Thursday, 20 February 2014

Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix #Facts

Did you know as well as doubling up as a rocker, your Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix holds the harness out of your way to make it as easy as possible to get baby into the seat?

Extend the harness to maximum length.
Tuck each shoulder harness strap behind the silver hooks on either side of the carseat.

At the top of the crotch pad is a hook ....

Use this hook to hold the crotch pad forward around the tensioner housing unit

Carseat harness is well out of the way and ready for baby to be placed in with minimum fuss

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Vauxhall Corsa - Definitely a Family Friendly small car

I’m  very impressed with the Vauxhall Corsa. For such a small car I have never had an issue fitting a variety of carseats in it.

Nanan used a Maxi-Cosi FamilyFix base with Maxi-Cosi Pebble carseat, fitted with IsoFix, when J was little. When he grew out of the Pebble, he used the Maxi-Cosi Pearl on the FamilyFix base. When the 2wayFix base and 2wayPearl was launched, allowing ERF to 105cm, we successfully fitted that instead. (in ERF position with no loss of front seat passenger space)

Maxi-Cosi 2wayFix base with 2wayPearl in RF position fitted to Vauxhall Corsa 2012

Yesterday she came to visit and take J out for the day but she had been unable to bring her carseat with her. Instead, I did a physical fit of our Maxi-Cosi Opal in the car instead, and it was not only a good fit but it was remarkably easy to fit – I remember it being a lot more awkward with my old car (a VW Polo) and I always put that down to the size of the car but the Corsa is considered a small car and it was easy to fit.

Maxi-Cosi Opal fitted to Vauxhall Corsa 2012

With the imminent arrival of the newest family member just weeks away, Nanan wanted to take the Maxi-Cosi EasyBase 2 and Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix home with her in order to deliver to the parents-to-be in advance of baby arriving. The easiest way of transporting both items in her car was for me to fit them, which I did – and again, another great fitting. It’s simple and straightforward with the EasyBase 2 and CabrioFix combination anyway, that’s why I had it for J, but it was so quick and easy to do in the Corsa.

Well done, Vauxhall – this small car is definitely family-friendly!

Vauxhall Corsa - A Family Friendly small car. I've never had an issue with fitting any carseat I've tried.

Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix #Facts

Did you know your Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix carseat can be used as a rocker for baby? The carry handle has three locked position - upright (for carrying and car travel); mid-point and lower. The lower position locks the seat still in order to get baby in and out easily without the seat moving and the mid-point allows the shapes base of the carseat shell to rock baby.
Carry handle in upright position. When using Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix in the car the carry handle should always be upright.

Carry handle in mid-position. In this position the carseat will rock on the curved base of the carseat shell.

Carry handle in lower position. In this position the carseat is locked still, making it easier to get baby in and out.

As the teddy bear in this video does not weigh anything like a new-born baby weight it does look like quite extreme rocking - Having used this feature with a real baby in the seat when J was younger I can confirm it is not so extreme when using in this way!

Remember the guidelines from Maxi-Cosi is that baby is not in the carseat continuously for more than 2 hours at a time.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

2wayFix & 2wayPearl in Vauxhall Insignia

J often goes out in the car with his grandparents (my parents). Up til now they have been using the Maxi Cosi FamilyFix base. Initially this was in combination with his CabrioFix carseat or their Pebble, and then in combination with their Pearl carseat. We are currently using the new Maxi Cosi 2wayFix base in combination with the 2wayPearl. This combination can be used from six months to fifteen months rear facing. From fifteen months you can forward face the carseat until 105cm (approx. 4 yrs old) or you can continue using the seat rearfacing until 105cm. Under new iSize legislation the requirement is mandatory that the child is rearfacing until 15 months – Maxi Cosi recommend til at least two years. My point of view is that if it can be used rearfacing til 105cm, and we know this is the safest option for travel for children, why not use it?

Grumpa has a Vauxhall Insignia. This is a long, large size family car. The 2wayFix base fits well into the rear seat without any adjustment required for the front seat passenger. The 2wayFix base is longer from front to back of the seat than the FamilyFix base but in this vehicle that does not make a difference. There is no under floor storage in this vehicle, but remember to remove the floor mats and have the front support leg directly against the floor of the vehicle. The 2wayPearl fitted rear facing on the base nicely and there was a good hand gap between the back of the carseat and the back of the vehicle passenger seat in front, even when the 2wayPearl was reclined. The 2wayFix base and 2wayPearl combination is very easy to fit and provides audible noises and green / red light indicators to show correct fitting.  Grumpa likes this feature of the product as it gives him confidence that he has fitted it properly.

L-R: Vauxhall Insignia / J rearfacing in 2wayPearl / Grumpa demonstrates front passenger leg room

When it came to putting J into the carseat we encountered some difficulty. J is on the top end of the scale for using this product, he is 3.5yrs old, 101cm and 15.5kg. The difficulty encountered was not because of the carseat – it was due to the steep slope of the roof of the Insignia, which minimised space for being able to get J into the 2wayPearl in rearfacing position. It made it awkward, but not impossible, and he was quickly in the seat and comfortable. He immediately crossed his legs in front of him, as a child of his age will naturally do.

When we were out in the car, he was high enough to see out the rear window, so he was waving at the people in the vehicles behind us and thoroughly enjoyed a night time cruise through town enjoying looking at the Christmas lights out the window. People seem to think that rearfacing is more likely to make the child carsick – if you find your child suffers carsickness, try using sun visors over the side windows so they can only see out the rear window, as this is less likely to confuse the brain. J has enough space in this seat to be comfortable and safe while rearfacing and when he became bored of looking out the rear window he had a magazine to read and then played with his Leappad for a while, both of which fitted on his lap probably better than if he’d been forward facing, as the angle of the seat made it less likely to slip off his lap. He remained well entertained throughout the journey. I am really impressed with this base and carseat combination. 

These views are entirely my own. I am not paid to write this material and do so in my own time.

Extended Rear Facing (ERF) Explained

As ex-ambulance control staff, currently working in the nursery industry and a mum as well, I know too well the importance of carseat safety. I’m carseat fitter trained and take great care each time to ensure that J is secured properly in his carseat. I take the seat out of the car to clean it and re-fit it once a month to ensure it is working as it should be and is correctly installed. One of my pet hates are people ignorant of the dangers of an incorrect carseat fitting in their vehicle, incorrect use of the carseat harness (too loose) or people who are so desperate for their child to go into a forward facing carseat as soon as possible.

Rearfacing is safest. Extended rear facing (known as ERF) has been around for ages, but it’s only in the last few years that it has come to the UK and is becoming more common. Due to the fact a baby and toddler has such a large, heavy head in comparison with the rest of their body, plus the fact their neck and spinal muscles are less developed than an adults, means that in an impact in a rear facing carseat they will be pressed into the seat and the force distributed across their shoulders. In a forward facing carseat, an impact will cause their head to snap forward, putting extreme stress on their neck and spinal muscles, which in some cases can be fatal.

The head of a baby / small child is much larger & heavier than that of an adult

As one of the biggest carseat manufacturers, Maxi Cosi noted the growing public call for ERF seats and became heavily involved with a project for the next stage of carseat safety standard. Currently, all European carseats have to meet ECE R44-04. This is an amended standard of the previous one, and not a lot changed. In reality, to meet this standard, a carseat is not put through its paces particularly well. For instance, there is no rollover test or side impact test before the seat can be awarded this standard. Maxi Cosi, on the other hand, have been exceeding the standard for quite a while by producing carseats which go above and beyond the standard – but of course there is no additional award or standard that can be given, so their carseats wear the same standard ECE badge as a cheap £20 carseat that barely meets standard. As a parent, how are you meant to know which is the best option? Especially in these times of everyone being financially stretched, it’s easy to see why parents do buy cheap carseats – after all, if they all meet the standard, the only difference is the price, right? It may come as a shock to many to learn that this is not the case. In fact, you could compare it to the difference between a supermarket value brand food and the finest range.

Maxi Cosi’s involvement in developing the next stage of carseat safety standard has allowed them to put forward their own ideals for what a carseat should be tested to before it is sold and considered an optimum safety carseat. This standard is called iSize. This new standard changes what criteria the product has to meet. Currently, the Maxi Cosi 2wayFix base when used in combination with the 2wayPearl is the only iSize approved carseat unit.

Under the current standard, your standard Group 1 carseat is suitable from 9-18kg. As a guideline, the age “approx. 9 months – 3.5yrs” is added. Many people don’t see the weight as being the important bit, even though it is the vital information in this statement. They ignore the “approx.” and as soon as their child is nine months old they rush them into a forward facing carseat, whether or not they are the minimum 9kg weight. To discourage this, the new iSize standard states that when using an iSize seat the child remains rearfacing til 15 months, regardless of height or weight. This is because it is not until 15 months that their neck muscles are developed enough to limit damage in an impact. Maxi Cosi recommends when using an iSize seat that the child is rearfacing til 2 years. In a Maxi Cosi 2wayPearl (used in combination with 2wayFix base) the seat can be forward faced at 15 months or you can continue to use it rearfacing until 105cm (approx 4 yrs) 

My son J has always been very tall – as a baby he was very long. He outgrew his CabrioFix carseat at nine months old due to his height, but he was nowhere near 9kg; which is why we then got him an Opal, and he remained rearfacing til he was almost 19 months. I don’t have IsoFix in my car, so it takes some option out of selecting a suitable carseat, but both my parents cars have IsoFix and so our 2wayFix and 2wayPearl product testing is carried out using their vehicles.