There’s not much that Kiddy doesn’t make in the way of parenting products.
World-renowned for its innovative designs and super-safe car seats, carriers, and pushchairs, the family-owned business has been doing this for more than 40 years.
Part of its ever-increasing catalogue, the Phoenixfix Pro 2 is a Group 1 car seat, suitable from 9 months to four-years-old (9kg-18kg).
It’s the successor to the Kiddy Infinity Pro and the Kiddy Energy Pro, bringing the Kiddy catalogue inline with the new i-Size laws (aka the sexily titled the ECE R129 legislation), meaning it can be fixed to your car using ISOFIX anchor points.
However, if your car isn’t I-size ready you can simply use your car’s seatbelt which fits neatly through an impact shield cushion across your child’s lap, rather than a five-point harness.
We don’t have ISOFIX in our Ford Focus so the latter option was for us.
Before I’d even opened the box of this car seat I’d read several glowing reviews, so my expectations were high. The German manufacturer Kiddy even states on its website that Touring Club Switzerland gave the car seat its first ever ‘outstanding’ rating.
If that wasn't impressive enough the car seat has even been approved by TÜV Rheinland and the Federal Aviation Authority for use in aircraft - swanky!
With accolades like this, I thought, perhaps we’d do away with the seat that my little boy has happily sat in for the past year (a Maxi-Cosi Priori XP), in favour of this state-of-the-art model.
The first thing you should know about the Phoenixfix Pro 2, or any car seat really, is if you’re buying a Group1 and over chair, get your child to try it first. As the Phoenixfix Pro 2 has an impact shield it probably won’t be to every child’s liking (more on this later.)
I opened the box to find a large, comfortable looking seat that looked like it offered good support and it even had a soft booster for smaller children.
As a boisterous two-year-old, my son certainly wouldn’t need that, so removing it I thought I’d take away the other booster seat that had been stored underneath the chair. However, I soon realised this other addition wasn’t a booster seat after all.
For what was probably the first (and last) time in our 11-year relationship I correctly identified how something worked before my partner did.
“I think that’s the impact shield that goes across his lap,” I said.
“What? No it can’t” my partner scoffed.
But as he slid it neatly into place I felt a glow of pride; short lived when the reality hit me that my son probably wasn’t going to like a restriction being placed on his usually free legs.
How do you use the impact shield?
The Kiddy Impact Shield is what Kiddy uses in place of a 5-point harness. It’s a padded bar that sits over little one’s chest/stomach/lap.
It’s made to get kids into the seat “quickly and easily,” and supposed to be a fool-proof way of ensuring they are securely ‘strapped’ in.
Safety-wise, it allows for "rolling over" of the upper part of the body in case of a front-end collision or severe braking manoeuvres.
That means the shield reduces the loads on the cervical spine in comparison to 5 point harness systems, according to Kiddy.
And the brand has won some serious safety awards because of the Phoenixfix Pro 2, specifically the shield.
So how does it work in practice?
Fitting the Phoenixfix Pro 2, into the car couldn’t be easier or quicker. Despite it’s rather large appearance and all the padding it’s light and won’t give you a problem when installing.
As it’s ISOFIX compatible and can attach directly to the frame of the car with the ISOFIX anchor points, you know it fitted securely. And for us, who used the seat belt, it was a doddle to install. The instructions were clear enough to follow and when we fitted it in nothing (not even a full blown nuclear tantrum) would have budged it out of place - reassuringly.
However, here’s where the earlier warning comes in.Looking uneasily at each other we put on our perfectly honed, ‘everything’s fine, there’s nothing to worry about here’ parent faces and called our son over.
“Look”, we said smiling, “Do you want to come and sit in your new chair?” The chair was sat on our hallway floor so our son bounded over and took a seat in it excitedly and he looked rather comfortable, regal even.
He sat well supported, but as we went to place the impact shield across his lap, the look on our son’s face said ‘no way, what are they doing to me?’ and he bolted.
Since then, try as we might, we have not been able to get him to sit in the chair - think stiff body and all-out tantrum!
We tried making it into a game - indeed one day he said “I want the black chair” and my partner and I applauded him and went to put him into the Kiddy seat only for him to revert to his previous stance on the issue.
Eventually getting him into the seat was a HUGE battle, when he sat in it without the impact shield he couldn’t be happier, but with the shield, he just hated it.
However, I tested the seat out with my niece, who is 1 year older than my son and she loved it! As soon as she sat in the seat she relaxed, and the seat almost hugged her.
We even played with the adjustable seat with our wiling passenger. It adjusts to your child grows, a handy function.
Who is the Kiddy Phoenixfix Pro 2 best for?
This car seat would suit a younger baby who hasn’t built up his or her own set of likes and dislikes.
Once they are used to it the impact shield probably makes a nice little table for snacking/playing with cars etc on, but as it stands my independent boy just won’t budge.
The Kiddy Phoenixfix Pro 2 is a safe, easy-to-fit chair that uses ISOFIX or the car’s seat belt, and keeps little ones secure with a impact shield.
However, a shield instead of a 5-point harness it is not for every child, particularly opinionated toddlers who’s quite happy with his less restrictive car seat, thank you very much.
Made of 100% polyester, you can remove the cover and machine wash at 30 degrees. Try it if your child is 18 months or less.
Kiddy Mix ’n Match colourful seat insert (extra comfort with one side offering warmth on a cool day and the reverse gives better air circulation and cools on a hot day); Kiddy Beclean (stops muddy feet making car seat dirty); Kiddy Becool (keeps seat cool on hot days); Ravensburger Bärenbuch (teddy booklet attaches to impact shield)