Maxi-Cosi 2-way Family Pearl

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In a nutshell

A groundbreaking car seat that enables your toddler to sit rear-facing for longer, meeting i-SIZE guidelines

  • Pros

    Comfortable and quick to get a child into and out of, complies with in coming car seat legislation and allows your child to face forwards or backwards, up to the age of four

  • Cons

    A pricey car seat; can only be used if you have ISOFIX points in your car and you need to buy an additional removable cover in order to wash it

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Our review

Maxi Cosi is known in the industry as one of the leading specialists in baby, toddler and child car seats.  Recently, the manufacturing titans released what they call the safest toddler car seat in their portfolio.

The 2wayPearl is one of a new breed of car seats designed to comply with the latest i-SIZE car seat legislation, being phased in over the next five years. 

The new i-SIZE guidelines (ECE R129) were introduced in July 2013 and recommend, among other things, that children should travel rear facing until they are at least 15 months old.  

The new regulations improve safety, according to the European safety regulators, because rearward-facing car seats protect a young child’s head and neck better and reduces the risk of spinal injury, in the event of an accident.  

In order to get an i-SIZE approval, car seats must also undergo and pass side impact tests and can only be used in Isofix ready cars. 

Maxi Cosi were the first manufacture to produce a standard i-SIZE car seat and so it has been the subject of many conversations.

Although the guidelines advise that a child must be rear facing for up to 15 months old, this Group 1 seat is suitable for children six months to four years old.  These guidelines will become law, but they will take many years to implement. It is used with with the 2wayFix base, which fixes to a car’s Isofix points and allows the seat to face either forward or backwards.  With this car seat you’re getting the very latest safety technology available.

Like most toddlers, when my son two-year-old Sam isn’t happy about something, he’ll let me - and usually anyone in a ten-mile radius - know.  So when I first popped him into the new Max-Cosi 2wayPearl car seat and he said he liked it, I knew he was telling the truth.

After using it for both short trips to the supermarket and a two-and-a-half hour drive to visit relatives, he wasn’t the only one who was impressed.

You can buy the Maxi-Cosi 2-way Family Pearl on Amazon, Mothercare or John Lewis.

Was it easy to install?

It was fairly easy.  The seat consists of two parts – the 2wayPearl seat itself, and the separate 2wayFix base into which it slots. The base involves a little bit of faffing about in order to put it in place – clicking two yellow prongs into your car’s ISOFIX points (in the crease between the upper and lower seats); and then ensuring the ‘leg’ section reaches down to touch the footwell.

However, once you’ve done all this, two little green lights flash on the base and then will flash again to reassure you that you’ve fitted it correctly, which is incredibly handy (not to mention comforting).  The child seat then slots into place on the base - which takes a bit of getting used to, but is easy once you’ve practised a few times - and that’s it, you’re ready to go.

But remember, here at MFM we always think it's better to get an expert to show you how to safely install a car seat in your vehicle before you buy it. 

What about getting your child into the seat?

The seat can face either backwards (up to 4 years old) and forwards (from 15 month) and has four reclining positions in both directions. Settling Sam into the 2wayPearl took just seconds.

Once he was in the seat I pulled on the harness straps to loosen them so that he could put his arms through easily.  I then connected the two sides of the harness and clicked them into the central clip between his legs; then pulled on a tab to tighten the whole things so that Sam was secure. 

We tried Sam in the seat facing rearwards, but he wasn't impressed - he couldn't stretch his legs as much as he liked and didn't like the fact he couldn't see whoever was driving. However, he's used to travelling forwards - having done it for over a year now - and I think his reaction may have been different had he grown up under the new laws coming in and not experienced facing the front (he certainly had no problems facing backwards as a baby

How comfortable was the 2way Pearl?

Very. Thanks to good padding all the way around the seat, on the harness straps and clip, and also on the headrest, which adjusts to suit your child’s height Sam found it very comfortable. He fell asleep in it easily on both long and short car journeys, and didn’t try to shrug the straps off, as he has done in other seats in the past. Having the base also meant he had a better view out of the window as he was higher up.

Is the car seat roomy enough to last up to 4 years?

The seat is spacious and Sam is a fairly ‘normal’ size for a two-year-old but he had a good inch of wiggle room either side of his bottom, so it promising that it will be comfy until he’s four.  While you can take the cover off to wash it, you can also buy an optional ‘summer cover’ and if you have a child who loves to squish soggy rice cakes into everything, you’d probably be wise to shell out a little extra for this washable cover.

What about the 2way fix base?

It is an expensive price for a base, however it does work with leading group 0+ car seats the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus.  Therefore you only need one Isofix base to cover two car seat styles from birth to 4 years. 

What to watch out for?

It’s not convenient for people who need to regularly swap their seat from one car to another (as the base makes it bulky to carry around).

It also isn’t suitable for people who have an older car without Isofix points.

What’s in the box?

  • Maxi-Cosi 2way Pearl car seat. The 2wayFix base is sold separately at £175.

Any optional extras?

  • Summer Cover - £30
  • Parasol - £15
  • Pocket holder - £15

MadeForMums verdict

It’s a comfy, easy to use car seat that you can be sure is fitted correctly that offer longer and safer rear-facing for your toddler.

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