Sunday, March 24, 2013

Britax Versafix Group 1 Car Seat Review (ISOFIX, TopTether AND non-isofix too!)

I moved my daughter into her Britax Versafix Group 1 Car Seat shortly before she was 10 months old (she was physically too large for her infant carrier any more); we have been using the new Versafix in its ISOFIX mode (without the top tether) for a month now and I'm really very happy with it. The demands of a busy growing family aren't easily met but the VERSAFIX is designed to make life that little bit easier.

The VERSAFIX is ideally suited for families like me who quite often need to move the seat between several different vehicles. In the past few months both sets of grandparents have taken their turns to look after my daughters during the day and I can tell you it is pretty stressful trying to move some car seats between our own car which has ISOFIX mountings, and into their cars, which don't. The VERSAFIX makes this process less stressful because it is suitable for use in cars with or without ISOFIX.

You can also use the VERSAFIX with the TopTether ISOFIX fastening if you have it in your car. Right now, we don't have TopTether but the VERSAFIX will grow with your child so, should you buy a new car in the future that does have TopTether fastenings, you won't need to replace the seat – yay! The ISOFIX clips on the VERSAFIX are tucked away when not in use to help protect your car if you aren't planning on using them.

I have tried both of my girls (the eldest is nearly 4 years old) in the new VERSAFIX and was impressed at how easy it was to adjust the seat to their two totally different shapes but my eldest daughter is far too big for the seat to be honest - mind you, there aren't many Group 1 car seats which could accommodate her any more as she is very tall for her age and there was no way for me to heighten the head rest area to suit her which means really that she needs to be in a Group 2,3 seat now.

The shoulder straps on the VERSAFIX move up and down using a simple latch at the back of the seat so there was no need for me to undo and re-thread the straps when changing the seat for my two girls – phew! Like all Britax seats, I found the process of fastening my children into the seat to be extremely easy because there are visible and audible indicators to tell you when you have done it right. The straps are really nicely padded which I think is important for a small baby just moving into a Group 1 car seat.

I love the fact that the ISOFIX connectors on the Versafix pack away so easily when I move the seat into a a friend or family member's car (and I can imagine this being handy when travelling by taxi too) but for me, the VERSAFIX is still too heavy and bulky to actively encourage me to move it between vehicles.

I liked the fact that there was a small recline facility on the VERSAFIX. Normally we don't need to recline the seat for everyday use but we are planning a VERY long road trip in a few months and it is handy to be able to recline the seat just a tiny bit to make them more comfortable when they sleep. I didn't like the fact that every time I reached behind my baby girl's shoulders to get the straps, I ended up unpopping the cover; it is very frustrating but then I guess it does indicate how easy the cover is to remove should you need to give it a clean.

The VERSAFIX is a great all-round car seat that is suitable for lots of different cars and families but I see it being most suited to children at the younger age of the Group 1 spectrum.

Disclosure: I was sent a VERSAFIX sample to conduct my review.

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