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For decades, the Germany company Kiddy has been developing ways for children to travel safely and is known for its emphasis on the impact shield system in its children’s car seats.
The Phoenixfix 3, a Group 1 car seat a forward-facing seat, suitable from approx 9 months (9kg) to 4 years (18kg). It is the successor to the award-winning Phoenixfix Pro 2 and meets the more demanding requirements of changes in European Safety Regulations, although it does not meet the new i-Size regulation to keep children rear facing for at least 15 months.
The Phoenixfix 3 comes in a variety of attractive colours (I chose the bright Honolulu). At £224.99, the Phoenixfix 3 is pricier than competitors such as the Casualplay Multifix and the Cosatto Hubbub which also have a longer life-span, lasting up until your child is 12-years-old.
What is the safety and the ‘Supplement 7’ test
In recent months, there’s been a lot of hype about how it’s safer for older children to remain in a rear-facing car seat for longer. So when I discovered the Phoenixfix 3 was forward facing I initially felt disappointed.
But after examining and researching the product, I feel completely satisfied that it meets the highest standards of safety. And I feel one hundred per cent confident that my son is absolutely secure.
By law, children’s car seats are subjected to accident simulation testing, using dummies that represent the weight category of the child using the seat. Car seats must undergo frontal collision testing at a speed of 50km/h and rear impact collision testing at 30km/h.
But the Phoenixfix 3 meets stricter safety criteria under ECE R44/04 Supplement 7, which came into force in February 2014.
This means the Phoenixfix 3 has passed a test in a rollover scenario. In order to pass, at no point during the test should the dummy (representing the child) be ejected from the car seat. In addition, when the seat is in an upside down position, the dummy’s head should not move more than 30cm from its original position in a vertical direction relative to the car seat.
The K-fix+ connectors have a sliding function, which pushes the seat away from the door in the event of a side impact and the Phoenixfix 3 has a new shock absorber, which reduces the force of a frontal impact.
So with crash testing from every angle, I feel my son is as safe as possible in the Phoenixfix 3.
Confused about car seat laws?
- Guide to child car seat laws and safety
- Your baby and child car seat worries answered by experts
- How to install a car seat
- What the new i-Size law means for you
How does it install in the car?
This is the easiest car seat we have ever installed. I normally find fitting a car seat so frustrating that I leave it to my partner.
But the sliding k-fix+ connectors, extending out the back of the Phoenixfix 3, attached to the ISOFIX in our Honda Jazz so easily.
You can hear that it has clicked into place and locking indicators show ‘green’ to let you know the seat is securely connected. An illustrated instruction manual means there’s no messing around, just a straightforward fit within seconds.
And the k-fix+ connectors can be removed, making the car seat suitable for vehicles without an ISOFIX system.
How is strapping your little one in?
Once you’ve put your child in the seat, you fit the impact shield firmly against your child’s torso without the impact shield arms being positioned under the arms rests.
You then pull the seat belt out until it reaches around the impact shield and thread the lap belt through the slots in the shield before securing the safety belt and weaving the shoulder belt through, ensuring the belt lies flat and not twisted.
On first attempt I pushed the impact shield in too tightly and my son ended up with imprints, from the material on the underside of the shield, on his legs.
After a few attempts I now know exactly whereabouts to position the shield so that it is firmly secure but also comfortable on my son’s legs.
My little boy is 13-months-old and didn’t mind having a shield instead of the usually car seat harness but an older child might not be so compliant! My son also loved having the padded shield to rest his head on.
How comfortable/sturdy is the seat?
The Phoenixfix 3 is surprisingly lightweight (6.6kg) given its bulky appearance. This makes it easy to lift in and out of our car. But while it’s lightweight, it in no way feels flimsy.
It feels like a strong cocoon around my son, with padded head and shoulder protection. The seat pad and cushion on the Phoenixfix 3 have been redesigned. Adjustable seat height allows the child to sit higher for more freedom of upper body movement and comfort.
The cushion for younger children is easy to remove by unclipping at the back of the seat, while new breathable 3D mesh fabric helps to keep your child cool.
What’s the headrest like?
The Phoenixfix 3 offers a new five position headrest. It’s easy to adjust by a simple squeeze of the handle on the rear of the seat.
Children’s heads are particularly vulnerable as they are relatively heavy compared to the rest of the child’s body. The Phoenixfix 3 uses ‘Honey Comb V2’ material, which has special shock-absorbing properties, to protect the delicate head and shoulder area. The Phoenixfix 3 also has a three-stage leg extension to ensure your child sits comfortably as they grow.
How easy is it to clean?
Hook and loop fasteners make it possible to remove the covering for washing. Covers can be washed in a gentle cycle at 30 degrees. The plastic parts can we wiped with a damp cloth. But the cover on the impact shield should not be removed or washed.
What about the recline position?
This is my only criticism of the Phoenixfix 3. I’m not sure if I’m missing something here as it boasts a snooze position with greater angle of recline.
But after much fiddling about, I couldn’t get it to recline very far at all. I found the recline position was still too upright. It is fine for an older child but not for a sleeping nine-month-old.
Other car seats I’ve used allowed my son so lie right back, without any risk of his head dropping forward as he slept. Though a 13-month-old doesn’t need the same level of recline as a newborn, I feel my son would like to sleep more stretched out on his back than the Phoenixfix 3 allows.
Use on aircraft
Experts believe standard airplane lap belts may present a safety risk to children in turbulence or an emergency landing. The Phoenixfix 3 has been approved by the Federal Aviation Authority for use on aircraft so you can air travel with greater peace of mind.
A stylish car seat that offers the highest level of safety but falls down on comfort because it doesn’t recline far enough.
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