Junior Car Safety Seat Buyers Guide, Reviews & Tips
When your child reaches about 4 years or 18kg they are ready for a junior car safety seat, which should see them through until they're ready to use an adult seat belt, that is they are over 4' 5" tall.
What we're looking for here is a seat that fits your car & child perfectly, and one that has all the safety features that will protect them in the event of an accident.
For children in the younger part of this age group, say 4 to 5, we should still be looking at a seat with an integral harness. They are safer and easier for parents to police. Younger children have a habit of slipping out of adult seat-belts if they get uncomftable, with a harness they'll find this a lot more difficult to do.
Headrests should be easily adjustable up & down, and the seat should be comfy. Older children demand a seat that they can fall asleep in, and the asis seats have great head-rests that prevent them from slipping out of the seat & keep them safe.
For kids I've found cup-holders important, they love the fact that they've got their own little place for drinks, and showing them the cup holders can often sway the reticent child into accepting that they will still be in a child car seat for a few more years.
The more advanced junior car seats are modular, that is as the child grows the seat first does away with the harness, then the backrest until it becomes just a booster type seat. I think you should keep your child in the high-back booster for as long as possible, it is so much safer than just a booster seat. My own son is now legally tall enough not to bother with any seats, but he stills sits in his high-back booster because its safer, he can fall asleep easily, and he can see out of the windows better.
I'm often asked by parents how they can convince their children to sit in these older seats, and I find honesty is the best option. Explain to your child that in the event of a car crash their bones are not as strong as adults, so they need a special safety seat to keep them safe, just like racing drivers do. If they don't go for this, explain that the Police will get them if they don't! (Only kidding).So try lots of different seats, include your child in the decision making progress (as long as the seat fits the car) and get them to sit in as many as possible. Point out the cup holders and let them choose a colour they like. Pretty soon all their friends will be in seats, so peer pressure will not be an issue.
The Britax Hiliner High Back Booster is top of my list because it's the seat that my son uses at the moment. It's suitable for children from 4 years upwards, 15-36kg. The seat is secured into place using your cars own seat belts through a guide atatched to the movable head-rest.
The Hi-Liner has cup-holders, a washable cover, removable back-rest, and conforms to the new side-impact legislation relating to child seats.
Our son has no complaints about comfort, and in fact regularly falls asleep in it on long journeys, and we're happy because we can see that he is held secure in the proper safety position.
Overall a great seat, highly recommended!
Graco, although making some of the best child safety seats around, do cover them in some, shall we say, unusual, colour fabrics.
The Graco Junior Plus is a great high-back booster, with adjustable height head-rest, removable back-rest and drink holders.
The Junior Plus is at the budget end of the market, but that doesn't mean you're sacrificing safety, it's just that the fabrics Graco use aren't as plush or comftable as the more expensive Rally-Sport model.
Shop around for a nice colour one, and you'll have a high-back booster that will last years.
The Maxi-Cosi Rodi XP, seen here in pink (or Shantung I believe is the name) is a high-back booster from the makers of the popular Tobi and Priori brand of baby seats.
The "XP" tag means the seat has better side-impact protection, along with the standard adjustable head-rest and seat-belt guide.
For too long child seats have been in drab colours, or outrageous ones (like Graco!), but what self-respecting little girl wouldn't love to have this seat in the back of her mum or dad's car?
Offering the latest safety features and a really comfable ride, the Rodi XP is a breath a fresh air into the world of child safety.
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