The Recaro Monza Seatfix car seat offers comfort and a built-in sound system – something even reluctant older kids are sure to like!It’s little wonder that since it launched in January 2008, demand for the Recaro Monza Seatfix has been double what was originally anticipated. The Seatfix is an adjustable high back booster that gives excellent side impact protection in the shoulder and chest areas thanks to the fixed armrests and energy absorbing side bolsters. It has integrated Seatfix arms that can be fixed to the IsoFix fittings if your car has them. This gives maximum protection in the event of a side collision as the seat cannot tilt. You can also use the seat with the 3-point seat belt alone.
This is a good seat with a gimmicky selling feature that is actually worth having. The integrated Recaro sound system is certainly the bit that my daughter, Florence got most excited about. The speakers are built in to the headrest and you can plug in a DVD or MP3 player, making any long car journey go in a flash. Both Florence and her older sister, Molly, love the fact that they can play music without having to wear headphones, which small children generally find really uncomfortable. For me, of course, the most important aspect is safety and I do feel that this seat offers good levels of protection. It can be quite hard to persuade an older child such as 8-year-old Molly that she still needs a booster, and a seat like this makes it a bit easier as it is also stylish and comfortable. The instruction booklet is kept in a pocket underneath the seat, which is a great idea as it means that you can’t lose it and it’s always with the seat if you need to refer to it. The headrest is easily adjustable with one hand to 11 positions to accommodate your little ones as they grow and has a built-in air pillow that provides extra comfort for sleeping. The Seatfix is made using high quality ventilated foam and has a unique air circulation system that keeps it cool - which is great for long journeys.
I found the seat heavy and awkward to carry and transfer between cars. In fact, when I first picked it up by the handle at the back, it immediately extended the height and dropped onto my toe, leaving me in agony! If you have more than one child in the age-group the seat is suitable for, you will inevitably have to buy them one each, which could end up being very tough on your wallet.
I love the idea of the built-in speakers but I also like the fact that car journeys are a good opportunity to chat together as a family, and I wouldn’t want everyone sitting there in their own little bubble all the time. We don’t have a portable DVD player, and the children don’t have music players of their own, so I had to spend a bit of time transferring some nursery rhyme tapes onto my ipod before using the seat.
Which? only gave this car seat 2 out of 5 stars for its performance in a front crash. However, its overall safety score was 3 out of 5 stars. It's not a Which? Best Buy, it's not rated as a Which? Don't Buy either.
Parents after quality and style-conscious kids in need of an encouraging gimmick.
A car seat that gets full marks for innovation, practicality and style – but don’t expect your children to be happy to share it!
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