Monday, 18 June 2018

ERF and Trying out the new iZi Modular i-Size {BeSafe Scandinavian Safety}

Over the last few weeks we have been testing out the newest range of BeSafe car seats which comply with the new R129 regulations; The BeSafe iZi Modular i-Size and the BeSafe iZi Flex Fix i-Size. In the interests of being thorough and not putting to much into one post I'm splitting these into two separate reviews; we'll start with the iZi Modular for little E who has just turned two.

When we first heard about extended rear facing, I'll admit we were a little more than sceptical. We had no idea children older than a few months could rear face or the difference in safety. After meeting with the BeSafe team and car seat specialists Therese and Margaret back in March, we were certainly convinced by the facts, yet having a two year old who hasn't rear faced since we moved him out of his Maxi Cosi when he was a few months old, we weren't holding out much hope that he'd be happy facing the opposite way to his brother and not being able to see us in front. While we understood the massive difference in safety, I was prepared for a toddler meltdown and to be honest I thought the safety risk may go up having to drive with a screaming toddler anyway!
When a big box from BeSafe arrived last month we couldn't wait to try it out, especially the ISO-Fix base as it's something we have never used.
Up until now these bases were an optional safety feature but with the new regulations already in place Isofix car seats will soon be the only type, and most new cars now have Isofix points as standard.
As it's such a big change it's expected to take a few years for a complete transition however it's advised that anyone considering a car or car seats goes by the new regulations which are of a higher safety standard and the most current.

We were sent the Modular I-Size which can also forward face however they do the same chair that only rear faces and has passed the higher Swedish Plus test because of this. This one meets the new R129 European standards but has also been through the more rigorous ADAC testing and scored "Good" - which is not easy to achieve! The added SIP+ block developed by Besafe, which attaches to the side of the seat, improves side impact protection and reduces impact on the head and neck in the event of a side collision.
Although we are talking about safety here foremost, I am going to comment on the design of the car seats; 
they are so smart! 
I love the clean and simple look of the chairs (very Scandinavian of course!); we chose the navy melange which is a gorgeous colour and made with lovely soft fabric. The whole chair feels sturdy and, being ergonomically designed, is shaped and padded for optimum comfort. It has two very soft foam inserts which fit like cushions on the bottom of the seat and back for smaller children - the iZi modular can be used from 6 months. We took these out as little E was a bit too squashed with those in; the seat is a really good depth. The padded head rest has a good range of levels for a perfect height fit and the five point harness comes with button on belt pads.
One of my favourite things is how easy it is to make the belt longer/shorted when strapping your child in; I think most parents have experienced trying to fasten a child in and working out why the belt is suddenly so tight while a little one does his best ironing board back - the struggle is real! There is a little soft grey button on the seat that makes the straps longer when held down and pulling the strap under tightens again; So simple.
Apprehensive as we were to try little E facing backwards, we first installed the car seat in the rear position. This isn't difficult as the chair can be lifted off easily and faced forward when wanted in a few simple steps. 
Our car is pretty compact - it's a Renault Modus- so we were keen to see how much space it would take up, rear facing and all. The base is able to extend for extra legroom when rear facing which is a great feature. In truth when fully extended it did mean having the seat it was behind more forward than usual unless the base was at its most compact but this isn't a big problem for us unless Joe is in that seat as he's over six foot (!).
Again, our car is really compact so all things considered we were impressed that it fitted in so well. 
Installing the ISO-Fix base was easy. The extendable arms just need to be clicked on at the back of the seat then its a case of making sure all three safety indicators are showing green; there is also a further bleeping sound which lets you know that the foot of the base is firmly clicked down to the floor. It's quite satisfying seeing all those green points clearly indicating that you've actually done the job right and everything is definitely safe!
 After getting little E settled in we set off on our first drive out; he seemed very comfortable but what surprised us most was how content he was rear facing. We really didn't expect him to take to it so quickly but there honestly wasn't a peep out of him. Over the last few weeks we've been on some long drives and have never had him so relaxed in the car. He seems to love being able to see out of the back windows and usually has a long nap! I'm sure it's down to how comfortable the seat is and the added novelty of being able to just relax and take in the view. One problem that remained was his ability to get his arms out of the straps despite being as tight as they could comfortably be, but again BeSafe have thought of everything and sent us one of their ingenious Belt Collectors to stop mini Houdini's in their tracks! It's worked perfectly and he's given up trying to escape without too much fuss.
When he does (eventually) fall asleep, the Modular has a great recline and I think having his feet up against the seat  rather than hanging over is much more comfortable for him.

While I understand the cost of buying a higher safety rated car seat as well as an ISO-Fix base can be much more than a standard seat, I feel like it's just so much more important than most of the other things we buy our children. They really do need them to be as safe as possible in the car. We did what a lot of parents do and assumed all car seats were of the same safety rating and bought a reasonably cheap car seat; this is the one in case you were wondering! It seemed fine but we had no idea it might not fit our car, or how safe it would be in the event of a collision. I don't mean to shame this company and its obviously better than nothing but safety wise it just wasn't good enough. 
Now though I personally don't think car seats should be just sold off the shelf. Something that has the potential to avoid serious injury needs to be sold with advice and more information should be given before they are bought.
All in all we are impressed beyond our expectations with our new rear facing car seat; BeSafe have managed to create an extended rear facing seat that combines comfort and modern designs with the best safety features. We've totally changed our stance on extended rear-facing and with so many more car seat makers bringing our ERF seats it's looking to become much more normal in this country which can only be a good thing for child car safety.  
Little E is loving his new seat and it's a huge reassurance knowing he's safe and comfortable wherever we go.

I'll be sharing TJ's new iZi Flew FIX i-Size this week too so if you have older ones do pop back!

NB Collaborative post with BeSafe however all opinions are entirely our own. Information on car seats/ safety/ fitting is what we have found to be accurate however it should not be substituted for advice from a qualified professional.


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