It’s always tricky knowing how tight to pull the harness straps when securing your child in a car seat, especially if they are wearing thick clothing. Experts warn that if a harness is too loose, a child could be thrown from the car seat in a crash, or work their way out of the straps while you are driving.
The Casualplay Q-Retraktor Fix is the first car seat to offer an automatically adjusting harness – just like a regular adult car safety belt – ensuring that straps always fit to your child’s body regardless of what they are wearing.
Created by experienced Spanish manufacturer Casualplay, which prides itself on balancing safety with innovative design, the Q-Retraktor Fix is a forward-facing Group 1 car seat for children from 9-18kg (approximately ages nine months to four years old) and for cars with Isofix fittings.
The car seat conforms to European safety regulations and was awarded a ‘Good’ rating in the latest Eurotest, an annual assessment for the safety and quality of child car seats.
How were the straps and harness?
I loved the way I could secure either child in the same car seat without having to spend time adjusting the straps, even when trying them both with and without coats. One of our current car seats has a harness that is extremely hard to adjust, so the Q-Retraktor Fix’s automatically-adjusting 5-point harness certainly won me over. It’s fantastic that you don’t have to worry if you’ve made the straps too tight or too loose as it really does work just like an adult seatbelt.
By adjusting the height of the headrest, I was able to position the harness so it was at the height of either child’s shoulders – a great time-saving feature.
How easy was it to install?
Installation was fairly simple and took me around 15 minutes. The manual is pretty easy to follow, although the booklet is fairly small and offers instructions in Spanish and Catalan first, so I found myself turning back and forth through pages to match the English instructions with the diagrams at the front. Once you know what you’re doing though, this car seat is so easy to install that it shouldn’t take you much more than five minutes to get on your way.
The retractable Isofix connectors on the car seat are a doddle to fix – when you push the seat backwards onto your car’s anchor points, you’ll know you’ve installed it correctly when you hear a click and see the indicator turn from red to green.
The Q-Retraktor Fix also comes with a support leg, which prevents the car seat from moving forward in a crash. This is equally straightforward to install – you simply insert two tubes into sockets on the car seat and a click confirms it is secured. Then you pull the red button on the bar to pull the foot secure to the floor.
You can adjust the height of the harness to suit your child’s size by moving the headrest up and down using the knob at the side of the seat.
What if you can’t use the car seat’s support leg?
If you’re fitting this on a seat that has an underfloor storage box in front of it, you won’t be able to use the support leg as it won’t be secure in the event of a crash. However, the Q-Retraktor Fix can also be fixed using a Top Tether strap (£25), which fastens your car seat to an Isofix fitting in the boot of the car behind the rear seat. The Top Tether is fiddly to install, leaves surplus strap hanging in the boot and is less convenient than the support leg. But once fixed, it does make the car seat very feel stable when installed.
What was in the box?
- Q-Retraktor Fix car seat
- Support leg
- Isofix inlet sockets
- Instruction booklet
- Vehicle list & warranty
Any additional extras?
- Top Tether strap (£25) – gives you the option of securing your car seat to the chassis of your car via an anchor point in the boot
Was it comfortable?
I tested the seat with both my children, aged 12 months and 3.5 years. Despite their obvious size difference, both of them looked comfy and well positioned in the car seat – the headrest, backrest and sides are well-padded and soft to touch.
What about the seating position?
The car seat has five reclining options and my one-year-old fell asleep within three minutes of setting off to drive around, so he certainly seemed happy! His head stayed supported and he didn’t loll forward as he often did in his Maxi Cosi.
How portable and compact is the Q Retractor Fix?
Group 1 car seats are naturally bigger and more cumbersome than early rearward-facing baby seats and don’t have a carrying handle but the Q-Retraktor Fix feels particularly heavy so isn’t the easiest to get into the car. It also takes up quite a bit of room, especially when fitted with the support leg.
Anything to look out for?
We did have a bit of a problem with the support leg and my three and half year old. Although he is small for his age, his legs kept bumping the support leg.
My husband also has long legs and likes to push the front passenger seat back as far as he can in our Ford Fiesta and wasn’t able to sit comfortably with the support leg fitted. In this situation, it would probably be better using the Top Tether instead. Although I probably wouldn’t recommend buying this car seat if your child is close to four years old anyway.
How did it look and was it easy to clean?
My seat came in an attractive red and black fabric, although it is also available in grey and black. The cover was easy to take off and, more importantly, get back on and is washable at 30 degrees.
How does its price compare?
Group 1 car seats usually cost an average £185 – it’s a lot to invest but you are getting a car seat that can potentially secure a child from 9 months to 4 years. The Q-Retraktor Fix sits at the top end of the market when it comes to price with a recommended retail price of £300. If you need the Top Tether option, that’s an extra £25 too. Only the Britax Trifix Isofix costs more, at £320 RRP.
In a Nutshell
The Q-Retraktor Fix is a stylish, yet practical car seat that is easy to install and operate. Its innovative harness cuts out the worry of pulling seat belts too tight or leaving them too slack by automatically adjusting to your child’s body size when you buckle up.
It’s a bit of a squeeze to get an older toddler and the support leg to fit comfortably in your car. And, with a £300 price tag, it doesn’t offer the extras you’d expect when you put it head to head with alternative cheaper models.