To ISOFIX or not to ISOFIX

Timmy is about 7 months old, and at 9kg, very nearly reaching the usable lifespan of the Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix he’s been traveling in. We don’t have the Maxi Cosi ISOFix base, so I’ve been strapping him in and out the car using the belt. Group 0’s almost done.

Here’s what the groups mean:

Stage Group Approx Age Weight (kg) Weight (lbs)
1 0 Birth – 15 months 2 – 13 5 – 29
2 1 9 months – 4 years 9 – 18 20 – 40
3 2 4 – 6 years 15 – 25 33 – 55
4 3 4 – 10 years 22 – 36 48 – 76

(Source: Wikipedia)

So now we’re in the market for Group 1, or a Group 1-2 seat.

ISOFIX

Most seats are affixed to the vehicle using seat belts. But belts can stretch and fray, especially with the seat in place semi-permanently. ISOFIX is a 20+ year old standard that has vehicle manufacturers weld 2 hoops of metal behind the rear seat cushions. A child seat with the ISO attachment points allows it to be directly linked to the vehicle chassis, and simplify the installation process.

The caveat is that ISOFIX in its current form (and as I understand it) allows for it to hold fast (in a crash) 15kg of child seat, and 18kg of child – which is the limit of the Group 1 seat.

According to Britax’s catalogue, the ISOFIX equipped Group 2-3 seats uses the seat belt to secure the child to the car – so the ISOFIX and the seat belt holds them past the weight limit.

OPTIONS

Mothercare Singapore only carries 3 ISOFIX models – Maxi Cosi Pearl, PrioriFix, and one other. Prices start at $800 as of last weekend. I decided to explore importing a Britax through perhaps Amazon.co.uk and Borderlinx. This was the shipping quote I got. What the Fwoah!

A Britax Duo Plus front facing seat with ISOFIX and allows seat belt installation could be gotten at the local distributor. About the same prices.

The Britax TriFix is the latest model, due out this month (Feb 2012). It’s front facing, ISOFIX only and uses a top tether. Top tethers are typically on the back side of the rear seat, or the rear parcel shelf. On my car it’s on the trunk nearer to the rear bumper. This will significantly decrease the amount of boot space available.

REAR FACING

Some more reading on the internet revealed that rear-facing car seats are the safest. They are slightly more complex to install – and require tether straps and a foot prop. The Swedes recommend Extended Rear Facing (ERF) seats for children up to 4, or longer. CarSeat.SE will also globally ship a child seat for €75 Euro per seat.

So maybe Timmy will get to remain rear facing for several more years.

My current requirement?

  1. ISOFIX
  2. Seat belt installation – just in case I have to use the seat in another car.
  3. Combination front and rear facing
  4. Group 1 – 2 so we can depreciate this over longer

I’m currently drooling over the Axonkids Kidzofix, a relative newcomer to the car seat manufacturing scene, but run by very serious and experienced guys. Watch the video, its got tons of install options and clever features like automatic tightening tethers and automatic headrest height adjustments.

The worry of course is, its lack of support in this part of the world, I can’t touch it before I buy it and possibly the lack availability of spare covers and such. If I do my conversions right, yeap – about the same prices as purchasing locally. But for rear facing AND for ISOFIX. Not bad.

If we eliminate ISOFIX from the wishlist, then a Britax Multi Tech 2 would fit the bill.

If we eliminate ISOFIX and forward facing, then a Maxi-Cosi Mobi would be a go.

Hmmm. Still some time to think about this….

3 thoughts on “To ISOFIX or not to ISOFIX

  1. Pingback: Review: Axkid Kidzofix | The Mad Edition

  2. Jerb

    My husband was pondering hard over whether to get Isofix too… He was literally drooling at the sheer no. of Isofix models available on Mothercare UK website compared to the pathetic few models offered by Mothercare SG. Do you know where we can locate Recaro or Britax Isofix models besides the usual Mothercare?

    1. Ed Post author

      Thanks for writing, I enjoyed reading your blog in return.

      As mentioned in my post, http://www.infantree.net/ is the local distributor for Britax and you can give them a call about available models. Note the (strict) opening hours.

      To be honest, I haven’t really researched nor considered Recaro.

      Given the unsafe driving habits of a lot of those who share our roads, I’m actually surprised that many do not take child seats seriously. I think I’ve decided on having Timmy seated rear facing as long as possible… and I’ll import a Axonkids Kidzofix from Sweden.

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