The BeSafe iZi Combi X3 car seat is a rearward and forward facing Group 0+/1 car seat that’s innovatively designed and incredibly compact. But it is heavy, has no carry handle and may not suit everyone’s budget.
Rearward facing car seats are the norm from birth to around 15 months but when your baby makes the leap from a Group 0 car seat (for babies up to 10kg, or roughly from birth to 6-9 months), or a Group 0+ car seat (for babies up to 13kg, roughly birth to 12-15 months), it’s normal in the UK for the seat to face forward. In Scandinavia, however, many car seats face rearward until the child’s around 4.
The BeSafe iZi Combi X3 is a Group 0+/1 car seat, suitable from birth to about 4 years. The seat must be used rear facing from birth to 9kg (around 9 months) and it’s recommended that children continue to face rearward until they’re 4. However, there is the option to use the seat forward facing from this point onward.
BeSafe is a Norwegian brand owned by HTS (Hans Torgersen & Sønn AS). HTS claims that rearward facing car seats are five times safer than forward facing seats. In a forward facing seat, children are more likely to sustain neck injuries when involved in a frontal (head on) collision. This is because they shoot forward with huge force. A study of 800 car accidents involving children aged 0-4 years, by car manufacturer Volvo, showed that 40% of the children suffered severe injuries when seated forward facing compared to only 8% when the child seat faced rearward. However, there’s more to the argument than this, with the Baby Products Association (BPA) raising some valid points about the rear facing car seat debate in 2009.
The BeSafe iZi Combi X3 is constructed from an outer PP hard shell, inner EPS foam shell. Key features are a 5-point harness, thumb-operated central adjustment button, removable and washable seat covers and head support, back ventilation and 5-position recline mechanism. The seat comes with or without an integrated ISOFIX base. An anti-rotation front brace fits to the front of the seat when used rearward facing, to stop the seat moving forward in a collision.
What we love
For Minnie, 11 months, her infant carrier style car seat has recently become redundant. And, she has just developed travel sickness – every journey we have taken in the last month has been punctuated by puke. So, a rear and forward facing car seat was the ultimate test in trying to solve the problem.
I tested the BeSafe iZi Combi X3 car seat both ways and it is a doodle to use and install. Minnie loved the height that the car seat gave her and the magnetic belt system, which keeps the belt out of the seat surface (no more scrabbling for straps).
The curved neck support, featuring side impact protection, is attached to the harness and the straps. A grip at the back of the neck support cleverly moves the whole system up and down. And with eight height positions you can fine-tune the fit to your child.
At 14.2kg the BeSafe iZi Combi X3 car seat is heavy (most Group 1 car seats are between 9kg and 12 kg). But where many Group 1 seats are bulky and wide, leaving little space in the back of your car for passengers, the Combi X3 is slim line. In my car, a Peugeot 307, there was room for two adult passengers.
The five sitting positions make up for the lack of portability and are easy to change via a handle underneath the seat. I was even able to recline the car seat whilst Minnie was asleep.
The BeSafe iZi Combi X3 car seat is well padded and coverings are soft, making for a comfy ride.
What to watch out for
One of the obvious things parents could have an issue with is the price. At £340.00 the iZi Combi X3 is a huge investment.
If using the car seat from birth you don’t have the option of using it as part of a travel system and there’s no carry handle, so transporting your newborn from the car to the house is not as seamless as with most Group 0/0+ seats. And if you decided to use an infant carrier for the first 9 months (personally I would) and then buy this seat, your total car seat bill could edge toward £500 for the first four years.
Who is the BeSafe iZi Combi X3 car seat best for?
Parents seeking a car seat they can leave in one vehicle, which can keep their child rearward facing for years.
The BeSafe iZi Combi X3 is fantastic car seat that meets your safety needs from birth to 4 years. The rearward facing design may take getting use to but with some innovative features, as well as the expected standard ones, this seat is a very expensive but worthwhile investment. However, it’s not for those after a travel system compatible option.