Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kiddy GuardianFix Pro - A Review

With three kids and two cars in the family I like to think I know a little bit about car seats.

Sometimes maybe a little bit too much.

Many's the time family members have rolled their eyes as I've gone out to their car to check and double check that the car seats have been properly fitted before they whisk my kids away somewhere. But that's the thing about car seats - there's no point in buying the most expensive, top of the range one if you're not going to read the instructions and learn how to fit it properly is there?  (Hey - stop rolling your eyes).

So when Kiddy asked me to review their new GuardianFix Pro I thought I could probably do a good enough job. Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that we have had one of our car seats for seven years and after three grubby kids there are crumbs so far down the crevices they will never return and stains so suspect that I'd prefer never to learn what they are. Nope, nothing to do with that at all.

So on to the car seat.
Kiddy GuardianFix Pro car seat

Here's a very brief overview of how it works:

The real difference between this car seat and any other that I've used is that there are no straps - which in my book is a MASSIVE plus. Instead they use the Kiddy Impact Shield which is recommended from 9 - 18kgs, or approx. 4 years. The only negative that I did find with this is that my 3.5 year old (approx. 16kgs), who had never used one of these before decided he didn't like it so refuses to wear it. However I would imagine that if the child had the seat from a young age the impact shield would be accepted as the norm.

Kiddy GuardianFix Pro car seat
3.5 year old with Kiddy Impact Shield.

Other things I like about the car seat:

- Easy to install - which is a huge plus when you're swapping seats between cars a lot.
- Easy to expand. On most seats I've used you have to remove the seat from the car to expand it but the GuardianFix Pro has a one-pull \ push mechanism at the back to expand and retract the size.
- No straps. Worth repeating! For anyone who has grappled with trying to change the height of these as your child grows or has had to wrestle a tantruming child into the straps and then close the confusing buckle thingy with two hands - you'll know what I mean.
- Booster cushion that fits on \ off easily with two 'popper' buttons.
- Leg-rest extension feature.
- One seat required from baby (9kgs) to 12 years of age.
- It has Isofix fittings but the use of them is optional.

Saefty-wise it's a far cry from the journeys I took as a child with my four siblings - all packed into the boot of my Dad's beloved Morris Minors!

I love our new (very clean) GuardianFix Pro, however of course all this comes at a price. The seat currently retails at approx. £250. However as long as you don't inadvertently blow it up it'll be the only seat you'll need.

If you're in Ireland and have had trouble getting hold of a Kiddy Car Seat then good news! Kiddy have teamed up with Bluebear Nursery, who are specialists in quality nursery products and accessories, to make Kiddy products more widely available to Irish parents.

And what did the kids like best about it all? Well I think you can probably guess.

Update (28/06/12):  Possible safety issue when the Guardianfix Pro is used without the Isofix setting and with a 3 year old test dummy using the safety bar: (NOTE: Issue has been rectified with latest edition - Guardian Pro 2)

"It has come to our attention that a testing house in Germany, ADAC, has recently had a poor result in one out of sixteen advanced crash tests with the Kiddy Guardianfix Pro.  We would like to clarify that in the other fifteen tests, using a variety of dummy sizes, and the isofix fittings, the seat passed with very good  results.  However when tested with the 3 year old dummy, without the isofix fittings, but using the baby insert cushion folded over, it failed.  This has led to a report  that suggests the seat is unsafe when used specifically with these one-off criteria.
The problem is easily rectified by removing one half of the foam in the baby insert cushion.  This is very simple to do.  We have put a demonstration on youtube  as well as on the website where you will find a video showing how it's done.
The test in question was repeated by Kiddy, at the same testing house, on the 29th May with the adapted insert cushion in situ.  We are pleased to announce that it passed convincingly.
Therefore, we can say, categorically that the Kiddy Guardianfix Pro has excellent safety standards when used in conjunction with the isofix fittings, and is entirely safe for use without isofix providing the baby insert cushion has been adapted as advised.
We apologise for any concerns that you may have and please be assured that Kiddy take the safety of your children very seriously.  If you have any questions, please post below and include your contact details."

Disclosure: Kiddy kindly supplied the Guardianfix Pro to me for free for the purposes of this review, however no payment was received. 

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