Saturday, August 03, 2013

Britax MAX-FIX Group 0+ and Group 1 Rear-Facing Car Seat Review

This blog post was first published on Mellow Mummy in July 2013.

Britax MAX-FIX rear-facing car seat installedBritax asked me to test-drive the Britax MAX-FIX which is a rear-facing car seat for children from birth upto about 4 years old.

Rear-facing car seats are proven to offer greater safety benefits in the event of a crash and in some parts of Europe they are mandated for children upto 4 years old. In the UK there are currently campaigns to lobby the government to make it law here too. Having tried the MAX-FIX I am still torn. My heart says "yes" because I've seen the stats and it feels safer to have my daughter facing backwards in the car. But... my head says "no" because I struggle to see how I could keep a growing toddler in a rear facing car seat for very long.

There is no denying that the Britax MAX-FIX is easy to install.  I've seen photos and scare stories of rear-facing seats which require levers and pulley systems and bring people to tears when trying to fit some of the competing rear-facing seats.  But the MAX-FIX was almost as simple as any other Britax car seat I've tried.  The seat fastens to your car using ISOFIX mountings and is anchored into place against the floor using an extending pole.

Britax MAX-FIX rear-facing car seat viewed from the boot
The seat looks very similar in style to the Britax VERSAFIX which is the seat we use in our main car and I'm really happy with the style, the level of comfort and ease of using the straps - there is a small soft insert to provide added comfort if the seat is being used by a newborn.  The MAX-FIX is nice and deep so Holly has plenty of wiggle room for her legs.  The front of the seat (the part that rests against the car) has a rebound bar which helps to prevent the car seat from rotating in the event of an impact.

Britax MAX-FIX rear-facing car seat in the carEven at 14 months old, my toddler's feet rest against the rebound bar and the main car seat.  The 5 point harness in the MAX-FIX has a good level of adjustment over the shoulders so I will be able to sit my daughter up straighter in the seat as she grows taller but I am really worried that her legs will not have any space to grow into.  Take for instance her older sister who has only just turned 4 so theoretically she 'could' have still been in a Group 1 car seat until recently.  Her legs would be up by her armpits if she had to sit in a rear-facing seat as there is nowhere for her long legs to dangle!  So in general my feeling is that a rear-facing Group 1 seat is probably most appropriate for the younger end of the age range... it is almost like there needs to be a Group 1- which is for children upto about 2 years.

On the Britax website you can check which cars (and which seats within the car) have been approved for use of their seats and our car is on the recommended list but I think it must have been tested with adults who have very short legs!  In order to fit the MAX-FIX in the rear of the car, the passenger or drivers seat has to be pushed right forwards; as a passenger I have to sit with my knees pressed against the dashboard.

Britax MAX-FIX rear-facing car seat close up
So for me I think the Britax MAX-FIX will be reserved for our soon-to-be second car where there will rarely be a passenger.

The Britax MAX-FIX has all of the features of a Britax car seat that I like - high quality covers and straps.  The covers are easily removable for washing.  The strap features a simple mechanism which you pull to tighten, then press a button to release.  The straps can be held out of the way by placing them into the little press-in sections on each side of the chair... this is good for when your toddler is in a very wiggly mood.  There is a good level of protection around the head and sides which would come into its own in the event of a side-impact.  Like other Britax seats we have tried, the ISOFIX fitting can be hard because the clamps  retract as you push them against the seat - there is certainly an art to it.

The MAX-FIX by Britax retails at £275. For more information and details of where to buy you can visit www.britax.co.uk or call 01264 386 034. Follow Britax at www.facebook.com/britaxUK or www.twitter.com/britaxUK
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