Key features of the Cozy N Safe Merlin car seat:
- Age suitability: Birth until 4 years
- Rear-facing until: Approx 4 (18kg)
- Additional cost of ISOFIX base: Included in price
- Total cost from birth to 4 years: £299
- Travel system compatible: No
Cozy N Safe is a UK brand that aims to provide parents with affordable, high quality car seats.
A finalist in the Made for Mums Awards 2017 for best rotating car seat, the Merlin car seat group 0+/1 retails at £299 putting it bang in the middle of its main competitors pricewise.
The Jané Gravity is a more expensive £349 and the Joie Spin 360 a bit cheaper at £250.
We already have the Jané Gravity car seat for our two-year- old little boy Ellis. So we wanted a model equally as safe and sturdy for our youngest Theo, 13 months, now he’s outgrown his Baby Jogger City Go infant car seat. After experiencing how much easier a rotating car seat makes life when trying to get a wriggly toddler into the car I was keen to have another car seat that swivels 360°.
Strapping Theo in to the Merlin was quick and simple, the harness is fairly intuitive to use.
I also liked the recline feature on this car seat – you just twist a knob on the side of the seat till it clicks into position and you can recline it both rearward-facing and forward-facing.
And I was impressed by how well padded the car seat is. It uses the same type of foam found in racing car drivers’ helmets as it gives better impact protection, keeping Theo – as the brand name implies – super cosy and safe.
Buy the Cozy N Safe Merlin car seat from Kiddies Kingdom
My other half, Sharps, got rather excited when we took the Cozy N Safe Merlin car seat out of its box. It was bright red and he thought the colour and design were quite cool and perfect for our youngest Theo. Although we were worried it might lead to his older brother Ellis trying to commandeer it.
Watch 5 things we love about the Cozy N Safe Merlin car seat
The chair is a Group 0+/1 seat – what age child can it be used for?
The car seat can be used from birth up to the age of approximately 4 years, or 18kg. It can be used rear facing from newborn to 4 years, or forward facing from 9kg-18kg (around 9 months to 4 years). It is not i-Size compatible.
Would you use it from newborn?
The seat comes with a newborn insert so it can be used from birth. The only snag is with it being a fairly heavy car seat it’s not portable. This isn’t ideal for the newborn stage when your baby sleeps lots. I found it handy when I had Theo in the Baby Jogger City Go that I could transport him into our flat in the car seat without having to wake him up.
And this car seat can’t be used as part of a travel system, again something to bear in mind if you do want to use it from birth.
How does it install in the car – is it ISOFIX?
You do need to have ISOFIX in your car to be able to use this car seat. There’s no separate ISOFIX base, the Merlin uses the Cozy N Safe’s built-in Ezifix system and it connects to your car’s ISOFIX anchor points.
It didn’t take long to install it into our car but it was slightly fiddly getting the arms into the ISOFIX anchor points.
And it wasn’t as effortless as setting up the Jané Gravity. This has a handle on the side of the base to unfold the arms. Then, once the anchors are locked in place, you turn the handle in the opposite direction to ensure it’s in the correct position.
The Merlin claims to have one-click 360 degree rotation – just how easy was it to rotate the seat?
Rotating the seat was a piece of cake. There’s a button underneath the seat in the middle that you need to squeeze to rotate it.
Initially Sharps thought it was fiddly having the button there as you have to put your hand underneath where Theo’s sitting but this didn’t bother me in the slightest. It could be because he was used to the Jané Gravity as it has a lever on either side of it to rotate the seat.
After we’d used the Merlin a couple of times he did concede having the button in the middle didn’t really make much of a difference at all.
As for it having one-click 360 degree rotation, I didn’t find this to be the case. When you spin the car seat 180 degrees, so from rear to forward facing, it clicks into place. You need to press the button and turn it again to get it to rotate the full 360 degrees. But again this isn’t a big deal as it’s so easy to use.
How useful is the 360 degree rotation?
Having the 360 degree rotation is amazing. We already have the Jané Gravity for Ellis, which also rotates 360 degrees, and it makes life so much simpler.
We have a Volvo C60 and our car seats are high up so we love that we don’t have to bend down to get the boys in.
Especially as we both have dodgy backs. We just swivel their seats round 90 degrees to face the door, strap them in, and spin them back to rear-facing again. I think once you’ve had a car seat that rotates there’s no going back.
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How comfortable is the seat? Is it more comfortable than your previous car seats?
The seat has lots of padding — it has thick side wings, a padded headrest, shoulder straps and the crotch area around the buckle — and seems incredibly comfortable.
Theo fell asleep in it on our first outing. I can’t personally vouch for whether it’s more comfy than the Jané Gravity but comparing the two side by side the padding is definitely softer and denser on the Cozy N Safe Merlin.
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It’s sold on having extra deep, soft padding – what did you think of it?
The padding is thick and plush. It’s made from high-density polyurethane foam, the same material used in racing car drivers’ helmets, which reassuringly for parents is supposed to help protect babies and children from impact.
What do you think of the design?
This is a practical and robust car seat. It’s available in two colours, turquoise or the one we tested out, red. The recline feature is useful and the 360 degree rotation makes getting Theo in and out of the car so much more convenient.
Does the Cozy N Safe Merlin feel sturdy?
Without a doubt this is a sturdy car seat. It’s fairly big and heavy, the only downside to this being that it’s not very portable.
How is strapping your child/ren in?
The buckle mechanism is similar to the one on my Baby Jogger buggy and the one on the Jané Gravity. Strapping Theo in was straightforward. There was no fiddling around and because I could do it so quickly there was no time for tears or him trying to escape.
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What did you think of the 5-point harness, how easy is it to use the no re-thread feature?
As with our Jané Gravity, the five-point harness has a no re-thread feature. It’s great as I don’t have to spend ages trying to readjust the straps each time I put Theo in the car.
What’s the headrest like?
The headrest is well cushioned and looks comfortable for Theo with plenty of room for his head to move about.
How many positions does the headrest have?
The headrest can be adjusted using one hand. It uses a sliding scale so you can position it to whatever height suits your child, which is great as the seat can grow with them.
How many seat positions are there in forward and rear facing and how easy is it to recline the seat?
One of the things I loved about this car seat is the recline feature. The seat has three recline positions when facing forwards and four positions when it’s rear-facing. You just turn the grey knob at the base of the seat till it clicks into place. You just need to make sure to remember to press the safety button while turning the knob if you want to set it to the furthest rear-facing recline position.
Do you think the side wings provide good protection?
Definitely. The Merlin car seat has soft, cushioned side wings that give additional side impact protection.
What do you think of the size of the car seat?
This car seat measures 64cm in height x 43cm in width and 66cm in depth. It’s exactly the same width as our Jané Gravity, although slightly shorter and 1cm less in depth, so there’s not a huge amount of difference between the two. It does feel like a big car seat but this means there’s plenty of room for Theo to grow so it should hopefully last him till he’s 4 years.
Will your children fit in it rear facing until they are 4 years old (18kg), do you think?
Theo is a big baby so I’d say if he continues to keep growing at the rate he is now it would be a bit of a squash for him to stay rear facing until he’s 4 years old.
Is it easy to clean?
I haven’t cleaned it yet but the cover is wipe clean, easy to remove and machine washable at 30°C.
What’s in the box?
- Cozy N Safe Merlin car seat with built-in Ezifix system
- Newborn insert
- 2 ISOFIX guides
Is it easy/hard to install the seat into the car?
Installing the car seat was fairly easy, and once we located them in the back of the seat, the instructions were straightforward.
It took Sharps about five minutes to fit the car seat, although most of this time was spent trying to get the arms into the anchor points which proved a bit frustrating.
The seat comes with ISOFIX insert guides to help install it but they wouldn’t fit in our car because the space was too tight, possibly due to the thickness of our leather car seats.
- Pull out the support leg, which is tucked underneath the car seat
- Extend the ISOFIX arms by pulling the strap at the back of the seat as far as it will go.
- Arms lock in place with a click
- Attach the car seat to the ISOFIX anchor points using the extended arms
- ISOFIX indicators turn green to show seat is secure
- Press the buttons on the side of the support leg and lower it until it’s flat on the floor of the car.
- When the gauge on the base turns green you know it’s in position correctly.
What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the seat?
You need to make sure that your car has ISOFIX to be able to use it and you can’t use this car seat as part of a travel system. Also the instructions are tricky to find, tucked away in a pocket at the back of the car seat.
Who would the seat be most useful for?
Parents who are after a safe, sturdy and comfy car seat and have the space for it as a permanent fixture in their car.
What is the price? Is this good value for money?
The Safe N Cozy Merlin car seat costs £299 and while it’s not the most expensive of the rotating car seats on the market it’s not the cheapest either. But this purchase is more of a long-term investment as it will last you four years.
Is there anything unique about this car seat?
The level of comfort from the high-density polyurethane foam used in its padding sets the Merlin apart from other car seats.
This practical car seat has plenty of room and lots of handy features including 360° rotation, incredibly easy to adjust straps and a handle for reclining. And its deep padding gives extra security and comfort. The downside, it’s heavy, so you’d really want to keep it as a permanent fixture in your car, and you need to have ISOFIX.
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