instalment the car seat stayed in absolutely perfectly and was an amazing addition to my car! My son now loves to climb him by himself and sit in it, and feels like a proper big boy sitting up and swinging his legs with his new found leg room!

Installing the car seat was a little bit tricky at first as I was so used to the old one but I think with this car seat, practice makes perfect and it is a lot more straightforward than other car seats I have seen out there! It's really easy to take apart as my other half decided he wanted to see how it would be as a booster seat but he did it in 30 seconds flat. Again, putting it back together was an absolute doddle so for a fuss free and easy to use car seat I love it.

In terms of the 5 point harness it is safe but slightly fiddly. To extend the straps there is a little grey clip on the seat straps which need pressing and I have found I really have to press quite hard to get this to do so, but I think this will ease with use. In the video online it looked like a really easy job, but of course with most things nothing is as easy as it appears!

One thing I am really not too sure about is how this seat can be used from 9 months! When I think to how fragile and delicate my little one was at that age, I can't even begin to fathom driving him around in this car seat! What you see in the picture, is what you get, an upright, slightly stiff but padded seat which does not adjust other than taking the back and head rest of to make it into a booster. When my son was smaller, I had a different car seat from Kiddicare which could recline and give a lot more comfort, especially when he was asleep so I think that is far better. My son is 3 now and even with the head rest right down this is only just in the right place for him, I couldn’t imagine how this would support a smaller child. This of course is my personal opinion and preference but I definitely would not have opted to use this car seat from before the age my son is now (3) but I can definitely see it lasting him up until he is 11 years old.

For the price of a mere £29.99 and the fact that my son is probably going to get another 8 years service out of this I can't fault this product one bit! It is stylish, comfortable and most importantly it is safe. I would 100% recommend it, but probably more so for a more 3 or 4 year old than a little one as it may be slightly uncomfortable.

Summary: Fab car seat for a great price – I & NuVoBebe 100% recommend it for toddlers :-)

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