We all spend ages reading up on car seats when we are going to have a baby – but how much thought do we give to keeping our little ones safe for the decade after that?
Legally our children should sit on a booster until they are 12-years-old, or 135cm tall, although some experts say 150cm is a safer height to make the move.
Some boosters, also known as Group 3 car seats, are just booster cushions that make our children tall enough to use an adult seat belt. However, these have recently been criticised for providing only limited protection in a side-impact crash.
So, if you want to keep your precious cargo ultra-safe, you need a booster with a full-length back and wings – and if it’s going to sit in your car until they are at secondary school it will need to look good and be easy to clean too.
Our three children usually sit alongside one another in the back of our car. Our toddler is in a standard isofix Group 2 seat fitted behind the driver. Her older brothers occupy the middle seat and other side in their full back boosters.
Over the years we’ve tried a number of car seats and boosters. Although we’ve always used full back boosters in our car we have used the cushion type in other people’s cars, or when carrying extra children. Having read the recent safety reports we now intend to stick with full back seats for all journeys.
The new Diono Cambria High Back Booster, suitable from 4-years-old, goes above and beyond current European safety regulations by passing tests for side impact collisions.
It is adjustable, to grow with your child from approximately four years up to 12 years old, and has extra deep side wings and energy absorbing foam for impact protection.
How many Diono Cambria seats can you fit in the back of the car?
Every car is different so never assume a standard car seat will fit properly in your vehicle. I would always recommend testing a seat – even a Group 3 booster – before you buy anything.
We found this out with the Cambria, which is quite wide compared to many other makes and may not fit shaped, or bucket-style, seats.
In our car, although we can normally use two high-back boosters and a standard Group 2 seat side-by-side, we couldn’t fit the Cambria in so had to move one of our other booster seats to a fold down seat in the boot while we were testing it.
The seat uses a standard seatbelt installation, but the wide base could make it tricky to get to the belt clip in smaller cars.
How portable is the Diono Cambria?
This seat is very lightweight and so easy to move between cars.
How comfortable was it for your children?
This seat is nicely padded, it has slightly thicker padding than other types of seat and this makes it really comfortable.
Added to the fact that my sons have a drink and/or snack close to hand, with the slide-out cup and snack holders, they never want to leave it.
From a parenting perspective, the headrest is also easy to adjust and will grow with them as they get older, so it should be comfortable for years to come.
How many recline positions does it have?
It has two recline positions, which Diono say enables the seat to fit all car shapes. And while it is easy to lean the seat back, my boys preferred the seat in the upright position.
Is it easy to clean?
Yes, you only need to have a poorly child in the car once to realise you want everything in the back to be easily wipeable and, if possible, have removable covers that are easy to wash.
The seat ticks both of these boxes, and although it hasn’t gotten to a point where I need to put my rubber gloves on, it looks so easy to keep clean.
What about the added cup holders?
Both of my boys loved the thick padded seat and headrest, but their favourite feature was the cup holder and snack tray, which slides out neatly from the bottom.
This was a feature they haven’t had before and were keen to put to good use, particularly on longer journeys.
Is it value for money?
Yes, basic booster cushions are much cheaper to purchase, but do not offer the same level of protection.
How does it compare to your previous car seat?
This is a really comfortable seat and the cup holder/snack tray has been a real hit with my sons, but it is too wide for us to use with other seats side by side.
What do you think of the design?
The seat looks stylish and good quality, but size will be a factor.
What’s in the box?
- Cambria car seat, inclusive of a cup holder and snack tray.
Any optional extras?
- Grip it car mat – £11.99
- Super mat – £19.99
- My stuff – £ 6
- Stow ‘n Go – £11.99
Made For Mums verdict?
This car seat ticks a lot of boxes – most importantly for safety – but also for style, easy cleaning and the novelty of having a cup holder. However, its size will mean this isn’t one for every car or every family. This is a good, sturdy seat, particularly if you don’t carry multiple passengers.