Sunday, May 12, 2013

Combination seats (Group 0+-1)



Britax First Class Combination car seat
These are perfect for if you don’t need to have your baby seat portable, as they are car-based, i.e. they are left in the vehicle the whole time. They are bulkier than infant carriers, but this is because they are a combination of an infant carriers and a stage 1 seat (which are suitable up to 18kg or roughly 4 years old). They can be fitted into a vehicle both rearward facing and forward facing.
They can also be the best choice for longer or heavier babies as they are designed to cater for the older child, and so are that much bigger. If a child has outgrown an infant carrier (their head is coming over the top of the seat) but is not yet heavy enough to  be restrained by a forward facing seat (a stage 1) then a combination is perfect because they can be rearward facing in a larger seat.

Another important point to consider is that a combination seat has to fit in the car in both positions that it is going to used in. There is no point in only testing in the rearward position if you are going to use it in the forward facing position in a couple of months time. You need to be sure that it is safe in both. Due to their size, they are not really suitable for small cars! There must be a gap between the car seat and the seat in front, to allow for the seat belt to do its work, rather than jamming the car seat in-between the two car seats. 
They can also be useful if you have other car seats in the car. As they stay in the car, you do not have to re-route the seat every time, rather just take the child in and out. The seat should always be checked every journey though to ensure the seat is still in tight. So if you have three car seats across the rear bench, they can be arranged in such a fashion so that it is easier for an elder child to be restrained in the centre seat rather than you having to refit an infant carrier in the seat next to them for every journey.

A combination seat is also great if you want to save some money. A lot of people will opt for buying an infant carrier to fit onto their pushchair, and then 9 or so months later buy their Stage 1 seat. Both of these, obviously depending on the brand and also the fit in the car, can potentially cost £100-£150 upwards each. On the other hand, combination seats will cover both of these jobs for roughly £150.
The best and most versatile example of a combination seat is that of the Britax First Class, which I will be reviewing in a later post.

Hope this has been helpful for you, and if you have any questions feel free to ask!

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