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With a five-year-old and a four-month-old, the backseat of our VW Polo is one busy – and noisy – place these days.
We wanted a Group 2/3 car seat which would give us peace of mind that when everything else is up in the air, our daughter is firmly rooted to her seat in the safest way possible.
We’ll be testing the Kidfix on quick last-minute school runs in the rain and longer car journeys to visit family an hour away.
After many a car journey distractedly turning to tell my five-year-old to sit back in her seat as she leans over to retrieve a dropped comic, to ‘check’ on her baby brother or because she thinks she might have seen a reindeer out the window, I’ve often found myself wishing we never had to say goodbye to the safe confines of a five-point harness when we moved her into a Group 2/3 big girl booster seat.
Because the fact is, even if she’s perfectly safe in her seatbelt at point A, there’s no guarantee she still will be at point B.
Add to this the recent news stories, studies and stats revealing how easy it is to wrongly strap your child in to even the most high-tech car seat and my poor peace of mind has flown out of the sunroof.
But now there’s a revolutionary new design which will sing to any parent who, like me, is still harking back to the Group 1 glory days.
It comes from the safety-first award-winning designers at Britax, a British-German brand which has been at the forefront of new car seat designs for half a century.
It was Britax which, in conjunction with VW, first developed the ISOFIX latch system most of us use today.
So, what is it exactly?
Put simply, the SecureGuard is a hook which sits at the front of the car seat to catch the lap part of the belt and hold it in the safest place possible, across the hard pelvic area.
That means however much the small person sitting there wriggles, leans and squirms, they’ll have 35% more protection in a frontal collision.
Aside from Britax’s Group 1/2/3 car seat the Advansafix, there’s no other seat on the market which can boast this new improvement.
It forms a key part of the new Kidfix II XP SICT car seat launch and adds to all the super-safe technology its award winning predecessor the Kidfix XP SICT already had.
So, could this be the start of a new car seat era which offers fool-proof safety and precious peace of mind? We put it to the test…
How does the SecureGuard work?
After reading about the extra safety it provides I was actually really surprised by the simplicity of the SecureGuard and I have to admit I did wonder why it hadn’t been thought of before.
Different to the usual harness clips, this is actually an integral catch which comes up at the front of the seat to hold the lap strap in the perfect position across their abdomen, offering a fourth point to the three-point harness which all group 2/3 car seats have.
Because it holds the seatbelt in place across the child’s hard pelvic area, it offers more protection to their abdomen and spine.
The idea behind the SecureGuard is that as children grow into the Group 2/3 car seat category and lose their five-point harness they actually become much more active and independent in their seat. The SecureGuard is designed for children who want to see everything the world has to offer but need to stay in one safe place.
Where does it sit in the market?
Of course, with big promises comes a big price tag and the Kidfix, at £180, sits up there with some of the best high-backed booster seats on the market.
Taking a look at some of the Kidfix’s nearest competitors, the Cybex Solution Q2 Fix (£190), the Hauck Bodyguard Plus (209.99) and the Recaroig Moriza Nova Highback (£180), each car seat boasts its own impressive array of protection promises from side impact protection to memory foam and styrofoam inserts to side crash fins and shock absorbing material.
Your head could start to swim reading through all the specs! Where the Kidfix appears to differ, aside from the SecureGuard, is in the visibility and adjustability of its design features.
For instance its side impact protection comes with an adjustable wheel to make it more user friendly and effective and the XP-PAD seatbelt holder, which drives energy forces away from the child’s neck.
Of course there’s nothing to say that these more visible layers of protection actually work better, but they certainly sound and look good.
There’s nothing like turning a high-tech wheel to make a car seat seem safer! One thing the Kidfix doesn’t offer is a reclining headrest to make naptimes safer, like the Cybex and Hauck models.
Pulling the Kidfix out of its gigantic box and placing it in the middle of our front room I have to say I was really rather impressed.
It actually looked quite space-age, like I might use it to fit my daughter into our rocket for a school run on the moon!
Big and solid, yet stylish and high-tech, it looks like a serious piece of car seat technology which offers layer upon layer of safety technology and plenty of cushioning and soft material to make it comfortable too.
How easy is it to build and install?
The Kidfix has an integrated ISOFIX base, so it is all ready to go.
Step-by-step instructions show how to fit it into both a car with ISOFIX adaptors and one without.
My VW Polo has ISOFIX adaptors so I followed those instructions which involved clicking the seat into the ISOFIX connection points, fitting the XP-PAD on to the seatbelt and adjusting the head rest to my daughter’s height.
The step-by-step instructions were easy to follow with reassuring green indicators to guide me. I had it in the car and ready to go within 20 minutes.
If you’re still not sure about ISOFIX, Britax have made this vid about how the car seat system works; be forewarned, it’s a bit cute.
Who would the car seat be best for?
This is a Group 2/3 car seat so it will suit any child between the age of four and twelve, but it’s probably particularly ideal for children at the lower end of this age scale because so much thought has gone into keeping busy little bodies in the safest position.
I do wonder how an eleven or twelve-year-old would feel about the SecureGuard clip because of its position in between their legs – skirts do get a little ruffled!
Having said that,I do think it’s such a great safety feature that it could well become the norm to have it fitted in all car seats and we soon won’t even question this.
Is it easy to use?
The SecureGuard is already fitted into the Kidfix so there’s no installation needed, in fact the idea is it helps to avoid accidental misuse.
All you need to do is slip the lap part of the seatbelt under the catch which holds it in place.
It does mean that if you have an older child where you may have become used to allowing them to put their own seatbelt on in a more minimal booster seat, you now take a couple of steps back and find you need to buckle them in yourself.
I’ve also found the lap part of the strap becomes twisted each time I strap Freya in the car, so there is a little more faffing involved now to ensure it is smooth.
But if I’m taking great strides for safety I don’t mind an extra thirty seconds of ensuring my daughter is belted in safely.
Does it work effectively?
Freya has a brand new baby brother and she’s basically his second mother, which means she’s often leaning over to see to him, or leaning the other way to spot a friend walking to school or trying to get to a book which has fallen into the no man’s land between her seat and her brother’s.
The SecureGuard does effectively keep her sitting in her seat even when all around her is chaos she is now more centred. But most interestingly of all I noticed when I tried her in her old, much more minimal high-backed booster seat, before she slumped a little in her seat and now she sits more upright. Upon returning to the Kidfix she said it now felt much tighter.
Is the SecureGuard comfortable?
Yes and no. The material is soft enough for it to sit between Freya’s legs very comfortably, unless she is wearing a skirt or dress and then it does get a bit in the way. We’ve had a couple of autumnal days where Freya has worn socks and a school dress and the SecureGuard has become caught up in her skirt, something I can imagine will be more of an issue in the summer.
We’ve also had a few princess dress occasions where we’ve had to manoeuvre her skirt around the SecureGuard. But, while it can get in the way, I’m sure this is something we will become completely used to in time and, again, I would always choose safety over a bit of faffing with skirts and dresses!
Does it make the seat safer?
After trying Freya back in her old booster seat to compare I have to say I haven’t noticed the lap part of her seatbelt moving around that much, but she is now much more limited in terms of leaning out of the seat and she also sits much straighter in the Kidfix.
I can see how, by holding the belt across her pelvic area, she is being restrained at her strongest point and so in a collision it makes sense that the more vulnerable parts of her abdomen will be protected.
How comfortable is the Britax II Kidfix XP SICT?
Very! Freya loves this seat, I think because the headrest and cushioned side wings are so much bigger and more supportive than her old booster seat was.
The XP-PAD softens the seatbelt and looks really comfortable across her chest. She even said it felt comfortable before I had adjusted the headrest to the right height – which says something because she was actually quite hunched over!
I tried a couple of her friends in the seat and they all seemed very impressed, although one did comment that it felt like she was a baby again!
How did you find strapping her into the seat?
Moving from a more minimal high-backed booster seat into the Kidfix does make for a much more involved buckling process and the seatbelt does tend to twist and turn a lot within both the XP-PAD and the SecureGuard.
But again, I’m happy to take an extra 30 seconds over strapping her in if it means she is 30 per cent more protected in a car crash. Something which is important to note is that if the diagonal part of the belt isn’t perfectly flat in the seatbelt guide and in the XP-PAD it can mean that if Freya leans forward and then sits back the seatbelt doesn’t retract very well.
Tell us about the SICT side impact wheel
Deep padded side wings offer Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT) designed to compress and absorb the force of a collision in a crash situation.
There’s an adjustable wheel on each side of the seat so it can be turned outwards to maximise the protection on the side closest to the door, and left tightened to maximise space on the other side where it isn’t needed as much.
The passenger next to Freya in her seat will also benefit from the seat’s support. This is very clever, easy to use and ideal for maximum protection in a small car.
Is it easy to adjust the seat?
The only adjustments are on the headrest and this is very easy, you simply lift a catch at the back and pull it up.
What kind of base will it fit into?
The Kidfix has an ISOFIX base built into the seat, but it can also be fitted in a car which doesn’t have ISOFIX adaptors using the seatbelt and because it is so substantial it still looks sturdy when fitted with a seatbelt alone.
How portable is the seat?
At 7.4kg the Kidfix is one of the heavier seats in the Group 2/3 market and you wouldn’t want to carry it too far, but with the Cybex weighing slightly heavier and the Recaro Moriza slightly lighter, there isn’t a huge amount in it. Apart from the weighty Hauck Bodyguard Plus which measures 9.35kg of course.
But while the Hauck is a skinny 42cm wide, the Kidfix, at 54cm, is more in line with its competitors in terms of width. In terms of swapping the Kidfix between cars, whether you are using ISOFIX connection points or simply the seatbelt, it’s very quick and easy to do.
How easy is it to clean?
Yes, replacement car seat covers are available but they shouldn’t really be needed as you can wash the cover in a machine on a delicate cycle at 30 degrees.
The manual has step-by-step instructions for removing them for washing which looks fairly quick and simple.
How does it compare to your previous car seat?
We had a much more basic high-backed booster seat before and I have to admit I am now surprised I didn’t consider investing in something bigger and better before.
As I belt my daughter into the Kidfix I feel totally reassured that she is as safe as she can be with so much protection around her.
The Kidfix does have a high pricetag but it’s a good investment considering my daughter will be using it for seven years. Although I do wonder how she will feel sitting in such a big seat at twelve-years-old. Only time will tell!
What do you think of the design?
The seat looks really smart and very high-tech in the car with sleek, soft material and large white wings complete with the adjustable SICT wheel, bold red seatbelt guides and large black XP-PAD.
It really does look the business. There’s also a great choice of colourways from black marble and cosmos, to ocean blue, flame red, mineral purple and green marble. The design is typically Britax but also very forward-thinking too.
What’s in the box?
- Britax Kidfix II XP SICT car seat and SecureGuard
- ISOFIX Insertion Aids
Any additional extras?
- Cover pack £55
- Thermo cover £35
- Car seat protector £24.99
- Car seat saver £21
- Vehicle seat protector £28
- Drink and snack holder £11
- EZ-cling sunshade £9
- Sun shade £4.99
- Seat organiser £12.99
- Kick mats £13
Made for Mums Verdict:
The Kidfix II XP SICT is a new and improved launch from Britax offering three key safety features which are all relatively new to the market and which do seem to break new ground.
It feels as though this seat has all the forward-thinking to make it a car seat of the future and all the practicality to give it real staying power.
It is a hefty investment, but it’s definitely an investment I would want to make to ensure my child’s safety. And it makes that jump from the five-point harness in the Group 1 category a little smaller and easier to take.
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|Model||Kidfix II XP SICT car seat with SecureGuard|
|Child age (approx)||4 years to 12 years|
|Child weight||15kg to 15kg|
Dimensions & Weight
|Car seat installation||Isofix base|
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|
|Side crash protection||Yes|
|Height adjustible headrest||Yes|
|Optional extras||Cover pack £55 Thermo cover £35 Car seat protector £24.99 Car seat saver £21 Vehicle seat protector £28 Drink and snack holder £11 EZ-cling sunshade £9 Sun shade £4.99 Seat organiser £12.99 Kick mats £13|