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As a proud and excited first-time grandmother, I promised my daughter a pram and car seat as my initial contribution to the phenomenal expense that the new baby would bring. As any one who is familiar with my daughter (l0bster_quadrille) could guess, she did not choose a popular brand of buggy but opted instead for the somewhat unusual Stokke Xplory.
One of our first considerations then was a car seat that would fit effortlessly onto the Xplory making the transition between car and buggy as smooth and easy as possible. One of the options was the Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix. Adapters fitted to the side of the buggy enable the seat to be fitted. The safety and comfort specifications of the seat were enough to sway us.
The seat itself has a RRP of £105 however is available at a range of prices at different venues. We paid £84.99 at a local shop. However the cost doesn't end there.
~~~Fixing the Car Seat into the Car~~~
There are a number of methods of fitting the seat into the car. All options involve the car seat fitted rear-facing onto a front facing seat. This is standard for this type of car seat.
The first method is to use the 3 point seat belt system to hold the car seat in position with no additional fixings or cost required.
The second (and our option) requires the purchase of a separate fixing base aptly called the 'easy-fix base' because it is easy to fix. It is a plastic base that fits onto the back seat of the car with a leg extending onto the floor of the car. The car seat slots onto this and is locked into position - a colour-coded in the base showing green from red indicates that the base is locked securely. The base can be moved between cars - an important factor for us enabling either my daughter of myself to use the car seat with the reassurance that the seat and baby are secure! Unfortunately, the base does not fit on all cars. The retailer will usually check your car for suitability and fit the base for you. Fortunately, both our cars took the base easily. The base costs an additional £60.
The third and safest option is the 'Iso fix base'. This option is only possible if your car has the 'Iso-fix' system installed whereby there are already-installed metal points behind the rear seat enabling the car seat to be fixed rigidly to the car. The Maxi-Cosi 'Iso-fix' base costs an additional £100.
So onto the seat itself. The Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix is suitable from birth to 13kg (approximately 1 year old). The colour of our car seat is Black reflection - to match the buggy. There are a number of different options that will meet all possible tastes including Penguin, Phantom, Red Reflection, Deep Red, Indian Spice, Caribbean Night, Happy Flower, Lily Pink, Chilli Pepper, Magic Rose, Oceanic Reflection, Skydiver, Frisbee, Blueprint and Citro Rush.
The dimensions of the seat are for those interested - maximum internal seat width around hips 290 mm; internal seat width around head 230 mm; internal seat depth 310 mm; internal back length 500 mm; height with the handle in the upright position 570 mm; external width 440 mm and weight 3.25 kg. The weight may not sound much but combined with the weight of the baby can be quite heavy!!
The seat has a large handle allowing for ease of carrying and transfers. This can be rotated to fit neatly around the head section of the care seat when not required. To rotate the handle simply push in the two grey buttons on both sides of the car seat at the base of the handle.
~~~Baby Comfort and Safety~~~
The interior of the seat is quilted which can be removed easily for laundering. Replacement covers can be purchased.
A three-point harness with two shoulder straps and one between the legs, secures the baby into the car seat. All the straps are padded for extra comfort. The height of the harness can be adjusted by pushing a grey button at the leg end of the seat. The harness is fastened together by aligning the ends of the shoulder straps and slotting them into the crutch strap! An audible click confirms this has locked. Easy!! Well it is but takes a little getting used to. The first few times saw us fumbling about a bit.
For newborns, there is a shaped and padded head support which stops the baby's head from rolling sideways. This can be removed when no longer required.
The car seat also has an integral sun shade which is cleverly fitted into the base at the head end of the car seat when not in use. So cleverly, it took us about two weeks before we found it!! Pulling the sunshade out and over the head, two little loops then fit onto hooks moulded onto the carry handle. It is not so easy to get the sun shade back into the slot.
The design of the seat incorporates a Side Protection System which offers optimal protection against side impact.
These include a rain cover for an additional £10.99 - a must for the British weather.
A foot muff for warmth - also handy against the cold but not essential - for £29.99.
I have to say that I am very impressed by this car seat. The safety features are extremely reassuring. I can happily drive with the knowledge that the seat is locked safely in position and the baby secure and comfortable.
The seat has multi-functionality. It is of course first and foremost a car seat but using the adapters it transforms into the seat of a buggy. The carry handle means it can be carried easily - although it is a little too heavy to carry far. It can also be used as a stand alone seat - particularly handy if the baby is asleep - there is a little grey strap at the front of the seat which allows you to gently rock the seat when on a solid surface.
The cost is not prohibitive. The car bases and any extras will of course increase the cost. I would recommend the easy-fix base if suitable for your car - the additional safety factor and flexibility are well worth the additional cost.
The neat design features of the seat enhance the comfort for the baby and make it easy for adjustments to be made as the baby grows.
The only downfall is that seat will only last for about 1 year before you need to purchase another seat suitable for the size of your child!!!
Nothing for babies is cheap and nothing lasts very long before they grow out of it too ! Nicely reviewed
Coloneljohn 24.02.2008 12:42
Nice one. I have also become a Grand Uncle(Twice) this year and never even thought of anything like this. I will have to my nephew and niece about something like this. John. (Congratulations by the way)
ciaomeister1 23.02.2008 13:10
Congratulations to you (and to Philippa too of course). Beckie xx