When my mum and dad discovered I was pregnant, they decided it made sense for them to have a carseat to use in both their vehicles as they are very “hands on” grandparents.
They decided that the Maxi Cosi FamilyFix base in combination with the Maxi Cosi Pebble would be the best idea, as a check on the Car Fitting List advised* the FamilyFix base was suitable to use in both their vehicles at the time, and a physical fitting from trained staff confirmed this. At the time, they also purchased the Maxi Cosi Pearl, the Group 1 carseat for 9-18kg that also fits on the Maxi Cosi FamilyFix base. Collectively this combination is known as the FamilyFix Collection.
|The FamilyFix base is fitted with IsoFix only.|
Fitting the FamilyFix base is very straightforward. It is only fitted using IsoFix - there is no seatbelt option. You can use the yellow plastic IsoFix guides if necessary, but sometimes the IsoFix points are very easy to locate and anchor to without the guides. (If you need guides call the Dorel UK Customer Care team to order) Once the IsoFix points have locked in that’s the first green light illuminated and your first ‘success’ chime. You then adjust the support leg correctly for your second green light and chime. The final green light and chime is when the carseat (either CabrioFix, Pebble or Pearl) is fitted onto the base. It’s very straight forward and self-explanatory and if you get a red light and a ‘fail’ noise you know instantly something has gone wrong with the fitting.
|Red lights on one and two indicate incorrect IsoFix fitting and incorrect support leg fitting. The final light is not on, indicating a seat is not in place on the base. The three green lights show the base is functioning properly.|
|To remove the seat from the FamilyFix base simply use the grey release clip at the front.|
Using the Pebble on the FamilyFix base has all the advantages of using any carseat with base combination, but as well as that when the baby gets older you can use the recline positions offered by the FamilyFix base, which when using the Pebble will allow baby to sit more upright and have more leg room, thus promoting Extended Rear Facing. The Pebble is suitable for use up to 13kg (approx. 12-15 months) and J used the Pebble in mum and dads cars til he was 13.5 months old, when he did become too tall even after the base adjustment. At this point he moved into the Pearl carseat. The minimum weight for using Pearl is 9kg - maximum is 18kg. This carseat is a Group 1 forward facing.
Initially I insisted that when travelling in the Pearl he was in the most reclined position, as by doing so if there was an impact the force would be more likely to travel up his body than shunt against him and potentially cause injury. This suited J very well as he likes to have a nap in his carseat when he’s out with Nanan and Grumpa!
|I think its fair to say that J - and Tiger - are very comfy in the Maxi Cosi Pearl|
Both the Pebble and the Pearl have an easy-out spring loaded harness so when you press the red button to undo the harness it literally springs open and out of the way, making getting your child in and out really easy. The harness height is adjusted by the head rest which you pull forward and up or down as required. Once the harness height is correct, you know the head section is at the correct point for optimum protection even in a side impact. The fabrics on both carseats are again easy to remove with no messing about with the harness required. Washing is again recommended by Maxi Cosi as handwash only 30 degrees, I’ve always done them handwash cycle in the machine at 40 degrees and they come out fluffed up and good as new. Whenever I strip the fabrics off a carseat to wash them I always give the carseat shell a good thorough vacuum to make sure there is no crumbs or debris around the harness which could cause problems tensioning / releasing the harness properly, and give the plastic a wipe over with a soft cloth and some furniture polish to keep it clean and operating smoothly. I’ve never had issues with my carseats or harnesses by looking after them well. I tend to remove fabrics once every 3 months for cleaning unless there has been some sort of disaster (normally involving chocolate!) Also it’s a good idea to remove the carseat every so often anyway to clean the vehicle seat and re-fit to confirm it is fitted properly and all pieces are functioning correctly.
On the front of the FamilyFix base there is a grey button you can press at any time to check if all the lights still show up green (correct fitting) and ‘success’ chime. Beware that if you take a corner too quickly and the support leg lifts from the floor, the second green light (for correct installation of support leg) will activate ‘fail’ chime and then ‘success’ chime when the support leg rights itself after the corner. In addition, when the products were brand new they had a very annoying squeak as you travelled. This was solved by wiping the carseat shell and the base over with a soft cloth and some furniture polish to add a little layer of lubrication and since then if the squeak starts again just wipe over and it stops. It would be a good idea to do it every 3 months when you wash the fabric and clean out the carseat as part of your upkeep and maintenance.
My mum and dad tend to get me to double check the fit of the base and seat before they take J out in either of their cars, but it is always correctly fitted and it’s just them doubting their own abilities! The unit swaps between mums and dads cars and is suitable in either. I really like this unit for the ease of use, along with the security of knowing with the light and sound indication that it is fitted properly. J is always comfortable and secure in the seat and thanks to the base he is up quite high in the car so he can see all around him without any issues - when he’s awake, that is!
* Maxi Cosi advises a physical fitting of the car seat is carried out in your vehicle by a Maxi-Cosi trained advisor who are available at your local nursery retailer prior to use to ensure a safe fitting. Maxi-Cosi cannot be held responsible for the performance of an incorrectly fitted car seat or a car seat fitted without physical fitting confirmation.