Reviewed by Julie Lawrence
I was sent Britax’s new ADVANSAXFIX III SICT Group 1/2/3 car seat to test with my 3½ year old child. I’m very particular about car seats so was eager to see how this one faired. On first impression, it was a robust car seat, well packaged and easy to unwrap and get ready to use.
On unboxing I found several guides packaged together, each in a different language – so I just had to find one small leaflet in my desired language and the rest could be put to one side – much easier than flicking through a larger book. I read through the instructions, all of which had clear pictures and easy to follow numbered/labelled diagrams. I wanted to use the car seat in the Group 1 (9-18kg) position using the 5-point harness for my child.
The car seat was provided with ISOFIX insert guides which were very useful to line up the ISOFIX points and make it a little easier to fit the car seat attachment points to the ISOFIX in the car. Unfortunately, even though it all looked incredibly simple, I really struggled to connect the attachment points to the ISOFIX. When I extended the locking arms, following the instructions, and tried to guide them through the ISOFIX insert guides, they then retracted into the car seat as soon as any pressure was applied to the locking arms – making it impossible to engage into the ISOFIX point. After many attempts, I needed to ask for help from another person, who was subsequently also unable to keep the extended arms extended when pressure was applied. In the end, we had to work together to push the extended arm from underneath the seat to ensure it engaged and locked into place to the ISOFIX points. Once the ISOFIX was engaged it was very simple and quick to attach the top tether point – I liked the simple “green” = Safe sign on the arms and top tether – quick and easy to check – although it felt like a small slither of green on the ISOFIX points compared to the larger slither on the top tether. Once fitted the car seat felt extremely secure.
The straps on the ADVANSAFIX III SICT ran smoothly through the car seat and were easy to adjust, as was the multiple adjustable head rest and shoulder strap. My child wanted to try the seat immediately and it was reassuring to be able to adjust several settings to get it “just right” for him AND could do it quickly and easily. The ADVANSAFIX III SICT was much easier to adjust than other car seats I have used previously. The seat came with a SICT Side Impact Protection which fits on the side of the seat closest to the door. I was a little surprised at how simple this appeared to be (hand sized plastic casing, small foam insert). As this appeared to be a new feature on this seat I was expecting something a little more advanced looking or appear to provide more protection. Although the packing did offer some information about what it does “provides removable side impact protection which is used on the side closest to the door” I didn’t expect it to do much in the case of a collision. Nevertheless, it was easy to fit and remove when needed.
Once fitted in the car and adjusted to my child, we tried the car seat out on a 45 minute journey – it must have been very comfortable as he fell asleep within 15 minutes and doesn’t normally nap in the car. I had the seat in the upright position, as that is what he prefers, but it was very easy to adjust it to a more reclined position. He liked the padded section surrounding the harness buckle and was able to recognize which way was the “right way” on the shoulder straps. I liked that these were padded and comfortable – but made out of a type of firm foam which held him in place whilst being soft against his chest. This seemed to spread the protection across his chest rather than just the traditional soft bit of padding to stop straps from rubbing. The seat has a useful bag attached to the back to store the SecureGuard and fitting manual.
As this car seat is at the higher end of the Group 1/2/3 seats I was surprised to see it focus purely on safety and offer no additional features such as cup holders or “cubbie holes”. When using car seats for older children it is really useful to have somewhere they can store a drink, pot or small toy. However, the seat – which is a safety device – felt incredibly secure. All of the adjustable features helped it fit each individual child as much as possible. The seat reclines – even for the older child – great for longer journeys, and using the ISOFIX fittings left me feeling much more secure knowing the seat fits directly onto the car frame rather than just rely on a seatbelt. I would recommend it as a seat that truly grows with your child. I’ve tried other Group 1/2/3 seats and felt they were aimed at one or other end of the weight guide rather than truly universal.
Truly universal seat from 9-36kg
Easy to adjust
Comfortable for the child
Not easy to fit on your own
No additional features (cup holders)
For more information or to buy (available in 7 colour options) visit www.britax.co.uk/car-seats/advansafix-iii-sict.