The Kiddy Comfort Pro is a Group 1, 2 and 3 car seat (for age 9 months to 12 years) that uses a completely different design to other car seats on the market. It’s only been available in the UK this year, but is already very popular and the subject of much fevered discussion on parenting websites.
The main difference between the Kiddy Comfort Pro and other car seats is that it uses an impact shield, a bit like a big cushion, rather than a 5-point harness and buckle. You sit the child in the seat, slot the impact shield in front of them and then fasten the seat belt over the top, feeding it under the metal guides. Once the child is over 18kg, you stop using the impact shield. You can make the seat bigger by pulling a handle at the back, and it extends outwards as well as upwards to give better side impact protection.
What we love
The Kiddy Comfort Pro car seat has done well in safety tests; a German consumer group awarded it Top in its Class in August 2008 and Que Chosir, also rated it No. 1 this year in its class.
There is a lot of discussion at the moment about the fact that children should be in rear facing seats until they’re much older than is currently the case, because it offers even more safety. But the main problem with this is that they don’t fit in many cars, are not widely available in this country and are expensive. According to Kiddy, recent research in Germany has shown that the impact shield system comes a close second to a rear facing seat in terms of safety, and is significantly safer than a 5-point harness and buckle. In addition, the Kiddy Comfort Pro uses high tech honeycomb material that absorbs shock on impact and also offers good side impact protection – important as apparently 70% of crashes are from the side. The Kiddy video explains the science behind it all.
In addition to the safety element, there are other good points about the Kiddy Comfort Pro, most importantly that it’s very easy to install. The instructions are really clear, using the seat belt is simple and there doesn’t seem to be much margin for error. You also don’t have the problem with the ‘normal’ kind of car seat, where the seatbelt that holds it loosens over time, so you have to keep checking it and tightening it if necessary.
The seat is extremely light and portable, and really easy to move between cars. I also found that it is less bulky than others I’ve used. I have three children and an old Ford Focus, and it’s always a challenge to get three car seats in the back, and actually be able to access the clips to buckle them in. This seat made it easier.
Another plus is that the child can climb into the seat themselves as there’s no harness inside that needs to be moved out of the way, which is great when you’ve got a rather heavy one like my toddler Martha, 2. And you don’t have the issue of constantly having to adjust the 5-point harness depending on how many layers of clothes your child is wearing.
There is a baby insert cushion to sit on that you remove when the child gets bigger – the instructions say at about 18 months, so I haven’t used this with Martha. She seems to really like the seat and because her shoulders are not pinned into place with a harness, she can move more freely, looking out of the window or at her sisters next to her.
You can get the Kiddy aqua paint play tray (£19.90), which is a play surface that fits on top of the impact shield and lets children ‘draw’ with a water based pen.
You can pull out the bottom to make a longer leg rest for your child, which is quite a nice feature. You can attach toys and dummies to the impact shield, although if you do this, you have to move them out of the way to do up the seat belt.
Martha is was very car sick on our first long journey in this seat, and it was easy to remove and wash the covers, which makes life so much easier for me.
What to watch out for
There are a few things about the Kiddy Comfort Pro that people on other websites have found problematic. Some people say that their child hates the impact shield, especially if they’re changing from another forward facing seat that uses a harness, but Martha doesn’t seem to mind it at all, and in fact likes to use the top as a table.
There are also reports from mums online saying their child can wriggle down underneath the impact shield. Martha is over 2 and far too chubby for this, and I can’t really see how it could happen. Speaking with Kiddy, we’ve found out that the seat is carefully designed to actually slope upwards slightly. This is to stop this ‘submarining’ from happening. As long as your child meets the minimum weight requirements, Kiddy reassure us this isn’t possible.
There’s also the issue of your child getting hot as so much of their body is covered, although the Comfort Pro uses a breathable, climatic material called Thermotex that is supposed to help with this. I can’t really say whether it works or not as I have only had the Kiddy Comfort Pro since the weather has got colder
You can recline the seat before you put your child in and set off, but not while you’re moving, which isn’t ideal. But having said that, I think lots of parents, including me, haven’t needed the reclining position. Martha seems to sleep very comfortably in the seat just as it is, and her head doesn’t loll forward.
Some mums say that it’s more awkward to use the seat belt as you have to lean right over the child to plug them in, but I don’t find this a problem.
The seat is fairly expensive, with a recommended retail price from £185 to £209.90, depending on which design or colour you choose – but considering you can use it for around 10 or 11 years, that’s pretty good value for money over time.
Who is the Kiddy Comfort Pro best for?
Mums moving up from a Group 0 car seat who like the latest innovations.
For safety, innovation and easy of use, the Kiddy Comfort Pro ticks the boxes. It’s light and easy to move between cars, and because it’s so easy to install, changing vehicles is even less of a hassle. It’s long life also means its price is very reasonable.