Paraphernalia

Review: Britax Kidfix II XP SICT – Group 2 car seat

Every couple of years, I find myself plunged back into the confusion that is choosing a car seat. From changing rules, jargon and recommendations – whether that’s i-Size, Isofit, forward and rear facing – not to mention different styles, brands, prices and all those overlapping group numbers, it’s never been my favourite task.

Girl's body and legs in a child car seat - my Britax Kidfix II XP SICT review, choosing a Group 2 car seat

And just as we got to Group 2 stage, with Minnie’s weight creeping above the 15kg mark, along come some new rules about booster seats. So as I prepared to sit down in front of my computer and start whimpering over the endless array of options, along came Britax to ask if I wanted to review one of their car seats.

Well, yes please. I’ve already written about the Britax Secureguard technology which helps keep seatbelts in the right position to protect a child’s abdomen, useful for wriggly small people and especially for my petite girl, so was interested to see how the Kidfix II XP SICT seat worked in practice.

First, a few facts and stats – the Britax seat is a high-backed booster that gets one of the top rankings from Which? for this category, as well as being one of the most recently tested. It’s suitable for 15-36kg (around four to 12 years so we should never have to buy another car seat – hurrah!)

It weighs 7kg, around half as much as our old Group 1 seat – although I’m not planning to travel with it, it’s nice not to have to weightlift if we move it between cars – and has Isofit connectors. It’s worth pointing out that you can use it without the Isofit, as it’s the car’s seat belt which actually secures the child. Britax also has a ‘Fit Finder‘ on the website so you can check if any given seat will fit your specific car.

As well as the Secureguard technology, there’s side impact protection SICT and it comes in seven different colours. Not vital to child safety but nice to have a choice that’s not black!

So that’s the practicalities sorted. How did it work in practice in my little Ford Fiesta? A small disclaimer: I am not the most mechanically minded person so  I delegated actually fitting it to my husband – this is one situation where I didn’t want to make a mistake with the instructions…

And it definitely varies from car to car. In my Fiesta, the design meant the Isofit is tucked under the seat, so it’s tricky to see, and although there are guide rods provided he found those almost as fiddly. Second time around, having moved it temporarily into his Audi, he tried without the guides and said it was much more straightforward – the green indicators show if the seat is connected to the Isofit anchor points properly, so you know when it’s done correctly anyway.

Swapping it into his larger Audi for a motorway journey earlier this month, the Isofit connectors were more accessible so it was much quicker to switch it into the back there. In both cases, the seat itself went easily into place though, which does mean there’s less chance of making a mistake.

SICT side impact protection on a child car seat, with a girl sitting holding a drawing pad in front of her face - my Britax Kidfix II XP SICT review, choosing a Group 2 car seat

The side impact protection is adjustable, so you only need to activate the side by the door – it just screws out in case of a side impact (clue in the name). It didn’t actually touch the door in either car, although there’s only a small gap in the Fiesta, and thankfully we haven’t yet needed to find out if it does work. Which? gives it five stars which is as good as it gets though.

It’s also worth saying that ours arrived with very limited instructions, so he hunted down a video on YouTube for assistance the first time. The instructions are online though as we discovered and various stores, including Mothercare, John Lewis and Halfords, also offer car seat fitting and advice services, if you prefer. And as with everything, once you’ve done it once, it’s a lot easier the second time.

The seatbelt slides under a red belt holder, so that’s very straightforward as well. Once I’d got over my feeling that it seemed weirdly loose at least – after years of strapping her in tightly, I’ve got to remind myself that even once you’ve pulled them taut, seatbelts always let you move around until and unless they need to pull tight again.

I love the fact that someone’s thought of other details to put your mind at rest, such as the red panels on either side to show where the belt should sit, and if you do that, it’s also slides naturally under the extra clip at the front, holding the belt down and over the pelvis as promised. And once you’ve adjusted the headrest to the right height – also easy peasy – the belt lies perfectly in the right place on her chest.

The XP-Pad protector over the belt, which reduces any impact on the neck, usually needs sliding down into the right place and the seatbelt occasionally tries to twist itself up, but it doesn’t take too long to get used to.

The trickiest part, for us, was actually clipping it in. Using the guides in the Fiesta meant the part the buckle slides into was right next to the edge of the seat. It was still possible to click the buckle in but it meant using two hands – one to hold the buckle, the other to hold the part to clip it in, all while either balancing over a four-year-old who would inevitably decide to beep my nose or by opening the other door and stretching across. Not the end of the world, but it was a minor daily irritation, and would be doubly so if you had a two-door car.

We were left feeling that everything wanted to be about an inch to the right – but because we were using the Isofit, the seat position was fixed. Attaching it the second time, my husband ditched the guides altogether and suddenly that gave us just a bit more room so it’s less now fiddly to wheedle the seatbelt in. An odd quirk, but worth knowing.

In the bigger Audi (above), this wasn’t an issue at all – presumably as there’s just more space on the seat.

And what of the four-year-old’s verdict? As Minnie could have safely stayed in her old car seat until she hit 18kg, one of the biggest reasons we wanted to move her was to make her more comfortable. She had started to look a bit squished in her trusty Group 1 seat, and as she got bigger, pulling the straps tight enough without squashing her was getting trickier – not to mention fiddling about with taking thick winter coats off first to ensure it was secure.

In our new Britax, there’s suddenly loads of room (unsurprisingly, about eight years’ worth of growth!) and while she briefly complained that the padded headrest wasn’t as comfy, she quickly got used to that and has very happily dozed off against it. The V shaped backrest should also keep working as she grows.

The open sides mean she can get at her water and toys in the back seat a lot more easily too. Doesn’t stop her dropping them on the floor as soon as she loses interest, sadly, but does prevent agonised wails when she could see but not reach something. Which is always good at a tricky junction.

And the colour? I went for mineral purple – although green marble was a close second – which is always guaranteed a thumbs up from my four-year-old. I never say no to a little something to brighten my day as we rush to school or head out on a long journey. The cover is removable and machine washable too. Because you never know…

So the verdict? As you’d expect, this is a truly high-quality seat with all the safety and security features you’d expect from a big name like Britax, and it looks as good as it performs.

Because of the differences between models of car, it’s definitely worth checking that it’s suitable for yours, and if you can test it first, so much the better. Especially if yours is smaller than a Fiesta: admittedly, not too many are!

Available nationwide from Mothercare, priced from £170.

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My Britax Kidfix II XP SICT review - choosing a Group 2 car seat including the latest safety and security features as well as how comfortable this model was for my four-year-old.

 

Disclosure: I was sent this car seat for the purposes of review. All opinions and decisions to drive Ford Fiestas are my own.

Images copyright MummyTravels

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