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Unlike many sequels, the Britax BABY-SAFE car seat improves on the award-winning previous instalment.
The Britax BABY-SAFE plus, formerly known as the Cosy Tot, already had an excellent safety profile. But the newer versions – The Britax BABY-SAFE plus SHR II and the Britax BABY-SAFE plus II – include patented “D-SIP technology” to increase protection if someone crashes into the side of your car. I tested the Britax BABY-SAFE plus SHR II – the “SHR” means it offers “Single Hand Release”.
The Single Hand Release doesn’t mean you can haul the seat out of your car with only one hand. Instead, it refers to the fact you only need to press one button to remove the seat from a buggy base, when using it with one of Britax’s compatible buggies, such as the Britax B-Dual, or compatible buggies of a different brand.
On this revamped model, Britax has made the seat belt guides larger, so it’s less fiddly to fit in your car using your vehicle’s 3-point seatbelt. Alternatively, you can use either Britax’s BABY-SAFE ISOFIX Base or a BABY-SAFE Belted Base, if you’d prefer to click the seat in and out rather than wrestle with seatbelts each time.
Once in the car seat, your newborn is cradled securely by the deep, softly padded side wings and headrest, and held in place by a 5-point safety harness.
As a Group 0+ car seat, it’s suitable from birth until your baby weighs 13kg, around 12 to 15 months.
The Britax BABY-SAFE Plus SHR II comes in a range of colour combinations. The covers are machine washable at 30 degrees, and can be removed without dismantling the entire harness.
What we love
The BABY-SAFE plus SHR II is not just safe, offering superior front and side crash protection, but it’s also comfy and convenient. Britax has worked hard at making it easy to use. For example, when setting up the seat for my 7-month-old baby George, it was a great relief that I could adjust the height of the harness and head support without having to thread and rethread the straps through fiddly holes. Instead, I just bent the headrest forwards, and then slid it up and down. This also automatically altered the slope of the seat, so that smaller babies lie flatter and taller babies sit more upright. It's worth knowing that some Amazon customers have said that this setting is a bit too upright, although they felt that the seat gives babies’ heads the support they need.
You can tighten the harness by pulling on a single strap at the front of the seat, and the buckle makes a reassuringly loud click when done up properly.
The BABY-SAFE plus SHR II is very stable once strapped in place, but do make sure it will fit your car. Check out Britax’s online car seat Fit-Finder.
Around 62% of parents we surveyed*, as well Precious Little One and Amazon customers, said their babies found this seat really comfy – as did George, who sank deep into the padded interior and slept happily during lengthy car journeys. After carrying him indoors, he also enjoyed rocking himself on the curved seat base.
The car seat has several built-in features to make life easier for busy mums, including a sun/wind shade that provides UV 50 protection, and integrated adaptors so you can click it straight onto a compatible Britax buggy chassis when outside the car, rather than lugging around additional bits of plastic.
What to watch out for
The safety features do make this car seat a bit heavier than some competitors, and it weighs in at 4.2kg. Its weight was the one factor half the parents we surveyed particularly disliked about the seat, as it makes carrying the seat in and out of the car tricky – an opinion shared by a number of Amazon customers.
Also, for a car seat where so much is designed for convenience, it seems odd that to benefit from the D-SIP side impact protection, you need to press down two grey handles on either side of the seat, and then press them up again before removing the seat from your car. This would be fine if the car seat just stayed put in your vehicle, but with a new baby I tended to carry George in and out of the house in his car seat and it was easy to forget to engage the handles in a hurry with a fretful child.
I also found it awkward adjusting the position of the handle – you have to hold a button down while sliding it across and at the same time move the handle, and the button didn’t always click back into place.
Britax BABY-SAFE plus SHR II isn’t one of the cheapest car seats on the market, so do check whether it fits the buggy you’re using before forking out for the extra SHR feature – which has been given a thumbs-up by customers from Pramworld and an MFM reader. Britax has a list of compatible buggies online.
Who is the Britax BABY-SAFE plus SHR II car seat best for?
Safety-conscious parents-to-be after a buggy-compatible car seat.
The Britax BABY-SAFE plus SHR II is a reassuringly safe car seat, packed with built-in benefits and comfort for your baby. The choice of installation methods plus the SHR function and compatibility with a range of buggy brands really add to its ability to suit your needs. However, don’t fork out the extra for the SHR until you check out which buggies it can work with. In our survey, 75% of parents said they would buy this car seat again.
*MFM survey December 2019 of 564 users