Transporting babies, toddlers and children

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Transporting babies, toddlers and children

Post by v-rex » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:53 pm

Firstly, you'll hear groups mentioned a lot when it comes to car seats. Here are some definitions:

Group Weight range Approximate age range
0 Up to 10kg (22lb) From birth to 11 months for boys, and 14 months for girls.
0+ Up to 13kg (29lb) From birth to around 12 months to 15 months.
1 9kg-18kg (20-40lb) Nine months to around four and a half years. Group 1 car seats tend to be forward-facing, but this is changing.
2 15kg-25kg (33lb-3st 13lb) About three years to seven years. Group 2 seats are booster seats so that the car's seat belt can be used.
3 22kg-36kg (3st 7lb-5st 9lb) About six years to 12 years.

We talk a lot about the engine and the great suspension on the car, but another area where the RX8 engineers put in the work was putting ISOFIX in the car. I knew nothing about this stuff until I had my first one, but it seems not every car from that era had ISOFIX so it was nice of Mazda to put it in. The suicide doors also are quite useful for putting car seats in, and children. Pretty much every car seat manufacturer I've seen online has a fitting guide and they will tell you if their particular car seat will fit in the RX8 and in what positions, so please do your research before ordering. Ideally also get a test fitting if you can. Some car seats have wide bases and will be too wide for some of the seats, for example like the front Recaro passenger seat of the R3.

Please remember to disable the passenger airbag if you use the car seat rear facing in the passenger seat, or push it all the way back if forward facing. I've never done this, nor do I recommend it on the grounds of safety, and always recommend using the rear seats, but in theory it's possible if you really want or need to.

maxicosifitguide.jpg
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Remember to treat a child seat like you would a crash helmet. If you're swapping seats between cars and it gets dropped on the ground or banged on something, bin it and get a new one. If for any reason you wish to purchase second hand, you must be absolutely sure you can trust the source. You never know if it has been in an incident, as sometimes the damage is internal. It's almost always better to just go new and have the peace of mind of knowing it's definitely undamaged.

Also if you're in the slightest accident, even the tiniest of bumps, your insurance will usually replace it ( pay you the original purchase value ) with no excess or impact on your policy. Even if you don't have the receipt, usually a picture of the owners manual cover is fine.


What is ISOFIX ?

ISOFIX is essentially an attachment point for car seats. In the RX8 on the rear seats if you look closely you'll see two little holes. If you stick your finger in these holes then you'll be able to feel metal hooks which are secured to the car. Car seats which specify ISOFIX have a set of clips which you can use to clip the car seat to the car and this keeps the car seat securely in. The alternative is to use a seatbelt to fasten the seat in.

Pushchairs, Buggies and strollers

No groups here. Mostly the biggest issue here is for the S1 version of the RX8 is being able to get the buggy through the small opening for the boot. I think the R3 version has a bigger boot opening so should be easier to put buggies in? Bigger buggies will have bigger wheels, and more space for compartments, but of course are harder to fit in. Bigger wheels means it's easier to go cross country and generally more sturdy, but heavier and harder to get in. Strollers are the lightweight option and usually you'll have no problem getting those in the boot of the rex.

Depending on the manufacturer some buggies have a travel adapter. This means you can clip the car seat directly on the buggy. This can be quite useful for transferring the little ones in and out, especially when sleeping.

Group 0/0+

Seat

The seats at this stage have to be rear facing up to 15 months. Main thing is that the baby's head is huge compared to it's body and so you want most of the support when you brake as that's when you pull the most G's. This seats are often designed to be used up to 15 months so 0/0+. However do make sure you read the manual to make sure the baby is comfortable as it grows. This was where most of my NCT friends stumbled. Initially there might be a wedge or pillow for support, which then gets taken out. Then you can usually adjust the height of the straps. In my personal case we had a Maxi Cosi Pebble, which you could move the head rest up on till it got to the top. Once the baby's head is getting to the top of the seat, regardless of age it's time to move onto the next seat. Don't forget to keep adjusting the seat as the baby grows, it's easy to forget !!

A lot of the seats at this stage are a two part system, with an ISOFIX base and the car seat which can click on the top. Again from my personal experience the Maxi Cosi had a base ( FamilyFix if I remember correctly ) which would attach on one side in the ISOFIX hooks and another stand which provided support from the floor. Once installed you didn't need to move the base, just click the car seat in and out. The Maxi cosi one had 3 lights and a beep to tell you that it was securely fastened on the floor, the ISOFIX and then that the car seat was firmly placed in. A nice little reminder when you are sleep deprived. A button is clicked to remove the car seat upon exit and then you can either lug it around or put it on the travel adapter on the buggy.

Space wise it's pretty reasonable. You can fit it behind the passenger seat and there will be plenty of space, or even fit it behind the driver. I am 6ft and I still got it behind me when needed. Here is my pebble, fitted onto the ISOFIX base.

IMG_20150409_084852.jpg

MaxiCosiCloseUp.jpg


ISOFIX whilst great, is not mandatory and you can use a seatbelt. The seatbelt will wrap around the car seat, and usually has special hooks to ensure the seat is securely fastened. Always worth reading the manual and learning about this, even if you intend to use ISOFIX. On occasion we've taken the car seat abroad for use in the airport taxi and elsewhere, and so the seatbelt knowledge is invaluable. Here is an owner who has recently got a Joie stages car seat, which is non ISOFIX. He stated the seat fitted perfectly in the rear seat, thought admits that if was to be used regularly the ease of putting the child rearwards in a swivelling chair would definitely be worth the extra cost, as it can get a bit tricky with the low roof of the rex.

stages.jpg
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Buggy/Stroller

We went with the Bugaboo Bee 3. I think this has moved onto the Bee 5 or 6 at the time of writing but I think they should all fit. It's known as a city stroller and isn't too bad on the pavement but struggles a bit on rough terrain. In group 0/0+ configuration you'll have the child facing towards you and it can be a bit fiddly getting it into the boot, especially if it has footmuffs etc attached. It will go but requires some manoeuvring and you want to be especially careful with the rubber near the top of the boot lid. John Lewis did a service for us, where you can test if the buggy fits in your car boot before purchase, so useful to do. I think when we looked there were a few other Mama and Papa ones, and Quinny ones which looked like they might fit, but I think the icandy and anything bigger like the Bugaboo Donkey was out for an S1.





Rear view Mirror

We got a Diono easy view mirror. You may be able to appreciate that if you are driving, and the child is facing rearwards that you don't always know what's going on back there. You can get a mirror which attaches to the rear seat, and a supplementary mirror that attaches to your front mirror so you can see the baby. We only got the mirror at the back, and looked back when we needed to. One of the problems we ran into is that the rear headrests on an RX8 are not adjustable, and it's assumed the mirror fits under the headrest.

We got around the mirror problem by attaching a bit of the strap on the top tether behind the headrest, and another bit pinned in the ski rack section. After much fiddling we got it angled correctly to view the little one but it wasn't easy, and as soon as the little one knew how to kick, she undid our good work. There must be a better solution for this but I never did find one.

Seat protection

I never used any protectors and my seats were fine. The car seat bases for group 0/0+/1 seats did make an indent on my leather seats but after a few weeks these disappeared and the seats were ok. If you like however you can get a seat protector to protect the seat, or kickmats once the kids are older and forward facing. The trouble again will be with the lack of normal headrests in an RX8. The rear seat protector can probably be hooked onto the top tether behind the rear headrest, and then the base is held on by the seat. I have kickmats in my CX5, which attach to rear of the front seats, under the headrest. I assume with the RX8 you might need to do some sort of loop through the rotary section of the headrest or find another way to attach.

https://uk.diono.com/product/pack-of-two-stuff-n-scuff/

One RX8 R3 owner has had great success with the Recaro car seat protector and despite it's cost, it provides a thick layer of padding and has protected his seats perfectly from car seats but also his heavy toolbox on track days. It is actually stain resistant unlike other brands that claim to be but fail to deliver. The protector works equally well in the front or back seat, and of course ties in nicely with the Recaro theme of the R3, especially if you end up getting the Recaro car seats as well !!

https://www.recaro-kids.uk/accessories/ ... ector.html

If you do get carried away, or if the little ones have a funny tummy then although it seems like it won't, the smell of vomit does finally go away, but it takes ages. Pretty much every car seat has washable fabric so you can remove and wash and put back on. The only bit we struggled with was the stains on the car seat belts, which don't come off. Online ( possibly from Maxi Cosi themselves but not sure ) was recommended a solution of lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda, scrubbed on and then wiped off with clean water. Worked well in our case. Leather cleaners such as Autoglym, etc will prob do the job on the leather, but in our case the accidents were usually contained within the seat itself. Oh and whilst potty training just to be safe...

https://koo-di.com/products/wetec-seat-protector-1

Group 0-1

Car seat

At this stage you can go one of two ways. Some people believe it's still good to keep the children rear facing and I think across the EU it's a requirement to keep children facing rearwards till 3 years old. We went for a seat called the Britax Roemer dualfix which rotates 360 and can be kept in a forward or backward configuration whilst driving.The Joie i-Spin 360 is another one that is supposed to fit. ISOFIX was used in our case to secure the seat, and much like the ISOFIX base there is also a stand to steady the seat at the front. The seat takes up a bit more space this time, so both seats need to go a little more forward to fit this one in, but it's still ok. I preferred to keep this one on the passenger side as my wife is shorter than me.

The swivelling is useful when you are putting the children in the seat. You can rotate the seat outwards when you put the child in, do up the belts etc and then turn the seat backwards or forwards. With the suicide doors it's actually really easy to put the child in, and only is a bit problem in tight parking spots. As the child gets older, if you want to go rear facing then you need to tilt the seat back a little so their legs fit. My daughter was quite tall but we managed to get to about 2.5 years old before we faced her forward.

The seat itself is heavy as it's not designed to be moved around so it's a little pain to get in and out. Mostly it's a case of getting the ISOFIX clips to click in. With the front seat forward and the suicide doors you get some room to manoeuvre so you can install it and then you can move the front seats to a more comfortable position, and don't need to move it when placing the child in or out. The hardest part I found was to undo the ISOFIX clip closest to the central tunnel, as it's hard to get your fingers in there, but you get the hang of it.




As stated before another method used for ISOFIX is the top tether. An example of a forward facing group 0+/1 seat that has been used successfully by an RX8 owner and uses the top tether is the Britax Duo. Here there is no foot prop but the 3rd point of anchorage is a tether which hooks onto the seat and then the other end hooks on to the top tether behind the rear headrest. You'll see a flap which when opened shows a metal loop which you can attach the tether to. One advantage with this method, is that you leave the floor well clear, so it's useful if you have multiple kids and they want to enter the car from the car seat side. With a rearward facing seat you'll usually be limited by the car seat itself, not the base, but in the case of a forward facing seat like the Duo, a top tether may also give you a little more room to move the seat back as their is no foot prop to impede it.

Other forward facing seats at this stage, which have been used by RX8 owners are the Recaro Optiafix and the Recaro Young Sport Hero, and of course the Maxi Cosi Pearl which is the natural forward facing step up from the Pebble. The Maxi Cosi Tobi is a good non ISOFIX option for group 0+ to 1 ( 9months - 4 years ) that has had success with owners. it has a special lever to help adjust the fit and get it nice and snug, and actually sits quite high allowing the child to view out of the window.

DSC_3599.JPG

Note: At the time of writing Recaro have discontinued their car seats, but there is talk of a new venture so they may re-emerge. Obviously a sporty car seat that suits the nature of the RX8 so let's hope they come back.

Once the car seat faces forward there is less onus to have ISOFIX for holding purposes, the seat belt does most of the work, but where the ISOFIX helps is to keep the car seat secure when there is no one in there.

One issue that you will start to face when going forward is that once the kid falls asleep, their head can often lol forward. This can be quite disconcerting and doesn't keep their head in the optimal position for side impact. Different manufacturers have different solutions to this, but usually some sort of recline is the usual solution. Bear this in mind when choosing a seat, and more recline options help with keeping the head stable when the little ones are asleep. For example, the Maxi Cosi Tobi has various levels of incline which one RX8 owner stated kept his son's head from lolling forward when asleep.

Buggy / Strollers

Once you don't need the travel adapter, the Bugaboo for us was configured to face forwards and so was a little easier to take in and out of the boot. It just seems to fold more compactly that way. One other thing is that we bought a Mclaren Globetrotter stroller as we needed it for a flight abroad. For short trips in the car we started to use that more and more. It fits in the boot no problem and is really lightweight so is useful for short trips. It isn't as comfortable or as easy to push as a proper buggy so we still kept the Bugaboo for the more serious trips.

If you don't want or need the travel adapter and are happy to go with just the car seat as a group 0, then you could decide to just use a stroller and this will make life easier with the boot. The Britax we had actually went from birth to 4 years so you could use that and not get a first seat, but for us the travel adapter and especially the easy transfer when the little one was sleeping was invaluable. A possible option for sure though.

globetrotter-red-1.jpg
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Group 1-3

For the next stage we went to the Cybex Z-fix which is group 2-3. The Recaro Monza Nova 2 is another car seat that has worked well for RX8 owners, and actually integrates headphones into the headrest. Again we went ISOFIX but in this case it's not true ISOFIX, but mostly just using the ISOFIX bars to secure the car seat when no one is in it. It is not a true ISOFIX system and often manufacturers will relabel their products, to avoid confusion. Recaro, for instance use the term SEATFIX. The seat belt does all of the work, so don't go ISOFIX if you don't want to. Not going ISOFIX makes the seat a little lighter and easier to move in and out of the car, but if it's permanently in the car then the ISOFIX connectors help to keep it in place when you are driving with flair and exuberance, as you've managed to wangle a trip without the kiddies.

For the RX8, in this group, I think the range is quite wide now and most car seats will fit. The seat is also pretty light so can be moved from car to car pretty easily. In our case the seat goes all the way up to 12 years, so there are adjustments to make the seat go higher and wider as your child grows. Make sure you keep up with that as it's easy to forget, but at this stage the kids will happily tell how uncomfortable they are if the seat is not right ( and will probably whinge about something anyway even if it is !! ).

Again as mentioned before, once you start going forward facing then the lines between groups blur and you can get seats that go all the way up to 12. So the Recaro Young Sport Hero goes from group 1-3 so you don't need to buy another seat once you get that one. The Joie stages is a group 0+-2 seat. The Joie every stage seems to go from group 0+ to group 3 (not verified by actual RX8 owner yet ) so once you buy that you don't need to buy another seat again.
Last edited by v-rex on Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:59 am, edited 13 times in total.

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Re: Transporting babies, toddlers and children

Post by v-rex » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:08 am

I think I'm done. Eventually !!

Could not get the table functionality in BBcode to work so went with colour coding instead, and resized some of the pictures to make it "flow" better. I think I've incorporated everything that everyone added but if anyone sees anything or any typos then let me know and I can amend.

Thanks again to DaveMitch, New Duke, AndyBrad, Nicklaus and bigpete8 for your contributions (apologies if I missed anyone), they really helped get a complete picture for both the S1 and R3 versions and different car seat manufacturers ( did someone mention Recaro ? :D ).

And thanks again Warpc0il, for your contributions and making this into a FAQ.

Vinod

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Re: Transporting babies, toddlers and children

Post by warpc0il » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:48 pm

This FAQ response came from the discussion here,
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=80597
which can continue to be used to debate the topic.

However, when such debate has abated and that topic has been pruned by the forum housekeeping, the FAQ will continue to be a reference resource.

Congratulations to Vinod and all those that contributed content; information, text and photos.
Dave
The Spin Doctor ™
uǝǝɹɔs ɹnoʎ ʇɹǝʌuı ǝsɐǝld :ɹoɹɹǝ

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