The Recaro Young Sport HERO is a forward-facing car seat and can be used from 9 months to 12 years (9 kg to 36 kg), so it’s perfect if you don’t have the money or inclination to keep buying new car seats as your child grows.
Recaro is a German company that has been around for over 100 years. It prides itself on producing extremely safe and comfortable products.
The Young Sport HERO is an upgrade on the best-selling Young Sport, and the much-loved Young Expert Plus, which have both won accolades in the Mother & Baby, Nursery Trader and Practical Parenting & Pregnancy awards.
So, how has this award-winning car seat been jazzed up and would I recommend it to fellow mums and dads?
Click here to buy the Recaro Young Sport HERO on Amazon
How is installing the Recaro Young Sport HERO?
The chair is a universal fit, meaning It has to be installed using the car’s three-point seatbelt and doesn’t fit into a base.
With the help of the instruction manual, online demonstration video (and, OK, my husband) I got it installed in my car in about 15 minutes.
Although the instructions were clear for the most past, I’m glad Recaro produced a video too. Some sections in the manual had two illustrations indicating the correct way to do something with a tick and the incorrect way to do something with a cross, and some of these looked identical to me! So they were less than helpful.
So how does it differ from the older Young Sport?
The Young Sport HERO has been updated from the Young Sport to incorporate the most up-to-date safety features – most notably, the ‘HERO’ safety system harness, which is one unit consisting of shoulder pads, belts and an inner headrest.
It is said to provide optimum safety and comfort for the head, neck and shoulders whilst preventing the belt from twisting or slipping.
The Advanced Side Protection has been developed with energy absorbers to reduce impact should a side collision occur.
And it has protective foam integrated into the hip, shoulder and head areas, to keep your little one comfy and protected.
Tell us about the HERO harness?
In theory, I love the HERO harness. It promises to enhance safety, which, obviously, is a massive plus.
However, in practice, it’s very bulky. The extra padding on the shoulder straps apparently prevents injury if you have a frontal crash but when I’m trying to wrestle my wriggly toddler (Josh, 18 months) into the seat, they get in the way.
The crotch strap also seems unnecessarily bulky. Having said this, safety is the most important thing so, if we ever did crash, I’ll be grateful for the extra padding.
It states that, because of the HERO harness, the straps can’t twist. This is true of the top section of the straps where the padded section lies but, below, the straps can – and did – twist.
Is the belt clip effective?
The belt clip is positioned on the back of the chair and has a clamp attached to allow the seat to be fixed securely into the car with the seatbelt.
It’s a good feature and because it’s designed so you have to hear it click, you can be sure that you’ve installed the seat correctly.
How comfortable is the seat?
Based on how often Josh falls asleep in it, very comfortable!
The ergonomic foam and breathable fabrics are very cushy and keep the air circulating so that he doesn’t build up a sweat.
The headrest is adjustable, which is a two-handed job, but easy enough to do once you’ve undone the belt clip. Josh loves that the headrest curves around so he can rest his head comfortably when he fancies a snooze.
How is it strapping your little one in?
As well as the bulky straps, another obstacle I’ve found is that the clip can be a little fiddly.
Both parts of it have to be aligned before it can be clicked into place. I prefer two separate clips that can click independently of each other. But perhaps I just need more practice.
What’s the recline function like?
There is one recline ‘rest’ function that can be implemented with a turn of a knob on either side of the seat. The instructions didn’t indicate that the belt clip needs to be undone in order for it to work, so it took a while to figure that out. It only reclines slightly so wasn’t really worth the bother.
What’s the difference between the Group 1/2/3 stages?
This seat adjusts with your child and needs to be altered based on their age. For Group 1 (9-18 kg), the shoulder straps and harness need to be attached.
But for Groups 2 and 3 (from 18kg), these should be removed and your child will be strapped in using the car’s seatbelt.
It’s worth noting that the recline function can’t be used past Group 1. The chair seems built to last and, discounting any accidents, I can’t see why it wouldn’t last the full advertised 10-plus years.
How portable is it?
I have swapped this seat from car to car and it’s been pretty easy. No dramas. At 8kg, it’s not the most lightweight car seat on the market (a quick Google search discovered they range from about 6-10kg) but it’s certainly fine to carry.
Is it easy to clean?
The seat cover can be washed in the machine at 30°, which is handy given the amount of yogurt, crumbs and banana that are going to get smushed into it over the years. What’s not so handy, however, is the fact that the seat cover can only be removed once the harness system has been detached. It’s a bit of a nuisance to reattach everything once it’s dry but, overall, only a minor inconvenience.
How does it compare to your previous car seat?
My previous car seat was a Britax rear-facing number and I was very pleased with it.
However, the time came that Josh was too big for a rear-facing one and getting him in it was becoming a daily struggle. Cue an arching back, tantrums and screams of defiance… and that was just me!
But, so far, Josh has been happy to sit in his new seat that allows a whole new perspective on the world.
Despite a few wriggles, he hasn’t put up a fight when I’ve placed him in it. It’s more upright than his previous one – even in the recline position – but he seems to like that and be very comfortable.
What do you think of the design?
I can’t get too excited about the design of a car seat but I have no complaints. It’s as stylish as a car seat can manage to be and comes in a range of eight colours – black, dark grey, light grey, pink, blue, brown, purple and, the hue I have, red.
What’s in the box?
- Recaro Young Sport HERO car seat
Any additional extras?
- Car seat protector – £15.49
- Summer cover – £47
When it comes to car seats, the two key factors are safety and comfort. While I’m not about to drive into a wall to personally test the safety features, I trust Recaro’s word that they rigorously test their products. And I feel very confident when strapping my little boy into the Young Sport HERO.
He finds it very comfortable, so that’s the second box ticked. While the straps are bulky and the buckle fiddly, I think that I’ll get used to them over time and become quicker at strapping Josh in.
They certainly shouldn’t be reasons not to buy this seat. I think it will withstand the test of time and I’d recommend it as a good, value-for-money car seat.