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When our daughter was little I knew that we would have to buy a forward facing car seat and that we would need to investigate which one we wanted.
I knew I wanted a Britax one and the two which we narrowed it down to was the Renaissance and the Eclipse. Both were quite similar and were the 2 top ones it seemed in the Britax range.
We popped along to Mothercare and both seats fitted in our car no problem. But when it came down to it, I found the eclipse was the one I wanted! It was fairly new on the market and was getting good reports at the time.
It was quite expensive at £100 but now you can buy them between £60-£90 depending on where you buy it. Halfords, Mothercare, John Lewis and Kiddicare all have them and most independent baby retailers have them too. Mothercare and Halfords are usually pretty good for allowing you to try before you buy and quite often have special offers on the seats!
It is a big car seat which is quite heavy. It has a high side on either side of the seat making it comfortable and it is well padded, compared to some seats which are made by Britax. It is also very deep and the child will sit very comfortably in it!
It has a 5 point harness which is great for a younger child. The Harness can also be put at 3 different height levels which means it grows with your child. However changing the harness can be a tricky job as you take 2 metal parts of the and harness through tiny little gaps. Sometimes the angle which you have the strap at makes it awkard and there is a knack to make it easy but it can take a bit of fiddling to get there!
There is also the option when your child is sleeping to recline the seat! It has 5 positions which is sitting upright to lying at a nicely reclined position if the child is sleeping. The recline lever is situated just under the actual seat but above the base! This is ideal if you are in the front. i have quite often reclined it from the drivers seat or the front passenger seat when I have needed too and found it easy to recline. However when I was in the back seat I found it hard to get it to readjust except when putting the child into it!
Fitting the seat safely into the car can be done 2 ways. It can go at either door of the car and you use the diagonal belt. It can be a tricky job but even at 8 months pregnant I managed to fit it in ok! You should follow the instructions in the book it comes with. You recline the seat into the lying down position. The diagonal belt is held in place by 2 special lock things and quite often I have noticed people haven't made sure that they have flattened the seatbelt properly so that it is secure enough. The lap part of the belt lies in a special place at the bottom which has 2 red stopper things coming out of the seat and the lap bit fits in here and then I secure the diagonal belt making it as secure as possible. You then put the seat back into the sitting position and then I then put all my weight on the seat and pull on the straps and if it moves, it needs to be better secured, if there is very little movement then you will find that the seat is well secured! It is worth checking regularly that your seat is secure. My friend recently did this before a recent journey and tightened the seat up. On that journey they had a crash and the car rolled over. The only one not to be injured was her daughter in the seat which had just been better secured just before they left, so it shows that properly secured this car seat can save your child's life!
The recommended weights for this seat is 9kg to 18kg(20-44lb). Going on an average weight off a child this can be about 9 months to 4 years. But all children are different, so you need to go on the weight of your child for this! It is also suggested that you wait until your child is sitting up unsupported before they move seats! Unfortunately Eilidh needed to move out this seat at 3 years and 28lb in weight. She was just too big for it and the straps didn't fit her correctly. That was a big downfall in the seat as I had hoped that it would last a lot longer than 2 and a bit years for her.
The cover on the seat is removable and washable. There were no instructions on it so I did a delicates wash and dried it on the horse after Murray was sick on it! The cover was quite easy to put on and take off including getting the harness padded bits through the tiny holes. But the Padded harness straps are not removable and were hard to clean properly. You can get a choice of fabrics but sometimes a fabric is limited to a certain shop.
I also noticed that the seat can get dirty under the cover so it may be an idea to take it off every so often and do a clean out on it!
Overall I love this seat. It is expensive but surely a child's safety in the car is important? You can buy other covers so that you can change them which is a great idea. This seat is great as a permanent seat in a car but it is rather bulky if you are needing to move it between cars regularly! I was disappointed that it didn't do Eilidh up until she was 4 or 18kg as it meant that we had to buy another seat sooner than we had planned! But as a seat over all I would definately buy this again and recommend it especially after my friends car crash!
I would recommend this seat, but please try before you buy as this does fit in most cars but some cars it just doesn't sit right at all and it is safer to try before you definately purchase it!
Good informative review. It's scary how many car seats are not fitted properly, I make sure I check ours before every journey. I agree with you on the age range thing, my daughter grew out of her maxi cosi citi seat at 10 months, it's meant to last until approx 15 months.
carly_pussycat 10.03.2004 10:56
I have no need for this yet! But good review for those that do!
COOOEEE 09.03.2004 20:25
This sounds ideal for a toddler. My grandaughter is nearly one and is rapidly outgrowing her car seat. Fionaxx