Now that Little B has arrived and we have a newborn, a two year old and a four year old it seemed like the perfect time to really put the BRITAX Dualfix through it’s paces.
It’s a group 0+ & 1 car seat with 360 degree rotation, allowing it to be easily switched between forward and rear facing modes. With five point safety harness, multiple recline options and isofix fitting, it looks like a really safe, secure and comfortable seat for both babies and toddlers. So how does it work out in practice?
First off – newborn mode. With the quick addition of the newborn insert, Little B was soon snuggled up in the seat and ready for a journey up the motorway to register her birth. Initially, she seemed to slump over a bit and then I realised the seat, although rearward facing, was still in group 1 mode, meaning it was not reclined enough for her. There’s a handy indicator on the side of the seat to show which mode it is currently in, and I’ve found that really useful when switching it for use between different aged children. Once the seat was properly reclined she was very happy in it, and stared in amazement out of the window for most of the journey (in between snoozes!). The straps were easy to adjust and tighten – the easy adjust feature meant I didn’t need to rethread them – and the newborn insert made the usually roomy seat a lot more snug for her. I wasn’t initially sure whether such a small baby could comfortably travel in such a big seat, but it turns out she likes it more than her usual group 0 one!
Big sister Bubby D, aged 2.5 is the usual user of the Dualfix though, and she loves it. Although she is over 9kg she is still using the seat in rearward facing mode and she actually prefers it to forward facing – I did let her try it but she demanded to be turned back round. Something which it is really easy to do with the press of just two buttons. To start with I did find the process a bit fiddly and confusing, especially with switching between group modes for different ages too but now I’ve done it a few times it’s really quick and simple. I love being able to rotate the seat 90 degrees so that it is facing the door of the car for easy strapping in and getting out too. Bubby D agrees that this is a great feature – she is very pleased that she can easily climb into her car seat herself when we are off on an adventure somewhere!
Having the seat in group 1 mode when rearward facing means that the recline is less, so there is more legroom. This is good for Bubby D who is able to sit comfortably with her legs extended. I did wonder whether she would be able to sleep comfortably in it, because it is a lot more upright than the group 0+ mode, but although I have seen her head bob forward a couple of times in general she seems very happy to have a long nap with no problems, and her head stays firmly put on the generously sized head rest.
Although she is 3 in August it seems likely that she can continue to be rearfacing for quite some time, as there is still room for her to grow in the seat. I’m pleased about this as research has shown that staying rearfacing in a car seat is quite a lot safer.
And finally, having a four year old on hand, who weighs 17.5kg and therefore just comes into the weight range for the seat which is up to 18kg, I decided to test how well he fits into the Dualfix too. Although he usually sits in a group 1,2 and 3 forward facing seat he was very receptive to having a go in the Dualfix – he loves the rotation feature and often complains that his seat isn’t a ‘spinny one’.
I got him to climb in whilst it was in group 1 rearfacing mode and it was obvious that he wouldn’t be comfortable travelling like that at all.
His legs were bent and he looked much too big for it. I wasn’t surprised as despite being under the weight limit, he is tall for his age (taking after his 6’5” daddy!) and so we decided to see how forward facing mode suited him instead.
Forward facing worked out much better. With the headrest at the highest position it can go, and the seat rotated he was much happier. The straps were plenty long enough to comfortably secure him, and there was enough calf support that he wouldn’t end up with sore dangling legs on a long journey. He was rather keen on claiming the seat for his own! But unfortunately for him, Bubby D is very very fond of her seat and so he’s been banished back to his usual one. As he is 5 in August, he is definitely old enough, tall enough and heavy enough to be in the next stage car seat anyway – unlike Bubby D who seems likely to be happily sitting in the Dualfix for at least another year or two (until Little B gets big enough to kick her out!).
So in our experience, the Dualfix really is what it claims to be – a safe secure and comfortable seat for babies right through from birth to their preschool years. At a RRP of £340 its certainly not the cheapest car seat but considering how long it will last and the additional safety of Isofix fitting and extended rear-facing mode, I think it’s a very worthwhile investment. And so do the Wee Man and Bubby D!