The Maxi-Cosi Pebble Group 0+ car seat is yet another impressive product from the UK's most popular infant car seat manufacturers, Maxi-Cosi.
The launch of the Pebble also featured the arrival of a new type of car seat base, called the FamilyFix. The uniqueness comes from the fact that the FamilyFix base is an ISOFIX base that works with two different age groups of car seats - Group 0+ and then Group 1.
This means better value for families as you won't need to buy a new ISOFIX base when your child moves on to a Group 1 seat. It also gives you an easy-to-install travel solution. The Pebble costs £132, and the FamilyFix base a further £149, but the base will last you more than three years, enabling you to move your child to the equally popular Maxi-Cosi Pearl car seat.
Do you have to buy the Pebble with the FamilyFix base?
No. The Pebble can also be installed in your car using just a seat belt or a cheaper base called the Maxi-Cosi EasyBase 2 (£95, which is fitted with your car's seatbelt).
Is it easy to install in the car?
The Pebble is easy to fit into your car, either using a seatbelt or a base.
The FamilyFix base was fairly easy to install and features a simple light-and-sound alert system to tell you when it’s correctly fitted. When installing the base, at two points along the way you hear a click or beep, and see a green light come on, indicating you’ve got it right. Then, with your baby in the Pebble car seat, you place the car seat onto the FamilyFix base and hear the third beep and see the third green light come on.
How comfortable is it?
Once the Pebble is fitted in the car, there are five adjustable positions. As by son Nathaniel, 5 months, has quite long legs I was able to make the seat more upright to give him extra legroom.
Nathaniel also went to sleep fairly quickly in the Pebble. If he felt he was positioned higher up in his car seat than normal (because of the base) he didn't seem to notice.
It's both stylish and finished with all the latest protective gear, such as a round head hugger and 5-point harness.
Yes - with many of the biggest buggy brands and models, including Bugaboo, Micralite, iCandy and Mothercare MyChoice. The Pebble car seat has been adapted from the award-winning CabrioFix car seat, and so is compatible with lots of buggies. So just because it’s a new car seat doesn’t mean you need to buy a separate pram to be able to push the Pebble around.
How is the Pebble different to the CabrioFix?
The Pebble uses much of the same principles as the highly successful Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix, but it's more expensive and has some new innovations.
The seat belt clip that used to get lost (on the CabrioFix) under Nathaniel's bottom now protrudes straight out of the fabric making it much easier to attach the two side harnesses. There's also a belt routing system that has been designed to minimise the incorrect fitting of the car seat using a seat belt.
It's also been approved by TUV (a German safety organisation) for use as an infant seat on an aeroplane.
But some things have changed needlessly. The handle adjustment buttons either side of the seat have been positioned higher and I found it difficult to move. Also, the pushchair-release buttons either side of the car seat were now little integrated knobs that were very fiddly.
Is it value for money?
At £132, it's at the high end of the infant carrier models, but most shops discount both the Pebble and the FamilyFix base and you can generally buy it for around £120.
What about the FamilyFix base?
I was very impressed with Maxi-Cosi's FamilyFix base. It works with both the Group 0+ Pebble and the Group 1 Maxi-Cosi Pearl car seat. It has a very clear safety system, using beeps and lights to tell you it's all fitted correctly.
Remember, you need to have ISOFIX in your car in order to use the FamilyFix. These come as standard in most cars made after 2000, but if yours doesn't have one, you may be able to get an ISOFIX bar fitted at Halfords.
You also need to watch the batteries in the base unit. These work the light and sound beeps at the installation stage, and also indicate that you’ve installed the base and car seat correctly. This isn't just for the first time. If the FamilyFix gets jostled about, it will beep to tell you the supporting arm has come loose. So you need to make sure the batteries are always working.
The Pebble car seat offers a comfortable and safe ride for your baby. The Maxi-Cosi FamilyFix base is a clever, safety-conscious piece of kit for parents keen to use ISOFIX car seats.