Mellow Mummy: The Sunday Review - Kiddy Energy Pro Group 1 Car Seat : Taking life as it comes...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Sunday Review - Kiddy Energy Pro Group 1 Car Seat


Kiddy car seats are a little different to most on the market. They take some getting used to, but once you've got your head around the way they look and the way they work, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

The Kiddy Energy Pro is a Group 1 car seat for use from approximately 9 months to 4 years. The fascinating thing about the Kiddy Energy Pro is that it has no harness. No straps? That's right. Kiddy car seats work through use of a cushioned 'impact shield'. You place your child into the seat, slot the impact shield in over their legs and then strap the normal 3-point seatbelt in your car over the shield to pull it tight.

I used the Kiddy Energy Pro this summer for my 1 year old and found it refreshingly easy to fit. No faffing about with ratchets. No slotting seatbelts through impossibly small holes. With most other car seats you are encouraged to fit them once and then leave them fitted - It isn't easy to move a traditional car seat between cars. With the Kiddy car seat you effectively fit it each time you use it. It is quick and easy and means it makes a great car seat for use when you will regularly need to swap it between cars.

I felt the Kiddy Energy Pro seat would be great for taking on holiday as it is more-or-less universal and because it is astonishingly light. The seat and shield are made from a light, shock-absorbing honeycomb foam.

I did notice that when in the Kiddy Energy Pro my daughter got very stressed and would winge a lot. She looked comfortable but her arms didn't really know what to do with themselves as they were raised up above her body and over the impact shield. To aid comfort, the car seat has a reclined position for long journeys whish is very easy to use. The movement of the head-rest to provide maximum side impact protection is also incredibly easy to adjust.

I have read some concerns from parents whose children slip underneath the impact shield. This suggests that the seatbelt hasn't been pulled tight enough. I just can't see how my daughter could ever have slipped through. For smaller children there is a small seat insert to raise them ever so slightly towards the shield to ensure that it fits tightly, yet comfortably.

The Kiddy impact shield system has been proven in stringent European tests to be even safer than the normal 5 point harness (even when fitted ISOFIX). The idea of the impact shield is that in the event of a collision, the force of the impact is distributed across a wider area of the body around the tummy. Where traditional harnesses hold the shoulders and body back during an impact, they allow the neck to loll vulnerably. The impact shield is designed to allow the upper body to tilt naturally through the spine, neck and head and to reduce the force through the neck.

Despite knowing all of these reassuring things, it is a big mind shift to accept that a harness-free car seat is as safe as others. For the first week I kept looking back at my daughter to make sure she was OK! Once I had settled into the idea of the impact shield, I began to see the great qualities that the Kiddy Energy Pro has to offer.

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